Friday, 28 February 2014

Hadada ibis

Bostrychia hagedash

Photo by Sumeet Moghe (Wikipedia)

Common name:
hadada ibis (en); singanga (pt); ibis hagedash (fr); ibis hadada (es); hagedasch (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Ciconiiformes
Family Threskiornithidae

Range:This species is found across most of sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Mauritania to southern Sudan and south to South Africa. It is mostly absent from Angola, Namibia and Botswana.

Size:
These birds are 65-75 cm long and have a wingspan of 90-100 cm. They weigh 1,2-1,3 kg.

Habitat:
The hadada ibis is mostly found in wooded streams and rivers, also using wet grasslands, savannas, irrigated areas, marshes, lakes and reservoirs, mangroves, coastal beaches and forest edges.

Diet:
They feed on various invertebrates, such as earthworms, crustaceans, large insects, spiders and molluscs, but also take lizards and human scraps.

Breeding:
Hadada ibises can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They are monogamous, solitary nesters. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a platform of sticks with a central bowl lined with grass, lichen, weeds, leaves and other debris. It is typically placed in the fork of an horizontal branch, or occasionally on another structure such a cliff, dam wall, telephone pole or pergola. The female lays 1-5 eggs, which are incubated by parents for 25-28 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 33-40 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 3 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as widespread and common. The population has probably increased in the last century due to an increase in the availability of nest sites and food from habitat modification by humans.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

King of Saxony bird-of-paradise

Pteridophora alberti

(Photo from Berita dan Ilmu Pengetahuan)

Common name:
King of Saxony bird-of-paradise (en); ave-do-paraíso-de-Alberto (pt); paradisier du Prince Albert (fr); ave-del-paraíso de Alberto (es); wimpelträger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paradisaeidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the island of New guinea, being found along the central mountain range in both Indonesia and Papua-New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 22 cm long but behind each eye the males have a feather shaft that can reach 50 cm in length. Males tend to be larger than females, weighing 80-95 g while females weigh 68-88 g.

Habitat:
The King of Saxony bird-of-paradise is only found in mountain rainforests, at altitudes of 1.500-2.850 m.

Diet:
They are mainly frugivorous, usually favouring green fruits such as false figs. They are also known to eat insects.

Breeding:
These birds breed in September-April. They are polygynous, with males displaying in a lek to attract females and having no further part in the breeding process after mating. The female builds the nest alone, where she lays a single egg that she incubates for 22 days. The chicks is fed by the female and fledge 20-30 days after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 1-2 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be widespread and common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ingoing hunting pressure, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Shikra

Accipiter badius

Photo by Jaysukh Parekh (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
shikra (en); gavião-chicra (pt); épervier shikra (fr); gavilán chikra (es); schikrasperber (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and through the Arabian Peninsula into southern Asia as far as Azerbaijan, Iran, southern Kazakhstan, north-western Pakistan and through the Himalayas into India, southern China and Indochina.

Size:
These birds are 26-30 cm long and have a wingspan of 55-60 cm. They weigh 75-160 g.

Habitat:
The shikra is found in various wooded habitats, including dry savannas, tropical forests, riparian forests and exotic tree plantations, but also in grasslands, dry scrublands, rura gardens and even within urban areas.

Diet:
They are aggressive hunters that pounce on their prey from a perch, taking lizards, small birds, frogs, large insects, rodents and bats.

Breeding:
Shikras can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They are monogamous, solitary nesters, with both sexes helping build the nest which consists of a bowl made of twigs and lined with bark chips. It is placed on a fork in a large tree branch, often in an exotic tree such as an Eucalyptus. The female lays 1-4 bluish-white eggs, which she mostly incubates alone for 28-30 days. The chicks fledge about 32 days after htching, but onlu become independent 30-40 days later.

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

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Northern grey-headed sparrow

Passer griseus

Photo by Dick Daniels (Wikipedia)

Common name:
northern grey-headed sparrow (en); pardal-de-cabeça-cinzenta (pt); moineau gris (fr); gorrión de cabeza gris (es); graukopfsperling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Passeridae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Mauritania to southern Sudan and south to northern Angola, Zambia, northern Zimbabwe and north-western Mozambique.

