Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Laughing dove

Streptopelia senegalensis

Photo by Rajiv Lather (Birding in India and South Asia)


Common name:
laughing dove (en); rola-do-Senegal (pt)tourterelle maillée (fr); tórtola senegalesa (es); palmtaube (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae


Range:
This species is found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of the most dense rainforests of Gabon, southern Cameroon and D.R. Congo. It is also found in southern Asia, from the Middle East to India. There are some localized introduced populations in western Australia, around Perth and Fremantle and in Germany.


Size:
These birds are 25-28 cm long and weigh 100-120 g.


Habitat:
Laughing doves are found in various woodland habitats and also in scrubland, farmland, plantations and in gardens and parks within urban areas.


Diet:
They are mostly granivorous, eating the seeds of various grasses, scrubs and trees. They also eat fruits, bulbs, nectar and some invertebrates including termites, ants, larval flies and snails.


Breeding:
Laughing doves can breed all year round. The nest is a frail bowl of twigs and leaves, lined with fine material such as rootlets, and placed in a fork in a tree or sometimes in human structures. The female lays 2 white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, in the first few days eating only crop milk, and later receiving seeds. They fledge 12-13 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.


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

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Blue whistling-thrush

Myophonus caeruleus

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)
Common name:
blue whistling-thrush (en); tordo-assobiador-azul (pt); arrenga siffleur (fr); arrenga común (es); purpurpfeifdrossel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae


Range:
This species is patchily distributed in central and south-eastern Asia, being found from India to central and eastern China and south to Indonesia.


Size:
These birds are 29-35 cm long and weigh 135-230 g.


Habitat:
The blue whistling-thrush breeds in both temperate deciduous forests and in tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, and sometime also in open scrublands with a scattered large trees, at altitudes of 1.000-4.000 m. Outside the breeding season they move to lower altitudes and can be found in other habitats including mangroves, open rocky grounds, agricultural areas and even parks and gardens.


Diet:
They eat various invertebrates including water beetles, ants, grasshoppers, slugs, snails, earthworms and small crustaceans.


Breeding:
Blue whistling-thrushes build a bulky cup-nest using moss and muddy rootlets woven with fine grass, leaf stems and tendrils, and lined with mud and horsehair. The nest is usually placed on a cliff ledge, in an overhanging bank, or even in a cave or crevice by running water, but also in tree cavities or under bridges. The female lays 3-4 pale eggs with dark marking, which are incubated by both parents for 16-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-20 days after hatching. Each pair usually raises 2 broods per year.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common but thinly spread. The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes, but overall the blue whistling-thrush is not considered threatened at present.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Black-capped tanager

Tangara heinei

Photo by Priscilla Burcher (Flickr)

Common name:
black-capped tanager (en); saíra-de-barrete-preto (pt); calliste à calotte noire (fr); tangara gorrinegra (es); heine-tangare (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae


Range:
These birds are found in mountainous areas of north-western South America, being present in north-western Venezuela, in northern and western Colombia and in northern Ecuador.


Size:
The black-capped tanager is 13 cm long and weighs 20-21 g.


Habitat:
These birds are found along the edges of humid and cloud forests and in mature second-growth forest, as well as within trees and scrubs in clearings, pastures, and open woodlands. They are present at altitudes of 1.000-2.700 m.


Diet:
They eat fruits, berries and insects.


Breeding:
Black-capped tanagers are monogamous and breed in December-August. Both sexes build the nest, an open cup made of dry grasses, rootlets and moss, placed in a small tree of bush up to 3 m above the ground. The female lays 1-2 dull blue eggs with reddish-brown blotches, which she incubates alone for 13-14 days while receiving food from the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14-16 days after hatching.


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

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

Photo by Peter Massas (Wikipedia)


Common name:
osprey (en); águia-pesqueira (pt); balbuzard pêcheur (fr); águila pescadora (es); fischadler (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Pandionidae


Range:
The osprey is a cosmopolitan species, being found in all continents except Antarctica. In South America they only occur as a wintering species.


Size:
These birds are 50-66 cm long and have a wingspan of 150-180 cm. They weigh 1,4-2,1 kg.


Habitat:
Ospreys can be found in any habitat where they can build a safe nest near shallow water with abundant fish. They usually nest within 3-5 km of a water body such as a salt marsh, mangrove swamp, cypress swamp, lake, bog, estuary, reservoir or river.


