Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Black-capped antwren

Herpsilochmus atricapillus

Photo by Jefferson Silva (Passarinhando no Brasil!!!)

Common name:
black-capped antwren (en); chorozinho-de-chapéu-preto (pt); grisin mitré (fr); tiluchí plomizo (es); schwarzscheitel-ameisenfänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern and southern Brazil, from Maranhão and Ceará south to São Paulo and west to Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, and also in Paraguay, southern Bolivia and marginally into northern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 12 cm long and weigh 9 g.

Habitat:
The black-capped antwren is mostly found in moist tropical forests, but also uses dry tropical forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.450 m.

Diet:
They feed on various insects and other arthropods, which they take from the foliage.

Breeding:
Black-capped antwren are monogamous. The female lays which are incubated by both parents. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods, but the chicks are raised by both parents and remain with them for some time after fledging.

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, 30 December 2013

Black-capped lory

Lorius lory

Photo by Doug Janson (Wikipedia)

Common name:
black-capped lory (en); lóri-tricolor (pt); lori tricolore (fr); lori tricolor (es); frauenlori (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is endemic to New Guinea, including several offshore islands.

Size:
These birds are 31 cm long and weigh 200-260 g.

Habitat:
The black-capped lory is found in rainforests, dry tropical forests, including forests edges and nearby second growths. Also in swamps and swamp forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, flower, nectar, pollen and sometimes also insects.

Breeding:
The black-capped lory breeds in May-October. They nest in tree hollows, where the female lays 1-2 white eggs. The eggs are incubated for 24-25 days and the chicks fledge 9-10 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be generally common but not abundant throughout its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Common raven

Corvus corax

Photo by Frank Vassen (Wikipedia)

Common name:
common raven (en); corvo-comum (pt); grand corbeau (fr); cuervo común (es); kolkrabe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of Europe, Asia and North America, with the exceptions of northern Greenland, northern Siberia, the south-eastern United States, south-east Asia and Japan. They are also found in northern Africa from Morocco to Libya.

Size:
These birds are 56-78 cm long and have a wingspan of 100-150 cm. They weigh 0,7-1,7 kg.

Habitat:
The common raven is found in a wide range of habitats including temperate and tropical forests, grasslands, scrublands, rocky areas, coastal areas, tundra and hot deserts. They can occur from sea level up to an altitude of 6.300 m.

Diet:
They are highly opportunistic, most often taking carrion, but also insects, small vertebrates, seeds and grains, fruits and human waste.

Breeding:
Common ravens breed in February-August. They are monogamous and tend to mate for life. The nest is a deep owl made of large sticks and twigs, lined with roots, ark, mud and sometimes fur. It is placed in a large tree, cliff ledge or less often on an abandoned building. The female lays 3-7 pale bluish-green eggs with brown blotches, which she incubates alone for 18-25 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 5-7 weeks after hatching, remaining with their parents for another 6 months after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated to be over 16 million individuals. Populations is North America and most of Europe have undergone moderate to large increases in recent decades.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Eastern Bristlebird

Dasyornis brachypterus

Photo by David Cook (Flickr)

Common name:
eastern bristlebird (en); acantiza-de-cerdas-oriental (pt); dasyorne brun (fr); picocerdas oriental (es); braunkopf-lackvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Acanthizidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the eastern coast of Autralia, being found from south-eastern Queensland to eastern Victoria.

Size:
These birds are 18-21 cm long and weigh 33-51 g.

Habitat:
The eastern bristle bird is mostly found in dense scrublands, namely in areas with sedges and heaths, but also use grasslands, swamps, sclerophyll forests and rainforests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on seeds, small fruits and invertebrates, as well as fungi and occasionally nectar, food scraps and tadpoles.

