Austral storm petrels, or southern storm petrels, are seabirds in the family Oceanitidae, part of the order Procellariiformes. These smallest of seabirds feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. Their flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
Austral storm petrels have a cosmopolitan distribution, being found in all oceans, although only Wilson’s storm-petrels are found in the northern hemisphere. They are almost all strictly pelagic, coming to land only when breeding.
Austral Storm Petrels are the smallest of all the seabirds, ranging in size from 15–26 cm in length. There are two body shapes in the family; the austral storm petrels have short wings, square tails, elongated skulls, and long legs. The legs of all storm petrels are proportionally longer than those of other Procellariiformes, but they are very weak and unable to support the bird’s weight for more than a few steps.
Like many seabirds, storm petrels will associate with other species of seabird and marine mammal species in order to help obtain food. It is theorized that they benefit from the actions of diving predators such as seals and penguins which push prey up towards the surface while hunting, allowing the surface feeding storm petrels to reach them.
Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm petrels and diving petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there and occasional vagrants are found. Albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) have the largest wingspans of any extant birds, reaching up to 3.7 metres (12 feet). The albatrosses are usually regarded as falling into four genera, but there is disagreement over the number of species.
Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of “ritualised dances”, and will last for the life of the pair. A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt. A Laysan albatross, named Wisdom, on Midway Island is recognised as the oldest wild bird in the world; she was first banded in 1956 by Chandler Robbins.
[Information from Wikipedia, with editing]
“As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.” (Isaiah 31:5 KJV)
“I Am Determined to Live for the King” ~ Three-Plus-One Quartet – Faith Baptist
Now here’s a combination for you. We finished up that large five family Galliformes Order last Sunday, and today we have two Orders with only one family each. Both of those families are small in number. The Loons and Penguins are not related, but they do both have the same Great Creator. They just happen to be next to each other in the Taxonomy List. I mentioned that they are not related, but looking at these two photos, you can see why their Orders are next to one another.
Loons are in the Gaviiformes Order which only has one family, the Gaviidae, containing only five members of that family.
The loon, the size of a large duck or small goose, resembles these birds in shape when swimming. Like ducks and geese but unlike coots (which are Rallidae) and grebes (Podicipedidae), the loon’s toes are connected by webbing. The bird may be confused with cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae), which are not too distant relatives of divers and like them are heavy set birds whose bellies – unlike those of ducks and geese – are submerged when swimming. Flying loons resemble plump geese with seagulls’ wings that are relatively small in proportion to the bulky body. The bird points its head slightly upwards during swimming, but less so than cormorants. In flight the head droops more than in similar aquatic birds.
Common Loon (Gavia immer) by J Fenton
Male and female loons have identical plumage. Plumage is largely patterned black-and-white in summer, with grey on the head and neck in some species. All have a white belly. This resembles many sea-ducks (Merginae) – notably the smaller goldeneyes (Bucephala) – but is distinct from most cormorants which rarely have white feathers, and if so usually as large rounded patches rather than delicate patterns. All species of divers have a spear-shaped bill.
Males are larger on average, but relative size is only apparent when the male and female are together.
In winter plumage is dark grey above, with some indistinct lighter mottling on the wings, and a white chin, throat and underside. The species can then be distinguished by certain features, such as size and colour of head, neck, back and bill, but often reliable identification of wintering divers is difficult even for experts – particularly as the smaller immature birds look similar to winter-plumage adults, making size an unreliable means of identification.
King Penguins – head on her shoulder
Penguins, which belong to the Spheniscidae Family and Sphenisciformes. Their family has eighteen (18) species to adore. We, Dan and I, have been able to see penguins at various zoo, but many of those have them displayed in a way that is difficult to get good photos. Ian and these other photographer are able to travel to where penguins live and are able to see and take their pictures in the wild.
Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds. They live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galapagos penguin, found north of the equator. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings function as flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and half in the oceans.
Although almost all penguin species are native to the Southern Hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos penguin, lives near the equator.
