Thursday, 31 January 2013

Black woodpecker

Dryocopus martius

Photo by Jari Peltomaki (Luonto Portti)

Common name:
black woodpecker (en); pica-pau-preto (pt); pic noir (fr); pito negro (es); schwarzspecht (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is widely distributed in Eurasia, from the northern Iberian Peninsula to central China and north to northern Scandinavia and north-eastern Russia.

Size:
These large woodpeckers are 45-55 cm long and have a wingspan of 64-73 cm. They weigh 250-370 g.

Habitat:
The black woodpecker is found in temperate and boreal forests, and to a lesser extent in tropical dry forests. They are most common in mountanous areas, but occur at altitudes of 100-2.400 m.

Diet:
They are insectivorous, eating various insects and their larvae, particularly carpenter ants and other wood-boring insects.

Breeding:
Black woodpeckers breed in April-July. They nest on a deep which they excavate into the trunk of a tree, usually 5-20 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-6 shiny white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for about 13 days. The chicks are fed ants and at larvae by both parents and fledge 25-31 days after hatching, remaining with the parents for at least 1 more week after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population has been roughly estimated at 4,5-16,8 million individuals. The black woodpecker has expanded its range in western Europe, central Europe and Japan, and the population in Europe has undergone a moderate increase in the last 3 decades.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Mauritius olive white-eye

Zosterops chloronothos

Photo by Mike Pope (World Birds)

Common name:
Mauritius olive white-eye (en); olho-branco-da-ilha-Maurícia (pt); zostérops de Maurice (fr); anteojitos de Mauricio (es); Mauritius-brillenvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Zosteropidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the island of Mauritius, presently being confined to the a small area on the south-west of the Black River Gorges National Park.

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

Habitat:
They are mostly restricted to native upland rainforests, but can also be found in forest clearings and nearby plantations. They are present at altitudes of 200-600 m.

Diet:
The Mauritius olive white-eye feeds mainly on the nectar of Syzygium jambos, Litsea monopetala, Rubus alceifolius and Ligustrum robustum, but also takes fruits, insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding:
These birds breed in August-March. They nest in a small cup made of grasses and palm fibres and moss, woven onto the branches of a tree. There the female lays 2-3 eggs which are incubated for 12-13 days. There is no information regarding the fledging period, but it lasts 11-16 days in the closely related Seychelles white-eye Zosterops modestus.


Conservation:
IUCN status - CR (Critically Endangered)
This species has a very small breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 190-296 individuals. The population has been declining at a rapid rate in recent decades, mainly due to habitat destruction and degradation caused by the introduction of exotic plants, and predation by introduced mammals and birds, such as rats and red-whiskered bulbuls Pycnonotus jocosus and also native Mauritius black bulbuls Hypsipetes olivaceus. Intensive management action including predator control at nest sites, rescue of wild nests, artificial incubation and hand-rearing of offspring, and a trial release of birds to the predator-free, restored offshore islet Ile aux Aigrettes have had some success in halting further population declines in this species.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Puna tapaculo

Scytalopus simonsi

Photo by Jean-Philippe Paris (Worldwide Ornithological Travels)

Common name:
Puna tapaculo (en); tapaculo-de-Simons (pt); mérulaxe de Simons (fr); churrín de la Puna (es); Punatapaculo (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Rhinocryptidae

Range:
This South American species is found in the eastern slopes of the Andes, from the Vilcanota mountains, Cuzco, Peru, south to Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Size:
These birds are 10-12 cm long and weigh 15-18 g.

Habitat:
Puna tapaculos are found in elfin forests near the treeline, and in stunted trees and scrubs in tussock grass above the treeline. Also in Polylepis woodlands. They occur at altitudes of 2.900-4.300 m.

Diet:
They mainly eat insects, but also grass seeds.

Breeding:
They nest in a cup made of dry grasses, placed at the end of a burrow near the top of a steep bank. There the female lays 2 white eggs, which are incubated for about 16 days. The chicks fledge 15-20 days after hatching.

