Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Laysan finch

Telespiza cantans

(Photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Common name:
Laysan finch (en); palila-de-Laysan(pt); psittirostre de Laysan (fr); palila de Laysan (es); Laysankleidervogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Drepanidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the island of Laysan in the north-western Hawaiian archipelago.

Size:
These birds are 19 cm long and weigh 32-34,5 g.

Habitat:
The Laysan finch is found in dry scrublands and grasslands, using low scrubs, bunch grasses and forbs, particularly the beach naupaka Scaevola taccada.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits and seeds, also taking carrion, invertebrates and bird eggs.

Breeding:
Laysan finches breed in March-June. They are monogamous and nest in a cup placed among the vegetation. There the female lays 3 eggs, which she incubates for 16 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 3 weeks after hatching, but only become fully independent about 3 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has an extremely small breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1.500-7.000 individuals. The population is believed to fluctuate considerably. The successful invasion of golden crown beard Verbesina encelioides, which provides nesting habitat and food for Laysan finches, caused a dramatic increase, but the plant was considered to have negative impacts on seabirds and so the population of Laysan finches crashed after the first efforts to control Verbesina, but the abundance of Verbesina has since increased. At present the main threats to this species are storms and droughts, which can cause almost total nest failure, while global warming could have an impact on the long-term as sea level rise will reduce the area of Laysan located above sea level and may increase the frequency and severity of hurricanes and droughts.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Red-legged cormorant

Phalacrocorax gaimardi

Photo by Jose Cañas (Flickr)

Common name:
red-legged cormorant (en); corvo-marinho-de-patas-vermelhas (pt); cormoran de Gaimard (fr); cormorán chuita (es); buntscharbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Phalacrocoracidae

Range:
This species is found along the Pacific coast of South America, from Isla Foca, in northern Peru, to Peninsula de Taitao, in southern Chile, and also in the Atlantic coast of southern Argentina from Bahia Sanguinetto to the Monte León National Park.

Size:
These birds are 71-76 cm long and have a wingspan of about 90 cm. They weigh 1,2-1,8 kg.

Habitat:
The red-legged cormorant is found in rocky coastlines, nesting in inaccessible cliffs, sea caves and rocky islets, and foraging over shallow coastal waters, usually within 3 km of the breeding colonies.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fish, including Patagonotothen spp., sardines Sprattus fuegensis, Ramnogaster arcuata, eels and anchovies. They also take various marine invertebrates such as bivalves, squids, polychaete worms and crabs.

Breeding:
Red-legged cormorants can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They are monogamous and the nest is a mound of seaweeds, guano and feathers placed in a narrow ledge on a cliff. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs which are incubated for about 30 days. The chicks fledge 60-70 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 30.000 individuals. The population is believed to have declined by 20-30%, mainly due to entanglement is fishing equipment, low food availability caused by over-fishing, and the effects of El Niño events. The expansion of industrial fishing is favourable for its main predator, the kelp gull Larus dominicanus which is known to heavily impact breeding success. Peru, Chile and Argentina have plans to improve their coastal marine protected areas network which could help the red-legged cormorant populations.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Eurasian pygy-owl

Glaucidium passerinum

Photo by Lars Petersson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Eurasian pygmy-owl (en); mocho-pigmeu (pt); chevêchette d'Europe (fr); mochuelo chico (es); sperlingskauz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is found in central and northern Europe, from north-eastern France and northern Italy north to northern Scandinavia and east through Romania, the Ukraine and the middle latitudes of Russia into central Asia as far as the Pacific Ocean. Also in northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia and north-eastern China.

Size:
These birds are 15-19 cm long and have a wingspan of 32-39 cm. Males are smaller than females, weighing 47-65 g while the females weigh 67-77 g.

Habitat:
The Eurasian pygmy-owl is mostly found in coniferous and mixed forests, in the taiga and in temperate areas, also using scrublands, marshes and bogs. They occur at altitudes of 250-2.150 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on voles, also taking other small mammals such as mice and shrews, small birds such as finches, thrushes, warblers and flycatchers, small lizards, bats, fishes and insects.

Breeding:
Eurasian pygmy-owls breed in April-July. They are monogamous and may sometimes pair for more than one season. The nest in tree cavities, mainly old woodpecker nests, also using nest boxes. The female lays 3-8 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 28-30 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 30-34 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 5-7 weeks later. They reach sexual maturity at 1 year of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 300.000-1.500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to fluctuate over time owing to fluctuations in rodent prey populations and weather conditions.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hooded robin

Melanodryas cucullata

Photo by David Cook (Flickr)

Common name:
hooded robin (en); rouxinol-de-capuz (pt); miro à capuchon (fr); petroica encapuchada (es); schwarzkopfschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Petroicidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found throughout the Australian mainland.

