Sunday Inspiration – Whistlers and Avian Friends

Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) ©WikiC

Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) ©WikiC

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5 KJV)

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3 KJV)

Mohoua is a small genus of three bird species endemic to New Zealand. Their taxonomic placement has presented problems: They have typically been placed in the Pachycephalidae family (whistlers), but in 2013 it was established that they are best placed in their own family, Mohouidae.

All three species display some degree of sexual dimorphism in terms of size, with the males being the larger of the two sexes. Mohoua are gregarious and usually forage in groups . They also forage in mixed species flocks at times, frequently forming the nucleus of such flocks. Social organization and behavior is well documented for all three Mohoua species; cooperative breeding has been observed in all three species and is common in the Whitehead and Yellowhead. The three species of this genus are the sole hosts for the Long-tailed Cuckoo which acts as a brood parasite upon them, pushing their eggs out of the nest and laying a single one of its own in their place so that they take no part in incubation of their eggs or in raising their young.

Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) Male by Ian

Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) Male by Ian

The three Sittellas are in the Neosittidae family. are small passerines which resemble nuthatches in appearance.[1] The wings are long and broad, and when spread have clearly fingered tips. The family has a generally weak flight, which may explain their inability to colonize suitable habitat on islands like Tasmania. The legs are short but they have long toes, but in spite of their lifestyle they show little adaptation towards climbing. They have short tails and are between 10–14 cm in length and 8–20 g in weight, with the black sittella tending to be slightly larger and heavier. The bill is dagger shaped in the case of the black sittella and slightly upturned in the varied sittella. The plumage of the black sittella is mostly black with a red face; that of the varied sittella is more complex, with the numerous subspecies having many variations on the theme. The calls of sittellas are generally simple and uncomplicated. The sittellas are social and generally restless birds of scrub, forests and woodlands. In Australia they generally avoid only the dense rainforest, whereas in New Guinea this is the only habitat they inhabit, avoiding only lowland forest.

Wattled Ploughbill (Eulacestoma nigropectus) ©Drawing WikiC

Wattled Ploughbill (Eulacestoma nigropectus) ©Drawing WikiC

The Wattled Ploughbill is a small, approximately 14 cm long, olive-brown songbird with a strong, thick, wedge-shaped black bill, used to plough into dead tree branches, bark and twigs in search for its insects diet. The sexes are different. The male has black underparts, black wings and a large circular pink wattle on the cheek. The female has olive-green plumage and pale olive below. Only the adult male has wattles.

The only member of the monotypic genus Eulacestoma and family Eulacestomidae, the wattled ploughbill is distributed and endemic to central mountain ranges of New Guinea. The diet consists mainly of insects.

Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) ©WikiC

Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) ©WikiC

Oreoicidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds, formerly placed in the Old World warbler “wastebin” family. It contains 3 species, all in different genera. Rufous-naped Whistler, Crested Pitohui and Crested Bellbird.

Australian Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) by Ian

Australian Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) by Ian

The Whistler family has 56 species. The family Pachycephalidae, collectively the whistlers, includes the whistlers, shrikethrushes, shriketits, pitohuis and crested bellbird, and is part of the ancient Australo-Papuan radiation of songbirds. Its members range from small to medium in size, and occupy most of Australasia. Australia and New Guinea are the centre of their diversity, and in the case of the whistlers, the South Pacific islands as far as Tonga and Samoa and parts of Asia as far as India. The exact delimitation of boundaries of the family are uncertain.

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For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:8-10 KJV)

Listen to Dr. Richard Gregory sing as you watch these five beautifully created families of birds:

“The Love of God” ~ Dr. Richard Gregory

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World




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