Monday, 1 February 2016

Yellow-vented bulbul

Pycnonotus goiavier

Photo by Ian Barker (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
yellow-vented bulbul (en); tuta-de-ventre-amarelo (pt); bulbul goiavier (fr); bulbul culiamarillo (es); augenstreifbülbül (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pycnonotidae

Range:
This species is found in south-east Asia, from Thailand and Laos, south to the Indonesian islands of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa, and also throughout most of the Philippines.

Size:
These birds are 19-20,5 cm long and weigh 24-37 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-vented bulbul is mostly found in dry scrublands, including coastal scrubs and pioneer sea dune scrubs, but also use semi-open banks and shoals of rivers, marshes, mangroves, moist tropical forests, second growths, arable land, plantations, rural gardens and urban areas.

Diet:
They are generalists and considered highly opportunistic, taking a wide range of berries and fruits, including figs and cinnamon tree fruits, as well as seeds, nectar, young shoots and also some insects.

Breeding:
Yellow-vented bulbuls breed in December-October. The nest is a deep cup made of grass, leaves, roots, vine stems, twigs, and lined with plant fibres. It can be placed low on a scrub or on a creeper high up in the trees. The female lays 2-5 white to pinkish eggs with reddish-brown to lavender spots. Both parents incubate and raise the young but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledging periods. Each pair raises several broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common throughout its range and abundant in lowland and mid-altitude areas of Borneo. The population is suspected to be increasing rapidly as this species benefits from deforestation and the creation of artificial habitats.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Mascarene swiftlet

Aerodramus francicus

Photo by Kévin Le Pape (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Mascarene swiftlet (en); andorinhão-das-Mascarenhas (pt); salangane de Mascareignes (fr); salangana de las Mascareñas (es); Mauritiussalangane (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the islands of Réunion and Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.

Size:
These birds are 10-11 cm long and weigh 9-9,5 g.

Habitat:
The Mascarene swiftlet breeds in lava tunnels, been found foraging over a wide range of habitats including moist tropical forests, grasslands, scrublands, second growths and arable land.

Diet:
They forage in flocks, mainly taking flying insects on the wing. Among their prey are flies, flying ants, beetles, bugs, barkflies and spiders.

Breeding:
Mascarene swiftlets can breed virtually all year round. They nest in colonies within lava tunnels, with each pair building a bracket-shaped nest made of lichen filaments held together with saliva. The female lays 1-2 eggs which are incubated for 21-23 days. The chicks fledge 45-55 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and the global population is estimated at 6.000-15.000 individuals. Over recent years, the population on Réunion has increased substantially, whilst that on Mauritius has declined, making it difficult to judge the overall population trend. The main threats affecting this species are nest collecting for bird's nest soup and vandalism of caves. Tourism activities such as canyoning and caving may also cause disturbance to breeding colonies.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Brown emu-tail

Dromaeocercus brunneus

Photo by Maria Stringer (Pinterest)

Common name:
brown emu-tail (en); felosa-dos-juncos-rabilonga (pt); droméocerque brun (fr); yerbera colilarga (es); Madagaskarbuschsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found along the eastern slopes of the islands.

Size:
These birds are 15 cm long.

Habitat:
The brown emu-tail is found in dense undergrowth of moist tropical forests, at altitudes of 500-2.500 m.

Diet:
They feed on small insects collected among the vegetation.

Breeding:
They nest among dense vegetation, near the ground. Each clutch consists of 2 eggs. there is no further information regarding the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as locally fairly common to abundant. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Grey-headed negrofinch

Nigrita canicapillus

Photo by David Beadle (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
grey-headed negrofinch (en); negrinha-de-cabeça-cinzenta (pt); nigrette à calotte grise (fr); negrita canosa (es); graunackenschwärzling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Guinea eastwards to southern Nigeria and Cameroon, east to Uganda and Kenya and southwards into northern Tanzania, D.R. Congo and northern Angola.

Size:
These birds are 13-14 cm long and weigh 17-21 g.

Habitat:
The grey-headed negrofinch is mostly found in moist tropical forests, particularly in forest edges and clearings, along roads and streams in primary forests and in gallery forest. they also use palm plantations. They are more common in lowland areas but occur from sea level up to an altitude of 3.350 m.

Diet:
They feed on small insects, including ants, termites and larvae, also taking fruits, seeds and occasionally nectar.

