Friday, 30 September 2011

Barnacle goose

Branta leucopsis

(Photo from Like a Rushing Wind)



Common name:
Taxonomy:
Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae
Range:
This species is found in the eastern North Atlantic basin, with three distinct population with different breeding and wintering areas. The birds breeding in eastern Greenland winter in the Hebrides of western Scotland and in western Ireland. The birds breeding on the Norwegian island of Svalbard wintering on the Solway Firth along the border between England and Scotland. The third population breeds on Novaya Zemlya, Russia, and winter in the Netherlands, but some birds from this population have recently started breeding also on the Baltic sea islands of Finland, Estonia, Sweden and Denmark.
Size:
The barnacle goose is 58-70 cm long and has a wingspan of 120-145 cm. They weigh 1,4-2,2 kg.
Habitat:
These birds breed in mountain cliffs and winter in coastal grassland pastures and marshes, also using tidal mudflats.
Diet:
These birds are mostly herbivorous, grazing on short grass and salt marsh plants. They also eat the buds, leaves and catkins of willows, as well as some crustaceans, aquatic insects and molluscs.
Breeding:
They breed in June-August, nesting in small colonies. The nests is a shallow depression in a low mound of vegetation positioned on rocky ground, rocky outcrops, among rocky crags or on steep cliffs, made of plant material and lined with down and feathers. There the female lays 3-5 creamy-white eggs, which she incubates alone for 24-25 days. The precocial chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, often having to jump from high cliffs to fall on rocky ground with only their down and body fat to soften the fall. The chicks feed by themselves, but remain with their parents for up to 7 weeks until becoming fully independent.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and an increasing population currently estimated at 440.000 individuals. In the past the barnacle goose was the target of human exploitation for adults, eggs and down, but the species is now fully protected which accounts for the current positive population trend, thus not being considered threatened at present.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Blue ground-dove

Claravis pretiosa
Photo by Arthur Grosset (Arthur Grosset's Birds)


Common name:
blue ground-dove (en); juriti-azul (pt); colombe bleutée (fr); tortolita azulada (es); blautäubchen (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is found in the Americas, from Mexico south to northwestern Peru and, east of the Andes, south to northern Argentina.
Size:
The blue ground-dove 18-21 cm long and weighs 65-72 g.
Habitat:
These birds are mostly found on the edges of humid and semi-deciduous forests, but also in forest clearings, second growth and river edge forests. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.100 m.
Diet:
The blue ground-dove mostly eats seeds and fruits, doing most of their foraging on the ground. they may also eat some insects.
Breeding:
These birds are monogamous and pair for life, breeding all year round. Both sexes help building the nest, a frail saucer made of twings, placed in a thicket or tree 1-10 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 14-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 9-15 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 0,5-5 million individuals. Although this species may be locally affected by ongoing habitat destruction, the population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Black cuckooshrike

Campephaga flava

Photo by Loutjie Steenberg (Internet Bird Collection)


Common name:
black cuckooshrike (en); lagarteiro-preto (pt); échenilleur à épaulettes jaunes (fr); oruguero negro africano (es); kuckuckswürger (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Campephagidae
Range:
This African species occurs south of the equator from southern Sudan, Kenya and the D.R. Congo down to southern Africa.
Size:
The black cuckooshrike is 20-22 cm long and weighs 32 g.
Habitat:
This species generally favours broad-leaved mixed woodlands, also occurring along the edges of evergreen forest and in well-wooded gardens.
Diet:
They mainly eat insects, which they glean from leaves and branches. They are known to take Lepidoptera, Orthoptera and Hemiptera. They occasionally also eat fruits.
Breeding:
Black cuckooshrikes breed in September-February. The female builds the nest alone, a cup made of moss, lichens and old-man's beard lichen Usnea bound together with spider webs, placed in a vertical fork of a tree branch, often high up in the tree. There the female lays 1-3 green eggs, which she incubates alone for 20 days while receiving food from the male. The chicks are fed by both adults but brooded only by the female, and fledge 20-23 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is reported to be uncommon to locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Yellow-billed magpie

Pica nuttalli

Photo by Linda Tanner (Wikipedia)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
The yellow-billed magpie is endemic to California, being found in the Central Valley and the adjacent chaparral foothills and mountains.