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

Monday, 28 January 2013

Iris lorikeet

Psitteuteles iris

Photo by Johannes Pfleiderer (Internet Bird Colection)

Common name:
iris lorikeet (en); piriquito-de-Timor (pt); loriquet iris (fr); lori iris (es); irislori (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
These birds are only found in the islands of Timor and Wetar, both in Indonesia and in East Timor.

Size:
The iris lorikeet is 20-22 cm long and weigh 65-75 g.

Habitat:
They are in monsoon forests, Eucalyptus woodlands and savannas, plantations and agricultural land with flowering trees. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
Iris lorikeets feed on flowering trees, eating the nectar of flowers such as Sesbania sp.

Breeding:
These birds breed in tree cavities. The female lays 2 white eggs, which are incubated for about 23 days. The chicks fledge 8-10 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
The iris lorikeet has a relatively small breeding range and a global population estimated at 6.600-6.700 individuals. There is no information regarding population trends, but the species is suspected to be in decline owing to trapping for the bird trade and habitat degradation.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tufted titmouse

Baelophus bicolor

Photo by Dick Daniels (Carolina Birds)

Common name:
tufted titmouse (en); chapim-bicolor (pt); mésange bicolore (fr); herrerillo bicolor (es); indianermeise (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paridae

Range:
This species is found throughout the eastern United States, from Michigan to New Hampshire and south to Florida, Louisiana and eastern Texas. They are also found in Canada, in southern Ontario.

Size:
These birds are 14-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-26 cm. They weigh 18-26 g.

Habitat:
The tufted titmouse is found in mostly deciduous and mixed deciduous-evergreen forests, as well as in swamp forests, typically in areas with a dense canopy and many tree species. They are also found in scrublands, orchards, parks, and suburban areas, from sea level up to an altitude of 600 m.

Diet:
During the spring and summer they mainly eat invertebrates, such as caterpillars, beetles, wasps, ants, bees, stink bugs, treehoppers, spiders and snails. During the rest of the year they also eat fruits, berries, seeds, nuts and acorns, being known to hoard food, storing many of the seeds they get in tree holes.

Breeding:
Tufted titmice breed in March-June. They nest in tree cavities, using either natural cavities or old woodpecker nests, which they line with soft materials such as hair, fur, wool, and cotton. The nest is usually high in the trees, up to 30 m above the ground. The female lays 3-9 white to creamy white eggs with brown, purple, or lilac spots. The eggs are incubated by the female for 12-14 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-16 days after hatching, but only become fully independent several weeks later. Each pair may raise 1-2 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 12 million individuals. The population has undergone a small increase over the last 4 decades and is expanding its range northward, possibly due to warming climate, reversion of farmlands to forests, and the growing popularity of backyard bird feeders.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Golden-headed cisticola

Cisticola exilis

Photo by Julian Robinson (Canberra Ornithologists Group)

Common name:
golden-headed cisticola (en); fuinha-de-cabeça-dourada (pt); cisticole à couronne dorée (fr); buitrón de capa dorada (es); goldkopf-cistensänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cisticolidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern and northern Australia, through Papua-New Guinea and Indonesia and into southern Asia as far north as and as far west as southern India.

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

Habitat:
The golden-headed cisticola is found in sub-coastal areas, including wetlands, swamp margins, grasslands, scrublands, savannas, rivers, and irrigated farmland.

Diet:
They mainly feed on insects, taken from the ground or from tall grasses and scrubs, but will also eat grass seeds.

Breeding:
In Australia the golden-headed cisticola breeds in September-March. The nest is a rounded structure with a side entrance near the top, built by both sexes by sewing together living leaves, using fine grasses, plant down and spider webs. The female lays 3-4 eggs, which she incubates alone, but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common.
The population is estimated to be increasing following recorded range expansions owing to forest clearance and agricultural development.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Pied kingfisher

Ceryle rudis

Photo by Tarique Sani (Flickr)

Common name:
pied kingfisher (en); guarda-rios-malhado (pt); martim-pêcheur pie (fr); martím pescador bicolor (es); graufischer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, in Egypt and the Middle East as far north as Turkey and as far east as southern Iran, and also in southern Asia, from Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, throughout India and into southern China, Thailand and Vietnam.

