“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
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)
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
Pheasants and their cousins have kept us interested for four weeks already. Today, even though there are 54 of these Avian Creations from our Lord left in this family, we will finish. The Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae Family has interesting and colorful members. With Partridges, Pheasants, Peafowls, Tragopan, Monals, and other members, the similarities are obvious, yet they all have their differences. One thing about their Creator, He enjoys variety. The Partridge is one of the many Birds of the Bible as listed in I Samuel 26:20 and Jeremiah 17:11. They are also on the clean fowl and are permissible to be eaten. I trust you have enjoyed seeing this large family of 187 members.
Painted Spurfowl (Galloperdix lunulata) by Nikhil
Galloperdixis a genus of three species of birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. These terrestrial birds are restricted to the Indian Subcontinent, with the Red Spurfowl and Painted Spurfowl in forest and scrub in India, and the Sri Lanka Spurfowl in forests of Sri Lanka. They share the common name “spurfowl” with the African members of the genus Pternistis.
The blood pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) is the only species in genus Ithaginis of the pheasant family. This relatively small, short-tailed pheasant is widespread and fairly common in the eastern Himalayas, ranging across India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China. The blood pheasant is the state bird of the Indian state of Sikkim.
Tragopanis a genus of bird in the family Phasianidae. These birds are commonly called “horned pheasants” because of two brightly colored, fleshy horns on their heads that they can erect during courtship displays. The scientific name refers to this, being a composite of tragus (billy goat) and the ribald half-goat deity Pan (and in the case of the satyr tragopan, adding Pan’s companions for even more emphasis). Their habit of nesting in trees is unique among phasianids.
Koklass Pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha) by Nikhil Devasar
The koklass pheasant is a medium-sized elusive bird confined to high altitude forests from Afghanistan to central Nepal, and in northeastern Tibet to northern and eastern China. Upper parts of male koklass pheasant are covered with silver-grey plumage streaked velvety-black down the centre of each feather, and it has the unique feature of a black head, chestnut breast and prominent white patches on the sides of the neck.
Junglefowl are the four living species of bird from the genus Gallus in the Gallinaceous bird order, which occur in India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. These are large birds, with colourful male plumage, but are nevertheless difficult to see in the dense vegetation they inhabit. As with many birds in the pheasant family, the male takes no part in the incubation of the egg or rearing of the precocial young. These duties are performed by the drab and well-camouflaged female. The junglefowl are seed-eaters, but insects are also taken, particularly by the young birds.
One of the species in this genus, the red junglefowl, is of historical importance as the likely ancestor of the domesticated chicken, although it has been suggested the grey junglefowl was also involved. The Sri Lankan junglefowl is the national bird of Sri Lanka.
Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) at Wings of Asia by Lee
The gallopheasants (genus Lophura) are pheasants of the family Phasianidae. The genus comprises 12 species and several subspecies.
The name Crossoptilonis a combination of the Greek words krossoi, meaning “fringe” and ptilon, meaning “feather”— a name Hodgson felt particularly applied to the white eared pheasant “distinguished amongst all its congeners by its ample fringe-like plumage, the dishevelled quality of which is communicated even to the central tail feathers”. All are large, sexually monomorphic and found in China.
Cheer Pheasants lack the color and brilliance of most pheasants, with buffy gray plumage and long gray crests. Its long tail has 18 feathers and the central tail feathers are much longer and the colour is mainly gray and brown. The female is slightly smaller in overall size.
Reeves’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii) Memphis Zoo by Dan
The genus Syrmaticus contains the five species of long-tailed pheasants. The males have short spurs and usually red facial wattles, but otherwise differ wildly in appearance. The hens (females) and chicks pattern of all the species have a rather conservative and plesiomorphic drab brown color pattern
Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchius) by Robert Scanlon
The “typical” pheasant genus Phasianus in the family Phasianidae consists of twp species. The genus name comes from Latin phasianinus “pheasant-like” (from phasianus, “pheasant”). Both Phasianus and “pheasant” originally come from the Greek word phāsiānos, meaning “(bird) of the Phasis”. Phasis is the ancient name of the main river of western Georgia, currently called the Rioni.
Lady Amherst’s Pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae) Zoo Miami by Lee
The genus name is from Ancient Greek khrusolophos, “with golden crest”. These are species which have spectacularly plumaged males. The golden pheasant is native to western China, and Lady Amherst’s pheasant to Tibet and westernmost China, but both have been widely introduced elsewhere.
The peacock-pheasants are a bird genus, Polyplectron, of the family Phasianidae, consisting of eight species. They are colored inconspicuously, relying on heavily on crypsis to avoid detection. When threatened, peacock-pheasants will alter their shapes utilising specialised plumage that when expanded reveals numerous iridescent orbs. The birds also vibrate their plume quills further accentuating their aposematism. Peacock-pheasants exhibit well-developed metatarsal spurs. Older individuals may have multiple spurs on each leg. These kicking thorns are used in self-defense.
Little is known about this species in the wild. A shy and elusive bird, the crested argus is found in submontane Vietnam, Laos, and Malaysia in Southeast Asia. The diet consists mainly of invertebrates, mollusks, amphibians, small reptiles, bamboo shoots, leaves, fruits, and fungi
The scientific name of the Great Argus was given by Carl Linnaeus in reference to the many eyes-like pattern on its wings. Argus is a hundred-eyed giant in Greek mythology. There are two subspecies recognized: Nominate argus of the Malay peninsula and Sumatra, and A. a. grayi of Borneo. William Beebe considered the two races to be distinct species, but they have since been lumped.
Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee
Pavo is a genus of two species in the pheasant family. The two species, along with the Congo peacock, are known as peafowl.
The Congo peafowl (Afropavo congensis), known as the mbulu by the Congolese, is a species of peafowl native to the Congo Basin. It is one of three extant species of peafowl, the other two being the Indian peafowl (originally of India and Sri Lanka) and the green peafowl (native to Burma and Indochina).
(Information from Wikipedia, with editing)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16 NKJV)
“How Can I Keep From Singing” ~ Three + One Quartet (Pastor Smith, Reagan, Jessie, and Caleb)