The largest living species is the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): on average adults are about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (77 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as the fairy penguin, which stands around 40 cm (16 in) tall and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins are generally found in temperate or even tropical climates (see also Bergmann’s rule). Some prehistoric species attained enormous sizes, becoming as tall or as heavy as an adult human. These were not restricted to Antarctic regions; on the contrary, subantarctic regions harboured high diversity, and at least one giant penguin occurred in a region around 2,000 km south of the equator, in a climate decidedly warmer than today. [Wikipedia, with editing]
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19 KJV)
The Perdix genus has the Grey Partridge, Daurian Partridge, and the Tibetan Partridges. Perdix is a genus of Galliform gamebirds known collectively as the ‘true partridges’. The genus name is the Latin for “partridge”, and is itself derived from Ancient Greek perdix. These birds are unrelated to the subtropical species that have been named after the partridge due to similar size and morphology. There are representatives of Perdix in most of temperate Europe and Asia. One member of the genus, the grey partridge, has been introduced to the United States and Canada for the purpose of hunting. They are closely related to grouse, koklass, quail and pheasants.
Madagascan Partridge (Margaroperdix madagarensis) found only in Madagascar. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
Black Partridge are in genus Melanoperdix. The black partridge occurs in lowland rainforests of Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra in southeast Asia. It was formerly found but is long extinct on Singapore. The female usually lays five to six white eggs.
The two Forest Partridges are the Udzungwa Forest Partridge and the Rubeho Forest Partridge (Xenoperdix). Both species have boldly barred plumage and a red bill. Xenoperdix are found only in forests of the Udzungwa Mountains and the Rubeho Highlands of Tanzania.
The largest genus today are Partridges in the Arborophila group. They are the Hill, Rufous-throated, White-cheeked, Taiwan Partridge, Chestnut-breasted, Bar-backed, Sichuan, White-necklaced, Orange-necked, Chestnut-headed, Siamese, Malaysian, Roll’s, Sumatran, Grey-breasted, Chestnut-bellied, Red-billed, Red-breasted, Hainan Partridge, Chestnut-necklaced , and the Green-legged Partridge. The genus has the second most members within the Galliformes after Francolinus although Arborophila species vary very little in bodily proportions with different species varying only in colouration/patterning and overall size. These are fairly small, often brightly marked partridges found in forests of eastern and southern Asia
“Francolins are birds that traditionally have been placed in the genus Francolinus, but now commonly are divided into multiple genera (see Taxonomy), although some of the major taxonomic listing sources have yet to divide them. The francolins’ closest relatives are the junglefowl, long-billed partridge, Alectoris and Coturnix. Together this monophyletic clade may warrant family status as the Gallusinidae.
When all are maintained in a single genus, it is the most diverse of the Galliformes, having by far the most members. Francolins are terrestrial (though not flightless) birds that feed on insects, vegetable matter and seeds. Most of the members have a hooked upper beak, well-suited for digging at the bases of grass tussocks and rootballs. They have wide tails with fourteen retrice feathers. Most species exhibit spurs on the tarsi.”
“Of the approximately 40 living species, the natural range of five (comprising the genus Francolinus) are restricted to Asia, while the remaining genera are restricted to Africa. Several species have been introduced to other parts of the world, notably Hawaii.” (Wikipedia, with editing)
The Francolinus genre is: Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus), Painted Francolin (Francolinus pictus), Chinese Francolin (Francolinus pintadeanus), Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus), and the Swamp Francolin (Francolinus gularis).
Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus) by Nikhil Devasar
The four Peliperdix species are the Latham’s Francolin (Peliperdix lathami), Coqui Francolin (Peliperdix coqui), White-throated Francolin (Peliperdix albogularis), and the Schlegel’s Francolin (Peliperdix schlegelii)
Coqui Francolin (Peliperdix coqui) by Dave’s BirdingPix
The next seven belong in the Scleroptila genre. The Ring-necked Francolin (Scleroptila streptophora), Grey-winged Francolin (Scleroptila afra), Red-winged Francolin (Scleroptila levaillantii),
Finsch’s Francolin (Scleroptila finschi), Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi), Moorland Francolin (Scleroptila psilolaema), and the Orange River Francolin (Scleroptila gutturalis).
