Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Spot-winged thrush

Zoothera spiloptera


Photo by Mapalagama Premasiri (Oriental Bird Images)


Common name:
spot-winged thrush (en); tordo-do-Ceilão (pt); grive à ailes tachetées (fr); zorzal de alas moteadas (es); Ceylondrossel (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae
Range:
This species is endemic to Sri Lanka.
Size:
They are 21-23 cm long and weigh 70 g.
Habitat:
Spot-winged thrushes are found in damp, evergreen forests, mainly in wet lowlands. They also occur in secondary scrub, plantations and occasionally gardens adjacent to forest. They are usually founs in lowland areas, may be present up to an altitude of 2.000 m.
Diet:
They motsly forage for terrestrial invertebrates on the ground, but will also sally for insects in the air. Occasionally, they also eat berries.
Breeding:
The spot-winged thrush breeds in March-May, and in July-January. The nest consists of a cup made of dead and decaying leaves and stems, lined with fine rootlets and leaf midribs. The nest is generally placed in a low exposed fork of a sapling or small tree, 1-3 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 buff or bluish-green eggs which are incubated by both parents for 12-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 14 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a very restricted breeding range, but it is locally common within that range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing destruction and fragmentation of their forest habitats, mostly through excessive gathering of fuelwood, clearance for permanent agriculture, shifting cultivation, fire, urbanisation and logging. The area of closed-canopy forest is Sri Lanka has already declined by 50-60%, and this decline is likely to continue.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Hawaian coot

Fulica alai


Photo by Caleb Slemmons (Forestry Images)

Common name:
Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae
Range:
This species is endemic to the Hawaiian islands, where it is found on all the main islands except Kaho'olawe.
Size:
The Hawaian coot is 33-41 cm long and weighs 650-720 g.
Habitat:
These birds can be found in virtually any body of water, including estuaries, marshes and golf course wetlands. They are typically found in coastal plains, usually below 400 m, but may be present in mountain stock ponds up to 2.000 m above sea level.
Diet:
Hawaian coots mostly eat the seeds and leaves of aquatic plants, but also insects, tadpoles, and small fish.
Breeding:
These birds can breed all year round, nesting in areas of robust emergent plants interspersed with open, fresh or brackish water, usually less than 1 m deep. The nest is made of aquatic vegetation, either floating or anchored to clumps of emergent plants. There the female lays 4-6 eggs which are incubated for 23-27 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, but remain with their parents only fledging some 8 weeks after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
The Hawaian coot has a restricted breeding range and a global population estimated at just 2.000-4.000 individuals. The main threat affecting this species is the destruction of their wetland habitats due to drainage for cultivation and developments such as hotels, housing areas, golf courses, shopping centres, landfill sites, military installations, roads and industrial sites. Introduced predators, such as black rat Rattus rattus, brown rat Rattus norwegicus, domestic cat and dog, small Asian mongoose Herpestes javanicus and cattle egret Bubulcus ibis are an additional threat. The species may also be poisoned by insecticides and herbicides used to treat water channels on agricultural land and golf courses.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Black-chinned hummingbird

Archilochus alexandri

(Photo from Wikipedia)



Common name:
black-chinned hummingbird (en); beija-flor-de-garganta-preta (pt); colibri à gorge noire (fr); colibrí gorginegro (es); schwarzkinnkolibri (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae
Range:
The black-chinned hummingbird regularly occurs throughout western North America, from as far north as British Columbia south to northern Mexico, and from coastal California to central Texas. During the winters, this species migrates to southern California, southern Arizona, southern Texas and Mexico.
Size:
These birds are 9-9,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 11 cm. They weigh 2,3-4,9 g.
Habitat:
They are most common in canyons and along rivers, but also in arid areas, often near cottonwood, sycamore, willow, salt-cedar, sugarberry, and oak. During winter they tend to be found in oak forests.
Diet:
The diet of the black-chinned hummingbird consists of nectar, pollen, insects and sugar water from feeders. They are known to take the nectar from flowers of tree tobacco Nicotiana glauca, scarlet larkspur Delphinium cardinale, and desert ocotillo Fouquieria splendens.
Breeding:
Black-chinned hummingbirds breed in April-September. The female builds the nest, a compact, deep cup constructed of plant down, spider silk and cocoon fibres, placed in an horizontal dead branch 2-4 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 white eggs which are incubated for 12-16 days. The chicks fledge 20-21 days after hatching. Each pair raises 1-3 broods per season.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 2 million individuals. The species has undergone a large increase of 14,6% per decade over the last 40 years.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Lesser striped swallow

