Thursday, 31 May 2012

Franklin's gull

Larus pipixcan

Photo by Alan Vernon (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Franklin's gull (en); gaivota-de-Franklin (pt); mouette de Franklin (fr); gaviota de Franklin (es); präriemöwe (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Laridae


Range:
This species breeds in central North America, mostly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada; and in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, United States. They migrate south to winter along the Pacific coast of South America, from Ecuador to Chile and further inland in northern Argentina.


Size:
These birds are 32-38 cm long and have a wingspan of 85-95 cm. They weigh 220-335 g.


Habitat:
The Franklin's gull breeds in marshes and inland lakes with emergent vegetation. Outside the breeding season they are found in coastal areas, lakes, marshes, cultivated fields and rubbish dumps.


Diet:
During the breeding season they mostly eat earthworms, chironomids and other aquatic insects, grasshoppers and sometimes also rodents and seeds. Outside the breeding season their diet includes a larger portion of fish, but also insects and other invertebrates, seeds and often also offal and refuse.


Breeding:
Franklin's gulls breed in May-August. They are highly gregarious, forming colonies of hundreads to over 10.000 pairs. The nest is a floating platform of vegetation, placed in thick reeds above water. The female lays 2-4 creamy-white, yellowish or greenish eggs with dark brown spots. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 23-26 days. The chicks are semi-precocial, but remain in the nest for around 3 weeks and receive food from both parents until fledging, 31-35 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 470.000-1.500.000 individuals. The population has undergone a small increase over the last 4 decades.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Yellow-breasted flatbill

Tolmomyias flaviventris

Photo by Fayard Mohammed (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
yellow-breasted flatbill (en); bico-chato-amarelo (pt); platyrhynque à poitrine jaune (fr); picoplano pechiamarillo (es); gelbbauch-breitschnabeltyrann (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae


Range:
This South American species is found from Colombia and Venezuela south to Peru and south-eastern Brazil. It also occurs in Trinidad and Tobago.


Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh 10-13 g.


Habitat:
They are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical forests, both in dry areas and moist areas, but also in mangroves, swamp forests, dry savannas, scrublands, rural gardens and plantations. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.100 m.


Diet:
Yellow-breasted flatbills perch in high spots, from where they sally forth to catch flying insects.


Breeding:
These birds nest in a bottle-shaped structure, made of plant fibres and suspended from a branch, usually near a wasp nest, which presumably provides some protection from predators. There the female lays 2-3 creamy-white eggs with violet markings, which she incubates alone for 17-18 days. The chicks fledge around 18 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The yellow-breasted flatbill has a very large breeding range and is described as common. This species is able to thrive in some converted habitats, thus its population is suspected to be at least stable.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Scarlet minivet

Pericrocotus flammeus

Photo by Abhishek Das (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
scarlet minivet (en); minivete-escarlate (pt); grand minivet (fr); minivete rojo (es); scharlachmennigvogel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Campephagidae


Range:
This species if found in southern Asia, from India and Nepal, through Bangladesh and Myanmar and into southern China, Indonesia and the Philippines.


Size:
These birds are 20-22 cm long and weigh 20-30 g.


Habitat:
Scarlet minivets are mostly found in rainforests, both in lowlands and mountainous areas. they are also found in swamp forests and in rural gardens.


Diet:
They mostly feed on insects, which they glean from the foliage high up in the canopy. These birds are often found in mixed-species foraging flocks.


Breeding:
The scarlet minivet in monogamous. They breed in February-September and the nest is a large, shallow cup, woven with small twigs and held together with spider webs. The nest is placed high up in the forest canopy. There the female lays 2-4 pale-green eggs with darker spot, which she incubates alone while the male brings food. the chicks are raised by both parents. Although there is no information on the length of incubation and fledging periods, similar species incubate the eggs for 14-18 days and fledge chicks in 2-3 weeks.