The Pternistis has two names of birds in its genera. The Francolins and the Spurfowls. ” Its 23 species range through Sub-Saharan Africa. They are commonly known as francolins or spurfowl but are closely related to jungle bush quail, Alectoris rock partridges and Coturnix quail. The species are strictly monogamous, remaining mated indefinitely. They procure most of their food by digging. Partridge-francolins subsist almost entirely on roots, beans of leguminous shrubs and trees, tubers, seed, feasting opportunistically on termites, ants, locusts, flowers and fruit.
Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) by Nikhil Devasar
“Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.” (1 Samuel 26:20 KJV)
Last week the introduction to the avian wonders of the Phasianidae – Pheasants and Allies Family I began. The first twenty-one (21) species were presented. With a 183 in this family, we will stay with this family for a few Sundays.
Today there are 2 Monal-Partridge (Tetraophasis) , 5 Snowcock (Tetraogallus), 10 Partridges in 3 genera (Lerwa) (Alectoris) and (Ammoperdix), and 17 Francolin in 4 genera (Francolinus), (Peliperdix), (Scleroptila) and (Dendroperdix). The Pternistis genus will be covered next time. It consistes of Francolins and Spurfowls.
(Tetraophasis obscurus) is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is found only in central China. Its natural habitat is boreal forests. The common name commemorates the French naturalist Jules Verreaux. The Szechenyi’s Monal-Partridge or buff-throated partridge (Tetraophasis szechenyii) is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. It is found in China and India. Its natural habitat is boreal forests.
The Snowcocks are a group of bird species in the genus Tetraogallus of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are ground-nesting birds that breed in the mountain ranges of southern Eurasia from the Caucasus to the Himalayas and western China. Some of the species have been introduced into the United States. Snowcocks feed mainly on plant material. Snowcocks are bulky, long-necked, long-bodied partridge-like birds. Males and females are generally similar in appearance but females tend to be slightly smaller and rather duller in colouration than males. Their plumage is thick with a downy base to the feathers which helps them to withstand severe winter temperatures that may fall to −40 °C (−40 °F).
The genus Alectoris is a well-defined group of partridge species allied with coturnix and snowcocks and also related to partridge-francolins (Pternistes) and junglebush quail (Perdicula ). They are known collectively as rock partridges. The genus name is from Ancient Greek alektoris a farmyard chicken.
The See-see partridge occurs in southwest Asia, and the Sand partridge in Egypt and the Middle East. Both are resident breeders in dry, open country, often in hill areas. Both partridges in this genus are 22–25 cm long, rotund birds. They are mainly sandy brown, with wavy white and brown stripes on their flanks.
Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus) by Nikhil Devasar
Francolinus is a genus of birds in the francolin group of the partridge subfamily of the pheasant family. Its five species range from western and central Asia through to southern and south-eastern Asia.
Coqui Francolin(Peliperdix coqui) by Dave’s BirdingPix
Peliperdix – Its four species range through tropical Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) – It is found in Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
(Wikipedia, with editing)
“As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:11 KJV)
“In the Garden” ~ Flute Solo Lauren D – Orchestra Concert
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix
“But of all clean fowls ye may eat.” (Deuteronomy 14:20 KJV)
The Phasianidae Family has 183 species and is the last family in the Galliformes Order. This will take several Sunday Inspirations to cover all of these interesting birds. In Scripture, they are considered “clean fowl” and may be eaten. Here in America, many Wild Turkeys have found themselves the center of attraction on Thanksgiving Day.
Part I begins with the first twenty one (21) members of the Phasianidae clan in ten (10) genera. There are 2 Turkeys, 12 Grouse, 2 Capercaillies, 2 Prairie Chickens and 3 Ptarmigans.
Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) by Raymond Barlow
The Phasianidae are a family of heavy, ground-living birds which includes pheasants, partridges, junglefowl, chickens, Old World quail, and peafowl. The family includes many of the most popular gamebirds. The family is a large one, and is occasionally broken up into two subfamilies, the Phasianinae, and the Perdicinae. Sometimes, additional families and birds are treated as part of this family. For example, the American Ornithologists’ Union includes Tetraonidae (grouse), Numididae (guineafowl), and Meleagrididae (turkeys) as subfamilies in Phasianidae.
