Saturday, 31 December 2011

Cinnamon-breasted bunting

Emberiza tahapisi

Photo by J.M. de Bruyn (Internet Bird Collection)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is found across much of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia, through the D.R. Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola and Malawi and down to South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 16,5-18 cm long and weigh 12-15 g.

Habitat:
Cinnamon-breasted buntings are mostly associated with rocky areas, preferring mountainsides, rocky ridges, dolerite and granite outcrops with scattered bushes and trees, bare rocky clearings in woodland, eroded stony slopes and gullies, dry watercourses and deserted borrow pits and quarries. They may also be found in areas of dry savanna, dry scrubland, dry grasslands and occasionally within urban areas.

Diet:
They forage on bare ground among rocks, eating the seeds of grasses and forbs, as well as insects such as beetles and termite alates.

Breeding:
Cinnamon-breasted buntings breed in October-June, with a peak in January-April. These monogamous, solitary nesters, build a shallow cup of grass, rootlets and fine twigs on a foundation of large twigs, neatly lined with fine grass and rootlets. The nest is typically placed in a shallow depression in the ground at the base of a grass tuft or rock, on an earthen bank, in a crevice in a small rock face or among scattered rocks in a hollow. There the female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, fledging 14-16 days after hatching.

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

Friday, 30 December 2011

Common potoo

Nyctibius griseus

(Photo from Wikipedia)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Nyctibiidae

Range:
This species is found in tropical Central and South America, from Costa Rica to northern Argentina and Uruguay.

Size:
The common potoo is 33-38 cm long and has a wingspan of 80 cm. They weigh 160-230 g.

Habitat:
Common potoos are found in rainforests, coniferous or evergreen forests, savannas and in grassland where there are a few trees, generally preferring open forests and forests edges. They can also be found in plantations. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

Diet:
These birds forage at nigth, hunting flying, nocturnal insects including moths, grasshoppers, beetles, termites, and fireflies.

Breeding:
Common potoos breed in October-March. They don't build a nest, laying the egg directly in a depression in a tree limb, 3-18 m above the ground. The female lays 1 white egg with lilac spots, which is incubated by both parents for 29-33 days. The chicks is fed by both parents and fledges 45-51 days later. Each pair raises a single chick per season.

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 in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

White-collared yuhina

Yuhina diademata

Photo by David Blank (Animal Diversity Web)


Common name:
white-collared yuhina (en); iuína-de-diadema (pt); yuhina à diadème (fr); yuhina diademada (es); diademyuhina (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This Asian species is found in China, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Size:
This large yuhina is 14,5-19 cm long and weighs 19-24 g.

Habitat:
White-collared yuhinas are mostly found in tropical and subtropical moist, mountain forests, especially open broadleaved evergreen forests, but also in secondary growth and tee plantations. They are present at altitudes of 800-3.600 m.

Diet:
They forage in pair, or in small flocks, mostly eating insects but also seeds and rhododendron nectar.

Breeding:
White-collared yuhinas breed in May-September. They build a cup-shaped nest made of dry leaves, grass and roots, plastered with cobweb or moss. The nest is placed in a bush, grass or small tree, 0,2-1,5 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 pale green eggs with rust-coloured spots which she incubates alone for 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13 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, it is described as common to very common in China and locally fairly common in Myanmar and Vietnam. The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Red-legged partridge

Alectoris rufa

Photo by José Ardaiz (Fotonatura)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

Range:
The red-legged partridge is native of south-western Europe, being found from portugal and Spain, through France and into Italy and southern Germany. This species is a popular game birds and it has been introduced to several countries, namely Algeria, Greece, Ireland, U.K. and New Zealand.

Size:
These birds are 32-36 cm long and have a wingspan of 47-50 cm. Males tend to be larger than females. The females weigh 400-500 g while the males weigh 500-550 g.

Habitat:
Red-legged partridges are generally found in agricultural areas, grasslands and natural pastures, open woodlands, Mediterranean scrublands and in rocky areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
These birds eat a wide range of plants, including the seeds of both natural and agricultural cereals, leaves, roots and shoots of green grasses and wild fruits and berries. They sometimes also eat insects.