Breeding:
Eastern bristlebirds breed in August-February. The nest is a small, globular structure with a side entrance, made of grass, bark, sedges or reeds, and sometimes leaves. It is placed near the base or low on a sedge, grass, fern or scrub, up to 1 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 white to light brown eggs with brown or grey spots, which she incubates alone for about 3 weeks. The chicks are fed and brooded by the female only and fledge about 16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a relatively small and fragmented breeding range, and the global population is estimated at 2.550 individuals. The population has undergone a dramatic decline in the northern parts of the range, and although further south it  is considered stable at present, it is projected to decline in the future mainly due to habitat degradation caused by an inappropriate fire regime. If fires are too frequent they eliminate tussocks and enable the invasion by introduced woody weeds. However, when fires are too infrequent the vegetation becomes too dense for nesting. Further problems include habitat degradation by feral pigs and domestic livestock, overgrazing, invasion by exotic weeds and predation by inreoduced foxes and feral cats. Conservation actions underway include the construction of fences and fire-breaks, control of feral cat and pig populations, and the translocation of individuals to more favourable areas.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Black tern

Chlidonias niger

Photo by Jari Peltomäki (Luonto Portti)

Common name:
black tern (en); gaivina-preta (pt); guifette noire (fr); fumarel común (es); trauerseeschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Sternidae

Range:
This species breeds throughout most of Europe, western Asia and North America, as far north as Finland and the Northwest Territories of Canada and as far east as Kazakhstan and western Mongolia. They migrate south to winter along the western coast of Africa, along the coats of Central America and northern South America and along the Nile river.

Size:
These birds are 22-28 cm long and a wingspan of 56-65 cm. They weigh 50-75 g.

Habitat:
The black tern breeds in fresh or brackish water wetlands with dense vegetation and pockets of open water, such as marshes, lakes, slow-flowing rivers, ditches, swampy meadows, peat bogs or rice fields. Outside the breeding season they are mostly found in coastal habitats such as estuaries, saltmarshes and coastal lagoons, as well as marine water up to 600 km offshore, but also use some inland wetlands.

Diet:
They feed on small freshwater fishes, small molluscs, tadpoles and frogs, worms, crustaceans and insects such as damselflies, dragonflies, mayflies, grubs and various larvae. Outside the breeding season also small marine fish such as anchovies and silversides, and planktonic crustaceans.

Breeding:
Black terns breed in May-August. They nest in small colonies, each being made of dead water plants, either floating or on the ground very close to water. The female lays 2-4 light-brown eggs with large dark blotches, which are incubated by both parents for 19-23 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and are able to walk or swim in search of food, but only start flying 20-25 days after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range. Although there are no estimates of global population size, the black tern is considered widespread and relatively common. The population has undergone a decline both in Europe and North America, mainly due to habitat loss to drainage and agriculture, habitat degradation, human disturbance and reduced prey availability caused by pollution, pesticides, lake acidification and the introduction if exotic fishes. Overfishing may affect food availability in some wintering areas.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Spectacled spiderhunter

Arachnothera flavigaster

Photo by Henry Goh (Images of Nature)

Common name:
spectacled spiderhunter (en); papa-aranhas-de-lunetas (pt); arachnothère à lunettes (fr); arañero de anteojos (es); brillenspinnenjäger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Nectariniidae

Range:
This species is found in south-east Asia, in Sumatra and Borneo, Malaysia and southern Thailand and Vietnam.

Size:
These birds are 21-22 cm long and weigh 38-50 g.

Habitat:
The spectacled spiderhunter is mostly found in moist tropical forests, including forests edges, also using clearings, plantations, cultivated areas and gardens.They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

Diet:
They feed on spiders, grasshoppers and ants, as well as pollen, fruits and nectar.

Breeding:
Spectacled spiderhunters breed in February-September. They are believed to be monogamous. The nest is a round basket made of plant fibres and lined with seed pappi. It is usually attached by spider webs to the underside of a palm from or between the leaves of a rubber fig Ficus elastica, 5-10 m above the ground. The female lays 2 pale grey or greenish eggs with dark markings, which are incubated by both parents for 13-15 days. The chicks fledge 14-19 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status -LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be frequent to uncommon. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas hawk-owl

Ninox natalis

Photo by Cherry Wong (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
Christmas hawk-owl (en); coruja-de-Natal (pt); ninoxe de Christmas (fr); nínox de la Navidad (es); weihnachtsinsel-buschkauz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, where it is present throughout the island.


Size:
These birds are 26-29 cm long and weigh 160-200 g.


Habitat:
The Christmas hawk-owl is mostly found in tropical rainforest, but also use moist tropical scrublands.