Hirundo abyssinica

Photo by Jack Versloot (Wikipedia)



Common name:
lesser striped swallow (en); andorinha-estriada-pequena (pt); hirondelle striée (fr); golondrina abisinia (es); maidschwalbe (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae
Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa from Sierra Leone and southern Sudan south into eastern South Africa.
Size:
These birds are 15-19 cm long and weigh 17 g.
Habitat:
The lesser striped swallow is found in open grassy areas, open savanna, forest edges and clearings, as well as sparse woodland, but also over water, mangroves, and gallery forest. They are mostly found in lowland areas.
Diet:
They mainly eat arthropods, namely larval Lepidoptera, Coccinellidae and Hymenoptera, but also some fruits and seeds.

Breeding:
The lesser striped swallow is a monogamous, solitary nester. They breed in October-May, with both sexes building the nest. It consists of a bowl made of mud pellets and lined with grass and feathers. It is often placed in a man-made structure, such as a building or bridge, but it can also be positioned under a rock overhang or cavity in a branch or trunk of a tree. The same nest site used over multiple breeding seasons, each year it is either rebuilt or repaired before the eggs are laid. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-21 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17-18 days after hatching. Each pair typically produces 3 broods per year.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as generally common. The population is suspected to be increasing owing to deforestation and the availability of artificial nest-sites.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Red-billed pigeon

Patagioenas flavirostris

Photo by Michael Woodruff (Wikipedia)



Common name:
red-billed-pigeon (en); pombo-de-bico-vermelho (pt); pigeon à bec rouge (fr); paloma piquirroja (es); rotschnabeltaube (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae
Range:
The red-billed pigeon is found from southern Texas, United States, and north-western Mexico south to Costa Rica.
Size:
This species is 33-36 cm long and has a wingspan of 58-61 cm. They weigh 230 g.
Habitat:
They are found in river woodlands and tall brush, namely undisturbed native woods, of hackberry, mesquite, huisache, ebony, and other trees. They are also found in dry woodlands of various types, generally avoiding more humid regions of rain forest. They are present from the lowlands up to an altitude of 2.100 m.

Diet:
Red-billed pigeons mostly eat wild fruits and berries, including those of hackberry, mistletoe, wild fig, but also a wide range of seeds and nuts.
Breeding:
These birds can breed all year round. The nest is a flimsy platform of sticks, lined with grasses and stems, placed in an horizontal fork 8-30 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-2 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 18-20 days. The chicks are fed crop milk and solid foods by both parents, fledging 22-25 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population of 2 million individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation

Friday, 26 August 2011

Skylark

Alauda arvensis

Photo by Lewis Thomson (LT Images)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

Range:
The skylark breeds across Europe and the temperate zone of Asia as far east as Japan and the Kamchatka peninsula of Russia. The western populations are resident, but the eastern populations migrate south to winter in southern China. The species has been introduced to Australia, Canada, Hawaii, and New Zealand.

Size:
They are 16-19 cm long and have a wingspan of 30-36 cm. They weigh up to 55 g.

Habitat:
Skylarks utilise a wide range of open habitats including saltmarshes and coastal grazing land, arable farmland and rough grazing in the uplands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
These birds are omnivores, eating seeds and insects which they take from the ground. They are known to eat weed seeds and waste grain, as well as beetles, caterpillars, spiders, millipedes, earthworms, and slugs.

