Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Giant babax

Babax waddelli

Photo by Johan van't Bosch (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
giant babax (en); zaragateiro-babaxe-gigante (pt); babaxe de Waddell (fr); babax gigante (es); riesenbabax (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Tibet and marginally across the border into north-eastern Sikkim, India.

Size:
These birds are 31 cm long and weigh around 140 g.

Habitat:
The giant babax is found in moist tropical mountain forests and tropical high-altitude scrublands, particularly around stands of willow Salix sp., sea buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides and prickly oak Quercus sp., and the edges of coniferous and mixed forests, at altitudes of 2.700-4.600 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, namely buckthorn, seeds and small insects.

Breeding:
Giant babaxes breed in May-July. They are cooperative breeders, with helpers assisting the breeding pair in tending the nest and the young. The nest is a rough cup, woven with thick twigs and peeled bark, and placed within a dense scrub, up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for 16-18 days. The chicks fledge 16-18 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a restricted breeding range and the global population is estimated at 120.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining at a moderately rapid rate, due to
deforestation and habitat degradation.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Black curassow


Crax aleactor

Photo by Patrick Ingremeau (Oiseaux)

Common name:
black curassow (en); mutum-poranga (pt); hocco alector (fr); paujil negro (es); glattschnabelhokko (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Cracidae

Range:
This species is found in northern South America, from central Colombia and Venezuela, through the Guyanas and intro Brazil north of the Amazon river.

Size:
These birds are 85-95 cm long and weigh 3,2-3,6 kg.

Habitat:
The black curassow is found in tropical rainforests and gallery forests, but also in old plantations and scrublands, especially along rivers and forest edges. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.700 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on fruits, especially those of Eugenia and Guarea, but will also take leaves, buds, shoots, invertebrates such as snails and grasshoppers, frogs, flowers and mushrooms.

Breeding:
Black curassow breed in December-September. The nest is a small platform made of sticks, lined with leaves and bark, placed in a tree about 5 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated for 30-32 days. The chicks can leave the nest soon after hatching and fledge about 1 month later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. However, the black curassoe is espected to decline at a moderatle fast rate based on current models of Amazonian deforestation, also being threatened by hunting and trapping, particularly in French Guiana.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Black-headed jay

Garrulus lanceolatus

Photo by Srimonti Dutta (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
black-headed jay (en); gaio-de-cabeça-preta (pt); geai lancéolé (fr); arrendajo cabecinegro (es); strichelhäher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
This species is found along the southern foothills of the Himalayas mountain range, from western Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, through northern India and into Nepal.

Size:
These birds are 30-35 cm long and weigh 85-105 g.

Habitat:
The black-headed jay is mostly found in mixed oak-pine and oak-cedar forests, but also in scrublands, arable land and sometimes goes near human settlements. They are present at altitudes of 1.500-4.000 m.

Diet:
They are omnivorous, eating mainly invertebrates and small vertebrates such as small lizards, eggs and nestlings of small birds, but also seeds, acorns and berries.They also scavenges discarded food scraps near villages.

Breeding:
Black-headed jays breed in April-July. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a deep, loose foundation of twigs, lined with rootlets, grass stems and rhizoids similar to horsehair. It is placed in a fork in a tree or large scrub, 5-7 m above the ground. The female lays 3-5 eggs, which she incubates alone for 16 days while being fed by the male. The chicks fledge 3 weeks after hatching.

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

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Black-and-white owl

Ciccaba nigrolineata

Photo by L. Kay (Flickr)

Common name:
black-and-white owl (en); coruja-de-listas-pretas (pt); chouette à lignes noires (fr); cárabo blanquinegro (es); bindenhalskauz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico no northern Venezuela, western Colombia and north-western Ecuador.

Size:
These birds are 33-45 cm long and weigh 350-535 g.

Habitat:
Black-and-white owls are mostly found in tropical rainforests, especially in forests clearings and along forests edges. Also in mangroves, gallery forests, marshes, swamps, dry tropical forests, rural gardens and plantations. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They mainly hunt insects, such as beetles, cockroaches, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets, but also rodents, bats, birds and frogs.

