Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Snowy-cheeked laughingthrush

Garrulax sukatschewi

Photo by Chong Cha (Flickr)

Common name:
snowy-cheeked laughingthrush (en); zaragateiro-de-Sukatschev (pt); garrulaxe de Sukatschev (fr); charlatán de Sukatschev (es); Kansuhäherling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This species is endemic to China, only being found in the south-western parts of the country, in
the Min Shan mountains in southern Gansu province and adjacent parts of north-central Sichuan province.


Size:
These birds are 27-31 cm long.

Habitat:
The snowy-cheeked laughingthrush is found in temperate forests, including mixed, evergreen and broadleaved, usually where there is undergrowth of bamboo and scrubs. Also in grasslands and near rivers and streams, at altitudes of 2.000-3.500 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, among the moss and leaf-litter, taking invertebrates, seeds and berries. 

Breeding:
These birds breed in May-July. The nest is a bowl, placed 2-3 m above the ground on a tree, most often a spruce. The female lays 2-5 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 16-18 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
The snowy-cheeked laughingthrush has a small and severely fragmented breeding range. The population is estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals, and moderate and on-going declines are suspected, owing to the rate of degradation of habitats across the species's range. Forest cover has declined rapidly in Sichuan since the late 1960s, through exploitation for timber and clearance for cultivation and pasture, resulting in habitat loss and fragmentation for this species.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Limpkin

Aramus guarauna

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
limpkin (en); carão (pt); courlan brun (fr); carrao (es); rallenkranich (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Aramidae

Range:
The limpkin is found from Florida, in the Unites States, through southern Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and into South America, mostly east of the Andes, down to northern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 64-73 cm long and have a wingspan of 101-107 cm. They weigh 0,9-1,3 kg.

Habitat:
Limpkins are mostly found in and around fresh water swamps and marshes, along the shores of lakes, in mangroves and wooded swamps along rivers. They can also be found in moist savanna and moist tropical forests. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on fresh water snails, namely Pomacea, but also take fresh water mussels, seeds, small reptiles, frogs, insects, worms and crayfish.

Breeding:
Limpkins can form large colonies, with the the females being responsible for building the nests, large structures made of rushes, sticks and other plant materials, placed on the ground, in dense floating vegetation, in scrubs or in trees at any height above the ground. There the female lays 4-8 grey to buff or deep olive eggs with light brown markings, which are incubated by both parents for about 27 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, being able to walk and swim, but rely on their parents for food and brooding. They reach adult size after 7 weeks and leave their parents about 16 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 1 million individuals. The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends, and the population trend is increasing in North America.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Noisy miner

Manorina melanocephala

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
noisy miner (en); melífago-barulhento (pt); méliphage bruyant (fr); mielero chillón (es); weißstirn-schwatzvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found in the eastern half of the country from northern Queensland to eastern South Australia. It is also found in Tasmania.

Size:
These birds are 24-29 cm long and have a wingspan of 36-45 cm. They weigh 60-80 g.

Habitat:
The noisy miner is mostly found in dry woodlands and savannas, but also in grasslands, scrublands, pastures, arable land, rural gardens and often also in urban parks and gardens. 

Diet:
They mainly feed on nectar, but also fruits, seeds and invertebrates, also sometimes also small reptiles and amphibians. They are known to take the nectar of Jacaranda mimosifolia, Erythrina variegata, Lagunaria patersonia, Callistemon salignus, Callistemon viminalis, Eucalyptus sp., Banksia ericifolia, B. integrifolia, B. serrata, Grevillea aspleniifolia, G. banksii, G. hookeriana, G. juniperina, G. rosmarinifolia, and Chaenomeles speciosa.

Breeding:
Noisy miners breed in July-December. They form small to large colonies, with the females building the nests, deep cups woven of twigs and grasses with other plant material, animal hair and spider webs. There the female lays 2-4 white to cream, pinkish or buff coloured eggs with reddish-brown markings, which she incubates alone for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by the female and by up to 20 male helpers who bring food to several of the nests in the colony, and fledge about 16 days after hatching. They continue to receive food from adults for 4-5 weeks. Each female may raise several broods per season.

