Sunday Inspiration – Wren-Babblers, Crombecs and Bush Warblers

Mountain Tailorbird (Phyllergates cucullatus) by© Wiki

Mountain Tailorbird (Phyllergates cucullatus) by© Wiki

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16 NKJV)

I trust you are enjoying this Sunday Inspiration series of the Lord’s Creation of the PASSERIFORMES – Passerines (Songbirds) Order. This week’s collection of little Passerines are from three families. Of the 130 families in the Order, we have arrived at numbers 76, 77, and 78. By now, you have see over half the Songbird species in the world. Of the 40 Orders of Birds, the Passerines are the largest.

Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler (Pnoepyga albiventer) ©©

Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler (Pnoepyga albiventer) ©©

Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. (Acts 9:18 NKJV)

Pnoepygidae – Wren-babbler has only five species and are endemic to southern and south eastern Asia. The genus contains four species. The genus has long been placed in the babbler family Timaliidae. A 2009 study of the DNA of the families Timaliidae and the Old World warblers (Sylviidae) found no support for the placement of the genus in either family, prompting the authors to erect a new monogeneric family, the Pnoepygidae.

Cape Grassbird (Sphenoeacus afer) ©WikiC

Cape Grassbird (Sphenoeacus afer) ©WikiC

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. (1 Chronicles 16:9 KJV)

Macrosphenidae – Crombecs, African Warblers family has eighteen (18) members in its family. The African warblers are a newly erected family, Macrosphenidae, of songbirds. Most of the species were formerly placed in the Old World warbler family Sylviidae, although one species, the Rockrunner, was placed in the babbler family Timaliidae. A series of molecular studies of the Old World warblers and other bird families in the superfamily Sylvioidea (which includes the larks, swallows and tits) found that the African warblers were not part of the family Sylviidae but were instead an early offshoot (basal) to the entire Sylvioidea clade.

Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler (Cettia major) ©WikiC

Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler (Cettia major) ©WikiC

The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. (Proverbs 14:18 KJV)

Cettiidae – Cettia Bush Warblers and Allies total up 32 species.

Cettiidae is a newly validated family of small insectivorous songbirds (“warblers”) It contains the typical bush warblers (Cettia) and their relatives. As common name, cettiid warblers is usually used.

Its members occur mainly in Asia and Africa, ranging into Wallacea and Europe. The monarch warblers (Erythrocercus), Tit Hylia Pholidornis and Green Hylia (Hylia) are exclusively found in the forests of Africa. The pseudo-tailorbirds, tesias and stubtails, as well as Tickellia and Abroscopus warblers are mostly found in the forests of south and southeastern Asia, with one species reaching as far north as Japan and Siberia. The genus Cettia has the widest distribution of the family, reaching from Western Europe across Asia to the Pacific islands of Fiji and Palau. Most of the species in the genus are sedentary, but the Asian Stubtail is wholly migratory and the Japanese Bush Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler are partly migratory over much of their range. A few species, such as the Pale-footed Bush Warbler, are altitudinal migrants.

The species are small, stubby birds. Most have moderately long to long tails, while the stubtails and tesias have tiny tails that do not even emerge past their tail retrices. The group is typically clad in dull plumage, often with a line above the eye. Some, like the monarch-warblers (Erythrocercus), are much different in appearance, having areas of bright yellow plumage. (Wikipedia)

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Listen as you watch the birds:

“Bow The Knee” ~ Sheila Vegter and Jacob (her son who is playing the piano and singing)

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Sunday Inspirations

PASSERIFORMES – Passerines (Songbirds)

Pnoepygidae – Wren-babbler

Macrosphenidae – Crombecs, African Warblers

Cettiidae – Cettia Bush Warblers and Allies

Good News

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Pileated Woodpeckers With a Chipmunk, One Singing, and One Eating

Pileated Woodpecker by Lee

Pileated Woodpecker by Lee

‘Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. (Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV)

I always enjoy seeing Pileated Woodpeckers like this one at Circle B Bar Reserve here in the area. This was taken several years ago.

I found these videos on YouTube and they show the Pileated in a different way than we have observed them. Enjoy!

The first one is a YouTube by Dan & Joe. He discovers a chipmunk:

He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, And stretched out the heaven by His understanding. (Jeremiah 51:15 NKJV)

Here’s another video of a Pileated Woodpecker Singing by Pureimaginationvideo:

This last one has a very good close-up of a Pileated digging for Grubs by Martyn Stewart:

But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. Thus you shall say to them: “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.” He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. (Jeremiah 10:10-12 NKJV)

I have been reading through Jeremiah and these verse caught my attention.

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Birds of the World

Picidae – Woodpeckers Family

Who Paints the Leaves?

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“Flag That Bird!” (Part 5)

Black Swan ©WikiC
“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 5)

by James J. S. Johnson

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.  (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

This is the fifth and last article in this “Flag that bird!” series, on various birds that appear on national flags.  (In other words, this is this mini-series’ “swan song”.)