Breeding:
Black-and-white owls are monogamous and extremely territorial. They breed during the local dry season, mostly in December-May. The nest in natural holes in live tree or stumps, or sometimes use abandoned stick nests from larger birds. There the female lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 15-35 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-52 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Bearded bellbird

Procnias averano

Photo by Steve Garvie (Birds of the World)

Common name:
bearded bellbird (en); araponga-do-nordeste (pt); araponga barbu (fr); campanero barbudo (es); bartkotinga (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cotingidae

Range:
This species is found in two disjunct subspecies. P. a. carnobara is found in Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana and marginally into northern Brazil, while P. a. averano is found in north-eastern Brazil, from Maranhão to Alagoas and Bahía.

Size:
These birds 27-29 cm long and weigh 127-178 g.

Habitat:
The bearded bellbird is found in tropical rainforests and adjacent tall second growth. To a lesser extent also in dry forests and caatinga. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.900 m.

Diet:
They mainly eat fruits and berries, especially those of Lauraceae, Burseraceae, Araliaeae and Melastomataceae.

Breeding:
Bearded bellbirds breed in April-November, varying between different parts of their range. They are polygamous, with the males performing displays in a lek and mating with several females, after which they have no further part in the reproductive process. The female builds the nest, a shallow cup made of fine twigs, placed in a tall tree up to 15 m above the ground. There she lays a single buff-coloured egg with dark brown markings, which she incubated alone for 23 days. The chicks fledge 30-33 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status -  LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range but is is described as uncommon and patchily distributed. The population has declined locally in north-eastern Brazil as a result of extensive trapping for the cage bird trade and habitat destruction, but the bearded bellbird is not considered threatened at present.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Bald eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Photo by Tom Michalski (Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology)

Common name:
bald eagle (en); águia-de-cabeça-branca (pt); pygargue à tête blanche (fr); pigargo americano (es); weißkopfseeadler (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This North American species is found breeding across most of Canada, patchily in the western United States, in the north-eastern United States and along the Atlantic coast down to Florida. The winter throughout most of the United States and in northern Mexico.

Size:
These large eagles are 70-102 cm long and have a wingspan of 180-230 cm. They weigh 3-6,3 kg.

Habitat:
The bald eagle breeds in forested areas near large bodies of water, including boreal forests, temperate forests and mangroves. They forage in freshwater lakes, rivers, both sandy and rocky shorelines and estuaries, and to a lesser extent on forests, grasslands and scrublands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on fish, such as salmon, herring, shad, catfish, carp, sand lance and bass. To a lesser extent they also eat birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates such as crabs, and mammals including rabbits and muskrats, and also carrion.

Breeding:
Bald eagles breed in February-July. They are monogamous and mate for life. The nest is built by both sexes and consists of a very large structure made of sticks, grass, moss and cornstalks, lined with lichen, fine woody material, downy feathers and green leaves. It is placed in at the top of a tall tree, usually above the forest canopy, or sometimes also on a cliff or even on the ground. There the female lays 1-3 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 34-36 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 56-98 days after hatching. Sometimes the oldest chick  attacks and kills its younger siblings early in the nesting period. They reach sexual maturity at 4-5 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 70.000-300.000 individuals. After serious declines until the 1960s, caused by persecution and the effects of pesticides such as DDT, the bald eagle as undergone an incredible recovery, with its population increasing over 70% per decade over the last 4 decades.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Long-billed crombec

Sylvietta rufescens

Photo by Lee Hunter (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
long-billed crombec (en); rabicurta-de-bico-comprido (pt); crombec à long bec (fr); sylvieta de pico largo (es); langschnabel-sylvietta (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This African species is found from eastern D.R. Congo, Angola and Zambia down to southern South Africa.

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

Habitat:
The long-billed crombec is mostly found in dry savannas, but also in mixed woodlands with well-developed undergrowth, scrublands, rural gardens and near inland wetlands.

Diet:
They mainly eat invertebrates, such as termites, mantids, spiders, beetles, caterpillars and insect eggs, but supplement these with some seeds, fruits and Aloe nectar.

Breeding:
Long-billed crombecs breed in August-March. The nest is a bag-like cup of stringy plant fibres, leaves, grasses and spider webs, often decorated with leaves, rotten wood chips and lumps of spider web and lined with dry grass.It is typically strung from a droopy tree branch or in the depths of ascrub. There the female lays1-3 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for about 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 10 days later.