The first genus, Meleagris, has the Wild Turkey and the Ocellated Turkey. The Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) is a species of turkey residing primarily in the Yucatán Peninsula. A relative of the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), it was sometimes previously treated in a genus of its own (Agriocharis), but the differences between the two turkeys are currently considered too small to justify generic segregation. They relatively large birds.
The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a medium-sized grouse occurring in forests from the Appalachian Mountains across Canada to Alaska. It is non-migratory. It is the only species in the genus Bonasa. The ruffed grouse is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a “partridge”, and is a bird of open areas rather than woodlands. The ruffed grouse is the state bird of Pennsylvania, United States.
Tetrastes is a genus of birds in the grouse subfamily. It contains the following species: Hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) and Chinese grouse(Tetrastes sewerzowi). Both species live in forests with at least some conifers in cool regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) by Michael Woodruff
Falcipennis is a genus of birds in the grouse family that comprises two very similar species: Siberian grouse (Falcipennis falcipennis) and Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)
Both inhabit northern coniferous forests and live on conifer needles during the winter. Both have breeding systems with dispersed male territories, intermediate between the leks of some grouse and the monogamy of others.
The Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), also known as the wood grouse, heather cock, or just capercaillie /ˌkæpərˈkeɪli/, is the largest member of the grouse family. The species shows extreme sexual dimorphism, with the male twice the size of the female. Found across Eurasia, this ground-living forest bird is renowned for its mating display. The Black-billed Capercaillie (Tetrao urogalloides), which is just a bit smaller, is a sedentary species which breeds in the Larch taiga forests of eastern Russia as well as parts of northern Mongolia and China.
The next two, Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) and Caucasian Grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi) recently split from the Tetrix above.
Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) by Kent Nickel
The sage-grouse are the two species in the bird genus Centrocercus, the Sage and the Gunnison, (which is about a third smaller in size, with much thicker plumes behind the head; it also has a less elaborate courtship dance.)They are the largest grouse from temperate North America. The Sage Grouse, adult male has a yellow patch over each eye, is grayish on top with a white breast, and has a dark brown throat and a black belly; two yellowish sacs on the neck are inflated during courtship display. The adult female is mottled gray-brown with a light brown throat and dark belly. Gunnison Grouse adults have a long, pointed tail and legs with feathers to the toes. Each spring, the both species of males congregate on leks and perform a “strutting display”. Groups of females observe these displays and select the most attractive males with which to mate.
The genus Dendragapus contains two closely related species of grouse that have often been treated as a single variable taxon (blue grouse). The two species are the dusky grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) and the sooty grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus). In addition, the spruce grouse and Siberian grouse have been considered part of this genus
Tympanuchus is a small genus of birds in the grouse family. They are commonly referred to as prairie chickens. The genus contains three species: Sharp-tailed grous,Greater prairie-chicken, and Lesser prairie-chicken. All three are among the smaller grouse, from 40 to 43 cm (16 to 17 in) in length. They are found in North America in different types of prairies. In courtship display on leks, males make hooting sounds and dance with the head extended straight forward, the tail up, and colorful neck sacks inflated.
Lagopus is a small genus of birds in the grouse subfamily, commonly known as ptarmigans. The genus contains three living species with numerous described subspecies, all living in tundra or cold upland areas. The three species are all sedentary specialists of cold regions. Willow ptarmigan is a circumpolar boreal forest species, white-tailed ptarmigan is a North American alpine bird, and rock ptarmigan breeds in both Arctic and mountain habitats across Eurasia and North America. All, with the exception of the red grouse, have a white winter plumage that helps them blend into the snowy background. Even their remiges are white, while these feathers are black in almost all birds. The Lagopus grouse apparently found it easier to escape predators by not being seen than by flying away.
(Wikipedia with editing)
“Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.” (Psalms 69:34 KJV)
“And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.” (Exodus 16:13 KJV)
The Odontophoridae is made up of the New World Quail. This includes 2 Partridges, 3 Wood Partridges, 10 Quails, 4 Bobwhites, and 15 Wood Quail. [and a Partridge in a pear tree! Oops! Wrong article. :0) ]
These are not the Old World Quails that rained down on the Israelites.