Size:
These birds are 25-29 cm long and weigh 70-100 g.

Habitat:
The pied kingfisher is found in a wide range of fresh and salt water habitats, including slow-moving rivers, estuaries, mangroves, lakes, tidal rock pools, lagoons, dams and reservoirs with some nearby trees or man-made structures suitable for perching.

Diet:
They mainly hunt fish, especially Cichlidae, Cyprinidae, Characidae and some Clupeidae. They also take aquatic insects such as dragonflies and their larvae, water bugs, water beetles, some grasshoppers and crickets, crustaceans and more rarely frogs, tadpoles and molluscs.

Breeding:
Pied kingfishers are monogamous, cooperative breeder, with non-mated birds helping raise the offspring of a mated pair. The helpers are usually the offspring from the previous year. They can breed all year round, varying between different part of their range. Both sexes build the nest, a long tunnel excavated on a vertical sandbank, and nests may be isolated or in colonies of up to 100 birds. The female lays 1-7 glossy white eggs, which she mostly incubates alone for 17-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and the helpers, fledging 24-29 days after hatching. They only become fully independent 1-2 months after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as abundant, in fact being one of the most common kingfishers in the world. This species may benefit from human dams and fish farms, but is also negatively affected by poisons which are bioaccumulated on their fish prey.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Fox sparrow

Passerella iliaca

Photo by Simon Barrette (Wikipedia)

Common name:
fox sparrow (en); escrevedeira-fulva (pt); bruant fauve (fr); sabanero rascador (es); fuchsammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is found breeding in most of northern and western Canada, as well as in Canada and in the western United States as far south as northern California, Utah and Colorado. Most population migrate to winter along the Pacific coast of the United States, in most parts of the eastern United States and in southern Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico.

Size:
One of the largest American sparrows, the fox sparrow is 15-19 cm long and has a wingspan of 26-30 cm. They weigh 27-49 g.

Habitat:
These birds breed in coniferous or mixed forests with dense undergrowth in both the boreal and temperate zones, but also in dry scrublands, chaparral and riparian woodlands. Outside the breeding season they are found in a wide range of forested habitats, especially along forest edges and areas with dense undergrowth.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, among the leaf litter and in bare ground, taking insects such as beetles, fly larvae, caterpillars, ants, bees, and scale insects, other invertebrates such as spiders, millipedes and molluscs, and the seeds, fruits and buds of a variety of plants such as strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, sedge, cinquefoil, buttonweed, serviceberry, pokeweed, red cedar, grape, witch hazel, ragweed, smartweed, and sorrel. During the breeding season, invertebrates make up most of their diet, while outside the breeding season they eat a similar portion of animal and plant foods.

Breeding:
Fox sparrows tend to be monogamous, solitary nesters. They breed in May-July, nesting in a cup made of twigs, dried grass, stems and bark, and lined with grass, animal hairs and feathers. The nest is typically placed on the ground, or in low branches, never more than 2 m above the ground. The female lays 2-5 pale bluish-green eggs with reddish-brown markings, which she mostly incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 9-11 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 16 million individuals. The population has has a stable trend over the last 4 decades.
made out of twigs, dried grass, stems, and bark.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Vermilion flycatcher

Pyrocephalus rubinus

Photo by Pablo Leautaud (Flickr)

Common name:
vermilion flycatcher (en); príncipe (pt); moucherolle vermillon (fr); mosquerito rojo (es); rubintyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
These birds are found in the south-western United States, through most of Mexico and Central America and into South America as far south as central Argentina. Some of the more northern population migrate south to winter in the Amazon basin and south-eastern Brazil, where the species is mostly absent as a breeding bird.

Size:
The vermilion flycatcher is 13-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 22-25 cm. They weigh 11-14 g.

Habitat:
These birds are mostly found in open habitats, such as open woodlands and savannas, forest clearings, dry scrublands, agricultural areas, deserts and riparian woodlands. They tend to be found near water, at altitudes ranging from sea level up to 3.000 m.

