Friday, 31 October 2014

Cabanis's greenbul

Phyllastrephus cabanisi

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Cabanis's greenbul (en); tuta-de-Cabanis (pt); bulbul de Cabanis (fr); bulbul de Cabanis (es); Cabanis-bülbül (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae

Range:
This species is found from northern Angola, through northern Zambia and southern and eastern D.R. Congo, and into South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and northern Mozambique.

Size:
These birds are 16,5-19 cm long and weigh 22-42 g.

Habitat:
Cabanis's greenbuls are mostly found in moist tropical forest, also using moist scrublands and secondary forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.700 m.

Diet:
They feed on various arthropods, namely grasshoppers, beetles, mantids, caterpillars, ants and spiders.

Breeding:
These birds possibly breed all year round. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated for 11-12 days. The chicks fledge 17 days after hatching.

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

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Creamy-crested spinetail

Cranioleuca albicapilla

Photo by Tomas Grim (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
creamy-crested spinetail (en); arredio-de-barrete-branco (pt); synallaxe à calotte blanche (fr); curutié crestado (es); fahlkappen-baumschlüpfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Peru, being found along the eastern slopes of the Andes from Tarma to Cusco.

Size:
These birds are 16-17 cm long and weigh 18-24 g.

Habitat:
The creamy-crested spinetail is mostly found in high altitude woodlands and scrublands, ranging from semi-arid to semi-humid areas, particularly areas dominated by Podocarpus or Eugenia-Escallonia. They also use pastures and arable land. This species occurs at altitudes of 2.400-3.800 m.

Diet:
They forage in pairs, or sometimes join mixed-species foraging flocks, taking various arthropods from the mid-storey of the vegetation.

Breeding:
Creamy-crested spinetails are believed to be monogamous and possibly breed in January-May. The nest is a small globular structure made of moss, twigs and bark strips, usually suspended from the end of a branch. There is no further information on the reproduction of this species.

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

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Red-crested bustard

Lophotis ruficrista

Photo by Francesco Veronesi (Flickr)

Common name:
red-crested bustard (en); sisão-de-poupa-vermelha (pt); outarde houppette (fr); sisón moñudo austral (es); rotschopftrappe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Otididae

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

Size:
These birds are 50 cm long and weigh about 680 g.

Habitat:
The red-crested bustard is found in dry savannas and scrublands, favouring areas dominated by mopane Colospermum mopane, Acacia, cluster-leaf Terminalia, Zambezi teak Baikiaea plurijaga and miombo Brachystegia.

Diet:
They feed mainly on invertebrates, namely termites, beetles, grasshoppers, bugs, butterflies, ants, centipedes, solifugids and spiders, also taking seeds, berries and leaves of various plants.

Breeding:
Red-crested bustards breed in September-April. They are polygynous, with males performing elaborate displays to attract multiple females and having no further part in the breeding process after mating. Each female lays 1-2 eggs, either directly on the ground or in a shallow scrape in the soil, often among dense leaf litter. She incubates the eggs alone for 20-23 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, but rely on the mother for food during the first few days. Afterwards they begin feeding themselves, but continue to rely on the mother for protection, and fledge 5-6 weeks after hatching.

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

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

White-throated woodcreeper

Xiphocolaptes albicollis

Photo by Sidnei Recco (Panoramio)

Common name:
white-throated woodcreeper (en); arapaçu-de-garganta-branca (pt); grimpar à gorge blanche (fr); trepatroncos gorgiblanco (es); weißkehl-baumsteiger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Dendrocolaptidae

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

Size:
These large woodcreepers are 27,5-33 cm long and weigh 110-130 g.

Habitat:
The white-throated woodcreeper is mostly found in moist tropical forests, including Atlantic forest and gallery forest amid cerrado and chaco habitats. They also use areas of second growth to a lesser extent. This species occurs from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:They feed mainly on large arthropods, but also take snails, bird eggs, and occasionally small vertebrates.

Breeding:
White-throated woodcreepers breed in October-March. They nest in natural tree cavities, or sometimes in nest boxes, which are lined with bark flakes, leaf fragments and seed pods. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-22 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range, but is described as uncommon. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Pygmy lorikeet

Charmosyna wilhelminae

(Photo from Loromania)

Common name:
pygmy lorikeet (en); lóri-pigmeu (pt); lori de Wilhelmina (fr); lori pigmeo (es); elfenlori (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is endemic to New Guinea, being found along the central mountain range from Vogelkop to the Owen Stanley range.

