Sunday, 30 June 2013

Eurasian reed-warbler

Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Photo by Patrick Palmen (Birds of Kazakhstan)

Common name:
Eurasian reed-warbler (en); rouxinol-pequeno-dos-caniços (pt); rousserolle effarvatte (fr); carricero cómun (es); teichrohrsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species is found throughout Europe, as far north as southern Scandinavia, into central Asia as far east as Kazakhstan and also in sub-Saharan Africa as far south as South Africa. the population in Europe and Asia migrate south to winter in sub-Saharan Africa.

Size:
These birds are 13 cm long and have a wingspan of 17-21 cm. They weigh 10-15 g.

Habitat:
The Eurasian reed-warbler is mostly found in reed beds along the shores of lakes, fish ponds, ditches and rivers, but can also occur in drier habitats, such as scrublands, grasslands and dry savannas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.400 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on insects, spiders and small snails, collected from the vegetation or on the ground, but also eat fruits, seeds and flowers.

Breeding:
The breeding season varies along their range. They are monogamous and nest in loose colonies. The female builds the nest, a deep cup neatly weaved with reed blades, flowers, grass stems and plant down. the nest is typically placed over water, attached to a reed on scrub. There she lays 3-5 which are incubated by both sexes for 9-13 days. The chicks are fed by both sexes and fledge 10-14 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 11-30 million individuals. The population in Europe have undergone a moderate decline over the last 3 decades, but there is no trend data for the rest of their range.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Wedge-tailed shearwater

Puffinus pacificus

Photo by Tony Morris (Flickr)

Common name:
wedge-tailed shearwater (en); pardela-do-Pacífico (pt); puffin fouquet (fr); pardela del Pacífico (es); keilschwanz-sturmtaucher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Procellariidae

Range:
This species is found throughout the tropical water of the Indian and Pacific oceans, roughly between 35º S and 35º N. They breed on a wide range of oceanic islands, both in the pacific and the Indian, as well as in the west and east coasts of Australia.

Size:
These birds are 46-47 cm long and have a wingspan of 97-99 cm. They weigh around 400 g.

Habitat:
The wedge-tailed shearwater forages in pelagic, tropical and sub-tropical waters, typically preferring waters with a surface temperature above 21º C. They mainly breed in
vegetated islands, atolls and cays, but also on continental coasts in Australia.


Diet:
They feed on pelagic fish, squids and crustacean, the most common prey being goatfishes such as Decapterus macrosoma and the Symplecoteuthis sp. squids.

Breeding:
Wedge-tailed shearwaters are monogamous with pair bonds lasting for several years. Northern hemisphere birds begin breeding around February, while southern hemisphere birds begin around September. They nest in a burrow excavated on flat or flattish areas with dense grassy and tussocky vegetation , or sometimes below the cover of trees and scrubs. The female lays a single egg which is incubated by both sexes for about 50 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 103-115 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated to be above 5,2 million individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to unsustainable levels of exploitation, persecution, predation by invasive species and the over-exploitation of tuna fisheries.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Tomtit

Petroica macrocephala

Photo by Glenda Rees (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
tomtit (en); rouxinol-maori (pt); miro mésange (fr); petroica carbonera (es); Maorischnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Petroicidae

Range:
This species is endemic to New Zealand, being found in both the North and South islands, as well as several of the outlying island, including the Chatham islands and the Aukland islands and the Snares.

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

Habitat:
The tomtit is mostly found in temperate forests,but also in grasslands, arable land, plantations and within urban areas.

Diet:
They are mostly insectivorous, taking beetles, caterpillars, moths, wetas, flies, but also spiders, earthworms and some fruits, especially during autumn and winter.

Breeding:
Tomtits breed in September-January. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a cup made of twigs, bark, moss and sometimes also dry leaves, lichens and spider webs. The nest is lined with moss and feathers and placed in a vine tangle, hollow branch, cavity in a trunk or stump or less often among scrubs, 0,5-8 m above the ground. They also use nest boxes. The female lays 2-4 white eggs with brown and grey spots and blotches, which she incubates alone for 17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17-21 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for another 3-4 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as locally common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation pressure from introduced species

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Laughing falcon

Herpetotheres cachinnans

Photo by Joaquim Mello (Flickr)

Common name:
laughing falcon (en); acauã (pt); macagua rieur (fr); halcón reidor (es); lachfalke (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Falconidae

Range:
This species is found from Mexico, throughout Central America and into South America as far south as Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil and marginally into northern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 46-56 cm long and have a wingspan of 79-94 cm. The females tend to be larger than the males, weighing 600-800 g while the males weigh 410-680 g.