Diet:
They are primarily insectivorous taking a wide range of medium and large sized insects such as Orthoptera, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. They also hunt small vertebrates including geckos, black rats Rattus rattus  and the Christmas white-eye Zosterops natalis.


Breeding:
Christmas hawk-owls can possibly breed all year round. They are monogamous and may mate for life. They nest in tree hollows without any lining, most often in Syzygium nervosum. The female lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for about 1 month. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 68-77 days, but continue to depend on their parents for another 2-3 months.They reach sexual maturity at 1 year of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a small and restricted breeding range, and the global population is estimated at 820-1.200 individuals. The population has declined in the past, but it is likely stable at present as it appears to adapt fairly well to secondary habitats. The Christmas hawk-owl lost 25% of its native habitat through forest clearance for phosphate extraction, but this problem seems to be mostly halted at present. The yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes was introduced in the 1990s and may prey directly on nestlings and alter island ecology. Pesticide abuse and nest predation by introduced black rats may be additional problems. Conservation measures underway include an agreement with the mining company to prevent clearance of primary rainforest, and a control programme for the A. gracilipes which successfully eliminated the ants in 95% of the area they occupied.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Terrestrial brownbul

Phyllastrephus terrestris

Photo by Alan Manson (Wikipedia)

Common name:
terrestrial brownbul (en); tuta-da-terra (pt); bulbul jaboteur (fr); bulbul terrestre (es); laubbülbül (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae

Range:
This African species is found from Somalia and Kenya, through eastern Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and into southern Angola, south-eastern D.R. Congo, eastern and northern Botswana and eastern and southern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 17-19 cm long and weigh 25-35 g.

Habitat:
The terrestrial brownlbul is mostly found in the undergrowth of moist tropical forests and riparian forests along rivers and streams, also using moist scrublands and arable land.

Diet:
They forge on the ground, by probing and overturning the leaf litter feed, mainly taking arthropods such as ants, termites and beetles. They are also known to eat snails, small lizards, fruits, seeds and the nectar of Aloe plants.

Breeding:
Terrestrial brownbuls breed in October-April. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a fragile and untidy cup of twigs, roots, leaves, moss, bark and lichen, lined with softer plant materials. It is typically placed inconspicuously on a branch near the edge of a scrub or thicket. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 13 days. There is no information regarding the length of the fledgling period, but the chicks are cared for by both parents and become independent a few days after fledging.

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

Monday, 23 December 2013

Snow partridge

Lerwa lerwa

Photo by Ulrich Weber (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
snow partridge (en); perdiz-das-neves (pt); lerva des neiges (fr); perdiz Lerwa (es); Lerwahuhn (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

Range:
This species is found in the Himalayas mountain range, in northern India and Pakistan, Nepal and south-western China.

Size:
These birds are 38-40 cm long. The females tend to be smaller, weighing 450-580 g while the males weigh 550-700 g.

Habitat:
The snow partridge is found in high-altitude grasslands and scrublands above the tree-line, as well as in bare rocky areas. They are present at altitudes of 3000-5000 m.

Diet:
They feed on mosses, lichens and the shoots of plants.

Breeding:
Snow partridges are monogamous and breed in May-July. The nest is a scrape on the ground, in a hill-side under some sheltering rock, sometimes lined with moss. There the female lays 2-5 pale buff eggs with fine reddish mottles, which she incubates alone while the male stands guard. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and despite being common throughout much its range, the population has declined locally owing to human encroachment, habitat destruction and hunting.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Fairy warbler

Stenostira scita

Photo by Trevor Hardaker (Trevor and Margaret Hardaker)

Common name:
fairy warbler (en); papa-moscas-d'asa-branca (pt); mignard enchanteur (fr); papamoscas duende (es); elfenschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This African species breeds in southern South Africa and Lesotho. Part of the population migrates north to winter as far as southern Namibia and southern Botswana.

Size:
These small birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh 4-8 g.

Habitat:
The fairy warbler is mostly found in scrublands, namely karoo and fynbos, also using grasslands, Acacia savannas, plantations and gardens.

Diet:
They feed on small insects and other arthropods, namely flies, bugs, beetles, wasps, ants and spiders. They hunt by sallying out from a perch or by gleaning their prey from flowers.

