Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Arabian babbler

Turdoides squamiceps

Photo by Alan Williams (Arkive)

Common name:
Arabian babbler (en); zaragateiro-árabe (pt); cratérope écaillé (fr); turdoide árabe (es); graudrossling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
The Arabian babbler is found from Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in the southern Arabian Peninsula into Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

Size:
These birds are 25-29 cm long and have a wingspan of 31-33,5 cm. They weigh 64-83 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in arid scrubland and savanna, favoring acacias, tamarisk, saltbush, and datepalm groves and gardens. In such habitats they dependent on vegetation and water sources, and may be found up to an altitude of 2.800 m.

Diet:
Remaining close to cover, the Arabian babbler feeds mainly on insects, but during the winter when insects are scarce, it feeds largely on fruit, as well as small lizards and snakes, and even leaves, berries and seeds.

Breeding:
Arabian babblers have a complex social system, lives in groups of 6-22 birds, composed of an alpha breeding pair, usually the oldest birds, which maintain a strict dominance hierarchy over rest of unit. Typically, only the alpha male mates with any of the females. In others, subordinate males may breed with subordinate females, but the alpha female is always the one most fiercely defended by the alpha male. These birds breed in March-May, nesting is a large cup of grass, twigs and other plant material. Generally, only one nest is constructed in a group's territory and up to 3 females may lay eggs this nest. Each female lays 3-5 glossy turquoise eggs which are incubated by several group females for 13-15 days. The chicks fledge 14 days after hatching but continue to receive food from adults for up to 2 months after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is described as locally common at least in Israel. The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing human colonisation and agricultural expansion is creating new areas of suitable habitat.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Satyr tragopan

Tragopan satyra

Photo by John Corder (Arkive)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

Range:
This Asian species is found in the Himalayan reaches of India, China, Nepal and Bhutan.

Size:
Satyr tragopans are 61-71 cm long and weigh 1-2,1 kg.

Habitat:
These birds are found in moist oak and rhododendron forest with dense undergrowth and bamboo clumps, mixed forest, scrub and densely vegetated ravines, usually between 2.200-4.250 m in the breeding season, sometimes moving down to 1.800 m in winter.

Diet:
Satyr tragopans mostly eat the petals, buds and leaves of plants such as the paper laurel, rhododendrons, ferns, daphne, and bastard cinnamon. They also eat bamboo shoots, rhododendron seeds and bulbs from the onion family. They also eat invertebrates such as earwigs, ants, cockroaches, spiders and centipedes.

Breeding:
These birds breed in May-June, although some birds may not breed until July at higher elevations. The nest is made of sticks and twigs, placed on a tree or scrub about 6 m above the ground and well concealed from view. There the female lays 2-3 buff-colored eggs with reddish-brown dots. The eggs are incubated for 28 days. The chicks are able to fly and perch 2-3 days after hatching, but remain with their mother for their first year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and a global population of just 10.000-20.000 individuals. There are no data on population trends, but hunting and habitat degradation due to timber harvesting, fuelwood and fodder collection and livestock grazing, are suspected to be causing a slow decline.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Splendid fairywren

Malurus splendens

Photo by Hans Beste (Mangoverde)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Maluridae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being widely distributed across the southern and western parts of the country.

Size:
Splendid fairywrens are 12-14 cm long and weigh 9 g.

Habitat:
These birds live in arid to semi-arid areas, in mostly dense scrublands or woodlands of Acacia, and mallee eucalypt with dense scrubs. They are often found in forest clearings and along creeks, parks and large gardens.

Diet:
Splendid fairywrens eat arthropods such as ants, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders and bugs. These are supplemented by small quantities of seeds, flowers, and fruit. They mostly forage on the ground or in scrubs.

Breeding:
Groups of 2-8 birds defend a territory all year-round and only 1 socially monogamous pair breeds, but they often mate with other group members. These birds mostly breed in September-December, but can start nesting as early as April. The female builds an oval domed nest of dry grass, strips of bark and rootlets, with an entrance two thirds of the way up one side. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs speckled reddish brown. The female incubates the eggs alone for 14-15 days, but the chicks are fed by all group members until fledging, which takes place 10-13 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally quite common. This population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Tail-banded hornero

Furnarius figulus

Photo by Celi Aurora (Flickr)

Common name:
tail-banded hornero (en); casaca-de-couro-da-lama (pt); fournier bridé (fr); hornero colibandeado (es); schwarzspitzentöpfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Brazil. There are 2 distinct populations, one in eastern Brazil from Maranhão to south Bahia and extending into Espírito Santo, and another in east Amazonas, central Pará and the upper Rio Araguaia.

