Friday, 30 January 2015

Greater pied puffbird

Notharchus tectus

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
greater pied puffbird (en); macuru-pintado (pt); tamatia pie (fr); buco pío (es); elsterfaulvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galbuliformes
Family Bucconidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Colombia, south to central Peru, and east to the Guyanas and into Brazil as far as Mato Grosso and Maranhão.


Size:
These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 20-40 g.

Habitat:
The greater pied puffbird is mostly found in moist tropical forests, including forest edges and clearings, but also use mangroves, dry tropical forests, second growths, moist scrublands, dry savannas, rivers and streams, pastures and plantations. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
They hunt large arthropods, such as dragonflies, grasshoppers, bugs, butterflies and moths, and spiders.

Breeding:
Greater pied puffbirds breed in March-December, varying among different parts of their range. They nest is a deep tunnel excavated in an arboreal termite nest or in an earth bank, with an unlined nest chamber at the end. There the female lays 2-3 white eggs. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common but patchily distributed. The greater pied puffbird is suspected to lose 18-23% of suitable habitat within its range over the next decade based on a model of Amazonian deforestation. It is therefore suspected to suffer a small decline in the near future.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Barred owl

Strix varia

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
barred owl (en); coruja-raiada (pt); chouette rayée (fr); cárabo norteamericano (es); streifenkauz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is found in southern Canada and throughout the eastern United States, and also the in the western United States in north-western Montana and from Washington south to northern California. There are also isolated populations in the mountain of central Mexico.

Size:
These birds are 43-51 cm long and have a wingspan of 99-111 cm. They weigh 470-1.050 g, with females tending to be larger than males.

Habitat:
The barred owl is mostly found in coniferous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forests, favouring mature forests with nearby open water. They also use tropical forests, wooded swamps, lakes and rivers, rural gardens and urban areas. They occur at altitudes of 1.300-3.100 m.

Diet:
They hunt mainly right after sunset, and during the night, taking small mammals up to the size of a rabbit, birds up to the size of a grouse, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. They are also known to catch fishes.

Breeding:
Barred owls are monogamous and breed in February-August. They usually nest in an unlined natural tree cavity, but may also use lichens and pine needles for lining or use abandoned nests from other birds. The female lays 2-3 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 28-33 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 4-5 weeks after hatching, but only become fully independent about 5 months later. They reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 3 million individuals. The population has undergone a large increase of 17% per decade of the last 4 decades, and has expanded in range in the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ground cuckooshrike

Coracina maxima

Photo by Russel Jenkins (Bird Forum)

Common name:
ground cuckooshrike (en); lagarteiro-da-terra (pt); échenilleur terrestre (fr); oruguero terrestre (es); grundraupenfänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Campephagidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being found throughout the Australian mainland, but especially in the interior.

Size:
These birds are 31-38 cm long and weigh 124-155 g.

Habitat:
The ground cuckooshrike is found in open, dry habitats, including dry scrublands and grasslands, sparse dry savannas and Eucalyptus woodlands, also using pastures and arable land.

Diet:
They mainly hunt adult and larval insects, including mantids, grasshoppers, locusts, stick insects and ants, but also take spiders and possibly even small birds such as house sparrows Passer domesticus. Occasionally also plant material such as fruits and berries.

Breeding:
Ground cuckooshrikes can breed all year round, usually after rains. They nest communally and sometimes show cooperative breeding, with the breeding pair being helped by the young from the previous year. The nest is a a deep cup made of fine dry twigs, small roots, bark and herbs, held together with spider webs. It is lined with lichens, moss and wool, and placed in an horizontal branch or fork in a tree, 3-15 m above the ground. They can also use old nest from other birds. The female lays 2-4 but there is no information regarding the incubation period. The chicks are fed by both parents and by the helpers, and fledge about 29 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range but is reported to be erratic and generally uncommon. The population is estimated to be in decline following declines detected in Victoria since the 1970s due to habitat destruction.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Common buttonquail

Turnix sylvaticus

Photo by Jugal Tiwari (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
common buttonquail (en); toirão (pt); turnix d'Andalousie (fr); torillo andaluz (es); laufhühnchen (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Turnicidae

Range:
This species is found in several disjunct areas. The subspecies T.s. sylvaticus is found in southern Spain and north-western Morocco, and the subspecies T.s. lepurana is found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa and also in south-western Yemen and extreme south-western Saudi Arabia. The subspecies T.s. dussumier and T.s. davidi are found from eastern Pakistan, throughout India and into southern China, Taiwan and Indochina. There are also several endemic subspecies in the Philippines and in the Indonesian islands of Java, Bali and smaller nearby islands.