Habitat:
The laughing falcon is mostly found in along the edges of forested areas, including both moist and dry tropical forests, as well as swamp forests and dry savannas.They are often found in secondary forests, forest clearings and also in open areas with scattered trees, usually avoiding the forest interior. They can also be found in palm groves. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.400 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on small snakes, including venemous species such as coral snakes on which they pound on from a perch. They are also known to occasionally take lizards, bats, rodents, centipedes and even fish.

Breeding:
Laughing falcons are probably monogamous. The breeding season varies across its range and they nest in a rock crevice, tree cavity or on an abandoned nest of other raptors, up to 33 m above the ground and usually away from immediate vegetation. There the female lays 1-2 white eggs with brown spots, which she incubates alone for 40-42 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest about 1 month after hatching but continue to be taken care by the parents for some time longer.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range. The population is estimated at 500.000-5.000.000 individuals and is known to have declined drastically locally but is still common in many areas.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

European goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

Photo by Franck Renard (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
European goldfinch (en); pintassilgo-comum (pt); chardonneret élégant (fr); jilguero (es); stieglitz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of Europe, from the Mediterranean to southern Scandinavia, including the British Isles, and east into central Asia as far east as western Mongolia and China and northern India. It is also found in northern Africa along the Mediterranean coast. The European goldfinch has been introduced to southern Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay, Cape Verde and Bermuda.

Size:
These birds are 12-13,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 21-25 cm. They weigh 14-19 g.

Habitat:
The European goldfinch is found in a wide range of habitats, including temperate forests, grasslands, scrublands, freshwater wetlands, pastures and arable land, orchards and also urban areas.

Diet:
They feed on the seeds of various grasses and herbs, namely  teasels, thistels, knapweeds, groundsels, ragworts and dandelions.

Breeding:
European goldfinches breed in April-July. They nest in a cup made of moss, grass and lichen, and lined with wool and plant down. The nest is placed on an outer branch of a leafy tree or scrub, often in a garden, orchard or hedgerow. The re the female lays 3-7 pale blue eggs with reddish markings, which she incubates alone for 10-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-18 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2-3 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 73,5-348 million individuals, although this estimate requires further validation. The population has had a stable trend in Europe over the last 3 decades.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Black nunbird

Monasa atra

Photo by Bruno Salaroli (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
black nunbird (en); chora-chuva-de-asa-branca (pt); barbacou noir (fr); monja negra (es); mohrentrappist (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galbuliformes
Family Bucconidae

Range:
This species is found in western and southern Venezuela, through the Guyanas and into northern Brazil, only north of the Amazon river.

Size:
These birds are 25-29 cm long and weigh 85-95 g.

Habitat:
The black nunbird is mostly found in moist tropical forests and swamp forests, but also in moist scrublands, second growths and plantations. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
They mostly feed on insects and spiders, but also take small lizards.

Breeding:
Not much is known about the breeding behaviour of the black nunbird. They nest in a hole in the ground, where the female lays 2-3 shiny white eggs. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledgling periods, but they possibly breed twice per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. Based on current models of  Amazonian deforestation this species is likely to suffer considerable habitat loss in the near future, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Monday, 24 June 2013

White-rumped swallow

Tachycineta leucorrhoa

Photo by Carlos Gussoni (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
white-rumped swallow (en); andorinha-de-sobre-branco (pt); hirondelle à diadème (fr); golondrina cejiblanca (es); weißbürzelschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

Range:
This species is found from central Brazil and Bolivia to north-eastern Argentina.

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

Habitat:
The white-rumped swallow is found over open habitats, usually near water, namely wet grasslands, marshes, coastal lagoons, tropical moist forests, dry savannas, and also pastures, and urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.100 m.

Diet:
They are strictly insectivorous, mainly catching their prey on the wing. They are known to eat termite alates, ants, flies and bees.