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 as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Cactus wren

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

Photo by Mark Wagner (Wikipedia)

Common name:
cactus wren (en); carriça-dos cactos (pt); troglodyte des cactus (fr); ratona desértica (es); kaktuszaunkönig (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Troglodytidae

Range:
This species is found in south-western North America, from California and Nevada to Texas, in the United States, and south to central Mexico.

Size:
This large wren is 18-22 cm long and weighs 32-47 g.

Habitat:
The cactus wren in found in arid and semi-arid scrubland habitats, mostly dominated by succulent cacti, spiny trees and scrubs such as yucca, mesquite and saguaro. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.200 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on insects, including ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and wasps. They also eat seeds, fruits, small reptiles and frogs.

Breeding:
Cactus wrens breed in February-June. The nest is a large spherical structure made of dry grasses, often lined with feathers. It is placed in thorny trees and scrubs, particularly cholla cacti. There the female lays 3-5 buff-pinkish eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 19-23 days after hatching. Each pair may raise up to 3 clutches per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to abundant. The population has undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades in the United States, which represents less than 50% of the population.
succulent cacti and spiny trees and shrubs

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Trumpeter hornbill

Bycanistes bucinator

Photo by Marco Valentini (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
trumpeter hornbill (en); calau-trompeteiro (pt); calao trompette (fr); cálao trompetero (es); trompeterhornvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Bucerotidae

Range:
This species is found in East Africa, from Kenya to eastern South Africa, and west, through southern D.R. Congo and Zambia, into Angola.

Size:
This medium-sized hornbill is 58-65 cm long and has a wingspan of 60-62 cm. They weigh 450-1.000 g.

Habitat:
The trumpeter hornbill is found in both moist and dry tropical forests, as well as in dry savannas, especially along watercourses. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.200 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on fruits such as Ficus, Trichilia, Ekebergia, Diospyros, Drypetes, Rauvolfia, Berchemia, Xanthocercis, Afzelia, Rhoicissus, Antidesma, Monanthotaxis, Pterocarpus, Stychnos, but also flowers, invertebrates like woodlice, millipedes, caterpillars, spiders and crabs, the eggs and nestlings of other birds and wasp nests.

Breeding:
Trumpeter hornbills breed in September-January. The nest in natural holes in trees, or sometimes in rocky crevices. After mating the female enters the nest and seals it with mud and faeces collected by the male, staying there until the chicks are ready to fledge. The female lays 2-5 white eggs, which she incubates alone for around 24 days while receiving food from the male. The chicks are fed by the female, from food collected by the male, and fledge 50 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be thinly distributed across a wide range, but locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Red-faced cisticola

Cisticola erythrops

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
red-faced cisticola (en); fuinha-de-faces-vermelhas (pt); cisticole à face rousse (fr); buitrón de cara roja (es); rotgesicht-cistensänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cisticolidae

Range:
This species is patchily distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania, across west and central Africa into Ethiopia and south to Angola in western Africa and south to Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa in eastern Africa.

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

Habitat:
The red-faced cisticola is found in marshes, bogs, swamps, wet grasslands, scrublands, riverine thickets and also in rural gardens. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.400 m.

Diet:
They forage in the vegetation, taking various insects such as beetles, flies, ants and termite alates.

Breeding:
Red-faced cisticolas breed in October-March. The nest is an oval-shaped structure with a side entrance, made of leaves and dry grasses secured with spider web, with an outer shell of living leaves. It is typically incorporated into the foliage of a herb, scrub, forb or small tree, usually less than half a metre above ground. There the female lays 2-4 white or light grey eggs with reddish blotches, which she mainly incubates alone for 12-16 days. The chicks are brooded and fed by the female, while the male brings the food, fledging 14-16 days after hatching.

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.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

White-lined tanager

Tachyphonus rufus

Photo by Louis des Tombe (Birds of Suriname)

Common name:
white-lined tanager (en); pipira-preta (pt); tangara à galons blancs (fr); frutero chocolatero (es); schwarztangare (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This species is found from Costa Rica, through Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas and south to Peru, eastern Brazil and northern Argentina. They are also found in Trinidad and Tobago and are mostly absent from the upper Amazon basin.

Size:
These birds are 18-19 cm long and weigh around 33 g.

Habitat:
The white-lined tanager is mostly found in open or semi-open habitats, namely scrublands, dry savannas and along forest edges, but also in arable land and gardens. they are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They mostly eat fruits, namely those of epiphytic plants, but also nectar, buds and insects such as beetles, ants and grasshoppers.