Size:
These birds are 12,5-13 cm long and weigh about 20 g.

Habitat:
The pygmy lorikeet is found in mountain rainforests and moist savannas, at altitudes of 1.000-2.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on polen and nectar, namely of Eucalyptus, Castanopsis oaks, and Elaeocarpus.

Breeding:
Little is known about their reproduction. The clutch size is 2 eggs and incubation lasts for about 23 days.

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

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Common jery

Neomixis tenella

Photo by Nick Athanas (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
common jery (en); jéri-comum (pt); petite éroesse (fr); jiji común (es); graunackentimalie (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found throughout the island.

Size:
These birds are 10 cm long and weigh 6-8 g.

Habitat:
The common jery is mostly found in both dry and moist tropical forests, also using mangroves, dry scrublands, second growths, plantations and rural gardens.

Diet:
They forage by gleaning small arthropods from the foliage in the tree canopy, taking spiders, beetles, bugs, roaches, ants, butterflies, caterpillars and flies.

Breeding:
Common jerries breed in September-April. Nothing else is known about their reproduction.

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 current declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Fiery-throated fruiteater

Pipreola chlorolepidota

Photo by Dusan Brinkhuizen (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
fiery-throated fruiteater (en); anambé-de-garganta-vermelha (pt); cotinga à gorge rouge (fr); frutero gorjirrojo (es); orangekehlkotinga (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cotingidae

Range:
This species is found in the eastern foothills of the Andes from southern Colombia to central Peru.

Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh about 30 g.

Habitat:
The fiery-throated fruiteater is found in moist tropical forests, at altitudes of 600-1.200 m.

Diet:
They feed on various fruits, often joining mixed-species foraging flocks.

Breeding:
Fiery-throated fruiteaters breed in April-June. The nest is built mainly by the female and consists of a shallow bowl made of mosses and liverworts, and lined with briophyte roots and rootlets. It is placed in an horizontal fork in a tree, about 8 m above the ground. There the female lays 2 creamy white eggs with dark brown spots which she incubates alone for 17-22 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large breeding range, but is described as rare to uncommon and patchily distributed. The fiery-throated fruiteater is suspected to lose 26% of suitable habitat within its distribution over the next decade, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation , being therefore suspected to suffer a moderate decline in the near future. The main threat to this species is habitat loss, through conversion to agriculture and cattle pasture, mining operations, oil exploration and logging, and widespread destruction being caused by peasant farmers and tea and coffee growers.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Black-breasted puffleg

Eriocnemis nigrivestis

Photo by Murray Cooper (Mongabay)

Common name:
black-breasted puffleg (en); beija-flor-de-peito-negro (pt); érione à robe noire (fr); zamarrito pechinegro (es); schwarzbauch-höschenkolibri (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is endemic to north-western Ecuador, only being found on the northern and north-western ridge-crests of Volcán Pichincha, and in the Cordillera de Toisán above the Intág valley, both located north of Quito.

Size:
These birds are 8-9 cm long and weigh 4-4,5 g.

Habitat:
The black-breasted puffleg is found in humid and wet cloud forests located in the crests of mountain ridges, including elfin forests and forest borders. They occur at altitudes of 1.700-3.500 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on the nectar of various plants, namely of Palicourea huigrensis, but also take some small insects and spiders.

Breeding:
These birds breed in October-March. They are polygynous and the males have no further part in the breeding process after mating. The female lays a clutch of 2 eggs, which she incubates alone, but there is no available information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - CR (Critically Endangered)
This species has a very small and fragmented breeding range. The global population is currently estimated at just 140-180 individuals, making it one of the rarest birds in the world. The black-breasted puffleg is believed to have been much more common in the past, and is currently suspected to be declining by 10-20% per decade, owing to widespread and continuing habitat loss within its range. The deforestation rates for high-Andean mountain forests has accelerated in recent year, mainly for timber and charcoal, facilitating the introduction of cattle and the eventual spread of the agricultural frontier for ranching and to a lesser extent production of crops. Copper mining concessions and invasions of landless farmers are further encroaching the remaining patches of favourable habitat available within the species' range. Since 2005 this species became the emblematic bird of Quito, which lead to the purchase and protection of areas of favourable habitat.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Cinereous warbling-finch

Poospiza cinerea

Photo by Jefferson Silva (Focusing on Wildlife)

Common name:
cinereous warbling-finch (en); capacetinho-cinza (pt); chipiu à tête cendrée (fr); monterita cabeza negra (es); graukopf-ammerfink (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is endemic to south-eastern Brazil, and currently only found in a few scattered locations in Minas Gerais, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul.

