Saturday, 30 November 2013

White-crowned parrot

Pionus senilis

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
white-crowned parrot (en); maitaca-de-testa-branca (pt); pione à couronne blanche (fr); loro senil (es); weißkopfpapagei (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is found in Central America, from eastern and southern Mexico to western Panama.

Size:
These birds are 23-25 cm long and weigh 220 g.

Habitat:
White-crowned parrots are mostly found in mountain rainforests, but also use rainforests in lowland areas, forest edges, dry savannas, second growths, cocoa plantations and arable land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.300 m.

Diet:
They forage in small flocks in the forest canopy, taking fruits, seeds and nut of various plants including Leguminosae, Araliaceae and Arecaceae. They also eat domestic crops such as maize, sorghum and commercial fruit plantations.

Breeding:
The white-crowned parrot breed in January-July. They nest in natural tree cavities, or in hollow palm stubs, where the female lays 3-6 white eggs. The eggs are incubated for 24-26 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-12 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This specie has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but the white crowned parrot is not considered threatened at present.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Dot-winged antwren

Microrhopias quixensis

Photo by Scott Olmstead (Flickr)

Common name:
dot-winged antwren (en); papa-formiga-de-bando (pt); grisin étoilé (fr); hormiguerito alipunteado (es); tropfenflügel-ameisenfänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

Range:
This species is found is found from southern Mexico to Colombia, then along the Andean region down to Peru and along the Amazon basin into northern Brazil as far as Mato Grosso, Pará and Amapá, and into the Guyanas.

Size:
These birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh 7,5-11,5 g.

Habitat:
The dot-winged antwren is mostly found in the lower strata of tropical rainforests and swamp forests, also using forest edges and adjacent second growth areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.1.00 m.

Diet:
They feed on insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, cockroaches, beetles, ants and caterpillars, as well as spiders. They only rarely follow army ant swarms to capture fleeing insects.

Breeding:
Dot-winged antwrens breed in January-August. The nest is a deep pouch made of decayed leaves and held together with fine dark fibres. It is lined with fine fibres and attached by the rim to a slender twig among dense foliage, usually 1-12 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 white eggs with brown spots. The eggs are incubated by both sexes but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 9 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 0,5-5 million individuals. The dot-winged antwren is suspected to loose roughly 15% of its habitats over the next 15 years, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, which indicated it will likely face a moderate decline in the near future.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Northern lapwing

Vanellus vanellus

Photo by Agustín Povedano (Flickr)

Common name:
northern lapwing (en); abibe-comum (pt); vanneau huppé (fr); avefría europea (es); kiebitz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae

Range:
This species breeds throughout most of Europe and into central Asia as far east as southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northern China. They migrate south to winter around the Mediterranean, in the Middle East, northern India, southern China, southern Japan and Thailand.

Size:
These birds are 28-31 cm long and have a wingspan of 65-80 cm. They weigh 140-320 g.

Habitat:
The northern lapwings breeds on natural wet grasslands, agricultural meadows, grassy moorland, swampy heathland and arable land. Outside the breeding season they also use agricultural land such as pastures, irrigated land and rice fields, as well as lake shores, river banks, fresh and saltwater marshes, estuaries and mudflats.

Diet:
They feed mainly on earthworms, adult and larval insects and other soil invertebrates. Occasionaly, they also take seeds and other plant material.

Breeding:
Northern lapwing breed in June-March. They are mostly monogamous and can pair for life, but there are also cases of polygamy where one male mates with 2 females. The nest is a scrape on the ground, lined with grasses, where the female lays 3-4 light brown or grey eggs with reddish-brown spots. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 21-28 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and are immediately able to feed themselves, but the parents protect them from predators and brood in case of rain or cold weather. They fledge 35-40 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 5,2-10 million individual. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends. In Europe, the population has declined by over 50% in the last 3 decades, mainly due to agricultural intensification.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Australian yellow white-eye

Zosterops luteus

Photo by Deane Lewis (Australian Nature Photography)

Common name:
Australian yellow white-eye (en); olho-branco-de-ventre-amarelo (pt); zostérops à ventre jaune (fr); anteojitos australiano (es); mangrovebrillenvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Zosteropidae

Range:
This species is found along the northern coast of Australia, from Shark Bay in north-western Western Australia to Townsville in north-eastern Queensland.

Size:
These birds are 9,5-12 cm long and weigh 8,5-11,5 g.