Size:
These birds are 15-16 cm long and weigh 24-43 g.

Habitat:
The northern grey-headed sparrow is found in dry savannas and tropical forests, dry scrublands, dry grasslands, arable land and also very often near human settlements in both rural and urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on seeds, flowers, small fruits, and also insects such as beetles, termites and locusts. They also take human scraps.

Breeding:
These birds are monogamous and nest either in solitary pairs or in loose colonies. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of  an untidy mat made of grass and lined with feathers, typically placed in a tree cavity, either natural or an abandoned nest of a woodpecker or barbet, or in a hole in a building or other human-made structure. They can also use the nests of other birds, such as swallows, bee-eaters, swifts and kingfishers sometimes evicting them while they are actively breeding. The female lays 2-7 eggs, which she incubates alone for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of insects, leaving the nest after about 19 days.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely 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.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Grey treepie

Dendrocitta formosae

Photo by Cherry Wong (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
grey treepie (en); pega-arbórea-cinzenta (pt); témia de Swinhoe (fr); urraca gris (es); graubrust-baumelster (de)

Taxonomy:

Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:

This species is found in south-eastern Asia, from the Himalayas in northern India into central and eastern China and south to northern Thailand and Laos.

Size:

These birds are 37-40 cm long and weigh 90-120 g.

Habitat:

The grey treepie is mostly found in mountain rainforests, also using rainforests at lower altitudes, temperate forests, moist scrublands, second growths and arable land.

Diet:

They are omnivorous, taking various invertebrates and small vertebrates, as well as seeds, nectar, fruits and berries.

Breeding:

Grey treepies nest in a flimsy platform made of sticks and lined with fine plant materials. It is usually placed in a tree 2-6 m above the ground, although in some cases they may nest on the ground. The female lays 2-5 pale green eggs with dark spots, which are incubated by both parents for 16-20 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 2-3 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be fairly common to common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to presumably ongoing habitat destruction on Hainan.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Red-crested turaco

Tauraco erythrolophus

(Photo from Your Nature Photos)

Common name:
red-crested turaco (en); turaco-de-crista-vermelha (pt); touraco pauline (fr); turaco crestirrojo (es); rothaubenturako (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Cuculiformes
Family Musophagidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Angola, being found in the western and central parts of the country from the lower Congo to Chingoroi, and east to Malanje and the upper Cuanza.

Size:
These birds are 40-43 cm long and weigh 210-325 g.

Habitat:
The red-crested turaco is found in tropical rainforests and riverine forests.

Diet:
They are frugivorous taking various fruits and berries.

Breeding:
Red-crested turacos can breed all year round, but with a peak in April-October. The nest is a flimsy platform of twigs, placed on a tree 1,5-10 m above the ground. The female lays 2 white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for about 24 days. The chicks fledge 4-5 weeks after hatching but will remain dependent on the parents for several months. They reach sexual maturity at 1 year of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be locally common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but the red-crested turaco is not considered threatened at present.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Short-toed treecreeper

Certhia brachydactyla

Photo by Aleix Comas (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
short-toed treecreeper (en); trepadeira-comum (pt); grimpereau des jardins (fr); agateador común (es); gartenbaumläufer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Certhiidae

Range:
This species is found in western Europe, from the Iberian Peninsula north to Denmark and east to Poland, western Ukraine, Bulgaria and western Turkey. There are also populations in the Caucasus mountain range and in north-western Africa from Morocco to Tunisia.

Size:
These birds are 12-14 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-21 cm. They weigh 7,5-11 g.

Habitat:
The short-toed treecreeper is mostly found in temperate forests and woodlands, especially oak Quercus, also using dry tropical forests, dry scrublands, plantations, arable land, and gardens.

Diet:
They probe tree bark in search of various invertebrates, namely spiders and their eggs, and insect larvae.