Size:
The tail-banded hornero is 16 cm long and weighs 34-37 g.

Habitat:
Their natural habitats include a wide range of wooded habitats, especially near water and around mudflats.

Diet:
These birds feed on invertebrates, including insects and other arthropods, as well as shellfish.

Breeding:
The tail-banded hornero breeds in February-September. They nest in a shallow oval cup made of dry grasses, cotton and other plant fibres, as well as feathers, and sometimes lined with pieces of plastic and paper. There the female lays 2 eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 20 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 22 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
Although the global population size has not been quantified, this species is described as fairly common over its very arge breeding range. This species undergone a range expansion over the last century, which is suspected to be continuing.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Mauritius parakeet

Psittacula eques

Photo by Dennis Hansen (Talking Naturally)

Common name:
Mauritius parakeet (en); periquito-de-colar-das-Mauricias (pt); perruche de Maurice (fr); cotorra de Mauricio (es); Mauritiussittich (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species survives only in south-west Mauricius, in the Indian Ocean, after becoming extinct on the island of Réunion.

Size:
These birds are 35-42 cm long and weigh 150-170 g.

Habitat:
They inhabits the remaining areas of native forest and upland scrub, with lowland, intermediate and scrub forests being very important feeding areas.

Diet:
The Mauritius parakeet appears to be a strictly arboreal forager, feeding mainly on native plants and taking a wide range of parts including buds, young shoots, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, twigs and even bark and sap.

Breeding:
These birds start breeding in August-September. They nest in natural cavities situated high up in native trees and the breeding unit is a pair or a group of 1 female with up to 3 males, one of which is dominant and mates with and feeds the female. The female lays 2-3 eggs which she incubates alone for 21-25 days while being fed by the male. Both parents then provide for the chicks until they fledge around 2 months after hatching. The chicks continue to be fed by their parents for at least 2-3 months after leaving the nest.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
Following a dramatic decline until the 1970s, this species became extinct in Réunion and extremely rare in Mauritius. The population in Mauritius have experienced an extremely rapid increase over the last ten years, now being estimated at 343 birds in the wild, but the number of mature individuals is assumed to be in the range 50-249. The earlier decline and contracting distribution corresponds to the severe destruction and degradation of its native habitat. The population crashed from a likely total of several thousand following forest destruction and the replacement of its favoured feeding habitat, upland dwarf forest, with plantations. By 1996, only 5% of the island was covered with native vegetation. The spread of introduced plants such as guava Psidium cattleianum, privet Ligustrum robustum and jamrosa Syzygium jambos and the effect of introduced feral mammals such as pigs Sus scrofa and rusa deer Cerus timorensis are futher threats to this species. Also, bees Apis melifera, white-tailed tropicbirds Phaeton lepturus, introduced common mynas Acridotheres tristis and ring-necked parakeets Psittacula krameri are all nest site competitors and can displace active breeding pairs. The intensive conservation efforts taking place since the 1970s seem to have had considerable success, but the species is still considered endangered.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Brazilian tanager

Ramphocelus bresilius

Photo by Cláudio Márcio (Flickr)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
The Brazilian tanager is endemic to the east coast of Brazil from Paraíba to Santa Catarina.
Size:
These birds are 19 cm long and weigh 31 g.
Habitat:
This species lives near plantations, chicken coops, and forest edges. It also likes to be near water.
Diet:
Brazilian tanagers are mostly frugivorous, showing a preference for the fruits of Cecropia and Acnistus arborescens, but also eating papaya, guava, banana, and other tropical fruits. Sometimes they also eat insects and worms.
Breeding:
These birds breed in October-March. They build a cup-shaped nest using plant fibres from palms, agaves and coconuts, and grass roots. There the female lays 2-3 bluish-green eggs which she incubates alone for 13 days. The chicks fledge 14-17 after hatching but only become fully independent some 3 weeks later. Each pair produces 2-3 clutches per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, this species is described as fairly common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

White-breasted cuckooshrike

Coracina pectoralis

Photo by Warwick Tarboton (Warwik Tarboton)

Common name:
white-breasted cuckooshrike (en); lagarteiro-cinzento-e-branco (pt); échenilleur à ventre blanc (fr); oruguero de pecho blanco (es); weißbrust-raupenfänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Campephagidae

Range:
This species is patchily distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, occurring along the Sahel belt, from West to East Africa. It also has a separate population south of the equator from Tanzania, Zambia and Angola to Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, northern Mozambique and South Africa.

