Home, Home on the Sage: Nothing to Grouse about!

HOME, HOME ON THE SAGE:  NOTHING TO GROUSE ABOUT!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

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)

Among ground-fowl birds there are some galliforms – called Phasianidae – that resemble one another enough that they are often grouped together, taxonomically, as if they are all super-family “cousins”:  quails, pheasants, partridges, ptarmigans, chickens, peafowl, and grouse-fowl.  One of these Phasianid galliforms, almost the size of a turkey,  will now be considered:  the Greater Sage Grouse.  Since one of the bird’s favorite foods is sagebrush leaves, it is no wonder than the quail-like fowl is often found nesting or foraging in sagebrush-dominated terrain.  Sage grouse eat other leaves as well, if and when accessible, as well as buds, forbs, flowers and bugs.  Insects often eaten by sage grouse include grasshoppers, beetles, and ants.

GreaterSageGrouse.Wikipedia

Greater Sage Grouse   (Centrocercus urophasianus), photo credit: Wikipedia

The GREATER SAGE GROUSE routinely inhabits the Great Basin Desert, thriving in xeric shrublands, a dry steppe-like blend of desert and scrub-grasslands, as well as other sagebrush-dominated lands east of the Great Basin [see Fort Collins Science Center range map, for America’s Sage Grouse].  To appreciate the Greater Sage Grouse’s scrubland habitat, a quick review of the Great Basin Desert is worthwhile.

SageGrouse-RangeMap.FortCollinsScienceCenter

The “Great Basin” Desert is not the typical “desert” of hot, hot, dry, dry mostly-barren land, studded with cactus and sagebrush vegetation. Rather the Great Basin Desert is a “cold” scrubland desert, meaning that it is dry most of the year, but its temperatures are not hot year-round – in fact, it usually gets more annual precipitation via snowfall than by rainfall.  In other words, the Great Basin is dry enough to qualify as a “desert” (and thus it is not “covered” by forests or grasslands, and typically hot during summer, yet it get quite cold in the winter, with snow winters as the norm.  In this respect the Great Basin is in a class by itself, in North America, unlike America’s other 3 major deserts (the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts) which hare truly “hot deserts”. [See map of the Great Basin Desert, below, compliments of Wikipedia.]

GreatBasinDesert-MAP.Wikipedia.png

Ecologicallly speaking, the Great Basin includes a mix of rocky soils and scrublands, many dominated by sagebrush, greasewood, saltbush and salty-soil areas, mudflats, and sand dunes, as well as pinyon-juniper woodlands in higher elevations. Geographically speaking, the Great Basin covers almost all of Nevada, plus western Utah, a bit of southern Idaho, and part of the south-central part of Oregon.  [See map, below, compliments of the U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior.]

GreatBasinDesert-MAP.USGS

Great Basin Desert, USGS map [public domain]

Since the Great Basin Desert is not hot year-round, but routinely experiences snowy winters, its inhabitants must apply climate-response strategies that successfully resolve temperature extremes, such as how to deal with hot and dry summers, plus cool-to-cold winters. Some Great Basin animals migrate, seasonally, while other hibernate, to avoid the inconveniences of snowfall and frigidity.  But how do Greater Sage Grouse deal with the seasonal “climate change” challenges of the Great Basin?

Sagebrush-terrain.Defenders-of-Wildlife-Blog-ScottSmith.jpg

Sagebrush-dominated terrain (photo credit: Scott Smith / Defenders of Wildlife Blog)

In short, the sage grouse stay put, for the most part, throughout all or most of the year.  [See Roger Tory Peterson, A FIELD GUIDE TO WESTERN BIRDS (Peterson Field Guides / Houghton Mifflin, 1990), pages 158-159 & Map 96.]  If need be, however, they “micro-migrate” to other nearby areas, although usually only for relatively short distances, so they are not true “migrants”, phenologically speaking.  In other words, depending upon the severity of winter weather, sage grouse may undertake short-distance migrations, to find user-friendly winter habitat, going as far as 100 miles if necessary, although less than 20 miles is more typical.

