Spring had arrived, and many robins had flown back to the north after a long winter. One of the robins, named Charlotte, had flown north to lay her eggs. After many long days of flying, Charlotte eventually landed in a small tree in the backyard of a large brick house.
Flower buds began to peek out of the green grass. The sun shone through the tree branches, making Charlotte very warm while she built her nest. When she finished building her nest out of twigs and leaves, Charlotte settled down and laid her first egg.
Charlotte sat patiently on her egg, leaving only to search for some worms to eat. One day when she came back with a worm, the wind picked up and it began to grow really cold. Charlotte sat back down on her egg to keep it warm.
The next morning Charlotte woke up to see snow on the ground. The snow covered all of the flowers, and the wind picked up even more. More snow began to pile up on the ground until Charlotte couldn’t see any grass. She knew that even though the storm was worsening she couldn’t find another place farther south to live because her egg had already been laid.
The next morning, a large black dog hobbled into the backyard. He was very old, and the snow felt good on his old hips. The people who lived in the house called him Jerry, and many times the man who lived in the house had to carry Jerry inside. Charlotte noticed that Jerry didn’t want to come in on his own.
Jerry shed a lot of his black hair, which would fall and stick in the snow. Charlotte grew very cold, and was afraid that her egg would freeze. Suddenly she had an idea. Quickly swooping down, Charlotte picked up some of Jerry’s hair and stuffed it into her nest to keep her egg warm.
At one point Charlotte became very hungry again, but she knew it would be difficult to find any worms. She thought her egg would be all right surrounded by Jerry’s hair. After some digging in the cold snow, Charlotte was able to find one worm, and then she quickly returned to her egg, but when she came to her nest the egg had disappeared.
Charlotte looked everywhere for her blue egg, realizing it must have been blown out of the nest by the strong wind. She saw Jerry sitting in the snow, but she didn’t see her egg anywhere near the tree. Jerry began barking, and Charlotte realized that he had something hiding in his fur. Jerry had found the egg at the bottom of the tree, and had decided to keep it warm in his fur. Charlotte thanked him by tweeting and
carefully followed him as he put the egg in his mouth and got on his back legs to put the egg into the nest.
The snow began to melt, and after a while, the flowers began to grow again. Charlotte’s egg hatched her chick, who eventually learned how to fly. That next spring, Charlotte came back to the same tree in the backyard to lay another egg. Thankfully, this year it didn’t
“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17 KJV)
Another great story from Emma. This time the friendly dog came to the rescue during trouble. It is always nice when others are able to assist us when problems arise. Thankfully, Charlotte was able to see her egg hatch and grow up.
Surprise, surprise – another bird of the moment at last. The Brahminy Kite last featured as bird of the week in August 2003. In those days you got a single photo and a short paragraph of text, so here is a more thorough treatment. This is one of my favourite Australian raptors and the adults are striking looking birds with their white and chestnut plumage. They’re a common sight along the coast here in North Queensland, and the bird in the first two photos was photographed at Toomulla Beach, about 40km northwest of Townsville and not far from where I live in Bluewater.
The hooked beak is like that of the White-bellied Sea-Eagle, so it’s no surprise that they are adapted to eating fish, for which they both hunt and scavenge and are usually found near water, mainly coastal but also along larger rivers. They have, however, very broad tastes and will eat any flesh that they can catch or find, both vertebrate and invertebrate. It’s not unusual to see them cruising main roads looking for road-kill. With a length of about 50cm/20in and a wingspan of 1.2m/47in , they’re much smaller than sea-eagles (80cm/31in and 1.8-2.2m/71-87in), but their preferred habitat and diet means that they’re are often called sea-eagles by the general population.
The names “Brahminy” and Haliastur indus give a clue as to their geographical range, as they were first described in India. Their range extends from Pakistan in the west through south and southwest Asia to eastern China and Taiwan, and south through the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to New Guinea and Australia. In Australia its range is mainly tropical from Carnarvon in Western Australia across northern Australia and down the east coast as far as about Myall Lakes in New South Wales, though it is uncommon south of Cape Byron. Its population in New South Wales contracted northwards owing to the use of persistent organochloride insecticides in the third quarter of the 20th century, but there is some evidence of recovery since then.
