Friday, 30 November 2012

Slaty-tailed trogon

Trogon massena

Photo by Thore Noernberg (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
slaty-tailed trogon (en); surucuá-de-cauda-escura (pt); trogon de Masséna (fr); trogón grande (es); schieferschwanztrogon (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Trogoniformes
Family Trogonidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico, through Central America and into western Colombia and north-western Ecuador.

Size:
The slaty-tailed trogon is 30 cm long and weighs around 145 g.

Habitat:
They are mainly found in tropical and sub-tropical rainforests, but also in mangroves, secondary forests and plantations, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Diet:
Slaty-tailed trogons feed on insects and other arthropods, as well as fruits. To a lesser extent they also take small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs.

Breeding:
These birds are monogamous. They nest in a hollow excavated into a rotting tree trunk or a termite nests, 3-15 m above the ground. There the female lays 3 white or pale blue eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 16-21 days. The chicks are fed insects by both parents and fledge 3-4 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The slaty-tailed trogon has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 20.000-50.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. Even though this species is not threatened at present, they are sensitive to habitat destruction and may face population declines in the future as deforestation affects tropical forests within their range.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Spotted quail-thrush

Cinclosoma punctatum

Photo by Patrick Ingremeau (Oiseaux)

Common name:
spotted quail-thrush (en); tordo-codorniz-malhado (pt); cinclosome pointillé (fr); zordala manchada (es); fleckenflöter (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cinclosomatidae

Range:
This species is endemic to eastern Australia, being found from central Queensland to Victoria and Tasmania.

Size:
These birds are 24-30 cm long and have a wingspan of 32-40 cm. They weigh 85-145 g.

Habitat:
The spotted quail-thrush is found in dry forests and savannas, namely sclerophyll woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus trees with sparse understorey vegetation, and sometimes also in heathlands.

Diet:
They are omnivorous, taking insects such as beetles and grasshoppers, but also the seeds
of grasses, sedges, legumes and other plants. They are also know to eat small vertebrates.


Breeding:
Spotted quail-thrushes breed in August-November. The nest is a cup made of grass, leaves, bark, roots and twigs, placed on the ground, often in a shallow depression, in the shelter of a log or large stone, or at the base of a fern, shrub, tree or tussock of grass. There the female lays 2-5 stone coloured eggs with darker blotches, which she incubates alone for about 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge around 14 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for a few more weeks. Each pair may raise 2-3 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be local and generally scarce. This population is estimated to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

African broadbill

Smithornis capensis

Photo by Hugh Chittenden (10.000 Birds)

Common name:
African broadbill (en); bico-largo-africano (pt); eurylaime du Cap (fr); eurilaimo africano (es); schwarzscheitel breitrachen (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Eurylaimidae

Range:
This African species is found in two separate populations, one in coastal West Africa and a larger one in East African from Uganda south to Zimbabwe, Botswana and north-eastern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 20-25 g.

Habitat:
This species is mostly found in coastal evergreen forests and dry savannas, but also in inland moist forests, scrublands and sometimes also in plantations and arable land. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.550 m.

Diet:
They mostly forage on the ground or in the trees, and ocasionally in flight, taking insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, bugs and caterpillars, and spiders.

Breeding:
African broadbills mainly breed in October-January, but this may vary between different parts of their range. They are monogamous and nest in an oval-shaped structure with a side entrance, made of bark, dry leaves, twigs, grass and rootlets, often held together by strands of spider web. It hangs conspicuously from a low branch of a tree, usually 1,5-3 m above the ground. The female lays 1-3 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 16-17 days while the male keeps watch outside the nest. The chicks are mainly fed by the male but there is no available information regarding the fledgling period.

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 African broadbill is reported to be locally common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction but it is not considered threatened at present.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Mealy amazon

Amazona farinosa

Photo by Lindolfo Souto (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
mealy amazon (en); papagaio-moleiro (pt); amazone poudrée (fr); amazona harinosa (es); mülleramazone (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico to central Bolivia and north-western Brazil. There is also a separate population along the south-eastern coast of Brazil, from  Bahia to São Paulo.

Size:
These birds are 38-41 cm long and weigh 540-700 g.

Habitat:
The mealy amazon is mostly found in dense rainforests, usually near clearings, but also in savannas and second growths. It is found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed on various plant parts, including seeds, fruits, nuts, blossoms and leaf buds.