Breeding:
Short-toed treecreepers breed in March-June. They nest in tree crevices or behind bark flakes, also using old woodpecker nests, crevices in walls and nest boxes. The nest is a bulky cup made of twigs, bark strips, moss, and leaves, with soft linings. The female lays 5-7 eggs,which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-18 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 2,7-11,7 million individuals. The population has undergone a moderate decline in recent decades, possibly due to habitat lossand fragmentation, but it is not threatened at present.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Grey-capped flycatcher

Myiozetetes granadensis

Photo by Hans Hillewaert (Wikipedia)

Common name:
grey-capped flycatcher (en); bem-te-vi-de-cabeça-cinza (pt); tyran à tête grise (fr); bienteveo cabecigrís (es); graukappen-maskentyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is found from Honduras south to north-western Peru, northern Bolivia and north-western Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 16,5-18 cm long and weigh 26-30 g.

Habitat:
The grey-capped flycatcher is mostly found along the edges of moist tropical forests, especially near rivers and streams. They also use second growths, plantations, pastures and arable land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.300 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on flying insects, but also take berries and seeds.

Breeding:
Grey-capped flycatchers breed in February-August, nesting on a large roofed structure made of stems, roots and straws, placed on a tree, scrub or building 1-13 m above the ground. It is often located near a wasp, bee or ant nest, presumably for protection. The female lays 2-4 white eggs with brown or lilac spots, which are incubated for 16-18 days. The chicks fledge 19-21 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. This species thrives in converted habitats and its population is suspected to be stable.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Timneh parrot

Psittacus timneh

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:
timneh parrot (en); papagaio-cinzento-ocidental (pt); perroquet timneh (fr); loro timneh (es); timneh-graupapagei (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is only found in West Africa, from Guinea-Bissau and southern Mali to Liberia and the Ivory Coast.

Size:
These medium-sized parrots are 28-33 cm long and weigh 275-275 g.

Habitat:
Timneh parrots is found in moist tropical forests and neighbouring savannas, also using forets clearings, gallery forests, mangroves, cultivated areas and even gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on seeds, nuts, berries and fruits, including oil-palm fruits.

Breeding:
The timneh parrot breeds in January-July. They nest in a tree hollow, typically high up on a tall tree, where the female lays 2-3 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 28-30 days and the chicks fledge 11-12 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a large breeding range but the global population is estimated at just 100.000-500.000 individuals. The population is estimated to decline by 30-50% over the next 5 decades, mostly due to the massive level of capture for the illegal bird trade and high levels of forest loss in parts of the range. Despite international efforts to prohibit trade, thousands of birds are likely being illegally exported every year. Deforestation is still a very serious problem within the timneh parrot range, with 77% of the original forest cover already being lost.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

White-breasted robin

Eopsaltria georgiana

Photo by Eddy Lee (Flickr)

Common name:
white-breasted robin (en); rouxinol-de-peito-branco (pt); miro à poitrine blanche (fr); petroica pechiblanca (es); weißbrustschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Petroicidae

Range:
This species is only found in the south-western tip of Western Australia, from Geraldton to Esperance.

Size:
These birds are 14,5-17 cm long.

Habitat:
The white-breasted robin is mostly found in temperate forests and dry scrublands, also using rivers and streams.

Diet:
They feed on insects and other small invertebrates.

Breeding:
White-breasted robins breed in July-December. They breed cooperatively, with one or several helpers assisting the breeding pair. The nest is a neat cup made of dry grass, bark and spider webs, generally located in a fork in a tree among dense scrubs near a watercourse. The female lays 2 pale olive to green-blue eggs with darker blotches, which are incubated by the female for 16-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and helpers and fledge 13-14 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2 broods per season.

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

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Tawny antpitta

Grallaria quitensis

Photo by Dusan Brinkhuizen (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
tawny antpitta (en); tuvacuçu-fulvo (pt); grallaire de Quito (fr); tororoí leonado (es); ockerwangen-ameisenpitta (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Formicariidae

Range:
This species is found along the Andes mountain range, from central Colombia to northern Peru.

Size:
These birds are 16-18 cm long and weigh 62-78 g.

Habitat:
The tawny antpitta is mostly found in high altitude grasslands and scrublands, and mountain rainforests, also using pastures, lakes and marshes. They are present at altitudes of 2.200-4.500 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, taking various arthropods.