Immature birds differ greatly in appearance from the adults, third photo, and are easily confused with other raptors such as, in Australia, pale phase Little Eagles or immature Black-breasted Buzzards. Immature birds are also rather similar to their only close relative the Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), though Brahminy Kites have much shorter, rather eagle-like tails and shorter wings.
You may remember that I visited Slovakia in June 2016 with my sister Gillian. The main birding target was eagles, but despite the best efforts of our guides we had only limited success with such species as Lesser Spotted EagleEastern Imperial Eagle and Golden Eagle, and the local raptors didn’t seem at all keen on having their photos taken. So, there was a certain irony when I returned to Bluewater and found that my excellent house minders, Julie and Ed, had discovered a pair of Brahminy Kites nesting in my neighbour’s property, about 100m from my house (fifth photo). The grass is greener, etc. etc.
The birds attended the nest for about three months but disappointingly without success. The nest was high up, about 25m/80ft from the ground, so it wasn’t possible to see into it, so I don’t know what happened. Anyway, you can understand my delight when the birds returned again this year and restored the nest, sixth photo.
At the beginning of last week I finally spotted a healthy looking chick. It survived the unseasonable heavy rain we had last week (150mm/6in in five days) so I set up the camera and tripod, table, chair and coffee near the house and watched them in comfort at an unobtrusive distance for most of Friday afternoon. Sure enough, both adults arrived with food. The first, seventh photo, produced a flying fox (fruit bat), a Black Flying-fox I think, and spent an hour carefully tearing off tiny strips of muscle and feeding to the chick.
I was impressed with the gentle way the parent fed the youngster and itself. Eventually, the chick seemed satisfied, and lost interest in the meal. The adult bird slipped away as quietly as it had arrived – I didn’t see it leave – and I presume it took the remains of the fruit bat with it.
Within half an hour, the other adult arrived with a frog, I think a Green Tree Frog (ninth photo). This adult has whiter plumage and a longer beak than its partner, so they are not hard to distinguish.
The chick seemed satiated and not very interested, so the adult hungrily ate some of the frog itself and after a little while flew off taking the frog with it and went down to nearby Bluewater Creek.
Brahminy Kites usually lay 2 or 3 eggs, and often only one chick survives to fledging. Incubation takes about 35 days, and fledging 7 to 8 weeks. The young birds remain dependent on the adults for a further two months. This chick is about half the length of the adults and is beginning to grow proper feathers, including flight feathers on the wings, though these currently appear as just short quills.
I can see the nest through the trees from my back verandah, so it is easy to check on it. I plan to photograph progress over the coming weeks. A furry mammal, probably road-kill, was on the menu today.
Fantastic photos of the Brahminy Kite. It sure has been a while since Ian had a “Moment” to share another of his interesting post with us. Thanks, Ian. We always enjoy seeing and learning about your birds.
“And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;” (Leviticus 11:14 KJV)
“Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:20 NKJV)
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Ian Montgomery
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5 KJV)
Avian and Attributes – Always There (Omnipresent)
OMNIPRES’ENT, a. Present in all places at the same time; ubiquitary; as the omnipresent Jehovah.
What a great promise. The Lord definitely was with all of us here in Florida as we rode out Hurricane Irma. We have friends and family around the state and around our area, yet the Lord was right there with each of us during the storm. As I begin the Avian and Attributes series back up, this time coming through using the First Name of birds to match the Attributes, the American Bittern was chosen because they are all over our state. Haven’t seen any yet, but then we haven’t been birdwatching, needless to say.
The eye of the storm went right over Winter Haven and it was a bit of a scary night with the winds howling on Sunday morning August 10. Had gust at least 88 mph, but thankfully we were staying with friends in a house (which never lost power.) We live in a manufactured house (mobile home) and we were all told to evacuate. Monday we came back to survey our place, and praise the Lord, we had minimal damage. We came back Tuesday to stay. I am including photos we took. Our electric came back on yesterday (Thursday 14th), and now we have air conditioning and the internet back up. Yeah!! Lost everything in the refrigerator and freezer, but that is replaceable. We have insurance and it should cover our damage. Again, the Lord is with us through all of this.