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

Monday, 28 May 2012

New Zealand falcon

Falco novaeseelandiae

Photo by Steve Attwood (Steve X2)

Common name:
New Zealand falcon (en); falcão-maori (pt); faucon de Nouvelle-Zélande (fr); halcón maorí (es); maorifalke (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Falconidae


Range:
This species is endemic to New Zealand, being found in both the North Island and the South Island, as well as in Stewart Island and its outliers, and the Auckland Islands.


Size:
These birds are 36-48 cm long and have a wingspan of 66-91 cm. They weigh 420-600 g.


Habitat:
The New Zealand falcon is mostly found in forests and scrublands, but also grasslands, pastures and rough farmland. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.100 m.


Diet:
They mostly hunt birds, up to the size of a heron or duck, but will also hunt small mammals up to the size of a hare, insects, small reptiles and will sometimes also eat carrion.


Breeding:
These birds breed in September-February. The nest in a simple scraped hollow on a sheltered cliff edge, in an epiphyte high in a tree, or on the ground under a log or bush. There the female lays 2-4 reddish brown eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 29-35 days. The chicks fledge 32-35 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 3 months later. Each pair raises a single brood per season.


Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near Threatened)
The New Zealand falcon has a relatively large breeding range and the global population size is estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline due to habitat destruction through forest clearance, human persecution especially by pigeon and poultry keepers, and egg predation by the introduced brush-tailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Ochre-breasted antpitta

Grallaricula flavirostris

Photo by Scott Olmstead (Internet Bird Collection)


Common name:
ochre-breasted antpitta (en); tovaca-ocre (pt); grallaire ocrée (fr); tororoi piquigualdo (es); ockerbrust-ameisenpitta (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Formicariidae


Range:
This species is found along the Pacific slopes of Central and South America, from Nicaragua down to Bolivia.


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


Habitat:
Ochre-breasted antpittas are found in tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, at altitudes of 500-2.750 m.


Diet:
They forage on the ground or in low vegetation, mostly hunting insects.


Breeding:
The ochre-breasted antpitta breeds in April-July. The cup-shaped nest is made of fresh green moss and lined with thin sticks, black rhizomorphs and more moss. It is placed in a fork in a small tree or sapling, 2-4 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-2 pale reddish-brown eggs with dark spots, which are incubated for 17-21 days. The chicks fledge 14-16 days after hatching.


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

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Short-tailed pipit

Anthus brachyurus

Photo by Hugh Chittenden (Biodiversity Explorer)

Common name:
short-tailed pipit (en); petinha-rabicurta (pt); pipit à queue courte (fr); bisbita colicorto (es); kurzschwanzpieper (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Motacillidae


Range:
This African species is found from Gabon, through Congo, D.R. Congo and north-eastern Angola, and into Zambia. There are also separate populations in Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and South Africa.


Size:
These birds are 12 cm long and weigh around 16 g.


Habitat:
They are mostly found in short, wet grasslands, but also in dry grasslands, pastures and arable land. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.


Diet:
Short-tailed pipits forage on the ground, eating seeds and both adult and larval insects.


Breeding:
In South Africa, these birds breed in October-February. The nest is an tidy cup made of dry grass and rootlets, placed on the ground next to flowering forbs, grass tufts or in tiny scrublets. The female lays 2-3 white eggs with brown and grey speckles, which are incubated for 13-14 days. The chicks fledge about 13 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The shirt-tailed pipit has a very large breeding range and is described as generally uncommon to frequent. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Red-cockaded woodpecker

Picoides borealis

Photo by Matthew Hacker (Wikipedia)

Common name:
red-cockaded woodpecker (en); pica-pau-de-faces-brancas (pt); pic à face blanche (fr); pico de Florida (es); kokardenspecht (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae


Range:
This species is endemic to the Unites States, with scattered populations being found in the south-eastern parts of the country, especially in Florida and South Carolina but as far north as Virginia ans as far west as eastern Texas and Oklahoma.


Size:
These birds are 18-23 cm long and have a wingspan of 34-41 cm. They weigh 40-56 g.


