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NEW TOPIC: "FOR THE BIRDS"!

This is very simple! Find a picture or take a photo of a bird or group of birds. Then post it along with it's name, short information about it and photo credit if available. 

 

A gorgeous Dwarf Kingfisher enjoying the rain.

Credit: Rahul Belsare Photography.  

The Oriental dwarf kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca), also known as the black-backed kingfisher or three-toed kingfisher, is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. A widespread resident of lowland forest, it is endemic across much of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is found in BangladeshBhutanBruneiCambodiaIndiaIndonesiaLaosMalaysiaMyanmarSingaporeSri Lanka, and Thailand.

 

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The dodo bird has been long extinct, but it still has relatives living in the world today. Known as the Nicobar pigeon, this rare creature is the closest living connection to the famous flightless bird, although the two don't look alike. One striking difference is the Nicobar pigeon’s vibrant plumage that shines in iridescent blues, coppers, and greens—in addition to its reddish legs and small white tail. This colorful characteristic developed because of their location; the bird has long been isolated on small islands and lacked natural predators. Because there’s no need to conceal themselves, they were able to develop the brilliant feathers.

The Nicobar pigeon resides in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, from the Indian Nicobar Islands eastward to places like Thailand and Papua New Guinea. Although its exact population count is unclear, the species is in decline because of deforestation and the release of non-native predators (like rats and cats) to these islands. The Nicobar pigeon is now considered “near threatened” with conservation efforts proposed to help the birds thrive again.

 

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he dodo bird has been long extinct, but it still has relatives living in the world today. Known as the Nicobar pigeon, this rare creature is the closest living connection to the famous flightless bird, although the two birds do not look alike.  One striking difference is the Nicobar pigeon’s vibrant plumage that shines in iridescent blues, coppers, and greens—in addition to its reddish legs and small white tail. This colorful characteristic developed because of their location; the bird has long been isolated on small islands and lacked natural predators. Because there’s no need to conceal themselves, they were able to develop the brilliant feathers.

 

 

The Nicobar pigeon resides in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, from the Indian Nicobar Islands eastward to places like Thailand and Papua New Guinea. Although its exact population count is unclear, the species is in decline because of deforestation and the release of non-native predators (like rats and cats) to these islands. The Nicobar pigeon is now considered “near threatened” with conservation efforts proposed to help the birds thrive again.

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Another interesting looking bird that someone I know posted on Facebook without any information!

 

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Cool group of random birds!

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The red-and-yellow barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus) is a species of African barbet found in eastern Africa. Males have distinctive black (spotted white), red, and yellow plumage; females and juveniles are similar, but less brightly colored. The species lives in broken terrain and nests and roosts in burrowsOmnivorous, the species feeds on seedsfruit, and invertebrates. Where not hunted, they are tame, but their feathers are used by certain tribes, such as the Maasai.

 

Red-and-yellow barbet adult males have distinctive plumage made up black with spotted white, red and yellow. It has a black forehead and crown with a slight crest. The nape is orange and red with black spots. The side of the neck is red, going into yellow. The back is mostly black with white spots. The tailis a blackish brown with up to eight cream spots forming bars. The under side of the tail is yellow with black bars. The chin and throat are yellow, and there is a black patch at the centre of the throat. The throat is bordered by areas with more orange areas. The breast is orange to red-orange, becoming more yellow at the sides, with a dark band with white spots crossing through the middle. The lower breast and belly are yellow. The wings are black with brown wing feathers. All feathers on the wing have white spots, giving a spotted or banded appearance. The long beak is typically red. The skin around the eyes is a dark grey or black, while the eyes themselves can be a yellow brown, a dark brown, a red brown or a shade in between. The legs are a blue-grey, and the feet are the same colour.

 

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The female is similar to the male, but is, overall, much duller, with less red and orange, and more yellow and white. Specifically, females lack the throat patch, and typically lack the crown. Young birds are also duller- they typically have less red and orange, as with the female. The spots on the back are less white, and all blacks are more brown. The eyes are typically grey.