Diet:
They mostly eat freshwater fishes, but will take virtually any fish weighing 50-2.000 g or measuring 20-35 cm. They may occasionally also hunt rodents, rabbits, hares, amphibians, other birds, and small reptiles.


Breeding:
Ospreys are usually monogamous, and tend to mate for life, but polyandry as been recorded or rare occasions. The breeding season varies according to latitude, but usually takes place in December-October. The nest is a large heap of sticks, driftwood and seaweed, placed in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, utility poles or artificial platforms. There the female lays 1-4 creamy white to pinkish cinnamon eggs with reddish-brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 32-43 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 48-59 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 7-17 weeks later.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 500.000 individuals. The population trend appears to be increasing and in North America surveys indicate an increase of over 80% per decade over the last 4 decades.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Arabian warbler

Sylvia leucomelaena

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:
Arabian warbler (en); toutinegra-do-mar-vermelho (pt); fauvette d'Arabie (fr); curruca del mar rojo (es); akaziengrasmücke (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae


Range:
These birds are mostly found along the coast of the Red Sea, in north-eastern Africa, in southern Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and eastern Sudan, and also in the Arabian Peninsula in Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and into Jordan and Israel.


Size:
Arabian warblers are 14,5-16 cm long and weigh 12-14 g.


Habitat:
They are mostly found in dry savannas, at altitudes of 250-1.900 m.


Diet:
These birds are mostly insectivorous, often eating Pyralidae larvae found on the bark of Acacia trees, but will also eat the fruits and berries of various scrubs when available.


Breeding:
Arabian warblers breed in February -July. They build a cup-shaped nest on the canopy of an Acacia tree, 1-3 m above the ground, where the female lays 2-3 eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-17 days after hatching, but may continue to receive food from the parents for another 7-8 weeks.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is reported to be frequent in Africa. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to degradation of Acacia groves.

Friday, 24 February 2012

White-bearded manakin

Manacus manacus

Photo by Dário Sanches (Flickrhivemind)

Common name:
white-bearded manakin (en); rendeira (pt); manakin casse-noisette (fr); saltarín barbiblanco (es)weißbrustpipra (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pipridae


Range:
This South American species is found from Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, through Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, and into Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina.


Size:
These birds are 10-11 cm long and weigh 16,5-18 g.


Habitat:
These birds are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, especially in gallery forests along river and streams and along forest edges with dense undergrowth. They are also found in second growths and other degraded former forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.


Diet:
White-bearded manakins are mostly frugivorous, eating a wide range of small fruits which they usually swallow whole. This makes them an important seed disperser. They also eat seeds and arthropods including beetles, flies, termite alates and spiders.


Breeding:
They can breed all year round, with the local breeding season varying according to the region. The female builds the nest, a shallow cup woven with rootlets, dead leaves and plant fibres, and lined with finer materials. The nest is built between two horizontal twigs and secured with spider webs. It is placed in a bush or small tree, up 1,5 m above the ground, typically near water. The female lays 2 white eggs with brown mottles, which she incubates alone for 18-19 days. The female raises the chicks alone and they fledge 13-15 days after hatching.


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

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Meyer's parrot

Poicephalus meyeri

(Photo from Flickriver)

Common name:
Meyer's parrot (en); papagaio-de-Meyer (pt); perroquet de Meyer (fr); lorito de Meyer (es)goldbugpapagei (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae


Range:
This African Species is found from Chad, and Ethiopia, though Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and into southern D.R. Congo, Angola, Malawi, Zimbabwe western Mozambique, northern Namibia,  eastern Botswana and northern South Africa.


Size:
These birds are 21-25 cm long and weigh 100-135 g.


Habitat:
These birds are found in various woodland habitats, including savanna, riparian woodlands, and dry Acacia scrubland. They can also be found in agricultural areas. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.200 m.


Diet:
They mostly eat seeds, nuts and fruits of various plants including Ficus, Ziziphus, Uapaca, Monotes, Combretum, Grewia, Sclerocarya, Pseudolachnostylis, Afzelia and Brachystegia. they also eat cultivated plants, namely oranges and maize and have been known to eat caterpillars.


