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.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Grounscraper thrush

Psophocichla litsitsirupa

Photo by Ian White (Flickr)

Common name:
groundscraper thrush (en); tordo-de-peito-malhado (pt); merle litsitsipura (fr); zorzal litsitsirupa (es); akaziendrossel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae

Range:
This species occurs in two separate areas in Africa. The subspecies P.l. simensis is only found in the highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea, while three other subspecies occur from Tanzania, southern D.R. Congo and Angola south to northern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 20-24 cm long and weigh 65-85 g.

Habitat:
The groundscraper thrush is mostly found in dry savannas and woodlands, particularly miombo Brachystegia and mopane Colosphermum mopane, and to a lesser extent Acacia. They also use dry grasslands and scrublands, moorland, pastures, plantations, arable land and rural gardens. This species occurs from sea level up to an altitude of 4.100 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on adult and larval insects, namely beetles, flies, termites, crickets and grasshoppers, but also take spiders, isopods, slugs, earthworms, skinks and fruits.

Breeding:
Groundscraper thrushes can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. The nest is an open cup made of stems, grass, rootlets, leaves and weeds secured with spider web and lined with feathers. It is typically placed in a vertical or horizontal fork against the tree trunk, often near the nests of fork-tailed drongos Dicrurus adsimilis, possibly to take advantage of the drongo's aggressive nest defence tactics. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 14-15 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 16 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 6 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be uncommon to common. The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

Monday, 21 July 2014

European bee-eater

Merops apiaster

Photo by Pierre Dalous (Wikipedia)

Common name:
European bee-eater (en); abelharuco-comum (pt); guêpier d'Europe (fr); abejaruco europeo (es); bienenfresser (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Meropidae

Range:
This species breeds in southern Europe, from Portugal to northern France and east to the Ukraine and Turkey, and into south-western Asia through Israel, Iraq and Iran, into south-western Russia, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. They also breed in North Africa from Morocco to north-western Libya. They migrate south to winter in sub-Saharan Africa, in a few scattered areas in the Sahel between Guinea and Chad, and in East Africa from southern Uganda to north-eastern South Africa and west to Angola. There is also a resident population in South Africa and southern Namibia.

Size:
These birds are 25-29 cm long and have a wingspan of 36-50 cm. They weigh 44-78 g.

Habitat:
The European bee-eater is found in various open habitats, including dry scrublands, dry savannas, dry grasslands, pastures, temperate forests, arable land and inland wetlands such as lakes and rivers. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.400 m.

Diet:
They catch their prey in flight, mainly hunting bees, wasp and hornets, but also other insects such as dragonflies, and small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs.

Breeding:
European bee-eaters are mainly monogamous, although polygamy has also been observed. They breed in May-July and nest in a burrow excavated by both sexes on a vertical earth or sand bank. The female lays 4-8 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 3-4 weeks. The chicks are fed by both parents and sometimes also helpers and fledge 28-32 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 1 month later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 2,9-12 million individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to loss of suitable prey due to widespread application if pesticides, loss of nesting sites through canalisation of rivers, increasing agricultural efficiency and establishment of monocultures, development of wilderness areas and shooting for sport, for food and because it is considered a crop pest.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Little friarbird

Philemon citreogularis

Photo by Jeremy Ringma (Flickr)

Common name:
little friarbird (en); frade-de-garganta-amarela (pt); polochion à menton jaune (fr); filemón goligualdo (es); glattstirn-lederkopf (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern and northern Australia, as well as in southern New Guinea.

Size:
These birds are 25-29 cm long and weigh 48-84 g.

Habitat:
The little friarbird is mostly found in dry savannas and dry tropical forests dominated by Eucalyptus, but also uses moist tropical forests, mangroves, dry scrublands, and even urban areas. They tend to favour areas near water and occur from sea level up to an altitude of 900 m.

Diet:
They mostly forage alone, in pairs or small flocks, but can join mixed groups with other honeyeaters. These birds feed mainly on nectar and invertebrates such as insects and spiders, but also take flowers, fruits and seeds.

Breeding:
Little friarbirds are monogamous and breed in August-April. They nest in a large, deep open cup made of grasses and lined with finer grasses and other soft materials. The nest is almost always placed in a tree overhanging water. The female lays 2-4 eggs which she incubates alone for 13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14 days after hatching. Each pair raises 1-2 broods per season.

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

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Collared flycatcher

Ficedula albicollis

Photo by Andrej Chudy (Flickr)

Common name:
collared flycatcher (en); papa-moscas-de-colar (pt); gobemouche à collier (fr); papamoscas collarino (es); halsbandschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

Range:
This species breeds in eastern Europe, as far west as north-eastern France and Italy, as far north as Lithuania and Belarus, and south to Bulgaria and east into near Russia as far as the Volga river. They migrate south to winter from southern Kenya and Uganda to Zimbabwe.

Size:
These birds are 12-14 cm long and have a wingspan of 22-124 cm. They weigh 10,5-16 g.

Habitat:
The collared flycatchers breeds mainly in temperate forests, favouring open forests and forest edges, but also use rural gardens, plantations, arable land and urban areas. They winter in dry savannas.

Diet:
During the breeding season they feed mainly on caterpillars, but also take other arthropods such as butterflies and moths, ants, and beetles. They hunt either by sallying out from a perch or by picking their prey from the foliage or the ground.

Breeding:
Collared flycatchers are mostly monogamous and breed in April-July. They nest in a natural or artificial hole in a tree, wall, or building, up to 15 m above the ground. There the female lays 5-7 eggs which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-18 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 4,2-7,2 million individuals. Data from 21 European countries indicate the population has undergone a moderate increase over the last 3 decades.