All of us know enthusiasm-fueled folks who proudly launch into a new project – yet they soon falter, when the initial excitement fizzles, and they somehow fail to employ the prolonged patience to follow a long-term project through to completion.  (But, as we all know, “a job half-done is a job undone”.)  Thankfully, this blogsite mini-series, on “flag birds”, has now reached its proper closure!  Of course, there are other flags (such as state and provincial flags) that depict birds, but this set of articles has predominantly focused on birds portrayed on national flags.  Accordingly, as promised before, this final sequel features two huge birds, a swan and a crane, plus another bird whose identity is less than fully certain.

For a quick review, these vexillology-related birds were previously featured, as follows:

Part 1, posted at Flag That Bird – Part 1  — Belgium’s Wallonian Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus); Portugal’s Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis); Burma’s Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus); and Dominica’s Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis);

Part 2, posted at Flag That Bird – Part 2  — the British Antarctic Territory’s Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), and the Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a Saint Helena’s skinny-legged “Wirebird” (Charadrius sanctaehelenae);

Part 3, posted at Flag That Bird – Part 3  — Kiribati’s Great Frigatebird Emperor Penguin (Fregata minor); and

Part 4, posted at Flag That Bird – Part 4  — Papua New Guinea’s Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana, f/k/a Gerrus paradisaea), and the ubiquitous Dove, best illustrated by the common pigeon, a/k/a Rock Dove (Columbia livia).

In this article, three remaining birds will be introduced:  (1) the black swan of Western Australia (Cygnus atratus); (2) the black and white “piping shrike” of South Australia, the exact identity of which is questionable, although this article will assume it is the same bird as the Australian magpie, perhaps more particularly the subspecies known as Cracticus tibicen telonocua, f/k/a Gymnorhina tibicen leuconota (e.g., by explorer Charles Sturt); and (3) Uganda’s crested crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps).

Black  Swan (Cygnus atratus).

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) Ruffled ©WikiC

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) Ruffled ©WikiC

Western Australia’s Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) appears on the official state flag of Western Australia (sometimes contracted as “Westralia”), which occupies the western third (i.e., almost a million square miles) of that island-continent country.  The Black Swan also presents prominently on Western Australia’s official coat-of-arms, flanked by two kangaroos.

Flag that bird - Flag of Western Australia

The Black Swan is well-named – their feathers are black (or black-grey, depending on how the sun shines on them), with a few white flight feathers.  Their bills are mostly bright scarlet, with a whitish bar near the tip.  And they are huge birds – adults can weigh between 8 to almost 20 pounds!  The wingspan breadth is between 5 to 6½ feet, like the length of a human lying down!  Their babies (called “cygnets”), however, are fuzzy white chicks, with dark bills, cute as they can be.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) with Cygnets ©WashPost

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) with Cygnets ©WashPost

The first time that I ever saw Black Swans, excluding the confined context of a zoo’s aviary, was at The Broadmoor hotel complex in Colorado (located at the edge of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, within view of Pike’s Peak – an area perfect for viewing magpies).  But the Black Swan is not native to North America – it is an Aussie native.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) with Cygnets ©Broadmoor

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) with Cygnets ©Broadmoor

Like other swans (e.g., the Trumpeter Swan, described at Trumpeting A Wildlife Conservation Comeback, its neck is S-curved and very long – in fact, the Black Swan has the longest neck of any swan.

Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen, a/k/a Gymnorhina tibicen).

The official state flag of South Australia features a bird called a “piping shrike”, but what bird is that?  Many have analytically identified it as the species now called the Australian Magpie, (Cracticus tibicen), perhaps more particularly the subspecies once called the “White-backed Crow Shrike”, which his now called the white-backed magpie (Cracticus tibicen telonocua, f/k/a Gymnorhina tibicen leuconota).

Flag that bird - Flag of Western Australia - Magpie

The Australian Magpie has several subspecies nowadays, nine according to some taxonomists – although ornithologists know that such lump-or-split classifications are vulnerable to slippery subjectivities.  [For an insight into the arbitrary subjectivity of “lumper”-versus-“splitter” taxonomy, see Footnote #2 within http://www.icr.org/article/valuing-gods-variety .]

Australia Magpie on Dead Branch ©WikiC

Australia Magpie on Dead Branch ©WikiC

The Australian Magpie is deemed a type of “butcherbird” as opposed to the “corvid” category that includes the “magpies” of Europe and America.  The Australian Magpie is famous for its singing, entertaining (those with ears to hear) with a complex repertoire of vocalizations.  The black-and-white opportunist has habituated to human-dominated habitats, such as the agricultural fields of farms, gardens, and even wooded parklands.

Australia Magpie ©WikiC

Australia Magpie ©WikiC

The Australian Magpie is not a picky eater – its diet includes both plants and animals.  Its preferred diet, however, is dominated by a variety of larval and adult invertebrates, such as insects (like ants, moths, beetles, bees, wasps, cockroaches) and arachnids (like spiders, scorpions), as well as earthworms, millipedes.  The Australian Magpie is also known to eat some small vertebrates, such as rodents (like mice), lizards (like skinks), and/or amphibians (like frogs and toads).