Breeding:
The mealy amazon breeds in November-May. They nest in a tree cavity, or occasionally on a rocky hollow, where the female lays 3-4 white eggs. The eggs are incubated by the female for 26-27 days. The chicks are fed by the female, while the male provides her with food, and fledge 60-65 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 500.000-5.000.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of trapping for the international pet trade.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Masked shrike

Lanius nubicus

Photo by Christodoulos Makris (Trek Nature)

Common name:
masked shrike (en); picanço-núbio (pt); pie-grèche masquée (fr); alcaudón núbico (es); maskenwürger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Laniidae

Range:
This species is found breeding in south-eastern Europe and the Middle East, from Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria to southern Israel, northern Iraq and western Iran. They migrate south to winter in Africa from Ethiopia and Eritrea to Chad, Mali and eastern Mauritania. There is also a wintering population in Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia.

Size:
These birds are 17-18,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 24-27 cm. They weigh 50-70 g.

Habitat:
The masked shrike is mostly found in dry savannas and scrublands, but also in deciduous and coniferous forests, plantations, arable land and rural gardens. It is typically found up to an altitude of 1.000 m, but may sometimes be found at altitudes up to 2.400 m.

Diet:
They forage by waiting on a perch, in a scrub or tree, and sallying out to catch their prey on the ground or sometimes in flight. They mainly feed on insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers and beetles, but will also sometimes take other arthropods and small vertebrates.

Breeding:
Masked shrikes are monogamous and breed in April-June. The nest is a compact cup made of leaves and twigs, and lined with feathers and hairs. The nest is well hidden on a tree or thorny scrub, up to 12 m above the ground. The female lays 2-7 cream or yellowish eggs with dark spots, which she incubates alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-20 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 3-4 weeks later. Each pair may raise 1-2 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 140.000-600.000 individuals. The population is estimated to be declining, mostly due to habitat degradation and destruction, but possibly also because of hunting and persecution due to the fact that the masked shrike is believed to bring bad luck in Greece and Syria.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

White-throated swallow

Hirundo albigularis

Photo by Jeff Poklen (PBase)

Common name:
white-throated swallow (en); andorinha-de-garganta-branca (pt); hirondelle à gorge blanche (fr); golondrina gorgiblanca (es); weißkehlschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

Range:
This species is found breeding in across South Africa and marginally across the border into southern Namibia and southern Botswana. They migrate north to winter from Angola to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and southern D.R. Congo.

Size:
These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 20-25 g.

Habitat:
The white-throated swallow is generally found in open grasslands, fynbos scrublands and and savannas, especially along rivers, streams and lakes. They are also found in rural gardens, urban areas and artificial reservoirs.

Diet:
They feed exclusively on flying insects, which typically catch on the wing, but may sometimes hunt on the ground and along shorelines. They are known to eat flies, wasps, beetles and termite alates.

Breeding:
White-throated swallows are monogamous, solitary nesters. They breed in August-March and nest in a small, open cup made of mud pellets and lined with fine grass, rootlets, hair and feathers. The nest is placed on a vertical rock face or on a man-made structure such as a water tank, bridge, dam wall or building. The female lays 2-5 white eggs with brown and blue blotches, which she incubates alone for 15-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-25 days after hatching, but will continue to roost on the nest for another 2 weeks. Each pair may raise multiple broods in a season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as generally common. The population is suspected to be increasing following a possible range expansion during the 20th century.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Spotted nightjar

Eurostopodus argus

Photo by Lindsay Hansch (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
spotted nightjar (en); noitibó-malhado (pt); engoulevent argus (fr); chotacabras argos (es); Argusnachtschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Caprimulgidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of Australia, with the exception of the eastern coast from central Queensland to south-eastern South Australia. The more southern population migrate north to winter in northern Australia, the Indonesian islands in the Banda Sea and possibly also in New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 27-35 cm long and weigh 75-130 g.

Habitat:
The spotted nightjar is mainly found in open woodlands, savannas and grasslands, but also in Acacia scrublands and mangroves.

Diet:
They mainly feed on insects and other arthropods, which they usually catch in flight at very low altitudes, just 20-30 cm above the ground. They sometimes also forage on the ground.

