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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Pacific golden plover (Pluvialis fulva) is a medium-sized plover, and it is believed that golden plovers flocked when rain was imminent.  The Pacific golden plover is 23 to 26 cm long breeding adult is spotted gold and black on the crown, and back on the wings. The bird face and neck are black with a white border, and it has a black breast and a dark rump. The legs are black. In winter, the black is lost and the plover then has a yellowish face and breast, and white underparts. It is alike to two other golden plovers, “The Eurasian” and “American plovers”. The Pacific golden plover is smaller, slimmer and relatively longer-legged than the European golden plover, also has white axillary feathers.

Generally, the Pacific golden plover is found to be more comparable to the American golden plover, with which it was once considered conspecific as "lesser golden plover". The Pacific golden plover is slimmer than the American species, has a shorter primary projection, longer legs, and is habitually found to have more yellow on the back. This wader forages for food on tundra, fields, beaches and tidal flats, frequently by sight. The birds like to eats insects and crustaceans and some berries. The breeding habitat of Pacific golden plover is the Arctic tundra from northernmost Asia into western Alaska. It nests on the ground in a dry open area. It is migratory and winters in south Asia and Australasia.

A few winters in California and Hawaii, USA. In Hawaii, the bird is recognized as the kōlea. It is very rare vagrant to Western Europe. They return to the same wintering territory each year, which allowed scientists in Hawaii to attach tiny light level geolocation devices to the birds and then retrieve them the following year in the same location. Moreover, a study revealed that these birds make the 4800 km non-stop flight between Alaska and Hawaii in 3 to 4 days. In winter they form large flocks which fly in fairly tight formation with fast, twinkling wingbeats. Plover is a large shorebird of pastures, open ground, and mudflats, makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any shorebird. It breeds on the high Arctic tundra of Alaska and Canada and winters in the grasslands of central and southern South America.

However, the American Golden-Plover “Pluvialis dominica” has a long, circular migration route. In the fall it flies offshore from the East Coast of North America nonstop to South America. On the return in the spring it passes primarily through the middle of North America to reach its Arctic breeding grounds. Adult American Golden-Plovers leave their Arctic breeding grounds in early summer, but juveniles usually linger until late summer or fall. Some adults arrive on the wintering grounds in southern South America before the last juveniles have left the Arctic. The oldest American Golden-Plover was at least 13 years old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in Alaska. The bird feeds in short vegetation or open areas and moves by stop-run-stop, scanning and capturing prey at stops. Captures prey by single peck or series of pecks.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The hoopoe is a medium sized colorful bird, almost 25 to 32 cm long, with a 44 to 48 cm wingspan. The bird weighs is approximately 46 to 89 g. The species is highly distinctive, notable for its distinctive “crown” of feathers with a long, thin tapering bill that is black with a fawn base. The strengthened musculature of the head allows the bill to be opened when probing inside the soil. The bird has wide and rounded wings gifted of strong flight; these’re larger in the northern migratory subspecies. The bird has a characteristic undulating flight, which is same that of a giant butterfly, caused by the wings half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats.

The hoopoe or Upupa epops is the only extant species in the family Upupidae. Well, same as Latin name upupa, the English name is an onomatopoeic form which reproduces the cry of the bird. The hoopoe is the national bird of Republic of Israel. The bird is named after its vocalizations, the Eurasian hoopoe emits a low “hoop, hoop, hoop, hoop”. The pinkish brown to chestnut plumage with black and white bars and an inspiring fan-like crest make the Eurasian hoopoe instantly recognizable. The Eurasian hoopoe forages mainly on short grass and bare soil for invertebrates.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The savanna hawk is a hefty raptor found in open savanna and swamp edges. It was formerly placed in the genus Heterospizias.  The Savanna Hawk is widespread raptor and their habitats throughout the lowlands of tropical and subtropical South America. The savanna hawk has very long legs and thus is able to easily walk on the ground to catch its prey, or, like other birds, it can swoop down from the sky or a tree.