Breeding:
Tawny antpittas nest on the ground, on a small cup where the female lays 2 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 21-22 days. There is no information regarding the fledgling period.

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

Monday, 17 February 2014

Dunlin

Calidris alpina

Photo by Jari Peltomäki (Luonto Portti)

Common name:
dunlin (en); pilrito-comum (pt); bécasseau variable (fr); correlimos común (es); Alpenstrandläufer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae

Range:
This species breeds at high latitudes in both Europe, America and Asia, from south-eastern Greenland, Iceland and the northern British Isles, through Scandinavia and the Baltic coast, throughout northern Russia, into western and northern Alaska and northern Canada. They migrate south to winter along the coasts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, as far south as West Africa, northern India, south-eastern China, Mexico and the northern Caribbean. Also in some inland wetlands.

Size:
These birds are 16-22 cm long and have a wingspan of 32-38 cm. They weigh 36-64 g.

Habitat:
Dunlins breed in wet tundra, wet coastal grasslands, saltmarshes and wet upland moorland. Outside the breeding season they are mostly found in estuarine mudflats, also using sandy beaches, marshes, flooded fields, lagoons and ponds, and saltpans.

Diet:
On the breeding grounds they feed mainly on insects and insects larvae, but elsewhere they feed on various invertebrates such as polychaete worms, small bivalves and molluscs, crustaceans, insects and occasionally small fish.

Breeding:
Dunlins breed in May-July. The male builds the nest, a shallow scrape on the ground lined with grasses, sedges and leaves, where the female lays 4 eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 20-24 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching are able to feed themselves, relying on their parents for protection. They start flying 18-21 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 4,6-6,5 million individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations are stable or have unknown trends.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

White-crowned forktail

Enicurus leschenaulti

Photo by Myron Tai (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
white-crowned forktail (en); rabo-de-tesoura-de-coroa-branca (pt); énicure de Leschenault (fr); torrentero coroniblanco (es); weißscheitel-scherenschwanz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

Range:
This species is found in from central and southern China, through extreme north-eastern India and Indochina and into the Indonesian islands of Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

Size:
These bird are 28 cm long and weigh 30-52 g.

Habitat:
The white-crowned forktail is mostly found along rivers and streams in moist tropical forests, also using moist scrublands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on aquatic insects and their larvae.

Breeding:
White-crowned forktails breed in April-June. The nest is made of moss, leaves and rootlets, and placed on the ground among rocks, tree roots or in overgrown banks. The female lays 3-4 cream-coloured eggs with reddish-brown speckles, which are incubated for 17-19 days. The chicks fledge 15-17 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 Sumatra and in parts of Borneo. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Restinga antwren

Formicivora littoralis

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
restinga antwren (en); formigueiro-do-litoral (pt); grisin de la restinga (fr); hotmiguerito litoral (es); restingaameisenfänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Rio de Janeiro state, in south-eastern Brazil, being restricted to the area around Cabo Frio including adjacent offshore islands.

Size:
These birds are 12,5-14 cm long and weigh 15 g.

Habitat:
The restinga antwren is mostly found in what is known as restinga, a beach-scrub habitat, rich in cacti and bromeliads, growing on sand-dunes. They also use other scrublands in coastal hillsides.

Diet:
They feed on various insects, such as butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers and beetles, as well as fruits.

Breeding:
Restinga antwrens can breed all year round. The nest is an open cup made of fine plant fibres, placed in an horizontal branch of a scrub of small tree, up to 3 m above the ground. The female lays 1-3 white eggs with brown spots, which are incubated by both parents. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods, but both parents participate in rearing the chicks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a small breeding range and a global population estimated at 1.000-2.500 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining rapidly owing to the considerable threats from beach front development, the salt industry and squatters within its restricted coastal habitat. Conservation actions underway include the designation if three protected areas and awareness campaigns directed at local teachers and school children.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Short-tailed swift



Photo by Patrick Ingremeau (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
short-tailed swift (en); andorinhão-de-rabo-curto (pt); martinet polioure (fr); vencejo rabón (es); stutzschwanzsegler (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae

Range:
This species is found from Panama south to Bolivia and central and western Brazil.