Breeding:
White-rumped swallows nest in natural or man-made cavities, which they line with grasses, leaves and feathers. There the female lays 4-6 white eggs which are incubated for about 16 days. The chicks fledge around 24 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be increasing owing to the increasing availability of artificial nest sites.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

African green-pigeon

Treron calvus

(Photo from Cousin Pascal)

Common name:
African green-pigeon (en); pombo-verde-africano (pt); columbar à front nu (fr); vinago africano (es); nacktgesicht-grüntaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan and south to South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 23-30 cm long. The males tend to be larger, weighing 160-285 g while the females weigh 130-225 g.

Habitat:
The African green-pigeon is found in a wide range of habitats, including moist tropical forests in both lowlands and mountainous areas, riparian forests, moist scrublands, dry savannas, rural gardens and arable land.

Diet:
They feed on various fruits and berries, especially wild figs, but also saffrons, jacket plum, buffalo thorn, water berry, jackalberry and exotic species such as loquats and mulberries. Sometimes they also eat carrion.

Breeding:
These birds can breed all year round, but mostly during summer. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a weak platform made of sticks, placed in a fork in a tree. The female lays 1-2 eggs which are incubated for 13-14 days. The chicks fledge about 12 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range is reported to be frequent to locally abundant. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Fasciated wren

Campylorhynchus fasciatus

Photo by Manolo Arribas (ASEDI)

Common name:
fasciated wren (en); garrincha-zebrada (pt); troglodyte fascié (fr); ratona franjeada (es); bindenzaunkönig (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformmes
Family Troglodytidae

Range:
This species in only found in western Ecuador and north-western Peru.

Size:
These birds are 19 cm long and weigh aroud 30 g.

Habitat:
The fasciated wren is mostly found in arid and semi-arid areas, including scrublands, dry tropical forests and forest edges, but also in orchards and plantations. In Ecuador they also use rainforests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.600 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on invertebrates, but also take some plant matter.

Breeding:
Fasciated wrens breed in May-August. They can breed in monogamous pair, or more often in co-operative groups with a dominant pair and up to 10 helpers, mostly young from previous years. The nest is a domed structure with side entrance, made with grass and lined with feathers, which is placed on a tree or tall cactus. They can also nest on old ovenbird mud nests. The female lays 4-7 eggs which are incubated for 17 days. There is no information regarding the length of the fledgling period.

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

Friday, 21 June 2013

Chestnut-backed sparrowlark

Eremopterix leucotis

Photo by Guy Poisson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
chestnut-backed sparrowlark (en); cotovia-pardal-de-dorso-castanho (pt); moinelette à oreillons blancs (fr); terrera orejiblanca (es); weißwangenlerche (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, in the Sahel belt from Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan, through Kenya and Tanzania and into Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa.

Size:
These small larks are 11 cm long and weigh 12-16 g.

Habitat:
The chestnut-backed sparrowlark is mostly found in short, dry grasslands and semi-arid savanna woodlands, especially in recently burnt areas, but also in pastures and arable land.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, usually in flocks of 5-50 birds, mainly eating seeds of cultivated cereal crops or grasses, but also taking some invertebrates.

Breeding:
Chestnut-backed sparrowlarks breed in January-September. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a cup of dry grass and rootlets placed in a shallow excavated depression in the ground. It is often positioned against a grass tuft or stone. There the female lays 1-3 eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 11 days. The chicks are brooded and fed by both parents, leaving the nest 10-12 days after hatching, but only being able to fly a few days later.

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

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Empress brilliant

Heliodoxa imperatrix

Photo by Rafael Merchante (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
empress brilliant (en); brilhante-imperatriz (pt); brillant impératrice (fr); brillante emperatriz (es); rotstern-brilliantkolibri (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is found along the western slopes of the Andes in Colombia and northern Ecuador.

Size:
The males are 16 cm long while the females are 13 cm long. They weigh 8-9 g.

Habitat:
The empress brilliant is mostly found in tropical moist forests, especially in cloud forests and along forest edges, but also in second growth and degraded patches of former forests, at altitude of 400-2.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mostly on nectar, but also take some small arthropods.

