Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Baltimore oriole

Icterus galbula

Photo by Henry Domke (Health Care Fine Art)

Common name:
Baltimore oriole (en); corrupião-de-Baltimore (pt); oriole de Baltimore (fr); turpial de Baltimore (es); Baltimoretrupial (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

Range:
This species breeds throughout the eastern United States, south-eastern Canada and north-eastern Mexico, and migrate south to winter in Florida, from Mexico to western Colombia and northern Venezuela and throughout the Caribbean.

Size:
These birds are 17-20 cm long and have a wingspan of 23-30 cm. They weigh 30-40 g.

Habitat:
The Baltimore oriole breeds in open deciduous forests, forest edges, rural areas and urban parks. Outside the breeding season they also use grasslands and tropical moist forests.

Diet:
They mainly eat insects and other invertebrates, berries and nectar, especially caterpillars,
beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, and flies, spiders, snails, mulberries, cherries and grapes.


Breeding:
Baltimore orioles are mostly monogamous, although extra-pair paternity is known to happen. They breed in May-June and nest on a tightly woven pouch located on the end of a branch, which the female builds using any any plant or animal materials available. It is usually placed 7-9 m above the ground. The female lays 3-7 pale greyish or bluish white eggs with brown and black blotches and streaks. She incubates the eggs alone for 11-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-14 days after hatching, becoming independent shortly after.

Conservation:
IUCN status -LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 6 million individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sri Lanka frogmouth

Batrachostomus moniliger

Photo by Tomas Grim (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Sri Lanka frogmouth (en); boca-de-sapo-do-Ceilão (pt); podarge de Ceylan (fr); podargo de Ceilán (es); Ceylonfroschmaul (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Podargidae

Range:
This species is found in Sri Lanka and in the Western Ghats of south-western India.

Size:
These birds are 23 cm long.

Habitat:
The Sri Lanka frogmouth is found in tropical rainforests with dense undergrowth and also in degraded patches of former forest. It is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

Diet:
They forage at night, hunting insects either in flight or by gleaning them from the ground or tree branches.

Breeding:
Sri Lanka frogmouths breed in January-April. The nest is a small pad made of moss, lined with down, small leaves and moss, and covered on the outside with lichens and bark. It is placed in a fork in a tree, 2-12 m above the ground. There the female lays a single white egg which she incubates during the night and the male incubates during the day. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods, but the chicks are known to be brooded by both parents and remain with the parents for a few months after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and, although the global population size is yet to be quantified, it is reported to be local and uncommon in southern India and common in Sri Lanka. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Green jay

Cyanocorax yncas

Photo by Dorgelis Alcocer (Facebook)

Common name:
green jay (en); gaio-verde (pt); geai vert (fr); chara verde (es); grünhäher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
This species is found in two separate population, one from southern Texas, in the United States, down to northern Honduras, and another from northern Venezuela and along the slopes of the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru down to central Bolivia.

Size:
These birds are 25-31 cm long and have a wingspan of 35-40 cm. They weigh 65-110 g.

Habitat:
The green jay is mostly found in tropical rainforests, both in lowlands and mountainous areas, moist scrublands and dry savannas, but also in high-altitude scrublands and dry scrublands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They are omnivorous eating arthropods, small vertebrates, fruits, berries, seeds and nuts. Their prey includes beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, bugs, wasps, spiders, centipedes, small rodents, lizards and the eggs and young of small birds.

Breeding:
Green jays are monogamous and nest in a bulky but loose cup of sticks and thorny twigs, lined with rootlets, grass, moss, and sometimes leaves. The nest is placed in a dense tree or scrub, usually placed 2-5 m above the ground. The female lays 3-5 greenish-white eggs with dark spot, which she incubates alone for 17-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 19-22 days after hatching. The young may remain in the parental territory until the following breeding season, and may even help feed the next brood.

Conservation:
IUCN status -  LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range. There is no information regarding the trend of the global population, but the green jay is increasing and expanding in range in the United States.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Dusky woodswallow

Artamus cyanopterus

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
dusky woodswallow (en); andorinha-do-bosque-sombria (pt); langrayen sordide (fr); artamo sombrío (es); rußschwalbenstar (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Artamidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found in two separate populations. The eastern population is found from Atherton Tableland, Queensland south to Tasmania and west to Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. The other population is found in south-western Western Australia.

