Two-barred Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera)(White-winged) by Raymond Barlow
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)
Thought you might enjoy a Christmas post from the past. (2012)
Today I am doing something a little different. Instead of a song, there is a short Christmas message from my pastor. This was given during the Camel Lot Christmas Musical that we had in 2012. It applies for today, as well. Listen to Pastor Nathan Osborne III as you watch some of the Lord Jesus Christ’s creation among the birds.
The birth of the Jesus, His death on the cross and His resurrection are all a part of Christmas.
Our Pastor at the Christmas Camel Lot Musical – 2012
(Started adding Christmas colored birds, but then added newer photos from this year.)
The Frigatebirds belong to the Fregatidae Family and only have one genus, the Fregata. There are five species, the Ascension, Christmas, Magnificent, Great, and the Lesser Frigatebirds.
Frigatebirds (also listed as “frigate bird”, “frigate-bird”, “frigate”, frigate-petrel”) are found across all tropical and subtropical oceans. The five extant species are classified in a single genus, Fregata. All have predominantly black plumage, long, deeply forked tails and long hooked bills. Females have white underbellies and males have a distinctive red gular pouch, which they inflate during the breeding season to attract females. Their wings are long and pointed and can span up to 2.3 metres (7.5 ft), the largest wing area to body weight ratio of any bird.
Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) immature by Ian
Able to soar for weeks on wind currents, frigatebirds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night. Their main prey are fish and squid, caught when chased to the water surface by large predators such as tuna. Frigatebirds are referred to as kleptoparasites as they occasionally rob other seabirds for food, and are known to snatch seabird chicks from the nest. Seasonally monogamous, frigatebirds nest colonially. A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands. A single egg is laid each breeding season. The duration of parental care is among the longest of any bird species; frigatebirds are only able to breed every other year.
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) by W Kwong
The Gannets and Boobies make up the Sulidae Family. The bird family Sulidae comprises the gannets and boobies. Collectively called sulids, they are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish and similar prey. However, Sula (true boobies) and Morus (gannets) can be readily distinguished by morphological and behavioral and DNA sequence characters. Abbott’s booby (PapaIt appears to be a distinct and ancient lineage, maybe closer to the gannets than to the true boobies. There are 10 species. The Morus genus has three species, the Northern, Cape and Australasian Gannets.
Abbott’s Booby (Papasula abbotti) by Ian
The Papasula genus consists of only the Abbott’s Booby.
Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) by Bob-Nan
The rest of the Boobies are in the Sula genus. They are the Blue-footed Booby [a favorite], Peruvian Booby, Masked Booby, Nazca Booby, Red-footed Booby [another favorite], and the Brown Booby. [Wikipedia, with editing]
“Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” (Psalms 17:5 KJV)
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) at National Aviary by Dan
I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. (Psalms 102:6 NKJV)
Previously, it was mentioned that some bird families have already been featured on the Sunday Inspirations. The next family includes the Herons and Bitterns. It is the Ardeidae, and it was covered in these two articles written in 2014:
Today we will finish up the Pelicaniformes Order, which included the Ibises and Spoonbills [Threskiornithidae], the Herons and Bitterns [Ardeidae], and now today with; the Hamerkop (1) with only one species in the Scopidae family, the Shoebill (1) in the Balaenicipitidae Family, and the Pelicans (8) in the Pelecanidae Family.
[Because this is being scheduled in advance, Lord willing, my back surgery will be performed on this Tuesday, the 20th. Your prayers will be greatly welcome. It will be a 4-5 hour surgery. I think.]
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) by Africaddict
The Hamerkop, have been a favorite of mine ever since we saw our first one at the National Aviary in Pittsburg, PA. When its head feathers are out, the head looks like a hammer. They also seemed rather tame walking around in the aviary.
Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) by Daves BirdingPix
The Shoebill is another favorite. We have these at the Lowry Park Zoo, in Tampa. I keep trying to get a decent photo, but I have to shoot through a fence. Though, the fence is nice to have between us. He is a nice bird, but that look can be intimidating. :) Here is a close-up taken through the fence.