Distribution and habitat

The nominate subspecies, T. e. erythrocephalus, is found from central Kenya to north-east Tanzania. T. e. versicolor is found in southeast South Sudan, northeast Uganda, southwest Ethiopia and north Kenya. T. e. shelleyi is found in Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.

 

The species avoids both very open areas and areas of dense woodland, instead preferring broken terrain such as riverbeds and cliffs or termite mounds. It nests and roosts in tunnels, and forages on or close to the ground.

Diet

Red-and-yellow barbets are omnivores, feeding on seeds, fruit, and invertebrates.

 

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This is..............

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Swinhoe's Blue Pheasant

Swinhoe's pheasant (Lophura swinhoii), also known as the Taiwan blue pheasant, is a bird of the pheasant subfamily in the fowl family Phasianidae. It is endemic to Taiwan. Along with the Mikado pheasant and Taiwan blue magpie, two other Taiwan endemics, the Swinhoe's pheasant is sometimes considered an unofficial national symbol for Taiwan as it bears the colours of the national flag (red, white and blue).

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The bird was named after the British naturalist Robert Swinhoe, who first described the species in 1862.

The male Swinhoe's pheasant can grow up to 79 cm. He has a glossy blue-purple chest, belly and rump, white nape, red wattles, white tail feathers, and a white crest.

 

The female is brown marked with yellow arrow-shaped spots and

complex barring patterns, and has maroon outer rectrices. The juvenile male is dark blue with brown and yellow patterns on its wings. Swinhoe's pheasants can also be distinguished from the Mikado pheasant by having red legs.

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During display, the male's wattles become engorged and he performs a display consisting of a hop followed by running in a circle around females. A frontal display with the tail fanned is occasionally observed. He also does a wing-whirring display like other Lophura pheasants.

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Swinhoe's Blue Pheasant

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California wildfire has destroyed a sanctuary for the endangered California condor and the fates of several condors, including a chick, remain unknown.

A blaze began last Wednesday in Los Padres National Forest northwest of Los Angeles. By Friday, it had destroyed the 80-acre sanctuary in Big Sur that since 1997 has been used to release captive-bred condors into the wild, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

 

The sanctuary lost pens, a research building and other facilities. The nonprofit Ventana Wildlife Society of Monterey, which ran the facility, was seeking $500,000 in donations to rebuild it.

There weren’t any people or condors at the facility when it burned, society Executive Director Kelly Sorenson told the Mercury News.

However, at least four condors in the area are unaccounted for. One is a 4-month-old condor chick named Iniko that was living in a nest in a redwood tree about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the facility. The chick was too young to fly.

The parents flew away as the fire approached but Sorenson said the remote camera that monitored the nest was destroyed on Thursday as he and his family watched from home.

“We were horrified. It was hard to watch. We still don’t know if the chick survived, or how well the free-flying birds have done,” he said. “I’m concerned we may have lost some condors. Any loss is a setback. I’m trying to keep the faith and keep hopeful.”

The so-called Dolan Fire is one of hundreds of wildfires that have killed at least seven people, burned nearly 1,300 homes and other buildings, and prompted evacuation orders that still affect an estimated 170,000 people.

 

Condor numbers dramatically declined in the 20th century due to poachinglead poisoning, and habitat destruction.[5] A conservation plan was put in place by the United States government that led to the capture of all the remaining wild condors which was completed in 1987, with a total population of 27 individuals.[6] These surviving birds were bred at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo. Numbers rose through captive breeding and, beginning in 1991, condors were reintroduced into the wild. Since then, its population has grown, but the California condor remains one of the world's rarest bird species: as of 2017 there are 463 California condors living wild or in captivity, while in 2018 they reached 488.

 

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The kea (/ˈkə/Māori: [kɛ.a]Nestor notabilis) is a species of large parrot in the familyNestoridae[2] found in the forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. About 48 cm (19 in) long, it is mostly olive-green with a brilliant orange under its wings and has a large, narrow, curved, grey-brown upper beak. The kea is the world's only alpine parrot. Its omnivorousdiet includes carrion but consists mainly of roots, leaves, berries, nectar, and insects. Now uncommon, the kea was once killed for bounty due to concerns by the sheep-farming community that it attacked livestock, especially sheep.[ In 1986, it received full protection under the Wildlife Act.

