Friday, 6 March 2015

Eurasian sparrowhawk

Accipiter nisus

Photo by Tomi Muukkonen (Vogelwarte)

Common name:
Eurasian sparrowhawk (en); gavião-da-Europa (pt); épervier d'Europe (fr); gavilán común (es); sperber (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species breeds throughout most of Eurasia, from western Europe to eastern Russia and south to Japan, Korea and central China. They also breed in Morocco, Tunisia, northern Algeria and the Canary Islands. The more northern and eastern populations migrate south to winter in southern Asia and in eastern Africa along the Nile basin.

Size:
These birds are 28-40 cm long and have a wingspan of 56-78. Females tend to be larger than males, weighing 185-350 g while males weigh 105-195 g.

Habitat:
The Eurasian sparrowhawk is found in a wide range of forest habitats, including coniferous, deciduous and mixed in boreal, temperate and tropical areas, usually favouring areas interspersed with open areas such as scrublands, savannas and arable land. They also use plantations, rural gardens and urban areas. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 4.500 m.

Diet:
They mainly hunt passerines, but can take birds up to the size of a pigeon, jay or even a small grouse. Occasionally, also small mammals such as voles, shrews, young rabbits and squirrels, and small lizards and amphibians, and rarely insects and carrion.

Breeding:
Eurasian sparrowhawks are monogamous and breed in April-August. the nest is mainly built by the male, consisting of a platform of sticks and twigs placed in a fork in a tree about 6-12 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-6 white eggs which she incubates alone for 32-34 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-30 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 20-30 days later. they reach sexual maturity at 1-3 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated to be above 1,5 million individuals. In Europe the population is suspected to be stable at present. The population suffered dramatic declines during the 1950s and 1960s due to widespread use of organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, but it has since recovered following bans on harmful pesticides.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Littoral rock-thrush

Monticola imerinus

Photo by Frank Vassen (Flickr)

Common name:
littoral rock-thrush (en); melro-das-rochas-do-litoral (pt); monticole du littoral (fr); roquero litoral (es); dünenrötel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidade

Range:
This species is endemic to southern Madagascar, being found in coastal areas from Tulear to Tolanaro.

Size:
These birds are 16 cm long.

Habitat:
The littoral rock-thrush is mostly found in dry, sandy, coastal scrublands, such as Euphorbia, mainly in dunes and coral rag. They also use dry savannas and forests, pastures and rural gardens. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 200 m.

Diet:
They feed on berries, fruits and insects.

Breeding:
Littoral rock-thrushes breed in October-February. The nest is a bowl made of moss, lichens and other plant fibres, and lined with feathers. There is no further information about the reproduction of this species.

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

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Chestnut woodpecker

Celeus elegans

Photo by Maxime Dechelle (GEPOG)

Common name:
chestnut woodpecker (en); pica-pau-chocolate (pt); pic mordoré (fr); carpintero elegante (es); fahlkopfspech (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is found in northern South America, east of the Andes, from eastern Colombia and eastern Venezuela, through the Guyanas and Trinidad, and into Maranhão e north-eastern Brazil, and south to northern Bolivia and Mato Grosso e central Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 26-32 cm long and weigh 95-170 g.

Habitat:
The chestnut woodpecker is mostly found in tall, moist tropical forests, including terra firme forests, gallery forests and swamp forests, but also use cocoa plantations. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.100 m.

Diet:
They feed on ants, termites and fly larvae, as well as berries and fruits such as Cecropia, citrus and introduced mangos.

Breeding:
Chestnut woodpeckers breed in January-May. They nest in cavities excavated by both sexes into the wood of a dead tree. The female lays 2-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 11-14 days. The chicks fledge 18-35 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range but is described as uncommon. The chestnut woodpecker is suspected to lose 15-18% of suitable habitat within its range over the next 15 years based on a model of Amazonian deforestation. It is therefore suspected to suffer a small decline in the near future.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Spangled cotinga

Cotinga cayana

Photo by Greg Hume (Wikipedia)

Common name:
spangled cotinga (en); cotinga-pintada (pt); cotinga de Cayenne (fr); cotinga celeste (es); türkisblaue kotinga (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cotingidae

Range:
This species is found in northern South America, east of the Andes, from eastern Colombia and south eastern Venezuela south to Mato Grosso in central Brazil, and to central Bolivia.