Shoebill by Lee – Closeup
Living in Florida, we all see Pelicans quite frequently, even inland. The White Pelicans land at many of our lakes, and several years ago, over 5,000 landed at Circle B Reserve in Lakeland, Florida, for a month or so. I’ve shown this video before but thought it fit here again. I was so excited by all of them arriving to land just behind where Dan and I were standing. My utter amazement shows. [along with poor English]
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV)
Brown Pelican with fish and Laughing Gull
Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that makes up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the brown and Peruvian pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America as well as from polar regions and the open ocean.
White Pelicans by Lee over Circle B Reserve
Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. They are gregarious birds, travelling in flocks, hunting cooperatively and breeding colonially. Four white-plumaged species tend to nest on the ground, and four brown or grey-plumaged species nest mainly in trees
“God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
(2 Samuel 22:33-34 KJV)”
“and for a long time birds and hedgehogs, and ibises and ravens shall dwell in it: and the measuring line of desolation shall be cast over it, and satyrs shall dwell in it. (Isaiah 34:11 Brenton)”
The family Threskiornithidae includes 34 species of large wading birds. The family has been traditionally classified into two subfamilies, the ibises and the spoonbills; however recent genetic studies are casting doubt on the arrangement and revealing the spoonbills to be nested within the ibises.
Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) by Ian
Members of the family have long, broad wings with 11 primary feathers and about 20 secondaries. They are strong fliers and, rather surprisingly, given their size and weight, very capable soarers. The body tends to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. They are large birds, but mid-sized by the standards of their order, ranging from the dwarf olive ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), at 45 cm (18 in) and 450 g (0.99 lb), to the giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea), at 100 cm (39 in) and 4.2 kg (9.3 lb).
They are distributed almost worldwide, being found near almost any area of standing or slow-flowing fresh or brackish water. Ibises are also found in drier areas, including landfills.
All ibises are diurnal; spending the day feeding on a wide range of invertebrates and small vertebrates: ibises by probing in soft earth or mud, spoonbills by swinging the bill from side to side in shallow water. At night, they roost in trees near water. They are gregarious, feeding, roosting, and flying together, often in formation.
African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) by Lee at LPZoo
Threskiornis is a genus of ibises, wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the Old World in southern Asia, nest in a tree or bush and lay two to four eggs. They occur in marshy wetlands and feed on various fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects. The species in this genus are the; African sacred ibis, T. aethiopicus, Malagasy sacred ibis, T. bernieri, Reunion ibis T. solitarius (extinct), Black-headed ibis, T. melanocephalus, Australian white ibis, T. moluccus, Solomons white ibis, T. m. pygmaeus, and theStraw-necked ibis, T. spinicollis.
The bird genus Pseudibis consists of two South-East Asian species in the ibis subfamily, Threskiornithinae. The giant ibis is also sometimes placed in this genus. Red-naped Ibis, Pseudibis papillosa andWhite-shouldered Ibis, Pseudibis davisoni. The white-shouldered ibis is critically endangered.
Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus) by Dan at Lowry Park Zoo
The small bird genus Geronticus belongs to the ibis subfamily (Threskiornithinae). Its name is derived from the Greek gérontos (γέρωντος, “old man”) in reference to the bald head of these dark-plumaged birds; in English, they are called bald ibises.
Geronticus contains two living species. The northern bald ibis (G. eremita) has a neck crest of elongated feathers. It is a Critically Endangered species found around the Mediterranean. Its range had expanded after the last glacial period to the Alps of Germany and even a bit further north, but it was rendered extinct there mainly due to habitat destruction and unsustainable hunting. The southern bald ibis (G. calvus) with a red crown patch but no crest is classified as Vulnerable and is found in subtropical southern Africa.
Nipponia– The crested ibis (Nipponia nippon), also known as the Japanese crested ibis or toki (トキ?), variously written in kanji as 朱鷺, 鴇, 鵇 or 鴾, and written in hanzi as 朱䴉 or 朱鷺, is a large (up to 78.5 cm (30.9 in) long), white-plumaged ibis of pine forests. Its head is partially bare, showing red skin, and it has a dense crest of white plumes on the nape. This species is the only member of the genus Nipponia.
