Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Yellow-bellied tyrannulet

Ornithion semiflavum

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
yellow-bellied tyrannulet (en); poiaeiro-de-barriga-amarela (pt); tyranneau à ventre jaune (fr); mosquerito ventriamarillo (es); gelbbauch-kleintyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is found from southern Mexico to western Panama.

Size:
These birds are 8 cm long and weigh 7-8 g.

Habitat:
The yellow-bellied is mostly found in moist tropical forests, also using forest edges, second growths, moist scrublands, plantations and rural gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They forage alone or in pairs, picking arthropods from the foliage.

Breeding:
Yellow-bellied tyrannulets possibly breed in March-June. They nest in a globular structure, well camouflaged among the foliage or in a dead tree. There is no further information regarding the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Racket-tailed coquette

Discosura longicaudus

Photo by Robson Czaban (Beija-flores)

Common name:
racket-tailed coquette (en); bandeirinha (pt); coquette à raquettes (fr); rabudito de raquetas (es); diskuselfe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This South American species is found in two disjunct areas, one from southern Venezuela and the Guyanas south to the Amazon river, and another along the coast of eastern Brazil, from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio de Janeiro.

Size:
The males are 10 cm long, including the long tail streamers, while the females are 7-8 cm long. They weigh 3-4 g.

Habitat:
The racket-tailed coquette is mostly found in moist tropical forests, particularly along rivers and streams, but also uses scrubby, moist savannas and second growths. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 700 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on the nectar of various flowers, namely Anacardium occidentale, Leonitis petaefolia, Leonurus sibiricus, Caesalpinoidae dicymbe  and Calliandra sp. They also take some small invertebrates.

Breeding:
Racket-tailed coquettes nest in a cup made of soft plant materials and lined with soft plant fibres and seed down. The nest is built solely by the female and placed in a tree, 3-6 m above the ground, where she lays 2 eggs. The female incubates the eggs alone for 13-14 days. The chicks are raised by the female alone and fledge about 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon. It is suspected to lose 9-10% of suitable habitat within its distribution over the next 12 years, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, so a small decline is expected in the near future.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

White-tailed shrike

Lanioturdus torquatus

Photo by Paul Bourdin (A Birder in the Philippines)

Common name:
white-tailed shrike (en); picanço-palrador (pt); lanielle à queue blanche (fr); laniotordo (es); drosselwürger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Platysteiridae

Range:
This African species is found in south-western Angola and in north-western and central Namibia.

Size:
These birds are 14-15 cm long and weigh 25-45 g.

Habitat:
The white-tailed shrike is mostly found in dry savannas, particularly mopane Colosphermum mopane, and mixed Acacia, cluster-leafs Terminalia and bushwillow Combretum woodlands. They also use dry savannas, rocky areas, and rivers and streams.

Diet:
They mainly hunt large insects, namely moths, butterflies and caterpillars, stick insects, ant lions, mantids, beetles, grasshoppers and termite alates, as well as spiders.

Breeding:
White-tailed shrikes can breed all year round, but with a peak in November-March. The nest is a shallow cup of woven twigs and rootlets, usually placed in scrub about 2-3 metres above ground. The female lays 2-3 pale green eggs with reddish-brown spots, which are incubated by both sexes for about 15 days. There is no available information regarding the fledgling period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be expanding in the east of its range following desertification.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Weka

Gallirallus australis

Photo by Sid Mosdell (Wikipedia)

Common name:
weka (en); frango-d'água-austral (pt); râle wéka (fr); rascón weka (es); wekaralle (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae

Range:
This species is endemic to New Zealand, being found in scattered location along the eastern coast of North Islands,  in the northern and south-western areas of South Island, in the islands of Chatham and Pitt, and in several islands around Stewart Island.

Size:
These birds are sexually dymorphic in size. The females are smaller with 46-50 cm in length and weigh 350-1.035 g, while the males are 50-60 cm long and weigh 530-1.600 g. They have a wingspan of 50-60 cm.

Habitat:
The weka uses most available habitats within their range, including temperate forests and grasslands, freshwater marshes and lakes and scrublands, and to a lesser extent coastal sand dunes, rocky shorelines and sandy or pebble beaches. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

Diet:
They are omnivorous, taking both animals and plant material, including seeds, berries, leaves and grasses, as well as earthworms, adult and larval insects, snails and slugs, spiders, frogs, lizards, mice, small rabbits and small birds.