Breeding:
Red-legged partridges breed in April-July. The male builds the nest, a shallow scrape on ground, screened by rocks or vegetation and thinly lined with vegetation. There the female lays 10-16 creamy-yellow or buff eggs with with reddish-brown or grey spots and blotches. The eggs are incubated for 23-25 days and the female is responsible incubating the first clutch while the male incubates the second clutches if a second clutch is layed. The chicks are able to feed by themselves a few days after hatching and are able to make short flight at 10 days of age, but will remain with the parent until 50-60 days after hatching. Each pair raises 1-2 clutches per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 6-13,5 million individuals. The population is declining owing to over-hunting, loss of habitat caused by urbanisation and agricultural intensification and increased competition and hybridisation with introduced rock partridges A. graeca and chukar partridges A. chukar, but overall it is not considered threatened at present.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

White-browed babbler

Pomatostomus superciliosus


Photo by Dana Paris (DParis)


Common name:
white-browed babbler (en); zaragateiro-de-sobrolho-branco (pt); pomatostome bridé (fr); gárrulo cejudo (es); brauensäbler (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pomatostomidae

Range:
This species is endemic to mainland Australia, mainly south of the Tropic of Capricorn and west of the Great Dividing Range and to the north of the Dividing Range in Victoria, extending to south-eastern South Australia.

Size:
These birds are 17-22 cm long and weigh 40 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in dry sclerophyll woodlands with a scrubby understorey, especially along watercourses and saltbush.

Diet:
White-browed babblers feed on the ground, among leaf litter or under logs and branches, eating insects, spiders and other invertebrates, small amphibians, crustaceans and reptiles and also fruits and seeds.

Breeding:
These birds may breed all year round, but tend to concentrate breeding in June-November. Breeding pairs are monogamous, but they form cooperative breeding groups comprising 2-4 breeding pairs and 2-8 non-breeding helpers. Each pair builds a domed stick nest, with a hooded side entrance, placed in a tree 1-6 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 eggs. The eggs are incubated by the female alone for 17-25 days. The chicks are fed by both their parents and other members of the group and fledge 19-22 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common. The population is in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation and perhaps also because of introduced predators, but overall the white-browed babbler is not considered threatened at present.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Brown-bellied antwren

Myrmotherula gutturalis

Photo by Marc Chretien (Oiseaux)


Common name:
brown-bellied antwren (en); choquinha-de-barriga-parda (pt); myrmidon à ventre brun (fr); hormiguerito ventripardo (es); braunbauch-ameisenschlüpfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

Range:
This South American species is found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Size:
Brown-bellied antwrens are 9-11 cm long and weigh 9-10 g.

Habitat:
These birds are found in tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, generally preferring the denser areas of the understorey and areas of lower canopy. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
Brown-bellied antwrens forage at the middle-level of the forest, gleaning insects from the vegetation.

Breeding:
They build a domed or oven shaped nest with twigs and leafs, placing it low above ground in a dense bush in dry land forest. The female lays 2 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 11 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 10-11 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The brown-bellied antwren has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. This population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas imperial-pigeon

Ducula whartoni

Photo by Jeff Blincow (Christmas Island Wildlife)


Common name:
Christmas imperial-pigeon (en); pombo-imperial-de-Natal (pt); carpophage de Wharton (fr); dúcula de la Navidad (es); weihnachtsfruchttaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Christmas island, in the Indian Ocean.

Size:
These birds are 39-45 cm long and weigh 450-700 g.

Habitat:
The Christmas imperial-pigeon is mostly found in rainforests and, to some extent, in secondary regrowth dominated by the introduced Japanese cherry Muntingia calabura.

Diet:
They feed on on native and exotic fruits, as well as buds and leaves.

Breeding:
Christmas imperial-pigeons breed in August-February. They nest in a loose platform made of twigs, placed near the top of a tall rainforest tree. The female lays 1 egg which is incubated by both parents for 25-30 days. The chicks fledge 3-4 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 10.000-20.000 individuals. Although there is no reliable data on population trend, the species adapts well to secondary habitats and is thus now suspected to have a relatively stable population. The Christmas imperial-pigeon is mostly threatened by forest clearing for phosphate mining. Hunting was also a problem in the past, but is now believed to be less prevalent. The introduction of the yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes to Christmas island could also have a negative impact as these ants can prey on young birds, and have further negative consequences for the overall ecological balance of the island.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Connecticut warbler

Oporornis agilis

Photo by Robert Royse (Robert Royse's Bird Photography)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Parulidae

Range:
The Connecticut warbler breeds in a narrow band across Canada from south-western Northwest Territories east to western Quebec and, in the United States, in northern Minnesota,
Wisconsin, and Michigan. They migrate south to winter inthe Amazon River basin, from Colombia to Brazil.