Size:
These birds are 17-18 cm long and weigh 35 g.

Habitat:
The dusky woodswallow is mostly found in open, dry tropical forests and savannas, but also in dry scrublands, rural gardens, urban areas and occasionally in moist tropical forests and temperate forests.

Diet:
They feed mostly on insects, which are either taken on the wing or collected from the foliage or from the ground. They also eat nectar.

Breeding:
Dusky woodswallows breed in August-January. The nest is a loose bowl of twigs, grass and roots, lined with fine grasses, and it is placed in a tree fork, behind bark, in a stump hollow or in a fence post, usually 1-10 m above the ground. The female lays 3-4 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 16 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the clearance of native vegetation for agriculture, but it is not threatened at present.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Eurasian scops-owl

Otus scops

Photo by Paul Cools (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Eurasian scops-owl (en); mocho-d'orelhas (pt); petit-duc scops (fr); autillo europeo (es); zwergohreule (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species breeds in Morocco, Algeria and southern Europe as far north as northern France, Austria and Slovakia, than in the Ukraine, Belarus and into southern Russia and through the Middle East into central Asia as far east as Kazakhstan, north-western China and western Mongolia. Most population migrate south or south-west to winter along the Sahel belt in sub-Saharan Africa.

Size:
These birds are 16-20 cm long and have a wingspan of 53-63 cm. They weigh 90-145 g.

Habitat:
The Eurasian scops-owl is mostly found in both boreal and temperate deciduous forests, but also in scrublands, orchards, parks within urban area, agricultural areas with scattered trees and sometime also in open coniferous forests. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They are mostly insectivorous, taking cicadas, grasshoppers, beetles, moths and flying ants. They also take woodlice, earthworms, mice and shrews, small birds and sometimes even amphibians and small reptiles.

Breeding:
Eurasian scops-owls breed in March-August. They are mostly monogamous, although some cases of polygyny are known to occur. They nest in a hole in an old tree trunk, sometimes using abandoned woodpecker nests, and may also use cavities in walls of old buildings, or under roofs of cabins in parks and gardens.There the female lays 3-6 white eggs which she mostly incubates alone for 24-25 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest 21-29 days after hatching, before their plumage is completely grown. they start flying at 30-33 days of age but continue to be fed by the parents for another 5 weeks and sometimes migrate south together with their parents.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1-3 million individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, and the use of pesticides.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Rufous-breasted spinetail

Synallaxis erythrothorax

Photo by Michael Retter (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rufous-breasted spinetail (en); joão-teneném-de-peito-ruivo (pt); synallaxe à poitrine rousse (fr); pijuí centroamericano (es); rotbrust-dickichtschlüpfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species is found in two disjunct populations, one along the Atlantic slopes of Central America from south-eastern Mexico to north-western Honduras, and another along the Pacific slopes of south-eastern Chiapas, in Mexico, southern Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Size:
These birds are 13-15,5 cm long and weigh 15-19 g.

Habitat:
The rufous-breasted spinetail is found in densely vegetated habitats, including secondary forests, scrublands, the edges of lowland rainforests and swamps. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 750 m.

Diet:
They are mostly insectivorous, plucking adult insects, caterpillars and spiders from the foliage on taking them from the ground. They also eat small berries.

Breeding:
Rufous-breasted spinetails breed in April-September. The nest  is a large, domed structure with an entrance in the small end, attaching to a tunnel that leads to the nest chamber at the large end. It is made of sticks and placed on an horizontal branch of a small tree or scrub, usually 2-4 m above the ground and near a water source such as a stream. The female lays 2-4 white or pale blue eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 17-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14-16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population 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 and they seem to be able to adapt to secondary habitats, thus being less affected by deforestation than other species more associated with primary rainforests.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Grey-crested helmetshrike

Prionops poliolophus

(Photo from Bird Forum)

Common name:
grey-crested helmetshrike (en); atacador-de-poupa-cinzenta (pt); bagadais à huppe grise (fr); prionopo crestigrís (es); grauschopf-brillenwürger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Prionopidae

Range:
This species occurs in a restricted area of south-western Kenya and adjacent areas of northern Tanzania, mostly between lake Victoria and lakes Natron and Eyasi.

Size:
These birds are 24-26 cm long and weigh about 50 g.

Habitat:
The grey-crested helmetshrike is found in open Acacia dephanolobium and Tarconanthus woodlands, riparian woodlands dominated by Acacia xanthophloea, Acacia abyssinica and Protea, and wooded grasslands and scrublands. They are present at altitudes of 1.200-2.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on insects, including insect larvae, grasshoppers and praying mantises.

Breeding:
Grey-crested helmetshrikes breed in April-July. They are cooperative breeders, living in groups of 12-17 individuals, all of which help build the nest, incubate the eggs, and brood and feed the young. The nest is an open cup made of bark and grasses and lined with spider webs which are also used to bind the nest to the branch of a tree. Each female lays 3-4 eggs, though more than one clutch may be laid in the same nest, and all group members help incubate them for 16-18 days. The chicks are fed by all group members, but there is no information regarding the length of the fledgling period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and, although the population size of this species has not been quantified, it is described as generally scarce. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and degradation, mainly due to increasing densities of livestock and cultivation of marginal land. Hybridisation with the white-crested helmetshrike Prionops plumatus may also represent a potential risk.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Speckled pigeon

Columba guinea

Photo by Marco Valentini (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
speckled pigeon (en); pombo-da-Guiné (pt); pigeon roussard (fr); paloma de Guinea (es); Guineataube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, with two disjunct populations. The more northern population is found from Senegal and guinea east to southern Sudan and Ethiopia, and through Kenya, Uganda and eastern D.R. Congo into Tanzania. The more southern population is found from southern Angola and Zimbabwe down to South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 32-41 cm long and weigh 250-350 g.

Habitat:
The speckled pigeon is mostly found in dry savannas, but also in rocky mountainous areas, dry scrublands and grasslands, hot deserts, agricultural areas and also within urban areas. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on seeds, namely from wild grasses and cultivated crops such as sunflower, wheat, sorghum, maize and ground nuts. They are also known to eat fruits, flowers, leaves and acorns.

Breeding:
Speckles pigeons can breed all year round, mostly late in the local dry season. They can nest singly or in colonies, the nests consisting of a loose cup or platform of twigs lined with grasses, herbs and sometimes wire and other human refuse. The nest can be placed on ledges of cliffs, in caves, gullies, trees, or often in buildings. The female lays 1-3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, initially only crop milk but later also small pieces of food. They fledge 20-37 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as common in most of this range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats and they are known to adapt very well to living with humans as they often nests and roosts in buildings.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Pied currawong

Strepera graculina

Photo by Chris Chafer (Flickr)

Common name:
pied currawong (en); verdugo-malhado (pt); grand réveilleur (fr); verdugo pío (es); dickschnabel-würgerkrähe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Artamidae

Range:
This species is endemic to eastern Australia, being found from northern Queensland to Victoria and marginally into South Australia.

Size:
These birds are 44-51 cm long and have a wingspan of 56-77 cm. They weigh 280-320 g.

Habitat:
The pied currawong is mostly found in both moist and dry sclerophyll forests, tropical forests, and savannas, but also in scrublands, arable land and within urban areas.

Diet:
They are omnivorous and opportunistic, taking a wide variety of food such as small lizards, insects, caterpillars, young birds and eggs, fruits and berries.

Breeding:
Pied currawongs breed in July-January. The female builds the nest, a bowl of sticks, lined with grasses and other soft material, placed in a fork in a tall tree, up to 20 m above the ground. There she lays 3 brown to rufous-brown eggs with grey and brown spots and blotches. The female incubates the eggs alone for 21 days while being fed by the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 30 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as abundant. Population increases have been noted in urban areas probably owing to the increased food supply available 

Monday, 22 July 2013

White-throated flowerpecker

Dicaeum vincens

Photo by John Thompson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
white-throated flowerpecker (en); pica-flores-do-Ceilão (pt); dicée de Ceylan (fr); picaflores cingalés (es); Sri Lanka-blomsterpikker (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Dicaeidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is confined to the wet zone in the south-western part of the island.

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

Habitat:
The white-throated flowerpecker is found in rainforests from sea level up to an altitude of 2.300 m, being more abundant in lowland forests up to an altitude of 900 m. They can also wander of to secondary habitats bordering rainforests.

Diet:
They feed mostly on nectar, but also eat berries, spiders and insects.

Breeding:
White-throated flowerpeckers nest in a purse-like nest suspended from a tree, where the female lays 2 eggs. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledgling periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as common at lower altitudes. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, through the extensive clearance and degradation of forests, particularly in the wet zone, by logging, fuel wood collection, conversion to agriculture and tree plantations, gem mining, settlement and fire. Some protected forests continue to be degraded and suffer further fragmentation.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Southern carmine bee-eater

Merops nubicoides

Photo by Mike Rolfe (Pixdaus)

Common name:
southern carmine bee-eater (en); abelharuco-róseo-do-sul (pt); guêpier carmin (fr); abejaruco carmesí del sur (es); karminspint (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Meropidae

Range:
This species is found breeding from southern Angola, through Zambia, Zimbabwe and northern Botswana, and into south-western Mozambique. Outside the breeding season they range as far south as north-eastern South Africa and as far north as central D.R. Congo, Rwanda and north-western Tanzania.

Size:
These birds are 24-27 cm long, plus an extra 12 cm if the tail streamers are considered. They weigh 50-70 g.

Habitat:
The southern carmine bee-eater is mostly found in savannas, scrublands, floodplains and swamps with scattered trees, favouring areas surrounding rivers and lakes. They can also be found in mangroves, pastures and arable land.

Diet:
They forage mainly on the wing, feeding on large flying insects including termite alates, cicadas, shield bugs, dragonflies, butterflies and locusts.

Breeding:
These birds are monogamous, living in large colonies of up to 1.000 pairs. They can breed all year round, with a peak in September-October. The nest is excavated by both sexes, consisting of a long tunnel ending in an unlined nest chamber which is usually dug into sandy riverbanks, ditches or sloping ground. The female lays 1-6 white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 11-13 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 11-20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as locally common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and it they are also shot by farmers who consider them pests.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Ribbon-tailed astrapia

Astrapia mayeri

Photo by Mark Harper (Wikipedia)

Common name:
ribbon-tailed astrapia (en); ave-do-paraíso-de-fitas (pt); paradisier à rubans (fr); ave del paraíso cola de moños (es); schmalschwanz-paradieselster (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paradisaeidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the central mountains of Papua-New Guinea, from the Strickland River to Mt Hagen and Mt Giluwe.

Size:
These birds are 32 cm long, but the tails feather in an adult male can grow up to 1 m long. They weigh 130-150 g.

Habitat:
The ribbon-tailed astrapia is only found in mountain rainforests, at altitudes of 2.400-3.400 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, particularly those of Scheflera, and also insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding:
Ribbon-tailed astrapias as polygynous, with the males performing elaborate displays to attract females after which they have no further part in the breeding process. They place their nest in a small isolated tree and the female lays a single eggs which she incubated for 21 days. the chick fledges 26-30 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively small breeding range, but it is described as fairly common to locally abundant. There are no data on population trends, but the ribbon-tailed astrapia is thought to be in slow decline owing to on-going habitat degradation.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Black-throated huet-huet

Pteroptochos tarnii

Photo by Jose Cañas (Flickr)

Common name:
black-throated huet-huet (en); huet-huet-de-garganta-preta (pt); tourco huet-huet (fr); hued-hued del sur (es); schwarzkehl-bürzelstelzer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Rhinocryptidae

Range:
This species is found in Chile, from the Bío-Bío river down to Magallanes, and also in Andean slopes of western Argentina down to Patagonia.

Size:
These birds are 24-25 cm long and weigh 122-145 g.

Habitat:
The black-throated huet-huet is mostly found in moist temperate forests, particularly dense Notofagus dominated forests, but also in secondary forests and forest edges, scrublands, plantations, pastures and arable land. It is found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed mostly on small insects and other invertebrates, but also some berries and seeds.

Breeding:
Black-throated huet-huets breed in September-February. The nest is an open cup made of soft grasses, which can be placed at the end of a burrow dug into a bank, under the roots of a fallen tree, or occasionally high up in a hollow tree. There the female lays 2 eggs which are incubated for 22 days. The chicks fledge 21 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The population trend for this species cannot be determined based on the available information.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Australasian grebe

Tachybaptus novaehollandiae

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Australasian grebe (en); mergulhão-pequeno-australiano (pt); grèbe australasien (fr); zampullín australiano (es); Australischer zwergtaucher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Podicipediformes
Family Podicipedidae

Range:
This species is found throughout  Australia, in southern Indoneasia, New Guinea, the Solomon islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and recently colonized several areas in New Zealand.

Size:
These birds are 23-27 cm long and have a wingspan of 39-40 cm. They weigh 100-230 g.

Habitat:
The Australasian grebe is found in various inland wetlands, such as marshes, swamps, ponds, lakes and small reservoirs, preferring shallow areas with floating vegetation. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mostly on small fishes, aquatic insects, spiders, crustaceans and snails, but will also take some seeds and other vegetable matter. They are also known to occasionally eat frogs.

Breeding:
The breeding season of the Australasian grebe is variable and possibly stimulated by flooding. The nest is a small floating platform of vegetable matter, placed among emergent vegetation. The female lays 4-5 pale blue eggs which are incubate by both parents for 23 days. The chicks are able to swim from birth and are cared for by both parents for 8 weeks. They may not yet be able to fly when they become independent. Each pair can raise up to 3 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range. The overall population trend is increasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends, and some of the smaller island populations may be at risk due to habitat changes such as the drainage and exploitation of underground water supplies.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Rufous-crowned sparrow

Aimophila ruficeps

Photo J. Centavo (Flickr)

Common name:
rufous-crowned sparrow (en); escrevedeira-de-barrete-ruivo (pt); bruant à calotte fauve (fr); chingolo coronirrufo (es); rostscheitelammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is found in the south-western United States and Mexico, from Nebraska to northern California and south to Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 13-15 cm long and weigh 15-23 g.

Habitat:
The rufous-crowned sparrow is found in arid and rocky open areas, including dry grasslands and dry scrublands with scattered trees. They are also found to a lesser extent in pine and oak forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
Outside the breeding season they feed primarily on the seeds of small grasses and forbs, fresh grass stems and tender shoots. During spring and summer they feed mainly on spiders and insects such as ants, grasshoppers, beetles and scale insects.

Breeding:
These birds are monogamous and pair bonds can remain over several years. They breed in March-August. The nest is a simple cup made of dry grass barks, twigs and hair, placed in a shallow concavity on the ground made by the birds. The female lays 2-5 bluish-white eggs, which she incubates alone for 11-13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-9 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for some time after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The rufous-crowned sparrow has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 2,4 million individuals. The population has undergone a small decrease over the last 4 decades, but is not threatened.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Pallid swift

Apus pallidus

Photo by Daniele Occhiato (Bird Forum)

Common name:
pallid swift (en); andorinhão-pálido (pt); martinet pâle (fr); vencejo pálido (es); fahlsegler (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae

Range:
This species breeds around the Mediterranean, from Morocco, southern Portugal and Spain to Egypt and Israel, and also along the coasts of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. ost populations migrate south to winter in the Sahel, from southern Mauritania to Guinea and east to South Sudan. There are resident populations in Egypt, along the Nile river, and also in Niger and Chad.

Size:
These birds are 16-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 42-46 cm. They weigh about 50 g.

Habitat:
The pallid swift breed in cliffs and other rocky areas, and also within urban areas, including the centre of large cities. They forage over a variety of habitats, including coastal and inland wetlands, grasslands, savannas and gardens. This species occurs from sea level up to an altitude of 2.700 m.

Diet:
The forage exclusively on the wing, taking small flying insects.

Breeding:
Pallid swifts breed in March-September, varying between different parts of their range. They nest in crevices on buildings or cliffs, where they build a shallow cup of straw, grass, and feathers, cemented together with saliva. There the female lays 1-3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 20-23 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 44-48 days after hatching. Each pair can raise 1-2 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population was roughly estimated at 250.000-2.000.000 individuals, although this estimate requires further validation. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Robust woodpecker

Campephilus robustus

Photo by Ricardo Gentil (Flickr)

Common name:
robust woodpecker (en); pica-pau-rei (pt); pic robuste (fr); carpintero grande (es); scharlachkopfspecht (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is found in south-eastern Brazil, from southern Bahía and Goiás to northern Rio Grande do Sul, and also in eastern Paraguay and marginally into north-eastern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 31-37 cm long and weigh 230-295 g.

Habitat:
The robust woodpecker is found in moist tropical forests, especially in Araucaria forests. They may occur in disturbed forests where large trees are available. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on wood-boring insect larvae and beetles, and also some seeds and berries.

Breeding:
Robust woodpeckers breed in October-December. They nest in a large cavity excavates by both sexes on a large tree. The female lays 2-4 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 12-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 26-28 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon. It is suspected to have increased its range into Rio Grande do Sul.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Taiwan yuhina

Yuhina brunneiceps

Photo by Robert Tec (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Taiwan yuhina (en); iuína-da-Formosa (pt); yuhina de Taiwan (fr); yuhina de Formosa (es);
braunkopfyuhina (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Taiwan, being mostly found on the eastern side of the island.

Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh 10-13 g.

Habitat:
The Taiwan yuhina is found in temperate and tropical moist forests, including broad-leaved and mixed broad-leaved and coniferous forests at altitudes of 1.000-3.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mostly on the nectar of Magnoliaceae, Elaeagnaceae and Salicaceae, also eating fruits, berries and flowers, and also some small insects.

Breeding:
Taiwan yuhinas breed in March-September. They are cooperative breeders, forming groups of 2-8 individuals, all of which help raise the chicks and defend the territory. The nest is bowl-shaped and made of moss, ferns, silver grass and roots, being fixed to a tree branch with spider webs. It is lined with ferns. The female lays 4-8 light green or blue eggs with yellowish-brown markings, which are incubated for 12-16 days. the chicks fledge 10-14 days after hatching. Each group may raise up to 3 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and a global population estimated at 100.000-1.000.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Eclectus parrot

Eclectus roratus

Photo by Doug Janson (Wikipedia)

Common name:
eclectus parrot (en); papagaio-eclético (pt); grand éclectus (fr); loro ecléctico (es); edelpapagei (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is found in New Guinea, the Moluccas, the Solomon islands, the island of Sumba in Indonesia and also in northern Australia on the Eastern Cape York Peninsula. It has also been introduced to Palau and Singapore.

Size:
These birds are 35 cm long and weigh 440-620 g.

Habitat:
The eclectus parrot is found in a wide range of wooded habitats, including rainforests, secondary growths, Eucalyptus woodlands, moist savannas, mangroves, coconut plantations, and also grasslands, scrublands, pastures and rural gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.900 m.

Diet:
They forage on the trees, taking berries, fruits, seeds, nuts, blossoms, nectar and leaf buds.

Breeding:
These birds can breed all year round. They nest in a large hollow on the trunk of a tall tree, which is lined with wood chips and decayed wood dust. There the female lays 2 white eggs which she incubates alone for 26-30 days. The chicks are raised by both parents, often with the help of other adults, and fledge 11-12 weeks after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to uncommon. The population in Sumba is estimated at 1.900 individuals, but it represents a very small portion of the total range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation for food and for the cage bird trade.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Azure tit

Cyanistes cyanus

Photo by Krzysztof Blachowiak (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
azure tit (en); chapim-de-cabeça-branca (pt); mésange azurée (fr); herrerillo azul (es); lasurmeise (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paridae

Range:
This species is found from eastern Poland and Finland, through western and southern Russia, and into Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, north-western China and Mongolia.

Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh 8-10 g.

Habitat:
The azure tit is mostly found in temperate and sub-Arctic deciduous and mixed forests, scrublands and marshes, and also in high altitude scrublands, agricultural areas and even in tropical swamp forests on the southernmost parts of their range. It is present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.

Diet:
During spring and summer they feed on insects and other invertebrates, while during the rest of the year they feed mostly on seeds, nuts and berries.

Breeding:
Azure tits nest in a hole in a tree or wall, where the female lays about 10, but up to 15 eggs in favourable habitat. The eggs are white with with reddish-brown spots and are incubated for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17-20 days after hatching.

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