Some compare the problem-solving resourcefulness and the brash cockiness – of this bird – to the national “reputation” displayed by many Aussie ex-patriots.  (Maybe Ken Ham should set the record straight on that topic!)  The Australian Magpie is quite a clever problem-solver  — it has been observed breaking off the stingers of bees and wasps, before swallowing such otherwise-dangerous bugs!  The Australian Magpie is not timid – it will defend its territory against raptors trespassing therein, such as Brown Goshawks.

Crested Crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps).

The official flag of Uganda sports a stylized depiction of a Crested Crane, a/k/a “East African Crowned Crane” (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps), which is a subspecies of the Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum).  The same crane appears on the Ugandan coat-of-arms.

The Ugandan coat-of-arms provides a more realistic picture of a Crested Crane.

Ugandan coat-of-arms Crested Crane

The East African Crowned Crane (a/k/a Crested Crane) is a tall bird, standing up to 4 feet tall!  It can weigh 6 to 8 pounds, while sporting a wingspan breadth of 6½ feet.  The plumage is dominated by slate-grey feathers, with wing feathers of white and chestnut orange.  The Crested Crane’s black head is adorned by white cheeks (accented with red) and a showy 3D “fan” crest, of golden top feathers, somewhat resembling fireworks.

Grey Crowned Crane ©WikiC

Grey Crowned Crane ©WikiC

Cranes – of various species – are famous for their long necks and long thin legs. Unlike herons (which fly with their necks “pulled back”), the Crested Crane (like other cranes) flies with its neck straightened and outstretched.  Like other cranes, the Crested Crane is gregarious – their aggregate nesting territories may host a flock of up to 200 residents.  These cranes are typically monogamous and territorial.  These socially stable birds are known to live as long as 20 to even 40 years of age.

In the wild, the Created Crane eats a mix of seeds (such as grains), other plant materials, insects, and worms.  Other foods eaten include eggs and fish, and even small lizards and frogs.  This diet is similar to the diet of other cranes (e.g., Sandhill Crane, Whooping Crane, Common Crane, etc.) around the world.  Cranes routinely eat whatever is available and convenient, so cranes are classified as “opportunist” feeders – consuming small mammals (like rodents), fish, snails, amphibians (like frogs), worms, insects, seeds (like grains, nuts, acorns), berries, root vegetables, and other plant materials (such as leaves.  As a matter of biome ecology, most cranes prefer wetlands, such as mudflats and other shorelands, or in wide open fields, such as prairies.

Common Crane in Estonia ©WikiC

Common Crane in Estonia Wetland ©WikiC

The “Common Crane” (Grus grus) is a cousin the these African cranes.  The Common Crane has a summer range, typically boreal forests (called taiga in Russia) that covered most of the top half of Eurasia, with blotches of winter ranges in Europe (Spain), Asia (e.g., China), and parts of Africa.

The zoologist George Cansdale [see his ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE BIBLE LANDS, pages 158-159] – after analyzing the mix of Biblical, ornithological, and biogeographical evidence – concludes that the Hebrew noun ‘agûr (e.g., in Jeremiah 8:7 & Isaiah 38:14) refers to the noisy Common Crane (Grus grus), an identification that the learned Hebrew scholar John Joseph Owens concurs with [see his ANALYTICAL KEY TO THE OLD TESTAMENT, volume 4, pages 116 & 242].  Matching the ‘agûr of Isaiah 38:14, the Common Crane is clamorously noisy, especially when agitated.  Cranes are also phenological migrants, a trait that accords with Jeremiah 8:7.

A review of our introductory verse provides another insight, the contrast between patience and pride:

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.  (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

In Ecclesiastes 7:8 the Hebrew adjective translated “patient” is ’erek – it denotes someone or something that is prolonged, drawn out, slow, longsuffering.  Accordingly, to be “patient in spirit” is to be willing to wait one’s turn, according to God’s providential line-up (and timing).  A humble person doesn’t butt in line; he or she patiently waits in the queue, for his or her turn.

In Ecclesiastes 7:8 the Hebrew adjective translated “proud” is gabah  — it denotes someone or something that is high, haughty, or high-minded, in some contexts what we sometimes call “uppity”.  Accordingly, to be “proud in spirit” is to regard one’s self as higher that one should, which is the opposite of what God (through Paul) commands us to be:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each [i.e., all of us] esteem others better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  (Philippians 2:3-4)

Interestingly, humility and patience go well together, because accomplishing a long-term project often requires interacting successfully with other people, and getting other people to coöperate with you (so that your goals can be furthered) routinely requires you to serve their needs and goals.  This is called mutual symbiosis when we see it in birds; we call it “win-win” coöperation when humans do it.  In win-win situations the coöperating parties both further their respective goals, so their interactive relationship is not one-sided. (Contrast this with “parasite”-like people, who habitually take, but won’t give).