Size:
These birds are 43-54 cm long and have a wingspan of 55-65 cm. They weigh 150-170 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in open oak savanna, and in places where riverside groves of oaks, cottonwoods, and sycamores border on open country such as pastures or farmland. They are also found in ranch houses and sometimes in coastal scrub.

Diet:
The yellow-billed magpie is omnivorous, mostly foraging on the ground for grasshoppers and other insects, acorns, fruits and carrion. They sometimes also hunt small rodents and visit landfills to feed on garbage.

Breeding:
They nest in small colonies, with each pair cooperating to build the nest. the nest is a bulky domed structure with a side entrance, made of sticks, twigs and mud, and lined with fine plant materials. There the female lays 5-8 olive-buff eggs, which are incubated by the female alone for 18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 30 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single clutch per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species as a relatively large breeding range and a global population estimated at 180.000 individuals. The population has had a stable trend over the last four decades and it is thus not considered threatened.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Grey-faced buzzard

Butastur indicus

Photo by Richard Yu (Formosa Birding)

Common name:
grey-faced buzzard (en); bútio-de-faces-cinzentas (pt); busautour à joues grises (fr); busardo carigrís (es); kiefernteesa (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species breeds in south-eastern Russia all the way to the Russian far east, in northern China, Korea and Japan. They migrate south to winter in southern and south-eastern China, Taiwan, through Indochina and the Malay Peninsula and into the Greater Sundas, Philippines, Sulawesi and the islands off north-western Borneo.

Size:
This medium-sized raptor is 41-47 cm long and has a wingspan of 100 cm. They weigh 400-450 g.

Habitat:
In their breeding range these birds are found in coniferous and mixed evergreen forests in mountains, at forest edges, fields, meadows, marshes, and around agricultural lands. They winter in open and semi-open woodlands.

Diet:
Grey-faced buzzards mostly hunt frogs, snakes, lizards, insects, crabs, small mammals and birds.

Breeding:
These birds breed in April-July. Both sexes help building the nest, a stick platform placed in a fork in a tree 8-17 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-4 white eggs with rusty spots, which she mostly incubates alone for 32-34 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 35-40 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from their parents for another 1-2 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population size estimated at 100.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining locally owing to ongoing persecution through shooting, but overall this species is not considered threatened at present.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Paraná antwren

Stymphalornis acutirostris

Photo by Dario Sanches (Flickr)



Common name:
Paraná antwren (en); bicudinho-do-brejo (pt); grisin des marais (fr); hormiguerito del Paraná (es); schilfrohr-ameisenfänger (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Brazil, only being found in coastal areas of the south-eastern states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and São Paulo.

Size:
The Paraná antwren is 15 cm long and weighs 8,5-11,5 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in littoral marshes dominated by Scirpus californicus, with other marsh vegetation such as grasses and bushes. They also occur in riverine marshes, flooded plains with herbaceous vegetation and transition areas to mangrove swamps and flooded lowland forests with herbaceous strata.
Diet:
The Paraná antwren forages in the lower herbaceous strata, mostly taking spiders, butterflies, crickets, flies and, occasionally, arboreal crabs.
Breeding:
These birds breed in August-February. They build a cup-shapes nest using plant fibres, leaves and stems, usually placed on reeds. There the female lays 2 white eggs with brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 15-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-12 days after hatching, but may continue to receive food for up to 2 months.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a very small and fragmented breeding range, and the global population is estimated at just 10.000-20.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be facing a slow and ongoing population decline, owing to habitat loss and degradation. Some patches of habitat are under constant human pressure and have been reduced by fires, allotments and landfills. Other threats include land acquisition, disturbance from boat traffic on rivers during the breeding season, erosion due to water traffic, sand extraction from river margins, invasive vegetation and cattle-grazing. This species could also be affected by sea level rise, which could greatly reduce the area of suitable habitat

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Rufous fantail

Rhipidura rufifrons

Photo by T. Oliver (Birds in Backyards)

Common name:
rufous fantail (en); cauda-de-leque-ruivo (pt), rhipidure roux (fr); cola de abanico rufo (es); fuchsfächerschwanz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Rhipiduridae

Range:
The rufous fantail is found in northern and eastern coastal Australia, being more common in the north. It is also found in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Sulawesi and Guam.