Breeding:
Spotted nightjars breed in August-February. They don't build a nest, laying the egg on bare soil or among the leaf litter. The female lays a single greenish, olive or yellowish egg with purple spots, which is incubated by both parents for 29-33 days. The chick will make its first flight attempts 15-20 days after hatching, but only becomes independent about 30 days after hatching. As soon as the young leave the nest the female may lay another egg and each pair may raise 1-3 chicks per season.

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

Friday, 23 November 2012

Pale-breasted spinetail

Synallaxis albescens

Photo by Dario Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:
pale-breasted spinetail (en); uí-pi (pt); synallaxe albane (fr); pijuí pechiblanco (es); weißbauch-dickichtschlüpfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species is found from Costa Rica to northern Argentina, and from the eastern slopes of the Andes to the Atlantic coast of Brazil and the Guyanas. They are also found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Size:
These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 13-15 g.

Habitat:
The pale-breasted spinetail is mainly found in dry savannas and scrublands, but also in grasslands, pastures, agricultural areas, marshes and swamps and in forest clearings and degraded patches of former forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They are insectivorous, gleaning various arthropods from the foliage, usually in dense vegetation.

Breeding:
Pale-breasted spinetails nest in a large spherical structure made of sticks, dry grass and sometimes snake skins and spider webs. The nest has a long tubular entrance and is usually placed in low vegetation, up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-5 greenish-white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 14-18 days. The chicks fledge 16-17 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common.  This species is expanding its range into areas that have been cleared.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Chihuahuan raven

Cirvus cryptoleucus

Photo by Dave Beaudette (Flickr)

Common name:
Chihuahuan raven (en); corvo-da-planície (pt); corbeau à cou blanc (fr); cuervo llanero (es); weißhalsrabe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
This species is found is found in the southern United States , from Colorado and Kansas down to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and in northern Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 46-53 cm long and have a wingspan of 104-110 cm. They weigh 380-670 g.

Habitat:
The Chihuahuan raven is mainly found in dry, open grassland with scattered trees and scrubs, but also in dry scrublands and arable land from sea level up to an altitude of 2.400 m.

Diet:
They are omnivorous, eating large insects, cultivated grains, carrion, eggs, young birds, fruits, lizards, small mammals, garbage.

Breeding:
Chihuahuan ravens breed in May-July. They either nest in loose colonies or in lonely pairs. The nest is an pen cup of sticks with softer lining, such as wool, fur, cotton, paper, rope, tree bark, grass, or yucca fibres. It is usually placed in a low tree or on human-made structure, such as machinery, building, or utility pole, 2-12 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-8 green to blue eggs with brown blotches, which are incubated by both parents for 18-21 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 28-31 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status -  LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the population has shown a stable trend over the last 4 decades. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

African skimmer

Rynchops flavirostris

Photo by Aleix Comas (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
African skimmer (en); talha-mar-africano (pt); bec-en-ciseaux d'Afrique (fr); rayador africano (es); braunmantel-scherenschnabel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Rynchopidae

Range:
This species is found in most rivers and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Mauritania, southern Mali, Chad and southern Egypt south to northern Namibia, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique.

Size:
These birds are 36-42 cm long and have a wingspan of 106 cm. They weigh 110-200 g.

Habitat:
The African skimmer is found in broad rivers, coastal lagoons, open marshes and lakes with expansive, exposed sandbars and islands. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed at dusk, dawn and during the night, flying over calm waters and dipping their lower mandibles in the water to catch fishes such as Micralestes acutidens, Tilapia, Barbus, Marcusenius macrolepidotus, Hepsetus odoe, Aplocheilichthys or Petrocephalus catostoma.

Breeding:
African skimmers breed in March-November. They form loose colonies of up to 50 pairs, each nesting in a scrape on the ground in a sandbar. There the female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 20-22 days. The chicks leave the nest within 1-2 days of hatching, being led to the water by the parents who protect them from heat and regularly feed them. They start flying 5-6 weeks after hatching but only become fully independent a few weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a very large breeding range but the global population is estimated at just 10.000-17.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to wetland habitat degradation caused by dam-building and farming practices. Over-exploitation of eggs and adults, and human disturbance are additional problems.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

White-rumped tanager

Cypsnagra hirundinacea

Photo by Ciro Albano (Flickr)

Commons name:
white-rumped tanager (en); bandoleta (pt); tangara hirundinacé (fr); bandoleta (es); weißbürzeltangare (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This South American species is found from eastern Bolivia east to north-eastern Brazil and northern Paraguay.