Breeding:
Grey-headed negrofinches can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. There is no further available 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 locally common to common and widespread. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Gambel's quail

Callipepla gambelii

Photo by John Mosesso (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Gambel's quail (en); colim-de-elmo (pt); colin de Gambel (fr); colín de Gambel (es); helmwachtel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Odontophoridae

Range:
This species is found in the western United States and north-western Mexico, from southern Nevada and Utah, through Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas, and into Sonora and Sinaloa along the eastern coast of the Gulf of California.

Size:
These birds are 24-28 cm long and have a wingspan of 34-36 cm. They weigh 160-210 g.

Habitat:
The Gambel's quail is found in hot deserts, mainly in areas dominated my mesquite and other thorny scrubs. They also use arable land to a lesser extent. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.600 m.

Diet:
They mainly feed on a variety of seeds and leaves, as well and cacti fruits and berries. During spring and summer they supplement this herbivorous diet with a few insects.

Breeding:
Gambel's quails are considered monogamous, although females can sometimes live the young with the male to produce another brood with a new father. They breed in April-August and nest in a shallow bowl made of twigs, grass stems and leaves, and lined with feathers. The nest is usually placed on the ground, often hidden under a scrub or rock, but can sometimes be placed on a tree up to 10 m above the ground. The female lays 10-12 dull white eggs with brown spots, which she mainly incubates alone for 21-23 days. The chicks are able to run around and feed themselves within hours of hatching, but will remain with the parents for some time.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated to be above 1 million individuals. The populations had a stable trend over the last 4 decades.
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sometimes a mature female will leave young with the male and seek another brood with a new father
sometimes a mature female will leave young with the male and seek another brood with a new father

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Long-tailed rosefinch

Uragus sibiricus

Photo by M. Nishimura (Wikipedia)

Common name:
long-tailed rosefinch (en); peito-rosado-rabilongo (pt); roselin à longue queue (fr); camachuelo colilargo (es); meisengimpel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

Range:
This species breeds in two separate regions of Asia, one from southern Siberia southwards into northern Mongolia and eastwards into south-eastern Russia and northern Japan, the other region is in central and southern China from Xizang, Shaanxi and Shanxi to Sichuan and Yunnan.The Siberian populations winter in Kazakhstan and north-western China, the far eastern populations winter in Korea and southern Japan, and the Chinese populations are resident.

Size:
These birds are 16-18 cm long and weigh 16-26 g.

Habitat:
The long-tailed rosefinch is found in temperate forests, particularly in dense willow Salix and birch Betula thickets, as well as in grasslands, scrublands and reedbeds.

Diet:
They feed mainly on seeds, berries and buds of various plants such as cherries Prunus and honeysuckle Lonicera.

Breeding:
Long-tailed rosefinches breed in May-August. The nest is cone shapes and made of stems and twigs lined with plant down, finer twigs and hair. There the female lays 4-6 eggs but there is no information regarding the incubation and fledging period. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

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

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Whiskered auklet

Aethia pygmaea

(Photo from Astronomy to Zoology)

Common name:
whiskered auklet (en); mérgulo-de-bigode (pt); starique pygmée (fr); mérgulo bigotudo (es); bartalk (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Alcidae

Range:
This species is found in the northern Pacific, with colonies in the north-eastern Sea of Okhotsk and the Commander Islands, south to the Kuril islands, and throughout the eastern Aleutians as far east as the Krenitzin Islands. Outside the breeding season they mainly remain near the breeding colonies, but may wander as far the northern Bearing Sea and northern Japan.

Size:
These  birds are 17-18 cm long and have a wingspan of around 37 cm. They weigh 99-136 g.

Habitat:
During the breeding season, the whiskered auklet forages in offshore and coastal waters, nesting in bare or partially covered talus slopes and beach boulders in small rocky islands. Outside the breeding season they are mainly pelagic.

Diet:
They feed on a wide range of planktonic crustaceans. During the summer copepods and particularly Neocalanus plumchrus are key prey, while in autumn and winter they mainly prey on euphausiid krill.

Breeding:
Whiskered auklets breed in May-August. They are highly monogamous and mate for life. They nest in large colonies, with each pair nesting in a shallow nest placed in a rocky crevice, natural cave or steep grassy slope, usually 3-250 m above the sea. The female lays a single egg which is incubated by both parents for 35-36 days. The chick are fed by both parents and fledge about 37 days after hatching. Unlike other auklets which leave the colonies immediately after fledging, the young whiskered auklets often remain in the colony for up to 6 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and the global population has been very roughly estimated at 100.000-300.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species and ongoing habitat destruction.