Diet:
They forage by sallying out from a perch, taking both flying and terrestrial arthropods such as flies, butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, bees, termites and spiders.

Breeding:
Vermilion flycatchers can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their vast breeding range. They are monogamous and nest in a shallow cup made of twigs, grass, small roots and lichens, held together with spider webs and lined with feathers and hair. The nest is placed in an horizontal fork in a tree, often near water. The female lays 2-4 white, cream or pale brown eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-18 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 5-50 million individuals. Even though the species may be facing declines in some areas, due to habitat loss, it is not threatened at present.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Long-eared owl

Asio otus

Photo by Greg Smith (Wikipedia)

Common name:
long-eared owl (en); bufo-pequeno (pt); hibou moyen-duc (fr); búho chico (es); waldohreule (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of Europe, North America and Asia, between 20º N and 65º N. They are also found in north-western Africa.

Size:
These birds are 35-38 cm long and have a wingspan of 96-100 cm. They weigh 260-280 g.

Habitat:
The long-eared owl is found in a wide range of habitats, typically in areas of dense vegetation with nearby open areas for hunting. These include boreal, temperate and tropical forests, grasslands, scrublands, marshes and swamps, and plantations. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.750 m.

Diet:
They hunt during the night, mainly taking small rodents, bats, moles, rabbits, small birds, insects, frogs and snakes.

Breeding:
Long-eared owl are typically monogamous, but polygyny has been recorded occasionally. They breed in February-July and nest on old stick nests of crows, ravens, magpies, buzzards or herons, located in a tree branch, 5-10 m above the ground. The female lays 3-8 glossy white eggs, which she incubates alone for 25-30 days while the males brings her food. The chicks are fed by the female while the males hunts for the whole family and move into branches near the nest after about 21 days, but only fledge 5 weeks after hatching. The chicks only become fully independent several weeks after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 1,5-5 million individuals. The long-eared owl has undergone a small decrease in North America, but it is not threatened at present.

Monday, 21 January 2013

African blue-flycatcher

Elminia longicauda

Photo by Steve Garvie (Flickr)


Common name:
African blue flycatcher (en); monarca-azul-africano (pt); elminie bleue (fr); elminia azul (es); türkiselminie (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Monarchidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Senegal to South Sudan and south to northern Tanzania, D.R. Congo and northern Angola.

Size:
These birds are 13-15 cm long and weigh around 10 g.

Habitat:
The African blue flycatcher is mostly found in moist tropical forests, especially secondary forest, swampy or riverine forests. They are also found in dry savannas, scrublands, mangroves, rural gardens, arable land and cocoa plantations.

Diet:
They mainly feed on insects and other arthropods, which can be hawked or gleaned from the foliage.

Breeding:
African blue flycatchers are monogamous and nest in a compact cup placed in a fork in a low tree. There the female lays 1-2 white eggs which are incubated by the female alone. The chicks are fed by both parents. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

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 blue flycatcher is described as uncommon to locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Red-bellied grackle

Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster

Photo by Juan Ochoa (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
red-bellied grackle (en); iraúna-de-ventre-vermelho (pt); quiscale à ventre rouge (fr); cacique candela (es); rotbauchstärling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

Range:
This species is endemic to Colombia, being found in isolated patches along the Andes.

Size:
These birds are 27-32 cm long and weigh 80-90 g.

Habitat:
The red-bellied grackle is mostly found in mountain rainforests, but can also use cleared areas such as pastures and along roads. They are present at altitudes of 800-2.400 m.

Diet:
They forage on the forest canopy, eating fruits, flowers, arthropods and some small vertebrates. They are known to take the fruits and flowers of melastome Tibouchina lepidota, various arthropods, frogs ans Anolis lizards.

