Monday, 30 June 2014

Band-tailed nighthawk

Nyctiprogne leucopyga

Photo by Anselmo d'Affonseca (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
band-tailed nighthawk (en); bacurau-de-cauda-barrada (pt); engoulevent leucopyge (fr); añapero colibandeado (es); bindenschwanz-nachtschwalbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Caprimulgidae

Range:
This species is found in Venezuela and eastern Colombia, and through north-western and central Brazil into northern Bolivia, northern Paraguay and French Guyana.

Size:
These birds are 16-20 cm long and weigh 23-26 g.

Habitat:
The band-tailed nighthawk is mostly found in moist tropical forests and moist savannas, including gallery forests and forest edges. They also use inland wetlands such as marshes, swamps and rivers. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 500 m.

Diet:
They hunt insects such as beetles, bugs and ants.

Breeding:
Band-tailed nighthawks possibly breed in August-March. They nest on the ground, on open soil covered in dead leaves, and the female lays 1-2 whitish or creamy eggs with brown and grey spots or blotches. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 19-21 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and may move small distances away from the nest within 24 h of hatching, fledging 20-21 days after hatching. Each pair may raise 1-2 clutches per season and the female starts incubating the second brood while the male is still taking care of the first.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common but patchily distributed. The band-tailed nighthawk is suspected to lose 22-26% of suitable habitat within its range over the next 15 years based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, so a small decline is expected in the near future.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Blue-backed tanager

Cyanicterus cyanicterus

Photo by Anselmo d'Affonseca (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
blue-backed tanager (en); pipira-azul (pt); tangara cyanictère (fr); tangará dorsiazul (es); ziertangare (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern Venezuela, the Guyanas and marginally into northern Brazil.

Size:
These birds 17-18,5 cm and weigh 33-36 g.

Habitat:
The blue-backed tanager is mostly found in lowland rainforests, also using dry savannas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 600 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, berries, buds, leaves and nectar.

Breeding:
There is no available information on the reproduction of this species.

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.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Blue-winged leafbird

Chloropsis cochinchinensis

Photo by C. Balakrishnan (JPG)

Common name:
blue-winged leafbird (en); verdim-d'asa-azul (pt); verdin à tête jaune (fr); verdín aliazul (es); blauflügel-blatvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Chloropseidae

Range:
This species is found from western Indonesia north to Myanmar and Laos, and marginally into southern China, extreme north-eastern India and Bangladesh.

Size:
These birds are 16-18 cm long and weigh 19-28,5 g.

Habitat:
The blue-winged leafbird is mostly found in lowland rainforests, but also use rainforests in mountainous areas, rural gardens and plantations. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on insects, but also fruits, berries and nectar.

Breeding:
Blue-winged leafbirds breed in February-July. They nest in an open cup made of fine stems, leaves and rootlets, typically placed on the ends of branches near the tree crown, or sometimes hanging from thin horizontal shoots, or attached to a pair of vertical twigs. The female lays 2-3 cream or pinkish eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-14 days while the male brings her food. 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 relatively common throughout much of this range, although scarce in Singapore and rather rare in Java. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Yellow-headed caracara

Milvago chimachima

Photo by Celuta Machado (Aves de Rapina Brasil)

Common name:
yellow-headed caracara (en); gavião-carrapateiro (pt); caracara à tête jaune (fr); chimachimá (es); gelbkopfkarakara (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Falconidae

Range:
This species is found from Costa Rica south to northern Argentina and Uruguay, only east of the Andes mountain chain. They also occur in Trinidad and Tobago.

Size:
These birds are 40-46 cm long and have a wingspan of 81-95 cm. They weigh 280-360 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-headed caracara is mostly found in wet grasslands and savannas, but also uses scrublands, second growths and pastures. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.600 m.

Diet:
They are generalist predators, taking reptiles and amphibians, insects and other invertebrates, small mammals, bird nestlings, carrion and human refuse. They are known to take ticks from cattle.