Breeding:
Empress brilliants breed in February-July. They nest in a simple cup made of fern scales and moss heavily wrapped in spider webs. The nest is paced on a tree branch or sometimes on human structures. The female lays 2 white eggs. The is no information regarding the incubation period, but the chicks fledge 22-25 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as fairly common. There is no information regarding population trends or threats.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Great crested flycatcher

Myiarchus crinitus

Photo by Frode Jacobsen (Flickr)

Common name:
great crested flycatcher (en); papa-moscas-grande-de-crista (pt); tyran huppé (fr); copetón viajero (es); gelbbauch-schopftyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species breeds in the eastern United States and in south-eastern Canada. They migrate south to winter from southern Mexico to northern Colombia and western Venezuela. Some also winter in southern Florida and Cuba.

Size:
These birds are 17-21 cm long and have a wingspan of 34 cm. They weigh 27-40 g.

Habitat:
The great crested flycatcher breeds in open deciduous woodlands, old orchards, pastures, riparian corridors, wooded swamps and urban parks with large shade trees.They winter in both moist and dry tropical forests, as well as pastures, swamps and urban parks. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.400 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on flying insects and other invertebrates, but will also take some fruits and berries.

Breeding:
Great crested flycatchers breed in May-July. They are monogamous and in some cases pairs breed together for several years. The nest in natural cavities, which they line with
leaves, hair, feathers, rootlets, string, trash, small twigs, bark, paper, and shed snakeskin. They also use nest boxes. The female lays 4-8 buffy eggs with brown or purple streaks. The female incubates the eggs alone for 13-15 days. The chicks fledge 13-15 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the population is estimated at 7,5 million individuals. The population tren has been stable over the last 4 decades.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Whitehead

Mohoua albicilla

Photo by Rosie Perera (Flickr)

Common name:
whitehead (en); cabeça-branca (pt); mohoua à tête blanche (fr); mohoua cabeciblanco (es); weißköpfchen (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pachycephalidae

Range:
This species is endemic to New Zealand, only being found in North Island and several offshore islands surrounding it, including Little Barrier Island, Great Barrier Island and Kapiti Island.

Size:
These birds are 15 cm long and weigh 14,5-18,5 g.

Habitat:
The whitehead is mostly found in native scrublands and forests, but also in rural gardens, arable land and plantations.

Diet:
They glean insects and other arthropods from tree trunks, mainly taking spiders, moths, caterpillars and beetles. These are supplemented with fruits of native plants such as māhoe and matipo.

Breeding:
Whiteheads breed in November-January. They nest in a cup placed in the tree canopy or lower down in smaller trees and scrubs, 1-15 m above the ground. The female lays 2-4 eggs of variable colouration, which are incubated by both parents for 18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 16-19 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as common on Kapiti and Little Barrier islands and moderately common in forested areas of the north island of New Zealand. The population is in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and introduced predators, but the whitehead is not threatened at present.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Prong-billed barbet

Semnornis frantzii

Photo by Lou Hegedus (Mango Verde)

Common name:
prong-billed barbet (en); capitão-de-Frantzius (pt); cabézon de Frantzius (fr); cabezón cocora (es); azteken-bartvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

Range:
This species is only found in Costa Rica and western Panama.

Size:
These birds are 17 cm long and weigh 60-70 g.

Habitat:
The prong-billed barbet is found in cool, moist tropical forests with abundant moss coverage, especially in mountainous areas but also in the lowlands. They are present at altitudes of 500-2.750 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on the fruits of various trees, epiphytes and scrubs, but also some flowers, nectar and insects.

Breeding:
Prong-billed barbets breed in March-June. They nest in a hole excavated by both sexes on a dead tree, usually 3,5-18 m above the ground. The nest cavity is not lined. The female lays 4-5 glossy white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 13-14 days. The chicks possibly fledge about 1 months after hatching. Each pair raises a single clutch per year.

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

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Ostrich

Struthio camelus

Photo by Stig Nygaard (Wikipedia)

Common name:
ostrich (en); avestruz (pt); autruche d'Afrique (fr); avestruz (es); Afrikanische strauß (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Struthioniformes
Family Struthionidae

Range:
This species is presently restricted to Africa, occurring in two separate areas. One area spans from Mauritania and Mali to Sudan and south along East Africa to Tanzania. The other area encompasses Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and northern South Africa. The population in the Middle East went extinct in the 1960s.