Unsurprisingly those who are haughty-minded, being selfish, are slow to appreciate this life principle, because “uppity” people cannot understand or accept the law of Acts 20:35, that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (quoting the Lord Jesus Christ Himself).  Consequently, many who could help them, with their project checklists, may shy away  –  why host a parasite?   And so it is that many who are haughty are proud to assertively start – yet don’t finish – complex projects that require prolonged patience.   Why?  Part of the cost of succeeding was the cost of benefiting others who contribute to the project.  The end is predictable:  failure and shame.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  (Luke 14:28)

A sober lesson for long-term projects (including long-term relationships)!  Yet, this is a lesson much needed in America, nowadays, where impatient and high-minded “get-rich-quick” tactics all-too-often end in disappointment and discord.  (This author has seen many illustrations of this in business bankruptcy cases and in employment law contexts.)

In sum, thankfully, this “flags” the end of this mini-series on national vexillology-related birds.

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“Flag That Bird!”(Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4) 

Orni-Theology

James J. S. Johnson’s Articles

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Sunday Inspiration – Swallows and Martins

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) baby by Neal Addy Gallery

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) baby by Neal Addy Gallery

Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. (Psalms 84:3 NKJV)

This week’s 88 avian flyers are from the Hirundinidae Family of Swallows and Martins. The species in this group are River Martins, Saw-wings, Swallows, and Martins of various genus, Many here in America are familiar with the Barn Swallow.

Also, the Swallows are Birds of the Bible, being mentioned in at least four verses; Psalms 84:3, Proverbs 26:2, Isaiah 38:14, and Jeremiah 8:7,

Swallows are in the Hirundinidae – Swallows Family which includes Martins. “Within the Hirundiniae, the name ‘martin’ tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name “swallow” for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. The family contains around 88 species in 19 genera.” The subfamilies are: Saw-wings (including Square-tailed, Mountain, White-headed, Black and Fanti), Swallows (many including Barn, Bank, Cave Mangrove, Golden, etc), Martins (Purple, Cuban, Sinaloa, Brown-chested, etc.), Sand Martins (including Brown-throated, Congo, Pale, Banded).

The swallows are found on all continents except Antarctica, with the largest diversity of species in Africa. They are found on many islands, as there are quite a few that migrate long distances. God has designed them with short bills, but with a wide mouth that has a strong jaw. This is useful in their hunt for insects which they catch on the wing. With their streamlined body and wings that are pointed, they are very maneuverable at great speeds. Their forked long tail, that has 12 feathers, helps them steer. They can range from 3.9-9.4 inches and weight between 0.4-2.1 ounces.

This family of birds, to me, are one of the hardest to photograph. They zip about often, but land very seldom to catch their picture. Thankfully the Lord gave these birds a tastebud for insects that have a tastebud for us.

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Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, So a curse without cause shall not alight. (Proverbs 26:2 NKJV)

“If I Don’t Have Love” ~ by Jessie Padgett – Special at Faith Baptist

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More Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the Bible – Swallows

Hirundinidae Family of Swallows and Martins

Swallow – (Wikipedia)

Sharing The Gospel

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Helps For Updating Bird List To I.O.C. Version 5.3

Mourning Dove by Reinier Munguia

Mourning Dove by Reinier Munguia

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field… (Genesis 2:19-20a NKJV)

Today I want to share a little behind the scene helps that really make updating a blog and your files. As you may be aware, we use the I.O.C.’s list of world bird names here. About every quarter, they (IOC) delete, add, and revise the species names and positions in the list of all the birds in the world. If you are nutty enough to have had the bright idea, like I did several years back, to list ALL THE BIRDS, then you have a headache every quarter.

Each update they (IOC) provide files you can download with all the birds listed. Most of these are in the Excel format. Spreadsheets like Excel and others can greatly speed up fixing the list to update my site. I use simple (and I mean simple) formulas to combine the bird’s name and its scientific name together with the parenthesis around it. Then just copy the formula down the 10,000 plus birds and “wa laa” you have a

Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus) instead of  a

Black-headed Ibis” and aThreskiornis melanocephalus with no parenthesis to be found.

=CONCATENATE(E796,” (“,G796,”)”)

E796 is the cell of the English name and G796 is the cell of the Scientific name. The ,” (, and the ,”)” tells it to add a space and parenthesis, and a parenthesis at the end.

I also came up with a naming system to help find the photos of birds on the hard drives. I use a 3-letter code – All Caps – for the Order of birds, a dash(-), followed by a 4-letter code to represent the Family of the birds. It really helps in aiding to find bird photos or to rename them. (that is next)

Another great program, this one is free, is ReNamer from Den4B.com. I use this a lot. ReNamer lets you change the name of files enmasse. File explorer will let you rename a group of files, but you cannot go in there and just change parts of it like ReNamer can do. As I mentioned in the last post about I.O.C. Version 5.3, the Parrot family was split into two families. Fixing the pages that list all the birds was tedious enough, but having to separate the photos on my hard drive was another situation.