Breeding:
Yellow-headed caracaras breed in August-December. They nest in a stick platform placed on a scrub or tree, or also on termite mounds or man-made structures. The female lays 2-7 buff-coloured eggs with brown markings, which are incubated for about 22 days. The chicks fledge 17-20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as common. The population is increasing owing to deforestation and conversion of lowland forests into cattle ranches.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rufous gnateater

Conopophaga lineata

Photo by Arthur Grosset (Flickr)

Common name:
rufous gnateater (en); chupa-dente (pt); conopophage roux (fr); chupadientes (es); rotkehl-mückenfresser (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Conopophagidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern Brazil, from Paraíba south to Rio Grande do Sul, and also in south-eastern Paraguay and extreme north-eastern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 13-14 cm long and weigh 16-27 g.

Habitat:
The rufous gnateater is mostly found in dense understorey of moist tropical forests, but also use dry tropical forests and moist tropical scrublands. They are present at altitudes of 300-2.400 m.

Diet:
They forage in the forests understorey, taking various insects.

Breeding:
Rufous gnateaters nest in a cup made of sticks and moss placed on the ground or low in a small tree or scrub. The female lays 2 buff-coloured eggs which are incubated by both parents. The chicks are fed by both parents but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods.

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

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Noisy pitta

Pitta versicolor

Photo by H. Glover (CQC Landcare Network)

Common name:
noisy pitta (en); pita-ruídosa(pt); brève versicolore (fr); pita bulliciosa (es); lärmpitta (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pittidae

Range:
This species breeds along the eastern coast of Australia, from northern Queensland to southern New South Wales. The more northern populations migrate north to winter along the coast of southern New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 17-21 cm long and weigh 70-130 g.

Habitat:
The noisy pitta is mostly found in rainforests, but also use dry woodlands and scrublands, mangroves and even urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed on insects and other invertebrates, including caterpillars, worms, centipedes, spiders and snails, even the giant panda snail Hedleyella falconeri, which it cracks open using a rock or another hard surface as anvil. They also take some fruits.

Breeding:

Noisy pittas breed in October-February. They nest on the ground, in a domed structure built by both sexes using sticks and dry leaves woven together with grasses. The nest is lined with moss and lichens, and placed in a concealed location, often among the buttresses of a tree. The female lays 3-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents but there is no information regarding the length of the fledgling period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be rare in New South Wales and locally moderately common in Queensland. The population is suspected to be in decline as a result of habitat degradation caused by agricultural expansion, loss of lowland rainforests and predation by introduced cats.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Flammulated owl

Otus flammeolus

Photo by Rick Bowers (Owl Pages)

Common name:
flammulated owl (en); mocho-flamado (pt); petit-duc nain (fr); autillo flamulado (es); Ponderosaeule (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species breeds in mountain patches from southern British Columbia and Alberta, in Canada, across most of the western United States and into Mexico as far south as Oaxaca. Most populations migrate south to winter from southern Mexico to El Salvador.

Size:
These small owls are 15-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 40 cm. They weigh 45-65 g.

Habitat:
The flammulated owl is found in mountain forests, in boreal temperate and tropical regions, favouring aspen, Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine forests with dense understorey, but also using mixed forests with oak, Douglas fir, white fir, incense cedar and sugar pine. They are present at altitudes of 1.500-3.000 m.

Diet:
They are insectivorous, hunting nocturnal insects such as beetles, moths and crickets, as well as spiders. They hunt from a perch, either taking their prey in flight, from the foliage or from the ground.

Breeding:
Flammulated owls are breed in April-August. They nest in a natural tree cavity or a woodpecker nest, sometimes also using nest boxes. The female lays 2-4 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 21-24 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 30-35 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 4-5 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the population is roughly estimated at 40.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction caused by timber harvesting.

Monday, 23 June 2014

White-breasted nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
white-breasted nuthatch (en); trepadeira-de-peito-branco (pt); sittelle à poitrine blanche (fr); trepador pechiblanco (es); Carolinakleiber (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sittidae

Range:
This species is found throughout most of the United States, as well as in southern Canada and in Mexico as far south as Oaxaca.