Breeding:
Red-bellied grackles breed in January-August. They form family groups of 3-7 individuals, including the breeding pair and several helpers who are usually immatures from previous years. The nest is an ovoid open cup, made of sticks and roots and lined with dry leaves. The nest is placed in a fork in a tree, 2-15 m above the ground. The female lays 2-4 pale blue eggs with purplish-brown spots and stripes, which are incubated by both the mother and female helpers for 15-17 days while the males provide them with food. The chicks are mainly fed by immature helpers and females, and fledge 16-18 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a small and highly fragmented breeding range. The global population is currently estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals and is believed to be declining at a slow rate. The main threat affecting the red-bellied grackle is habitat destruction and fragmentation  through extensive forests clearance for timber extraction and agricultural development. Within their native range, the area covered by primary rainforests has reduced by over 90%. Further threats include human disturbance, brood parasitism by the giant cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus, persecution as a maize crop-pest, and illegal trapping for the cage-bird trade.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Dark-tailed laurel pigeon

Columba bollii

Photo by David Lanza (Ornito Addiction)

Common name:
dark-tailed laurel pigeon (en); pombo-trocaz-de-Bolle (pt); pigeon de Bolle (fr); paloma turqué (es); Bolles lorbeertaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the Canary Islands, being found on the islands of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.

Size:
These birds are 35-40 cm long and have a wingspan of 65-68 cm. They weigh 350-390 g.

Habitat:
The dark-tailed laurel pigeon is mostly found in dense laurel forests, especially in muntainous areas and ravines dominated by Azores laurel Laurus azorica, tilo Ocotea foetens, fire tree Myrica faya, tree heath Erica arborea and small-leaved holly Ilex canariensis. They can also be found in cultivated areas and in caves.

Diet:
These birds are mainly frugivorous, feeding on the berries of Azores laurel and tilo, but also on cultivated grain and occasionally buds, leaves and shoots of other plants, such as cabbages.

Breeding:
The dark-tailed laurel pigeon is thought to breed all year round, but especially in October-July. The nest is made of twigs and well camouflaged in the foliage, usually placed in a tree or heath up to 15 m above the ground. The female lays a single white egg, which is incubated by both parents for 18-19 days. The chick fledges 30-35 days after hatching. Each pair can raise 2-3 clutches per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a small breeding range, but the global population is currently estimated at 3.300-13.000 individuals and suspected to be recovering following historical declines caused by intensive exploitation of laurel forests. Although the extent of forest loss has slowed, fragmentation has continued in some areas as forests are exploited for poles and tool handles. A small amount of illegal hunting still takes place at drinking sites and introduced mammals, namely rats may prey on their nests. Forest fires, human disturbance and outbreaks of Newcastle disease and tuberculosis may also pose threats in the future, but the species is not considered threatened at present

Friday, 18 January 2013

Fawn-breasted brilliant

Heliodoxa rubinoides

Photo by Larry Thompson (Discover Life)

Common name:
fawn-breasted brilliant (en); beija-flor-brilhante-fulvo (pt); brilliant rubinoïde (fr); brillante pechigamuza (es); braunbauch-brilliantkolibri (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is found in both the eastern and western slopes of the Andes, in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and northern Bolivia.

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

Habitat:
The fawn-breasted brilliant is mostly found in mountain rainforests, but also in lowland rainforests, pastures, rural gardens and even within urban areas. They are present at altitudes of 1.700-2.700 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on the nectar of highly scented, brightly coloured flowers, but will also hunt small spiders and insects.

Breeding:
The fawn-breasted brilliant is polygynous, with the males having no further part in the breeding process after mating. The breed in January-May. The female builds a small cup-shaped nest using plant fibres and moss, which is lined with softer materials and placed in a scrub or tree. There she lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 12 days. The chicks are fed and brooded by the female and fledge 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as uncommon and patchily distributed. It is not considered threatened at present.

Rusty-fronted barwing

Actinodura egertoni

Photo by Raj Kamal Phukan (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
rusty-fronted barwing (en); asa-malhada-ruivo (pt); actinodure d'Egerton (fr); actinodura de Egerton (es); rotstirnsibia (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This species is found in the foothills of the Himalayas, in Nepal, Bhutan, north-eastern India, western Myanmar and marginally across the border into China.

Size:
These birds are 22-24 cm long and weigh 33-38 g.

Habitat:
The rusty-fronted barwing is found in moist tropical forests, especially secondary forests and deciduous forest with a dense understorey, at altitudes of 600-2.600 m.