Size:
These birds are 15-16 cm long and weigh 10 g.

Habitat:
They are generally found in rainforests, monsoon forests, mid-mountain forests, riparian vegetation, swamp woodlands, wet eucalypt forest and mangroves. During migratory movements they can also be found in urban areas.

Diet:
Rufous fantails are insectivorous, gleaning the middle and lower levels of the canopy for a wide range of insects.

Breeding:
These birds breed in October-February. They build a small, compact, cup nest, made of fine grasses bound with spider webs, that is suspended from a tree fork about 5 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 cream eggs with brown spots, which are incubated by both sexes for 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-15 days after hatching. Each pair may raise 1-2 broods per season.

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 reported to be uncommon to locally very common. This population is suspected to be in decline owing to the loss of habitat used for breeding and migration corridors, but overall it is not considered threatened at present.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Peruvian tern

Sternula lorata

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)



Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Sternidae

Range:
This South American species is restricted to the Humboldt Current zone from northern Peru to the Peninsula of Mejillones in Chile.
Size:
These birds are 22-24 cm long and weighs 45-60 g.
Habitat:
They breed either on broad sandy beaches and dunes associated with wetlands, or in desert plains, always within 3 km of the coast. They generally forage in shallow inshore areas, but occasionally seen 10-70 km offshore, and will also forage in coastal wetlands.
Diet:
They hunt fish by darting into the water, mostly taking anchovies Engraulis ringens, South Pacific sauris Scomberesox saurus, Peruvian silversides Odonthestes regia and mote sculpins Normanychtis crockeri.
Breeding:
Peruvian terns breed in October-January. They nest in small groups, with 3-25 pairs in loose aggregation. Each pair nests in a shallow depression on bare ground, where the female lays 1-2 buff-coloured eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 22-23 days and the chicks leave the nest within 2 days after hatching. The parents will protect the chicks from predators until they fledge, 21-24 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and a global population estimated at just 1.000-2.500 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining on the basis of continued destruction and degradation of its breeding habitat, disappearance of breeding colonies in the last 30 years and population decline in some localities. This species was gravely affected by the 1972 collapse of anchoveta Engraulis sp. stocks, but currently the main threat is the destruction of breeding habitat through the building of shanty towns, summer homes, road constructions and off-road recreational driving. Other threats include wetland pollution and water use for irrigation, conversion of desert plains into agricultural land, management of wetland water levels and oil exploration near breeding areas.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Red-billed hornbill

Tockus erythrorhynchus


Photo by Stuart Burns (Wikipedia)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Bucerotidae

Range:
This species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania, Mali and Sudan all the way south to South Africa.

Size:
The red-billed hornbill is 42-50 cm long and weighs 150 g.

Habitat:
They generally prefer open, wooded savanna with sparse ground cover, and dry thorn-bush. They may also be found in tropical dry forests and high altitude scrubland, being present up to an altitude of 2.000 m.
Diet:
Red-billed hornbills are omnivorous, eating insects, small vertebrates, fruits and seeds. They are known to take beetles, ants, termites, flies, crickets and grasshoppers, centipedes, spiders, solifugids, scorpions, small reptiles, bird eggs and nestlings, rodents, and the seeds and fruits of Boscia and Commiphora.
Breeding:
These birds breed in September-March. They nest in natural cavities in trees, up to 9 m above the ground, and the female seals herself inside that cavity, leaving only a small slit through which the male provides food. There she lays lays 3-6 white eggs which she incubates alone for 23-25 days. She stays in the nest to feed the chicks and only leaves about 3 weeks after they hatched. The chicks fledge 39-50 days after hatching, but remain with their parents for another 6 months.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, it 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.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Paradise tanager

Tangara chilensis

Photo by Drew Avery (Wikipedia)

Common name:
paradise tanager (en); sete-cores-da-Amazónia (pt); calliste septicolore (fr); tángara siete colores (es); siebenfarbentangare (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriormes
Family Thraupidae


Range:
This South American species if found in the western and northern Amazon Basin, occurring in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia,Brazil and the Guianas.