Breeding:
Meyer's parrots breed in March-August. They nest in tree cavities, 3-10 m above the ground, often using old nests of woodpeckers and barbets. There the female lays 2-4 eggs which she incubates alone for 27-31 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-12 weeks after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be generally common in the northern parts of its range. Although the population has decreased dramatically in South Africa and Zimbabwe, overall the population is believed to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Crested berrypecker

Paramythia montium

Photo by Otto Plantema (National Geographic Stock)

Common name:
crested berrypecker (en); pica-bagas-de-poupa (pt); paramythie huppée (fr); picabayas crestado (es); schopfbeerenfresser (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paramythiidae


Range:
This species is endemic to the island of New Guinea, being found both in Indonesia and in Papua-New Guinea.


Size:
These birds are 19-22 cm long and have a wingspan of 25 cm. They weigh 36-61 g.


Habitat:
These birds are occur in tropical and sub-tropical moist mountain forests and in alpine scrublands, typically being found at altitudes of over 2.200 m.


Diet:
These birds are mostly frugivorous, eating various small fruits and berries, but will sometimes also take insects.


Breeding:
Crested berrypeckers breed in August-February. They are monogamous and build a deep cup-shaped nest made of moss and plant materials. The female lays 1 white egg with dark spots which she incubates alone for around 12 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge 15 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a restricted breeding range, but it is described as generally common, and even abundant at higher altitudes. Some of their mountain habitats have been cleared for agriculture, but large areas remain intact so the crested berrypecker is not considered threatened at present.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Black-capped vireo

Vireo atricapillus

Photo by Cody Conway (Flickr)

Common name:
black-capped vireo (en); juruviara-de-barrete-preto (pt); viréo à tête noire (fr); vireo cabecinegro (es)schwarzkopfvireo (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Vireonidae


Range:
This species is only found breeding in Texas and Oklahoma, in the southern United States, and across the border into northern Mexico. They migrate south to winter along the western coast of Mexico.


Size:
These birds are 11-12 cm long and have a wingspan of 18 cm. They weigh 8-10 g.


Habitat:
Black-capped vireos are found in sparse dry scrubland and open woodlands, in areas of rocky or eroded soils.


Diet:
These birds are insectivorous, taking adult and larval insects and sometimes also spiders.


Breeding:
Black-capped vireos breed in March-June. Both sexes help build the nest, a cup made of leaves, grasses, plant fibers and animal silk, lined with fine grass. The nest is placed in a fork in a branch up to 2 m above the ground. The female lays 2-5 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 14-17 days. The chicks are fed insects by both parents and fledge 10-12 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively restricted breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 8.000 individuals. The population is undergoing a rapid decline caused by habitat loss and degradation through fire suppression, urban development, agricultural conversion and intensive grazing. The increase in the numbers of brown-headed cowbirds Molothrus ater has resulted in high rates of brood-parasitism and the rates of nest predation are high, primarily from snakes, fire ants and mammals.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Spotted eagle owl

Bubo africanus

Photo by Johann du Preez (Fotopedia)

Common name:
spotted eagle owl (en); bufo-malhado (pt); grand-duc africain (fr); búho manchado (es); fleckenuhu (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae


Range:
This species is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania east to Sudan and Ethiopia, and all the way south to South Africa. It is also found in the Arabian Peninsula, in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen.


Size:
These large owls are 45 cm long and have a wingspan of 100-140 cm. They weigh 480-850 g.


Habitat:
The spotted eagle owl occupies a wide range of habitats, including rocky desert outcrops, woodland and savannah, but generally prefer a mixture of grassland, scrubland and semi-open woodland, or rocky hills with scattered trees and bushes. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.100 m.


Diet:
These birds have an extremely varied diet, including mammals such as rodents, hares and rabbits, bush-babies, fruit bats and mole rats; birds such as falcons, kites, francolins, hornbills, thick-knees and mousebirds; large poisonous snakes and smaller reptiles; amphibians; invertebrates such as spiders, insects, snails, crabs and millipedes; and even dead fish, and carrion.


Breeding:
Spotted eagle owls breed in July-December. The nest is a scrape on the ground, typically sheltered by a bush, grass or rocks. There the female lays 2-4 eggs white eggs which she incubates alone for 29-33 days. The chicks fledge 40-42 days after hatching, but remain with their parents while learning to hunt, only becoming fully independent 2-4 months later.


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

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Guianan warbling antbird

Hypocnemis cantator

Photo by Michel Giraud-Audine (Oiseaux)

Common name:
Guianan warbling antbird (en); cantador-da-Guiana (pt); alapi carillonneur (fr); hormiguero cantador de Guyana (es)Guyana-ameisenschnäpper (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae


Range:
This species is found in the Guyanas, in eastern Venezuela and in north-eastern Brazil, north of the Amazon river and east of the Negro and Branco rivers.