My File Explorer - For Parrots

My File Explorer – For Parrots

My Code for the original Parrot family was PSI-Psit (PSITTACIFORMES order and Psittacidae family) and now with the new Psittaculidae family I came up with PSI-Pstt. So how am I suppose to rename over 200 photos in the new family to the new code? Easy with ReNamer. Drag the files you want to rename into ReNamer, add a new Rule (Replace PSI-Psit with PSI-Pstt), then press the “Rename” button and 200 plus photos are renamed. There are lots of other options. It is a fantastic program in my opinion.

ReNamer from den4b.com

ReNamer from den4b.com

I know for some of you, this was a little more technical than normal, but thought you might find something in it you can use on your projects. The CONCATENATE (combining) feature of Excel and the ReNamer program are both very useful.

Because of health issues and other events going on, the update to I.O.C. Ver. 5.3 has not moved as fast as other versions. I am working on it and here are the families updated so far. I have been making a change to the pages as I work on them. I am adding a slideshow at the bottom of each page. Stay tuned!

‘I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me. (Jeremiah 27:5 NKJV)

I.O.C. Version 5.3

Tinamous – Tinamidae
Ostriches – Struthionidae
Rheas – Rheidae
Cassowaries – Casuariidae
Emu – Dromaiidae
Kiwis – Apterygidae
Screamers – Anhimidae
Magpie Goose – Anseranatidae
Ducks, Geese and Swans – Anatidae
Megapodes – Megapodiidae
Chachalacas, Curassows and Guans – Cracidae
Guineafowl – Numididae
New World Quail – Odontophoridae
Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae
Loons – Gaviidae
Penguins – Spheniscidae
Austral Storm Petrels – Oceanitidae
Albatrosses – Diomedeidae
Northern Storm Petrels – Hydrobatidae
Petrels, Shearwaters – Procellariidae
Diving Petrels – Pelecanoididae
Grebes – Podicipedidae
Flamingos – Phoenicopteridae
Tropicbirds – Phaethontidae
Storks – Ciconiidae
Ciconiidae – Storks
* The Parrots
Strigopidae – New Zealand Parrots
Cacatuidae – Cockatoos
Psittacidae – African and New World Parrots
Psittaculidae – Old World Parrots
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New Parrot Family – I.O.C. 5.3 Version

Mulga Parrot (Psephotellus varius) by Ian

Mulga Parrot (Psephotellus varius) by Ian

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: (Proverbs 24:21 KJV)

Finally have my computer and Excel back up running. I decided to start working on the new I.O.C. 5.3 version and was surprised to see that they had divided the Psittacidae – Parrots Family. Well, that family had 369 species and now the new family has been named Pittaculidae –  “Old World Parrots” with 192 parrots.

Blue-winged Parrotlet (Forpus xanthopterygius) ©WikiC

Blue-winged Parrotlet (Forpus xanthopterygius) ©WikiC

The old family, Psittacidae – African and New World Parrots has 178 avian wonders. They added two new ones to this family; the Turquoise-winged Parrolett (Forpus spengeli) and the Large-billed Parrotlet (Forpus crassirostris) that were subspecies of the Blue-winged Parrotlet family.

Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psephotellus chrysopterygius) by Ian

Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psephotellus chrysopterygius) by Ian

In the new Psittaculidae – Old World Parrots Family they changed the genus of several birds:

Mulga Parrot (Psephotus varius) to (Psephotellus varius)
Hooded Parrot (Psephotus dissimilis) to (Psephotellus dissimilis)
Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius) to (Psephotellus chrysopterygius)
Paradise Parakeet (Psephotus pulcherrimus) to (Psephotellus pulcherrimus)

Purple-crowned Lorikeet (Parvipsitta porphyrocephala) WikiC

Purple-crowned Lorikeet (Parvipsitta porphyrocephala) WikiC

Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla) to (Parvipsitta pusilla)
Purple-crowned Lorikeet (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala) to (Parvipsitta porphyrocephala)

Cardinal Lory (Pseudeos cardinalis) Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay WikiC

Cardinal Lory (Pseudeos cardinalis) Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay WikiC

Cardinal Lory (Chalcopsitta cardinalis) to (Pseudeos cardinalis)

For now, that is about as far as I have gotten with the update. That was a major reshuffle which I plan to tell about in the next blog. Stay tuned!

The PSITTACIFORMES – Parrot Order

Strigopidae – New Zealand Parrots
Cacatuidae – Cockatoos
Psittacidae – African and New World Parrots
Psittaculidae – Old World Parrots

Gideon

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Goliath Imperial Pigeon

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Goliath Imperial Pigeon ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8/17/15

A characteristic sound of montane forests in New Caledonia is the far-carrying call of this splendid pigeon, the Goliath or New Caledonian Imperial Pigeon. The tone is similar to someone blowing in a (large) bottle but the rhythm accelerates like the sound of a table-tennis ball being dropped on a table. Needless to say, we started calling it the ping-pong pigeon. We first heard them in the dense forests of Rivière Bleue, but had trouble actually seeing any apart from one that flew off from feeding on Pandanus fruit. We eventually tracked this one through the forest and found it putting on a display.