 

The kea nests in burrows or crevices among the roots of trees. Kea are known for their intelligence and curiosity, both vital to their survival in a harsh mountain environment. Kea can solve logical puzzles, such as pushing and pulling things in a certain order to get to food, and will work together to achieve a certain objective.[6] They have been filmed preparing and using tools.

 

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About the Arctic tern

Arctic terns hold the record for the longest migration of any animal in the world, annually making the journey from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle. One particularly committed tern made the trip in nearly 60,000 miles, or more than twice the circumference of the planet. Terns rack up all those miles by meandering across oceans and continents rather than flying directly north or south.

These small seabirds were born to fly long distances. Arctic terns are so lightweight—with small bodies, short legs, and narrow wings—that they can glide through the skies on a breeze. Their beaks and feet are bright red, and their bodies are covered in gray and white feathers with a cap of black feathers on their heads.

Habitat

Arctic terns can be found just about everywhere as their travels take them to every ocean and every continent. They breed on the coasts and tundra of Arctic and subarctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, then follow the sun and fair weather on their yearly journey to the Antarctic Circle—a trip that takes a couple of months. Arctic terns migrate in groups known as colonies.

Diet and behavior

Arctic terns are also incredibly efficient at catching and eating prey, which is yet another reason why they can fly so far in such a short time. These seabirds hover in the air as they look for their food—mostly fish, but also insects and crustaceans—on the surface below. Then they plunge into the water to scoop up the prey, which they can even eat while gliding.

Courtship for these monogamous birds also takes place in flight. Their mating ritual begins with a “fish flight,” which is when a male Arctic tern swoops over a migratory camp carrying a fish in its mouth while making screaming sounds. On the ground, the bird struts a little before offering its prey to a female. In June and July, tern couples nest on rocky or sandy beaches where the female lays two or three eggs.

Threats to survival

Climate change is one of the major threats to Arctic terns. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature—which has put Arctic terns on its Red List of Threatened Species—these birds are projected to lose 20 to 50 percent of their habitat due to the temperature changes linked to climate change. Increasing sea temperatures are driving away their prey, while also causing deadly storms and knocking breeding schedules off-kilter.

Arctic terns also face the potential loss of their habitat to drilling in places like Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of their preferred places to rest during their long migration.

Finally, rats, hedgehogs, and the invasive American mink have all been known to attack the nests of Arctic terns.

 

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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Small and much smaller!

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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Just because they are so cute!

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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@DaveMcK wrote:

Just because they are so cute!

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@DaveMcK ,

What kind of bird is this?

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@LydiaN586309 

 

I find it interesting that so many pictures are posted on the internet with no names, locations  or information about what is in the pictures. So it just comes down to my posting these two birds because they are cute! 

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Early this morning, I went out just after dawn to fill the birdfeeders.  For despite having filled them all yesterday, today they were empty.  I also cleaned and replenished the bird bath.  After having completed that labor of love, I went on to complete my errands for the day.  

 

Upon my return home, I positioned myself in my favorite spot to observe the many varieties of birds as they came to feed.  Today I had a new visitor; one I've never seen before.  I took note of it because despite his relatively plain brown body with black stripes, he had a shocking stripe of yellow along his wings and tail, tiny black dots on his chest/belly area, and he also had a very long beak and seemed content to dig deep into the ground as opposed to dining with the other birds at the feeders.  I would later learn this new bird was a Northern Flicker.

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The Northern Flicker

The northern flicker or common flicker is a medium-sized bird of the woodpecker family. It is native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands, and is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate. Over 100 common names for the northern flicker are known, including yellowhammer, clape, gaffer woodpecker, harry-wicket, heigh-ho, wake-up, walk-up, wick-up, yarrup, and gawker bird. Many of these names derive from attempts to imitate some of its calls.