Diet:
They mainly eat invertebrates such as grasshoppers and ants, but complement their diet with berries, figs and seeds.

Breeding:
Rusty-fronted barwings breed in April-July. The nest is a cup-shaped structure made of ferns, bamboo, leaves and fine vegetable fibres, lined with moss and small rootlets. It is placed in a scrub or small tree up to 6 m above the ground. The female lays 3-4 pale blue eggs with brown markings. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as rare and local in central Nepal, frequent in Bhutan and locally fairly common in India. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Forster's tern

Sterna forsteri

Photo by Dick Daniels (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Forster's tern (en); andorinha-do-mar-de-Forster (pt); sterne de Forster (fr); charrán de Forster (es); Forsterseeschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Sternidae

Range:
This species breeds in southern Canada and the northern United States, wintering in the south-eastern and coastal south-western United States, along the eastern and western coast of Mexico, in Central America and the Caribbean.

Size:
These birds are 33-36 cm long and have a wingspan of 64-70 cm. They weigh 130-190 g.

Habitat:
The Forster's tern breeds in freshwater lakes, potholes, inland and coastal marshes and occasionally on sand, mud or rocky islets. Outside the breeding season they are found foraging on lakes, streams and estuaries, favouring waters less than 1 m deep.

Diet:
They feed on small fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects.

Breeding:
Forster's terns breed in April-July. They form loose breeding colonies of 5-250 pairs. Both sexes build the nest, a small cup made of plant materials or a scrape on muddy or sandy soil, usually placed on a small islands, lakeside or among floating and emergent vegetation. The female lays 2-5 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 23-25 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 3-4 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a population estimated at 130.000-160.000 individuals. the population has undergone a small increase over the last 4 decades, but it may be vulnerable to habitat loss due to the degradation, development, draining, and filling or flooding of wetland habitats, as well as human disturbance.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Slaty spinetail

Synallaxis brachyura

Photo by Chris Perkins (Internet Bird Collection)


Common name:
slaty spinetail (en); joão-teneném-ardósia (pt); synallaxe ardoisé (fr); pijuí pizarroso (es); graurücken-dickichtschlüpfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species is found in Central and South America, from the Honduras to western Colombia and Ecuador.

Size:
These birds are 15-18,5 cm long and weigh 18-19 g.

Habitat:
The slaty spinetail is found in tropical moist forests and scrublands, in open woodlands, dry scrublands, and also in bogs, marshes and swamps, second growths and rural gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They on adults, larvae and eggs of various insects and spiders.

Breeding:
The slaty spinetail builds a bulky, spherical nest with a long tubular entrance, made of sticks and placed in a scrub, vine or tree up to 5 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 greenish-white eggs, which are incubated for 18-19 days. The chicks fledge around 17 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 increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Yellow-bellied eremomela

Eremomela icteropygialis

Photo by Volker Sthamer (Bird Forum)

Common name:
yellow-bellied eremomela (en); eremomela-de-barriga-amarela (pt); érémomèle à croupion jaune (fr); eremomela de vientre amarillo (es); gelbbauch-eremomela (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, occurring in two main populations. One stretches across the Sahel from Mauritania to Sudan and the other is found from Ethiopia, through Tanzania, D.R. Congo and Zambia and into South Africa.

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

Habitat:
The yellow-bellied eremomela is mostly found in dry scrublands and savannas, especially Acacia woodlands, but also in springs and oasis within arid areas, rural gardens and arable land. They can be found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.900 m.

Diet:
They mostly eat insects and other invertebrates, namely bugs, beetles, caterpillars, ants and termites, but will also take fruits, seeds and nectar.

Breeding:
Yellow-bellied eremomelas are monogamous and pair for life. The breed in August-January and the nest is a tidy, thin-walled cup, made of stringy plant fibres, dry grass, spider webs and plant down. It is typically placed between lengthwise twigs on the edge of the foliage of a scrub or sapling. The female lays 2-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-16 days after hatching, but remain with the parents for another 2 weeks.

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