The savanna hawk length is 46 to 61 cm and weighs 845 g. The adult hawk has a rufous body with grey mottling above and fine black barring below. The flight feathers of the long broad wings are black, and the tail is banded black and white. Savanna hawk legs are yellow color and call is a loud scream keeeeru. Savanna hawk nest consist of sticks lined with grass and built in a palm tree. Though, the clutch is a single white egg, and the young take 6.5 to 7.5 weeks to fledging. Savanna Hawks can often be found walking through burning fields, a few feet behind the flames, searching for toasted prey.

Immature birds are similar to the adults but have darker, duller upperparts, paler underparts with coarser barring, and a whitish supercilium. This species perches very vertically, and its legs are strikingly long. Savanna Hawk normally breeds from Panama and Trinidad south to Bolivia, Uruguay and central Argentina. Its foraging strategy is equally diverse, and it will capture prey on the wing, from perches, or even by stalking on foot. It is also the most distinctive member of Buteogallus, with considerable gray patterning overlaying a rufous body.

Savanna hawks build their nests out of sticks in palm trees, thorny trees or mangroves and use this same nest year after year. Its eggs however are sometimes eaten by larger birds, snakes and other animals that live in trees. The savanna hawk scientific name is “Buteogallus meridionalis” feeds on small mammals, lizards, snakes, crabs and large insects. It usually sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey, but will also hunt on foot, and several birds may gather at grass fires. The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion, hence the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Monday, 27 November 2017

As we all know, nature is the storehouse of wonders, and numerous events are happening around us which are astonishingly implausible. Till now, modern science thought that evolution is a process which happens in a long course of time. However, newly, scientists discovered a new species of finches in Galapagos Island which evolved into a completely new species within a very short period of time. Researchers revealed that new species can develop in as little as two generations and the findings would have left Charles Darwin excited. The arrival of 36 years ago of a peculiar bird to a remote island in the Galapagos provides direct genetic evidence of their claims.

The newcomer, who belonged to one species, mated with a member of another species on the small island of Daphne Major in the Pacific Ocean. Therefore this produced a new species, recognized as the “Big Birds” that now involves of approximately 30 birds, according to researchers from Princeton University and Uppsala University in Finland. The researchers took a blood sample and released the bird, which later bred with a resident medium ground finch of the species Geospiz fortis, starting a new lineage. The Grants and their research team followed the new “Big Bird lineage” for six generations, taking blood samples for use in genetic analysis.

The new study, published in the journal Science, followed work carried out over the last four decades on Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands. Through our work on Daphne Major, we were able to observe the pairing up of two birds from different species and then follow what happened to see how speciation occurred, Rosemary Grant, senior biologist at Princeton in the US, said:  The newcomer, a male with an rare song which was larger in size than the three resident species on the island, was spotted in 1981. He was so different from the other birds that we knew he did not hatch from an egg on Daphne Major.” It is very remarkable that when we match the size and shape of the Big Bird beaks with the beak morphologies of the other three species inhabiting Daphne Major, the Big Birds occupy their own niche in the beak morphology space.

The current study, DNA collected from the parent birds and their offspring over the years. They learned that the original male parent was a large cactus finch of the species Geospiza conirostris from Española Island, more than 100km away. The distance meant the male finch could not return home to mate with a member of his own species, so chose a mate from among the three species on Daphne Major. Thus, this reproductive isolation is considered a critical step in the development of a new species when two separate species interbreed. It is believed that the amount of time these birds spent on birdfeeders has resulted in this evolution and its infrequent growth from the 1970s and is still continuing today.