  • The southern yellow-shafted flicker (C. a. auratus) resides in the southeastern United States. They are yellow under the tail and underwings and have yellow shafts on their primaries. They have a grey cap, a beige face, and a red bar at the nape of the neck. Males have a black mustache. Colaptes comes from the Greek verb colapt, meaning "to peck"; auratus is from the Latin root aurat, meaning "gold" or "golden", and refers to the bird's underwings. As the state bird of Alabama,[8] this subspecies is known by the common name "yellowhammer", a term that originated during the American Civil War to describe Confederate soldiers from Alabama.[9]
  • The northern yellow-shafted flicker (C. a. luteus; syn. C. a borealis) resides from central Alaska through most of Canada to southern Labrador, Newfoundland, and the northeastern United States.
  • Flickers may be observed in open habitats near trees, including woodlands, edges, yards, and parks. In the western United States, one can find them in mountain forests all the way up to tree line. Northern flickers generally nest in holes in trees like other woodpeckers. Occasionally, they have been found nesting in old, earthen burrows vacated by belted kingfishers or bank swallows. Both sexes help with nest excavation. The entrance hole is about 7.6 cm (3.0 in) in diameter, and the cavity is 33–41 cm (13–16 in) deep. The cavity widens at bottom to make room for eggs and the incubating adult. Inside, the cavity is bare except for a bed of wood chips for the eggs and chicks to rest on. Once nestlings are about 17 days old, they begin clinging to the cavity wall rather than lying on the floor.

 

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The plum-headed parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala) is a parakeet in the family Psittacidae. It is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent and was once thought to be conspecific with the blossom-headed parakeet (Psittacula roseata) but was later elevated to a full species. Plum-headed parakeets are found in flocks, the males having a pinkish purple head and the females, a grey head. They fly swiftly with twists and turns accompanied by their distinctive calls.

In 1760 the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson included a description of the plum-headed parakeet in his Ornithologie based on a specimen collected in India. He used the French name Le perruche a teste bleu and the Latin name Psittaca cyanocephalos.[2] Although Brisson coined Latin names, these do not conform to the binomial system and are not recognised by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.[3] When in 1766 the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeusupdated his Systema Naturae for the twelfth editionhe added 240 species that had been previously described by Brisson.[3] One of these was the plum-headed parakeet. Linnaeus included a terse description, coined the binomial name Psittacus cyanocephalus and cited Brisson's work.[4] The specific name cyanocephalus/cyanocephalacombines the Ancient Greek words kuanos "dark-blue" and -kephalos "-headed".[5] This species is now placed in the genus Psittacula which was introduced by the French naturalist Georges Cuvierin 1800.

 

The plum-headed parakeet is a mainly green parrot, 33 cm long with a tail up to 22 cm. The male has a red head which shades to purple-blue on the back of the crown, nape and cheeks while the female has blueish-gray head. There is a narrow black neck collar with verdigris below on the nape and a black chin stripe that extends from the lower mandible. There is a red shoulder patch and the rump and tail are bluish-green, the latter tipped white. The upper mandible is orangish-yellow, and the lower mandible is dark. The female has a dull bluish grey head and lacks the black and verdigris collar which is replaced by yellow. The upper-mandible is corn-yellow and there is no black chin stripe or red shoulder patch. Immature birds have a green head and both mandibles are yellowish. The dark head is acquired after a year. The delicate bluish red appearance resembling the bloom of a peach is produced by a combination of blue from the optical effects produced by the rami of the feather and a red pigment in the barbules.

Some authors have considered the species to have two subspecies, the nominate from peninsular India (type locality restricted to Gingee) and the population from the foothills of the Himalayas as bengalensis on the basis of the colour of the head in the male which is more red and less blue.[ Newer works consider the species to be monotypic.[7]

The different head colour and the white tip to the tail distinguish this species from the similar blossom-headed parakeet (Psittacula roseata). The shoulder patch is maroon coloured and the shorter tail is tipped yellow in P. roseata.

 

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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Over this past weekend, I was visited by three very small birds.  I had never seen such birds before and after watching them with delight as they ate from my backyard bird feeders, I took to Google to find out just who had graced my everyday world of birds.