Size:
These birds are 16-16,5 cm long and weigh 24-34 g.

Habitat:
These birds are found in dry savannas and scrublands, namely in cerrado and campo habitats. They are also found in agricultural areas, and at the edges of human settlements.

Diet:
They are mainly insectivorous, taking caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, flying ants, termites and spiders, but will also eat the fruits of Byrsonima, Anonna, Eugenia, and Erythroxulum.

Breeding:
The white-rumped tanager breeds in August-December. They are cooperative breeders, with several helpers, possibly young from previous clutches, participating in nest defence and feeding the chicks. The nest is a tightly woven cup of grass, leaves or twigs, lined with fine plant down. It is placed in a fork in a tree, 1-4 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-4 pale blue eggs with dark spots, which she incubates alone for 15-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and the helpers, fledging 11-13 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the white-rumped tanager is described as fairly common but patchily distributed. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Oriental skylark

Alauda gulgula

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

Common name:
oriental skylark (en), laverca-oriental (pt); alouette gulgule (fr); alondra oriental (es); orientfeldlerche (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Asia, from northern Iran and souther Kazakhstan to eastern China and south to India, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Size:
These birds are 15-16,5 cm long and weigh 24-30 g.

Habitat:
The oriental skylark is found in various open habitats, often near water bodies. These include grasslands, dry scrublands, saltmarshes, mudflats, saltflats, lakes and rivers, and arable land. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 4.300 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, taking seeds and insects, namely moths, caterpillars and other insect larvae. They often feed on fallen grain of all types of cultivated cereals.

Breeding:
The oriental skylark breeds in March-November. The nest is a shallow depression on the ground, lined with dry grasses, and often sheltered by a clod of earth, a tuft of grass or a small stunted scrub. there The female lays 2-5 greyish or yellowish eggs with fine brown spots, which she incubates alone for 10-11 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10 days after hatching, but continue to rely on the parents for food for another 1-2 weeks. Each pair raises 2 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common to fairly common in most of this range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss

Sunday, 18 November 2012

African darter

Anhinga rufa

Photo by Trevor Hardaker (Trevor and Margaret Hardaker)

Common name:
African darter (en); mergulhão-serpente-africano (pt); anhinga d'Afrique (fr); aninga africana (es); Afrikanische schlangenhalsvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Anhingidae

Range:
This species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Mauritania to Sudan and south to South Africa. It is also found in Madagascar and there are also isolated population in the Middle East, at Lake Amik in south-central Turkey, in Hula valley lake and marshes in northern Israel and in the marshes of the lower Euphrates and Tigris rivers in southern Iraq.

Size:
These birds are 80-100 m long and have a wingspan of around 120 cm. They weigh 1-1,4 kg.

Habitat:The African anhinga is found in still, shallow, inland freshwater and alkaline lakes and slow-flowing rivers fringed with reeds and trees. They also occur in swamps, reservoirs, forested streams, and occasionally in mangrove swamps, estuaries, shallow tidal inlets and coastal lagoons.

Diet:
They mainly feed on freshwater fishes, mainly Cichlidae and Cyprinidae, but will also take amphibians, water snakes, terrapins, aquatic insects, crustaceans and molluscs.

Breeding:
African darters are monogamous and often colonial. They breed all year round. The
nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an untidy platform of sticks or dead reeds, with a shallow cup in the centre which is lined with grass. It is typically placed in a fork in a tree over water, or alternatively in a reed bed. There the female lays 2-7 eggs which are incubated by both sexes around 22 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 5-7 weeks after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the overall trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable. Habitat destruction, environmental pollution and persecution because of its wrongly perceived impact on trout and other recreational fish species may have a negative impact on the African darter, but overall the species is not considered threatened.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Dusky-throated antshrike

Thamnomanes ardesiacus

Photo by Marc Chrétien (GEPOG)

Common name:
dusky-throated antshrike (en); uirapuru-de-garganta-preta (pt); batara ardoisé (fr); batará gorgioscuro (es); nördlicher schwarzkehlwürgerling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

Range:
This South American species is found in northern Brazil and the Guyanas, in southern Venezuela, southern Colombia and through Ecuador and Peru down to northern Bolivia.