Size:
These birds are 15-17,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 24-29 cm. They weigh 21-28 g.

Habitat:
The hooded robin is found in open, dry savannas, and in dry scrublands with scattered trees, particularly in areas dominated by Eucalyptus and Acacia.

Diet:
They mainly hunt insects ad other small arthropods by sallying out from a perch, also taking seeds.

Breeding:
Hooded robins breed in July-January. They are monogamous and the nest is an open cup made of leaves and bark bound together with spider webs. The nest is usually placed
in a crevice, hollow or hole in a tree or stump. The female lays 1-3 pale olive or bluish-green eggs with darker spots and blotches. She incubates the eggs alone for 14-15 days. The chicks fledge 13 days after hatching. Each pair usually raises 2 broods per season, but can lay up to 5 replacement clutches.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally fairly common. Still, the population is estimated to be in decline owing to habitat loss.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Acacia pied barbet

Tricholaema leucomelas

(Photo from Bird Forum)

Common name:
acacia pied barbet (en); barbaças-das-acácias (pt); barbican pie (fr); barbudo pío (es); rotstirn-bartvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Africa, from southern Angola, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique, through Namibia and Botswana and throughout South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 15-18 cm long and weigh 23-45 g.

Habitat:
The acacia pied barbet is mostly found in dry savannas, particularly those dominated by Acacia and Baikiaea, also using dry scrublands, plantations, pastures, arable land, rural gardens and urban areas. These birds are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits, especially figs and mistletoes, but also nectar and flowers, and insects.

Breeding:
These birds breed in September-June. They are monogamous and territorial and both sexes excavate the nest hole into the underside of a branch. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 12-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 35 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and appear to be common throughout most of this range. The population is believed to be increasing as it takes advantage of the increasing amount of alien trees, which it uses as nesting sites, allowing the acacia pied barbet to expand its range south-westwards.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Orange-throated tanager

Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron

Photo by Dusan Brinkhuizen (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
orange-throated tanager (en); saíra-de-papo-laranja (pt); tangara à gorge orangée (fr); tangara golinaranja (es); veilchenschultertangare (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This species is only found in a small area of northern Peru, in the eastern slopes and foothills of the Andes above the rivers Marañón and Cenepa, in the forests at the headwaters of the río Nieva, and marginallt into Ecuador on the western slopes above the río Nangaritza.

Size:
These birds are 17 cm long and weigh 43,5-56 g.

Habitat:
The orange-throated tanager is mostly found in mature, humid terra firme forests and foothill forests, also using disturbed forests. They are present at altitudes of 450-1.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, seeds and insects such as beetles.

Breeding:
Orange-throated tanagers breed in January-March. They are cooperative breeders, with helpers participating in nest defence and provisioning. The nest is an open cup made of twigs, dead plant material, moss and lichens, and is placed in the uppermost fronds of a palm tree, about 10 m above the ground. There is no information on clutch size, but the incubation period is believed to take 18-20 days. There is no available data regarding the fledging period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 6.000-15.000 individuals. The orange-throated tanager is suspected to lose 6% of suitable habitat within its distribution over the next decade, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, being therefore suspected to suffer decline a small decline in the near future.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Crested bird-of-paradise

Cnemophilus macgregorii

(Photo from Astronomy to Zoology)

Common name:
crested bird-of-paradise (en); ave-do-paraíso-de-poupa (pt); cnémophile huppé (fr); ave-del-paraíso crestada (es); furchenparadiesvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paradisaeidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the mountain of New Guinea, being found from the easternmost mountains of Indonesia to the mountains east of Port Moresby in south-eastern Papua-New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 24 cm long and weigh 80-120 g.

Habitat:
The crested bird-of-paradise in upper mountain and sub-alpine tropical forests, as well as along forest edges and in nearby scrublands. They also use secondary and disturbed forests. This species occurs at altitudes of 2.600-3.500 m.

Diet:
They are strictly frugivorous, mainly taking simple drupes or berries that are swallowed whole.

Breeding:
Crested birds-of-paradise breed in August-January. They are polygynous with males displaying to attract females and having no further part in the reproduction process after mating. The female builds the nest alone, a globular structure made of sticks, green mosses and green fern fronds, and lined with green-yellow epiphytic orchid stems. The nest is placed on a decayed tree stump, or within the branches of a tree, 2-4 m above the ground. There she lays a single egg which she incubates alone for about 3 weeks. The chicks are raised by the female alone and fledge about 5 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range. Its secretive habits limit meaningful assessment of abundance, but the crested bird-of-paradise is reported to be common wherever researchers have mist-netted in its habitat.