 

I tapped into the search engine the following description: 

Very small bird, smaller than a sparrow with a red head and belly and brown back and wings.  And as soon as I clicked on search, up popped several pictures of the little birds I'd seen and their name--The Red-Bellied Finch.

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Small, beautiful, and just as I described.  They looked like a cross between a robin and a sparrow and maybe just a hint of cardinal with that red head and all.

 

I love bird watching from the comfort of my family room couch.

Lydia

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WHEN IT COMES TO OWLS,

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THE....

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EYES.....

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HAVE....

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IT...

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WHETHER AWAKE OR ASLEEP!

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Albino peacocks are simply stunning (photos)

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Within the plumage of a peacock lies a complex architecture that's continuously changing color. Or so it seems. Though the colors of a peacock are revered, it is just as stunning--if not more so--without them. Often referred to as an albino peacock, it is nothing of the sort. It's technically a white peacock which is a genetic variant of the Indian Blue Peafowl.

The colors in the feathers of a bird are determined two factors: pigment and structure. For example, the green in some parrots is a result of yellow pigments over blue-reflecting feathers. In the case of a white peacock, its unusual lack-of-color is due to a missing pigment. This missing pigment is dark and absorbs incident light, making diffracted and interference light visible (i.e. common peacocks). The effect is similar to that of oil on water.

Pigment colorization in birds comes from three different groups: melanins, carotenoids, and porphyrines. Melanins occur as tiny specks of color in both the skin and feathers, and ranges from the darkest black to pale yellows. Carotenoids are plant-based and are acquired only by eating plants or by eating something that ate a plant. They produce bright yellows and brilliant oranges. The last pigment group, Porphyrins, produces a range of colors including pink, browns, reds, and greens.

But feather structure is as important to color as pigment. Each feather consists of thousands of flat branches, each with minuscule bowl-shaped indentations. At the bottom of each indentation is a lamellae (thin plate-like layers), that acts like a prism, splitting light. It's the same principle for butterflies and hummingbirds.

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It is endemic on the mainland and was introduced to Tasmania, where its distinctive pink and grey plumage and its bold and loud behaviour make it a familiar sight in the bushand increasingly in urban areas. It appears to have benefited from the change in the landscape since European colonisation and may be replacing the Major Mitchell's cockatooin parts of its range.

The term galah is derived from gilaa, a word found in Yuwaalaraay and neighbouring Aboriginal languages.

Galahs are about 35 cm (14 in) long and weigh 270–350 g (10–12 oz). They have a pale silver to mid-grey back, a pale grey rump, a pink face and chest, and a light pink mobile crest. They have a bone-coloured beak, and the bare skin of the eye rings is carunculated. They have grey legs. The sexes appear similar; however, generally adult birds differ in the colour of the irises; the male has very dark brown (almost black) irises and the female has mid-brown or red irises. The colours of the juveniles are duller than the adults. Juveniles have greyish chests, crowns, and crests, and they have brown irises and whitish bare eye rings, which are not carunculated.

 

 

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The rockhopper penguins are three closely related taxa of crested penguins that have been traditionally treated as a single species and are sometimes split into three species.

Not all experts agree on the classification of these penguins. Some consider all three as distinct species, some split the western and eastern forms into the southern rockhopper penguin and keep the northern rockhopper as distinct, while other experts consider all three potential varieties to be one species

Appearance

 

Rockhopper penguins are among the smaller species of penguin. After reaching full growth, they are about 20 inches in height. Males and females cannot be distinguished visually, so a DNA test is conducted by taking a feather from the bird to determine its gender. Like many penguins, rockhopper penguins have a white belly and the rest of their body is black. Some characteristics that differentiate them from the other penguins are their red eyes, orange beak, pink webbed feet, and the yellow and black spiky feathers they have on their head Although their yellow and black spiky feathers differentiate them from other penguins, rockhopper penguin chicks do not have them; these feathers develop with age. Their orange beak is initially black, but as the penguins get older, their beaks turn orange. Due to the harsh rocky environment, they cannot slide on their bellies like most penguins, so they hop to get from one place to another.