Breeding:
Fairy warblers can breed all year round, but with a peak in September-October. The female builds the nest alone, an open cup built of dry grass stems and other plant matter, such as slangbos Stoebe sp., honeythorns Lycium sp. and wild Asparagus sp. Sometimes they also use rubbish and even human hair. The nest is typically placed in a fork of a branch or against the trunk of a tree, mainly Acacia. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-16 days. The chicks are mainly fed by the female and fledge 15-17 days after hatching.

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

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Magellanic woodpecker

Campephilus magellanicus

Photo by Doug Kirwin (Woodpeckers of the World)

Common name:
Magellanic woodpecker (en); pica-pau-de-Magalhães (pt); pic de Magellan (fr); carpintero de Magallanes (es); Magellanspecht (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Chile and south-western Argentina, from Linares, Chile and Neuquén, Argentina to Tierra del Fuego.

Size:
These large woodpeckers are 36-45 cm long. Males tend to be larger, weighing 310-360 g while the females weigh 270-310 g.

Habitat:
The Magellanic woodpecker is mostly found in mature Nothofagus forests, but also use second growths and managed forests from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on wood-boring larvae of Coleoptera and Lepidoptera, but also take adult insects, spiders, fruits, sap and occasionally small vertebrates such as lizards, bats and the eggs and fledglings of passerine birds.

Breeding:
Magellanic woodpeckers are monogamous and breed in October-January. The nest is a hole in a tree, excavated by both sexes, usually 9-12 m above the ground. The female lays 2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 15-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 45-50 days after hatching. The chicks stay with the family group for up to 2 years and may continue to be fed by the parents for up to 1 year after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as uncommon. The population is suspected to in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and forests fires in the north of its range destroyed large areas of suitable habitat.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Bran-coloured flycatcher

Myiophobus fasciatus

Photo by Dario Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:
bran-coloured flycatcher (en); filipe (pt); moucherolle fascié (fr); mosquero estriado (es); rostschnäppertyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is found in South America, from northern Colombia and Venezuela south to northern Chile and north-eastern Argentina, but is mostly absent from the Amazon river basin. It is also found in Panama, Costa Rica and Trinidad.

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

Habitat:
The bran-coloured flycatcher usually avoids dense forested areas, using forest edges, savannas, scrublands, second growths and pastures. It is found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.650 m.

Diet:
They catch flying insects by sallying out from a perch.

Breeding:
Bran-coloured flycatchers nest in a deep cup made of stems and bark, and lined with fine plant fibres. It is suspended by the rim from one or two branches low in a tree. The female lays 2 cream-coloured eggs with a few faint reddish spots. The eggs are incubated by the female for 17 days. The chicks fledge 15-17 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The bran-coloured flycatcher is suspected to be increasing as habitat conversion creates more areas of suitable habitat.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Bassian thrush

Zoothera lunulata

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Bassian thrush (en); tordo-de-meias-luas (pt); grive à lunules (fr); zorzal lunado (es); Tasmanerddrossel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae

Range:
This species is found in Tasmania and south-eastern Australia, from south-eastern South Australia to south-eastern Queensland. There is a separate population in the Atherton Tablelands of northern Queensland.

Size:
These birds are 27-29 cm long and weigh 100 g.

Habitat:
The Bassian thrush is mostly found in dense, moist tropical forests and temperate forests, particularly in gullies. They also use plantations. This species is present at altitudes of 700-1.050 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, searching for small invertebrates among the leaf litter.

Breeding:
Bassian thrushes breed in June-April. The nest is a deep, untidy cup made of shredded bark and grass. It is placed in a major fork in a tree or in a depression in a stump, up to 15 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 14 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the population was estimated at 12.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and degradation, but the Bassian thrush is not considered threatened at present.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

African harrier-hawk

Polyboroides typus

Photo by Jenny Varley (Wikipedia)

Common name:
African harrier-hawk (en); secretário-pequeno (pt); gymnogène d'Afrique (fr); aguilucho-caricalvo común (es); höhlenweihe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species throughout sub-Saharan Africa, from southern mauritania to Sudan and Ethiopia and south to South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 51-68 cm long and have a wingspan of 118-152 cm. They weigh 500-950 g.