Breeding:
White-lined tanagers and solitary, territorial nesters. The nest is a bulky cup, made of grasses and dead leaves, placed in a low scrub or tree, not very far from the ground. The female lays 2-3 creamy eggs with brown blotches, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks fledge around 15 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 described as common but patchily distributed. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Oriental white-eye

Zosterops palpebrosus

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

Common name:
oriental white-eye (en); olho-branco-oriental (pt); zostérops oriental (fr); anteojitos oriental (es); Ganges-brillenvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Zosteropidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Asia, from Pakistan and India to southern China and south to southern Indonesia.

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

Habitat:
Oriental white-eyes  are  found moist tropical forests, mangroves and moist scrublands.

Diet:
They mainly feed on small insects, especially ants, but also the nectar, fruits, seeds, buds and pollen of plants such as giant mahang Macaranga gigantea, umbrella tree Schefflera actinophylla and pink mempat Cratoxylum formosum.

Breeding:
The oriental white-eye breeds in February-September. The nest is a compact cup made of grass, plant fibres, roots and cotton down and spider webs, usually placed in a fork in a scrub or trees 1–10 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 pale blue eggs, which are incubated for 10-11 days. The chicks are fed and brooded by both parents and fledge about 10 days 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 in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation of forest and mangrove habitats, as well as illegal trapping for the cage bird trade.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Least seedsnipe

Thinocorus rumicivorus

Photo by Rob Nagtegaal (PBase)

Common name:
least seedsnipe (en); agachadeira-mirim (pt); thinocore de Patagonie (fr); agachona chica (es); zwerghöhenläufer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Thinocoridae

Range:
This species is found breeding along the pacific coast of South America, from Ecuador to central Chile, and in southern Chile and Argentina down to Tierra del Fuego. Some birds migrate north or eastwards, wintering in Bolivia, northern Argentina and possibly also Uruguay and southern Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 16-19 cm long and weigh 50-60 g.

Habitat:
Least seedsnipes are found in temperate grasslands, pastures and alpine grasslands, from sea level up to an altitude of 3.700 m.

Diet:
They feed on the buds, leaves and seeds of various grasses.

Breeding:
the least seedsnipe breeds in August-February. They nest on the ground, in a crude scrape lined with moss and plant debris. The nest is often placed near a stone or dwarf scrub. There the female lays 4 eggs which are incubated for about 26 days. The chicks leave the nest shortly after hatching and are able to feed for themselves, following the parents until fledging, which takes place around 50 days after hatching.

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

Monday, 22 October 2012

Red-crested pochard

Netta rufina

Photo by Mustafa Sozen (Trek Nature)

Common name:
red-crested pochard (en); pato-de-bico-vermelho (pt); nette rousse (fr); pato colorado (es); kolbenente (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae

Range:
These birds breed in southern Europe, from Portugal and Spain to the Ukraine, with some populations as far north as Germany and Poland. Then, through Turkey and the Caucasus they are found in central Asia, in Kazakhstan, southern Russia, north-western China and Mongolia. Some population migrate south to winter around the Mediterranean, in the Nile valley and in the Indian sub-continent.

Size:
This large diving duck is 45-57 cm long and has a wingspan of 84-90 cm. They weigh 1-1,5 kg.

Habitat:
The red-crested pochard is mainly found in fresh or brackish water lakes and lagoons, with abundant aquatic vegetation. They may also be found in coastal areas, estuaries, and along rivers.

Diet:
They feed on various aquatic plants and algae, but also grasses and sometimes aquatic invertebrates.

Breeding:
Red-crested pochards breed in April-July. The nest is built on the ground, never far from water, consisting of a conical structure made of grasses, leaves, rushes and down. There the female lays 6-12 creamy white or pale green eggs, which she incubates alone for 26-28 days while the male stands guard. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and are able to feed themselves, but rely on their mother for brooding and protection until they fledge, 45-50 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon. The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are increasing, stable, or have unknown trends. They main threats affecting the red-crested pochard are the degradation of wetland habitats and hunting, but in some areas poisoning from lead shot ingestion and drowning on fresh water fishing nets are also a problem.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Brown cacholote

Pseudoseisura lophotes

Photo by Jorge San Pedro (Foto Natura)

Common name:
brown cacholote (en); coperete (pt); cacholote brun (fr); cacholote castaño (es); dunkelbrauner cachalote (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species is found in southern South America, from southern Bolivia, through Paraguay and Uruguay, and down to central Argentina. They are also found in extreme southern Brazil, in Rio Grande do Sul.