 

 

Subspecies

What separates rockhopper penguins into subspecies is their location of reproduction and reproductive behaviors. The difference in mating signals found between the subspecies E. chrysocome (southern) and E. moseleyi (northern) seems to have occurred quickly, thus these behavioral changes are enough to isolate these taxa.

Southern Rockhopper penguins are split into two subspecies and they are defined by their location of reproduction. The subspecies E. c. filholi (eastern) is known to reproduce in the sub-Antarctic around the Prince Edward Islands, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Heard Island, Macquarie Island and Campbell, Auckland and Antipodes Islands. The subspecies E. c. chrysocome, which may be referred to the true southern subspecies, reproduces at offshore islands in southern Chile, Argentina and at the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands are known to have one of the largest populations of Southern Rockhopper penguins.

 Habitat and distribution

 

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Rockhopper penguin skeleton in Manchester Museum

Northern rockhopper penguins breed in cool temperate climates including on the islands of Gough and Tristan de Cunha in the Atlantic Ocean and St. Paul and Manchester in the Indian Ocean. The southern rockhopper breeds on the Falkland Islands, Argentina and Chile, with breeding colonies around Cape Horn in South America, and Prince Edward, Marion, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland and Antipodes Islands in the southern Indian Ocean. Eastern rockhopper penguins are mostly found breeding on Campbell Island in New Zealand, but their numbers have declined immensely.  Rockhopper penguins usually make their habitat in rocky shorelines. They make nests and burrows in tall grasses called tussocks.

Diet

The rockhopper penguin's diet consists of krill and small crustaceans, which may include shrimp, crabs, lobsters or crayfish. They also eat squid and myctophid fish. Rockhopper penguins consume more krill than they do fish; their diet changes during migration and as the seasons change. Rockhopper penguins can be at sea for several days while hunting. They can dive up to 330 feet (100 m) for many minutes at a time while searching for prey.

 

1280px-FAL-2016-New_Island,_Falkland_Islands-Rockhopper_penguin_(Eudyptes_chrysocome)_02.jpgReproduction

Rockhopper penguin with chicks, New Island, Falkland Islands

Rockhoppers are the most widespread crested penguins.Their range goes from the Antarctic front to the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Because of how widespread they are, breeding varies among the penguins in different areas. Northern Penguins begin the mating process two months earlier than Southern ones. Two eggs are usually laid a few days apart during early November in hope that at least one will survive, and the second egg is usually larger than the first. They will use the same nest as they did in previous years as well. Eggs hatch about a month later and the mother will have food for the chick.

Taxonomy

There are currently 19 species and six genera of living penguins. The rockhopper penguin has 3 subspecies: Eudyptes filholi, the Eastern Rockhopper; Eudyptes mosleyi, the Northern Rockhopper; and the Eudyptes chrysocome, the Southern Rockhopper. They are separated by their locations of breeding. There are four other species in the genus Eudyptes: E. pachyrhynchus, E. robustus, E. chrysolophus, and E. schlegeli. The three subspecies of the rockhopper penguin are believed to have split up because of latitude and watermasses rather than because of geographic distances. Research suggests that during the early Pleistocene, the Southern Ocean was cold and rockhopper populations from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans remained undifferentiated and lived in the same watermass. The mid-Pleistocene climatic transition was associated with the southward migration of frontal positions and islands became surrounded by subtropical water masses, resulting in a split between Northern and Southern rockhopper penguins. Many advance and retreat cycles of Patagonian icecaps during the late Pleistocene may have created a barrier to gene flow between Southern Pacific and Southern Atlantic populations, causing a split between Southern and Eastern rockhopper populations.

 

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

Baltimore Oriole

Icterus galbula

 

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Adult male Baltimore orioles have striking coloration and are easily recognized by the brilliant orange plumage on their undersides and shoulders. The male bird's head and beak are black, and its wings are black with a white bar running across. Females and young males are less striking in appearance, with yellowish-orange and dark gray or brown plumage. Both males and females have long legs and sharp beaks. Baltimore orioles are six to eight inches (15 to 20 centimeters) in length with a wingspan of 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 centimeters).