Goliath Imperial Pigeon (Ducula goliath) by IanThe display is similar to that of the domestic pigeon, alternating between puffing out the crop to show the silvery-tipped bifurcated feathers to best advantage (first photo) and bowing (second photo). The head, upperparts and breast are a steely grey while the breast is a rich rufous colour and the vent pale. The iris is a vivid orange red. With a length of up to 51cm/20in and weighing up to 720g/1.6lb, this is a huge pigeon, which unfortunately makes it good to eat. For comparison the Torresian (Pied) Imperial Pigeon of northern and northeastern Australia measures up to 44cm in length and 550g in weight.

Goliath Imperial Pigeon (Ducula goliath) by Ian

It is endemic to the main island of New Caledonia (Grande Terre) and the Isle of Pines. The population has suffered from habitat loss and hunting, so it remains common only in protected areas and is currently listed as Near Threatened. After our hard work finding it in Rivière Bleue we were amused to find one on perched in the open on a power line beside the road to Mount Koghi two days later, third photo. We also heard several and photographed one at Les Grandes Fougères.

Goliath Imperial Pigeon (Ducula goliath) by Ian

The subject of each bird of the week is usually a species that hasn’t featured previously. This tends to mean that I don’t get to share with you new photos of previous subjects. So I’ve decided to include random photos from time to time, such as this one of a Noisy Pitta. I was contacted by a neighbour recently with a wonderful, well-watered garden in which this Pitta has recently taken up residence. Pittas are such beautiful birds and I like this photo because of the way the bird is framed by the leaves behind it.

Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor) by Ian

Greetings,
Ian

P.S. (Be warned: this is a commercial break!) Did you know that some ebook sellers provide facilities of giving book as gifts. Maybe you know someone who would enjoy Where to Find Birds in Northeastern Queensland ($13.20 to $22). Kobo books has ebook readers from most devices and computer so check out their page on gifts. With Kobo you go to this page first and then browse for the item you want to give. With Apple iPads and iPhones, you find the item first e.g. Where to Find Birds on Northeastern Queensland in the iTunes Store and then select the Share icon at top right and select Gift:

COL-Colu Goliath Imperial Pigeon (Ducula goliath) by Ian AD

I haven’t found a similar facility in the iTunes store accessed from an Apple computer (the share icon is peculiar to iOS). You can however give gift cards with suggestions from iTunes, Google Play and Kobo.

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Victoria Crowned Pigeon by Dan at National Aviary

Victoria Crowned Pigeon by Dan at National Aviary

Lee’s Addition:

And a champion went out of the camp of the Philistines named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [almost ten feet]. (1 Samuel 17:4 AMP)

We have seen the Victoria Crowned Pigeons at Zoos and they are typically 73 to 75 cm (29 to 30 in) long. Ian’s 51cm/20in Goliath Imperial Pigeon is not too far behind. The well-known rock dove is 29 to 37 cm (11 to 15 in) long, for comparison.  However you look at it, they are quite big. One source mentioned that the Goliaths are very strong flyers.

That is also a great photo of the Noisy Pitta. Thanks, Ian for sharing your photos with us each week (or whenever).

Ian’s Bird of the Week newsletters

Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves Family

Wordless Birds

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Sunday Inspiration – Bulbuls

White-eared (Cheeked) Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis) at Zoo Miami by Lee

White-eared (Cheeked) Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis) at Zoo Miami by Lee

 Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; For He is coming to judge the earth. O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (1 Chronicles 16:33-34 NASB)

Bulbuls are a family, Pycnonotidae, of medium-sized passerine songbirds. Many forest species are known as greenbuls, brownbuls, leafloves, bristlebills, finchbills and  a Malia. The family is distributed across most of Africa and into the Middle East, tropical Asia to Indonesia, and north as far as Japan. A few insular species occur on the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean There are 151 species in around 28 genera. While some species are found in most habitats, overall African species are predominantly found in rainforest whilst rainforest species are rare in Asia, instead preferring more open areas.