Habitat:
The red-cockaded woodpecker is found in fire-sustained open pine-forests, mostly longleaf pine Pinus palustris, but other species of southern pine such as shortleaf P. echinata, slash P. elliotti, or loblolly P. taeda pines are also acceptable. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 500 m.


Diet:
They are omnivorous, eating adult and larval arthropods, especially beetles and ants, but also seeds, nuts and fruits.


Breeding:
Red-cockaded woodpeckers are cooperative breeders, lives in small family groups composed of one breeding pair and several helpers. These helpers are usually the male offspring from previous breeding seasons and help incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. They breed in April-July, nesting in cavities excavated into old living pines, often selecting trees infected with the red heart fungus, which softens the wood. The female lays 2-5 white eggs, which are incubated for 10-13 days. The chicks fledge 25-29 days after hatching, but remain with the family group for at east 5 months.


Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a large but fragmented breeding range. The population was originally distributed throughout the south-eastern united states, but it is now restricted to about 30 populations totalling 9.000-11.000 individuals, having undergone a large decrease of 26% per decade over the last 4 decades. However, some of the populations are now stable or increasing as a result of intensive management. The main threats to the red-cockaded woodpecker are habitat destruction and fragmentation caused by long-term clearance, inbreeding depression due to the small size of some of the small and isolated populations, and infestations by southern pine beetle Dendroctonus frontalis, which increase food availability, but kill the tree reducing the available nesting sites. Competition by pileated woodpeckers Dryocopus pileatus and reduced fire management due to expanding human populations may also have a negative impact.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

White-starred robin

Pogonocichla stellata

Photo by Alan Manson (Wikipedia)

Common name:
white-starred robin (en); pisco-estrelado (pt); rougegorge étoilé (fr); ruiseñor estrellado (es); sternrötel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae


Range:
This species is patchily distributed across eastern Africa, from southern Sudan down to South Africa.


Size:
This species is 15-16 cm long and weighs 18-25 g.


Habitat:
The white-starred robin is mostly found in moist evergreen mountain forests with dense understory, but also in forest edges, scrublands, pine and wattle plantations, evergreen woodlands and forest edge gardens. They occur at altitudes of 1.600-4.300 m.


Diet:
They mainly eat insects, especially beetles but also moths and caterpillars, ants, flies amphipods, bugs, wasps, crickets and mantids. They also eat centipedes, frogs and also berries and seeds when in season.


Breeding:
White-starred robins breed in October-January. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a domed structure made of dead leaves, tendrils, rootlets and moss, and lined skeletonised leaves, flowers and animal hairs. The nest is typically placed on a slope, often at the base of a tree trunk bank or boulder, well concealed by vegetation. There the female lays 2-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 16-18 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 13-16 days after hatching, but only become fully independent around 6 weeks later.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be abundant in parts of its range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and predation by introduced species.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Spotted antbird

Hylophylax naevioides

Photo by Paul Jones (Surfbirds)

Common name:
spotted antbird (en); guarda-floresta-maculado (pt); fourmilier grivelé (fr); hormiguero moteado (es); rotmantel-ameisenwächter (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae


Range:
This species is found in the Caribbean slopes of Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, in Panama, north-western Colombia and western Ecuador.


Size:
These birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh 16-19,5 g.


Habitat:
Spotted antbirds are found in lowland rainforests, from sea level up to an altitude of 900 m.


Diet:
They follow army ant swarms, taking the animals that try to escape the swarm. They are known to eat small spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, katydids, crickets, centipedes, sowbugs, moths, beetles, caterpillars, ants, bristletails and even small lizards and frogs.


Breeding:
The spotted antbird breeds in March-October. Both sexes build the nest, an open cup made of fungal rhizomorphs, leaves and small sticks, placed in open undergrowth, up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 white eggs with reddish-brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 16-20 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 11 days after hatching.