Size:
These bird are 10-11 cm long and weigh 20 g.

Habitat:
The short-tailed swift is found in moist tropical forests, dry tropical forests and savannas, scrublands, second growths and plantations, often favouring areas near water. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.300 m.

Diet:
They feed on flying insects, including winged ants and termite alates.

Breeding:
Short-tailed swifts nest in a shallow half-saucer made of twigs and saliva, attached to a vertical surface such as a chimney, manhole, well or a natural cave or tree cavity. The female lays 3-7 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 17-18 days. The chicks leave the nests 2 weeks after hatching, but remain near it, clinging to the cavity wall without flying, for another 2 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The short-tailed swift is suspected to lose 15-17,5% of suitable habitat within its range in the near future, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, being therefore suspected to suffer a moderate decline in the next 2 decades.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Blue-crowned laughingthrush

Garrulax courtoisi

Photo by Erwin Collaerts (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
blue-crowned laughingthrush (en); zaragateiro-de-Courtois (pt); garrulaxe de Courtois (fr); charlatán coroniazul (es); blaukappenhäherling (de)

Taxoonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This species is endemic to China, only being found in five small and fragmented sites in
Jiangxi Province.


Size:
These birds are 23-25 cm long and weigh about 50 g.

Habitat:
The blue-crowned laughingthrush is found in moist tropical forests and scrublands, most often near rivers and streams and often near human settlements.

Diet:
They are omnivorous, taking both fruits and various insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding:
Blue-crowned laughingthrushes breed in April-July. They nest in small colonies, with several nest in the same small area. each nest is tended by a family groups including the breeding pair and young from previous broods who help rear the new chicks. The nest is an open cup made of twigs, plant fibres and grasses, and lined with dry grasses. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both parent and the helpers for 13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and the helpers and fledge 16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - CR (Critically Endangered)
This species has a small and fragmented breeding range and a global population estimated at just 50-250 individuals. The population trend is unknown, but believed to be declining due to low productivity. The blue-crowned laughingthrush is threatened by trapping for the cage bird trade, road building and urban development, and the very small population may now be prone to the loss of genetic diversity. A number of small Special Protected Areas were established in Jiangxi Province to protect this species.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Puna miner

Geositta punensis

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
puna miner (en); curriqueiro-da-puna (pt); géositte de la puna (fr); minero puneño (es); punaerdhacker (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:This species is found in southern Peru, south-western Bolivia, northern Chile and north-western Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 15-16 cm long and weigh 22-29 g.

Habitat:
The puna miner is found in high-altitude grasslands and sometimes also in scrublands, at altitudes of 3.000-5.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on the ground, taking insects and other arthropods.

Breeding:
Puna miners nest in a burrow on the ground, with an incubation chamber at the end lined with grasses, feathers and hair. There the female lays 2-3 whitish eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 2 weeks. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 18 days after hatching.

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

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Emu

Dromaius novaehollandiae

Photo by Ian Barker (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
emu (en); emu (pt); émeu d'Australie (fr); emú común (es); große emu (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Struthioniformes
Family Dromaiidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found throughout the Australian mainland. They were also found in Tasmania in the pat, but were quickly exterminated there after the Europeans arrived to the island.

Size:
These birds are 1,5-2 m long and weigh 30-60 kg.

Habitat:
The emu is found in various habitats including grasslands, dry savannas, sclerophyll forests and scrublands, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.600 m.

Diet:
They feed on various fruits, seeds, shoots, insects and other small animals, and also animal dropings.

Breeding:
Emus breed in December-June. The nest consists of a platform of grass on the ground, up to 2 m wide. Several females may lay there eggs in the same nest, which may hold up to 24 eggs. The male incubates the eggs alone for 48-56 days. The chicks leave the nest 2-7 day after hatching and follow the male around for 5-7 months. Young emus reach sexual maturity at 18-20 months of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 630.000-725.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Grey-throated barbet

Gymnobucco bonapartei

Photo by Tadeusz Stawarczyk (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
grey-throated barbet (en); barbudo-de-garganta-cinzenta (pt); barbican à gorge grise (fr); barbudo de garganta gris (es); trauerbartvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

Range:
This species is found in central Africa, from Cameroon to south-western Congo and through D.R. Congo and the Central African Republic into South Sudan, western Kenya, north-western Tanzania and marginally into northern Angola.