Bostrychia is a genus of ibises in the family Threskiornithidae. Member species are found in many countries throughout Africa.
It contains the following five species:Wattled ibis (Bostrychia carunculata), Hadada ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), Olive ibis (Bostrychia olivacea), São Tomé ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), Spot-breasted ibis (Bostrychia rara)
Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus) by Dario Sanches
Theristicus is a genus of birds in the family Threskiornithidae. They are found in open, grassy habitats in South America. All have a long, decurved dark bill, relatively short reddish legs that do not extend beyond the tail in flight (unlike e.g. Eudocimus and Plegadis), and at least the back is grey. They are the Plumbeous ibis, Theristicus caerulescens, Buff-necked ibis, Theristicus caudatus, Black-faced ibis, Theristicus melanopis, Andean ibis, Theristicus branickii,
Mesembrinibis– The green ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), also known as the Cayenne ibis, is a wading bird in the ibis family Threskiornithidae. It is the only member of the genus Mesembrinibis.
This is a resident breeder from Honduras through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama, and South America to northern Argentina. It undertakes some local seasonal movements in the dry season.
Bare-faced Ibis (Phimosus infuscatus) by Robert Scanlon
Phimosus – The bare-faced ibis (Phimosus infuscatus), also known as the whispering ibis, is a species of bird in the family Threskiornithidae, in the monotypic genus Phimosus.
It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is swamps. The Bare-faced Ibis is either dark brown or a blackish color. It is called the Bare-faced Ibis because it does not have any feathers on its face. It has a long Decurved bill that’s pinkish to reddish brown. The skin on its face is usually a reddish color and it also has long orangely colored beak with pink legs. The total length of the ibis ranges between 45 and 50 cm.
Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) by Dan at LPZoo
Eudocimus is a genus of ibises, wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the New World with representatives from the southern United States south through Central America, the West Indies, and South America.
There are just two species in this genus, American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) and Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) by Dan’s Pix
Plegadis is a bird genus in the family Threskiornithidae. The genus name derives from Ancient Greek plegados, “sickle”, referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Member species are found on every continent except Antarctica as well as a number of islands. The glossy ibis is easily the most widespread of the three species. Plegadis contains the following three species: Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus, , White-faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi, Puna Ibis, Plegadis ridgwayi.
Lophotibis– The Madagascan ibis (Lophotibis cristata), also known as the Madagascar crested ibis, white-winged ibis or crested wood ibis, is a medium-sized (approximately 50 cm long), brown-plumaged ibis. It has bare red orbital skin, yellow bill, red legs, white wings and its head is partially bare with a dense crest of green or gloss blue and white plumes on the nape. The Madagascan Ibis is the only member of the genus Lophotibis.
Roseate Spoonbill at Flamingo Gardens by Lee
Platalea– Spoonbills are a group of large, long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae, which also includes the ibises. The genus name platalea derives from Latin and means “broad”, referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Six species are recognised, all either placed in a single genus or three genera. They are most closely related to the Old World ibises; Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor, African Spoonbill Platalea alba, Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia, Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes, and our local Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja.
All spoonbills have large, flat, spatulate bills and feed by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partly opened bill from side to side. The moment any small aquatic creature touches the inside of the bill—an insect, crustacean, or tiny fish—it is snapped shut. Spoonbills generally prefer fresh water to salt but are found in both environments. They need to feed many hours each day.
“And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:21-23 KJV)
“Where the birds make their nests; The stork has her home in the fir trees.” (Psalms 104:17 NKJV)
Wow! While searching through the index of this blog, I realized that the “Sunday Inspiration” was started in January of 2014. I had no idea it has been that long ago. Also, I realized that we are just about back to where it began. Over the last three and a half years, you have been exposed to almost every family of birds in the world. They were randomly produced, then the Taxonomic order was begun with the Passerines, Singing and Perching Birds. It was finished up and then we started through taxonomically several months ago. Do you have any idea of the numbers of avian wonders that you have have been exposed to? Neither do I. :)
Currently, there are 10,681 species named with I.O.C., plus all the subspecies. I trust as you have seen their photos and listened to Christian music in the background, that it has been more pleasant than looking through guide books. :)
All of this has been said to let you know that if the “Sunday Inspiration” starts skipping over certain families, then it was already covered. The links to the skipped over ones will be listed. Most of you, like me, probably had no idea of what order the birds are listed in. We have all been learning as we have produced these Inspirations in order.