Size:
These birds are 13,5-15 cm long and weigh around 18-21 g.


Habitat:
Paradise tanagers are found in lowland humid tropical and subtropical forests, generally along the forest edge or in forest clearings.


Diet:
They mostly forage in the upper canopy, but also in lower fruiting trees, eating the fruits of Miconia and Aralia, among others. They also eat seeds invertebrates, namely fly larvae, short-horned grasshoppers, and spiders.


Breeding:
Paradise tanagers breed in June-August. They build a cup-shaped nest using moss, fungus strings and spider web, placed in the tree canopy up to 30 m above the ground. There the female lays greenish-white eggs with dark spots which are incubated for 15-17 days. The chicks fledge about 16 days after hatching. Each pair may raise 2-3 broods per season.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. Many rainforests within their range are being cut down in order to make way for the cultivation of cocaine and other agricultural crops, but there is no evidence for any declines or substantial threats at present.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rock bunting

Emberiza cia


(Photo from Naturalmente Fotografia)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is found in north-west Africa, in southern Europe as far north as southern Germany and Austria, and into central Asia all the way to the Himalayas. The northern populations are migratory, wintering within the breeding range of the resident southern populations.
Size:
The rock bunting is 15-16 cm long and has a wingspan of 17-21 cm. They weigh 25 g.
Habitat:
They are usually found in semi-arid terrain, often stony or rocky, with some scrub vegetation and usually no more than a few scattered trees. They are often present in juniper scrub, sub-alpine meadows with scrubs and screes, stone-walled cultivated areas, and vineyards, generally on slopes or hillsides, up to an altitude of 1.900 m but occasionally as high as 4.000 m in Asia.
Diet:
Rock buntings mainly eat seeds of grasses and other plants, but will also eat insects and other invertebrates during the breeding season.
Breeding:
They breed in April-July. The nest is made of dry grass, stalks, roots, and occasionally leaves and bits of bark, lined with fine grasses, rootlets, and some hair. The nest is placed on the ground, either in a rock niche or in hidden by a small bush. There the female lays 3-5 greyish eggs which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed insects and fledge 10-14 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The rock bunting has a very large breeding range and a global population of 10-50 million individuals. In Europe, the population has undergone a moderate increase in the last two decades, following declines in the previous two decades, but there are no detailed data on population trends for the rest of their range. overall this species is not considered threatened at present.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Edible-nest swiftlet

Aerodramus fuciphagus

(Photo from Flickriver)



Common name:
edible-nest swiftlet (en); andorinhão-de-ninho-comestível (pt); salangane à nid blanc (fr); rabitojo de nido comestible (es); weißnestsalangane (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae
Range:
These birds are found in south-east Asia, in Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Bali, Flores, Sumba, Savu, Timor, Burma, in the Andaman and Nicobar islands and in the Maratua archipelago.
Size:
The edible-nest swiftlet is 11-12 cm long and weighs 10-15 g.
Habitat:
These birds can forage over a wide range of habitats, including mangroves, rainforests, mountain forests and even agricultural land, namely rubber plantations. They breed in caves, cliffs and sometimes in abandoned buildings. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.800 m.
Diet:
They hunt flying insects on the wing, mostly taking Hymenoptera, Ephemeroptera, Homoptera and Diptera.
Breeding:
Edible-nest swiftlets can breed all year round, but with a peak in October-February. They nest in colonies, typically in a cave or cliff or sometimes in an abondoned building, each pair building a bracket-shaped nest which is white and translucent and is made of layers of hardened saliva attached to the rock. There the female lays 2 white eggs which are incubated for 20-26 days. The chicks fledge 40-46 days after hatching. Each pair may produce 1-3 clutches per year.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be abundant in suitable habitat. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to over harvesting of eggs, nestlings and especially nests which are considered a delicacy and used to cook the Chinese swallow's nest soup.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Painted honeyeater

Grantiella picta

(Photo from Flickr)



Common name:
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae
Range:
The painted honeyeater is endemic to mainland Australia, being found in Queensland and New South Wales west of the Great Dividing Range, through to northern Victoria. It is also found occasionally in the Northern Territory.