Size:
These birds are 13-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-27 cm. They weigh 18-30 g.

Habitat:
The white-breasted nuthatch is mostly found in mature deciduous forests, particularly maple, hickory and oak, favouring open forests and forest edges. They also use mixed and coniferous forests, riparian vegetation, plantations, rural gardens and suburban parks and gardens. They are present at altitudes of 300-3.650 m.

Diet:
During spring and summer they feed mainly on spiders and insects such as weevil larvae, wood-boring beetle larvae, other beetles, tree hoppers, scale insects, ants, gall fly larvae, caterpillars, stink bugs, and click beetles. During the rest of the year they feed mainly on seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorn, sunflower seeds, and sometimes crops such as corn. They often visit bird feeders and store seeds in loose bark or crevices to consume later.

Breeding:
White-breasted nuthatches breed in April-June. They are monogamous and pair bonds can last over several years. They nest in a natural tree cavity or abandoned woodpecker nest, which the female lines with fur, bark and lumps of dirt on top of which she builds a cup made of fine grass, shredded bark, feathers, and other soft materials. The nest cavity is usually 3-18 m above the ground. The female lays 5-9 creamy white to pinkish-white eggs with reddish brown, grey, or purple speckles. She incubates the eggs alone for 12-14 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 26 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 9,2 million individuals. The population has undergone a large increase of 19% per decade over the last 4 decades. Still, since they rely on tree cavities to nest they are sensitive to the loss of mature forests.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Red-tailed vanga

Calicalicus madagascariensis

Photo by Dubi Shapiro (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
red-tailed vanga (en); vanga-de-cauda-ruiva (pt); calicalic malgache (fr); vanga colirrojo (es); rotschwanzvanga (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Vangidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found in the north of the country and along the eastern and western coasts.

Size:
These birds are 13,5-14 cm long and weigh 14-18 g.

Habitat:
The red-tailed vanga is found in both dry and moist tropical forests, also using dry scrublands and second growths.

Diet:
They feed on insects and other arthropods, namely spiders, beetles, crickets, cockroaches, butterflies, bees, mantids, dragonflies, millipedes, and caterpillars and other larvae.

Breeding:
Red-tailed vangas nest in a cup made of lichens, moss, woven plant fibres and spider cocoons. It is lined with twigs and soft materials and placed in a fork in a tree. Both male and female help build the nest. The female lays 2 greenish-blue eggs with reddish brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for about 23 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 15 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. There is no information regarding population trends, but the red-tailed vanga is not threatened at present.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Common pheasant

Phasianus colchicus

Photo by Gerard Blokhuis (Wikipedia)



Common name:
common phaesant (en); faisão (pt); faisan de Colchide (fr); faisán común (es); fasan (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

Range:
These bird originate from Asia, from the Caucasus, through northern Iran into Kazakhstan and Afghanistan and Mongolia, and into eastern and southern China, Korea, and marginally into south-eastern Russia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Due to its popularity as a game bird they have been introduced in Europe where they are found throughout the continent except northern Scandinavia and Iceland, to North America where they are found from southern Canada to the south western and north-eastern United States, and also to parts of Australia, New Zealand, Morocco and several islands in the Caribbean.

Size:
These birds are sexually dimorphic with the larger males measuring 70-90 cm, with 35-45 cm for the tail alone, while females are 55-70 cm long of which 20-25 cm are just the tail. They have a wingspan of 55-85 cm and weigh 1,1-1,5 kg.

Habitat:
They are found in a wide range of habitats, including forests ranging from rainforests to alpine and boreal forests, scrublands, grasslands and agricultural land including arable land, pastures and rice fields.

Diet:
The common pheasant is omnivorous, taking plant matter such as wild and agricultural seeds and grains, shoots, roots and berries, as well as insects and other invertebrates including grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, crickets, ants, snails and earthworms.