Size:
These bird are 24-26 cm long and weigh 65-90 g.

Habitat:
The brown cacholote is mostly found in dry tropical forests, but also in moist forests, moist savannas, second growths and within urban areas. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 900 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on larval and adult insects, especially beetles and large ants, but also the eggs of other birds, seeds and fruits.

Breeding:
Brown cacholotes breed in October-February. They build a large, bulky nest, made of sticks and lined with plant materials, twigs and dung. The nest is placed in an horizontal branch, 4-6 m above the ground. The female lays 2-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 18-20 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-23 days after hatching. After hatching the chicks remain in the parental territory for up to 1 year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very 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, 20 October 2012

Sickle-billed vanga

Falculea palliata

Photo by Dubi Shapiro (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
sickle-billed vanga (en); vanga-de-bico-curvo (pt); falculie mantelée (fr); vanga piquicurvo (es); sichelschnabelvanga (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Vangidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found on the western side of the island.

Size:
These birds are 32 cm long and weigh 100-120 g.

Habitat:
The sickle-billed vanga is mostly found in dry tropical forests and scrublands, dry savannas and to a lesser extent in tropical moist forests and mangroves. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 900 m.

Diet:
These birds often forage in groups, using their long bills to probe the bark of the trees for various invertebrates, such as spiders, cockroaches, crickets, beetles, and worms, but also small vertebrates such as chameleons and geckos.

Breeding:
Sickle-billed vangas breed in October-January. They are polyandrous, with each female matting with several males who are responsible for raising the chicks. The female performs courtship displays to attract the males. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a large untidy bowl of twigs, placed in a fork in a tree 9-16 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-4 creamy eggs with dark mottles, which are incubated by both sexes for 16-18 days. The males are mostly responsible for feeding and brooding the chicks, which fledge 19-23 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common in areas of favourable habitat. There is no information regarding population trends, but the sickle-billed vanga is not considered threatened at present.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Chimney swift

Chaetura pelagica

Photo by Daniele Occhiato (PBase)

Common name:
chimney swift (en); andorinhão-migrador (pt); martinet ramoneur (fr); vencejo de chimenea (es); schornsteinsegler (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae

Range:
This species breeds in western North America, from Alberta to Newfoundland, in Canada, and throughout the western United States down to Florida and Texas. They migrate south to winter in north-western South America, from Colombia and Venezuela to Peru, northern Bolivia and north-western Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 12-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 27-30 cm. They weigh 17-30 g.

Habitat:
During the breeding season the chimney swift is mainly found near human settlements. Outside the breeding season they are also found in irrigated agricultural areas, along rivers bordered by forests, and along the edges of rainforests and secondary growths. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.

Diet:
They feed exclusively while in flight, taking various flying insects and spiders.

Breeding:
Chimney swifts are monogamous and may mate for life. They breed in May-July and form colonies from a few pairs up to thousands of individuals. Each pairs builds a cup-shaped nest made of small sticks and twigs, held together by saliva and glued to the inside of a wall or chimney with saliva. There the female lays 3-7 glossy white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 19-21 days. The chicks may leave the nest 14-19 days after hatching, but typically only start to fly about 1 month after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 15 million individuals. This population is likely much large than what is was before the urban development of eastern north America, as they took advantage of chimneys and other human structures for nesting. However, the population as declined in recent decades, by as much much as 40% since 1980, mainly due to the loss of roosting and nesting sites caused by logging operations, the demolition of old abandoned buildings and, especially, the sharp decline in the number of suitable and accessible traditional chimneys.
exclusively while in flight

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hooded pitta

Pitta sordida

Photo by Chris Li (Flickr)

Common name:
hooded pitta (en); pita-de-capuz (pt); brève à capuchon (fr); pita encapuchada (es); kappenpitta (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pittidae

Range:
This Asian species is found from southern China and northern India, throughout Indochina and into Indonesia and Papua-New Guinea. The population in mainland Asia migrate south to winter along the southern parts of the range.