The offspring were also reproductively isolated as their song, used to attract mates, was unusual and failed to attract females from the resident species. They also differed from the resident species in beak size and shape, which is a major cue for mate choice. This led the offspring to mate with members of their own lineage, strengthening the development of the new species. Researchers previously thought the formation of a new species takes a very long time. But in the Big Bird lineage, it happened in just two generations, according to observations made in the field, along with the genetic studies. The researchers say a striking aspect is that after just two generations, the new lineage behaved as any other species of Darwin’s finches would. Leif Andersson, a professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, said: “A naturalist who came to Daphne Major without knowing that this lineage arose very recently would have recognised this lineage as one of the four species on the island.

This clearly demonstrates the value of long-running field studies. We’ve no indication about the long-term survival of the Big Bird lineage, but it has the huge potential to become a success, and it offers a stunning example of one way in which speciation occurs. The scientists said it is probable that new lineages like the Big Birds have originated numerous times during the evolution of Darwin’s finches. The majority of these lineages have gone extinct but some may have led to the evolution of contemporary species, they concluded.Source: Charismatic Planet

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

An eye-catching parrot “The dusky lory” (Pseudeos fuscata) is a species of parrot in the family Psittaculidae. Alternative common names are the white-rumped lory or the dusky-orange lory. This beautiful parrot is short tailed just 25cm long, and has mainly brown and whitish back and rumps. Mostly it is found in New Guinea and the offshore islands of Batanta, Yapen and Salawati. The dusky lory's native range includes New Guinea below about 2500m in both the Indonesian zones of the island. It is also native to the nearby Indonesian islands of Salawati and Yapen.
The Dusky Lory has two color phases; the band across the upper chest together with its abdomen is either yellow or orange. However, the beak is dark orange, and an area of bare orange skin at the base of its lower mandible. The irises are red and the legs are grey. As far as external appearance the both male and females are identical. Though, the juveniles are duller with a yellowish back and rump, yellowish-grey irises, and a beak that is yellow at the base and brown/black towards the tip. The Dusky Lory natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. Dusky Lory calls heard as harsh and grating screeches. They reach reproductive maturity when they are about 2 to 2.5 years old. Lories are typically quite easily bred; so many Lory species are readily available. The average clutch consists of 2 - 3 eggs, which are incubated for 24 - 25 days. The young fledge when they are about 10 weeks old.
The parrot wild Diet consists of flowers, fruits, seeds, nuts and insects. Lories require a higher percentage of fruit, buds, nectar and pollen in their diet. In fact, in the wild, they can feed on as many as 640 flowers in a one day. They also feed on seeds and unripe grain. Their ecology and behavior is very social, forming large, boisterous flocks. He mainly relies on availability of flowering trees for food and is therefore nomadic, and roosts communally in large groups. However, this stunning species is considered endangered within their natural range, typically due to habitat destruction; there is a high demand for these birds as pets or aviary birds, and they have been doing well in captivity and are, therefore, regionally readily available on the pet market. Maybe the most playful of the lories, excellent pets and great talkers. The only drawback is their terrible, high pitched screeching! They would never work in an apartment. It can live 28 to 32 years, and one of the major contributors of ill health and early death in pet birds is the fact that their specific dietary needs are neglected.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The whiskered treeswift (Hemiprocne comata) is a species of bird in the family Hemiprocnidae. It is found in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand. The adult male has dark bronze-brown body with white belly, flanks and undertail-coverts, long wings and deep blue forked tail, and tertial flight feathers are white. In addition the underwing shows blue coverts and white tertial flight feathers. The head is blue to glossy black, and slightly crested. Moreover two conspicuous white parallel stripes formed by bold supercilium from forehead to hind nape, and a second stripe from chin back to neck side. Therefore, female bird is much like same but she has deep blue-green ear-coverts. Thus, juvenile has finely barred brown, grey and white plumage. The Whiskered Treeswift feeds mainly on insects and small flying arthropods. 