Marabou Stork LP Zoo by Lee
Storks are members of the Ciconiidae family and the only family in the Ciconiiformes Order. Storks are large to very large waterbirds. They range in size from the marabou, which stands 152 cm (60 in) tall and can weigh 8.9 kg (20 lb) the Abdim’s stork, which is only 75 cm (30 in) high and only weighs 1.3 kg (2.9 lb). Their shape is superficially similar to the herons, with long legs and necks, but they are heavier-set. There is some sexual dimorphism (differences between males and females) in size, with males being up to 15% bigger than females in some species (for example the saddle-billed stork), but almost no difference in appearance. The only difference is in the colour of the iris of the two species in the genus Ephippiorhynchus.
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) by Ian
The bills of the storks are large to very large, and vary considerably between the genera. The shape of the bills is linked to the diet of the different species. The large bills of the Ciconia storks are the least specialised. Larger are the massive and slightly upturned bills of the Ephippiorhynchus and the jabiru. These have evolved to hunt for fish in shallow water. Larger still are the massive daggers of the two adjutants and marabou (Leptoptilos), which are used to feed on carrion and in defence against other scavengers, as well as for taking other prey. The long, ibis-like downcurved bills of the Mycteria storks have sensitive tips that allow them to detect prey by touch (tactilocation) where cloudy conditions would not allow them to see it. The most specialised bills of any storks are those of the two openbills (Anastomus.), which as their name suggested is open in the middle when their bill is closed.
Saddlebill Stork at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee
“Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)
The storks vary in their tendency towards migration. Temperate species like the white stork, black stork and Oriental stork undertake long annual migrations in the winter. The routes taken by these species have developed to avoid long distance travel across water, and from Europe, this usually means flying across the Straits of Gibraltar or east across the Bosphorus and through Israel and the Sinai. Studies of young birds denied the chance to travel with others of their species have shown that these routes are at least partially learnt, rather than being innate as they are in passerine migrants. Migrating black storks are split between those that make stopovers on the migration between Europe and their wintering grounds in Africa, and those that don’t.
The Abdim’s stork is another migrant, albeit one that migrates within the tropics. It breeds in northern Africa, from Senegal to the Red Sea, during the wet season, and then migrates to Southern Africa. Many species that aren’t regular migrants will still make smaller movements if circumstances require it; others may migrate over part of their range. This can also include regular commutes from nesting sites to feeding areas. Wood storks have been observed feeding 130 km (81 mi) from their colony. [Information from Wikipedia, with editing.]
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 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 8:37-39 KJV)
“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16:26 KJV)
As we continue through the taxonomic order of birds, we have come to two Orders that are small. The Phoenicopteriformes Order is made up of one family, the Flamingos. Our other Order is the Phaethontiformes, which has the Tropicbird family. There are only six birds in the first family and three in the other.
White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) by Ian
So, let’s go find out what the Lord Created these birds to appear like, and find out a little about them.
Flamingos are a type of wading bird in the genus Phoenicopterus (from Greek φοινικόπτερος meaning “purple wing”), the only genus in the family Phoenicopteridae. There are four flamingo species in the Americas and two species in the Old World.
Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other tucked beneath the body. The reason for this behavior is not fully understood. Recent research indicates that standing on one leg may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water. However, the behaviour also takes place in warm water. As well as standing in the water, flamingos may stamp their webbed feet in the mud to stir up food from the bottom. (Wikipedia with editing)
Red-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda) by Ian
Tropicbirds are a family, Phaethontidae, of tropical pelagic seabirds now classified in their own order Phaethontiformes. Their relationship to other living birds is unclear, and they appear to have no close relatives. There are three species in one genus, Phaethon. They have predominantly white plumage with elongated tail feathers and small feeble legs and feet.