“The New World quails or Odontophoridae are small birds only distantly related to the Old World quail, but named for their similar appearance and habits. The American species are in their own family Odontophoridae, whereas Old World quail are in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The family ranges from Canada through to southern Brazil, and two species, the California quail and the bobwhite quail, have been successfully introduced to New Zealand. The stone partridge and Nahan’s partridge, both found in Africa, seem to belong to the family. Species are found across a variety of habitats from tropical rainforest to deserts, although few species are capable of surviving at very low temperatures. Thirty-four species are placed in ten genera.” (Wikipedia)
New World quail are generally short-winged, -necked and -tailed (although the genus Dendrortyx is long-tailed). The bills are short, slightly curved and serrated. The legs are short and powerful, and lack the spurs of many Old World galliformes. Although they are capable of short bursts of strong flight New World quails prefer to walk, and will run from danger (or hide), taking off explosively only as a last resort. Plumage varies from dull to spectacular, and many species have ornamental crests or plumes on the head. There is moderate sexual dichromism in plumage, with males having brighter plumage.
The New World quails are shy diurnal birds and generally live on the ground; even the tree quails which roost in high trees generally feed mainly on the ground. They are generalists with regards to their diet, taking insects, seeds, vegetation and tubers. Desert species in particular consume a lot of seeds.
Northern bobwhite and California quail are popular gamebirds, with many taken by hunters, but these species have also had their ranges increased to meet hunting demand and are not threatened. They are also artificially stocked. Some species are threatened by human activity, such as the bearded tree quail of Mexico, which is threatened by habitat loss and illegal hunting.
“The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” (Psalms 105:40 KJV)
Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) by Lee
“Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.” (Genesis 8:19 KJV)
Several Sundays ago, we started introducing you to the Galliformes Order. You have seen the Megapodes Family, the Chachalacas, Curassows and Guans Family, and today, you get to meet the members of the Guineafowl Family. The family name is Numididae, and there are four genera for only six species. They are all from the African continent.
The guineafowl (sometimes called guineahen) are a family of birds that are native to Africa, but the Helmeted Guineafowl has been domesticated, and both feral and wild-type birds have been introduced elsewhere.
This family of insect and seed-eating, ground-nesting birds resemble partridges, but with featherless heads, though both members of the genus Guttera have a distinctive black crest, and the Vulturine Guineafowl has a downy brown patch on the nape. Most species of guineafowl have a dark grey or blackish plumage with dense white spots, but both members of the genus Agelastes lack the spots (as do some domestic variants of the Helmeted Guineafowl). While several species are relatively well known, the Plumed Guineafowl and the two members of the genus Agelastes remain relatively poorly known. These large birds measure from 40–71 cm (16–28 inches) in length, and weigh 700–1600 (grams) or 1.5-3.5 (pounds)
The White-breasted Guineafowl (Agelastes meleagrides) is a medium-sized, up to 45 cm long, terrestrial bird of the guineafowl family. It has a black plumage with a small, bare red head, white breast, long black tail, greenish brown bill and greyish feet. The sexes are similar, although the female is slightly smaller than the male. They are distributed in subtropical West African forests of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The diet consists mainly of seeds, berries, termites and small animals.
The Black Guineafowl, (Agelastes niger), is a member of the guineafowl bird family. It occurs in humid forests in Central Africa where it is often heard but seldom seen. It is a medium-sized black bird with a bare pink head and upper neck. Little is known of its behaviour because it has been little studied. It is usually found in pairs or small groups and is a shy, elusive bird of the forest floor. It occurs in primary and secondary growth woodland, favouring parts with thick undergrowth but sometimes venturing out onto adjacent cultivated lands. It feeds on invertebrates such as ants, termites, millipedes and beetles, and also small frogs, seeds, berries and shoots. The nesting habits of this species are not known but the eggs are pale reddish brown, sometimes shaded with yellow or purple.
The Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) is a large (53–58 cm) bird with a round body and small head. They weigh about 1.3 kg. The body plumage is gray-black spangled with white. Like other guineafowl, this species has an unfeathered head, in this case decorated with a dull yellow or reddish bony knob, and red and blue patches of skin. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail is also short. Various sub-species are proposed, differences in appearance being mostly a large variation in shape, size and colour of the casque and facial wattles.