Size:
These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 18-25 g.

Habitat:
The painted honeyeater is mostly found in dry, open forests dominated by Acacia or Eucalyptus. During the breeding season they generally occur in areas with flowering and fruiting mistletoes and eucalypts.
Diet:
Their diet primarily consists of the fruit of Amyema mistletoes, occasionally also eating nectar and insects.
Breeding:
Painted honeyeaters breed in August-February. They breed in loose colonies, forming pair bonds for the duration of the breeding season. Both sexes build the thin, cup-shaped nest from grass and fine roots bound with spiderweb, which hangs by the rim from branches in the drooping outer foliage of trees, 2-20 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 13-15 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge 14-20 days after hatching. Each pair raises 1-2 broods per season.
Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively large breeding range, but it is patchily distributed and the global population is estimated at just 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is currently declining, mostly due to habitat conversion. Much of its breeding habitat has been cleared altogether or has been reduced to ageing, widely-spaced trees, particularly box-ironbark and boree woodlands and the non-breeding habitat is still being cleared for agriculture and habitat remnants in both the breeding and non-breeding ranges continue to be degraded by grazing.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Black-fronted piping-guan

Pipile jacutinga

Photo by Haroldo Palo (Animais em Extinção)



Common name:
Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Cracidae
Range:
The black-fronted piping-guan is endemic to the Atlantic forest of south-east Brazil, north-east Argentina and south-east Paraguay.
Size:
They are 63-74 cm long and weigh 1,1-1,4 kg.
Habitat:
These birds are found in primary or selectively logged humid forests, being strongly associated with the forest palm Euterpe edulis. They are usually found in lowland areas, but may be present in coastal mountains up to an altitude of 900 m.
Diet:
The black-fronted piping-guan is mostly frugivorous, eating the fruits of forest palm Euterpe edulis, but also from figs Ficus, araçazeiros Psidium, bicuiba Virola, pindaúba Xylopia, and guarumo Cecropia. They also eat insects and molluscs where possible, as well as seeds, grains and buds.
Breeding:
These birds breed in August-January. Each pair builds a platform-like nest of twigs in a tree-fork, where the female lays 2-4 white eggs. The eggs are incubated for 28 days and the chicks fledge 30 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
The black-fronted piping-guan has a relatively small breeding range and a global population estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is believed to be facing a very rapid decline owing to very high levels of hunting combined with the effects of habitat loss and degradation.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Crimson-breasted gonolek

Laniarius atrococcineus

Photo by Hans Hillewaert (Wikipedia)



Common name:
crimson-breasted gonolek (en); picanço-preto-e-vermelho (pt); gonolek rouge et noir (fr); gonolek de Burchell (es); rotbauchwürger (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Malaconotidae
Range:
This African species occurs in a band from Angola and Zambia to the northern parts of South Africa, with large populations in Namibia, Botswana and western Zimbabwe.
Size:
These birds are 23 cm long and weigh 40-45 g.
Habitat:
The crimson-breasted gonolek generally prefers arid habitats, especially thornveld, Acacia savanna, semi-arid scrubland and riparian scrub, being largely absent from deserts.
Diet:
These birds mostly glean prey from the leaves and trunks of trees, often also flying to the ground to feed. Their diet is largely composed of ants, beetles and caterpillars, but they also eat fruits.
Breeding:
Crimson-breasted gonoleks breed in August-January, with a peak in October-November. Both sexes construct the nest, a tidy cup made almost entirely of Acacia tree bark lined with grass and rootlets. It is usually bound with spider web to a fork in the main stem of a plant, or occasionally onto a horizontal branch. There the female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 15-17 days. The chicks are fed and brooded by both parents and fledge 18-20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to locally fairly common. The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Painted bunting

Passerina ciris

Photo by Doug Janson (Wikipedia)



Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cardinalidae

Range:
This North American species has two geographically disjunct populations. The western population breeds from northern Mexico to northern Texas, and winters in south-west Mexico. The eastern population breeds along the Atlantic coast of the United States, from North Carolina to Florida, and winters in southern Florida and the Caribbean.
Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh 13-19 g.
Habitat:
The western population breeds in open areas with scattered brush, riparian thickets and shrubbery. The eastern population breeds in coastal scrubland and along the margins of maritime hammocks, but also in agricultural land. Both populations winter in tropical forest margins and tropical savanna.
Diet:
Painted buntings do most of their foraging on the ground. During the breeding season they mostly eat grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders and snails, while during winter they are mostly granivorous, eating the seeds of grasses like Panicum, Amaranthus, Oxalis, Euphorbia and Carex.
Breeding:
These birds are mostly monogamous, but sometimes exhibit polygyny. They breed in April-August, with the females building the nest, a deep, neatly woven cup of plant fibres, lined with hair or fine grass. The nest is usually placed in low vegetation. The female lays 3-4 grey or bluish-white eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 11-13 days. The chicks are cared solely by the female and fledge 12-14 days after hatching. They typically raise 2 broods per season.
Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 4,5 million individuals. Still, the population has declined over the long term and apparently continues to do so at a moderately rapid rate, justifying the current threat status. The main threats affecting this species are the loss and intensification of habitat through urban development, road building and agricultural intensification, and capture for the cage bird trade.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Swift parrot

Lathamus discolor

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
swift parrot (en); piriquito-andorinha (pt); perruche de Latham (fr); periquito migrador (es); schwalbensittich (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species breeds in south-eastern Tasmania and migrates north to to winter in mainland Australia, along the south-eastern coast.

Size:
The swift parrot is 25 cm long and has a wingspan of 32-36 cm. They weigh 45-75 g.

Habitat:
During the breeding season they occurs predominantly in grassy blue gum Eucalyptus globulus forests. Outside the breeding season they are found in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands, suburban parks and gardens, especially in areas where there are and flowering fruit trees.

Diet:
The swift parrot feeds mostly on nectar, mainly from eucalypts, but also eats psyllid insects and lerps, seeds and fruit.

Breeding:
They breed in September-December. The nest is in a hollow in the trunk, or branch of a living or dead gum, 6-20 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-5 white eggs which she incubates alone for about 25 days while being fed by the male. The chicks are fed by the female, but the male is the one who collects food for the whole family. The chicks fledge about 6 weeks after hatching. Each pair may produce 1-2 broods per season depending on food availability.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
The swift parrot has a very small breeding range and a global population estimated at just 1.000-2.500 individuals. The population is suspected to be decreasing in line with habitat loss and degradation, which has also caused range contractions. The main threat affecting this species is the ongoing reduction and fragmentation of blue gum forests for agriculture, residential development, plantation timber, sawlog production and clear-felling for woodchips. Over 50% of the original grassy blue gum forests in Tasmania have been cleared. Other threats include competition for the remaining nest-sites by common starlings Sturnus vulgaris and high mortality through collision with windows, vehicles and fences. Habitat loss is also a problem in their wintering areas in south-eastern Australia.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Yellow-whiskered greenbul

Andropadus latirostris

Photo by Ron Eggert (Tanzanian Birds)



Common name:
yellow-whiskered greenbul (en); tuta-de-bigodes-amarelos (pt); bulbul à moustaches jaune (fr); bulbul de bigotes amarillos (es); gelbbartbülbül (de)
Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae
Range:
This African species is found from Senegal, Guinea and Liberia east to Kenya and south to Angola, Zaire and Tanzania.
Size:
They are 16-19 cm long and weigh 19-32 g.
Habitat:
The yellow-whiskered greenbul is mostly found is tropical and sub-tropical moist forest, but can also use areas of moist scrubland, dry savanna, dry forest and even in rural gardens and plantations. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1500 m.
Diet:
These birds are omnivorous, eating fruits, berries and many invertebrates including molluscs, woodlice, spiders, frogs, and geckos.
Breeding:
In areas where this species occurs at low densities they are monogamous and territorial, whereas in high density they are polygamous with males gathering to sing at lek sites. The female lays 1-4 eggs which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. In monogamous pairs the male helps feeding the young while polygamous males have no further part in the breeding process after mating. The chicks fledge about 14 days after hatching.
Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The yellow-whiskered greenbul has a very large breeding range and is reported to be often the most abundant bulbul within its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.