Monday, 24 November 2014

Lesser seed-finch

Oryzoborus angolensis

Photo by Dario Sanches (Flickr)

Common name:
lesser seed-finch (en); curió (pt); sporophile curio (fr); semillero curió (es); braunbauch-reisknacker (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is found in South America, east of the Andes, from Colombia and Venezuela south to Bolivia, eastern Paraguay, southern Brazil and extreme north-eastern Argentina.

Size:
These birds are 10,5-13 cm long and weigh 11,5-16 g.

Habitat:
The lesser seed-finch is found in moist tropical forests and scrublands, particularly in forest clearing and along forests edges, also using second growths. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They feed on grass seeds and insects, being known to glean grass seeds directly from the stems.

Breeding:
Lesser seed-finches can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. The nest is a deep cup made of fine grasses, where the female lays 1-3 greenish-white eggs with brown spots. The eggs are incubated are incubated for 12-13 days and the chicks fledge about 30 days after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 1 year of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Black-necked grebe

Podiceps nigricollis

Photo by Gerard Visser (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
black-necked grebe (en); mergulhão-de-pescoço-preto (pt); grèbe à cou noir (fr); zampullín cuellinegro (es); schwarzhalstaucher (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Podicipediformes
Family Podicipedidae

Range:
This species occurs in three disjunct subspecies. P.n. nigricollis breeds from western Europe to western Asia,  in central and eastern Asia as far as north-eastern China and extreme south-eastern Russia, and with a few population in East Africa. Some population migrate south to winter around the Mediterranean, in the Middle East and in Japan and southern China. P.n. gurneyi is found in southern Africa, and P.n. californicus breeds in south-western Canada and in the western United States and migrates south as far as Guatemala.

Size:
These birds are 28-34 cm long and have a wingspan of 56-60 cm long. They weigh 265-450 g.

Habitat:
The black-necked grebe breeds in small, shallow, highly eutrophic water bodies with lush vegetation, such as freshwater marshes and lakes, also using reed beds, fish ponds and sewage farms. Outside the breeding season they use saltwater lakes, estuaries, saltpans, and inshore shallow bays and channels.

Diet:
They feed mainly on adult and larval insects, such as aquatic bugs, beetles, damselflies, dragonflies, midges and brine flies, also taking snails, crustaceans such as brine shrimps, polychaete worms, small frogs and tadpoles, and small fish.

Breeding:
Black-necked grebes can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They are monogamous and often nest in dense colonies. Each pair build a nest that consists of a mound of algae and other soft plant matter, anchored on an underwater plant in open water. There the female lays 2-5 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 20-22 days. The chicks leave the nest immediately after hatching, and are fed and carried on the backs of both parents until they fledge, about 21 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 3,9-4,2 million individuals, possibly being the most numerous of all grebes. The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are stable, have unknown trends or are increasing.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Crimson-collared grosbeak

Rhodothraupis celaeno

Photo by Lew Scharpf (PBase)

Common name:
crimson-collared grosbeak (en); bico-grosso-de-coleira (pt); cardinal à collier (fr); picogrueso cuellirrufo (es); halsbandkardinal (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cardinalidae

Range:
This species is endemic to eastern Mexico, being found from Nuevo Léon to northern Vera Cruz and north-eastern Puebla.

Size:
These birds 21-22 cm long and weigh about 60 g.

Habitat:
The crimson-collared grosbeak is mostly found in dry tropical forests and scrublands, also using humid forests, second growths, citrus groves and sweet gums stands.

Diet:
They feed on leaves, seeds and berries, also taking some insects.

Breeding:
These birds may breed in May-July. The nest is a loosely built cup made of twigs and grass, and lined with finer materials, placed in a scrub, tangled vine or small tree up to 2 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 light blue-grey eggs with brown flecks, which she incubates alone for 11-13 days. There is no information regarding the fledging period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 20.000-50.000 individuals. Although there in no information on population trends, the crimson-collared grosbeak appears to adapt to some altered habitats, making less vulnerable to habitat changes than other species.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Blood-coloured woodpecker

Veniliornis sanguineus

(Photo from Ron Allicock Birding Tours)

Common name:
blood-coloured woodpecker (en); pica-pau-sangue (pt); pic rougeâtre (fr); carpintero sanguíneo (es); blutrückenspecht (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is found along the coasts of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

Size:
These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh 23-30 g.