Breeding:
Common pheasants are polygynous, with males having harems composed of several females. They breed in March-June. Each female scrapes a shallow depression in the ground, lined
with grasses, leaves, weed stalks, fine twigs and feathers, which is usually located among tall vegetation. There she lays 7-15 olive-brown to blue-grey eggs, which she incubates alone for 23-28 days. The chicks are precocial, leaving the nest soon after hatching. They are able to fly 12-14 days after hatching, but continue to follow the mother for about 2 months.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 45-300 million individuals. The common pheasant is widespread and very common in much of its range, however populations are declining locally owing to habitat loss and over-hunting.

Friday, 20 June 2014

White-browed tapaculo

Scytalopus superciliaris

Photo by Freddy Burgos (Flickr)

Common name:
white-browed tapaculo (en); tapaculo-de-sobrolho-branco (pt); mérulaxe bridé (fr); churrín cejiblanco (es); weißbrauentapaculo (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Rhinocryptidae

Range:
This species is found in the Andean slopes of north-western Argentina, north of La Rioja, and marginally across the border into southern Bolivia.

Size:
These birds are 10 cm long and weigh 16,5-19 g.

Habitat:
The white-browed tapaculo is mountain rainforests, namely alder Alder jorullensis forests, at altitudes of 1.500-3.350 m.

Diet:
They feed on small arthropods.

Breeding:
White-browed tapaculos breed in October-December. They nest in a tunnel excavated among the roots of a scrub or tree, at the end of which there is a nest chamber with a cup made of roots, grasses and forbs, and lined with finer strands and feathers. The female lays 2 white eggs. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledgling periods.

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

Thursday, 19 June 2014

American woodcock

Scolopax minor

Photo by Tim Flanigan (Northeast Regional Conservation Needs)


Common name:
American woodcock (en); galinhola-pequena (pt); bécasse d'Amérique (fr); agachadiza americana (es); Kanadaschnepfe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae

Range:
This species breeds in the eastern United States and south-eastern Canada, from southern Manitoba and North Dakota to southern Newfoundland and south to northern Florida and north-eastern Texas. The more northern population migrate south to winter in the south-eastern United States along the Gulf coast.

Size:
These birds are 25-31 cm long and have a wingspan of 40-51 cm. Females tend to be larger, weighing 150-280 g while males weigh 115-220 g.

Habitat:
American woodcocks are mostly found in open deciduous forests, also using scrublands, mixed and coniferous forests, and abandoned agricultural fields.

Diet:
They forage on the ground by probing the soil with their long bills, mainly taking earthworms but also other invertebrates such as snails, millipedes, centipedes, spiders, flies, beetles, and ants.

Breeding:
The American woodcock is polygynous with males attracting multiple partners and having no further part in the breeding process after mating. They breed in March-May. The female makes a shallow depression on the ground or sometimes lays the eggs on bare ground. Each female lays 1-5 greyish-orange eggs which she incubates alone for 20-22 days. The chicks leave the nest within hour of hatching and are able to feed themselves after 3-4 days, but relay on their mother for brooding and protection and become independent 31-38 days after hatching. Each female raises a single clutch per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 5 million individuals. the population has undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades, but is not threatened at present.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Spotted nutcracker

Nucifraga caryocatactes

Photo by Fabrizio Moglia (Flickr)

Common name:
spotted nutcracker (en); quebra-nozes (pt); cassenoix moucheté (fr); cascanueces común (es); tannenhäher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

Range:
This species is found from eastern France and northern Italy east to northern Greece and north to southern Sweden and Finland, and throughout most of Russia into Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, northern Mongolia, north-eastern China, Korea and Japan. Is is also present in central and southern China and along the Himalayas into Nepal, extreme northern India, northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Size:
These birds are 29-36 cm long and have a wingspan of 49-55 cm. They weigh 125-200 g.

Habitat:
The spotted nutcracker is mostly found in boreal coniferous forests, but also use temperate and tropical forests as well as urban parks.

Diet:
They feed on various seeds and nut, particularly of pines and spruces, but also hazelnuts and walnuts. They also take some insects and berries.