Habitat:
The Australian yellow white-eye is mostly found in mangroves and nearby swamps and marshes, but also use moist tropical forests and even gardens in coastal towns.

Diet:
They feed on various insects and their larvae, namely mosquitoes and midges, as well as spiders, snails and other small invertebrates, nectar, seeds and fruit pulp.

Breeding:
These birds can breed all year round, but mostly in September-March. The nest is a deep cup made of grasses, lined with fine roots and bound together with spider webs, and often with pieces of bark on the outside. It is placed in an horizontal fork of a mangrove tree overhanging water. The female lays 2-3 pale bluish-green or white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 9-12 days. The chicks fledge 10-11 days after hatching, but remain with their parents for another 2-3 weeks.

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

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Dusky warbler

Phylloscopus fuscatus

Photo by Sergey Pisarevskiy (Flickr)

Common name:
dusky warbler (en); felosa-sombria (pt); pouillot brun (fr); mosquitero sombrío (es); dunkellaubsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species breeds in northern Asia, from Siberia to eastern Russia, Mongolia, northern and central China, Korea and the eastern parts of the Himalayas. They migrate south to winter in south-east Asia.

Size:
These birds are 10-12,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 17-18 cm. They weigh about 12 g.

Habitat:
The dusky warbler is mostly found in scrublands and the understorey of boreal forests, and also in grasslands, marshes and bogs and vegetation along rivers. During winter they also use mangroves and arable land.

Diet:
They are mostly insectivorous, but also take small berries.

Breeding:
Dusky warblers breed in May-August. The nest is a small cup placed low in a scrub, where the female lays 4-6 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 11-13 days and the chicks fledge 12-14 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 is reported to be locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 25 November 2013

White-backed woodpecker

Dendrocopos leucotos

(Photo from Pticyrus)

Common name:
white-backed woodpecker (en); pica-pau-de-dorso-branco (pt); pic à dos blanc (fr); pico dorsiblanco (es); weißrückenspecht (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Scandinavia and eastern Europe, through southern Russia, northern Kazakhstan and northern Mongolia, and into north-eastern China, Korea and Japan. There are also isolated populations in southern China and Taiwan, Kamchatka, the Caucasus, in central Europa as far west as Switzerland and in the Balkans, Greece, Italy and southern France.

Size:
These birds are 25-28 cm long and have a wingspan of 38-40 cm. They weigh 100-115 g.

Habitat:
The white-backed woodpecker is mostly found in mature, deciduous forests, but also use boreal coniferous forests, moist tropical forests and inland wetlands and rivers. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.850 m.

Diet:
They feed on wood-boring and bark-living insects, such as beetles and larvae, found in dead and decaying wood.

Breeding:
White-backed woodpeckers breed in February-July. They nest in a hole excavated by both sexes on a decaying tree, 1-20 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-5 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 10-16 days. The chicks are mostly fed by the male and fledge 25-28 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1-7 million individuals. Despite extending its range in Slovenia and into Switzerland, the population is suspected to be in decline. Massive declines have been observed in Scandinavia. The population is in decline locally throughout much of its range owing to intensive forestry management, removal of dead wood and introduction of conifers.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Green-backed twinspot

Mandingoa nitidula

Photo by Fernando Domingues (Exotic Finches)

Common name:
green-backed twinspot (en); pintadinha-verde (pt); astrild vert pointillé (fr); estrilda verde (es); grüne tropfenastrild (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae

Range:
This species is patchily distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, from Guinea to Ethiopia and south to northern Angola, southern D.R. Congo, Mozambique and eastern South Africa.

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

Habitat:
The green-backed twinspot is found along the egdes of moits tropical forests, in wet grasslands, moist scrublands, arable land, and also exotic tree plantations.

Diet:
They feed mainly on grass seeds, such as basket grass Oplismenus hirtellus, ribbon bristle grass Setaria chevalieri and forest hood grass Sacciolepis curvata, as well as stinging nettles such as Urera cameroonensis. They also take some small insects, such as aphids.

Breeding:
In South Africa, these birds breed in December-April. They are monogamous and can mate for life. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a bulk oval ball with a small entrance spout, made of grass stems, skeletonised leaves, rootlets, twigs and Usnea lichens. It is lined with feathers, fine grasses and other soft material, and typically concealed in the canopy of a tall tree. The female lays 4-6 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17 days after hatching. They become fully independent 1 week later.