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

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Oriental scops-owl

Otus sunia

(Photo from World Bird Info)

Common name:
oriental scops-owl (en); mocho-d'orelhas-oriental (pt)petit-duc d'Orient (fr); autillo oriental (es); Orient-zwergohreule (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae


Range:
This Asian species is found breeding from northern Pakistan and India, through Nepal and Bangladesh, into southern China and Indochina, and further north through eastern and north-eastern China and into Korea, Japan and Sakhalin in south-eastern Russia. The north-eastern populations migrate south to winter in south-eastern Asia, including Indonesia.


Size:
These birds are 17-21 cm long and have a wingspan of 42-53 cm. They weigh 75-95 g.


Habitat:
Oriental scops-owls are found in deciduous and mixed forests, and sometimes also in at the edge of taiga coniferous forests, but also in scrublands, pastures, plantations, parks and gardens. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.


Diet:
They mainly eat insects and spiders, but also some small vertebrates like rodents and small birds.


Breeding:
The oriental scops-owl is monogamous and breeds in February-June. They nest in tree cavities, in holes in walls or sometimes in nest-boxes. The female lays 3-6 eggs, which are incubated for 24-25 days. There is no information regarding the fledging period, but the chicks of similar species fledge 4-6 weeks after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the oriental scops-owl is reported to be very abundant in some parts of its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Speckled tanager

Tangara guttata

Photo by Ruben Campos (Focus on Nature)

Common name:
speckled tanager (en); saíra-pintada (pt); calliste tiqueté (fr); tangara pintada (es) tropfentangare (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae


Range:
This species is found from Costa Rica south to northern Colombia, Venezuela and marginally across the border into northern Brazil and Guyana.


Size:
These birds are 12-14 cm long and weigh 15-21 g.


Habitat:
The speckled tanager is found in the canopies and borders of rainforests, in secondary woodlands and sometimes in cocoa and coffee plantations and rural gardens. They are present at altitudes of 300-2.000 m.


Diet:
They mostly eat small fruits, especially of Euphorbiaceae and Melastomaceae, but will also eat mistletoe fruits, pieces of larger fruits and seeds. They will also take some insects and spiders.


Breeding:
Speckled tanagers breed in April-July. The nest is an open cup made of leaves and plant fibres, and lined with hairs and fungal hyphae. The nest is placed in a small tree, 3-8 m above the ground. The female lays 2 heavily mottled white eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-14 days while receiving food from the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14-15 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as fairly common. Although some populations have been affected by deforestation, the speckled tanager can easily adapt to secondary forests, so population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Reed bunting

Emberiza schoeniclus

Photo by Rob Belterman (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species found breeding throughout Europe, and in northern Asia, from Siberia to the Caucasus, the northern slopes of the Himalayas, northern China and Japan. The northern population migrate south to winter in southern Europe and north-west Africa, the Middle East, northern India and southern China.

Size:
These birds are 13-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 21-26 cm. They weigh 16-22 g.

Habitat:
Reed buntings are found in a wide range of inland wetlands, including marshes, bogs, freshwater lakes, scrub-dominated wetlands and tundra wetlands. They can also be found in reedbeds bordering coastal wetlands such as coastal lagoons and estuaries.

Diet:
They mostly feed on seeds and other plant materials, but during spring and summer they also eat invertebrates such as snails, earthworms, flies, butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers and spiders.

Breeding:
The reed bunting breeds in April-July. The female builds the nest, a foundation of stems and blades of sedges and grasses, lined with finer plant material, moss, rootlets, and sometimes hair or feathers. There the female lays 4-6 eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-15 days. The chicks fledge 10-12 days after hatching. Each pair raised 1-2 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 30-100 million individuals. Population in Europe have undergone a moderate decline over the last 3 decades, but the species is not threatened.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Kaka

Nestor meridionalis

Photo by Alcino Cunha (Wikipedia)

Common name:
kaka (en); kaka (pt); nestor superbe (fr); káka (es); kaka (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae


Range:
This species is endemic to New Zealand, having a very fragmented range both in South island and North Island.