Breeding:
Skylarks breed in April-August. Females build the nest with little help from males, a shallow depression in the ground lined with stems and leaves, often found near short vegetation. There the female lays 3-5 pale brownish-grey eggs, which she incubates alone for 11-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-11 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 2-3 weeks later. Each pair may produce 2-3 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a huge global population estimated at 250-1000 million individuals. The population is estimated to be in decline following marked regional declines in recent decades linked to agricultural intensification.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Crowned lapwing

Vanellus coronatus


Photo by Vincent Ceccarelli (Oiseaux


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae

Range:
This African species is found from the Red Sea coats of Somalia down to southern and south-western Africa.

Size:
This large plover is 30-31 cm long and weighs 120-200 g.

Habitat:
Crowned lapwings are found in dry grassland, open savanna, and cultivated lands, generally preferring areas where the grass is short and overgrazzed or has been burned. They are also found in man-made habitats, such as open fields, short pastures, airports, golf courses and roadsides.
Diet:
They search for prey on the ground, taking a wide variety of invertebrates including termites, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, millipedes and earthworms.
Breeding:
These birds are mostly monogamous, although polygamy is sometimes recorded. They can nest all year round, peaking in August-December. The nest is a scrape in the ground, lined with dried grass, roots, small stones and dried dung and typically placed on bare ground or among short vegetation, sometimes adjacent to a stone or mound of earth. There the female lays 2-4 eggs brown eggs with dark blotches. The eggs are mainly incubated by the female, although the male occasionally takes over if it gets particularly hot, and hatch after 28-32 days. The chicks leave the nest after about 4 hours, once their down is dry, and the adults take turns in caring for the chicks and directing them to food items. They fledge 29-31 days after hatching, but only become fully independent at the onset of the following breeding season, a year later.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 420.000-1.100.000 individuals. The overall population trend is increasing, although some populations have unknown trends.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Apostlebird

Struthidea cinerea

Photo by Steve Happ (Steve Happ Photography)



Common name:
apostlebird (en); apóstolo (pt); apôtre gris (fr); corvino apóstol (es); gimpelhäher (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corcoracidae
Range:
This species is found across inland eastern Australia, from northern Victoria and eastern South Australia, north through New South Wales and central-western Queensland to the Gulf Country. There is an isolated population in the Northern Territory.
Size:
The apostlebird is 29-47 cm long and weighs 110-130 g.
Habitat:
These birds are mostly found in grassland and open eucalyptus woodlands.

Diet:
The apostlebird forages on the ground, eating mainly insects and seeds, namely grasshoppers, weevils, shield-bugs, and ants. They may ocasionally eat small rodents.
Breeding:
These birds breed in August-January. They are cooperative breeders, forming familial social groups of up to 20 members, consisting of a dominant male, several females, and juveniles from previous seasons. All group members help building the nests, cups made of mud and placed on horizontal limbs up to 12 m above the ground. Each female lays 2-8 pale bluish eggs with black or gray splotches, which are incubated by all group members for 18-19 days. The chicks are raised by the the whole group and fledge 18-29 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 common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

California condor

Gymnogyps californianus

Photo by Scott Page (Tree of Life)



Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Cathartidae

Range:
Historically this species was widespread in the south-eastern United States and along the Pacific coast, but it is currently confined to the Grand Canyon area, Zion National Park, and the western coastal mountains of California and northern Baja California, Mexico.
Size:
These huge birds are 117-134 cm long and have a wingspan of 270-290 cm. They weigh 7-14 kg.
Habitat:
The California condor lives in rocky scrubland, coniferous forests, and oak savannas, often being found near cliffs or large trees, which they use as nesting sites.
Diet:
These birds are carrion eaters, primarily consuming large carcasses like goat, cattle, sheep, deer, horse and coyote, although they are also known to eat smaller food, such as rabbit and squirrel.
Breeding:
California condors are monogamous and mate for life. They start nesting in February-April and the pair makes a simple nest in caves or on cliff clefts, especially ones with nearby roosting trees and open spaces for landing. There the female lays 1 bluish-white egg, which is incubated by both parents for 53-60 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 5-7 months after hatching, but continue to roost and hunt with their parents until they are 2 years old. Typically, a pair only breeds once every 2 years.
Conservation:
IUCN status - CR (Critically Endangered)
This species has a restricted breeding range and a global population of just 44 mature individuals. This species suffered a drastic population decline during the 20th century, mostly attributed to persecution and accidental ingestion of fragments from lead bullets from carcasses, resulting in lead poisoning. In 1987 the species became extinct in the wild when the last 6 wild individuals were captured to join a captive-breeding recovery programme involving 27 birds. The species has since been re-introduced in the wild, currently counting 104 adult individuals, 44 of which are breeding. Publicity and awareness raising campaigns have been largely successful, but a few birds are still being shot. Currently the main threats continues to be the ingestion of lead from carcasses, but also collisions with powers lines.