Size:
They are 13-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 22 cm. They weigh 15 g.

Habitat:
Connecticut warblers breed in spruce and tamarack bogs, and sometimes in open poplar woodlands. During migration and winter they are found in a variety of forest, woodland, scrub and thicket habitats.

Diet:
These birds are mostly insectivorous, eating various small insects, as well as spiders and snails. They also eat berries and seeds.

Breeding:
Connecticut warblers breed in June-July. They build an open cup of fine, dry grasses, dry leaves, stalks of weeds, sedge stems, rootlets, or other plant fibres, hidden on or near ground, in thick undergrowth of saplings, among thickets or at base of a scrub. The female lays 3-5 creamy-white eggs with dark speckles, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, fledging 8-10 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single clutch per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population size of 1,2 million individuals. The population has undergone a small increase over the last 4 decades, not being considered threatened at present.

Friday, 23 December 2011

White-browed robin-chat

Cossypha heuglini

Photo by Ian White (Flickriver)
Common name:
white-browed robin-chat (en); pisco-de-Heuglin (pt); cossyphe de Heuglin (fr); cosifa de Heuglin (es); weißbrauenrötel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae

Range:
This African species is found from Chad and Sudan through southern D.R. Congo, Tanzania, Angola and Zambia, and down to South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 20 cm long and weigh 29-44 g.

Habitat:
White-browed robin-chats are mostly found in riverine forests with patchy canopy and dense evergreen thickets, shady trees and scrubs along lakesides and Acacia woodlands on flood plains. They also occupy thickets along the borders of open habitats, as well as suburban parks and gardens.

Diet:
These birds feed on insects and other invertebrates, especially beetles, ants, wasps, caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, crickets, flies, spiders and centipedes.

Breeding:
White-browed robin-chats breed in August-January. They are monogamous and each pair builds an open nest cup, made of dead leaves and twigs and lined with rootlets, leaf midribs or very fine twigs. The nest is typically placed in a hollow in a tree trunk, among the branches of a scrub or among roots under the overhang of a riverbank. There the female lays 2-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-17 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 4 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as very common throughout its range except at the fringes of this range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Southern crested caracara

Caracara plancus

Photo by Luis Argerich (Wikipedia)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Falconidae

Range:
This South American species if found from central Peru and Bolivia, east to the Amazon Delta, in Brazil, and south through Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina all the way to Tuerra del Fuego. they are also found in the Falkland islands.

Size:
These birds are 50-65 cm long and have a wingspan of 120-144 cm. They weigh 0,9-1,6 kg.

Habitat:
Southern crested caracaras are found in virtually any open or semi-open habitat within range, generally avoiding dense humid forests. They are often found in agricultural areas and near human settlements, and can also be found in marshes and swamps.

Diet:
These birds are opportunistic feeders, eating a wide range of carrion and live animals, particularly road kills. They will often follow plows and tractors to obtain exposed food items and can also eat marine turtle eggs, bird eggs and nestlings, and even feed on vegetable matter, including peanuts, beans, avocados, and palm fruits. They are also known to attack newborn lambs and are kleptoparasitic, robbing food from other bird species.

Breeding:
Southern crested caracaras breed in May-February. The nest is made of crude banches and lined with animal hair. It is generally placed on the top of a tall tree, although when trees are not available they are also known to nest on the ground. The female lays 2-3 whitish to reddish-orange eggs with brown spots, which are incubated for 28-32 days. Typically only 1 chick is fledged, leaving the nest around 3 months after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be increasing owing to creation of suitable habitat through deforestation and increased cattle-ranching and sheep-rearing

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Pied crow

Corvus albus

(Photo from Animal Picture Archive)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
This African species is found from Senegal to Sudan, northern Ethiopia and Somalia and south to South Africa, only being absent from the dense tropical forests of the Congo basin and from southern Angola and northern Namibia.

Size:
These birds are 46-52 cm long and weigh 520 g.

Habitat:
Pied crows are found in savanna woodlands and bushy scrublands, but they are most abundant in farmland, and in urban and suburban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.700 m.

Diet:
These birds are omnivorous, eating fruits, seeds and nectar, but also animals ranging from insects and molluscs to lizards, snakes, rodents, bats and birds.