Size:
These birds are 13 cm long and weigh8,5-15 g.

Habitat:
The cinereous warbling-finch is found in cerrado habitats, including dry grasslands and dry savannas, at altitudes of 600-1.400 m.

Diet:
They feed on insects and seeds.

Breeding:
These birds breed in October-December. The nest is a cup made of dry grasses, small roots and twigs, placed in a fork in a tree about 3 m above the ground. The female lays 3 light cream eggs with reddish-brown spots. There is no inforation regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively large, but fragmented breeding range. The global population is estimated at 6.000-15.000 individuals. The population was believed to be declining rapidly due to current rates of habitat loss, but new data suggests they are tolerant to degraded areas, so the suspected declines may have to be revised. Within their range natural habitats are being degraded and destroyed through grazing, invasive grasses, annual burning and conversion to agriculture for Eucalyptus plantations, soy bean and pastures for exportable crops, with two thirds of the cerrado region having been moderately to heavily altered in the last century, especially since the 1950s. This species suffers from brood-parasitism by shiny cowbirds Molothrus bonariensis, which will presumably increase with conversion to pastures.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Topknot pigeon

Lopholaimus antarcticus

Photo by Ian Colley (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
topknot pigeon (en); pombo-de-penacho (pt); carpophage à double huppe (fr); paloma de penacho (es); hauben-fruchttaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is endemic to eastern Australia, being found along the coast from northern Queensland to eastern Victoria.

Size:
These birds 40-46 cm long and weigh 475-600 g.

Habitat:
The topknot pigeon is found in rainforests, temperate forests and dry tropical forests, also using second growths and exotic tree and scrub stands such as camphor laurel and privet.

Diet:
They are frugivorous, taking a wide range of fruits and berries, including those of exotic species such as camphor laurel.

Breeding:
Topknot pigeons breed in June-January. They are monogamous and nest in solitary pairs. the nest is a flimsy platform of stick, placed in the crown of a tree, among bushy branches or vines, 2-12 m above the ground. The female lays 1 egg which is incubated by both sexes for about 24 days. The chicks are fed regurgitated crop milk by both parents and fledge about 24 days after hatching.

Conservation:IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common, but the population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Laysan finch

Telespiza cantans

(Photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Common name:
Laysan finch (en); palila-de-Laysan(pt); psittirostre de Laysan (fr); palila de Laysan (es); Laysankleidervogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Drepanidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the island of Laysan in the north-western Hawaiian archipelago.

Size:
These birds are 19 cm long and weigh 32-34,5 g.

Habitat:
The Laysan finch is found in dry scrublands and grasslands, using low scrubs, bunch grasses and forbs, particularly the beach naupaka Scaevola taccada.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits and seeds, also taking carrion, invertebrates and bird eggs.

Breeding:
Laysan finches breed in March-June. They are monogamous and nest in a cup placed among the vegetation. There the female lays 3 eggs, which she incubates for 16 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 3 weeks after hatching, but only become fully independent about 3 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has an extremely small breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1.500-7.000 individuals. The population is believed to fluctuate considerably. The successful invasion of golden crown beard Verbesina encelioides, which provides nesting habitat and food for Laysan finches, caused a dramatic increase, but the plant was considered to have negative impacts on seabirds and so the population of Laysan finches crashed after the first efforts to control Verbesina, but the abundance of Verbesina has since increased. At present the main threats to this species are storms and droughts, which can cause almost total nest failure, while global warming could have an impact on the long-term as sea level rise will reduce the area of Laysan located above sea level and may increase the frequency and severity of hurricanes and droughts.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Red-legged cormorant

Phalacrocorax gaimardi

Photo by Jose Cañas (Flickr)

Common name:
red-legged cormorant (en); corvo-marinho-de-patas-vermelhas (pt); cormoran de Gaimard (fr); cormorán chuita (es); buntscharbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Phalacrocoracidae

Range:
This species is found along the Pacific coast of South America, from Isla Foca, in northern Peru, to Peninsula de Taitao, in southern Chile, and also in the Atlantic coast of southern Argentina from Bahia Sanguinetto to the Monte León National Park.

Size:
These birds are 71-76 cm long and have a wingspan of about 90 cm. They weigh 1,2-1,8 kg.