Size:
These birds are 16,5-20 cm long and weigh 45-75 g.

Habitat:
The grey-throated barbet is mostly found in moist tropical forests, both in lowland and mountainous areas, but also uses pastures, plantations and rural gardens. They re present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.450 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly of fruits, including wild fruits such as figs and cultivated fruits. They also hunt various invertebrates, such as ants, cicadas, dragonflies, crickets, locusts, beetles, moths, mantids, as well as scorpions and centipedes. On occasion, they may even feed on lizards, frogs and geckos.

Breeding:
Grey-throated barbets net in tree cavities. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 13-15 days. The chicks are raised 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 very large breeding range and is reported to be widespread and relatively abundant. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to removal of dead trees which are required for nesting and roosting, and habitat fragmentation.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Scott's oriole

Icterus parisorum

Photo by Brian Small (Larkwire)

Common name:
Scott's oriole (en); corrupião-de-Scott (pt); oriole jaune-verdâtre (fr); turpial de Scott (es); Scott-trupial (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

Range:
This species breeds in Mexico an the south-western United States, as far north as Nevada, Utah and Colorado. The more northern population migrate south to winter in western and southern Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 22-24 cm long and have a wingspan of 29-32 cm. They weigh 32-41 g.

Habitat:
The Scott's oriole is found in hot deserts and dry scrublands, especially in areas populated by yuccas. they are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, ants, bees, butterflies, caterpillars and other insect larvae. They also eat berries, cactus fruits and nectar.

Breeding:
Scott's orioles breed in April-July. They are monogamous and the nest is a slightly hanging basket of woven plant fibres stripped from dead leaves, lined with soft grasses and other plant fibres. It is placed in a small trees or scrub, mainly yuccas, usually hanging from the leaves at the crown of the tree. There the female lays 3-5 pale blue eggs with dark spots and streaks, which she incubates for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14 days after hatching. Each pair raises 1-2 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1,6 million individuals. In the United States the population has undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Pale-headed brush-finch

Atlapetes pallidiceps

Photo by A. Sornoza (American Bird Conservancy)

Common name:
pale-headed brush-finch (en); tico-tico-cinzento (pt); tohi grisonnant (fr); saltón cabecipálido (es); blasskopf-buschammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is endemic to southern Ecuador, only being found in the río Jubones drainage, in Azuay and Loja.

Size:
These birds are16-16,5 cm long and weigh 28,5-35 g.

Habitat:
The pale-headed brush-finch is mostly found in regenerating landslides and other steep slopes with dense scrubland interspersed with small clearings, usually in the transition between arid and humid areas. They are only present at altitudes of 1.650-1.950 m.

Diet:
They feed on a variety of invertebrates, especially caterpillars and winged insects, also taking seeds and fruits of plants such as Acnistus, Rubus, Acalypha, Solanum, Morus, Heliotropium, Polygonum, grass, and also flower buds.

Breeding:
Pale-headed brush-finches breed in January-June. They form stable pairs that remain together all year. The nest is built by the female, consisting of an open cup made of grasses and bamboo, placed near the ground, occasionally up to 3 m above the ground, in a scrub, small tree or bamboo thicket. The female lays 1-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 11-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-14 days after hatching, but continue to be fed for another 2 months and often remain with the parents for nearly a year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has an extremely small breeding range and the global population appears to number just 226 individuals. The pale-headed brush-finch was believed to be extinct since the 1960s, but was rediscovered in 1998. Since then the population seems to be increasing rapidly, from as little as 20 individuals to over 200, but it may reach carrying capacity soon. The main threats affecting this species are habitat loss and brood parasitism by shiny cowbirds Molothrus bonariensis. Conservation actions underway included the purchase and fencing of the few remaining patches of suitable habitat and cowbird control. A habitat management scheme was implemented in order to halt vegetation succession and create suitable habitat by selective thinning of dense thickets, which seems to have been quite successful.