Tropicbirds plumage is predominantly white, with elongated central tail feathers. The three species have different combinations of black markings on the face, back, and wings. Their bills are large, powerful and slightly decurved. Their heads are large and their necks are short and thick. They have totipalmate feet (that is, all four toes are connected by a web). The legs of a tropicbird are located far back on their body, making walking impossible so that they can only move on land by pushing themselves forward with their feet. (Wikipedia with editing)
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28 KJV)
“You Are the Everlasting God” ~ 3 Plus 1 Quartet – Faith Baptist
Trust you will enjoy a different Sunday Inspiration. A friend sent this and I wanted to share it, plus, I have been dealing with my back problem and am awaiting surgery. Thanks for understanding not using birds for a change.
“This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:23-24 KJV)
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8 KJV)
Pied-Billed Grebe at Lake Hollingsworth, Lakeland, FL by Dan
“The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.” (Psalms 111:2 KJV)
Our inspirations today come from the Podicipedidae Family, which is the only family in the Podicipediformes Order. All 23 species are called a Grebe. [This is a switch from many families.] Within the family there six genera: Tachybaptus (6), Podilymbus (2), Rollandia (2), Poliocephalus (2), Podiceps (9) and the Aechmophorus (2). Of these species, three have become extinct; the Alaotra Grebe, Atitlan Grebe, and the Colombian Grebe. “Grebes are a widely distributed order of freshwater diving birds, some of which visit the sea when migrating and in winter.”
As I start this article, we have only seen about three or four of these family members. The most popular in this area is the Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). All About Birds had these two “Cool Facts“:
“The Latin genus name for “grebe” means “feet at the buttocks”—an apt descriptor for these birds, whose feet are indeed located near their rear ends. This body plan, a common feature of many diving birds, helps grebes propel themselves through water. Lobed (not webbed) toes further assist with swimming. Pied-billed Grebes pay for their aquatic prowess on land, where they walk awkwardly.
Pied-billed Grebe [and other Grebe] chicks typically leave the nest the first day after hatching and spend much of their first week riding around on a parent’s back. They usually spend most of their first 3 weeks on or near the nest platform.”
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) by Ian 4
Grebes are small to medium-large in size, have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. Although they can run for a short distance, they are prone to falling over, since they have their feet placed far back on the body. Bills vary from short and thick to long and pointed, depending on the diet, which ranges from fish to freshwater insects and crustaceans. The feet are always large, with broad lobes on the toes and small webs connecting the front three toes. The hind toe also has a small lobe. Recent experimental work has shown that these lobes work like the hydrofoil blades of a propeller.
Grebes have narrow wings, and some species are reluctant to fly; indeed, two South American species are completely flightless. They respond to danger by diving rather than flying, and are in any case much less wary than ducks. Extant species range in size from the least grebe, at 120 grams (4.3 oz) and 23.5 cm (9.3 inches), to the great grebe, at 1.7 kg (3.8 lbs) and 71 cm (28 inches).
The North American and Eurasian species are all, of necessity, migratory over much or all of their ranges, and those species that winter at sea are also seen regularly in flight. Even the small freshwater pied-billed grebe of North America has occurred as a transatlantic vagrant to Europe on more than 30 occasions.
Tachybaptus is a genus of small members of the grebe family birds. The genus name is from Ancient Greek takhus “fast” and bapto “to sink under”. It has representatives over much of the world, including the tropics.
is a genus of birds in the Podicipedidae family, containing the extinct Atitlán grebe (Podilymbus gigas) and the pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps).The genus name is derived from Latin Podilymbus, a contraction of podicipes (“feet at the buttocks”, from podici-, “rump-” + pes, “foot”)—the origin of the name of the grebe order—and Ancient Greek kolymbos, “diver”.
Poliocephalus is a small genus of birds in the grebe family. Its two members are found in Australia and New Zealand. They are: Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) and New Zealand Grebe (Poliocephalus rufopectus).
Podiceps is a genus of birds in the grebe family. The genus name comes from Latin podicis, “vent” and pes, “foot”, and is a reference to the placement of a grebe’s legs towards the rear of its body.It has representatives breeding in Europe, Asia, North, and South America. Most northern hemisphere species migrate in winter to the coast or warmer climates.
