Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies Finale

Band-tailed Seedeater (Catamenia analis) Male ©WikiC

Band-tailed Seedeater (Catamenia analis) Male ©WikiC

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34 KJV)

Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra) ©WikiC

Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra) ©WikiC

We have arrived at the last the Thraupidae family of Tanagers and close family relatives. We begin with the Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra) is a songbird species of the monotypic genus Melopyrrha. Sometimes classified in the bunting and American sparrow family (Emberizidae), more recent studies have shown it to be part of the tanager family (Thraupidae). Therein, it belongs to the lineage of tholospizan “finches”, which also includes the famous Darwin’s finches. They are found in the Cayman Islands, there only on Grand Cayman, and Cuba. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, and heavily degraded former forest.

Paramo Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa) ©WikiC

Paramo Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa) ©WikiC

The next two genera, Dolospingus, found in Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and Catamenia also from South America, are Seedeaters.

Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus) by Kent Nickell

Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus) by Kent Nickell

Six Grassquits, from Tiaris and Loxipasser genera are from Central and South America. The Yellow-faced Grassquits are interesting because “During courtship, the male vibrates his wings as he sings his subdued song, sitting only 1–2 in (2.5–5.1 cm) away so the female can properly hear him. The roughly globular nest, built by the female, is made of grass and weed stems compacted into a thick mass, and lined with pieces of grass inflorescences and bast fibre. It has a side entrance and is placed usually less than 30 cm (12 in) above the ground, often among grass or weeds on a road or river embankment.” (Wikipedia) Grassquits are known for making covered nests.

Most of the rest of the family are similar in that just a few birds are in each genus. The the Bullfinches, Loxigilla; Ground Finches, Geospiza; Cactus Finches, Geospiza; Tree Finches, Camarhynchus; Warbler-Finches, Certhidea; and then five Tanagers in three genera.

Western Spindalis (Spindalis zena pretrei) Male ©WikiC

Western Spindalis (Spindalis zena pretrei) Male ©WikiC

There are four “Spindalis is a genus consisting of four non-migratory bird species. The genus is considered endemic to the Greater Antilles; a population on Cozumel Island, off the Yucatán Peninsula’s east coast, is part of that island’s West Indian fauna. Spindalis males are characterized by bright plumage while females are duller and have a different coloration. (Wikipedia)  As usual, this helps hide her while sitting on the nest. Also shows the Lord’s concern for all of His Creation.

Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) ©WikiC

Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) ©WikiC

The next to last bird in the Thraupidae Family is an very interesting bird and I’ll let Wikipedia give the details. “The plushcap is one of the most distinctive of all Neotropical passerines in terms of both its appearance and behavior. The plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) was in its own family until recently when it was grouped with the tanagers. It is very distinct both physically and in terms of behavior. The bill is broad and black. The body is a chestnut color with a bright golden-yellow forecrown. The forecrown is made up of stiff feathers. It has been speculated that these short, dense feathers are less susceptible to feather wear and more resistant to moisture than typical feathers. This may be an adaptation for its specialized feeding mode [sounds like Wisdom from their Creator], in which it probes into dense whorls of bamboo for its prey items (Hilty et al. 1979). Juveniles are just duller versions of their parents. They are found at high elevations from northern Venezuela south to Argentina, including the coastal mountains of Venezuela and the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and extreme northwestern Argentina. They live in montane forests and secondary forests near bamboo. They forage for insects inside the bamboo. They will eat small insects, berries, and small plant matter. The overall length averages 14 cm (5.5 in) and weigh averages 14.1 grams (0.5 oz).”

Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) ©WikiC

Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) ©WikiC

“The bird is very distinct and is not confused with many other birds. It stands out from the other tanagers, only possibly being confused with the golden-crowned tanager despite the golden-crowned tanager being blue. The species is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is humid montane forests and it is always found in close association with Chusquea bamboo. It is typically found at an elevation 1,800 to 3,500 m.”

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But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24 KJV)

“Hallelujah For The Cross” ~ by Jessie Padgett

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More Sunday Inspirations

Thraudidae Family – Tanagers, Finches and Allies

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies I

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies II

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies III

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies IV

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Dacnis, Honeycreepers, Conebills

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Flowerpiercer, Sierra Finches, Plus

Sunday Inspiration – Inca, Warbling and Various Finches

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae Tanagers and Allies  VIII

Gospel Message

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Sunday Inspiration – Starlings, Mynas and Rhabdornis

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) by Robert Scanlon

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) by Robert Scanlon

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

This weeks Sturnidae Family is rather large with 123 species presently. (Twenty-three are Mynas; three are Rhabdornis; one Coleto and the rest are Starlings.) Here in the U. S., when we think of a Starling it is a very the plain Common (European) Starling. Yet other Starlings are very colorful and beautiful creations from our Lord.