Our House before the storm
Our House after Irma – Carport minimal damage
Our church, Faith Baptist came through okay. Baron Brown, who writes on here as Golden Eagle, lost power, but no damage. Emma Foster’s parent’s house had no damage, nor lost electric. God is Good, All the Time!!!
P.S. The Sandhill Cranes in our neighborhood have visited us since the storm and the Doves. Haven’t seen any of the Finches yet. Trust they made it through the storm. The feeders are up and re-stocked.
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Dan
The American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is a species of wading bird in the heron family of the Pelican order of bird. It has a Nearctic distribution, breeding in Canada and the northern and central parts of the United States, and wintering in the U.S. Gulf Coast states, all of Florida into the Everglades, the Caribbean islands and parts of Central America.
It is a well-camouflaged, solitary brown bird that unobtrusively inhabits marshes and the coarse vegetation at the edge of lakes and ponds. In the breeding season, it is chiefly noticeable by the loud, booming call of the male. Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family
Click photos to see full size.
Our House before the storm
Our Hurricane meal at our friend”s house during the storm.
Our Hurricane meal at our friend”s house during the storm.
Great Egret preening – from Sea Pines Rehab Hospital Wall – by Lee
Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:20 NKJV)
Sea Pines Rehabilitation Hospital is located in Melbourne, Florida. As many of my readers know, I recently had extensive back surgery. Dr. James Billys, who did my surgery, practices in Melbourne. Four days after surgery [June 22nd], I was released from Wuesthoff Hospital and was transferred to Sea Pines to begin my rehabilitation. What a fantastic place to start my recovery. Also, I am so thankful for all of you who have been praying for me as I am recovering.
Seabirds at Shore in Brevard County. Take n from wall of Sea Pine Rehab Hospital by Lee
This is not to tell about that, but to show you some of the great photos that covered the walls. Most of the photos were 3 feet x 4 feet, and were of birds and scenery around Brevard County, where Melbourne is located. Many of you will recall the articles that have been written about our birdwatching adventures over there. That is where Viera Wetlands, Brevard Zoo, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and other great places to watch God’s Creation are located.
Great Blue Heron Taking Off
A day or two before my two weeks of rehab finished, I felt well enough to go “Birdwatching at Sea Pines.” With cell phone in hand, sitting in the wheel chair, minus the foot rest, off I went. Propelling myself with either my feet or hands, I covered the whole place. The place was larger than I had imagined, and was tuckered by the time I returned to my room.
White Ibis Photo outside my room at Sea Pines
I trust you will enjoy the scenery and especially the bird pictures. Also, overlook that these were taken from wheel chair height and unfortunately not straight. Did the best I could to straighten them up. Enjoy!
White Ibis Photo outside my room at Sea Pines RH
Great Egret preening – from Sea Pines Rehab Hospital Wall – by Lee
Seabirds at Shore in Brevard County. Take n from wall of Sea Pine Rehab Hospital by Lee
Brown Peligans and Fisherman from Mural
Brown Peligans from Mural
Great Blue Heron Taking Off 2
Great Blue Heron Taking Off Close Up
Great Blue Heron Taking Off
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron and Scenery
Baby Turtle Emerging from the Sand for the 1st time – At Sea Pines Rehab Hospital by Lee
Bird of the Moment ~ Restless Flycatcher ~ by Ian Montgomery
Some weeks ago I went to Toonpan a dry pasture area outside Townsville which is good for dry country birds such as Bustards and often produces unusual birds. There were a couple of Restless Flycatchers there hawking for insects and I found out later that this species has never featured as bird of the moment, an omission we’ll rectify now.