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

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Southern ground-hornbill

Bucorvus leadbeateri

Photo by Marco Valentini (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
southern ground-hornbill (en); calau-gigante (pt); bucorve du Sud (fr); cálao terrícola (es); kaffernhornrabe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Bucerotidae

Range:
This species is found from Kenya and Tanzania, through southern D.R. Congo and Zambia and into Angola, Mozambique and eastern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 90-102 cm long. The females are smaller and weigh 2,3-4,6 kg, while the larger males weigh 3,5-6,2 kg.

Habitat:
These birds are found in open woodlands and savannas, as well as nearby grasslands and scrublands, pastures and agricultural land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on arthropods, but also snails, frogs and toads, and sometimes larger prey such as snakes, lizards, rats, hares, squirrels or tortoises. There are also known to eat fruits, seeds and occasionally carrion.

Breeding:
The southern ground-hornbill breeds in September-March. They are monogamous, social breeders, with a dominant pair that breeds and helpers. They nest in a large cavity, in a tree or cliff, where the female lays 2 white eggs. The eggs are incubated by the female for 40 days, while the other group members bring her food. Usually only 1 chick is raised, being fed by all the members of the group and fledging 85-86 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a very large breeding range is reported to be widespread and common but sparse. The population is projected to suffer a large decline of up to 50% in the next three generation, as a result of habitat loss through clearance for small-scale use, agriculture, and because of fires, and perhaps because of the actions of African elephants Loxodonta africana in Botswana and South Africa. Widespread livestock grazing has also lead to the erosion of suitable grasslands and there is also some persecution and accidental poisoning when they consume poisoned baits. In South Africa there are extensive conservation programs for this species, including re-introductions, supplementary feeding, multiple clutching, group supplementation and artificial nest-site provisioning.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Crested oropendola

Psarocolius decumanus

Photo by Dominic Sherony (Wikipedia)

Common name:
crested oropendola (en); japu-preto (pt); cassique huppé (fr); oropéndola crestada (es); krähenstirnvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

Range:
This species is found from southern Costa Rica and Panama down to Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil and northern Argentina. It is only found east of the Andes mountain range.

Size:
These birds are sexually dimorphic. The females are 36-38 cm long while the males are 46-48 cm long. They weigh 155-360 g.

Habitat:
The crested oropendola is found in various forested habitats, including rainforests, swamp forests, savannas and dry forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.600 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, seeds and insects, namely bananas, tangerines and papayas.

Breeding:
Crested oropendolas are colonial breeders and polygynous, with a dominant male than mates with most of the females. Each colony will have 3-4 males and 15-30 females.  They build large hanging nests woven from dry grasses and twigs. The nests are placed hanging from a high branch in a tree, usually along forests edges and clearings. The female lays 1-2 green or bluish-green eggs with dark blotches, which are incubated for 15-19 days. The chicks fledge 24-36 days after hatching. Each female can raise 3 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and described as common but patchily distributed. The population is suspected to decline moderately based on current models of Amazonian deforestation.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Restless flycatcher

Myiagra inquieta

Photo by Lip Kee Yap (Wikipedia)

Common name:
restless flycatcher (en); monarca-inquieto (pt); monarque infatigable (fr); monarca inquieto (es); weißkehlmyiagra (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Monarchidae

Range:
This species is found northern and eastern mainland Australia, as well as in south-western Australia. It is also found in southern Papua New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 16-21 cm long and weigh about 20 g.

Habitat:
The restless flycatcher is found in open tropical and temperate forests, dry savannas, dry scrublands and rural gardens.

Diet:
They hawk insects, spiders and centipedes from perches in the mid-level of the canopy.

Breeding:
Restless flycatchers breed in July-March. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a small cup made of bark and grass bound with spider webs, camouflaged with pieces of lichen and bark, and placed in a exposed position on a tree branch, often near or over water. There the female lays 3-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 14 days after hatching. Each pair can raise up to 3 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally fairly common. The population is estimated to be in decline following local decreases and range contractions probably owing to intensive farming and habitat modification

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Victoria crowned pigeon

Goura victoria

Photo by Nancy Johnston (Nancy's Bird Journal)

Common name:
Victoria crowned pigeon (en); pombo-coroado-de-Victoria (pt); goura de Victoria (fr); gura victoria (es); fächertaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is found in northern New Guinea, from Geelvink Bay, Indonesia, to Astrolabe Bay, and an isolated area around Collingwood Bay in easternmost Papua New Guinea. Also on the Yapen islands and in Biak-Supiori where it may have been introduced.

Size:
These large pigeons are 73-80 cm long and weigh 2,3-3,5 kg.

