Posts tagged bird.
The Scavenger of the South
Keas (Nestor notabilis) are an endangered parrot species native to the southern alpine regions of New Zealand. Named by the Maori people for its distinctive kea cry, the parrots are predominantly green and black, with striking orange and yellow underwings. They’re a highly adaptive species and are considered to be one of the most intelligent bird species in the world, with the equivalent intelligence of a three-year-old child. Their lineage is thought to have diverged from other parrots approximately 80 million years ago when Zealandia split from Gondwanaland, and to scout out food to survive in their harsh alpine environment, keas developed a highly inquisitive nature—which today often makes them nuisances to nearby humans, because the parrots are also mischievous and opportunistic, and never turn down the chance to supplement their mostly-vegetarian diet with human food. They eat nearly anything, so no item of food is safe in their territory—keas are smart and daring enough to pluck it clean out of your hands. Their nature caused conflict with humans throughout the twentieth century: a bounty was introduced, and it’s thought that over 150,000 keas were culled, leaving only 1000–5000 in the wild today. They’re listed as an endangered species, also threatened by introduced pests, logging, scavenging harmful foods, and farmers who still illegally kill them to protect livestock.
Swimming penguins are slowed by the friction created by their bodies cutting through the water. However, they can almost triple their speed by releasing tiny bubbles of air that get caught in their feathers. This cuts drag in short bursts and helps penguins launch themselves out of the water up to 6 feet in the air.
Einstein and Angel
Chimango Caracara (Milvago chimango)
…a species of Caracara (Polyborinae) which occurs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Chimango caracaras typically inhabit subtropical and tropical dry shrubland, temperate grassland, Patagonian steppe, and heavily degraded former forests. Like other caracaras Milvago chimango is omnivorous and will feed on reptiles, amphibians, other small animals and carrion.
Greater Sage Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus
This elegant bird is a male of the Greater Sage Grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus (Galliformes - Phasianidae), the largest of North American grouse, which inhabits the shrublands of south-eastern Canada and western United States.
Males of this species have a grey crown, markings on the back of the neck and yellow lores (the region between the eye and bill). The upper chest is brown and buff and the middle is composed of a large white ruff concealing esophageal sacs that inflate during courtship. There is also a large black patch on the abdomen. Females have more cryptic plumage and lack the esophageal sacs that the males have.
The breeding system of the Great Sage Grouse is quite interesting. They employ leks to select mates prior to reproduction; this means that every breeding season, sexually mature individals gather at various sites. These sites are where males display to the females. The purpose of the display is to attract females and defend territories. The males whose display is most attractive to the female, will get to mate with her.
This species is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.
The Wood Duck! This was the first fancy duck we saw while birding. These ducks are special because they have feet that allow them to perch on branches and nest in trees unlike other waterfowl. Woodies have ornate patterns on almost every feather!
EURASIAN SPOONBILL or COMMON SPOONBILL (Platalea leucorodia)
- The Eurasian Spoonbill is a wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae, breeding in southern Eurasia from Spain to Japan, and also in North Africa.
- Most birds migrate to the tropics in winter, with European breeders mainly going to Africa, but a few remaining in mild winter areas of western Europe north to the United Kingdom.
- The breeding bird is all white except for its dark legs, black bill with a yellow tip, and a yellow breast patch like a pelican.
- It has a crest in the breeding season.
- Non-breeders lack the crest and breast patch, and immature birds have a pale bill and black tips to the primary flight feathers.
- Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Spoonbill
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