Aechmophorus is a genus of birds in the grebe family. It has two living representatives breeding in western North America; the Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii).
The western grebe has a straight bill with a dull green-yellow color as opposed to the Clark’s grebe, which has a slightly upturned, bright orange-yellow bill. In both species the male has a longer and deeper bill than that of the female, making it a distinguishing feature. All species of grebes display the pattern of lobed feet. A tough skin surrounds each toe separately, providing more surface area for effective swimming. This form increases the power of propulsion per stroke and reduces drag when the bird is recovering.
Western and Clark’s grebes take part in a courtship display known as mate feeding. This occurs regularly between a mated pair during the period prior to hatching of nestlings. In both species mate feeding appears to peak shortly before egg laying and involves the male providing large quantities of food to the begging female. Pairs will also engage in a spectacular display, by rearing up and “rushing” across the surface of the water side by side, making a loud pattering sound with their feet.
“He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.” (Psalms 111:4 KJV)
“The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.” (Psalms 93:4 KJV)
Today’s Sunday Inspiration will bring us through the last 49 members of the Procellariidae Family. These include Petrels in the Pseudobulweria (5), Procellaria (5), and Bulweria (3) genera, plus 4 Diving Petrels in the Pelecanoides genus. The final group of Shearwaters are in the Calonectris (4), Ardenna (7), and Puffinus (21) genera
Tahitian Petrel (Pseudobulweria rostrata) by Ian
“The Pseudobulweria are generally largish darkish petrels, but may have white undersides. They are long-winged and fly about with rather leisurely wingbeats and soar a lot. Though they are attracted by chum, Pseudobulweria petrels are not particularly prone to following ships. They often approach floating prey from downwind, picking it up without landing on the water or during a brief landing in which the wings are kept raised.”
What an amazing Creator these Avian Wonders have to provide so much for them. “Procellaria is a member of the family Procellariidae and the order Procellariiformes. As members of Procellariiformes, they share certain characteristics. First they have tubular nostrils called naricorns. This feature gives them their common name, tubenoses. The opening to the nostril is located differently in some birds. These birds have the opening on top of the upper bill. Second, they produce a stomach oil that contains wax esters and triglycerides. This oil fills two functions. When predators threaten the birds or their chick or egg, they spit the substance on them. This substance has an awful smell, and mats the feathers down, degrading their usefulness. Also, they can digest the wax esters for a high energy source of food, during long flights or the period of time that they are incubating their egg or caring for their young. They also have a uniquely structured bill, with seven to nine distinct horny plates. Finally, they have a salt gland that is located above their nasal passages and helps desalinate their body, as they drink seawater. They excrete the salty waste out their nose.” [Quote from Wikipedia, bolding mine]
Calonectris is a genus of seabirds. The genus name comes from Ancient Greek kalos, “good” and nectris, “swimmer”. Calonectris shearwaters are long-distance migrants. The genus comprises three large shearwaters. There are two other shearwater genera. Puffinus, which comprises about twenty small to medium-sized shearwaters, and Procellaria with another four large species. The latter are usually named as petrels, although they are thought to be more closely related to the shearwaters than to the other petrels.
The species in this group are long-winged birds, dark brown or grey-brown above, and mainly white below. They are pelagic outside the breeding season. They are most common in temperate and cold waters. These tubenose birds fly with stiff wings, and use a shearing flight technique to move across wave fronts with the minimum of active flight. Their flight appears more albatross-like than the Puffinus species.
Ardenna is a genus of seabirds that “comprises a group medium-sized shearwaters. The species were for a long time included in the genus Puffinus but this genus was split based on the results of a phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA. The genus had been introduced by Ludwig Reichenbach in 1853, although the name was first used to refer to a seabird by Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi in 1603.”
Puffinus – “The species in this group are long-winged birds, dark brown or black above, and white to dark brown below. They are pelagic outside the breeding season. They are most common in temperate and cold waters. These tubenose birds fly with stiff wings, and use a shearing flight technique to move across wave fronts with the minimum of active flight. Some small species, such as the Manx shearwater, are cruciform in flight, with their long wings held directly out from their bodies.