Breeding:
Spotted nutcrackers breed in March-June. They are believed to be monogamous and pairs bonds last several years. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a platform made of small twigs with an inner bowl made of decaying wood, juniper bark and lichen, lined with dry grass. It is usually placed high up in a conifer, up to 25 m above the ground. The female lays 2-5 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 18-22 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 21-26 days after hatching, but remain with the parents for another 4 months. They reach sexual maturity at 1-2 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 2,5-10,3 million individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline in parts of its Asian range as a result of forest destruction, namely in Taiwan. However, in Europe available data indicates a stable trend over the last 3 decades.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Parkinson's petrel

Procellaria parkinsoni

Photo by Ken Havard (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Parkinson's petrel (en); petrel-de-Parkinson (pt); puffin de Parkinson (fr); pardela de Parkinson (es); schwarzsturmvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Procellariiformes
Family Procellariidae

Range:
This species only breeds on Great and Little Barrier Islands, in New Zealand, but wander over the southern and central Pacific as far as the American coast from California to northern Peru.

Size:
These birds are about 45 cm long and have a wingspan of 110-115 cm. They weigh 680-720 g.

Habitat:
The Parkinson's petrel is a pelagic hunter, mainly foraging in offshore oceanic waters. They breed in virgin podocarp and mixed broadleaf forests, and also in alpine tussock grasslands, at altitudes of 500-1.200 m.

Diet:
They mainly hunt squids, but also tunicates, crustaceans and fishes. They regularly associates with dolphins, following them in order to scavenge dead fish from the water, and also feed on scraps from fishing trawlers.

Breeding:
Parkinson's petrels are monogamous and pair for life, breeding in October-June. They nest in colonies, each pair nesting in a burrow in the forest floor where the female lays a single eggs. The egg is incubated by both parents for 56-57 days. The chick is fed by both parents and fledges 14-15 weeks after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 6 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a small breeding range and a global population of 3.300 individuals. Overall, declines may have occurred in the global population because on Little Barrier the population was reduced by predation to only 50-100 pairs. On Great Barrier, the population is thought to be stable, and a slow increase is suspected on Little Barrier in recent years. Introduced cats decimated the Little Barrier population, killing up to 100% of fledglings in some years, and also taking some adults. Rats, stray dogs, feral cats and feral pigs may also be a threat on Great Barrier, while some birds are caught by commercial long-liners and recreational fishers. Conservation actions have included the eradication of cats and rats in Little Barrier, together with the translocation of fledglings from Great Barrier to Little Barrier to boost the local populations. Recently, feral cat trapping was undertaken on Great Barrier Island, together with a rodent control programme.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Clamorous reed-warbler

Acrocephalus stentoreus

Photo by Lior Kislev (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
clamorous reed-warbler (en); rouxinol-retumbante (pt); rousserolle stentor (fr); carricero estentóreo (es); stentorrohrsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species is found from eastern Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, through the Arabian Peninsula and Iran in to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. Also in northern India, Sri Lanka, from southern China and Myanmar to Thailand, in the Philippines and in southern Indonesia, Papua-New Guinea and Australia. They are mostly resident, but populations in central Asia migrate south to winter across the Indian subcontinent.

Size:
These birds are 18-20 cm long and weigh 20-25 g.

Habitat:
The clamorous reed-warbler is most found in reedbeds, Papyrus and other tall vegetation in marshes, swamps, freshwater lakes and rivers. They also use moist scrublands and grasslands , and moist tropical forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on various invertebrates such as dragonflies, beetles, grasshoppers and spiders.

Breeding:
Clamorous reed-warblers are socially monogamous, but males may attempt to father the offspring of several females. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a deep cup made of reeds and placed above water in dense vegetation. The female lays 3-6 eggs, which she incubates alone for about 2 weeks. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-13 days after hatching.

