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99064181_3493075190721345_5570246835412402176_n.jpg

 

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

 

Rockhopper_penguin.jpg

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.

 

Gorfou_sauteur_-_Rockhopper_Penguin.jpg1280px-Eudyptes_moseleyi_-Zoologischer_Garten_Berlin,_Germany-8a.jpg1141px-FAL-2016-New_Island,_Falkland_Islands-Rockhopper_penguin_(Eudyptes_chrysocome)_05.jpg1280px-MacquarieIslandRockhoppers.jpeg

 

 

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Message 2 of 111

Baltimore Oriole

Icterus galbula

 

web_a1_3898_4_baltimore-oriole_lorraine_minns_kk-adult-male.jpg

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.

 

web_baltimore_oriole_2_kk_glenda_simmons-immatures.jpgweb_apa_2012_24472_190792_markboyd_baltimore_oriole_kk-adult-female.jpgweb_apa_2015_robertbunch_279427_baltimore_oriole_kk-adult-female-and-nestling.jpgweb_apa_2015_deborahbifulco_276655_baltimore_oriole_kk-adult-male.jpgweb_baltimore-oriole_05-29-2012-026-adult-female-or-immature-male.jpgweb_baltimoreoriole_28779_228246_joannewuori_baltimore_oriole_kk_apa_2013-adult-female-and-adult-male.jpg

 

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Message 3 of 111

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.

 

96259388_1370810546763736_2919377923511156736_o.jpg1280px-Tangara_nigrocincta_nigrocincta_1849.jpg

 

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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Message 4 of 111
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.

 

xRWye58N9N2fKrIX8RhT.jpgs7RDs4JCfwMOShYXU2Os.jpg

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Message 5 of 111

The colors in Nature are so amazing!

 

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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.

676c3b31a2d741309ae24357a1cc6a7a.jpg1280px-Balaeniceps_rex.jpg1280px-Balaeniceps_rex_-Ueno_Zoo,_Tokyo,_Japan_-upper_body-8a.jpgBalaeniceps_rex_-Ueno_Zoo,_Tokyo,_Japan-8a.jpg

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Message 7 of 111

What amazing colorings the Strawberry Finch have!

94638276_1718390358328268_218180855418322944_n.jpg

 

 

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Message 8 of 111
 

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.

 
 
 
 
 
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Message 9 of 111

 The mourning Dove

 Almost every day, I find mourning doves filling themselves at my bird feeders.

 And generally, when you see one, you see his or her "partner-for-life" mate.

 For they generally are found in pairs.

 

Mourning Doves are graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed doves that are common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America.

During the breeding season, you might see three Mourning Doves flying in tight formation, one after another. This is a form of social display. Typically the bird in the lead is the male of a mated pair. The second bird is an unmated male chasing his rival from the area where he hopes to nest. The third is the female of the mated pair, which seems to go along for the ride.

 

Mourning Doves tend to feed busily on the ground, swallowing seeds and storing them in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop. Once they’ve filled it (the record is 17,200 bluegrass seeds in a single crop!), they can fly to a safe perch to digest the meal.Mourning Doves eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day, or 71 calories on average.Perhaps one reason why Mourning Doves survive in the desert: they can drink brackish spring water (up to almost half the salinity of sea water) without becoming dehydrated the way humans would.

 

The Mourning Dove is the most widespread and abundant game bird in North America. Every year hunters harvest more than 20 million, but the Mourning Dove remains one of our most abundant birds with a U.S. population estimated at 350 million.The oldest known Mourning Dove was a male, and at least 30 years, 4 months old when he was shot in Florida in 1998. He had been banded in Georgia in 1968.

 

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Message 10 of 111

@DaveMcK wrote:

Another great bird photo!93650178_2521971748055621_4034861065782165504_n.jpg


Wow!  Awesome pic!  Thanx Dave!

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