Many are long-distance migrants, perhaps most spectacularly the sooty and short-tailed shearwaters, which perform migrations of 14,000 km or more each year. Puffinus shearwaters come to islands and coastal cliffs only to breed. They are nocturnal at the colonial breeding sites, preferring moonless nights to minimise predation. They nest in burrows and often give eerie contact calls on their night-time visits. They lay a single white egg.”
Common Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix) by Daves BirdingPix
Diving Petrels in the Pelecanoides
The diving petrels are seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes. There are four very similar species all in the family Procellariidae and genus Pelecanoides (Lacépède, 1799), distinguished only by small differences in the coloration of their plumage and their bill construction. They are only found in the Southern Hemisphere.
Diving petrels are auk-like small petrels of the southern oceans. The resemblances with the auks are due to convergent evolution, since both families feed by pursuit diving, although some researchers have in the past suggested that the similarities are due to relatedness. Among the Procellariiformes the diving petrels are the family most adapted to life in the sea rather than flying over it, and are generally found closer inshore than other families in the order.
“Bulweria is a genus of seabirds in the family Procellariidae named after English naturalist James Bulwer. The genus has two extant species, Bulwer’s petrel (B. bulwerii) and Jouanin’s petrel (B. fallax). A third species, the Olson’s petrel (Bulweria bifax), became extinct in the early 16th century; it is known only from skeletal remains. Bulwer’s Petrel ranges in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, whereas Joaunin’s Petrel is confined to the northwestern Indian Ocean. Olson’s Petrel is known from the Atlantic.”
[Most information from Wikipedia]
“The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.” (Psalms 50:1 KJV)
“Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:” (Psalms 148:7-10 KJV)
The Petrels in the Pterodroma genus has enough species to present them in their own post. Ian Montgomery, (Bird of the Week/Moment), has quite a few photos of this family on his Birdway Site.
“The gadfly petrels are seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes. The gadfly petrels are named for their speedy weaving flight as if evading horseflies. The flight action is also reflected in the genus name Pterodroma, from Ancient Greek pteron, “wing” and dromos, “runner”.
“These medium to large petrels feed on food items picked from the ocean surface.”
Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera) by Ian
“The short, sturdy bills of the Pterodroma species in this group, about 35 altogether, are adapted for soft prey taken at the surface; they have twisted intestines for digesting marine animals which have unusual biochemistries.”
White-headed Petrel (Pterodroma lessonii) by Ian
“Their complex wing and face marking are probably for interspecific recognition.”
“These birds nest in colonies on islands and are pelagic when not breeding. One white egg is laid usually in a burrow or on open ground. They are nocturnal at the breeding colonies.”
“While generally wide-ranging, most Pterodroma species are confined to a single ocean basin (e.g. Atlantic), and vagrancy is not as common amongst Pterodromas as it is in some other seabird species (c.f. the Storm-Petrels Hydrobatidae).” (Information from Wikipedia)
“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalms 150:1-6 KJV)
“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21 NKJV)
The Procellariidae – Petrels, Shearwaters Family contains more than those two species of birds. You will be introduced to Giant Petrels, Diving Petrels, Petrels, Fulmars, Prions, and Shearwaters. The previous Petrels families shown were Storm Petrels (Oceanitidae and Hydrobatidae), and the Albatross (Diomedeidae) family also was presented. These four families make up the Procellariiformes Order. This Procellariidae group, being the largest, will take several weeks to be able to cover.
From Wikipedia – “The family Procellariidae is a group of seabirds that comprises the fulmarine petrels, the gadfly petrels, the prions, and the shearwaters. This family is part of the bird order Procellariiformes (or tubenoses), which also includes the albatrosses, the storm petrels, and the diving petrels.