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

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Jambu fruit-dove

Ptilinopus jambu

Photo by Eddy Lee (Flickr)

Common name:
jambu fruit-dove (en); pombo-da-fruta-do-jambo (pt); ptilope jambou (fr); tilope jambú (es); jambufruchttaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Thailand and Myanmar, through Malaysia and into Sumatra, Borneo and a few nearby islands in Indonesia.

Size:
These birds are 23-28 cm long and weigh about 40 g.

Habitat:
Jambu fruit-doves are mainly found in moist tropical forests and mangroves, but are also able to use second growths. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed on various fruits, which are either taken directly from the tree or by colecting from the ground fruits dropped by hornbills and monkeys.

Breeding:
The jambu fruit-dove is monogamous. The nest is built by the female consisting of a flimsy plastform made of twigs, roots and grasses interwoven with the branches of a tree or scrub. There she lays 1-2 white eggs which are incubated for about 20 days. The chicks are fed crop milk by both parents and fledge 10-12 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as generally uncommon, although locally and seasonally common and very rare in Java. The population is suspected to be declining at a moderately rapid rate, mainly due to habitat loss and degradation, as well as hunting pressure. Forest destruction in the Sundaic lowlands of Indonesia and Malaysia has been extensive, because of a variety of factors including the escalation of logging and land conversion, plus forest fires, and declines are compounded by trapping for the cage-bird trade. However, its ability use of secondary growth and higher elevations implies that it is not immediately threatened.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Black-browed albatross

Thalassarche melanophris

Photo by Jose Xavier (Antarctic Field Guide)


Common name:
black-browed albatross (en); albatroz-de-sobrancelha (pt); albatros à sourcils noirs (fr); albatros de ceja negra (es); schwarzbrauenalbatros (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Procellariiformes
Family Diomedeidae

Range:
This species has a circumpolar distribution, being found from the polar waters of Antarctica north to the coasts of southern Australia, Namibia and southern Mozambique in Africa and Peru and south-eastern Brazil in South America. They have breeding colonies in the Falkland Islands, Islas Diego Ramirez, Ildefonso, Diego de Almagro and Isla Evangelistas in Chile, South Georgia, Crozet and Kerguelen Islands in the Southern Ocean, Heard and McDonald Islands and Macquarie Island in Australia, and Campbell and Antipodes Islands in New Zealand.

Size:
These birds are 80-95 cm long and have a wingspan of 200-240 cm. They weigh 2,9-4,7 kg.

Habitat:
The black-browed albatross forages in oceanic waters, usually favouring shelf and shelf-break areas. They breed in steep slopes with tussock grass, sometimes on cliff terraces, or on flat ground along the shore line.

Diet:
They feed mainly on crustaceans, fish and squids, but also take carrion, fish discards and sometimes smaller seabirds such as Wildon's storm petrels Oceanites oceanicus. They show kleptoparasitic behaviour, stealing food from other species.

Breeding:
Black-browed albatrosses are monogamous and breed in large colonies that can count thousands of breeding pairs. They breed in September-April. The nest on the ground and the female lays a single egg which is incubated by both parents for 68-71 days. The chick is fed by both parents and fledge 120-130 days after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 10 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 1,4 million individuals. The main breeding population, in the Falkland Islands has shown an increase in recent decades, which outwheights declines elsewhere and justifies the estimate that the global population is increasing. Some breeding population are threatened by by-catch in long-line fisheries, while the explosion in European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus numbers on Macquarie Island led to an extensive destruction of habitat and soil erosion at nesting sites and cats are a problem in other islands. Conservation action underway include an eradication programme for rodents in Macquarie Island.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Cliff flycatcher

Hirundinea ferruginea

Photo by Dusan Brinkhuizen (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
cliff flycatcher (en); gibão-de-couro (pt); moucherolle hirondelle (fr); birro castaño (es); schwalbentyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species has a disjunct distribution. Subspecies H.f. ferruginea found in the northern Amazon basin, in south-eastern Colombia, southern Venezuela, the Guyanas and north-western Brazil. H.f. sclateri is found along the eastern slopes of the Andes from Venezuela to southern Peru. H.f. pallidor is found from northern Bolivia to western Paraguay and north-western Argentina. Finally, H.f. bellicosa is found in the southern half of Brazil, into eastern Paraguay, Uruguay and north-eastern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 16-18,5 cm long and weigh about 20 g.