Size:
The Guianan warbling antbird is 11-12 cm long and weigh 13-14 g.


Habitat:
These birds are mostly found along the edges of moist and swamp forests, in secondary woodlands and along rivers, streams and marshes. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.300 m.


Diet:
They glean spiders and small insects from trunks and branches, in dense tangles of vegetation.


Breeding:
Guianan warbling antbirds build a pouch-shaped pensile nest, located beside a trunk or large branch, about 1 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 pinkish eggs with purple streaks and spots, which are incubated by both sexes for 12-13 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge 11-13 days after hatching.


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

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Grey-headed bulbul

Pycnonotus priocephalus

Photo by Ramki Sreenivasan (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
grey-headed bulbul (en); tuta-de-cabeça-cinzenta (pt); bulbul colombar (fr); bulbul de cabeza gris (es); graukopfbülbül (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae


Range:
This species is endemic to south-west India, being found in the Western Ghats and Palni Hills, between Goa and Tamil Nadu.


Size:
These birds are 14-15 cm long and weigh 14-19 g.


Habitat:
Grey-headed bulbuls are mostly found in moist broadleaved forests with dense undergrowth and bamboo stands. During the breeding season they are generally restricted to altitudes of 700-1.400 m, while outside the breeding season they move down to lower altitudes.


Diet:
They mostly eat berries and fruits, but also take a some insects.


Breeding:
Grey-headed bulbuls breed in January-May. The nest is a platform made of vines, grasses, moss and green leaves, placed in a bamboo stand, 0,5-5 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-2 eggs which are incubated for 12-14 days. The chicks fledge 11-13 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-threatened)
This species has a restricted breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the population is thought to occur at low densities in suitable habitat which is patchily distributed throughout its range. The population is believed to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline, caused by habitat loss and degradation as forest are converted into plantations, reservoirs, crops and human settlements. Only 20% of the natural forest vegetation of the Western Ghats remains intact, and it is highly fragmented. Extensive extraction of bamboos is also an important factor causing population decline.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Black jacobin

Florisuga fusca

Photo by Luis Florit (Luis Adráin Florit Homepage)

Common name:
black jacobin (en); beija-flor-preto-e-branco (pt); colibri demi-deuil (fr); colibrí negro (es); schwarzkolibri (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae


Range:
These birds are found in eastern and south-eastern Brazil, Uruguay, eastern Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina.


Size:
Black jacobins are 12-13 cm long and weigh 8 g.


Habitat:
These birds are found in a wide range of habitats including moist forests, degraded former forests, plantations, rural gardens and even within urban areas.


Diet:
Black jacobins rely mostly on the nectar of various plants, but will also eat small spiders and insects.


Breeding:
These birds are polygynous, with males mating with several females and having no further involvement in reproduction. The female builds the cup-shaped nest out of plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage in a protected location in a scrub, bush or tree. There she lays 2 white eggs which she incubates alone for 12 days. She feeds the chicks until fledging, which takes place 20 days after hatching. 


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The population trend is undetermined, but the species is not considered threatened at present.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Australian logrunner

Orthonyx temminckii


Common name:
Australian logrunner (en); corre-troncos-australiano (pt); orthonyx de Temminck (fr); colaespina de Temminck (es); Australien-stachelschwanzflöter (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Orthonychidae


Range:
This species is endemic to eastern Australia, being found from New South Wales to Queensland.


Size:
These birds are 18-21 cm long. Males tend to be larger than females, weighing 58-70 g, while the females weigh 46-58 g.


Habitat:
They are mostly found in dense rainforests and in moist scrublands along forest edges, but can also be found in temperate forests and scrublands.


Diet:
Australian logrunners forage on the ground, taking adult and larval insects and other small soil invertebrates.