Golden-breasted Starling at NA

Golden-breasted Starling at National Aviary by Lee

The name “Sturnidae” comes from the Latin word for starling, sturnus. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage. Starlings are native to the Old World, from Europe, Asia and Africa, to northern Australia and the islands of the tropical Pacific. Several European and Asian species have been introduced to these areas as well as North America, Hawaii and New Zealand, where they generally compete for habitats with native birds and are considered to be invasive species. The starling species familiar to most people in Europe and North America is the common starling, and throughout much of Asia and the Pacific, the common myna is indeed common.

Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschildi Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschildi Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

Starlings have strong feet, their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Several species live around human habitation and are effectively omnivores. Many species search for prey such as grubs by “open-bill probing”, that is, forcefully opening the bill after inserting it into a crevice, thus expanding the hole and exposing the prey; this behaviour is referred to by the German verb zirkeln (pronounced [ˈtsɪʁkəln]).

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Eggs ©WikiC

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Eggs ©WikiC

Plumage of many species is typically dark with a metallic sheen. Most species nest in holes and lay blue or white eggs.

Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica) by Ian

Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica) by Ian

Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations and have been known to embed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls and are currently the subject of research into the evolution of human language.

Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (Rhabdornis mystacalis) ©©

Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (Rhabdornis mystacalis) ©©

James J. S. Johnson just wrote about the murmuration of the Starlings in Choreographed Choir on the Wing: Birds of a Feather Flock Together. “The starlings are generally a highly social family. Most species associate in flocks of varying sizes throughout the year. A flock of starlings is called a murmuration. These flocks may include other species of starlings and sometimes species from other families. This sociality is particularly evident in their roosting behavior; in the non-breeding season some roosts can number in the thousands of birds.” (Most information from Wikipedia)

Starling Murmuration

Starling Murmuration

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Many of the family members in random order:

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“Once Upon A Tree” ~ Choir – and – “Sing To Jesus” ~ Angel Long & Jessie Padgett

More Sunday Inspirations

Sturnidae – Starlings, Rhabdornis

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Metallic Starling

Starling – Wikipedia

Wages or a Gift

 

Sunday Inspiration – Swallows and Martins

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) baby by Neal Addy Gallery

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) baby by Neal Addy Gallery

Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. (Psalms 84:3 NKJV)

This week’s 88 avian flyers are from the Hirundinidae Family of Swallows and Martins. The species in this group are River Martins, Saw-wings, Swallows, and Martins of various genus, Many here in America are familiar with the Barn Swallow.

Also, the Swallows are Birds of the Bible, being mentioned in at least four verses; Psalms 84:3, Proverbs 26:2, Isaiah 38:14, and Jeremiah 8:7,

Swallows are in the Hirundinidae – Swallows Family which includes Martins. “Within the Hirundiniae, the name ‘martin’ tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name “swallow” for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. The family contains around 88 species in 19 genera.” The subfamilies are: Saw-wings (including Square-tailed, Mountain, White-headed, Black and Fanti), Swallows (many including Barn, Bank, Cave Mangrove, Golden, etc), Martins (Purple, Cuban, Sinaloa, Brown-chested, etc.), Sand Martins (including Brown-throated, Congo, Pale, Banded).

The swallows are found on all continents except Antarctica, with the largest diversity of species in Africa. They are found on many islands, as there are quite a few that migrate long distances. God has designed them with short bills, but with a wide mouth that has a strong jaw. This is useful in their hunt for insects which they catch on the wing. With their streamlined body and wings that are pointed, they are very maneuverable at great speeds. Their forked long tail, that has 12 feathers, helps them steer. They can range from 3.9-9.4 inches and weight between 0.4-2.1 ounces.

This family of birds, to me, are one of the hardest to photograph. They zip about often, but land very seldom to catch their picture. Thankfully the Lord gave these birds a tastebud for insects that have a tastebud for us.

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Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, So a curse without cause shall not alight. (Proverbs 26:2 NKJV)

“If I Don’t Have Love” ~ by Jessie Padgett – Special at Faith Baptist

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More Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the Bible – Swallows

Hirundinidae Family of Swallows and Martins

Swallow – (Wikipedia)

Sharing The Gospel

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