Size:
These birds are 20-21,5 cm long and weigh 55-75 g.

Habitat:
The spangled cotinga is found in the canopy of moist tropical forests, mainly from sea level up to an altitude of 800 m, but occasionally up to 1.300 m.

Diet:
They are mainly frugivorous, taking various berries and fruits, but also eat some insects.

Breeding:
There is no information regarding the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range but is described as uncommon. The spangled cotinga is suspected to lose 14-16% of suitable habitat within its range over the next decade, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, so is suspected suffer a small decline in the near future.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Knob-billed fruit-dove

Ptilinopus insolitus

Photo by Laurens Steijn (Dutch Birding)

Common name:
knob-billed fruit-dove (en); pombo-da-fruta-de-capacete (pt); ptilope casqué (fr); tilopo insólito (es); knopffruchttaube (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

Range:
This species is endemic to the Bismarck archipelago of eastern Papua-New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 22-24 cm long and weigh 115-145 g.

Habitat:
The knob-billed fruit-dove is found in forests habitat, including both dry and moist tropical forests, forests edges and disturbed area. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

Diet:
They are frugivorous, eating wild figs and other fruits.

Breeding:
These birds can probably breed all year round. The nest is a thin platform of twigs, placed in a scrub or tree with dense foliage. The female lays a single white egg, which is incubated for about 19 days. The chicks obtain their full plumage in 2 weeks, but there is no information regarding the length of the fledging period.

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

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Hudson's canastero

Asthenes hudsoni

Photo by Juan Maria Raggio (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Hudson's canastero (en); joão-platino (pt); synallaxe de Hudson (fr); canastero pampeano (es); nördlicher flügelspiegelcanastero (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

Range:
This species is found in south-western Uruguay and in eastern Argentina from Santa Fe to southern Buenos Aires. Also marginally into Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 18 cm long.

Habitat:
The Hudson's canastero is found in temperate grasslands, including areas with tall wet grass such as Paspalum quadrifarium, sedges near wetlands, and seasonally inundated grasslands dominated by Spartina densiflora. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 950 m.

Diet:
They are insectivorous, taking caterpillars, beetles, stink bugs, grasshoppers and ants, which they glean from the ground or from low vegetation.

Breeding:
These birds are presumed to be monogamous and nest in November-January. The nest is placed on or near the ground and the female lays 3-4 eggs. There is no available information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as uncommon to locally fairly common. The population is suspected to be experiencing a moderately rapid decline owing primarily to the on-going loss of habitat through land conversion for cultivation, livestock grazing and urbanization. The species is probably also susceptible to pollution.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Vinous-throated parrotbill

Paradoxornis webbianus

(Photo from Natural Island, Yea! Taiwan)

Common name:
vinous-throated parrotbill (en); bico-de-papagaio-de-Webb (pt); paradoxornis de Webb (fr); picoloro de Webb (es); braunkopf-papageischnabel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Paradoxornithidae

Range:
This species is found in throughout eastern China, and into Korea and extreme south-eastern Russia, as well as Taiwan. It has also been introduced in Italy, where feral populations are becoming established.

Size:
These birds are 11-12,5 cm long and weigh 7-12 g.

Habitat:
The vinous-throated parrotbill is found in various types of scrubland, also using marshes and swamps, moist tropical forests, second growths and plantation. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 3.100 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on seeds, flowers, fruits and buds, but also take insects such as grasshoppers and caterpillars.

Breeding:
These birds are monogamous and breed in April-August. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a cup made of grasses, reed strips, dry leaves, bamboo, bark, plant fibres, twigs and dry roots. It is lined with finer grasses, hairs and feathers and placed in a reed, bamboo, vine or fork in a scrub or small tree, up to 3 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-7 pale blue to turquoise eggs which are incubated by both parents for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed  by both parents and fledge 9-10 days after hatching. Each pair usually raises 2 broods per season.

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