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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).
The bird was named after the British naturalist Robert Swinhoe, who first described the species in 1862.
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.
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.
Swinhoe's Blue Pheasant
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 burrows. Omnivorous, the species feeds on seeds, fruit, 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.
Red-and-yellow barbets are omnivores, feeding on seeds, fruit, and invertebrates.
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 poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction. 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. 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.
The kea (/ˈkiːə/; Māori: [kɛ.a]; Nestor notabilis) is a species of large parrot in the familyNestoridae 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. They have been filmed preparing and using tools.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, this subspecies is known by the common name "yellowhammer", a term that originated during the American Civil War to describe Confederate soldiers from Alabama.
- 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.
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!