Size:
These birds are 16-19 cm long and weigh 42-70 g.

Habitat:
Hooded pittas are found in various forested and wooded habitats, namely primary rainforests, secondary forests, bamboo forests, swamp forests, mangroves, tropical dry forests, scrublands, plantations and cultivated areas. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, searching for food among the forest litter. They mostly eat adult and larval insects, such as beetles, ants, termites, cockroaches and bugs, but also earthworms, snails and berries. 

Breeding:
Hooded pittas breed in February-August. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a dome-shaped structure, made of made of roots, bamboo leaves, rootlets, moss, and twigs, and lined with finer material. It is placed on the ground. There the female lays 3-4 white eggs with grey, brown, or dark purple spots, which are incubated by both sexes for 15-16 days. The chicks are fed both parents and fledge 16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as relatively common in parts this range, but rare or localised in other areas. The population has declined rapidly owing to habitat destruction and collection for the cage bird trade, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Northern white-faced owl

Ptilopsis leucotis

(Photo from Blogodisea)

Common name:
northern white-faced owl (en); mocho-de-faces-brancas-nortenho (pt); petit-duc à face blanche du nord (fr); autillo cariblanco norteño (es); nordbüscheleule (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This African species is found along the Sahel belt, south of the Sahara desert, from Senegal, Guinea and Sierra Leone in the west to Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia in the east.

Size:
These birds are 24-25 cm long and weigh 185-220 g.

Habitat:
The northern white-faced owl is found in dry savannas, riverine woodlands, scrublands and sometimes also in deserts and even within urban areas.

Diet:
They feed on invertebrates such as moths, crickets, beetles, scorpions, and spiders, as well as small vertebrates such as reptiles, birds and mammals, especially rodents and shrews.

Breeding:
Northern white-faced owls breed in May-November. They nest in natural holes or hollows and crevices in old trees, or old stick nests of larger birds in scrubs or trees, 2-8 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-4 shiny white eggs, which she incubates alone for 29-31 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 27-32 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for another 2 weeks.

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

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Velvety black-tyrant

Knipolegus nigerrimus

Photo by Dario Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:
velvety black-tyrant (en); maria-preta-de-garganta-vermelha (pt); ada noir (fr); viudita aterciopelada (es); kurzschopf-dunkeltyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Brazil, being found in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the country in the states of Pernambuco and Bahia, and from Minas Gerais south to Rio Grande do Sul.

Size:
These birds are 18 cm long and weigh 25-35 g.

Habitat:
The velvety black-tyrant is found tropical dry grasslands, dry forests, rocky areas and scrublands. They are present at altitudes of 700-2.700 m.

Diet:
They feed on various fruits and insects.

Breeding:
Velvety black-tyrants breed in October-January. The nest is a cup made of roots and moss, with no lining other then a few feathers. The nest is placed over a rock or in a rocky crevice, 2-10 m above the ground. The female lays 3 white eggs with a few brown spots, which she incubates alone while the male stands guard near the nest. The chicks are fed by both parents. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledging periods.

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

Monday, 15 October 2012

Mountain wagtail

Motacilla clara

Photo by Morten Nilsen (Global Twitcher)

Common name:
mountain wagtail (en); alvéola-rabilonga (pt); bergeronnette à longe queue (fr); lavandera clara (es); langschwanzstelze (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Motacillidae

Range:
This species is found is isolated patches in sub-Saharan Africa, namely in Ethiopia, from southern Nigeria to Gabon, and from Kenya, Uganda, through southern D.R. Congo and Tanzania and into Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and eastern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 17-19 cm long and weigh 15-25 g.

Habitat:
The mountain wagtail is found along upland rivers and streams surrounded by hills with forests, woodlands or dense scrublands, especially near waterfalls and flat rocks immersed in shallow water. They are present at altitudes of 1.500-2.000 m.


Diet:
They forage along watercourses, searching for prey on rocks, in sand or in shallow water. They mostly eat insects such as flies, mosquitoes and their larvae, caddisflies, mayflies and their nymphs, dragonflies, damselflies, moths, butterflies, beetles and grubs. They also eat slugs and tadpoles.