 

For at least part of the year, Baltimore orioles can be seen in the eastern United States and as far west as Montana. Migrating populations head south during the late summer to early fall and stay in the Southeast U.S., Central America, or South America until April.

Their preferred habitat is open deciduous woodlands. Baltimore orioles also do quite well in community parks and suburban backyards. They forage in the treetops and commonly build nests in American elms, cottonwoods, and maples. Eggs and young birds are especially vulnerable to predators such as squirrels, owls, large birds, and domestic cats. Adults put up a fight by sounding alarm calls and mobbing predators.

 

Baltimore orioles primarily eat insects in the summer, but switch to nectar and fruit in the fall, preferring to eat dark-colored fruits. Some farmers consider them pests—however, Baltimore orioles eat lots of caterpillar larvae that cause damage to trees if their numbers aren’t kept in check, so they do more good than harm.

 

Baltimore orioles primarily eat insects in the summer, but switch to nectar and fruit in the fall, preferring to eat dark-colored fruits. Some farmers consider them pests—however, Baltimore orioles eat lots of caterpillar larvae that cause damage to trees if their numbers aren’t kept in check, so they do more good than harm.

 

Overall, Baltimore oriole numbers are stable. There is a small decline to their population in the eastern United States, but this is compensated for by an increase in the western part of their range. These birds are threatened by deforestation and pesticide use on trees. They can easily be enticed into a backyard with native fruit and nectar-producing plants or hanging feeders of sugar water.

 

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

Handsome tanager of lowland and foothill rainforest east of the Andes. Pale blue head contrasts sharply with black breast and back. White belly and blue shoulder patch help separate it from the similar Blue-necked Tanager. Found in open areas with scattered trees and in forest edge (usually not inside forest). Typically does not join mixed-species flocks, though may congregate with other birds at fruiting trees.

 

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Masked Crimson Tanager

Small, attractive tanager; bright crimson and black with a black mask and silver bill. Most commonly found in vegetation around oxbow lakes, also sometimes found in nearby forests and along rivers. Sexes similar though females are slightly duller than males. Extensive crimson and black mask easily distinguish this species from other tanagers within its range.

Forest : Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland, Subtropical/Tropical Swamp ; Shrubland : Subtropical/Tropical Moist

Geographic range

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

The Bearded Reedling Is The Roundest Bird We Ever Did See
Amy Pilkington17 Apr 2020

In the world of cutesy animal names there is often some confusion over categorization. For example, when is a doggo also a pupper, does that disqualify them from being a pupperino?

When it comes to the avian world, the main question is thus: "When does a birb become a borb?" At what stage of roundness does a bird's orb-like appearance merit a name change?

(Future linguists are going to be very confused by this era...)

 

I thinking  we can all agree that the bearded reedling qualifies as a borb, though.

 

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

The colors in Nature are so amazing!

 

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

No shock here: the shoebill stork has, well...a bill shaped like a shoe.

Also of note? Shoebills are abnormally tall, with some individuals reaching heights of over 4 feet. And, unlike many others birds who inhabit similar marsh environments, shoebills are highly effective predators. Their long legs are perfect for traversing shallow waters, where they prey on reptiles, rodents and fish. They are even known to strike against juvenile crocodiles!

Shoebills use their powerful beaks to grasp and strangle just about anything they encounter, but don’t worry – they don’t prey on humans. Find one in East Africa, where their habitat is concentrated.

  • Given its sharp-edged beak, huge bill and wide gape, the shoebill can hunt large prey, often targeting prey bigger than is taken by other large wading birds. Fish eaten by this species are commonly in the range of 15 to 50 cm (5.9 to 19.7 in) long and weigh around 500 g (1.1 lb), though lungfish of as much as 1 m (3.3 ft) have been attacked. Snakes preyed upon are commonly from 50 to 60 cm (20 to 24 in) long. In the Bangweulu Swamps of Zambia, the main prey items fed to young by the parents were the catfish Clarias gariepinus  (syn. C. mossambicus) and water snakes. In Uganda, lungfish and catfish were mainly fed to the young. The big beak is sometimes used to dig into pond-bottom mud to extract lungfish from their aestivation burrows.