Habitat:
The blood-coloured woodpecker is mostly found in mangroves and swamp forests, also using other lowland, moist tropical forests and coffee plantations.

Diet:
They feed on ants, beetles and caterpillars.

Breeding:
These birds breed in February-November, nesting in a hole excavated by both sexes into a dead stump or tree, 1-3 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-3 eggs which are incubated by both sexes. There is no further information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

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

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Orange-headed thrush

Zoothera citrina

(Photo from Manuk)

Common name:
orange-headed thrush (en); tordo-de-cabeça-laranja (pt); grive à tête orange (fr); zorzal citrino (es); damadrossel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae

Range:
This species is found from southern China, west to northern Pakistan, and south into southern India, parts of Indochina and the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Java.

Size:
These birds are 20-23,5 cm long and weigh 47-67 g.

Habitat:
The orange-headed thrush is mostly found in the understorey of both deciduous and evergreen, moist tropical forests, also using dry tropical forests, secondary forests, bamboo thickets, rivers and streams, plantations and rural gardens. They occur at altitudes of 250-2.300 m.

Diet:
They feed on termites and other insects, slugs, snails, leaches, earthworms, berries, fruits and grass seeds.

Breeding:
Orange-headed thrushes breedin April-October. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a wide but shallow cup, made of twigs, ferns and rootlets, and lined with leaves, moss and conifer needles. It is placed in a small tree or scrub, up to 4,5 m above the ground. The female lays 3-5 cream, pale blue, pale grey or pale green eggs with lilac and reddish-brown blotches and spots. The eggs are incubated for 13-14 days and the chicks fledge 12 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon and scarce to locally common. The species is suspected to be experiencing an ongoing decline, owing to high trapping pressure for the cage bird trade and continuing habitat loss.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Streaked fantail

Rhipidura verreauxi

Photo by Josep del Hoyo (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
streaked fantail (en); cauda-de-leque-malhado (pt); rhipidure tacheté (fr); abanico moteado (es); fleckenfächerschwanz (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Rhipiduridae

Range:
This species is found in the Pacific archipelagos of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.

Size:
These birds are 17-18 cm long and weigh 11,5-15 g.

Habitat:
The streaked fantail is mostly found in moist tropical forests, including forest edges and partially cleared forests, but also use moist scrublands and gardens.

Diet:
They forage in the lower canopy and, to a lesser extent, in the undergrowth, taking various insects.

Breeding:
Streaked fantails breed in September-February. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a neat cup made of fine twigs held together with spider webs. The female lays 2-3 white eggs with brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 15-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15 days after hatching.

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

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

White-chested emerald

Amazilia brevirostris

Photo by Fayard Mohammed (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
white-chested emerald (en); beija-flor-de-bico-preto (pt); ariane à poitrine blanche (fr); diamante colidorado (es); kurzschnabelamazilie (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is found from central and eastern Venezuela to the French Guyana and south into Roraima in extreme northern Brazil. Also in the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Size:
These birds are 9-10 cm long and weigh 4,5 g.

Habitat:
The white-chested emerald is mostly found in moist tropical forests, including gallery forests, also using dry tropical forests and savannas, moist scrublands, second growths, arable land and plantations. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 500 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on the nectar from various tree and scrubs, including Erythrina, Samanea, Calliandra and Heliconia, but also take small insects.

Breeding:
White-chested emeralds breed in December-April. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a small cup made of plant fibres and lichen, placed on an horizontal brancg 1-7 m above the ground. There she lays 2 eggs, which she incubates alone, but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. She raises the chicks alone and they fledge about 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as fairly common. They are suspected to lose 9% of suitable habitat within their range over the next decade, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, so a small decline is expected in the near future.