Habitat:
The cliff flycatcher is mostly found around cliff and rocky canyons, landslides and steep banks bordered by secondary or mature tropical forest, but can also use similar man-made habitats such as cuttings, bridges and quarries, ledges and building facades and nearby scrublands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.900 m.

Diet:
They sally out from a perch to hawk various flying insects.

Breeding:
Cliff flycatchers nest on an open cup made of vegetable fibres and grasses, which is bordered by a ring of stones. The nest is placed in a ledge or crevice in a rock face or on a man-made structure such as a bridge or building.The female lays 2-3 white eggs with rusty spots, which she incubates alone for 2 weeks. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 15 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common but patchily distributed. The populations is thought to be increasing in numbers and spreading into artificial habitats due to their new nesting behaviour on man-made structures, providing them numerous nest-sites.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Fork-tailed palm-swift

Tachornis squamata

Photo by Dave Curtis (Flickr)

Common name:
fork-tailed palm-swift (en); andorinhão-do-buriti (pt); martinet claudia (fr); vencejillo tijereta (es); gabelschwanzsegler (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae

Range:
This species is found in northern South America, east of the Andes. they are present from Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas south to Bolivia and southern Brazil as far as Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo.

Size:
These birds are 11,5-14 cm long and weigh 11 g.

Habitat:
The fork-tailed palm-swift is mostly found in dry tropical forests, but also uses moist tropical forests, wet grasslands, marshes, second growths and urban areas. They are present at altitudes of 200-900 m.

Diet:
They forage on the wing, taking various flying insects.

Breeding:
These birds nest on a small cup made of feathers, saliva and plant material, placed on the inside of a dead leaf of a moriche palm Mauritia flexuosa. The female lays 2-4 white eggs which she incubates for 19-21 days. There is no available information regarding the fledgling period.

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

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Coal-crested finch

Charitospiza eucosma

Photo by Tancredo Maia (Flickr)

Common name:
coal-crested finch (en); mineirinho (pt); charitospize charbonnier (fr); monterita crestada (es); weißwangen-zwergkardinal (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is patchily distributed across north-eastern and central Brazil, in central Piauí, southern Maranhão and south-eastern Pará south through Goiás, western Bahia and central Minas Gerais to south-eastern Mato Grosso and central São Paulo. Also in north-eastern Bolivia, in Serranía de Huanchaca in Santa Cruz, and north-eastern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 11-11,5 cm long and weigh 10-12 g.

Habitat:
The coal-crested finch is mostly found in cerrado dry savannas, also using savanna-grasslands transition habitatsand semi-open arid caatinga scrublands. They specialize in recently burned areas. This species is present at altitudes of 200-1.200 m.

Diet:
They are omnivorous, mainly eating grass seeds and arthropods, but also fruits and flowers. They are known to consume grasses such as Echinolaena inflexa, Trachypogon spp. and Aristida spp. and the introduced Andropogon gayanus, as well as grasshoppers, crickets, ants, termites and insect eggs.

Breeding:
Coal-crested finches are socially monogamous, although there are some cases of polygyny. They ave two breeding seasons, responding to the local rainy seasons, in September-December and February-April. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an open cup made of dry grasses, small twigs, spider webs, fine roots and silk cotton. It is placed in a tree, 1-4 m above the ground. The female lays 1-3 pale blue-green eggs with brown spots, which she incubates alone for 10-12 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-15 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large but patchy breeding range. Although the global population size has not been quantified, this species is described as uncommon and patchily distributed, and suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate. The main threat is habitat loss through conversion to agriculture for Eucalyptus plantations, soy beans and pastures for exportable crops, which is encouraged by government land reform and has had a severe impact on the cerrado habitats in Brazil. They are also trapped for the cage bird trade.