Habitat:
The Victoria crowned pigeon is found in lowland rainforests and swamp forests, up to an altitude of 600 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, taking fallen fruits, berries and seeds. Ocasionally, they will also eat insects and snails.

Breeding:
Victoria crowned pigeons are monogamous and tend to mate for life. They can breed all year round and the nest is a platform made of stems, sticks and palm leaves, placed on a tree. The female lays a single white egg, which she incubates alone for 30 days. The chick is fed by both parents and fledges about 4 weeks after hatching, but continue to receive food from parents for another 8-9 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively large breeding range, but the global population is estimated at just 1.500-7.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining rapidly as a result of habitat loss and degradation through selective logging and the development of oil palm plantations, as well as on-going hunting pressure and capture for the cage bird trade.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Brown honeyeater

Lichmera indistincta

Photo by David Kleinert (David Kleinert Photography)

Common name:
brown honeyeater (en); melífago-castanho (pt); méliphage brunâtre (fr); mielero pardo (es); braunhonigfresser (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of Australia, with the exceptions of Southern Australia and Victoria, and also in southern New Guinea, the Torres Strait Islands, the Tiwi Islands, Bali and the Lesser Sundas, and on the Aru Islands.

Size:
These birds are 11,5-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-23 cm. They weigh 9-11 g.

Habitat:
The brown honeyeater is found in various wooded habitats, including mangroves, rainforests, and savannas, in scrublands, marshes and swamps, along rivers and streams, in rural gardens and in urban parks and gardens.

Diet:
They forage among the foliage on the tree canopy, taking nectar and also insects such as beetles, flies, ants, wasps and bees.

Breeding:
Brown honeyeaters can breed all year round, varying  markedly across its range. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an open cup made fine bark, especially Melaleuca bark, grass, plant down and sometimes paper, bound together with spider webs and lined with plant down, hair, fine grass or flowers. It is placed in a fork or horizontal branch of a tree or scrub, often near water and up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-3 white or pinkish eggs, sometimes spotted with faint reddish or brownish flecks. The eggs are incubated by the female for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-17 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as locally common to moderately common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, especially due to habitat clearance for farming.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bar-throated apalis

Apalis thoracica

(Photo from Hermanus Bird Club)

Common name:
bar-throated apalis (en); apalis-de-coleira (pt); apalis à collier (fr); apalis de garganta barreada (es); halsband-feinsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cisticolidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern and southern Africa, from southern Kenya, through Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and into eastern and southern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 11-13 cm long and weigh 12 g.

Habitat:
The bar-throated apalis is found in tropical moist forests and scrublands, but also second growths, riparian forests, dry scrublands around sand dunes, grasslands, rural gardens and plantations.

Diet:
They mainly eat invertebrates gleaned from leaves and twigs, such as caterpillars, flies, grasshoppers, bugs and spiders, supplemented with fruits and flowers.

Breeding:
Bar-throated apalises breed in August-March. The nest is an oval ball with a side entrance, made of fine grasses, moss, lichens and rootlets, secured with spider web. It is typically placed among the foliage of scrub, sapling or creeper, 1-3 m above ground. The female lays 2-4  bluish-white eggs with reddish-brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 14-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-18 days after hatching, but only become independent some time later.

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

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Great spotted woodpecker

Dendrocopos major

Photo by Thomas Hochebner (Woodpeckers of the World)

Common name:
great spotted woodpecker (en); pica-pau-malhado-grande (pt); pic épeiche (fr); pico picapinos (es); buntspecht (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is found throughout Europe, with the exceptions of Iceland, Ireland, and northern Scandinavia, in Morocco and Algeria, and through Russia and the Caucasus all the way to southern and eastern China, Korea and Japan.

Size:
These birds are 20-26 cm long and have a wingspan of 38-44 cm. They weigh 70-100 g.

Habitat:
The great spotted woodpecker is mostly found in broad-leaved and coniferous forests, in boreal, temperate and tropical areas, but also in rural gardens, plantations and within urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.

Diet:
They feed on seeds and nuts, invertebrates such as beetles and insect larvae, and also bird eggs and nestlings.