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

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Yellow-faced grassquit

Tiaris olivaceus

Photo by Astrid Kant (Dutch Birding)

Common name:
yellow-faced grassquit (en); cigarra-de-faces-douradas (pt); sporophile grand-chanteur (fr); semillero tomeguín (es); goldbrauen-gimpelfink (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is found from western and southern Mexico, through Central America and into Colombia, northern Ecuador and north-western Venezuela. They are also found in the northern Caribbean, in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.

Size:
These birds are 10-11 cm long and weigh 6-10 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-faced grassquit is mostly found in dry grasslands and moist scrublands, but also uses dry scrublands, high-altitude grasslands and scrublands, pastures, forests edges, road sides, second growths and overgrown gardens and lawns. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.300 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on the seeds of various grasses, particularly Paspalum sp., Digitaria adscendens, Eragrostris sp., and Panicum sp. When seeds are scarce they also feed on berries, insects, nectar and the white protein bodies found on the base of the petioles of Cecropia trees.

Breeding:
Yellow-faced grassquits breed in May-January. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a
domed structure with thick walls and a side entrance, made of straw, grass blades, and weed stems, and lined with fine pieces of grass inflorescences or shredded fibres. It is placed in a grass tussock or low scrub, up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, but there is no information on the length of the fledgling period.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 0,5-5 million individuals. The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing deforestation is creating new areas of suitable habitat for the yellow-faced grassquit.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Buff-spotted flufftail

Sarothrura elegans

Photo by Hugh Chittenden (World Bird Info)

Common name:
buff-spotted flufftail (en); frango-d'água-elegante (pt); râle ponctué (fr); polluela elegante (es); tropfenralle (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae

Range:
This species is patchilly distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, from Guinea to Ethiopia and south to Zimbabwe, western and southern Mozambique and eastern South Africa.

Size:
These bird are 15-17 cm long and weigh 40-60 g.

Habitat:
The buff-spotted flufftail is found in forests, thick scrublands, requiring dense overhead and ground cover with soft earth, moss or leaf-litter for foraging. They also use banana and arrowroot plantations and rural gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on various invertebrates, such as ants, termites, cockroaches, beetles, grasshoppers, flies, bugs, springtails, small snails, earthworms, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, nematodes, slugs, amphipods and woodlice. They also take some grass seeds, such as bugweed and pigeonwood.

Breeding:
Buff-spotted flufftails breed in September-April. They are monogamous and nest in solitary pairs. The nest is built by the female, consisting of a domed structure with an entrance hole at one end, usually made of dead leaves or grass, twigs, moss and bark, and lined with fine grass, rootlets, moss or leaf fragments. It is typically placed in a shallow excavated depression, well concealed beneath dense cover such as forest grass Oplismenus hirtellus or herbaceous creepers. The female lays 3-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 15-16 days. The chicks leave the nest 1-2 days after hatching, but continue to be fed and brooded by the parents. They fledge 19-21 days after hatching. Each pair can raise up to 4 broods per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range. There is no information on population sizes or relative abundance, but is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. In fact, this species is increasing in some areas of South Africa. In some areas they are preyed upon by feral cats.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Yellow-fronted canary

Serinus mozambicus

Photo by Myron Tay (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
yellow-fronted canary (en); canário-de-testa-amarela (pt); serin du Mozambique (fr); canario de Mozambique (es); Mosambikgirlitz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

Range:
This species is native from sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Mauritania to Ethiopia and south to Angola, Botswana, Mozambique and eastern South Africa. They are popular cage birds and have been introduced to many areas around human settlements around the globe, namely Haiti, Puerto Rico, São Tomé, Mafia island, Mauritius and Réunion.

Size:
These birds are 11-13 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-23 cm. They weigh 8,5-17 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-fronted canary is mostly found in dry, open savannas, namely Acacia, Burkea and miombo, also using grasslands, coastal scrublands, mangroves, sand dunes, pastures and agricultural areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.300 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on seeds, of both wild plants and domestic crops such as sorghum, millet and sunflowers. They also eat some flowers and leaves, nectar, and some insects such as termites, aphids, fly larvae, caterpillars and grasshoppers.