Size:
The kaka is 40-45 cm long and weighs 390-560 g.


Habitat:
This species is mostly found in temperate forests, but also in moist tropical and sub-tropical forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.


Diet:
They feed on fruits, berries, seeds, flowers, buds, nectar, sap and invertebrates and honeydew.


Breeding:
Kakas breed in October-May. They nest in natural cavities in old or dying trees, where the female lays 1-8 white eggs. The female incubates the eggs alone for 20-23 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge around 70 days after hatching, but only become fully independent some 4-5 month later.


Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a relatively small and fragmented breeding range. The global population is estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals and is estimated to be undergoing a very rapid population decline. Originally the may threats to the kaka were forest clearance and hunting, but presently they are severely affected by predation from introduced species. Stouts Mustela erminea kill adults, especially incubating females, while brush-tailed possums Trichosurus vulpecula and black rats Rattus rattus prey on their eggs. Introduced wasps Vespula spp. compete for honeydew, which is an important food source in some parts of the range.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Dark-eyed junco

Junco hyemalis

(Photo by from Wikipedia)

Common name:
dark-eyed junco (en); junco-de-olho-escuro (pt); junco ardoisé (fr); junco ojioscuro (es); junko (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae


Range:
This species is found breeding throughout Canada, Alaska, the north-eastern united States and the western United States. The northern population migrate south to winter throughout the United States and northern Mexico.


Size:
These birds are 14-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-25 cm. They weigh 18-30 g.


Habitat:
Dark-eyed juncos breed in coniferous forests including pine, Douglas-fir, spruce, and fir, but also in deciduous forests such as aspen, cottonwood, oak, maple, and hickory, from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m. During winter and on migration they use a wider variety of habitats including open woodlands, fields, roadsides, parks, and gardens.


Diet:
They mostly eat the seeds of weeds such as chickweed, buckwheat, lamb’s quarters, sorrel, but will also eat wild fruits and arthropods, especially during the breeding season, when they are known to take beetles, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, ants, wasps, flies and spiders.


Breeding:
Dark-eyed juncos breed in April-August. The female builds the nest, a cup-shaped depression on the ground, lined with grasses, pine needles and hair. There she lays 3-6 white, grey or bluish-white eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks fledge 10-14 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2 broods per season.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population of 260 million individuals. The populations has had a stable trend over the last 4 decades.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Brown-crowned tchagra

Tchagra australis

Photo by Troy Hibbitts (The Hibbitts)

Common name:
brown-crowned tchagra (en); picanço-assobiador-de-coroa-castanha (pt); tchagra à tête brune (fr); chagra coroniparda (es); dorntschagra (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Malaconotidae


Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Guinea and Sierra Leone to southern Sudan and Kenya, and south to Namibia, Botswana and northern South Africa. Within this region they are only absent form the more dense rainforests of the Congo basin.


Size:
These birds are 17-18 cm long and weigh 33-36 g.


Habitat:
The brown-crowned tchagra is mostly found in dry savannas and dry scrublands, but also in dry tropical forests, second growths, arable land and rural gardens. They may occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.


Diet:
They mostly eat adult and larval insects, which they hunt on the ground or from the base of plants. They are know to take Orthoptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and Mantodea and very occasionally small vertebrates.


Breeding:
Brown-crowned tchagras breed in September-March. They are monogamous, solitary nesters, with both sexes building the nest, a shallow cup made of rootlets, fine twigs, coarse grass and leaf stems, cemented with spider web. the nest is usually placed in a fork or horizontal branch of a bush, well concealed by foliage. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which she mostly incubates alone for 14-17 days, while receiving food from the male. The chicks fledge 13-16 days after hatching, but remain with their parents for another 5 months.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very 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.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dusky grouse

Dendragapus obscurus

Photo by Ian Maton (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
dusky grouse (en); tetraz-sombrio (pt); tétras sombre (fr); gallo de las Rocosas (es); felsengebirgshuhn (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Tetraonidae

Range:
This species is found in western North America, from south-eastern Alaska and the Northwest territories south to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

Size:
These birds are 39-53 cm long and weigh 750-1.300 g.