Breeding:
Wekas can breed all year round. They are monogamous and may pair for life. they nest on the ground, in dense cover such as tussocks, burrows, tree hollows, under logs, stumps or rocks, or even hidden in buildings. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a shallow cup made of woven grasses, lilies, twigs and moss, lined with finer grasses, feathers and hair. The female lays 1-4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 26-28 days. The chicks leave the nest 2-3 days after hatching, but remain under the care of the parents for about 2 months. They reach sexual maturity at 1 year of age and each pair may raise up to 4 broods per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively large but fragmented breeding range, and the global population is estimated at 71.000-118.000 individuals. Although different sub-population may have different trends, the global population is suspected to be declining rapidly due to a combination of habitat clearance and degradation, road kills, a wide range of introduced mammalian predators and competitors, combinations of drought and flood years, poison baits used for possum and rabbit control, and possibly disease. Also, they have been eradicated from several islands due to possible risks to other native biota, and removal from Pitt and other islands is a future possibility.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Moustached antpitta

Grallaria alleni

Photo by Steve Blain (Steve Blain presents "Bird Porn")

Common name:
moustached antpitta (en); tuvacuçu-de-bigodes (pt); grallaire à moustaches (fr); tororoí bigotudo (es); grauscheitel-ameisenpitta (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Formicariidae

Range:
This species is only found in the western slope of the Central Andes in Colombia, and both Andean slopes in northern Ecuador.

Size:
These birds are 16-17 cm long and weigh 60-80 g.

Habitat:
The moustached antpitta is found in dense understorey of moist, mossy cloud forests, particularly in ravines and steep slopes. They are present at altitudes of 1.800-2.500 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, taking earthworms and insects, namely katydids.

Breeding:
Moustached antpittas nest in a cup made of dead leaves, sticks and moss, placed on a small branch or trunk of a tree, about 1,5 m above the ground. The female lays 2 unmarked eggs. There is no available information about the incubation period, but the chicks fledge 15-17 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively small and fragmented breeding range, and the global population is estimated at 1.500-7.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining a a slow rate due to habitat loss. Since the 17th century, most of the cloud forest in the central Andes of Colombia has been logged, settled and converted to agriculture, while the west Andean slopes in Ecuador have also been strongly altered and fragmented. The few remaining areas suffer from human encroachment and clearance for agriculture and opium production. In the east Andes some well protected forests remain with roughly 60% of the range of the moustached antpitta in that region being included in five protected areas.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Slaty-bellied tesia

Tesia olivea

Photo by Christoph Moning (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
slaty-bellied tesia (en); tesia-de-barriga-ardósia (pt); tésie à ventre ardoise (fr); tesia pizarrosa (es); goldscheiteltesia (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

Range:
This species is found from eastern Nepal and extreme north-eastern India to southern China, and south to Myanmar, north-western Thailand, northern Laos and northern Vietnam.

Size:
These birds are 9-10 cm long and weigh 6-9 g.

Habitat:
The slaty-bellied tesia is mostly found in dense undergrowth of moist tropical forests, usually favouring damp areas. They also use freshwater marshes, rivers and streams.

Diet:
They feed on adult and larval insects and other invertebrates.

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

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

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Bearded wood-partridge

Dendrortyx barbatus

(Photo from Polski Kurnik)

Common name:
bearded wood-partridge (en); codorniz-de-Veracruz (pt); colin barbu (fr); colín barbudo (es); bartwachtel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Odontophoridae

Range:
This species is endemic to Mexico, being confined to a few areas in Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre de Oaxaca, north and east of Mexico City.

Size:
These birds are 22-36 cm long and weigh 400-460 g.

Habitat:
The bearded wood-partridge is mostly found in moist, mountain evergreen forests and adjacent pine-oak forests with dense understorey, also using forest edges, second growths and shade coffee plantations. They are present at altitudes of 900-3.100 m.

Diet:
They feed on fruits, nuts, berries and other plant matter, as well as some small invertebrates.

Breeding:
Bearded wood-partridges breed in February-June. They are probably monogamous and nest in a deep depression on the ground, lined with palm leaves, where the female lays 4-8 dull white eggs which are incubated for 28-32 days. The chicks are precocial, leaving the nest soon after hatching, and become able to fly at 7-14 days of age. They reach sexual maturity at 1-2 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively small and fragmented breeding range. The global population is estimated at 3.600 individuals and believed to be declining rapidly due to habitat loss and degradation. With the exception of the remote Sierra Gorda, most of the bearded wood-partridge range in affected by habitat destruction and fragmentation as a result of logging, clearance for agriculture, road-building, tourist developments, intensive urbanization, sheep-ranching and grazing. Conversion from shade to sun coffee is a serious threat to some areas, while the fragmented populations are susceptible to subsistence hunting, predators, genetic retrogression and further human encroachment. Conservation action underway are limited to environmental education, through the development of posters and roadway signs.