Breeding:
Yellow-fronted canaries generally breed during the local wet season. They are socially monogamous and territorial, although in some cases several pairs nest in the same tree. The female builds the nest, a small deep cup of tendrils, bark fibres, leaf petioles, seeds, dry grasses and sometimes pieces of string, bound with spider web and lined with rootlets and plant down. It is typically placed in a fork in a scrub, tree or creeper, roughly 1-8 m above ground.The female lays 2-5 eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by the female while the male collects the food, fledging 16-24 days after hatching, but only becoming independent some 6 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to locally abundant. The population is suspected to be in decline as a result of capture for the cage bird trade.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Marail guan

Penelope marail

Photo by Marc Chrétien (GEPOG)

Common name:
marail guan (en); jacumirim (pt); pénélope marail (fr); pava marail (es); marailguan (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Cracidae

Range:
This species is found in northern South America, in the Guyanas, Suriname, eastern Venezuela, and in northern Brazil, north of the Amazon river.

Size:
These birds are 55-73 cm long and weigh 950-1.150 g.

Habitat:
The marail guan is found in tropical rainforests, favouring tall, terra firme forests in lowland areas up to an altitude of 700 m, often near water.

Diet:
They feed on forest fruits, especially fleshy fruits and berries. Because of their frugivorous diet they are an important seed disperser in the forests within their range. Occasionally, they also take insects.

Breeding:
They nest in a cup placed in a fork high up on a tree, where the female lays 2-3 eggs. The eggs are incubated for about 30 days. The chick are able to leave the nest soon after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The marail guan is expected to loose 4 % of their habitats within the next 10 years based on a model of Amazonian deforestation. Given its susceptibility to hunting and trapping, it is suspected to decline in the near future, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Large niltava

Niltava grandis

Photo by Michael Gillam (Flickr)

Common name:
large niltava (en); papa-moscas-grande (pt); grand gobemouche (fr); papamoscas grande (es); kobaltblauschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family  Muscicapidae

Range:
This species is found from Nepal and extreme north-eastern India, through Myanmar and Laos and into Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Also marginally into southern China.

Size:
These birds are 21 cm long and weigh 30 g.

Habitat:
The large niltava is mostly found in dense, moist tropical forests, but also use rural gardens. They are present at altitude of 600-2.700 m.

Diet:
They feed on insects and other invertebrates, as well as berries.

Breeding:
Large niltavas nest in a cup made of moss and fine plant fibres. The nest is placed among boulders, tree hollows or holes in dead tree stumps. The female lays 2-5 creamy-white eggs, which she incubates alone for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14 days after hatching.

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

Monday, 18 November 2013

Bobolink

Dolichonyx oryzivorus

Photo by Guy Poisson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
bobolink (en); triste-pia (pt); goglu des prés (fr); charlatán (es); reisstärling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

Range:
This species breeds in southern Canada and the northern United States as far south as Oregon, Colorado, Illinois and Virginia. They migrate south to winter in eastern Bolivia, Paraguay and marginally into south-western Brazil and northern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 15-21 cm long and have a wingspan of 27 cm. They weigh 30-55 g.

Habitat:
The bobolink breeds mostly in tall grasslands, also using arable land. Outside the breeding season they temperate and tropical dry grasslands, moist savannas and arable land.

Diet:
They feed on various wild seed, as well as larval and adult insects, and spiders. At the wintering grounds and during migration they also feed on domestic crops such as rice, oats and other small grains.

Breeding:
Bobolinks breed in May-August. They are polygynous, with male forming pairs with up to 4 females, but usually only helping raise the brood produced by the first female with which he mates. The nest is a cup made of dead grass and lined with fine grasses or sedges, placed on the ground among dense vegetation. The female lays 3-7 bluish-grey or pale reddish-brown eggs with dark spots and blotches. The eggs are incubated for 11-14 days and the chicks fledge 10-14 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 11 million individuals. The population is declining over most of its range, mainly due to agricultural intensification, but they are also shot as an agricultural pest on the wintering areas. The bobolink is not considered threatened at present.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Little sparrowhawk

Accipiter minullus

Photo by Johan Stenlund (PBase)

Common name:
little sparrowhawk (en); gavião-pequeno (pt); épervier minule (fr); gavilancito chico (es); zwergsperber (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This African species is found from Ethiopia and south-eastern Sudan, through Kenya and Ethiopia, and into Angola, northern Namibia, northern Botswana, Mozambique and eastern and southern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 23-27 cm long and have a wingspan of 39-50 cm. They weigh 70-105 g.

Habitat:
The little sparrowhawk is found in moist tropical forests, mangroves, dry savannas and dry scrublands, often favouring areas near rivers and streams. They also use exotic tree plantations and rural gardens.

Diet:
They prey mainly on small birds, such as swallows, which they hunt on the wing or from a hidden perch., but also take bats, lizards and insects.