Size:
These birds are 13-14 cm long and weigh 13-23 g.

Habitat:
The dusky-throated antshrike is found in the understorey of tropical rainforests and swamp forests, mainly in areas of terra firme.

Diet:
They are insectivorous, searching for their prey on the foliage or by sallying out from a perch. They are also known to join mixed-species flocks and follow ant swarms and will occasionally eat larger prey such as lizards.

Breeding:
Dusky-throated antshrikes nest in a cup made of fungal filaments lined with dry leaves, placed in a fork in a tree, up to 10 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 eggs which are incubated for 11-12 days. There is no information regarding the fledgling period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. This population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Friday, 16 November 2012

European greenfinch

Carduelis chloris

Photo by J. Romãozinho (Pescador de Aves)

Common name:
European greenfinch (en); verdilhão (pt); verdier d'Europe (fr); verderón común (es); grünfink (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of Europe, with the exception of northern Scandinavia, northern Russia and Iceland. They are also found in north-west Africa, from Morocco to Tunisia, and in near Asia, from Turkey, Israel and Jordan, through northern Iran and into southern Kazakhstan. Some of the more northern populations migrate south to winter around the Mediterranean Sea. The European greenfinch was also introduced to south-eastern Australia and New Zealand.

Size:
These birds are 14-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 25-28 cm. They weigh 25-30 g.

Habitat:
The European greenfinch is found in open woodlands, temperate and boreal forests, scrublands, pastures, arable land, plantations and in parks and gardens within urban areas.

Diet:
They mainly feed on seeds, using their powerful bill to break them open, but also take buds, berries, and even some insects during the breeding season.

Breeding:
The European greenfinch breeds in April-August. They are territorial, solitary nesters, but sometimes form loose colonies. The nest is a bulky cup made of dried grasses and moss, and lined with plant fibres, rootlets, fur, feathers and wool.It is placed in a fork in a tree, not very far from the ground. There the female lays 4-6 glossy pale blue or creamy white eggs with reddish markings. The eggs are incubated by female for 13-15 days, while the male provides her with food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 16-18 days after hatching. Each pair  raises 2-3 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 44,7-128 million individuals. In Europe, the populations has undergone a moderate decline since 1980, but the species is not threatened at present.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Superb fruit-dove

Ptilinopus superbus

Photo by Neil Turner (Wikipedia)

Common name:
superb fruit-dove (en); pombo-da-fruta-pintado (pt); ptilope superbe (fr); tilopo soberbio (es); prachtfruchttaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern Indonesia, in Papua-New Guinea and along the north-eastern coast of Australia from northern Queensland to northern New South Wales.

Size:
These birds are 21-24 cm long and weigh 80-145 g.

Habitat:
The superb fruit-dove is found in rainforests, along rainforests edges and in mangroves, often along rivers and streams. They are also found in plantations and even within urban areas. This species is found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.600 m.

Diet:
They feed almost exclusively on fruits and berries, namely figs Ficus albipila and Ficus benjamina, Canarium australianum drupes, and Archontophoenix, Calamus and Livistona palm fruit, also the fruits Litsea, Neolitsea Cryptocarya, Cananga odorata, Syzygium and Vitex cofassus. Sometimes they also take seeds and small insects.

Breeding:
Superb fruit-doves breed in September-January. The nest flimsy platform of twigs, placed in a tree or vine 5-30 m above the ground. There the female lays 1 white eggs which is incubated by both sexes for 14 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge as early as 7 days after hatching.

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

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

White-throated robin

Irania gutturalis

Photo by Abdul Al-Sirha (Kuwait Bird Sightings)

Common name:
white-throated robin (en); rouxinol-de-garganta-branca (pt); iranie à gorge blanche (fr); ruiseñor pintado (es); weißkehlsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

Range:
This Asian species breeds from Turkey and Israel, through the Caucasus, northern Iraq and Iran, and into northern Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and southern Kazakhstan. They migrate south to winter in East Africa, from Ethiopia to Tanzania.

Size:
These birds are 16-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 27-30 cm. They weigh around 22 g.

Habitat:
White-throated robins are found in arid rocky areas, deserts, dry savannas and scrublands, dry grasslands and occasionally in agricultural areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.700 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, mainly taking insects and other arthropods, but also fruits.