SageGrouse-with-Pronghorn.sagebrush.jpg

Sage Grouse, with Pronghorn, in sagebrush  (photo credit” Defenders of Wildlife Blog)

Consider the following facts, summarized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, about the Greater Sage Grouse:

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are members of the Phasianidae family. They are one of two species; the other species in the genus is the Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus). The Greater sage-grouse is the largest North American grouse species. Adult male greater sage-grouse range in length from 26 to 30 inches and weigh between 4 and 7 pounds. Adult females are smaller, ranging in length from 19 to 23 inches and weighing between 2 and 4 pounds.  During the spring breeding season, male sage-grouse gather together to perform courtship displays on areas called leks. Areas of bare soil, short-grass steppe, windswept ridges, exposed knolls, or other relatively open sites typically serve as leks, which are often surrounded by denser shrub-steppe cover, which is used for escape, thermal and feeding cover. The proximity, configuration, and abundance of nesting habitat are key factors influencing lek location. Leks can be formed opportunistically at any appropriate site within or adjacent to nesting habitat. Therefore, lek habitat availability is not considered to be a limiting factor for sage-grouse. Leks are indicative of nesting habitat.   Productive nesting areas are typically characterized by sagebrush with an understory of native grasses and forbs, with horizontal and vertical structural diversity that provides an insect prey base, herbaceous forage for pre-laying and nesting hens, and cover for the hen while she is incubating. Shrub canopy and grass cover provide concealment for sage-grouse nests and young, and are critical for reproductive success. The average distance between a female’s nest and the lek on which she was first observed ranged from 2.1 mi to 4.8 mi in five studies examining 301 nest locations, but actual distances can be highly variable. Male sage-grouse do not participate in nesting or rearing of the chicks.   …

During the spring and summer sage-grouse will primarily eat insects and forbs, but they rarely stray from the edge of sagebrush, which provides cover year round. In the fall, sage-grouse shift their diet entirely to sagebrush, depending on the shrub for both food and cover. Sage-grouse obtain their water from the food they eat. However, they will drink water if available. …  Currently, greater sage-grouse occur in 11 States (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, South Dakota, and North Dakota), and 2 Canadian provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan), occupying approximately 56 percent of their historical range. Approximately 2 percent of the total range of the greater sage-grouse occurs in Canada, with the remainder in the United States. Sage-grouse have been extirpated from Nebraska, British Columbia, and possibly Arizona. Current distribution of the greater sage-grouse is estimated at 258,075 mi2. Changes in distribution are the result of sagebrush alteration and degradation [because sage grouse depend heavily upon sagebrush for their habitat needs]. …

[Quoting from USFWS, “Beginner’s Guide to Greater Sage-Grouse”.]

So there you have it, Sage Grouse like to live around — and eat — desert scrub sagebrush, so expect to find them living in the sagebrush-dominated areas of the Great Basin Desert..  Perhaps they also have a “dry” sense of humor!


GreaterSageGrouse.Cornell-StephenParsons

Featured image photo credit:  Stephen Parsons / Cornell

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies V

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

Galloperdix is 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.

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) ©Arthur Grosset

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) ©Arthur Grosset

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.

Tragopan Wattles ©WikiC

Tragopan is 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

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.

Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus) ©ArthurGrosset

A monal is a bird of genus Lophophorus of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. There are three species and several subspecies: Himalayan Monal, Sclater’s Monal, and the Chinese Monal.

Green Junglefowl (Gallus varius) ©WikiC

Green Junglefowl (Gallus varius) ©WikiC

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

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.

White Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon) ©©

White Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon) ©©

The name Crossoptilon is 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 Pheasant (Catreus wallichii) ©©

Cheer Pheasant (Catreus wallichii) ©©

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

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”).[1] 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.

Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis) M ©WikiC

Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis) M ©WikiC

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.

Crested Argus (Rheinardia ocellata) ©WikiC

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

Great Argus (Argusianus argus) ©WikiC

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.

Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

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)

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“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)

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Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies I

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies II

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies III

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies IV

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Birds of the Bible

In Our Place

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Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies IV

“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)

As we continue our journey through the Phasianidae Family of Pheasants and Allies, our next encounter is with more Partridges and Quails.

Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) ©WikiC

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.

Long-billed Partridge (Rhizothera longirostris) ©WikiC

Long-billed Partridge (Rhizothera longirostris) ©WikiC

Long-billed Partridge and Hose’s Partridge belong to the Rhizothera genus. Rhizothera is a genus of bird native to Malaysia. Established by George Robert Gray in 1841.

Madagascar Partridge (Margaroperdix madagarensis) ©Drawing WikiC

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.

ARKive photo - Pair of black partridges

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.

Harlequin Quail (Coturnix delegorguei) ©WikiC

Harlequin Quail (Coturnix delegorguei) ©WikiC

The Coturnix genus has seven Quail including the Common, Japanese, Rain, Harlequin, Stubble, New Zealand and the Brown Quails.

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) Asian Blue by Kent Nickel

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) by Kent Nickel

The King Quail and Blue Quail are in the Excalfactoria genus.

Snow Mountain Quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx) ©WikiC

Snow Mountain Quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx) ©WikiC

The Snow Mountain Quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx) is the only one in its genus.

Painted Bush Quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha) ©WikiC

Painted Bush Quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha) ©WikiC

Perdicula is made up of the Jungle Bush Quail, Rock Bush Quail, Painted Bush Quail, and the Manipur Bush Quail.

Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa †) ©Drawing WikiC

Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa †) ©Drawing WikiC

Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa) is another loner.

Udzungwa Forest Partridge (Xenoperdix udzungwensis) ©ARKive

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.

Hill Partridge (Arborophila torqueola) ©WikiC

Hill Partridge (Arborophila torqueola) ©WikiC

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

Crimson-headed Partridge (Haematortyx sanguiniceps) ©Drawing WikiC

There are three more genera with only one bird; Ferruginous Partridge (Caloperdix oculeus), Crimson-headed Partridge (Haematortyx sanguiniceps), and the Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul.

Mountain Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola fytchii) ©WikiC at National Zoo

We finish off this week’s Avian Wonders from the Lord with the Bambusicola genus with the Mountain Bamboo Partridge, Chinese Bamboo Partridge,  and the Taiwan Bamboo Partridge.

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“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:” (Hebrews 1:10 KJV)

“God’s Still In Control” ~ ©Hyssongs

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Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies I

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies II

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies III

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Assurance: The Certainty of Salvation

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Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies III

Erckel's Francolin (Pternistis erckelii) ©WikiC

Erckel’s Francolin (Pternistis erckelii) ©WikiC

“Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 7:3 KJV)

This Sunday’s section of the Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae Family has 32 Francolins and 8 Spurfowl contained in 5 genera.

“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.”

Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) ©WikiC Spurs of the male

“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

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

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).

Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi) ©WikiC

Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi) ©WikiC

The lone Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) is the one in its genre.

Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) ©WikiC

Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) ©WikiC

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.

Yellow-neckedSpurfowl(Pternistisleucoscepus)©USFWS

Yellow-necked Spurfowl (Pternistis leucoscepus) ©USFWS

Scaly Francolin (Pternistis squamatus), Ahanta Francolin (Pternistis ahantensis), Grey-striped Francolin (Pternistis griseostriatus), Hildebrandt’s Francolin (Pternistis hildebrandti), Double-spurred Francolin (Pternistis bicalcaratus), Heuglin’s Francolin (Pternistis icterorhynchus), Clapperton’s Francolin (Pternistis clappertoni), Harwood’s Francolin (Pternistis harwoodi), Swierstra’s Francolin (Pternistis swierstrai), Mount Cameroon Francolin (Pternistis camerunensis), Handsome Francolin (Pternistis nobilis), Jackson’s Francolin (Pternistis jacksoni), Chestnut-naped Francolin (Pternistis castaneicollis), Djibouti Francolin (Pternistis ochropectus), Erckel’s Francolin (Pternistis erckelii), Hartlaub’s Spurfowl (Pternistis hartlaubi), Red-billed Spurfowl (Pternistis adspersus), Cape Spurfowl (Pternistis capensis), Natal Spurfowl (Pternistis natalensis), Yellow-necked Spurfowl (Pternistis leucoscepus), Grey-breasted Spurfowl (Pternistis rufopictus), Red-necked Spurfowl (Pternistis afer), and Swainson’s Spurfowl (Pternistis swainsonii).