Habitat:
The red-legged cormorant is found in rocky coastlines, nesting in inaccessible cliffs, sea caves and rocky islets, and foraging over shallow coastal waters, usually within 3 km of the breeding colonies.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fish, including Patagonotothen spp., sardines Sprattus fuegensis, Ramnogaster arcuata, eels and anchovies. They also take various marine invertebrates such as bivalves, squids, polychaete worms and crabs.

Breeding:
Red-legged cormorants can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They are monogamous and the nest is a mound of seaweeds, guano and feathers placed in a narrow ledge on a cliff. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs which are incubated for about 30 days. The chicks fledge 60-70 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 30.000 individuals. The population is believed to have declined by 20-30%, mainly due to entanglement is fishing equipment, low food availability caused by over-fishing, and the effects of El Niño events. The expansion of industrial fishing is favourable for its main predator, the kelp gull Larus dominicanus which is known to heavily impact breeding success. Peru, Chile and Argentina have plans to improve their coastal marine protected areas network which could help the red-legged cormorant populations.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Eurasian pygy-owl

Glaucidium passerinum

Photo by Lars Petersson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Eurasian pygmy-owl (en); mocho-pigmeu (pt); chevêchette d'Europe (fr); mochuelo chico (es); sperlingskauz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is found in central and northern Europe, from north-eastern France and northern Italy north to northern Scandinavia and east through Romania, the Ukraine and the middle latitudes of Russia into central Asia as far as the Pacific Ocean. Also in northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia and north-eastern China.

Size:
These birds are 15-19 cm long and have a wingspan of 32-39 cm. Males are smaller than females, weighing 47-65 g while the females weigh 67-77 g.

Habitat:
The Eurasian pygmy-owl is mostly found in coniferous and mixed forests, in the taiga and in temperate areas, also using scrublands, marshes and bogs. They occur at altitudes of 250-2.150 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on voles, also taking other small mammals such as mice and shrews, small birds such as finches, thrushes, warblers and flycatchers, small lizards, bats, fishes and insects.

Breeding:
Eurasian pygmy-owls breed in April-July. They are monogamous and may sometimes pair for more than one season. The nest in tree cavities, mainly old woodpecker nests, also using nest boxes. The female lays 3-8 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 28-30 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 30-34 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 5-7 weeks later. They reach sexual maturity at 1 year of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 300.000-1.500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to fluctuate over time owing to fluctuations in rodent prey populations and weather conditions.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hooded robin

Melanodryas cucullata

Photo by David Cook (Flickr)

Common name:
hooded robin (en); rouxinol-de-capuz (pt); miro à capuchon (fr); petroica encapuchada (es); schwarzkopfschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Petroicidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found throughout the Australian mainland.

Size:
These birds are 15-17,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 24-29 cm. They weigh 21-28 g.

Habitat:
The hooded robin is found in open, dry savannas, and in dry scrublands with scattered trees, particularly in areas dominated by Eucalyptus and Acacia.

Diet:
They mainly hunt insects ad other small arthropods by sallying out from a perch, also taking seeds.

Breeding:
Hooded robins breed in July-January. They are monogamous and the nest is an open cup made of leaves and bark bound together with spider webs. The nest is usually placed
in a crevice, hollow or hole in a tree or stump. The female lays 1-3 pale olive or bluish-green eggs with darker spots and blotches. She incubates the eggs alone for 14-15 days. The chicks fledge 13 days after hatching. Each pair usually raises 2 broods per season, but can lay up to 5 replacement clutches.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally fairly common. Still, the population is estimated to be in decline owing to habitat loss.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Acacia pied barbet

Tricholaema leucomelas

(Photo from Bird Forum)

Common name:
acacia pied barbet (en); barbaças-das-acácias (pt); barbican pie (fr); barbudo pío (es); rotstirn-bartvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Africa, from southern Angola, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique, through Namibia and Botswana and throughout South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 15-18 cm long and weigh 23-45 g.

Habitat:
The acacia pied barbet is mostly found in dry savannas, particularly those dominated by Acacia and Baikiaea, also using dry scrublands, plantations, pastures, arable land, rural gardens and urban areas. These birds are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits, especially figs and mistletoes, but also nectar and flowers, and insects.