Breeding:
They breed in the austral Autumn and Winter, in April-September. The female build the nest, a globular dome made of twigs, sticks, dry leaves and green moss, placed on the ground or sometimes in low vines or on a fallen log or a stump. The she lays 2 white eggs which are incubated for 21-25 days. The chicks are mostly fed by the female, but the male is the one who collects and brings the food to the nest. The chicks fledge 16-18 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as common in the north of its range, becoming rarer towards the south. This population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Winter wren

Troglodytes troglodytes

Photo by Fabio Giarrizzo (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
winter wren (en); carriça (pt); troglodyte mignon (fr); chochín (es); zaunkönig (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Troglodytidae


Range:
These birds are widely distributed in Europe, North Africa, Asia and North America, being found across Europe, including Iceland and the British Isles, into Russia, the Middle East and southern Asia, and through the Aleutian islands into Alaska, Canada and south along the eastern and western coasts of the United States down to Mexico.


Size:
The winter wren is 8-12 cm long and has a wingspan of 12-16 cm. They weigh 8-12 g.


Habitat:
They are found in a wide range of habitats, including coniferous and deciduous forests, riparian vegetation, scrubland, farmland, moorland, heaths, and urban parks and gardens. These birds have beed recorded from sea level up to an altitude of 4.600 m.


Diet:
Winter wrens are insectivorous, taking various insects and their larvae, but also spiders, millipedes and sometimes snails.


Breeding:
These birds breed in March-June. They build a dome-shaped nest in a hole or crevice, using grasses, moss, lichens and roots, and line it with feathers. The female lays 1-9 white eggs with reddish-brown eggs, which she incubates alone for 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14-19 days after hatching, but will continue to receive food from the parents for another 2-3 weeks.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC
The winter wren has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 200-1.000 million individuals. The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes, but in Europe and North america populations seem to have undergone a moderate increase.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Olivaceous piculet

Picumnus olivaceus

Photo by Jose García (Birding Panama)

Common name:
olivaceous piculet (en); pica-pau-anão-azeitona (pt); picumne olivâtre (fr); carpinterito oliváceo (es); olivrücken-zwergspecht (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae


Range:
These birds are found from Guatemala and Honduras, through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, and into Colombia, western Venezuela, western Ecuador and north-western Peru.


Size:
This tinny woodpecker is 8-10 cm long and weighs 12-13 g.


Habitat:
Olivaceous piculets are found in dry forests, moist forests, along forests edges, and in shady pastures, plantations and second-growth vegetation. These birds are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.


Diet:
They mostly feed in very slender dead branches and twigs, taking adult and larval ants and termites but also other insects and larvae.


Breeding:
The olivaceous piculet breeds in January-June. Both sexes help carve a neatly rounded cavity in dead trunks or in decaying fence-posts, 1-4 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14 days. The chicks are fed by both sexes and fledge 24-25 days after hatching.


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

Monday, 13 February 2012

Greater double-collared sunbird

Cinnyris afer

Photo by Elaine van Dyk (Red Bubble)

Common name:
greater double-collared sunbird (en); beija-flor-de-banda-larga (pt); souïmanga à plastron rouge (fr); suimanga bicollar mayor (es); großer doppelband-nektarvogel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Nectariniidae


Range:
These birds are endemic to South Africa and Swaziland, occurring in a band from the Limpopo Province, through Mpumalanga and Swaziland, and into KwaZulu-Natal and down the coast to the Western and Eastern Cape.


Size:
These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 9-11 g.


Habitat:
They are generally found along the edges of mountain, coastal and dune forests, but also in fynbos, coastal scrubland, Acacia savanna, gardens and parks.


Diet:
These birds mainly feed on the nectar of various flowers, including Aloe, Cotyledon, Erica, Protea, Tecoma capensis, Gasteria, Hibiscus, Salvia, Plumbago, Canna, Pyrostegia venusta and cultivated pineapples. They also eat fruits and fruit juices, and some small arthropods.


Breeding:
Greater double-collared sunbirds can breed all year round, but with a peak in July-November. They are monogamous and the female builds the nest alone, an oval-shaped structure built of a variety of materials, such as dry grass, bark shreds, wool, cottony material, feathers, fur, leaves, lichen, rootlets, twiglets and string bound together with spider web. It is typically placed 2-6 metres above ground in a tree with dense foliage. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-16 days, but only become fully independent 10 days later.


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

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Black chinned yuhina

Yuhina nigrimenta


Common name:
black-chinned yuhina (en); iuína-de-garganta-preta (pt); yuhina à menton noir (fr); yuhina barbinegra (es); meisenyuhina (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae


Range:
This Asian species is found from northern India, Nepal and Bhutan, through Bangladesh, and into southern China, Myanmar, Cambodja and Vietnam.