Size:
The white-breasted cuckooshrike is 27 cm long and weighs 60 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in savanna and Mesic woodland, generally favouring well developed mopane (Colosphermum mopane) and miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, and occasionally occupying riverine forest.

Diet:
The white-breasted cuckooshrike mainly eats caterpillars, gleaning them from the trunk, branches and leaves of trees, occasionally joining mixed-species foraging flocks. It also takes advantage of termite alate emergences, hawking them on the wing.

Breeding:
These birds breed in March-December. The nest is built solely by the female and consists of a shallow bowl made of twigs and leaf petioles, covered in old-man's beard lichen (Usnea) and cemented with spider web. It is usually placed on a thick branch or in an horizontal fork, 6-20 m above ground. There the female lays 1-2 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for about 23 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, fledging about 24 days after hatching, and becoming independent 2-3 months later but still remaining with the adults until the next breeding season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range. The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as generally frequent to uncommon in the north of its range, rare in Rwanda and Kenya, common in Angola, uncommon south from Malawi and rare in South Africa. This population is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat destruction, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Southern screamer

Chauna torquata

Photo by Cláudio Timm (Wikipedia)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Anseriformes
Family Anhimidae

Range:
This South American species is found in south-eastern Peru, northern Bolivia,Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina.

Size:
Southern screamers are 83-95 cm long and have a wingspan of 170 cm. They weigh 4-4,5 kg.

Habitat:
These birds are found in marshes, grasslands and lagoons.

Diet:
The diet of the southern screamer consists of plants stems, seeds, leaves, and, rarely, small animals.

Breeding:
These birds are monogamous, forming stable relationships that last their lifetime. They breed in September-December, building a large stick and reed nest on the ground near shallow water. There the female lays 2-7 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 43-46 days. The chicks leave the nest within a few hours, and fledge 8-10 weeks after hatching. The parents care for the young and they only become fully independent 14 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 100.000-1.000.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Strong-billed honeyeater

Melithreptus validirostris

Photo by Geoff Walker (Bushpea)

Common name:
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

Range:
The strong-billed honeyeater is endemic to Tasmania.

Size:
These birds are 15-17,5 cm long and weigh 25 g.

Habitat:
The Strong-billed Honeyeater is mostly found in mature, wet forest, cool temperate rainforest, wet scrub and heath, and occasionally in parks and gardens. It is often associated with large trees such as Eucalyptus regnans and E. delegatensis.

Diet:
They mainly eat insects and various other invertebrates, which they hunt on tree trunks, supplemented by nectar and fallen fruits.

Breeding:
These monogamous birds nest in September-January. They form small colonies and nest-building is a communal affair with all the mature birds contributing to construct a small but deep, cup-shaped nest from strips of bark. The nest is lined with soft bark and plant and animal fibres and hangs by its rim from the outer foliage of eucalypts or shrubs. The female lays 2-3 spotted pinkish eggs which are incubated by both parents for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, who are assisted by older siblings and other adults in raising young chicks. the chicks fledge 16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
Although this species may have a restricted breeding range, it is described as common over this range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Grey-hooded flycatcher

Mionectes rufiventris

Photo by Dário Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:
grey-hooded flycatcher (en); abre-asa-de-cabeça-cinza (pt); pipromorphe à ventre roux (fr); mosquero ladrillito (es); graukopf-pipratyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This South American species is found in south-eastern Brazil, Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 13 cm long and weigh 13-14 g.

Habitat:
Grey-hooded flycatchers are mostly found in Atlantic rain forests and in secondary woodlands, both in the lowlands and in mountainous areas.

Diet:
They take both arthropods and fruits.

Breeding:
This is one of the few flycatcher species with a lek breeding system, with males gathering at the lek to sing and attract females. They nest in August-January, building an elongated, pyriform-shaped nest with a lateral entrance, made of dry vegetable fibers and moss, and sometimes lines with Marasmius fungus. The nest is most often placed over water, fixed to tree roots under stream beds or attached to dry Pteridium leaves. There the female lays 3 eggs which are incubated for 22 days. The chicks fledge 18-21 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, it is described as fairly common but patchily distributed. This population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Takahe

Porphyrio hochstetteri

(Photo from Of Trees, Birds and Other Things)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae

Range:
The takahe is endemic to New Zealand, only being found on the Murchison Mountains of South Island. Conservation efforts have lead to the translocation of populations to the offshore islands of Kapiti, Mana, Tiritiri Matangi and Maud.