Habitat:
The African harrier-hawk is found in a wide range of habitats, including tropical and temperate forests and woodlands, dry savannas, dry scrublands, riparian vegetation along rivers and streams, second growths, plantations of Eucalyptus and other exotic trees, arable land and even urban areas. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They hunt various small animals, including small mammals, frogs, lizards, birds, bird eggs and fledglings, and insects. Occasionally, they also take stranded fish or carrion, and are known to feed on oil-palm fruits.

Breeding:
African harrier-hawks are usually monogamous and highly territorial. They can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a large platform made of sticks and lined with green leaves, placed on the upper branches of a tree or on a rocky cliff ledge. The female lays 1-3 white eggs with reddish-brown markings, which are incubated by both parents for 35-36 days. The chicks are fed by the male and brooded by the female. Often the older chick kills is siblings, and fledges 45-55 days after hatching. It becomes fully independent about 10 days later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as fairly common in West Africa, but less common an patchily distributed in other areas. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats and the African harrier-hawk is thought to adapt quite easily to altered environments, and its preference for stands of alien trees has even resulted in it colonising new areas

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Vegetarian finch

Platyspiza crassirostris

Photo by J. Podos (U. Mass. Amherst)

Common name:
vegetarian finch (en); tentilhão-de-Darwin-vegetariano (pt); géospiza crassirostre (fr); pinzón vegetariano (es); dickschnabel-Darwinfink (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the Galapagos islands, where it is currently found in the islands of San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Floreana, Isabela, Marchena, Santiago, Pinta and Fernandina. In the past it also occured on the islands if Pinzón and Santa Fé, but it is now extinct there.

Size:
These birds are 16 cm long and weigh 30-40 g.

Habitat:
The vegetarian finch is mostly found in tropical evergreen forests, both in dry and moist areas, being more common at middle altitude but occurring from sea level up to an altitude of 500 m.

Diet:
They feed almost entirely on plant matter, including buds, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds, although a few insects may occasionally be taken.

Breeding:
Vegetarian finches breed during the local wet season. They are mostly monogamous and the nest is a dome-shaped structure with a side entrance, made of dry grass and placed on a cactus or scrub. The female lays 3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 12 days. The chicks fledge 2 weeks after hatching.

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

Monday, 16 December 2013

Yellow-throated euphonia

Euphonia hirundinacea

Photo by David Welch (David Welch Art)

Common name:
yellow-throated euphonia (en); gaturamo-de-garganta-amarela (pt); organiste à gorge jaune (fr); fruterito gorjiamarillo (es); schwalbenorganist (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This species is found in Central America, from eastern and south-eastern Mexico down to Costa Rica.

Size:
These birds are 10-11 cm long and weigh 15 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-throated euphonia is found in both moist and dry tropical forests, in gallery forests, rural gardens, second growths and arable land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits and berries, particularly mistletoe berries. They are know to eat berries that are poisonous to other species. They also take small insects from the foliage.

Breeding:
Yellow-throated euphonias breed in March-September. The nest is a globular structure with a side entrance, placed on a stump, at the base of a palm frond, on an epiphyte or on a fence pole, usually 1-15 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-5 white eggs with brown spots, which she incubates alone for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 19 days after hatching.

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 stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

White-faced storm-petrel

Pelagodroma marina

Photo by Philip Griffin (New Zealand Birds Online)

Common name:
white-faced storm-petrel (en); calcamar (pt); océanite frégate (fr); paíño pechialbo (es); fregattensturmschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Procellariiformes
Family Hydrobaridae

Range:
The white-faced storm-petrel breeds in remote oceanic islands in the Atlantic, such as Tristão da Cunha, Cape Verde, the Canary islands and the Selvagem islands, as well as on the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. Outside the breeding season they can be found over vast areas of the ocean, including the North Atlantic as far as the British isles and the south-eastern coast of Canada, the South Atlantic as far south as the coasts of Argentina and South Africa, in the Indian Ocean from the coasts of Somalia, the Persian Gulf and India to Australia, and in the Pacific Ocean from Australia and New Zealand to the coasts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama.

Size:
These birds are 19-21 cm long and have a wingspan of 41-44 cm. They weigh around 45 g.