Size:
The ostrich is the largest living bird species. The males are larger than females, being 2,1-2,8 m long and weighing 100-160 kg. The females are 1,7-2 m long and weigh 65-110 kg.

Habitat:
These birds are mostly found in dry grasslands and savannas, and also in dry scrublands and pastures. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on grasses, seeds, flowers and fruits of succulent plants, and also roots and some insects such as locusts.

Breeding:
Ostriches breed in March-September. They can be either monogamous or polygamous with one male defending a flock of 2-7 females. The nest is a simple pit, scraped on the ground by the male. The dominant female lays up to 12 eggs and the other females can each lay another 2-6 eggs, all in the same nest, with cases being known of up to 60 eggs in a single nest. the eggs are incubated only be the male and the dominant female, for 35-46 days. The chicks leave the nest within 3 days of hatching and often join a large crèche with chicks from other broods, which is defended by several adults. They fledge 4-5 months after hatching and reach sexual maturity at 2-4 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be frequent to abundant throughout most of this range. The population is decreasing and the ostrich species has previously suffered owing to the plume trade and hunting, but is now mostly affected by habitat loss.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Crested myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

(Photo from Lananhbirds Club)

Common name:
crested myna (en); mainá-de-crista (pt); martin huppé (fr); mainá china (es); haubenmaina (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sturnidae

Range:
This species originates from southern China, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, but has been introduced to several parts of the world including Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Portugal, Argentina, British Columbia in Canada and Florida in the United States.

Size:
These birds are 25 cm long and weigh 110-120 g.

Habitat:
The crested myna is found in urban parks and gardens, harbours, arable land, rice fields, pastures, wet grasslands and also along forest edges.

Diet:
They feed on insects, fruits, grains and also the eggs and chicks of other birds.

Breeding:
Crested mynas breed in April-June. They nest in a variety of cavities and crevices, and the nest consists of a loose collection of sticks leaves, paper, and other trash. There the female lays 4-7 glossy green-blue eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 14-15 days. The chicks fledge 21-30 days after hatching. Each pair can raise 1-2 broods per year.

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

Friday, 14 June 2013

Palm cockatoo

Probosciger aterrimus

Photo by Doug Janson (Wikipedia)

Common name:
palm cockatoo (en); cacatua-das-palmeiras (pt); cacatoès noir (fr); cacatúa enlutada (es); palmkakadu (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Cacatuidae

Range:
This species is found in New Guinea, where it is widespread, also occurring in the Aru Islands and the West Papuan Islands. It is also found in northern Australia where it is confined to the northern Cape York Peninsula, from Pormpuraaw on the west coast to Princess Charlotte Bay on the east.

Size:
These birds are 49-68 cm long and weigh 0,5-1,1 kg.

Habitat:
The palm cockatoo is found in tropical rainforests and savannas, including gallery forests, forests edges, monsoon woodlands, eucalypt and paperbark woodlands, partially cleared areas and dense savannas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.350 m.

Diet:
They forage mostly on the forest canopy, but also on the forest floor, feeding on seeds, buds and fruits, and sometimes also insects and their larvae.

Breeding:
Palm cockatoos breed in July-May. They are monogamous and nest in large tree hollows, usually 5-10 m above the ground, choosing large trees such as palms. There the female lays a single white egg, which is incubated by both parents for 30-35 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 65-80 days after hatching. The chicks only achieve independence 4-5 months after fledging and only reach sexual maturity at 7-8 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range. The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is considered relatively common and appears to have a large overall population. The palm cockatoo is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation, but it is not threatened at present.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Jackson's widowbird

Euplectes jacksoni

Photo by Szymon Beuch (Forum Przyroda)

Common name:
Jackson's widowbird (en); bispo-de-Jackson (pt); euplecte de Jackson (fr); obispo de Jackson (es); leierschwanzwida (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Ploceidae

Range:
These birds are found in central and western Kenya and north-eastern Tanzania.

Size:
The females are 14 cm long but the males reach 30 cm due to the large tail they develop with their breeding plumage. Males are also 40% heavier than females.

Habitat:
The Jackson's widowbird is found high-altitude grasslands and arable land. They are present at altitudes of 1.500-3.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on grass seeds, particularly those of Themeda triandra and Panicum, as well as termite alates.

Breeding:
Jackson's widowbirds are polygynous and can breed all year round. The males perform a peculiar dance to attract females, matting with several females and having no further part in the breeding process. The nest is a domed ball of woven grass with a side entrance, lined with grass seed-heads, usually placed within 10 cm of the ground in a tuft of grass, with living grass bent down over it to form a bower. There the female lays 2-4 eggs which she incubates for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by the female and fledge 17 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as locally common.
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, as a result of intensified agricultural development and livestock production. Fires, started by pastoralists to control ticks, are common in the dry season, and temporarily destroy most suitable habitat.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Black-shouldered kite

Elanus axillaris

(Photo from Revista Imán Sinopsis)

Common name:
black-shouldered kite (en); peneireiro-cinzento-australiano (pt); élanion d'Australie (fr); elanio australiano (es); Australischer gleitaar (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found throughout the country, including Tasmania.

Size:
These birds are 33-38 cm long and have a wingspan of 80-95 cm. They weigh around 290 g.

Habitat:
The black-shouldered kite is found in dry grasslands with scattered trees, dry savannas, arable land and along rivers and streams. Also on the outskirts of small towns, over coastal dunes and marshes.

Diet:
They feed mainly on mice and other small mammals, especially the introduced house mouse Mus musculus, often following outbreaks of mouse plagues in rural areas. They also hunt grasshoppers, small reptiles, birds and rarely rabbits.

Breeding:
Black-shouldered kites are monogamous and breed in July-January. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a large untidy shallow cup of sticks, placed high on a tree or on an artificial structure such as a bridge or power pole, usually 5-20 m above the ground. They also use old nests abandoned by crows,magpies or ravens. The female lays 3-4 dull white eggs with reddish-brown blotches, which are incubated for about 34 days. The chicks fledge 36-38 days after hatching but continue to receive food from the parents for another 1-3 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated to be over 100.000 individuals. The population may be increasing as clearance for agriculture has lead to an increase in suitable habitat and growing populations of prey species such as the house mice.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Black rosy finch

Leucosticte atrata

(Photo from Planet of Birds)

Common name:
black rosy finch (en); tentelhão-rosado negro (pt); roselin noir (fr); pinzón rosado negro (es); rosenbauch-schneegimpel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the western United States, breeding in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and marginally in Oregon and Nevada. Outside the breeding season they wander a bit further into Colorado, northern New Mexico and north-eastern California.

Size:
These birds are 14-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 33 cm. They weigh 22-32 g.

Habitat:
The black rosy finch is found in high-altitude grasslands and alpine rocks, also using desert areas during the winter. They are found at altitudes of 3.000-4.500 m.

Diet:
The feed on the seeds of grasses and weeds, which are supplemented with insects during the summer.

Breeding:
Black rosy finches breed in June-August. The nest is a bulky cup made of grasses, moss, and sometimes feathers mixed with grass and animal hair. It is placed in a crevice or hole in a cliff, usually in an inaccessible place, or sometimes in a niche among boulders of a rock slide. There the female lays 3-6 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 20 days after hatching, only becoming fully independent 2 weeks later. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 20.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Brown fish-owl

Ketupa zeylonensis

Photo by Kata Mahakayi (Project Noah)

Common name:
brown fish-owl (en); bufo-pescador-castanho (pt); kétoupa brun (fr); búho pescador de Ceilán (es); wellenbrust-fischuhu (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Asia, from eastern Pakistan, throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and into southern China, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Size:
These large owls are 48-57 cm long and weigh 1,1-2,5 kg.

Habitat:
The brown fish-owl is found in both moist and dry tropical forests, especially in open areas, and also in mangroves and plantation, but always near wetlands such as freshwater marshes, lakes and rivers. It is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.900 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on freshwater fishes, frogs, crabs and other crustaceans, but also some small mammals, birds, reptiles and occasionally carrion.

Breeding:
Brown fish-owls breed in November-March. The nest is made of sticks and placed in a rock crevice or a cleft in a bank. There the female lays 1-2 eggs which are incubated for about 38 days. The chicks fledge some 7 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be generally uncommon.
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and the use of rodenticides may also have a negative effect on this species.