Breeding:
Little sparrowhawks can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their range. The nest is a small platform of sticks, lined with fine twigs and green leaves, and placed in a fork high up on a tree. The female lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated for 31-32 days. The chicks fledge 25-27 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as widespread and common in most areas, with the population being estimated to be in the range of 10.000-100.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Hawaii elepaio

Chasiempis sandwichensis

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:
Hawaii elepaio (en); monarca-do-Hawai (pt); monarque d'Hawaï (fr); monarca elepaio (es); Hawaii-elepaio (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Monarchidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the island of Hawai'i, in the Hawaian islands.

Size:
These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 12-18 g.

Habitat:
The Hawaii elepaio is found in moist tropical forests, moist scrublands and dry savannas with some differences between subspecies. The subspecies C. s. bryani occupies arid, mostly high-altitude mamane and mamane-naio woodland, whilst C. s. sandwichensis occurs in mesic habitats on western and south-western slopes, and C. s. ridgwayi is restricted to wet, eastern slopes. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.900 m.

Diet:
They forage on the foliage and in the ground, taking large insects and other arthropods.

Breeding:
Hawaii elepaios breed in January-August. They are monogamous and often mate for life. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a finely woven cup made of a wide variety of materials including grasses, bark strips, lichens and spider webs. It is placed in a fork or on a horizontal branch, often in mamane Sophora chrysophylla trees. The female lays 2 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 17-19 days. The chicks are fed by both parent and fledge 15-16 days after hatching, but remain in ther parental territory for up to 10 months. Each pair can raise 1-2 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and a global population estimated at 216.000 individuals. The population is stable at high elevation, but declining at lower altitudes and in fact disappeared from some areas of the island. The decline is mostly caused by habitat degradation through heavy browsing by feral ungulates, as well as diseases, such as avian pox and malaria, which are spread by mosquitoes, and a problem at low and middle elevations. Conservation actions underway include unsuccessful attempts to remove goats and sheep from Mauna Kea, control of feral cats and habitat restoration and reforestation at mid and high elevations on Hawai`i. Fencing is underway on Mauna Kea to protect palila Loxioides bailleui critical habitat by excluding ungulates, which should benefit the Hawaii Elepaio.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Grey-headed tanager

Eucometis penicillata

Photo by Ramiro Ramirez (Flickr)

Common name:
grey-headed tanager (en); pipira-da-taoca (pt); tangara à tête grise (fr); tangara cabecigrís (es); graukopftangare (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico to Bolivia and central Brazil as far south as Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso do Sul. They are only present east of the Andes mountain chain.

Size:
These birds are 15-17 cm long and weigh 22-35 g.

Habitat:
The grey-headed tanager is found in both moist and dry tropical forests, swamp forests, mangroves, scrublands, pastures and arable land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.700 m.

Diet:
They eat both arthropods and fruits, namely Miconia berries, seeds and bananas, flies, spiders, roaches, caterpillars, crickets, bugs, moths, centipedes, winged ants, and small beetles.

Breeding:
Grey-headed tanagers can breed all year round, the breeding season varying among different parts of their range. The nest is a small, thin, loose cup made of small twigs, plant fibres, rootlets and fungal hyphae. It is placed in a fork in a tree or scrub, up to 3 m above the ground, typically in an area of thick undergrowth. The female lays 1-3 pale blue-grey eggs, heavily marked brown and black. She incubates the eggs alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-12 days, but can remain with the parents for several months afterwards.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 0,5-5 million individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

White-winged duck

Cairina scutulata

Photo by Dick Daniels (Carolina Birds)

Common name:
white-winged duck (en); pato-de-asas-brancas (pt); canard à ailes blanches (fr); pato de jungla (es); Malaienente (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae

Range:
This species is patchily distributed through south-east Asia, from Bangladesh, extreme north-eastern India and Myanmar, through Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, and into Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Size:
These large ducks are 66-81 cm long and have a wingspan of 116-153 cm. The males tend to be larger, weighing 2,9-3,9 kg while the females weigh 1,9-3,1 kg.

Habitat:
The white-winged duck is found in slow-flowing streams or rivers and swamps, within tropical rainforests. They sometimes also use rice fields. This specis is found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.400 m.

Diet:
They feed on seeds, aquatic plants, grain, rice, snails, small fishes and insects.