Monday, 22 August 2011

White-throated bushchat

Saxicola insignis

Photo by Nikhil Devasar (Oriental Bird Images)


Common name:
white-throated bushchat (en); cartaxo-de-Hodgson (pt); tarier de Hodgson (fr); tarabilla de Hodgson (es); mattenschmätzer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

Range:
This Asian species breeds very locally in the mountains of Mongolia, Kazakhstan and adjacent parts of Russia. They winter in southern China, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and northern India.

Size:
This large chat is 17 cm long and weighs 17-22 g.

Habitat:
The white-throated bushchat breeds in alpine or subalpine meadows with scattered scrub. It generally favours areas of rocky outcrops and boulders, where there are small streams with many shallow ravines, gullies or gorges. During winter they are found in wet or dry grasslands, open short-grass plains and in reeds along riverbeds.

Diet:
It feeds primarily on insects, with its diet comprising mostly beetles and beetle larvae. They typically search for prey by perching on top of bushes or grasses and scanning for insects on the ground, but are also known to follow herds of swamp deer Cervus duvauceli and other moving animals, including humans, which disturb and flush out insects.

Breeding:
The white-throated bushchat breeds in May-July. They builds a bulky nest made of dry grass and lined with wool, feathers and dry moss, placed in rock clefts, crevices or holes, or in the walls of river banks, ravines and gullies. There the female lays 4-5 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 14 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
The white-throated bushchat has a relatively restricted breeding range and a global population estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be undergoing a moderate decline as a result of habitat loss and degradation in the wintering grounds, although up-to-date information on population trend is lacking. The major threat appears to be rapid and extensive loss and modification of grasslands in the wintering grounds, as a result of drainage, conversion to agriculture, overgrazing, grass harvesting and inappropriate grassland management within protected areas. Recent flooding has destroyed further suitable habitat.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Blue chaffinch

Fringilla teydea


(Photo from Wikipedia)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria in the Canary islands.
Size:
These birds are 16-18 cm long and weigh 30-31 g.
Habitat:
The blue chaffinch is most common in coniferous forests with dense undergrowth, but it is also found in laurel and pine woodland, tree-heath, and scrub. They are present at altitudes of 1.100–2.000 m, but may move to lower altitudes during harsh winters.
Diet:
Their main food source are pine seeds which they eat both in the trees and on the ground, extracting the seeds from the half-open cones by breaking them open with
their thick, powerful bills. They also eat other seeds and fruits, as well as nocturnal butterflies and beetles taken from cracks in pine bark.

Breeding:
The blue chaffinch breeds in April-July. The nest is built by the female, using pine needles and branches of broom Chamaecytisus proliferus and lined with moss, feathers, grasses and rabbit hair. The nest is usually located in pine trees or sometimes in heath Erica arborea or laurel Laurus azorica. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both the parents and fledge 17-18 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a small breeding range and a global population of just 2.000-5.000 individuals. Although the tiny population on Gran Canaria continues to decline, it represents a small proportion of the global population, and overall trends are thought to be positive as the area of suitable habitat increases on Tenerife. The blue chaffinch is threatened by illegal capture and trade, as well as intense commercial exploitation of pine forests. Forest fires also have a negative impact on this species.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Indian scops-owl