Size:
These birds are 13-17 cm long and weigh 30-70 g.

Habitat:
The common buttonquail is found in dry grasslands and scrublands, particularly in areas with sandy soils, also using arable land and scrubby savannas. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.400 m.

Diet:
They feed on small invertebrates and seeds, particularly ant and grass seeds.

Breeding:
Common buttonquails can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They are sequentially polyandrous, meaning that females mate with several males, each taking care of one brood. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a shallow scrape on the ground, lined with a few pieces of grass and often sheltered by a grass tuft. There, the female lays 4-6 greyish-white or pinkish eggs with purple and brownish spots and speckles, which are incubated for 12-15 days. The female incubates the first few days, after which she leaves, leaving the male responsible of the remaining incubation and chick-rearing duties. The chicks fledge 18-20 days after hatching, but are able to make short flights already at 7-11 days of age. Each male raises a single brood per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is reported to vary from scarce to locally abundant. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation and the small remaining population in Europe may be very close to extinction.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Seychelles blue-pigeon

Alectroenas pulcherrimus

Photo by Conrad Savy (iNaturalist)

Common name:
Seychelles blue-pigeon (en); pombo-azul-das-Seychelles (pt); founingo rougecap (fr);  paloma azul de Seychelles (es); warzenfruchttaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the Seychelles archipelago, in the Indian Ocean, being found on the islands of Praslin, La Digue, Mahé, North, Silhouette, Frigate, Curieuse, Denis, Aride and Bird. It has also been successfully introduced to the island of Cousin.

Size:
These birds are 24-25 cm long and have a wingspan of 38-40 cm. They weigh 160-165 g.

Habitat:
The Seychelles blue-pigeon is found in tropical rainforests, both in lowland and in mountainous areas.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, berries and seeds, namely wild guavas Psidium, cinnamon berries and nuts of takamaka Calophyllum tacamahaca.

Breeding:
These birds breed mainly in October-April, but can breed all year round. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a loose platform of twigs placed in a tree or scrub, where she lays 1-2 eggs. The eggs are incubated for about 28 days and the chicks fledge about 21 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a small breeding range and is considered to be less common than in the past. The population is suspected to be declining due to hunting and habitat destruction, but since the 1970s they stopped to be exploited for food, which allowed the recovery of some populations and even the recolonization of the islands of Curieuse, Denis, Aride and Bird. Nest predation by introduced rats and cats may also be a problem for this species.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Swamp greenbul

Thescelocichla leucopleura

Photo by Chris Perkins (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
swamp greenbul (en); tuta-da-ráfia (pt); bulbul des raphias (fr); bulbul de las rafias (es); raphiabülbül (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae

Range:
This species is found from Senegal, along the coast of West Africa into southern Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon, and eastwards into Congo and D.R. Congo, and marginally into northern Angola.

Size:
These birds are about 23 cm long and weigh 58-67 g.

Habitat:
The swamp greenbul is mostly found in tropical swamp forests with palm trees, particularly Raphia and to a lesser extent Elaeis. They also use dry tropical forests, dry savannas, second growths, plantations and arable land.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, including Ficus, Heisteria, Macaranga, Morinda, Musanga and Schleffera.

Breeding:
Swamp greenbuls possibly breed in January-October. There is no further information on the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common in areas of suitable habitat. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Madagascar scops-owl

Otus rutilus

Photo by Paolo Tibaldeschi (WWF-Bloggen Var Verden)

Common name:
Madagascar scops-owl (en); mocho-d'orelhas-de-Madagáscar (pt); petit-duc malgache (fr); autillo malgache (es); Madagaskar-zwergohreule (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found throughout the island.

Size:
These birds are 19-24 cm long and have a wingspan of 50-55 cm. Females are larger than males, weighing 112-120 g while males weigh 85-107 g.

Habitat:
The Madagascar scops-owl is found in a wide range of habitats, including both primary and secondary forests in both moist and dry climates, dry scrublands, plantations, rural gardens and urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of at least 1.800 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on insects, especially moth and beetles, but possibly also small vertebrates.

Breeding:
Madagascar scops-owls breed in November-January. They mainly nest in tree cavities, 4-7 m above the ground, but have also been found to nest on the ground, in small depressions among the leaf litter. The female lays 2-5 white eggs, which she incubates alone. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as locally rather common.The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.