Habitat:
The dusky grouse is found in deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests, both in temperate and boreal areas. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 3.600 m.

Diet:
They mostly eat leaves, flowers and conifer needles, namely fir and douglas-fir needles, occasionally also hemlock and pine needles, and also other green plants such as Pteridium, Salix, and the berries of Gaultheria, Mahonia, Rubus, Vaccinium. During summer, and especially the juveniles, also eat some insects, particularly ants, beetles and grasshoppers.

Breeding:
The males sing to attract females, but have no further part in the breeding process after mating. The nest is a shallow scrape in the forest ground, sparsely lined with dead twigs, needles, leaves, and feathers. There the female lays 5-10 creamy-white eggs with brown spots, which she incubates alone for 25-27 days. The chicks leave the nest shortly after hatching and are able to feed themselves, but rely on their mother for warmth and protection.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 3 million individuals. The population has undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Golden-faced tyrannulet

Zimmerius chrysops

Photo by Lior Kislev (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
golden-faced tyrannulet (en); poiaeiro-de-face-dourada (pt); tyranneau à face d'or (fr); tiranuelo cejiamarillo (es); goldgesicht-kleintyrann (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae


Range:
This species is found in northern Venezuela, western Colombia, Ecuador and across the border into northern Peru.


Size:
These birds are 10-11 cm long and weigh 8-10 g.


Habitat:
Golden-faced tyrannulets are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical mountain forests and also in other moist forests and sometimes in coffee plantations. They occur at altitudes of 500-2.700 m.


Diet:
They eat both small arthropods and berries of mistletoes such as Antidaphne and Phoradendron.


Breeding:
These birds breed in March-June. The female builds the nest, a ball of moss and lichens with a side entrance, placed under on the side tree, under a branch, or in an epiphyte, around 5 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-2 cream-white eggs with brown spots, which she mostly incubates alone for 16-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17-19 days after hatching.

Conservation:

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

Monday, 14 May 2012

White-naped honeyeater

Melithreptus lunatus

Photo by Russell Cockman (Russell's Astronomy)

Common name:
white-naped honeyeater (en); melífago-de-nuca-branca (pt); méliphage à lunule (fr); mielero nuquiblanco (es); mondstreif-honigschmecker (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae


Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, occurring in two disjunct populations, one in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the country, from northern Queensland to eastern South Australia, and another in the south-western corner of the country.


Size:
The white-naped honeyeater is 13-15 cm long and weighs around 13 g.


Habitat:
These birds are found in temperate forests and woodlands, but also in dry savannas, dry scrublands, plantations and urban parks and gardens.


Diet:
They mostly eat the nectar of a wide range of flowers, but also manna, insects and insect products such as honeydew and lerp.


Breeding:
White-naped honeyeaters can breed all year round, but mostly in September-November. They breed communally, with both the parents and helpers looking after the young, although only the female incubates the eggs. The female builds a small open cup nest made of grass, bark and spider webs, placed high up in a tall tree, usually Eucalyptus. She lays 2-3 shiny buff-pink eggs with red-brown spots, which she incubates alone for 14 days. The chicks fledge 14-15 days after hatching. Each pair raises 1-2 broods per year.


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 stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Rufous-breasted hermit

Glaucis hirsuta

(Photo from Guia das Aves do Pantanal)

Common name:
rufous-breasted hermit (en); balança-rabo-de-bico-torto (pt); ermite hirsute (fr); ermitaño hirsuto (es); rotschwanz-schattenkolibri


Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae


Range:
This species is found from Panama to Bolivia and south-eastern Brazil, and also in Trinidad and Tobago.


Size:
These birds are 10-12 cm long and weigh 5,5-8 g.