Size:
These birds are 63 cm long. Males tend to be larger than female, weighing 2,7 kg while females weigh 2,3 kg.

Habitat:
It originally occurred throughout forest and grass ecosystems. Today it is restricted to alpine tussock grasslands.

Diet:
Takahes primarily consume the leaf bases and seeds of native tussock grasses, including broad leafed snow tussock (Chionochloa rigida), mid-ribbed snow tussock (Chionochloa pallens) and curled snow tussock (Chionochloa crassiuscula). They occasionally take insects as well, especially when raising young.

Breeding:
These birds breed after the end of the Austral winter, from October onwards. The nest is a deep, bowl-like pile of grass, where the female lays 1-3 buff-coloured blotchy eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 30 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, for a period of up to 3 months, after which they become independent. Typically, just one chick per clutch survives the first winter.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
The fossil record suggests this species was once widespread throughout New Zealand, but when it was discovered, in the late 1940s, it was already confined to its current very confined breeding range of just 600-700 sq. km. After an initial decline, the population stabilized at just 150-220 individuals, but it is threatened by introduced predators, like the stout Mustela erminea, and competitors, like the red deer Cervus elaphus and the brush-tailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula. The species was introduced to several predator-free offshore islands where the population is growing slowly due to low hatching and fledging rates.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Dartford warbler

Sylvia undata

Photo by Alberto Maia (Flickr)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species has a patchy distribution restricted to southern and western Europe and north-west Africa, being found in Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

Size:
These birds are 12-14 cm long and have a wingspan of 14-17 cm. They weigh 9-12 g.

Habitat:
The Dartford warbler is usually found in heathland and open scrubland with scattered trees, favouring areas dominated by Ulex, Erica, Rosmarinus, Genista, Cistus and Quercus coccifera. They are also found in rocky hillsides with thorny maquis, and open woodlands of pine trees with bushy undergrowth.
Diet:
These birds are insectivorous, foraging on several kinds of Coleoptera, Lepidoptera and Diptera and their larvae. During winter, they also feed on spiders, seeds and berries.

Breeding:
Dartford warblers breed in March-July. The nest is built in dense, often evergreen bushes, consisting of a compact cup of grass leaves and stems, and bits of heather, usually with vegetable down, cobwebs, and occasionally feathers. The female lays 3-4 whitish or pale greenish eggs which she mostly incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge 10-14 days after hatching. Each pair produces 2-4 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
Although this species has a large breeding range, it is very patchily distributed. The global population is estimated at 5,7-11 million individuals, but it is declining at a moderately rapid rate, probably by as much as 6% per year. The reasons for this decline are unclear, but they are known to be vulnerable to severe winters, particularly in the northern part of their range. Increasing densities of cattle on Iberian dehesas are causing severe habitat degradation through overgrazing, and afforestation has decreased the amount of suitable habitat in parts of France and Iberia. Changes in the pattern and frequency of wildfires may also be a threat, although the species often colonises early successional habitat created by such fires.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Black-naped monarch

Hypothymis azurea

Photo by Eric Soo (Nature in Singapore)

Common name:
black-naped monarch (en); monarca-azul (pt); tchitrec azuré (fr); monarca nuquinegro (es); schwarzgenickschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Monarchidae

Range:
This Asian species is found from India and Sri Lanka in the west, across southern Asia to southern China and Indonesia, and the island groups of Hainan, Taiwan, Sundas, Philippines, Andamans, and Nicobars.

Size:
Black-naped monarchs are 16-18 cm long and weigh 10 g.

Habitat:
These birds are mostly found in thick forests and other well-wooded habitats, but also in scrubland and overgrown plantations. they are more common in the lowlands, but may be found up to an altitude of 1.300 m.

Diet:
These insectivores hunt a variety of small insects, including small crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, butterflies and moths, mostly by gleaning from foliage, but also by snatching from mid-air.