They are dapper birds, smart in their glossy black and white plumage and long tail. They bare a superficial resemblance to the similarly sized Willie Wagtail, but the species is a member of the Monarch Flycatcher family rather than the Fantails. The nominate larger type inquieta breeds in eastern, southern and southwestern Australia, but not in Tasmania or eastern Western Australia (the Nullabor). The smaller type nana occurs in northern Australia from northwestern Queensland through the Top End of the Northern Territory to northeastern Western Australia.
Taxonomists disagree as to whether these types should be treated as conspecific or separate species. I’m treating them as separate ones here, so ‘Restless Flycatcher’ refers to the southern one, and ‘Paperbark Flycatcher’ to the northern one. Both are mainly sedentary, but there is some northward movement of the Restless Flycatcher in winter here in northeastern Queensland it is a winter visitor.
Restless Flycatchers have a characteristic hovering flight when hawking for insects and this one at Toonpan was doing just this between me and the afternoon sun in the second, third and fourth photos. There were all taken within an elapsed time of one second and in the third one, it is turning away from whatever attracted its attention in the first two. When hawking like this, they make ‘grinding, churring sounds’ (to quote Pizzey and Knight) which are supposed to disturb insects into flight. For this reason, the species is sometimes called the Scissors Grinder.
The fifth photo shows one of the two birds checking out the vegetation along a barbed wire fence. It’s not, as it might appear, flying towards the fence. Rather it had been perched on the fence seconds before and is making its way down the side of it.
The Restless Flycatcher builds a beautiful nest of grass, bark and spiders’ webs on a horizontal branch, sixth photo with a usual clutch size of three. The nest is typically decorated or maybe camouflaged with lichen. In this photo, you can see the broad, flat bill characteristic of Monarch Flycatchers.
Restless Flycatchers are usually found near water. The one in the seventh photo is having a drink from a river.
Here is the Paperbark Flycatcher, eight photo. The best way I know to separate it from the Restless Flycatcher is by range, though the Paperbark is smaller (17-19cm versus 19-22cm) and supposed to be glossier and have a darker back. The calls are supposed to be slightly different, though they sound much the same to me.
The Paperbark Flycatcher also builds a cup-shaped nest on a horizontal branch, ninth photo, but the sources I have don’t mention bark as building material, or lichen as a decoration. As with the Restless Flycatcher, both genders share in nest-building, incubation and rearing of the chicks.
If we treat Restless and Paperbark as separate species, then the Restless is an Australian endemic, The Paperbark isn’t as it also occurs in southern New Guinea on both sides of the Indonesian-PNG border.
“And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;” (Isaiah 32:18 KJV)
What interesting Flycatchers Ian has introduced us to. His “Moment” seems to get longer each time. Maybe one day, Ian may get back to his “Bird of the Week.” :)
Keep up the good work, Ian. We enjoy your birds whenever they fly our way.
“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.” (Proverbs 17:8 KJV)
Once there was a family of common wood pigeons that lived deep in a large forest. The father and mother, David and Susan, had three children, Billy, Louisa, and Will. The children had not been in the nest for very long, but were now almost old enough to fly from the nest to make their own homes.
One day when Susan was flying through the forest searching for worms, she met an owl named Winston who was casually sitting on a branch. Because Winston was considered the wisest owl in the entire forest, all of the birds and other animals came to him for advice on how to solve their problems. When Susan explained to Winston that her children were nearly old enough to begin flying to find their own place to live, Winston immediately suggested holding a graduation ceremony.
Susan, confused on what exactly a graduation ceremony entailed, waited patiently for most of the afternoon as Winston slowly explained every detail of what a graduation ceremony was, what must be done, and the reason for it. Susan almost wished she hadn’t said anything because Winston had a history of being extremely long-winded. From what Susan gathered, however, graduation ceremonies were for people who had reached a certain point in their lives. They left a place called ‘school’ where they learned everything they needed to know before being given a piece of paper and going to another place to learn. Susan thought it was almost like the way her children would fly from the nest.
Susan quickly flew back home and told David everything that Winston had said, and David thought it was a great idea. They began to prepare for the ceremony by inviting all of the birds and animals in the woods, though they were informed that the turkeys couldn’t attend because hunters had been spotted and the turkeys were not taking any chances.