Breeding:
Great spotted woodpeckers breed in April-July. They nest in holes in trees, excavated by both sexes. It is placed on the trunk of a tree, about 4 m above the ground. The female lays 4-7 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-21 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 73,5-216 million individuals. In parts of Europe the population is known to have undergone a moderate increase over the last 3 decades.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Yellow-bellied elaenia

Elaenia flavogaster

Photo by Dario Sanches (Photoree)

Common name:
yellow-bellied elaenia (en); guaracava-de-barriga-amarela (pt); élénie à ventre jaune (fr); fiofío copetón (es); gelbbauch-olivtyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico down to Bolivia, northern Argentina and south-eastern Brazil. West of the Andes it is only found as far south as Ecuador, and this species is mostly absent from the upper Amazon basin.

Size:
These birds are 15-16,5 cm long and weigh 20-25 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-bellied elaenia is found in secondary forests, dry savannas, scrublands, riparian woodlands and also in gardens, shade coffee plantations and urban parks. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.

Diet:
They catch insects by sallying out from a perch, or picking them from the foliage, taking ants, beetles, bugs and termite alates. They will also eat fruits, berries and seeds.

Breeding:
In Brazil, yellow-bellied elaenias breed in July-November, but the breeding season varies between different areas. The nest is a shallow cup made of of moss, fine rootlets, grasses and plant fibres, and lined with feathers. It is placed in a fork in a small branch, up to 18 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 cream-coloured eggs with reddish blotches, which she incubates alone for 16-17 days. The chicks fledge 15-17 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 5-50 million individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 15 April 2013

White-throated sparrow

Zonotrichia albicollis

Photo by Simon Barrette (Wikipedia)

Common name:
white-throated sparrow (en); escrevedeira-de-garganta-branca (pt); bruant à gorge blanche (fr); chingolo gorgiblanco (es); weißkehlammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species breeds throughout most of Canada, with the exception of the northernmost areas and the western coast, and also in the north-eastern Unite States. They migrate south to winter throughout the eastern United States, along the western coast of the Unite States and through the southern United states into northern Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 16-18 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-23 cm. They weigh 22-32 g.

Habitat:
The white-throated sparrow is found in temperate forests, especially in the undergrowth and along clearings and forests edges, in scrublands, rural gardens and in urban parks and large gardens.

Diet:
They mainly feed on seeds, buds, fruits and berries, but also some insects, especially when feeding the young.

Breeding:
White-throated sparrows breed in April-July. The nest is a cup made of grasses, wood chips, twigs, pine needles and rootlets, and lined with fine grasses, rootlets and hair. It is placed on the ground, among scrubs or near a tree or stump. The female lays 3-6 blue or greenish-blue eggs with dark markings, which she incubates alone for 11-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 7-12 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 140 million individuals. The population population has had a stable trend over the last 4 decades.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Blue-winged macaw

Primolius maracana

(Photo from Free Pet Wallpapers)

Common name:
blue-winged macaw (en); maracanã-verdadeira (pt); ara d'Illiger (fr); maracaná afeitado (es); rotrückenara (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is found in Brazil, from Rondônia and Pernambuco south to Paraná, and marginally into Paraguay and Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 36-43 cm long and weigh 250-280 g.

Habitat:
The blue-winged macaw is found in tropical rainforests, mangroves, dry forests and dry savannas, particularly gallery forests and forest edges. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on seeds and fruits, namely those of Cnidoscolus phyllacanthus, Jatropha sp. and Guazuma ulmifolia, as well as introduced species like Melia azederach and Casuarina.

Breeding:
In north-eastern Brazil the blue-winged macaws breed in December-February, but this varies geographically. They nest in tree holes, where the female lays 2-4 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 26-27 days and the chicks fledge 70-80 days after hatching. They reach sexual maturity after 2-4 years.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a very large breeding range, but the global population is estimated at just 1.500-7000 individuals. The population is declining at a moderately rapid rate, due to habitat loss to deforestation, capture for the cage bird trade and persecution as a crop pests, especially in Argentina.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Scaled antpitta

Grallaria guatimalensis

Photo by Chris West (Flickr)

Common name:
scaled antpitta (en); tovacuçu-corujinha (pt); grallaire écaillée (fr); tororoí cholino (es); kleine bartameisenpitta (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Formicariidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela, and through Ecuador into Peru and Bolivia.

Size:
These birds are 18 cm long and weigh 94-98 g.

Habitat:
The scales antpitta is mostly found in moist tropical forests, especially in mountainous areas but also in the lowlands. They are also found in plantations. This species is found at altitudes of 200-3.000 m.