Breeding:
These birds breed in September-June. They are monogamous and territorial and both sexes excavate the nest hole into the underside of a branch. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 12-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 35 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and appear to be common throughout most of this range. The population is believed to be increasing as it takes advantage of the increasing amount of alien trees, which it uses as nesting sites, allowing the acacia pied barbet to expand its range south-westwards.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Orange-throated tanager

Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron

Photo by Dusan Brinkhuizen (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
orange-throated tanager (en); saíra-de-papo-laranja (pt); tangara à gorge orangée (fr); tangara golinaranja (es); veilchenschultertangare (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This species is only found in a small area of northern Peru, in the eastern slopes and foothills of the Andes above the rivers Marañón and Cenepa, in the forests at the headwaters of the río Nieva, and marginallt into Ecuador on the western slopes above the río Nangaritza.

Size:
These birds are 17 cm long and weigh 43,5-56 g.

Habitat:
The orange-throated tanager is mostly found in mature, humid terra firme forests and foothill forests, also using disturbed forests. They are present at altitudes of 450-1.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, seeds and insects such as beetles.

Breeding:
Orange-throated tanagers breed in January-March. They are cooperative breeders, with helpers participating in nest defence and provisioning. The nest is an open cup made of twigs, dead plant material, moss and lichens, and is placed in the uppermost fronds of a palm tree, about 10 m above the ground. There is no information on clutch size, but the incubation period is believed to take 18-20 days. There is no available data regarding the fledging period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 6.000-15.000 individuals. The orange-throated tanager is suspected to lose 6% of suitable habitat within its distribution over the next decade, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, being therefore suspected to suffer decline a small decline in the near future.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Crested bird-of-paradise

Cnemophilus macgregorii

(Photo from Astronomy to Zoology)

Common name:
crested bird-of-paradise (en); ave-do-paraíso-de-poupa (pt); cnémophile huppé (fr); ave-del-paraíso crestada (es); furchenparadiesvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paradisaeidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the mountain of New Guinea, being found from the easternmost mountains of Indonesia to the mountains east of Port Moresby in south-eastern Papua-New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 24 cm long and weigh 80-120 g.

Habitat:
The crested bird-of-paradise in upper mountain and sub-alpine tropical forests, as well as along forest edges and in nearby scrublands. They also use secondary and disturbed forests. This species occurs at altitudes of 2.600-3.500 m.

Diet:
They are strictly frugivorous, mainly taking simple drupes or berries that are swallowed whole.

Breeding:
Crested birds-of-paradise breed in August-January. They are polygynous with males displaying to attract females and having no further part in the reproduction process after mating. The female builds the nest alone, a globular structure made of sticks, green mosses and green fern fronds, and lined with green-yellow epiphytic orchid stems. The nest is placed on a decayed tree stump, or within the branches of a tree, 2-4 m above the ground. There she lays a single egg which she incubates alone for about 3 weeks. The chicks are raised by the female alone and fledge about 5 weeks after hatching.

Conservation:IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range. Its secretive habits limit meaningful assessment of abundance, but the crested bird-of-paradise is reported to be common wherever researchers have mist-netted in its habitat.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Visayan hornbill

Penelopides panini

Photo by Lorenzo Vinciguerra (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Visayan hornbill (en); calau-de-Visayan (pt); calao tarictic (fr); cálao chico de Panay (es); Visayan-tariktikhornvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Bucerotidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is found in Panay, including the offshore islands of Sicogon and Pan de Azucar, Guimaras, Negros, Masbate and Ticao.

Size:
These small hornbills are 45 cm long and weigh 435-485 g.

Habitat:
The Visayan hornbill is mostly found in primary, evergreen, dipterocarp rainforests, sometimes also using nearby secondary forests or isolated fruiting trees. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fruits, but also take invertebrates such as beetles, ant alates and earthworms, lizards and even fish.

Breeding:
Visayan hornbills breed in March-June. They breed in isolated pairs or sometimes co-operatively in groups of up to 12 individuals. They nest in natural holes in dead or living trees, about 10 m above the ground. Once the female enters the nest the male seals the entrance with wood flakes and food remains, and will feed the female by regurgitating food through a small opening. Inside the female lays 2-3 eggs which she incubates alone possibly for 30-35 days. The female feeds the chicks with food brought by the male and both female and young leave the nest 55-58 days after the nest was sealed.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a relatively large breeding range but the global population is estimated at just 1.200 individuals. The Visayan hornbill has apparently been extirpated from a number of islands and its decline is suspected to have continued very rapidly, mainly due to deforestation, hunting and trapping for the cage bird trade. At present, possibly less than 5% of the original forest cover remains intact within the species range. No new information has been provided concerning rate of decline, but given that a proportion of remaining habitat is protected and the species is presumably now very rare, declines in the future are unlikely to be as rapid as in the recent past.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Black-billed shrike-tyrant