Breeding:
Black-naped monarchs breed in April-July. Both sexes build the nest, a deep cup woven of thin strips of bark, plant fibres, moss, and spider webs, wedged in the upright fork of a tree, often near the ground. There the female lays 2-4 creamy-white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 7-10 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is described as generally widespread and common throughout its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

White-whiskered puffbird

Malacoptila panamensis

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
white-whiskered puffbird (en); barbudo-de-loro-branco (pt); tamatia de Lafresnaye (fr); buco barbón (es); weißzügel-faulvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galbuliformes
Family Bucconidae


Range:
The white-whiskered puffbird is found from southern Mexico down to Colombia and western Ecuador.

Size:
These birds are 17-19 cm long and weigh 40-45 g.

Habitat:
This species occurs in the lower strata of primary and secondary humid forest and adjacent shady pastures.

Diet:
White-whiskered puffbirds mostly hunt large insects, like locusts and moths, spiders, frogs, small lizzards and snakes, including poisonous coral snakes.

Breeding:
These birds breed in March-July. They nest in burrows, which are excavated in slightly sloping ground and lines with dead leaves. The entrance hole is camouflaged with twigs and leaves. There the female lays 2-3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 15 days. The chicks are fed and brooded by both parents and fledge 20 days after hatching. Each pair produces a single clutch per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

African yellow white-eye

Zosterops senegalensis

Photo by Thierry Helsens (Oiseaux)

Common name:
African yellow white-eye (en); olho-branco-amarelo (pt); zostérops jaune (fr); anteojitos senegalés (es); Senegalbrillenvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Zosteropidae

Range:
This African species occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa, absent only from the Congo basin and very arid areas.

Size:
African yellow white-eyes are 11-12 cm long and weigh 10 g.

Habitat:
They generally prefer well-wooded habitats, especially miombo Brachystegia, Zambezi teak Baikiaea plurijuga and mohobohobo Uapaca woodland, also occupying swamps with interspersed trees, thorny scrub, Eucalyptus plantations, suburban parks and gardens.

Diet:
They mainly eats insects, including caterpillars, termites and aphids, doing most of its foraging in the tree canopy, gleaning prey from leaves and branches. They also eat fruits.

Breeding:
African yellow white-eyes breed in August-January, with a peak in September-October. The nest is a small cup built of dried grass and small twigs, secured with spider web. It is typically placed in the foliage of a sapling, often about 3-5 m above ground in the shade. There the female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for about 11-12 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents, fledging 13-14 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Pied butcherbird

Cracticus nigrogularis

Photo by Michael Schmid (Wikipedia)

Common name:
pied butcherbird (en); verdugo-de-peito-preto (pt); cassican à gorge noire (fr); verdugo gorjinegro (es); schwarzkehl-metzgervogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cracticidae

Range:
The pied butcherbird is found throughout the Australian mainland, with the exception of most of the southern and south-eastern coastline, and the more arid areas of the inland. It is absent from Tasmania.

Size:
These birds are 32-38 cm long and weigh 140-150 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in dry woodlands, coastal scrub and treed farmland. They can also be found in urban parks and gardens.

Diet:
These aggressive feeders prey on small reptiles, mammals, frogs and birds, as well as large insects.

Breeding:
The breeding season of the pied butcherbird varies throughout its large range. The female constructs the nest, a bowl of sticks and twigs, lined with grasses and other finer material. It is usually built in an upright tree fork up to 5 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-5 eggs which she incubates alone for 21 days. The chicks fledge 30 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common over this range. The trend direction for this population is difficult to determine owing to the positive and negative processes affecting the species, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Luzon bleeding-heart

Gallicolumba luzonica

Photo by Ken Ilio (Flickr)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the central and southern regions of Luzon and the smaller offshore island Polillo, in The Philippines.

Size:
The Luzon bleeding-heart is 30 cm long and has a wingspan of 38 cm. They weigh 180-190 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in primary and secondary forests from sea level up to an altitude of 1.400 m.

Diet:
They feed on seeds, fallen berries and a variety of insects and worms found on the forest floor.

Breeding:
These monogamous birds usually pair for life. They nest in May-August, building a cup-shaped nest out of twigs and other plant material. The is placed on bushes or creeping plants, not far from the ground. There the female lays 2 creamy white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 15-17 days. The chicks are fed crop-milk by both parents and fledge 10-14 days after hatching, but stay with their parents for up to 3 months.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a restricted breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is described as usually rather scarce or rare. There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate, owing to habitat degradation and hunting. These birds are trapped for meat and for sale in the pet trade and in recent years a lot of land was damaged with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Logging is the main cause of habitat degradation for this species.