Otus bakkamoena

Photo by Samiul Mohsanin (Flickriver)



Common name:
Indian scops-owl (en); mocho-de-orelhas-da-Índia (pt); petit-duc indien (fr); autillo indio (es); Indien-zwergohreule (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Range:
This Asian species is a resident breeder found from eastern Saudi Arabia, through Iran, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, and into Indonesia.
Size:
The Indian scops-owl is 23-25 cm long and weighs 120-150 g.
Habitat:
This species is found in forested habitats, mostly lowland secondary forests, but also in fields with scrub cover.
Diet:
They mostly eat insects, such as moths, beetles and grasshoppers. They also take small mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Breeding:
The Indian scops-owl breeds in April-July. They nest in a hole in a tree, or in a rock cavity, where the female lays 3-5 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 28-29 days and the chicks fledge 4-5 weeks after hatching. The chicks continue to receive food from their parents for another 3-4 weeks after fledging.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be widespread and locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Golden-breasted bunting

Emberiza flaviventris


Photo by Dubi Shapiro (Internet Bird Collection)


Common name:
golden-breasted bunting (en); escrevedeira-de-peito-dourado (pt); bruant à poitrine dorée (fr); semillerito de pecho dorado (es); gelbbauchammer (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae
Range:
This African species is found from southern Mali to Sudan, then south through Uganda, Tanzania, southern D.R. Congo, Angola and Zambia, an into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, northern Namibia and most of South Africa.
Size:
The golden-breasted bunting is 15-16 cm long and weighs 20-25 g.
Habitat:
This species generally prefers savanna, especially Acacia, burkea Burkea africana and mopane Colosphermum mopane woodland, as well as dry woodland along dry rivers, tall shrubland on rocky ground, edges of cereal crops, alien plantations and gardens.
Diet:
The golden-breasted bunting mainly eats seeds, but also flower buds and insects, foraging on the ground and in the foliage of small trees and shrubs. They are known to take the seeds of kweek Cynodon dactylon, beetles, short-horned grasshoppers, termites and ants.

Breeding:
These monogamous, solitary nesters breed in September-April. The nest is an untidy cup of grass stems, tendrils, leaf petioles and other pliable plant material, lined with fine rootlets and hair. It is typically placed on a horizontal fork of a bush or tree. There the female lays 2-5 glossy white or cream eggs with black lines, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of insects and seeds, and fledge 13-17 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range. Although the global population size has not been quantified, the golden-breasted bunting is described as never really common, but one of the most widespread African buntings. Although it is regularly captured illegally for the cage bird trade, The population is suspected to be stable.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Red-browed firetail

Neochmia temporalis

(Photo from Wikipedia)



Common name:
red-browed firetail (en); bico-de-lacre-de-sobrolho-vermelho (pt); diamant à cinq couleurs (fr); pico de cera de cejas rojas (es); dornastrild (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae
Range:
The red-browed firetail is found along the east coats of Australia and it has also been introduced to French Polynesia.
Size:
These birds are 10-12 cm long and weigh 11 g.
Habitat:
They are found in grassy areas interspersed with dense understorey vegetation, often along creek lines.
Diet:
Red-browed firetails mostly feed on seeds and insects on the ground, but sometimes perches on seeding grass heads.

Breeding:
These birds breed in October-April. The nest is large and domed, with a side tunnel for an entrance. It is a rough construction of twigs and grass stems built in a dense shrub 1-2 m above the ground. There the female lays 4-6 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 22 days after hatching. Each pair may produce 2-3 broods 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, the species is described as common or locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Crimson rosella

Platycercus elegans

(Photo from Flickr)



Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is native to eastern and south-eastern Australia and has been introduced to Norfolk Island and New Zealand.
Size:
The crimson rosella is 32-36 cm long and weighs 110-170 g.
Habitat:
This species is commonly associated with tall eucalypt and wetter forests, but also occurs in rainforests and suburban areas near forest.
Diet:
The crimson rosella forages in trees, bushes, and on the ground for the fruit, seeds, nectar, berries, and nuts of a wide variety of plants, namely Myrtaceae, Asteraceae and Rosaceae.
Breeding:
These birds breed in September-January. They nest is a tree hollow, located high in a tree, and lined with wood shavings and dust. There the female lays 4-8 white eggs which she incubates alone for about 20 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 35 days after hatching. They remain with the parents for another 5 weeks after fledging.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is generally described as common to abundant. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Brown-crested flycatcher

Myiarchus tyrannulus


Photo by Greg Lasley (Greg Lasley Nature Photography


Common name:
brown-crested flycatcher (en); maria-cavaleira-de-rabo-enferrujado (pt); tyran de Wied (fr); copetón tiranillo (es); braunschopftyrann (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae
Range:
This species is found breeding from the southern United States down to Argentina and Bolivia, and on Trinidad and Tobago. It is resident in most of its range, individuals breeding in the United States retreat to Mexico or southern Florida in winter.
Size:
The brown-crested flycatcher is 20-22 cm long and weighs 30 g.
Habitat:
These birds are found in saguaro deserts, riparian deciduous woodlands, and shade trees in urban areas. They can also be found in open woodlands of mesquite, hackberry, as well as in cottonwood, willow, and sycamore woodlands.
Diet:
They primarily eat insects, which they catch in flight. They also collect some food on the ground, namely insect larvae and fruits.
Breeding:
Brown-crested flycatchers breed in May-December. They nest in a tree cavity, often in woodpecker holes or in human made holes. There the female lays 3-6 yellowish eggs which are incubated for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and ledge 15-16 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population of 8 million individuals. The population trend is increasing in North America, but there are no good quality trend data regarding the much larger South American population.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Cetti's warbler

Cettia cetti


Photo by Jorge Silva (Verdes Ecos


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species is a resident breeder in the Mediterranean basin, being found from the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco to Turkey. They are found as far north as Belgium and The Netherlands.

Size:
The Cetti's warbler is 13-14 cm long and has a wingspan of 17 cm. They weigh 12-15 g.

Habitat:
They are found in dense vegetation near marshes, lakes, swamps and slow rivers.

Diet:
Cetti's warblers feed primarily on insects and their larvae, but also spiders, small snails and other small mollusks, and occasionally plant seeds.
Breeding:
These birds breed in April-June. The female builds a small cup-shaped nest, placed on a reed or bush near water. There she lays 3-6 dark orange to reddish brown eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-17 days. The chicks are mostly fed by the female, although the male may occasionally also help. The chicks fledge 14-16 days after hatching. Each pair typically produces 2 broods per season.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 5-20 million individuals. The population is suspected to be increasing due to a northward range expansion in the west of its range.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Helmeted guineafowl

Numida meleagris

Photo by Warwick Tarboton (Warwick Tarboton)



Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Numididae

Range:
This species is widespread in Africa south of the Sahara, but generally absent from rain forest and desert. It has been introduced in Brazil, the West Indies and southern France.

Size:
The helmeted guineafowl is 53-63 cm long and weighs 1,2-1,6 kg.

Habitat:
They generally prefer warm, dry, open habitats, such as forest margins, savannas, steppes, semi-deserts and agricultural land. At the regional scale their distribution is often determined by water availability and they are commonly found near water points. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
These omnivorous birds mostly eat insects, namely grasshoppers and termites, during the breeding season, while mostly eating plant matter, including bulbs, stems and seeds, outside the breeding season.

Breeding:
The helmeted guineafowl can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their range. The nest is made by the female and consists of a scrape in the ground lined with grass stems and feathers and hidden among grass or other vegetation. There she lays 6-12 eggs which she incubates alone for 26-28 days. The chicks are precocial and can feed for themselves within 24 hours. During the first few weeks the male cares for them most of the time, but later the female also helps. The chicks fledge about 30 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range a global population of 1-2,5 million individuals. The population may be suffering significant declines in parts of the range, probably due to habitat destruction. Still, overall, this species is not considered threatened at present.