Breeding:
White-winged ducks breed late in the local dry season. They nest in a tree hole or hollow, usually 3-12 m above the ground, where the female lays 6-16 greenish-yellow eggs. She incubates the eggs alone for 33-35 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, following the parents around until they become independent, about 14 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a large but patchy breeding range. The population is estimated at just 250-1.000 individuals. The population is suspected to have declined very rapidly, owing to the widespread loss, degradation and disturbance of lowland riverine habitats. The resultant small, fragmented populations are vulnerable to extinction from stochastic environmental events, loss of genetic variability, disturbance, hunting and collection of eggs and chicks for food or pets. In some localized areas, hydro-power development, inappropriate forest management, and pollution may pose further threats to this species. Conservation actions underway include the creation of a few protected areas and the distribution of conservation awareness materials to local populations in Laos and Cambodia.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Kentucky warbler

Oporornis formosa

Photo by Brian Small (Larkwire)

Common name:
Kentucky warbler (en); mariquita-do-Kentucky (pt); paruline du Kentucky (fr); chipe cachetinegro (es); Kentuckywaldsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Parulidae

Range:
This species breeds in the eastern United States, from Wisconsin to New York and south to north-eastern Texas to northern Florida. They migrate south to winter in the Caribbean and from eastern Mexico to northern Colombia and north-western Venezuela.

Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-22 cm. They weigh 10-14 g.

Habitat:
The Kentucky warbler breeds in humid deciduous forests, dense second growths, and swamps, favouring forests with a slightly open canopy and a dense understorey. Outside the breeding season they are found in moist tropical forests. This species occurs from sea level up to an altitude of 1.850 m.

Diet:
They forage on the forests leaf litter and also on the lower parts of the trees and scrubs, taking insects, such as ants, bees grasshoppers and caterpillars, as well as spiders and sometimes seeds and fruits.

Breeding:
Kentucky warblers breed in May-July. The nest is a cup made of grasses, rootlets, plant fibres and dead leaves, usually hidden by overhanging vegetation or fallen branches, and built so that the base rests on the ground, sometimes partly anchored by a small scrub. There the female lays 3-6 white or creamy-white eggs with grey and brown blotches. The eggs are incubated by the female for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest 8-10 days after hatching, but only start flying some 4 days later and only become fully independent 2 weeks later. Typically, 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 1,1 million individuals. The population has undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades, especially in the southern Appalachian region, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tufted tit-tyrant

Anairetes parulus

Photo by José Cañas (Flickr)

Common name:
tufted tit-tyrant (en); papa-moscas-de-crista (pt); taurillon mésange (fr); cachudito (es); meisentachurityrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is found along the Andes mountain chain, from southern Colombia to northern Argentina, and also in the lowland areas of central and southern Argentina and Chile.

Size:
These birds are 9,5-11 cm long and weigh 6 g.

Habitat:
The tufted tit-tyrant is mostly found in mountain scrublands and moist tropical forests, but also uses lowland rainforests and scrublands, as well as temperate forests. They can be found from sea level up to an altitude of 4.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on a wide variety of insects, occasionally also taking seeds.

Breeding:
Tufted tit-tyrants breed in August-June, varying between different parts of their range. The nest is a small, compact cup made of grass, lichens, root fibres and plant down, and thickly lined with small feathers.It is placed in a scrub of bamboo shoot, usually near a clearing, path or stream. There the female lays 2-3 creamy-white eggs. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledgling periods. Each pair raises 2 broods per season.

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

Monday, 11 November 2013

Asian koel

Eudynamys scolopaceus

(Photo from Top Yaps)

Common name:
Asian koel (en); cuco-koel (pt); coucou koël (fr); koel común (es); koel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Cuculiformes
Family Cuculidae

Range:
This species is found in south-eastern Asia, from southern Pakistan, through India, Bangladesh and Indochina, and into southern and eastern China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Size:
These large cuckoos are 39-46 cm long and weigh 190-330 g.

Habitat:
The Asian koel is found in tropical rainforests and scrublands, plantations, rural garden and within urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They are omnivorous, taking fruits, various insects, eggs and small vertebrates.

Breeding:
Asian koels are brood parasites, laying their egg on the nests of other birds such as crows Corvus sp., mynas Acridotheres sp., black drongos Dicrurus macrocercus, Eurasian magpie Pica pica and black-headed orioles Oriolus larvatus, among others. The female lays a single egg on each nest, sometimes while the male distracts the host. The egg is incubates by the hosts for 12-14 days. Unlike other cuckoos, the chick will not try to kill the host's chicks. It is mostly fed by the hosts, although in some cases the mother also provides him food, and fledges 20-28 days after hatching.

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