Collared Finchbill by Dan at Zoo Miami

Bulbuls are short-necked slender passerines. The tails are long and the wings short and rounded. In almost all species the bill is slightly elongated and slightly hooked at the end. They vary in length from 13 cm for the tiny greenbul to 29 cm in the straw-headed bulbul. Overall the sexes are alike, although the females tend to be slightly smaller. In a few species the differences are so great that they have been described as functionally different species. The soft plumage of some species is colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throat or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Species with dull coloured eyes often sport contrasting eyerings. Some have very distinct crests. Bulbuls are highly vocal, with the calls of most species being described as nasal or gravelly. One author described the song of the brown-eared bulbul as “the most unattractive noises made by any bird”

Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice (Psalms 96:12 KJV)

Maybe in the case of that brown-eared bulbul, this verse would be more appropriate:

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. (Psalms 98:4 KJV)

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“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” ~ played by Megan Fee and Jill Foster

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

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More Sunday Inspirations

Pycnonotidae – Bulbuls Family

Bulbul – Wikipedia

Falling Plates

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Taking A Ride

Blackbird on a Hawk's Back ©Dept of Interior

Blackbird on a Hawk’s Back ©Dept of Interior

Terrors shall make him afraid on every side and shall chase him at his heels. (Job 18:11 AMP)

Here we go again with a smaller bird attacking a larger bird. This time a Red-winged Blackbird is on a Hawk’s back.

See Rare Picture: Blackbird “Rides” Hawk. from Focusing on Wildlife.

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Crow Versus Eagle, Free Ride Instead

Woodpecker With A Weasel On It’s Back

Birds of the Bible – Get Off My Back

Wordless Birds

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Golden Eagle Returns After Long Voyage Around The World

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Flying ©WikiC3

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Flying ©WikiC3

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of GOLD in pictures of SILVER.” (Proverbs 25:11)” 

Golden Eagle ©PD

Golden Eagle ©PD

Someone once told me to read one of the Proverbs each day for a month. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, and that way we can read the Book of Proverbs 12 times during the year. You know, boys and girls, Solomon wrote about 3000 proverbs and he was the wisest man who ever lived (not counting Jesus, of course). Solomon was wiser than the wisest owl they tell me. Try reading a chapter each day and before you know it, you will gain some of Solomon’s wisdom.

Anyways, I just love the verse about apples and gold and silver. Why it reminds me delicious food and color and valuable metals. Everything that God created, He created for the benefit of you and me. He got this world ready in six literal 24 hour days and then God rested on the 7th day. He calls that day, the Sabbath. The word simply means “rest.” After my journey around the world, I can tell you that I need to rest and rest and rest some more. Don’t you just love to stay in your room where it is cold and dark and rest? Hey, why not get in your room and curl up with the best Book on this planet. This Bible came from another world. Did you know that? Look at this next Bible verse:

“For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in Heaven.” (Psalm 119:89)” The Bible came from Heaven and it’s going to be around forever!!!

The Bible starts off with these words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) God created time: “In the beginning.” That’s almost like baseball: In the big inning. (Yes, I was trying to make a joke) God created space: “heaven” and God created matter: “the earth.” That’s was this Universe is comprised of: time and space and matter. So cool…

In the weeks ahead, I will share with you guys some of the amazing things I enjoyed on my journey around the world. One of the things I really enjoy is food. I love to eat. How about you? Did you know that God created green plants with the ability to make their own food. The scientists call this photo, photosynthesis or something like that. The green plants, with chlorophyll, can somehow use the light from the sun to make starch and sugar and stuff like that. I just love to eat.

Of course, if I eat too much I will get big like the ostrich. Those birds are so heavy, they cannot fly anywhere. I don’t want to be known as the huge eagle that can’t get off the ground. Well, boys and girls, I am going to leave my nest for a short while and find something to eat. The Creator God of the Bible has created me with eyes that can see very far away. Until next time, Golden Eagle says God bless you everyone and have a fun, filled, fantastic day. This is after all, Saturday, where i am off for my next feast. See ya!!!

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Lee’s Addition:

Golden Eagle, a.k.a., Baron B., is beginning a new blog called Bibleworld Adventures, Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver. We have been helping him set up his new “nest” and he will now post under the name “Golden Adventures.”

He will not only continue the Golden Eagle articles for the younger people, but will also be writing articles about the Bible, Birds, Creation Science, History, and the Kid’s Corner where the Golden Eagle  adventures can be found.

More Golden Eagle articles at his new site.

We wish him well in his new adventure and look forward to sharing his Golden Eagle articles with you here. The fact that Golden Eagle is a bird, I have had the privilege of teaching how to blog. Birds don’t even know how to hold a pencil, let alone know how to type. That big beak of his does work okay on the keys though. As Golden Eagle, “learns the ropes,” we will help him and not desert him.

Lord Bless you, Baron, (a.k.a. Golden Eagle) as you venture in to the world of blogging.

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Bibleworld Adventures

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Sunday Inspiration – Larks

Singing Bush Lark (Mirafra cantillans) by Nikhil Devassar

Singing Bush Lark (Mirafra cantillans) by Nikhil Devassar

The Lark family has 97 members which are busy doing what the Lord commanded them  to when they left the Ark:

Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.(Genesis 8:15-19 NKJV)

Larks are passerine birds of the family Alaudidae. All species occur in the Old World, and in northern and eastern Australia. Only one, the Horned Lark, is native to North America. Habitats vary widely, but many species live in dry regions.