Habitat:
Rufous-breasted hermits are mostly found in rainforests, but also in swamp forests, dry savanna, dry grasslands and plantations. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.100 m but may occasionally be found as high as 3.500 m above sea level.


Diet:
They mostly eat the nectar of flowers from the forest understorey, but can only visit flowers with a similar shape to that of their bill, namely Costus scaber, Heliconia standleyi and Heliconia stricta, Duroia hirsuta, Palicourea lasiantha, Psychotria bahiensis and Psychotria platypoda, Sanchezia peruviana, Drymonia semicordata and Cuphea melvilla. They also take small invertebrates such as spiders.


Breeding:
Rufous-breasted hermits breed mostly in May-November, but can breed all year round in some areas. Both sexes build the nest, a small cup made of plant fibres, rootlets, spider webs, dried leaves, very slender twigs, and lichens, which is attached to the underside of a leaf of a palm tree or fern, 1-10 m above the ground. The female lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 16-19 days. The chicks are fed by the female alone and fledge 20-25 days after hatching, but remain with their mother for another 3-4 weeks.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. It is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat loss and loss of suitable food plants, but overall the rufous-breasted hermit is not considered threatened at present.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Barred warbler

Sylvia nisoria

Photo by Mateusz Matysiak (Mateusz Matysiak Fotografia)

Common name:
barred warbler (en); toutinegra-gavião (pt); fauvette épervière (fr); curruca gavilana (es)sperbergrasmücke (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae


Range:
This species is found breeding in eastern Europe and central Asia, from eastern Germany and Poland, north to southern Finland and south to the Baltic coast, Greece and Turkey. Then the species is distributed across central Asia all the way to south-eastern Mongolia and western China. They migrate to winter in eastern Africa, from Chad and Sudan south to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.


Size:
This large warbler is 15,5-17 cm long and has a wingspan of 26-29 cm. They weigh 20-30 g.


Habitat:
The barred warbler is mostly found in temperate forests, both broad-leaved and mixed, especially near forest clearings. They are also found in scrublands, pastures, plantations and parks. During winter these birds occur in tropical dry forests and dry savannas.


Diet:
They mostly feed on adult and larval insects, spiders and sometimes snails. In late summer and autumn they will also eat berries.


Breeding:
Barred warblers breed in May-July. Some males are monogamous and help incubate the eggs and raise the chicks, while other have several mates and have no further part in the breeding process after mating with each female. The nest is a dense cup made of grass stems, stalks, twigs, rootlets and spider cocoons, and lined with hairs and fine plant materials. It is well hidden in the foliage of a small tree or scrub, not far from the ground. The female lays 3-6 eggs, which are incubated for 12-13 days. The chicks fledge 11-12 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 2-6 million individuals. The population seems to go through marked annual fluctuations, at least within its European range, but it is not threatened at present.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Rock warbler

Origma solitaria

Photo by Sam Woods (Lost in Birding)

Common name:
rock warbler (en); acantiza-das-rochas (pt); origma des rochers (fr); acantiza minero (es); steinhuscher (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Acanthizidae


Range:
This species is endemic to New South Wales, in eastern Australia, being found in the Hawkesbury Sandstone area, both north and south of Sydney.


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


Habitat:
The rock warbler is mostly found in rocky outcrops, mostly of sandstone and sometimes limestone, but also in nearby areas of scrubland and temperate forest.


Diet:
They are mostly insectivorous, hunting various insects in rock crevices, on the ground or sometimes in low branches of scrubs or small trees. They also eat seeds.


Breeding:
Rock warblers breed in August-January. They are monogamous and the nest is a suspended dome-shaped structure made from roots, moss, grass and bark bound together with spider webs. It is usually placed in a sandstone, or occasionally limestone or granite cave, in total or near-darkness. The female lays 3 eggs, which are incubated for 23 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 21 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a restricted breeding range, but is reported to be locally common. The population has suffered from urban developments on the edges of its range near Sydney, however, most of its habitat is now protected and the population is suspected to be stable.