Size:
These birds are 10 cm long and weigh 9-10 g.


Habitat:
Black-chinned yuhinas are found in tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, at altitudes of 200-2.800 m.


Diet:
They mostly eat seeds, fruits and small insects.


Breeding:
Black-chinned yuhinas build a cup-shaped nest in a scrub or climbing plant, where the female lays 1-3 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 16 days and the chicks fledge 14-17 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to rare. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Snowy sheathbill

Chionis albus

Photo by Liam Quinn (Wikipedia)

Common name:
snowy sheathbill (en); pomba-antárctica (pt); chionis blanc (fr); paloma antártica (es)weißgesicht-scheidenschnabel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Chionidae


Range:
This species breeds on the Antarctic Peninsula, and in sub-Antarctic islands along the Scotia Arc on the South Shetland islands, Elephant island, South Orkney islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands. Some birds migrate south to winter in the Falkland islands, Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.

Size:
These birds are 34-41 cm long and have a wingspan of 75-80 cm. They weigh 460-780 g.

Habitat:
They are found on rocky or ice-covered islands, often amongst rotting piles of kelp on sandy and rocky beaches along shorelines, on tussock grass, meadows and lowland bogs. They also occur on icebergs. During the breeding season they are found amongst penguin colonies, and to a lesser extent, cormorant, albatross and seal colonies.

Diet:
Snowy sheathbills are omnivorous and opportunistic. During the summer they mostly eat regurgitated krill obtained by direct interference with penguins feeding chicks, but they will also eat penguin and cormorant eggs, excrement, and, to a lesser extent, young chicks. They also eat blubber and flesh off the skin and skeletons of carcasses, and forage on intertidal areas taking limpets and algae.

Breeding:
They breed in December-February. The nest cup is placed on the ground, generally within a penguin colony, and lined with a combination of bones, guano, moss, algae, dead chicks and even rubbish. The female lays 2-3 creamy-white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 26-32 days. The chicks leave the nest after 30 days, but are only able to feed on their own after 1-2 months and may continue to follow their parents for food for up to 6 months.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
The snowy sheathbill has a relatively small breeding range and the global population is estimated at 20.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable, however, there is some evidence of a population decline in the vicinity of the Argentine islands.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Olive warbler

Peucedramus taeniatus

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

Common name:
olive warbler (en); mariquita-de-mascarilha (pt); fauvine des pins (fr); chipe oliváceo (es); trugwaldsänger (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Peucedramidae


Range:
These birds are found from southern Arizona and New mexico, in the United States, through Mexico and down to Honduras and northern Nicaragua.


Size:
They are 12-14 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-24 cm. They weigh 9,5-12 g.


Habitat:
Olive warblers are mostly breed in high mountain pine and fir forests, generally over 2.600 m above sea level. During winter they move to lower altitudes, using pine forests but also in adjacent oak forests and sometimes even in palm stands.


Diet:
These birds are insectivorous, taking various insects picked from the branches and bark of trees.


Breeding:
Olive warblers breed in May-July. The nest is a compact cup made of moss, lichens and roots, placed on a branch in a tree, 10-25 m above the ground. The female lays 3-5 bluish-white eggs with olive spots, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 9-10 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 2 million individuals. The population in the northern part of its range have undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades, but these represent less than half of the global population. Overall this species is not considered threatened at present.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bay-capped wren-spinetail

Spartonoica maluroides

Photo by Carlos Schwertner (Flickr)

Common name:
bay-capped wren-spinetail (en); boininha (pt); synallaxe des marais (fr); canastero enano (es); strichelrücken-dickichtschlüpfer (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae


Range:
This South American species is found from the southernmost tip of Brazil, through Uruguay and into eastern a central Argentina.


Size:
These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 10-12 g.


Habitat:
The bay-capped wren-spinetail is mostly found in brackish and freshwater marshes with extensive growths of Eryngium and Scirpus, and may associate with Spartina grass. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 900 m.


Diet:
These birds are insectivorous, gleaning various arthropods from marsh vegetation and grasses.


Breeding:
Bay-capped wren-spinetails breed in September-January. Both sexes build the nest, a rudimentary enclosed structure made of twigs and grasses, placed near the ground deep inside sedges and rushes. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-14 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-threatened)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The population is suspected to be declining slowly as a result of on-going drainage and conversion of wetland habitats, as well as the drying effects of the expanding Eucalyptus and Pinus plantations.