The Plumed Guineafowl (Guttera plumifera) is a member of the guineafowl bird family. It is found in humid primary forest in Central Africa. It resembles some subspecies of the crested guineafowl, but has a straighter (not curled) and higher crest, and a relatively long wattle on either side of the bill. The bare skin on the face and neck is entirely dull grey-blue in the western nominate subspecies, while there are a few orange patches among the grey-blue in the eastern subspecies schubotzi.
The Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani) is a member of the Numididae, the guineafowl bird family. It is found in open forest, woodland and forest-savanna mosaics in Sub-Saharan Africa. The plumage is overall blackish with dense white spots. It has a distinctive black crest on the top of its head, the form of which varies from small curly feathers to down depending upon subspecies, and which easily separates it from all other species of guineafowl, except the plumed guineafowl. The names “crested” and “plumed” are often misapplied across the species.
The species is monogamous with probable strong and long-lasting pair bonds. Courtship feeding is common, the author having seen a captive male run 5–10 metres to the hen to present some particular morsel. The nest is a well-hidden scrape in long grass or under a bush; eggs vary from nearly white to buff and a clutch is usually around 4 or 5.
The Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) is the largest extant species of guineafowl. Systematically, it is only distantly related to other guineafowl genera. Its closest living relative, the white breasted guineafowl, Agelastes meleagrides inhabit primary forests in Central Africa. It is a member of the bird family Numididae, and is the only member of the genus Acryllium. It is a resident breeder in northeast Africa, from southern Ethiopia through Kenya and just into northern Tanzania.
The vulturine guineafowl is a large (61–71 cm) bird with a round body and small head. It has a longer wings, neck, legs and tail than other guineafowl. The adult has a bare blue face and black neck, and although all other guineafowl have unfeathered heads, this species looks particularly like a vulture because of the long bare neck and head.
The slim neck projects from a cape of long, glossy, blue and white hackles. The breast is cobalt blue, and the rest of the body plumage is black, finely spangled with white. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail is longer than others in the family Numididae.
Domesticated Guineafowl, sometimes called pintades or gleanies, are a family of birds originating from Africa, related to other game birds such as the pheasants, turkeys and partridges; they have a long history of domestication, mainly involving the helmeted guineafowl. (Most information from Wikipedia, with editing)
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26 KJV)
Wattled Curassow (Crax globulosa) by Lee at National Aviary
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)
Today we will finish up the Cracidae family by introducing you to the last 15 species. The are the Curassows in four genera. I love their curly hairdo on most of them. We see them in the different zoo quite frequently. “Curassows are one of the three major groups of cracid birds. Three of the four genera are restricted to tropical South America; a single species of Crax ranges north to Mexico.
The Nocturnal Curassow (Nothocrax urumutum) is the only one in his genus. They are found in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical swamps.
The next genus of Curassows are the Mitu, of which there are four. They are found in humid tropical forests in South America. Their plumage is iridescent black with a white or rufous crissum and tail-tip, and their legs and bills are red. The genders are alike. These are the Crestless, Alagoas, Salvin’s, and the Razor-billed Curassows.
The next Genus Pauxi – are called Helmeted Curassows. The Helmeted, Horned and Sira Curassows make up this group. They are terrestrial black fowl with ornamental casque on their heads. All are found in South America.
The last genus in this Cracidae Family are the Crax. Seven of them finish off with their curly hairdos. “Crax is a genus of curassows in the order Galliformes, a clade of large, heavy-bodied, ground-feeding birds. They are known from tropical South America with one species, the great curassow, ranging northwards through Central America as far as Mexico. The currasows in this genus are noted for their sexual dimorphism; males are more boldly coloured than females and have facial ornamentation such as knobs and wattles. They are also characterised by curly crests and contrastingly-coloured crissums.” (Most information from Wikipedia with editing)
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV)
Here is the second group of birds in the Cracidae Family. Last weeks Chachalacas were rather plain, but an interesting group. Today’s second set of species has 20 Guans and 4 Piping Guans. You will notice a little more variety and coloring in these Guans, yet the overall shapes are similiar to the Chachalacas. “The guans are a number of bird genera which make up the largest group in the family Cracidae. They are found mainly in northern South America, southern Central America, and a few adjacent Caribbean islands. There is also the peculiar horned guan (Oreophasis derbianus) which is not a true guan, but a very distinct and ancient cracid with no close living relatives (Pereira et al. 2002).”