Breeding:
White-throated robins breed in April-July. They nest in a cup of dry grass leaves, twigs, and bark, placed in a tree crevice, stump or branch, and lined with vegetable down and hair, often some feathers, bits of rag, paper, and sheep wool. There the female lays 3-5 eggs, which are mainly incubated by the female for 12-15 days. The chicks fledge 9-10 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single clutch per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and global population estimated at 2,5-11 million individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Green-throated mango

Anthracothorax viridigula

Photo by Michel Giraud-Audine (Flickr)

Common name:
green-throated mango (en); beija-flor-de-veste-verde (pt); mango à cravate verte (fr); mango gorgiverde (es); smaragdkehl-mangokolibri (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is found in north-eastern South America, along the coastal areas from northern Venezuela, through the Guyanas and down to the mouth of the Amazon river, in Brazil. They are also found inland, along the Amazon river up to Manaus.

Size:
These birds are 10-11 cm long and weigh around 9 g.

Habitat:
The green-throated mango is found in moist forests and savannas, mangroves, second growths, marshes, bogs and swamps, from sea level up to an altitude of 500 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on the nectar of a variety of brightly coloured, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, scrubs and epiphytes. They also hunt small spiders and insects, especially during the breeding season, which may be taken from the vegetation of captured in flight.

Breeding:
Green-throated mangos nest in a deep cup, made of plant fibres woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage. The nest is lined with soft plant fibres, animal hair and feather down, and is placed in a low, thin horizontal branch, in a scrub or tree. The female lays 1-3 white eggs which she incubates alone for 15-16 days while the male defends the territory. The chicks are fed by the female and fledge 24-25 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon. This species is suspected to be declining locally owing to ongoing habitat loss, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Swamp sparrow

Melospiza georgiana

Photo by Richard Dumoulin (Oiseaux)

Common name:
swamp sparrow (en); escrevedeira-dos-pântanos (pt); bruant des marais (fr); sabanero platanero (es); sumpfammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
The swamp sparrow breeds across most of Canada from the Rocky mountains to Newfoundland and in the north-eastern United States south to Missouri, Ohio and Maryland. Most population migrate south to winter in the eastern United States from Connecticut and Michigan south to Florida and Texas, and also in northern Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 12-14 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-19 cm. They weigh 11-24 g.

Habitat:
The swamp sparrow is found in various wetland habitats, namely freshwater and tidal marshes, bogs, wet meadows, and swamps.

Diet:
During spring and summer they are mostly insectivorous, eating various aquatic invertebrates, but they also eat seeds and fruits, which become the main food source during autumn and winter.

Breeding:
Swamp sparrows are monogamous. The nest is a bulky open cup of dry grasses, sedges, plant stalks, and leaves, lined with fine grass, plant fibres, and occasionally hair. It is placed in dense cattails, grasses, or scrubs, or sometimes on the ground. There the female lays 2-6 green of bluish-green eggs with brown blotches, which she incubates alone for 12-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-13 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 9 million individuals. The population has undergone a large increase of 16% per decade over the last 40 years, so the swamp sparrow is not threatened at present.
Missouri, Ohio, and Maryland,

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Yellow-fronted tinkerbird

Pogoniulus chrysoconus

Photo by Ian White (Flickr)

Common name:
yellow-fronted tinkerbird (en); barbadinho-de-testa-amarela (pt); barbion à front jaune (fr); barbudito frentigualdo (es); gelbstirn-bartvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to southern Sudan and Ethiopia and south to northern Namibia and north-eastern South Africa. They are mostly absent from the Congo river basin.

Size:
These birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh 11-17 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-fronted tinkerbird is mostly found in broad-leaved woodlands and savannas, especially miombo Brachystegia, but also in moist tropical forests, scrublands, pastures and along rivers and streams. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They mainly eat small berries and fruits, namely mistletoe berries and figs, but also some beetles and other insects.

Breeding:
Yellow-fronted tinkerbirds breed all year round. Both sexes excavate the nest, a hole dug into a dead branch or stump, where the female lays 2-4 white eggs. The eggs are incubated by both sexes for about 12 days. The chicks are cared for by both sexes and fledge about 21 days after hatching. Each pair can raise 3-4 broods per year.

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.