Breeding:
Pied crows breed September-February. Both sexes build the nest, a large bowl made of twigs, sometimes including bits of wire and lined with fur, dry dung, rags or sheep wool. The nest is usually placed in a vertical fork of a tall tree. There the female lays 4-6 pale-green eggs with brown spots, which she mostly incubates alone for 18-19 days. The chicks are reared by both sexes and fledge 38-45 days.

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 pied crow is described as common to locally abundant, although closely associated with human habitation. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Brown shrike

Lanius cristatus

Photo by Mark Andrews (Internet Bird Collection


Common name:
brown shrike (en); picanço-castanho (pt); pie-grièche brune (fr); alcaudón pardo (es); braunwürger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Laniidae

Range:
This Asian species is found breeding from central Russia east to the pacific coast, and south to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan. They migrate south to winter in southern Asia, from India and Sri Lanka east to Myanmar and the Malay Peninsula and to the Philippines.

Size:
These birds are 19-20 cm long and weigh 30-35 g.

Habitat:
These birds are mostly found in bushes and small tree along the edges of coniferous and mixed deciduous forests, as well as in forest clearings, forested steppes, and in thickets along streams or on the edges of swamps.

Diet:
They mainly feed on insects, especially Lepidoptera, but are also known to hunt small birds, mammals and lizards.

Breeding:
Brown shrikes breed in May-July. The nest cup is built by the female, using stems and blades of grasses, and is typically placed either on the ground or in bushes of willow, dwarf birches and hawthorns. The female lays 2-7 eggs which are incubated for 15-17 days. The chicks fledge 17 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and, although there are no reliable estimates of population size, it is known to be very widespread. This population is estimated to be declining following a decline of 80% in Japan between the 1970s and 1990s.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Black-spotted barbet

Capito niger

Photo by João Quental (Flickr)


Common name:
black-spotted barbet (en); capitão-de-bigode-carijó (pt); cabézon tacheté (fr); capitán turero (es); tupfenbartvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

Range:
This South American species is found from western Colombia, through Venezuela, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and east to northern Brazil.


Size:
These birds are 18-19 cm long and weigh 53-67 g.

Habitat:
Black-spotted barbets are mostly found in mature, lowland forest, both dry and wet floodplain forests and upland forests, but also along forest edges, in gardens, orchards and plantations. In Peru they are also found in elfin high altitude forests and in the Guyanas also in forest patches in savanna and coastal forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.700 m.

Diet:
They search among the vegetation, peaking insects, fruits and oily seeds.

Breeding:
Black-spotted barbets excavate a cavity in a tree stump, 8-12 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-4 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 34 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from their parents for another 3 weeks.

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

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Eurasian crag martin

Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Photo by Ahmet Karatash (Trek Nature)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

Range:
This species is found from the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, along the Mediterranean coasts, and through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan all the way to northern India, the Himalayas and central China.

Size:
They are 13-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 32-35 cm. They weigh 23-24 g.

Habitat:
Eurasian crag martins prefer to breed in mountainous areas, but can be found in virtually any biome that has a plentiful insect population and offers supplies for nest building during the breeding season.

Diet:
They mostly hunt insects and other arthropods on the wing, taking flies, ants, aerial spiders and beetles, but also aquatic insects like stoneflies, caddisflies and pond skaters.

Breeding:
Eurasian crag martins in May-August. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an open half cup made of mud and lined with soft material such as feathers or dry grass. The nest is generally placed in a rock cliff face, crevice, or in man-made structures such as bridges and dams. There the female lays 2-5 white eggs with brownish blotches, which are incubated mainly by the female for 13–17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-27 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for another 2-3 weeks. Each pair typically raises 2 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 500.000-5.000.000 individuals. The population is estimated to be increasing following a recorded northward range expansion perhaps linked to the increased use of artificial structures as nest sites.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Crimson chat

Epthianura tricolor

(Photo from Animal Picture Archive)

Common name:
crimson chat (en); eptianuro-escarlate (pt); epthianure tricolore (fr); eptianuro tricolor (es); scharlachtrugschmätzer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Epthianuridae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found throughout the inland, western, and southern coasts of Australia, and occasionally in south-eastern and eastern Australia.

Size: 

The crimson chat is 11-13 cm long and weigh 11 g.

Habitat:These birds are found in semi-arid and arid regions mainly dominated by open
scrublands, dunes, plains or grasslands. They are sometimes also found in farmland.

Diet:Crimson chats are omnivorous, eating insects and other invertebrates, as well as seeds and nectar.