These species natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The Whiskered Treeswift is a forest-living bird which frequents small cover breaks such as tracks or streams. The bird follows the vegetation up around the highest emergent crowns in evergreen forest and locally in tall mangroves. This species occurs from plains up to 1000 to 1100 metres on slopes, but it is often seen below 800 metres in N Malay Peninsula. The whiskered treeswift has a very large range, and hence does not reach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion, with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent, quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation. In spite of the fact that the population trend appears to be declining, the decline is not believed to be adequately rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion. The Whiskered Treeswift is quieter than the largest species of this family. Hence, the contact call between pair-members includes high-pitched “chew” or “kweeo”, and series of short notes “kwee kwee, kwi-kwi-kwi-kwi” or “she-she-she-SHEW-she”. The bird calls are uttered while the birds are flying or perched.

The Whiskered Treeswift feeds mainly on insects, hunts from perches where it sits in upright posture, and from where it can have a good all-round vision of the surroundings. The bird is very nimble in flight; it chases insects and small flying arthropods, even amongst the foliage but well below the canopy. The preys are habitually taken on the wing, but it also picks off the food items when perched, or by hanging from the tip of a small branch. Thus, it may perform short sallies from its perch, close to the surface of the vegetation.

The courtship displays are poorly identified, but noisy soaring has been observed at least for the largest species. The breeding season occurs between February and August. The breeding pair is territorial during the breeding season, remains in its nesting territory all year round. The Whiskered Treeswift is very alert and manoeuvrable in flight. The narrow, curved wings and the long tail streamers are very typical of fast fliers.

The species nest is naturally situated between 8 and 40 metres above the ground, on the upper surface of thin branch, and looks like a part of this branch. Both male and female build the nest, small half-saucer. The rim is made with saliva into which feathers are embedded, and few twigs too. So, supplies can be added during the incubation. The bird usually builds very small nest, shallow structure letting only a single egg, standing right as in an egg-cup. The thin papery walls are unable to support an adult or a large chick. That causes incubating adult squats on the branch in its place on the nest itself.
Only the belly touches the egg. The female lays a single white egg, and both adults incubate and rear the chick. The incubation lasts about three weeks, but the chick leaves the nest very soon, within one week after hatching. The chick is fed by regurgitation from adult’s throat into the open mouth, but later, the young takes the food from the parent’s mouth. The juvenile plumage is cryptic for better camouflage, required most likely 50 days for complete development.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The colorful orange-breasted bunting “Passerina leclancherii” is a species of bunting belongs to family Cardinalidae. The orange breasted bunting endemic to Mexico, where its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland. The Orange-breasted Bunting ranges along the Pacific slope from extreme southern Nayarit south to western Chiapas, and inland to western Puebla. It is more abundant in second growth than in undisturbed forest. It is found from sea level up to about 1200 m in arid habitats, including thorn forest, open woodland, and the edges of roadsides and agricultural clearings.

The species was introduced to Oahu in 1941 but did not persist, and was extirpated by 1952. This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion. The bird’s population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species is evaluated as Least Concern. This species has a sweet, lilting song that you might enjoy. Not surprisingly, they are popular in the cage bird trade is a bit smaller length 12.5 cm and shorter-billed than Rose-bellied Bunting (Passerina rositae), with which it may occur, and both sexes of Orange-breasted are yellow below.

Orange-breasted bunting is also known as the orange-bellied bunting or as Leclancher's bunting, seemingly glow-in-the-dark passerine resides in dry forests and shrubland in the tropics and subtropics. The adult birds are blue above with a mossy green crown and mantle, and are yellow below with an orange wash across the breast. Hence, Females birds are immatures and entirely green above, with yellow lores, throat, and underparts are yellow, shaded with gray along the sides and chest. The birds feed on seeds in the winter and insects in the summer, and have correspondingly smaller bills than most cardinalids. The cardinalids are also known for being dimorphic, and the males often have dramatic, brilliant coloring although the females are very beautiful as well. This is migratory bird, breeding in North America and wintering in Central and South America.