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

What amazing colorings the Strawberry Finch have!

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

 

Researchers have discovered that the Carolina parakeet was the victim of a grave injustice.

The green-bodied birds, made even more vibrant by their yellow heads and red faces, once thrived between the U.S. east coast and what is now Colorado. According to the BBC, the birds made their homes in old-growth forests and swamps for thousands of years. The species adapted to live off the toxic cockleburs, which did not injure the birds but often proved fatal for predators like cats. The birds were prolific until European settlers arrived in the New World.

By 1918, the last remaining Carolina parakeet was held at the Cincinnati Zoo. It died on February 21 that year.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
A Mounted specimen of Conuropsis carolinensis, Museum Wiesbaden, Germany.

 

Today, all that remains of one of North America’s only native parrots are taxidermied specimens and plates from aging Edwardian books. Meanwhile, modern day DNA testing indicates that the bird’s disappearance was not the result of inbreeding or predators. It was solely the fault of humans.

“Many endangered species have been sequenced and what seems to be a pattern is that when populations are small and declining for a long period of time, this leaves some signals in their genomes that can be recognized,” said Carles Lalueza-Fox, of the University of Barcelona. “Even if you have a single specimen, as here, we have a genome from the father and a genome from the mother; two copies of each chromosome. If the population has been small for thousands of years, these two copies will be very similar to each other and over long stretches sometimes they will be identical.”

Source: WikimediaCommons
The Carolina parakeet was driven to extinction by hunters for pest control, for feathers to be used in the fashion industry, and rising competition with European honey bees.


 

Lalueza-Fox and his colleagues found through mapping the DNA of two Carolina parakeets, that it was once part of a massive and diverse population, which came crashing down when a new threat was introduced.

“The inference is that this bird was not subjected to a very long demographic decline for thousands of years, it was something very quick,” Lalueza-Fox said.

The Carolina parakeet’s closest living relative, the BBC reports, is the Sun parakeet, found in South America. There is little genetic variation between individual birds in that species. From this we can infer that Carolina parakeets once far outnumbered their southern cousins.

Source: Pixabay
A Sun parakeet, the closest relative to the Carolina parakeet.

Owing much to the Carolina parakeet’s demise are deforestation, unchecked hunting and trapping, and the introduction of European honeybees. American naturalist and author James Audubon had mourned the loss of the birds as early as 1832, about 70 years before they went extinct in the wild.

Though they have been gone fore more than a century, the work done by the University of Barcelona scientists has opened up the potential of bringing them back.

That’s right, de-extinction.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Only taxidermied Carolina parakeets exist today.

It’s possible the scientists could look at the Sun parakeet’s DNA and alter it to produce a Carolina parakeet offspring. But, that would involve editing several hundred protein codes in the delicate strands that define life, Lalueza-Fox said.

It won’t be easy to bring the bird back from the dead, but the effort is getting attention from scientists around the world. Kevin Burgio, a biologist at the University of Connecticut, published an outline of “Lazarus ecology” in the journal Ecology and Evolution. Burgio, like many others, believes it’s possible to restore the birds in the wild by introducing the extinct DNA to close relatives within the specific environments where they once lived.

Source: WikimediaCommons
John James Audubon’s “Carolina Parakeets” which is a part of the permanent collection at the New York Historical Society.

According to Smithsonian.com, scientists from the New York State Museum and New Mexico State University will use the mapped Carolina parakeet DNA and an understanding of the bird’s diet, taken from preserved feathers, to reintroduce the species.

“Even if the Carolina parakeet never flies again, what scientists learn about this vanished American bird could keep its endangered tropical cousins aloft,” the Smithsonian reports.

 
 
 
 
 
Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
Honored Social Butterfly

Another great bird photo!93650178_2521971748055621_4034861065782165504_n.jpg

Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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@DaveMcK wrote:

Another great bird photo!93650178_2521971748055621_4034861065782165504_n.jpg


Wow!  Awesome pic!  Thanx Dave!