Diet:
They forage among the forest leaf litter, taking worms, large insects and other invertebrates, and also small frogs.

Breeding:
Scale antpittas breed in May-July. The nest is a large, bulky cup, made of dry leaves, twigs and moss, and lined with fine rootlets and moss. The nest is placed on the branches of a tree, near the trunk, up to 1,5 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 turquoise-blue eggs. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation period, but the chicks fledge 17-19 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is expected to decline moderately due to habitat loss and fragmentation, based on current models of Amazonian deforestation, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Brown firefinch

Lagonosticta nitidula

(Photo from Bird Forum)

Common name:
brown firefinch (en); peito-de-fogo-castanho (pt); amarante nitidule (fr); pinzón candela castaño (es); braunbürzelamarant (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae

Range:
This species is found from D.R. Congo and Tanzania, through Angola and Zambia, and into Botswana and northern Namibia.

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

Habitat:
The brown firefinch is found in reedbeds, papyrus, tall grasses and thickets along watercourses, swamps and marshes, occasionally moving into adjacent thorny scrublands and riparian woodlands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

Diet:
They forage on bare ground, mainly eating grass seeds, such as jungle rice Echinochloa colonum, teff grass Eragrostis tef, bur bristle grass Setaria verticillata, golden bristle grass Setaria sphacelata and Natal red top Melinis repens. They also eat termites, small ants and mealworms.

Breeding:
Brown firefinches breed in October-April. The nest is a grass ball with a side entrance, lined with feathers and placed low in a scrub or thatch roof of a building. They may also use abandoned nests of weavers and sunbirds. The female lays 3-6 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-19 days after hatching.

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

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Black-eared fairy

Heliothryx auritus

Photo by Lindolfo Souto (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
black-eared fairy (en); beija-flor-de-bochecha-azul (pt); colibri oreillard (fr); colibrí hada oriental (es); schwarzohr-schmuckkolibri (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is found from Colombia, Venezuela and eastern Ecuador down to Bolivia and north-western Brazil, and also in south-eastern Brazil from Bahía to São Paulo.

Size:
These birds are 10-13 cm long and weigh around 6 g.

Habitat:
They are mostly found in tropical rainforests, and to a lesser extent also in second growths and degraded former forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.100 m.

Diet:
Black-eared fairies feed on nectar and insects.

Breeding:
These birds can breed all year round. The nest is a cup made of plant down, attached to the tip of a branch 3-10 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 15-16 days. The chicks fledge 23-26 days after hatching. They reach sexual maturity after 1 year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The black-eared fairy has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon. Although there is no data on population trends, this species is expected to decline moderately in the future due to habitat loss, based on models of Amazonian deforestation.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Purple finch

Carpodacus purpureus

Photo by Simon Barrette (Wikipedia)

Common name:
purple finch (en); peito-rosado-púrpura (pt); roselin pourpré (fr); carpodaco morado (es); purpurgimpel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

Range:
This North American species is found breeding in southern and western Canada, along the west coast of the United States down to southern California and in the north-eastern United States. The more northern population migrate south to winter in the eastern half of the United States and along the Pacific coast down to northern Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 12-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 22-26 cm. They weigh 20-35 g.

Habitat:
The purple finch is found in coneferous and mixed forests, as well as in parks and gardens within urban areas, orchards, pastures and arable land.

Diet:
They mainly feed on seeds and buds, but will also eat insects and berries during spring and summer. They are known to eat the seeds and buds of elms Ulmus sp., tuliptree Liriodendron  tulipifera, maples Acer sp., sweet gum Liquidambar  styraciflua, sycamores Platanus sp., ash Fraxinus sp., red cedar Juniperus virginiana, juniper Juniperus communis and mountain ash Sorbus sp.

Breeding:
Purple finches breed in April-August. They are monogamous and the female build the nest alone. The nest is a cup made of twigs, roots and dry grasses, and lined with fine rootlets, hairs and moss. It is placed on an horizontal branch of a conifer, usually far from the trunk and 2-20 m above the ground. The female lays 4-6 pale greenish-blue eggs with brown or black speckles, which are incubated by the female for 13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-16 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 3 million individuals. The population is undergoing a small decline, especially in the eastern parts of their range where the rate of decline reaches 1-2,5 % per year. The decline is most likely due to competition by introduced house finches Carpodacus mexicanus and house sparrows Passer domesticus.