Breeding:These birds breed in July-December. They build a small, round, cup-shaped nest using grass, twigs or plant stems in low scrubs close to the ground. There the female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 10-14 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 10-14 days after hatching.


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

Friday, 16 December 2011

Belted kingfisher

Ceryle alcyon


(Photo from The Nevis Biodiversity Project)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae

Range:
This species is found breeding throughout North America. The northern population migrate south to winter in the southernmost United States, in Mexico, Central America and northern Colombia, Venezuela and Suriname.

Size:
This large kingfisher is 28-35 cm long and has a wingspan of 48-58 cm. They weigh 140-170 g.

Habitat:
Belted kingfishers are found along streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

Diet:
They mostly eat fishes, amphibians, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects, but will sometimes also eat small rodents, reptiles and even berries.

Breeding:
Belted kingfishers nest in a deep tunnel, which they dig in a sandy bank. There the female lays 5-8 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 23-24 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-23 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population of 2 million individuals. The overall population has had stable population trends over the last 40 years, but some local declines have been detected.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Short-clawed lark

Certhilauda chuana

Photo by Trevor Hardaker (Trevor and Margareth Hardaker)


Common name:
short-clawed lark (en); cotovia-d'unhas-curtas (pt); alouette à ongles courts (fr); alondra chuana (es); akazien-langschnabellerche (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

Range:
This African species is only found in south-eastern Botswana and north-eastern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 44 g.

Habitat:
Short-clawed larks are found in dry savannas, preferring semi-arid Acacia savanna with scattered grass clumps and bushes, and large patches of bare ground.

Diet:
They are strictly insectivorous, taking grasshoppers, weevils, Anoplolepis ants, Hodotermes and Macrotermes termites, and caterpillars.

Breeding:
Short-clawed larks breed in September-March. The nest is built solely by the female, consisting of an open cup built of grass and lined with finer plant material. It is typically placed in a scrape in the ground beneath a grass tuft or small shrub. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-12 days after hatching, but remain with their parents for another 4 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a restricted breeding range and a global population estimated at 50.000-100.000 individuals. The population seems to be stable in its core breeding areas, in Botswana, but some declines have been reported in South Africa.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Plain xenops

Xenops minutus

Photo by Mike Danzenbaker (Mike Dazenbaker's Bird Photography)
Common name:
plain xenops (en); bico-virado-miúdo (pt); sittine brune (fr); picolezna menudo (es); braunbauch-baumspäher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
The plain xenops is found from southern Mexico south to western Ecuador, northeastern Argentina and central Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 11-12,5 cm long and weigh 11-12 g.

Habitat:
These birds are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, but may also use swamp forests and dry forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
The pain xenops search bark, rotting stumps or bare twigs for insects and their larvae. They are known to eat wood-boring beetles, bush crickets, ants and termites.

Breeding:
These birds breed in January-May. They nest in holes in decaying tree trunks or branches, 1-10 m above the ground. They may use old woodpecker nests or excavate their own holes. The nest is lined with plant fibres. The female lays 2 white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 15-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-14 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 5-50 million individuals. The population trend for this species is undetermined as there is no sufficient data, but it is not believed to be threatened.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Pacific golden plover

Pluvialis fulva


(Photo from Birding in Taiwan)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae

Range:
These birds breed in the Arctic, both in northern and north-eastern Russia and in western Alaska. They migrate south to winter along the coasts of southern Asia, from India to southern China and Indonesia, and along the coasts of Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific islands.

Size:
They are 21-26 cm long and weigh 120-175 g.

Habitat:
Pacific golden plovers breed in Arctic and sub-Arctic tundra, usually on slopes of low hills, knolls or foothills vegetated with lichen and moss, or in bare, stony areas. During winter they are mostly found in mudflats and sandflats or on the margins of sheltered areas such as estuaries and lagoons. They also feed on rocky shores, saltmarshes, mangroves, pastures, cropland, islands and reefs.

Diet:
These birds mostly eat molluscs, worms, crustaceans, insects and spiders, but during the breeding season they also eat, berries, seeds and leaves.

Breeding:
Pacific golden plovers are monogamous and breed in June-July. The nest is a shallow scrape lined with lichens and moss, where the female lays 4 eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 26-27 days and the precocial chicks leave the nest within 24 h of hatching. The chicks are able to feed by themselves but the parents brood them and defend them from predators.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 190.000-250.000 individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends.