Thursday, 31 October 2013

Red-backed shrike

Lanius collurio

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
red-backed shrike (en); picanço-de-dorso-ruivo (pt); pie-grièche écorcheur (fr); alcaudón dorsirrojo (es); neuntöter (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Laniidae

Range:
This species breeds throughout most of Europe, with the exception of the British isles and Iceland, from the northern Iberian Peninsula to northern Sweden and Finland, and east to Russia, Kazakhstan and north-western Iran. They migrate south to winter in southern Africa, from Kenya and northern Angola down to South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 16-18 cm long and have a wingspan of 26 cm. They weigh 28-33 g.

Habitat:
The red-backed shrike breeds in a wide range of habitats, including dry scrublands, temperate grasslands, temperate and boreal forests, pastures, plantations, arable land, orchards and even within urban areas. They winter in dry savannas.

Diet:
They feed mostly on ground invertebrates and flying insects, but also small birds and mammals, lizards and frogs. Prey items are often impaled on thorns in order to build up a food supply for periods of bad weather.

Breeding:
Red-backed shrikes breed in April-July. They nest in a cup made of plant stems, roots and grass, and lined with moss and hair. The nest is placed in a thorny scrub or small tree, usually 1,5-3,5 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-6 whitish egg with light brown spots, which she incubates alone for 14-15 days. The chicks are fed by the female, while the male collects food for the family, fledging 14-16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 38-156 million individual. The population is estimated to be declining overall following a dramatic decline in the west and north-east of its breeding range from 1970 to 1990 at least. However, in Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Lineated barbet

Megalaima lineata

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:
lineated barbet (en); barbudo-riscado (pt); barbu rayé (fr); barbudo listado (es); streifenbartvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Capitonidae

Range:
This species is found from northern-eastern India and Nepal, through Bangladesh and Myanmar and into Vietnam, Thailand, northern Malaysia and marginally into southern China.

Size:
These birds are 28-29 cm long and weigh 75-100 g.

Habitat:
The lineated barbet is mostly found in deciduous and evergreen tropical forests, including moist and dry forests. They also use plantations, orchards and urban areas.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits, particularly those of jumbu Syzygium spp., Madras thorn Pithecellobium dulce, Benjamin fig Ficus benjamina, fishtail palm Caryota mitis and neem Azadirachta indica and several exotic species. They also take flowers and nectar, and also hunt variou insects, such as ants, cicadas, dragonflies, crickets, locusts, beetles, moths and mantids, as well spiders, lizards, tree frogs and the eggs of other birds.

Breeding:
Lineated barbets breed during the local rainy season. They nest in tree cavities, which they mostly excavate into dead wood, but sometimes also on live trunks and branches. There the female lays 2-4, which are incubated by both parents for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 35-28 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the population size has not been quantified, it is reported to be locally common to fairly common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Blue saw-wing

Psalidoprocne pristoptera

Photo by Per Holmen (Per's Birding Pages)

Common name:
blue saw-wing (en); andorinha-preta (pt); hirondelle hérissée (fr); golondrina negra (es); erz-schwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria to Ethiopia and south to Angola, Zambia, northern Zimbabwe, Mozambique and eastern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 12-15 cm long and weigh 10-13 g.

Habitat:
The blue saw-wing is found over a wide range of habitats, including various scrublands, grasslands, moist tropical forests, along rivers and streams, second growths, plantations, rural gardens and within urban areas. They are present at altitudes of 300-2.400 m.

Diet:
They forage on the wing, taking various aerial arthropods.

Breeding:
The blue saw-wing is monogamous, nesting in solitary pairs or in loose colonies. The nest in a long burrow excavated by both sexes into a riverbank, sandbank, erosion gulley, roof of aardvark Orycteropus afer burrow, trench or road cutting, with the entrance often concealed by vegetation. At the end of the burrow they build a cup made of lichens and grass. The female lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated by the female for 14-19 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-27 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as generally common to locally abundant, although not common in the lower Congo Basin, west Sudan, south Zambia and central Zimbabwe. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Monday, 28 October 2013

White-eared bulbul

Pycnonotus leucotis

Photo by Carmelo López (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
white-eared bulbul (en); tuta-de-orelha-branca (pt); bulbul à oreillons blancs (fr); bulbul orejiblanco (es); weißohrbülbül (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae

Range:
This species is found from Iraq and eastern Saudi Arabia, through southern Iran and into southern Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-western India.

Size:
These birds are 18 cm long and weigh 30-45 g.

Habitat:
The white-eared bulbul is mostly found in dry savannas and scrublands, but also in reedbeds along rivers, streams, lakes and marshes, in mangroves, deserts, plantations, rural gardens and arable land.

Diet:
They feed on fruits and insects.

Breeding:
White-eared bulbuls breed in March-June. The nest is an open cup made of plant fibres, where the female lays 2-4 light brown eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 14-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 15 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 the irrigation of a few desert regions

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Terek sandpiper

Xenus cinereus

Photo by Christodoulos Makris (Trek Nature)

Common name:
Terek sandpiper (en); maçarico-sovela (pt); chevalier bargette (fr); andarríos del Terek (es); Terekwasserläufer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae

Range:
This species breeds from Finland to north-eastern Siberia, as far east as the Kolyma river. They migrate south to winter along the coasts of eastern Africa, southern Asia and Australia.

Size:
These birds are 22-25 cm long and have a wingspan of 45-60 cm. They weigh 70-100 g.

Habitat:
The Terek sandpiper breeds in lowland valleys in northern boreal forests and tundra, especially on floodplains with flooded meadows and marshes, and where overgrown moist grasslands alternate with willow scrubland. They also use the shores of lakes, slow-moving rivers and sheltered seas. Outside the breeding season they are found in estuaries and mudflats, coral reefs, sandy and pebbly beaches, sandbars and mudflats at river mouths, coastal swamps, saltpans, coastal lagoons and saltmarsh creeks.

Diet:
On the breeding areas they feed mainly on adult and larval midges, as well as seeds. Outside the breeding season they feed on various insects, small molluscs, crustaceans, spiders and annelid worms.

Breeding:
Terek sandpipers breed in May-August. They are semi-colonial and each nest consists of a shallow depression in open or short vegetation, close to water, typically lined with grass and debris. There the female lays 2-5 eggs, which he mostly incubates alone for 20-24 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, being tended by both parents. They start flying about 15 days after hatching.Each pair raises a single brood per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 160.000-1.200.000 individuals. The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends. This species may be negatively affected by habitat loss and degradation in coastal areas of the Yellow Sea, in China and South Korea, where they have an important staging site.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Western scrub-jay

Aphelocoma californica

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
western scrub-jay (en); gaio-da-Califórnia (pt); geai buissonnier (fr); chara californiana (es); Kalifornienhäher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
This species is found in the western United States, from Oregon to Wyoming and south to southern California and Texas, and also in Mexico as far south as Oaxaca.

Size:
These birds are 27-31 cm long and have a wingspan of about 40 cm. They weigh 70-100 g.

Habitat:
The western scrub-jay is mostly found in dry scrublands, but also uses open woodlands and tropical moist forests, mangroves, and rural and sub-urban gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
During spring and summer they feed mainly on insects, fruits, small vertebrates such as frogs and lizards, and the eggs of other birds. During autumn and winter they feed mostly on nuts, seeds, grains and berries.

Breeding:
Western scrub-jays breed in March-July. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a sturdy basket made of twigs, lined with rootlets, fine strands of plant fibres, and livestock hair. The nest is placed on a tree or scrub, 1-10 m above the ground. The female lays 1-5 pale green or pale grey eggs with brown and olive blotches, which she incubates alone for 16-19 days. The chicks fledge 17-19  days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per season.

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

Friday, 25 October 2013

Green-headed sunbird

Nectarinia verticalis

Photo by Dave Curtis (Flickr)

Common name:
green-headed sunbird (en); beija-flor-de-cabeça-verde (pt); souimanga à tête verte (fr); suimanga cabeciverde (es); grünkopf-nektarvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Nectariniidae

Range:
This species is found in West Africa, from Senegal to South Sudan and Kenya, and south to northern Angola, southern D.R. Congo and Zambia.

Size:
These birds are 13-15 cm long and weigh 10-16 g.

Habitat:
The green-headed sunbird is mostly found in dry savannas, but also in dry grasslands and scrublands, in mangroves, in rainforests, along rivers and streams, in plantations, arable land and rural gardens.

Diet:
They feed on small fruits and nectar.

Breeding:
The female lays 2 eggs, which are incubated for 13-15 days. There is no information regarding the fledgling period.

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

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Lesser nighthawk

Chordeiles acutipennis

Photo by Pat Gaines (Flickr)

Common name:
lesser nighthawk (en); bacurau-de-asa-fina (pt); engoulevent minime (fr); añapero garrapena (es); Texasnachtschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Caprimulgidae

Range:
This species breeds in the southern United States, from California to southern Texas, and also in most of Mexico and in some areas of Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela and northern Brazil. The more northern populations migrate south to winter along Central America and northern South America as far south as central Brazil, Bolivia and northern Chile.

Size:
These birds are 20-22 cm long and a wingspan of 50-55 cm. They weigh 40-50 g.

Habitat:
The lesser nighthawk is mostly found in tropical dry scrublands, but also in tropical high altitude scrublands, tropical wet grasslands and degraded patches of former tropical forest. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Diet:
They hunt at dusk and during the night, taking  small insects such as winged ants, mosquitoes, beetles, moths and grasshoppers.

Breeding:
The lesser nighthawk breeds in April-July. They nest on the ground, often among rocks or gravel, and the female lays 2 pinkish-yellow eggs with grey speckles. The eggs are incubated by the female for 18-20 days. The chicks are fed by the mother and fledge 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as scarce. In the United States the population has undergone a small increase in the last 4 decades, but this represents less than 50% of the species range and in other areas they are likely affected by habitat loss.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Black berrypecker

Melanocharis nigra

Photo by Mehdhala Ouate (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
black berrypecker (en); pica-bagas-preto (pt); piquebaie noir (fr); picabayas negro (es); weißbüschel-beerenpicker (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Melanocharitidae

Range:
This species is found throughout the island of New Guinea, both in Indonesia and Papua-New Guinea, and also in some of the nearby offshore islands.

Size:
These birds are 9-10 cm long.

Habitat:
The black berrypecker is mostly found in lowland rainforests, but also in some mountain rainforests and plantations.

Diet:
They feed on berries, small fruits and small arthropods.

Breeding:
The female builds the nest alone, which consists of a small cup made of plant fibres and lichens. The nest is placed on a forked branch near the edge of a tree. The female lays 1-2 eggs. The re is no information regarding the incubation period. The chicks are fed by both parents but 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 to abundant. There is no information on population trends, but the black berrypecker is not considered threatened.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pink-legged graveteiro

Acrobatornis fonsecai

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:
pink-legged graveteiro (en); acrobata (pt); anabasitte à pattes roses (fr); graveteiro (es); plantagenschlüpfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species in endemic to Brasil, only being found in south-east Bahia and north -east Minas Gerais, mostly between the rivers Jequitinhonha and das Contas.

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

Habitat:
The pink-legged graveteiro is found in the canopy and sub-canopy of extensive shade cocoa plantations, within moist tropical forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 550 m.

Diet:
They feed on insects and other arthropods, namely beetles, termites, moths, ants, insect larvae, insect eggs and spiders.

Breeding:
Pink-legged graveteiros breed in September-October. They are monogamous and both sexes help build the nest. Both sexes help build the nests, each woven with sticks, consisting of an entrance corridor leading to a single incubation chamber that is heavily lined with leaves and moss. Each pair builds up to 5 nests within a single tree, but only one is active. The others are thought to be dummy nests, used to confuse predators and parasites, but they may also serve as places to store nest construction materials. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes. The chicks are raised by both parents, but the is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and a global population estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining rapidly due to habitat loss. Virtually all forest below 400 m has been converted to cocoa plantations or completely cleared. The system of shaded cocoa plantations has secured the survival of a continuous canopy cover in places, but there is no forest regeneration owing to weeding of the understorey. During the 1990s, falls in the price of cocoa and the introduction of a fungal disease resulted in a downturn in cocoa production. Landowners have started to sell timber from the shading forests, and to shift production from cocoa to other crop-types or livestock-grazing, increasing the pressure on the pink-legged graveteiro.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Black-backed kingfisher

Ceyx erithaca

Photo by Peter Ericsson (Lee's Birdwatching Adventures)

Common name:
black-backed kingfisher (en); guarda-rios-anão-oriental (pt); martin-pêcheur pourpré (fr); martín pescador enano oriental (de); dschungelfischer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae

Range:
This species is found across much of south-east Asia, from India to Indonesia.

Size:
These tiny kingfishers are 12-13 cm long and weigh 14 g.

Habitat:
The black-backed kingfisher is found in tropical rainforests, mangroves and tropical dry forests, mainly along rivers, streams and marshes. They can also be found in plantations. It is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.300 m.

Diet:
They feed on geckos, skinks, crabs, snails, frogs, crickets and dragonflies.

Breeding:
These birds breed in June-September. The nest is a horizontal tunnel up to a metre in length, where the female lays 4-5 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 17 days and the chicks fledge 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range, but is described as scarce. The population is suspected to be declining locally owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but the black-backed kingfisher is not considered threatened at present.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Harris's sparrow

Zonotrichia querula

Photo by Mike Ross (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Harris's sparrow (en); escrevedeira-de-Harris (pt); bruant à face noire (fr); chingolo de Harris (es); Harris-ammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species breeds in northern Canada, in the Northern Territories, Nunavut, northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba and northern Ontario. They migrate south to winter in the central United States, from South Dakota and Minnesota to Texas, and also in northern Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 17-20 cm long and have a wingspan of 27 cm. They weigh 26-49 g.

Habitat:
They breed in tundra scrublands and grasslands, and along the edges of boreal forests, using temperate grasslands, scrublands and rural gardens outside the breeding season.

Diet:
They feed on seeds, fruits, arthropods, and young conifer needles.

Breeding:
Harris's sparrows breed in May-August. They are monogamous and the nest is an open cup of mosses, small twigs, and lichens, lined with dried grass and often some caribou hair. It is placed on the ground, sometimes under a low scrub. There the female lays 3-5 pale green eggs with darker spots and blotches. The female incubates the eggs alone for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-10 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 2 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated is estimated at 3,7 million individuals. The population has undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades, but is not threatened.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Seychelles warbler

Acrocephalus sechellensis

Photo by Terje Kolaas (Flickr)

Common name:
Seychelles warbler (en); felosa-das-Seychelles (pt); rousserolle des Seychelles (fr); carricero de Seychelles (es); Seychellen-rohrsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the Seychelles archipelago. At present they are only found in the islands of Cousin, Aride, Cousine and Denis.

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

Habitat:
The Seychelles warbler is found in most tropical scrublands with large Pisonia grandis and Ficus reflexa trees.

Diet:
They feed on a variety of insects, including bugs and their eggs, beetles, bees and ants, but also spiders and, occasionally, small skins and geckos.

Breeding:
The Seychelles warbler is monogamous and mates for life. They have a cooperative breeding system, with helpers, usually the daughters from previous broods, helping defend the territory, build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young. They breed in June February. The female lays a single egg, which is incubated for 15 days. The chick fledges 14 days after hatching but may continue to receive food from the parents and helpers for several months.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species was an extremely small breeding range and a global population estimated at 1.700 individuals. The Seychelles warbler was originally found in several islands in the Seychelles, but human disturbance, habitat destruction and predation by introduced predator lead them to disappear in all islands except Cousin. Even in that island, the population reach an all time low of less than 30 individuals in the 1960s, but has since recovered thanks to
favourable management and conservation policies. In Cousin, management included the regeneration of Pisonia woodlands, and cessation of intensive management of coconut Cocos nucifera plantations. The islands of Aride, Denis and Cousine were also the target of habitat management and predator control, and have been populated successfully with birds from Cousin. These conservation efforts and considerable population recovery make the Seychelles warbler a great success case for nature conservation.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Crested serpent-eagle

Spilornis cheela

Photo by Bob Thompson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
crested serpent-eagle (en); águia-cobreira-de-crista (pt); serpentaire bacha (fr); águila culebrera chiíla (es); schlangenweihe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species is found in south-east Asia, from north-eastern Pakistan and India to southern China and Indonesia.

Size:
These birds are 55-76 cm long and have a wingspan of 110-170 cm. They weigh 0,4-1,8 kg.

Habitat:
The crested serpent-eagle is found in moist tropical forests and mangroves, dry savannas, estuaries, plantations and arable land, typically favouring forest edges. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They hunt primarily snakes, including poisonous ones, but also small mammals, monkeys and birds.

Breeding:
Crested serpent-eagles breed in December-August. They are monogamous and nest in a large stick nest, lined with small twigs and green leaves, and placed in a tall tree usually near a stream or other water body. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 35 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 2 months after hatching.

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

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Sulphur-rumped flycatcher

Myiobius sulphureipygius

Photo by Chris Perkins(Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
sulphur-rumped flycatcher (en); assanhadinho-de-uropígio-amarelo (pt); moucherolle à croupion jaune (fr); moscareta culiamarilla (es); schwefelbürzel-borstentyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico to western Colombia and Ecuador.

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

Habitat:
The sulphur-rumped flycatcher is mostly found in the understorey of tropical rainforests, but also in secondary growths and gallery forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Diet:
They catch insects on the wing or by sallying out from a perch, mostly taking bees, bugs and flies.

Breeding:
These birds breed in March-June. The female builds the conical-shaped nest alone, using vegetable fibres. The nest is placed in a thin twig 1-10 m above the ground. There she lays 2-4 white or pinkish eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 22 days. The chicks fledge 22 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and has a global population estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining in some areas due to deforestation, but it is not considered threatened at prese

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tinkling cisticola

Cisticola rufilatus

Photo by Lindsay Hansch (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
tinkling cisticola (en); fuinha-rabirruiva (pt); cisticole grise (fr); cistícola gris (es); rotschwanz-zistensänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cisticolidae

Range:
This species is found in Africa, from Gabon and Congo, through Angola and southern D.R. Congo and into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, north-eastern Namibia, Botswana and northern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh 14 g.

Habitat:
The tinkling cisticola is mostly found in dry tropical forests and savannas, but also in sry scrublands and arable land.

Diet:
They feed on insects.

Breeding:
Tinkling cisticolas breed in October-March. The nest in an oval or ball-shaped structure, made of dry grass and rootlets and reinforced with spider webs. It is lined with plant down and typically placed near ground level in a grass tuft, herb or scrub. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12-13 day after hatching, but only become fully independent 1 month later.

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

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Sri Lanka junglefowl

Gallus lafayetii

Photo by Michael Tseng (Flickr)

Common name:
Sri Lanka junglefowl (en); galo-do-Ceilão (pt); coq de Lafayette (fr); gallo de Ceilán (es); Ceylonhuhn (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Sri lanka, being found throughout most of the island.

Size:
These birds have a very marked sexual dimorphism. The males are 66-72 cm long and weigh 790-1.440 g, while the females are much smaller at 35 cm long and 510-650 g in weight. 

Habitat:
They are present in a wide variety of habitats, from coastal scrublands to mountain rainforests and also arable land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on grain, weed seeds, berries, flowers, various succulent leaves and buds, and also many small animals, such as termites, beetles, woodlice, crickets and centipedes.

Breeding:
Sri Lanka junglefowl can breed all year round, but mainly in February-September. They typically nest on the ground, among scrubs or below logs, but are also known to use abandoned squirrel or crow nests, several metres above the ground. The female lays 2-4 light brown eggs with reddish-brown speckles, which are for 20-21 days. The chicks are precocial, leaving the nest soon after hatching and being quickly able to scratch for food. They rely on the mother for protection for some time. They can raise 2 broods per year.

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

Monday, 14 October 2013

Fringe-backed fire-eye

Pyriglena atra

Photo by Sidnei dos Santos (Biodiversitas)

Common name:
fringe-backed fire-eye (en); papa-taoca-da-Bahia (pt); alapi noir (fr); ojodefuego de Bahía (es); fleckenmantel-feuerauge (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family  Thamnophilidae

Range:
This species is only found in a narrow coastal area in the Brazilian state of Bahia, between Salvador and Aracaju.

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

Habitat:
The fringe-backed fire-eye is mostly found in dense undergrowth of lowland tropical moist forests, also using second growths and other semi-open areas. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 250 m.

Diet:
They follow army ant swarms, especially Eciton burchellii, hunting the animals flushed by the ants including spiders, grasshoppers, cockroaches, beetles, crickets and moths.

Breeding:
The fringe-backed fire-eye nests on an open cup made of twigs, plant fibres and dry leaves, placed on the ground. The female lays 2 eggs, which are incubated for 18-20 days. The chicks fledge about 13 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and a global population estimated at just 600-1.700 individuals. The population is declining rapidly due to ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thekla lark

Galerida theklae

Photo by Marco Valentini (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Thekla lark (en); cotovia-montesina (pt); cochevis de Thékla (fr); cogujada montesina (es); Theklalerche (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

Range:
This species is found is found in south-eastern France, Spain and Portugal, and from Western Sahara and Morocco to Libya and north-western Egypt. There is also a disjunct population in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and northern Kenya.

Size:
These birds are 17-19 cm long and have a wingspan of 28-36 cm. They weigh 34-37 g.

Habitat:
Thekla larks are mostly found in dry scrublands and rocky areas, also using dry grasslands, pastures and arable land. They are present at altitudes of 50-3.200 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, mainly eating seeds and green plant material. During the breeding season they also eat insects and earthworms.

Breeding:
Thekla larks breed in April-June. The female builds the nest, a small cup made of dry grasses and placed on the ground. There she lays 2-6 light brown eggs with darker blotches, which she incubates alone for 11-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 9-25 million individuals. The population is declining in Spain, due to habitat loss and degradation, but is believed to be stable elsewhere.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Booted racket-tail

Ocreatus underwoodii

Photo by Larry Thompson (Discover Life)

Common name:
booted racket-tail (en); beija-flor-de-raquetes (pt); haut-de-chausses à palettes (fr); colibrí de raquetas (es); flaggensylphe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is found along the slopes of the Andes from Venezuela south to Bolivia.

Size:
The females are 7,5-9 cm long, while the males are 12-15 cm long due to the two long tail feather than can grow to 7,5 cm. They weigh 2,6-3,2 g.

Habitat:
The booted racket-tail is mostly found in mountain rainforests, but also use rainforests in lowland areas and open second growths. They can be found at altitudes of 600-4.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on nectar from red tubular flowers of several plant species, but also take insects and small spiders.

Breeding:
Booted racket-tails can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their range. The female builds the nest, a tiny cup made of plant fibres and lichens, bound together with spider webs. The nest is lined with softer plant fibres and animal hair and down. It is placed on an horizontal twigs in a tree, 6-8 m above the ground.There she lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 16-17 days. The chicks are fed by the female and fledge 19-22 days after hatching.

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

Friday, 11 October 2013

Scarlet myzomela

Myzomela sanguinolenta

Photo by Andy Mackie (Flickr)

Common name:
scarlet myzomela (en); melífago-escarlate (pt); myzomèle écarlate (fr); mielero escarlata (es); scharlachhonigfresser (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

Range:
The scarlet myzomela is found along the east coast of Australia, from Cooktown, Queensland to Gippsland, Victoria. It is also found in Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sundas, Indonesia and in New Caledonia.

Size:
These birds are 9-11 cm long and weigh 8 g.

Habitat:
The scarlet myzomela is mostly found in tropical and temperate open forests and woodlands, favouring areas with sparse understory and located near wetlands. They also use rainforests and mangroves, dry savannas, scrublands, rural gardens and urban areas.

Diet:
They feed mainly on nectar and sometimes on fruit and insects.

Breeding:
Scarlet myzomelas breed in July-January. They are monogamous and build a small cup-shaped nest, made of fine bark and grass bound with spider webs and lined with fine plant materials. The nest is suspended from an horizontal branch or in a fork. The female lays 2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 12 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12 days after hatching. Each pair can raise up to 3 broods per season.

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.