These are distributed through 6 genera. These are the birds in the Penelope genera; Band-tailed Guan, Bearded Guan, Baudo Guan, Andean Guan, Marail Guan, Rusty-margined Guan, Red-faced Guan, Crested Guan, Cauca Guan, White-winged Guan, Spix’s Guan, Dusky-legged Guan, White-crested Guan, Chestnut-bellied Guan, and White-browed Guan
Wattled Guan is in Aburria, Black Guan and Sickle-winged Guan are in the Chamaepetes genus, Highland Guan in the Penelopina and the Horned Guan in the Oreophasis generas.
I found this additional remark in Wikipedia rather amazing. “This indicates that the guans’ origin is in the northern Andes region, in the general area of Colombia or perhaps Ecuador; the date of their initial radiation is not well resolved due to the lack of fossil evidence but can be very roughly placed around 40–25 mya (Oligocene, perhaps some time earlier). The two basal lineages diverged during the Burdigalian, around 20–15 mya.(Pereira et al. 2002)” They have no proof or fossil evidence, yet they came up with these millions of years. Their initial radiation was the day they came off of the ark., which was not millions of years ago.
“Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.” (Genesis 8:17-19 KJV)
“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” (Psalms 27:5 KJV)
“I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (Psam 50:11 KJV)
Chachalacas are a part of the Cracidae family. There are 55 species in this family and these 16 Chachalacas are in the Ortalis genus. It makes for a good division for this family, plus, I have been having computer problems for over a week. So, we will go with these noisy little avian wonders from the Lord’s hand. You may notice that they are not really “handsome” or “colorful,” yet, they are just as special to their Creator as the more fancy birds.
Rufous-vented Chachalaca (Ortalis ruficauda) by Kent Nickel
Chachalacas are mainly brown galliform birds from the genus Ortalis. These birds are found in wooded habitats in far southern United States (Texas), Mexico, and Central and South America. They are social, can be very noisy and often remain fairly common even near humans, as their relatively small size makes them less desirable to hunters than their larger relatives. They somewhat resemble the guans, and the two have commonly been placed in a subfamily together, though the chachalacas are probably closer to the curassows.
The generic name is derived from the Greek word όρταλις, meaning “pullet” or “domestic hen.” The common name is an onomatopoeia for the four-noted cackle of the plain chachalaca (O. vetula). (Information from Wikipedia)
Plain Chachalaca at Santa Ana NWR, 2002 [Old camera]
We were fortunate to see our first Chachalaca at the Santa Ana NWR in South Texas back in 2002. They just barely come over into the U.S.
After that noisy Chachalaca thought you might like a little quieter song.
*And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;” (Isa 32:18 KJV)
“Quiet Rest* and “Sweet Hour of Prayer” ~ by Kathy Lisby – Nell Reese acc”.
“Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” (Genesis 8:17 KJV)
This week we start introducing you to the five families in the Megapodiidae Order. The first family in taxonomic listings is the Megapodiidaes. There are 21 species in this family of “medium-sized to large terrestrial birds with large legs and feet with sharp claws. They range from 28 to 70 cm. The largest members of the clade are the species of Alectura and Talegalla. The smallest are the Micronesian scrubfowl (Megapodius laperouse) and the Moluccan scrubfowl (Eulipoa wallacei). They have small heads, short beaks, and rounded and large wings. Their flying abilities vary within the clade. They present the hallux at the same level of the other toes just like the species of the clade Cracidae. The other Galliformes have their halluces raised above the level of the front toes.”
“The megapodes, also known as incubator birds or mound-builders, are stocky, medium-large chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet in the family Megapodiidae. Their name literally means “large foot” (Greek: mega = large, poda = foot), and is a reference to the heavy legs and feet typical of these terrestrial birds. All are browsers, and all but the malleefowl occupy wooded habitats. Most are brown or black colored. Megapodes are superprecocial, hatching from their eggs in the most mature condition of any birds. They hatch with open eyes, bodily coordination and strength, full wing feathers and downy body feathers, and are able to run, pursue prey, and, in some species, fly on the same day they hatch.”