The Mystery Bird “Yellow-Billed Oxpecker”

The yellow-billed oxpecker “Buphagus africanus” is a beautiful passerine bird in the starling and myna family, Sturnidae. The name “oxpecker” is related to their habit of perching on large wild and domestic mammals. The yellow-billed oxpecker is 20 cm long and has plain brown upperparts and head, buff underparts and a pale rump. In a day an adult bird will take more than 100 engorged female Boophilus decoloratus ticks or 13,000 larvae. It frequently occurs in association with wild and domestic large mammals. The species often roosts in trees close to these animals, or even on buffaloes’ back at night. The Yellow-billed oxpeckers live in small flocks and can be found at sea-level or in mountains as high as 9,800 feet. These African mystery birds are engaged in a rare behavior, even nesting on the back of a live Cape buffalo.
Some ornithologists regard the oxpeckers to be a separate family, the Buphagidae. It is least common in the extreme east of its range where it overlaps with the r…

Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia The Bird of Paradise

One of the most outstanding birds of paradise, the male Ribbon-tailed Astrapia has the longest tail feathers in relation to body size of any bird, over three times the length of its body. The nature most beautiful bird “The Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia” is also recognized as “Shaw Mayer’s Astrapia” (Astrapia Mayeri) can be easily called the bird of paradise. One of the most remarkable birds-of-paradise, the male ribbon-tailed Astrapia has the longest tail feathers in relation to body size of any bird, over three times the length of its body. The ribbon-tailed Astrapia is the most recently discovered bird-of-paradise. This stunning bird is distributed and endemic to subalpine forests in western part of the central highlands of Papua New Guinea. However, similar to other ornamental bird-of-paradise, the male is polygamous.

This species is likely to have a moderately small population within its small range. Hence, the bird is listed as near threatened on the ICUN Red list of Threatened species due to habitat lost and hunted for its plumes. The terrifically long tails of male Ribbon-tailed Astrapia’s sometimes have to pause to untangle their tails before they can fly away not a survival advantage. But the tails also help them to entice females. And by carefully choosing their mates, the females determine which males' genes and what kinds of tails survive to the next generation.

 In 1938, the great naturalist Fred Shaw Mayer, discovered the bird, however several believed explorer Jack Hides discovered the bird first, and later on Shaw Mayer became interested in it.  The Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia is medium sized bird; up to 32 cm long excluding his tail, which is approximately I meter long. The body is normally velvet black, though the male has an iridescent olive green and bronze plumage with adorned with ornamental “ball” plume above its bill and two extremely long, ribbon like tail feathers. Therefore, the female bird is a brown with an iridescent head; hybrids between this species and the Stephanie’s Astrapia in the small area where their ranges overlap have been named Barnes Astrapia. The bird common call is a loud clear "waugh", or "wock, whit-whit".

 The Ribbon-Tailed-Astrapia diet consist of fruits, especially from the Umbrella Tree, and insects, spiders and frogs and also likes to upper montane and subalpine moss forests and forest edges; 1800-3450 m, mainly above 2450m. The birds commonly display occur during June, August, and December forms leks in which male bird displays from traditional perches, jumping back and forth between branches with erect, arched tail feathers. The recorded breeding seasons is March till May when females build and attend nests alone repeatedly builds nest in the same spot and site. The incubation period normally 21 days, and nestling period is 25 to 29 days. 

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