Northern Giant Petrel head close-up by Daves BirdingPix
The procellariids are the most numerous family of tubenoses, and the most diverse. They range in size from the giant petrels, which are almost as large as the albatrosses, to the prions, which are as small as the larger storm petrels. They feed on fish, squid and crustacea, with many also taking fisheries discards and carrion. All species are accomplished long-distance foragers, and many undertake long trans-equatorial migrations. They are colonial breeders, exhibiting long-term mate fidelity and site philopatry. In all species, each pair lays a single egg per breeding season. Their incubation times and chick-rearing periods are exceptionally long compared to other birds.
Many procellariids have breeding populations of over several million pairs; others number fewer than 200 birds. Humans have traditionally exploited several species of fulmar and shearwater (known as muttonbirds) for food, fuel, and bait, a practice that continues in a controlled fashion today. Several species are threatened by introduced species attacking adults and chicks in breeding colonies and by long-line fisheries.” (Wikipedia)
Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) by Ian
“Giant petrels form a genus, Macronectes, from the family Procellariidae, which consists of two species. They are the largest birds of this family. Both species are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere, and though their distributions overlap significantly, with both species breeding on the Prince Edward Islands, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Macquarie Island and South Georgia, many southern giant petrels nest further south, with colonies as far south as Antarctica. Giant petrels are aggressive predators and scavengers, inspiring another common name, the stinker. South Sea whalers used to call them gluttons.”
“The Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica) is a boldly marked dark brown and white petrel, found in Antarctica, most commonly in the Ross and Weddell seas. They eat Antarctic krill, fish, and small squid. They feed while swimming but can dive from both the surface and the air.”
Cape Petrel (Daption capense) by Ian
“The Cape petrel (Daption capense), also called the Cape pigeon, pintado petrel, or Cape fulmar is a common seabird of the Southern Ocean from the family Procellariidae. It is the only member of the genus Daption, and is allied to the fulmarine petrels, and the giant petrels. They are extremely common seabirds with an estimated population of around 2 million.”
“The snow petrel (Pagodroma nivea) is the only member of the genus Pagodroma. It is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica and has been seen at the geographic South Pole. It has the most southerly breeding distribution of any bird.
“The blue petrel (Halobaena caerulea) is a small seabird in the shearwater and petrel family Procellariidae. This small petrel is the only member of the genus Halobaena, but is closely allied to the prions.”
“Pachyptila is a genus of seabirds in the family Procellariidae and the order Procellariiformes. The members of this genus and the blue petrel form a sub-group called prions. They range throughout the southern hemisphere, often in the much cooler higher latitudes. Three species, the Broad-billed Prion (Pachyptila vittata), the Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) and the Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur), range into the subtropics.”
“The Kerguelen petrel (Aphrodroma brevirostris) is a small (36 cm long) slate-grey seabird. Kerguelen petrels breed colonially on remote islands; colonies are present on Gough Island in the Atlantic Ocean, and Marion Island, Prince Edward Island, Crozet Islands and Kerguelen Island in the Indian Ocean. The species attends its colonies nocturnally, breeding in burrows in wet soil. The burrows usually face away from the prevailing wind. A single egg is laid per breeding season; the egg is unusually round for the family. The egg is incubated by both parents for 49 days. After hatching the chick fledges after 60 days.”
[Quotes are from Wikipedia, with editing.]
“He alone spreads out the heavens, And treads on the waves of the sea;” (Job 9:8 NKJV)
“Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.” (Matthew 27:63 KJV)
“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.” (Mark 16:9-11 KJV)
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.” (Luke 24:36-40 KJV)
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18 KJV)
We trust you are celebrating the resurrection of Our Lord today. The Lord Jesus Christ’s ability to raise Himself from death could only happen because He, the Son of Man, was also the Son of God incarnate. He came to die for our sins by paying the ransom, and through His resurrection, we can have eternal life with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
“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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:16-21 KJV)
“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:6-7 KJV)
Lord Bless you as you reflect on what this day really represents. It is not about colored eggs, bunnies, or baskets of goodies. It is about God, in the person of Jesus Christ, coming in human form, totally man without sin. He came to die for you and me as payment for our sins. It’s a gift. A very costly gift. We all have a choice to receive this gift or to refuse it. It is up to us. Thankfully, I accepted that Gift of Salvation, 57 years ago on March 20th of 1960.