They have more elaborate calls than most birds, and often extravagant songs given in display flight (Kikkawa 2003). These melodious sounds (to human ears), combined with a willingness to expand into anthropogenic habitats — as long as these are not too intensively managed — have ensured larks a prominent place in literature and music, especially the Eurasian Skylark in northern Europe and the Crested Lark and Calandra Lark in southern Europe.

Personally, these Larks look very similar to Sparrows, which are very common.

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. (Matthew 10:29 NKJV)

Larks, commonly consumed with bones intact, have historically been considered wholesome, delicate, and light game. Yet. Traditionally larks are kept as pets in China. In Beijing, larks are taught to mimic the voice of other songbirds and animals. It is an old-fashioned habit of the Beijingers to teach their larks 13 kinds of sounds in a strict order (called “the 13 songs of a lark”, Chinese: 百灵十三套). The larks that can sing the full 13 sounds in the correct order are highly valued. (Info from Wikipedia)

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“His Eye Is On The Sparrow ” – by Kathy Lisby, Faith Baptist Church
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Sunday Inspirations

Alaudidae – Larks Family

Larks – Wikipedia

Sharing The Gospel

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-bellied Robin/Flyrobin

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-bellied Robin ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8-7-15

If your familiar with Australian birds you might assume – initially – that this photo was taken in an Australian rainforest, though you might have trouble pinning down the actual species.

Yellow-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca or Eopsaltria flaviventis) by Ian

Its dumpy shape and short tail suggested strongly to me the Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasio capito) of coastal eastern Australia, second photo, but the colour pattern on the breast is more like the Western Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria griseogularis) of coastal southwestern Australia (no photo, sorry). It’s behaviour was very like that of the Pale-yellow Robin, often perching at precipitous angles on steep branches on the vertical trunks of trees.

Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasia capito) by Ian

In fact I assumed that it was in the same genus as the Pale-Yellow (Tregellasio) and was surprised the find later that it was either in the same genus as the Eastern and Western Yellow Robins (Eopsaltria) or in the process of being moved to Microeca, the genus that includes the Jacky Winter, the Lemon-bellied and Yellow-legged Flycatchers or Flyrobins as the purists would have, being Australasian Robins. The reason for the move is based on genetic studies (Loynes et al , 2007).

Yellow-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca or Eopsaltria flaviventis) by Ian

The fourth photo shows the Lemon-bellied Flycatcher/Flyrobin for comparison; it featured as bird of the week almost exactly ten years ago.

Lemon-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca flavigaster) by Ian

When we were in New Caledonia, I was intrigued by the call of the Yellow-bellied (Fly)robin. It didn’t sound like the Pale-yellow Robin or the any of the Yellow Robins, all of which have rather monotonous repeated calls. The Yellow-bellied sounded rather like the rhythmic ‘squeaky bicycle wheel’ songs of the unrelated Gerygones. It does, however, sound rather like that of the Lemon-bellied Flycatcher/Flyrobin, however, which supports the genetic analysis and the subsequent taxonomic switch. If you want to compare them, you can do so here http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Microeca-flavigaster and http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Microeca-flaviventris.

Both these web pages show distribution maps, so it would be interesting to speculate whether the ancestors of the Yellow-bellied got to New Caledonia from New Guinea or from Australia. Either way they’d either have had to do some island hopping or got carried across by one of the many cyclones that track from east to west across the southwestern Pacific.

Yellow-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca or Eopsaltria flaviventis) by Ian

Anyway, enough about taxonomy and back to the original point about similarities between the birds of Australia and those of New Caledonia. So far, the birds of the week have dealt with the more unusual ones that represent either families (the Kagu) or genera (Horned Parakeet, Crow Honeyeater) not found in Australia. Most of the other endemic species have counterparts in the same genus in Australia. That had its own fascination coming across familiar-looking but different species but we were left in no doubt that we were still in the Australasian ecozone. To handle this on the Birdway website, the original Australian section – which became Australia and New Zealand after 2012 – is now becoming the Australasian section and I’ve put a map of the ecozone on the home page to support this.

I’ve more or less finished putting the New Caledonian bird photos on the website: http://www.birdway.com.au/index.htm#updates. Here are links to some species with Australian counterparts that probably won’t feature as bird of the week that may be of interest:

Greetings
Ian

P.S. (Be warned: this is a commercial break!) If you’ve ever been to Northern Queensland, might ever go there or are interested in the region (who couldn’t be?) then your life isn’t complete without the ebook Where to Find Birds in Northeastern Queensland. The price ranges from AUD13.22 on Google Play to AUD22.00 in the Apple iTunes Store.

**************************************************
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern QueenslandiTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

What an adorable little Flyrobin. As Ian said, the name Robin or Flyrobin is in flux. When I check the I.O.C. list, which is what this blog uses, the Microeca flavivetris is called the Yellow-bellied Flyrobin.

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. (Genesis 2:19-20 NKJV)

Wonder is Adam kept changing the names.? While checking out the I.O.C., I realized that the new 5.3 version is out. Guess I’ll have to start updating the site again. :) or maybe it is :(

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Birdway Site

Good News

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