Habitat:
They breed on small oceanic islands or offshore islands along the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. They forage on the open sea, mainly along the edges of the continental shelves and over upwellings in deeper waters.

Diet:
White-faced storm-petrels feed on pelagic crustaceans, small fishes and other small planktonic animals picked from the surface of the water, but are also known to eat offal from fishing vessels.

Breeding:
These birds can breed all year round, varying between different nesting colonies. They are monogamous and nest in a burrow on sandy soil, sometimes under dense vegetation. The female lays a single white egg with a few pinkish-brown spots. The egg is incubated by both parents for about 50 days. The chick is fed by both parents and fledges 52-62 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The white-faced storm-petrel has a relatively large breeding range and a global population estimated at 4 million individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species, particularly rats, and unsustainable levels of exploitation.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

White-tailed rubythroat

Luscinia pectoralis

Photo by Aurélien Audevard (Mango Verde)

Common name:
white-tailed rubythroat (en); rouxinol-de-garganta-vermelha (pt); rossignol à gorge rubis (fr); ruiseñor pechinegro (es); bergrubinkehlchen (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

Range:
This species is found from central China, and along the Himalayas through Nepal, extreme north-western India and northern Pakistan and into north-eastern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and south-eastern Kazakhstan.

Size:
These birds are 14-16 cm long and weigh 19-26 g.

Habitat:
The white-tailed rubythroat is found in scrublands, grasslands, open woodlands and plantations. During the breeding season they are present at higher altitudes, moving to lower altitudes during winter.

Diet:
They are insectivorous, mostly taking caterpillars.

Breeding:
White-tailed rubythroats breed in June-September, nesting in a loose cup placed in a dense scrub or grass tussock. There the female lays 4-6 eggs which she mostly incubates alone for 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 16 days after hatching.

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

Friday, 13 December 2013

Crested shrike-tit

Falcunculus frontatus

Photo by Sohn Joo Tan (Sohnjoo's Photography)

Common name:
crested shrike-tit (en); sibilante-picanço (pt); falconelle à casque (fr); silbador cabezón (es); meisendickkopf (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pachycephalidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, with three sub-species occurring in different parts of the country. F.f. frontatus is found in south-eastern Australia, from southern Queensland to south-eastern South Australia. F.f. whitei is found in the north of the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. F.f. leucogaster is found in south-western Western Australia.

Size:
These birds are 16-17 cm long and weigh 25-30 g.

Habitat:
The crested shrike-tit is mostly found in Eucalyptus woodlands and forests, both in moist and dry areas. They also use scrublands, plantations and urban areas.

Diet:
They feed on insects, such as beetles, katydids, tree crickets, and cicadas, as well as spiders. They also take some seeds, berries and fruits.

Breeding:
Crested shrike-tits can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their range. The nest is a cup made of bark shreds, moss and spider webs, placed on a fork near the top of an Eucalyptus tree, usually 5-10 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 white eggs with bluish-grey spots, which are incubated for 16-20 days. The chicks fledge 14-17 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be generally uncommon. The population is estimated to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, especially through forest clearance for agriculture. The nests of the crested shrike-tit are known to be predated by cats.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Ferruginous pigmy-owl

Glaucidium brasilianum

Photo by André Adeodato (Flickr)

Common name:
ferruginous pigmy-owl (en); caburé (pt); chevêchette brune (fr); mochuelo caburé (es); Brasil-sperlingskauz (de)

Taxonomy:

Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:

This species is found from the south-western United States, through Central America and into South America as far south as central Argentina. It is only found east of the Andes mountain range.

Size:

These tiny owls are 16-19 cm long and have a wingspan of 37-41 cm. They weigh 60-80 g.

Habitat:
The ferruginous pigmy-owl is found in a wide variety of habitats, including temperate and tropical forests, both moist and dry forests, scrublands and second growths. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.250 m.

Diet:
They feeds mainly on insects and spiders, but also birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals.

Breeding:
Ferruginous pigmy-owls are monogamous. They nest in natural cavities or in old woodpecker nests, in trees, stumps or cacti. The female lays 3-5 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 23-28 days while the male provides her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 27-30 days after hatching, but only become independent about 8 weeks later. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but it is not considered threatened at present.