Agriornis montanus

Photo by Diego Ferrer (Los Que Se Van)

Common name:
black-billed shrike-tyrant (en); gaúcho-de-bico-preto (pt); gaucho à bec noir (fr); gaucho serrano (es); schwarzschnabel-hakentyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is found along the Andes, from southern Colombia south to central Chile and southern Argentina, and also in other highland areas of central and southern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 23-25 cm long.

Habitat:
The black-billed shrike-tyrant is mostly found in high-altitude scrublands and grasslands, also using rocky areas, pastures, arable land and urban areas. They occur at altitudes of 2.000-4.500 m.

Diet:
They feed on large insects, small mammals, lizards, frogs, eggs or nestlings of other birds, and seeds.

Breeding:
Black-billed shrike-tyrants breed in September-January. The nest is a cup made of dry grasses and twigs, placed among rocks or in rock crevices both on flat ground and on cliffs. The female lays 2-3 creamy-white eggs with fine brown spots, which she incubates alone for 15-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents but there is no available information regarding the length of the fledging period.

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

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Yellow-rumped flowerpecker

Prionochilus xanthopygius

Photo by James Eaton (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
yellow-rumped flowerpecker (en); pica-flores-de-uropígio-amarelo (pt); dicée à croupion jaune (fr); picaflores culigualdo (es); gelbbürzel-mistelfresser (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Dicaeidae

Range:
This species is only found in northern Borneo and in North Natuna island in the Riau Islands.

Size:
These birds are 9 cm long and weigh 6,5-8,5 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-rumped flowerpecker is found in moist tropical forests and swamp forests, namely
dipterocarp forest, peatswamp forest, heath and secondary forests, and forest edges. They also use plantations and rural gardens. This species occurs from sea level up to an altitude of 1.760 m.


Diet:
They forage in the lower levels of the forest, taking flowers, pollen, stamens, nectar, ripe fruit pulp and buds of plants such as Eugenia sp., Lantana sp., Psidium sp. and Trema orientalis. They also hunt small beetles and spiders.

Breeding:These birds breed in February-August. The eggs are reddish-white with red and grey to purple markings. There is no further information about the reproduction of the yellow-rumped flowerpecker.

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

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Ivory gull

Pagophila eburnea

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
ivory gull (en); gaivota-marfim (pt); mouette blanche (fr); gaviota marfileña (es); elfenbeinmöwe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Laridae

Range:
This species has a circumpolar distribution in the high-Arctic, being found as far south as the Bearing Strait, Alaska and northern Canada, northern Iceland, northern Scandinavia and northern Russia.

Size:
These birds are 40-48 cm long and have a wingspan of 105-120 cm. They weigh 450-700 g.

Habitat:
They breed in rocky islands or on the mainland, in steep and inaccessible cliffs near pack ice, on broken ice-fields or on bare, level shorelines with low rocks. Outside the breeding season they are found along the edges of pack ice or near drift ice.

Diet:
They feed on fish, shrimps, shellfish, algae, carrion such as seal placentas, offal and animal faeces. In winter they are known to swallow large pieces of frozen food.

Breeding:
Ivory gulls breed in June-August. They form small colonies of 5-150 pairs, each nesting in a mound of mosses, dry grass, driftwood, feathers, down, stalks, algae, seaweeds, lichen and dried mud. The nests are placed on cliff ledges, dry stony ridges within a few meters of the ice cap, gently-sloping boulder-strewn mounds, or gravel banks in small streams. The female lay 1-3 dark olive to pale brown eggs with dark spots and blotches, which are incubated by both parents for 24-26 days. The chicks fledge 4-7 weeks after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 12.000-18.000 individuals. Population trends are difficult to estimate as colony size fluctuates from year to year, but sustained declines of up to 80% in the last 3 decades have been recorded in Canada. The declining are believed to be due to changes in conditions on its staging or wintering grounds, such as more severe winters and changing sea-ice distribution and thickness, as well as illegal hunting, oiling at sea, disturbance of colonies due to escalating diamond exploration, increased nest predation, and toxic pollutants, such as mercury, PCB and DDT, that bioaccumulate at high trophic levels.