That Saturday, Winston flew over to a large nearby branch while all of the pigeons and several other birds and animals gathered around to listen. Winston’s speech lasted a very long time, and by the time he was done Billy, Louisa, Will, and most of the others were fast asleep.
David and Susan quickly woke their children up so they could rise for their diploma. David and Susan both decided that the perfect substitute for a diploma would be the biggest worms they could find. Winston called out each of their children’s names one by one, and, while the rest of the birds and animals all cheered, Billy, Louisa, and Will took their worms. The ceremony was officially over. Everyone had a party afterwards with all of the birds bringing worms and all the squirrels volunteering to bring nuts and berries for the others. Some of the animals even gave the young birds a few graduation presents. One kind squirrel brought the largest nut he could find, while a raccoon brought an assortment of leaves she had found that would look nice in a nest.
Bok Santuary Squirrel by Lee
When Billy, Louisa, and Will began to prepare to fly away to make their new nests, Susan tried not to cry. Finally, all of the guests left and her children flew away. She hoped they would come home to visit soon, and that they would not fly too far.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit….But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 11 KJV)
Our young writer, Emma Foster, has been growing up and has just graduated from High School. We trust you have enjoyed her Bird Tales over the last 5 1/2 years. She started writing for us on the blog in January of 2012. Her stories have continually improved as she has matured. I still chuckle over her first story of the parrot, Mrs. Patterson’s Parrot, that was too large to come home in the car.
About a week ago, I asked Emma to write a story about birds graduating. This was her answer to the request. I wanted to honor her for her graduation and the wish her well as she starts college and the future.
Now that she has graduated, she plans to work on a degree in writing. She has also assured us that she will continue to send more Bird Tales for us to enjoy. I look forward to those and will continue praying for her as she enters this new phase of her life.
The latest update to the I.O.C.’s list of all the birds of the world was released near the end of April. This blog site, Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus, is almost updated with this new version. All the indexes and the actual family pages are finished. The alphabetical list of names is all that is left for me to update.
One bird was deleted from the list with this version:
American Barn Owl (Tyto furcata) part of Barn Owls
Blue-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia hoffmanni) split from Steely-vented Hummingbird
Peruvian Racket-tail (Ocreatus peruanus) split from Booted Racket-tail (now White-booted)
Rufous-booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus addae) split from Booted Racket-tail (now White-booted)
Bermuda Flicker (Colaptes oceanicus) Extinct, not Pre-historic :o)
Whyte’s Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris whytei) split from Ludwig’s Double-collared Sunbird
Tomorrow, I’ll try to present rest of the changes. Still working on indexes.
The reason for the smiley face after the new extinct ones is because as most readers of this blog are aware, that this blog teaches Creation, not evolution. That means they now know the birds lived not soooooo far back in history.
Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 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 1:20-21 NKJV)
“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)
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)
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)
Rhea the featherless Lovebird in a knitted sweater
“They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.” (Job 24:7 KJV)
Thanks to some news articles, I heard about Rhea, a Lovebird that lost all her feathers. She has Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD). The feathers will not grow back and has to be kept warm. That fact caused many to send little outfits to her owner to help keep Rhea warm.
“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13 KJV)
Enjoy the articles and the video of little Rhea. If you wanted to study bird anatomy, Rhea provides some interesting things to observe. Notice her ear holds.
“My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:” (Proverbs 24:21 KJV)
Below are summaries of quarterly updates to the IOC World Bird List. We strive to track taxonomic advances in ornithology in a timely way. All of the updated information and species changes are included in the latest version of the list on this website.
The IOC World Bird List 7.1 contains 10,672 extant species (and 156 extinct species) classified in 40 Orders, 238 Families (plus 2 Incertae Sedis) and 2,294 Genera. The list also includes 20,344 subspecies, their ranges and authors.
TAXONOMY:10 including resequence of Ratites, Draft revision of Orders.
The IOC was busy at work putting out their newest version, and we were too incumbered [crashed computer, bronchitis, on-line course] to really get to it. I trust this blog will be updated in the next few days to reflect these changes.