Breeding:
Mountain wagtails can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their range. They are monogamous and can pair for life. The nest is a deep cup made of grasses, leaves and moss, lined with fine rootlets and hair. It is typically placed in a cavity on a stream bank, often concealed behind overhanging vegetation, or also under bridges or sometimes in trees. There the female lays 1-4 dull greyish eggs with brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14-18 days after hatching, but continue to depend on their parents for another 2-6 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 described as frequent on suitable watercourses throughout much of its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

White woodpecker

 Melanerpes candidus

Photo by Dario Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This South American species is found from French Guyana, in the north, through most of Brazil and into southern Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 24-29 cm long and weigh 98-136 g.

Habitat:
The white woodpecker is mostly found in dry savannas and dry tropical forests, but also in dry grasslands and scrublands with some trees, moist forests, agricultural fields, palm groves, orchards and exotic plantations. they occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, seeds and insects and are also known to eat honey from bee hives. Their insect prey are mostly Hymenoptera, namely leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmexi, other ants, the wasp Polybia scutellaris and the stingless bee Trigona spinipes.

Breeding:
White woodpeckers breed in September-December. They sometimes breed communally, in groups of 5-8 birds. The nest is a hole in tree or stump, or sometimes a hole among rocks. there the female lays 3-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents. there is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. The chicks fledge 35-36 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon and patchily distributed. The population appears to have expanded its range in the south since the early 1990's. In some areas they may be persecuted due to the damage they cause in orchards and fruit plantations, and in some cases trapped for the cage bird market, but overall the white woodpecker is not threatened.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Grasshopper sparrow

Ammodramus savannarum

Photo by Raymond Barlow (Lee's Birdwatching Adventures)

Common name:
grasshopper sparrow (en); escrevedeira-dos-gafanhotos (pt); bruant sauterelle (fr); sabanero chapulín (es); heuschreckenammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species breeds in most of the United States and in southern Canada. There are also some breeding populations in Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean. The more northern population migrate south to winter in the southern United States, Mexico and through Central America down to Panama. They also winter in Cuba.

Size:
These birds are 11-13 cm long and weigh 14-20 g.

Habitat:
The grasshopper sparrow is found in a variety of open habitats, namely grasslands, upland meadows, pastures, hayfields, abandoned fields and scrublands. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.300 m.

Diet:
They mainly eat insects and seeds, mainly grasshoppers such as Xiphidium, Scudderia, Hippiscus, Melanopus and Cordillacris occipitalis. They also eat other insects, spiders and the seeds of sedges and panic grass.

Breeding:
Grasshopper sparrows breed in April-November. The female build a nest, a cup made of grasses, placed on the ground with a roof of grasses. There the female lays 3-6 white eggs with reddish-brown speckles. The eggs are incubated by the female for 11-13 days. The chicks leave the nest after 6-9 days but only start to fly a few days later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range, but the population has undergone a large decline of 65% over the last 4 decades, mostly due to habitat loss and fragmentation through the conversion of natural prairies into intensive agricultural land.
Xiphidium, Scudderia, Hippiscus, and Melanopus, but especially the grasshopper species Cordillacris occipitalis.
Xiphidium, Scudderia, Hippiscus, and Melanopus, but especially the grasshopper species Cordillacris occipitalis.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Tambourine dove

Turtur tympanistria

(Photo from Tokin Birds)

Common name:
tambourine dove (en); rola-de-papo-branco (pt); tourtelette tambourette (fr); palomita tamborilera (es); tamburintäubchen (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia, south to Angola, Zambia and Tanzania, and through Mozambique down to eastern and southern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 22-23 cm long and weigh 50-85 g.

Habitat:
The tambourine dove is found in moist tropical forests, especially in riverine woodlands, but also in coastal forests, scrublands, rural gardens and plantations. This species is found from sea level up to an altitude of 3.200 m.

Diet:
They eat a variety of fruits, seeds and invertebrates, namely grass seeds, the seeds of trees such as Albizia, Celtis, Croton and Ricinus, the fruits of Solanum, Syzygium and Trema, termites and small molucs.

Breeding:
Tambourine doves breed in September-May. Both sexes build the nest, a fragile saucer made of twigs, leaves and petioles. It is typically placed among the tangled branches of a creeper, in a scrub or tree, often in vegetation next to rivers. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which she mostly incubates alone for 17-20 days. The chicks are fed by both parents 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 widespread. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.