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“I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (Psalms 50:11 KJV)

“Hiding in the Shadow of the Rock” ~ Dr. Richard Gregory

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Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies I

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies II

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Is There a God?

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Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies II

Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) by Nikhil Devasar

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.

Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge (Tetraophasis obscurus) ©gbwf.org

(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.

Tibetan Snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus) ©WikiC

Tibetan Snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus) ©WikiC

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).

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Pixabay

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Pixabay

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.

GAL-Phas Sand Partridge (Ammoperdix heyi) ©WikiC

Sand Partridge (Ammoperdix heyi) ©WikiC

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

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

Coqui Francolin(Peliperdix coqui) by Dave’s BirdingPix

Peliperdix – Its four species range through tropical Sub-Saharan Africa.

Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi) ©WikiC

Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi) ©WikiC

Scleroptila – Its seven species range through Sub-Saharan Africa.

Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) ©WikiC

Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) ©WikiC

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)

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“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

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Sunday Inspirations

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Birds of the Bible – Partridge

Sharing The Gospel

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies I

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix

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.

turkey1

Thankfully, Reginald, our Turkey Commander, and his group have avoided this result. Reginald, Turkey Commander. See the rest of Emma’s Stories of Reginald and others.

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

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.

Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) ©USFWS

Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) ©USFWS

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.

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) ©WikiC

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) ©WikiC

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.

Hazel Grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) ©©7-Skogshons-M

Hazel Grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) ©©7-Skogshons-M

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

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.

Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus)©Wiki-Richard_Bartz

Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus)©Wiki-Richard_Bartz

The Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), also known as the wood grouse, heather cock, or just capercaillie /ˌkæpərˈkli/, 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.

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) Cock ©WikiC

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) Cock ©WikiC

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

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.

Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) ©©MyersFamily

Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) ©©MyersFamily

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

Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) ©WikiC

Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) ©WikiC

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.

Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus Muta) ©WikiC

Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus Muta) ©WikiC

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)

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“Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.” (Psalms 69:34 KJV)

“While the Ages Roll” ~ Men’s Quartet – Faith Baptist .

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Sunday Inspirations

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Sharing The Gospel

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Bible Birds – Peacocks Page Updated

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?  (Job 39:13)

Peacocks belong to the  Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.

Click to See the updated page with a Slideshow and the article

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Updated Bible Birds – Peacocks Page

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?  (Job 39:13)

Peacocks belong to the  Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.

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Rock Partridges: Lessons About Hunting And Hatching

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) WikiC

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) WikiC

Rock Partridges: Lessons about Hunting and Hatching ~ James J. S. Johnson

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)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

Rock Partridges – like other partridges – prefer to hide from people, yet their voices are quite detectable. “Rock partridges are masters of concealment and are best spotted when perched on a boulder sending out a challenge; however, when we were [in Israel] we probably heard ten for every one of which we had a glimpse” [quoting George Cansdale, All the Animals of the Bible Lands (Zondervan, 1970), pages 165-166].   Yet if we look for partridges carefully, in Scripture, we will find them mentioned twice, providing us with two lessons for our own lives (and “callings”, pardon the pun).  But, before looking at those two Bible passages, first let us consider what a “partridge” is.

 So what is a partridge?

Partridges are chicken-sized ground-dwelling birds, classified together with other “pheasant family” birds like pheasant, grouse, bobwhite, quail, junglefowl, chicken, peafowl, and ptarmigan. Specifically, partridges are categorized as fowl belonging to the order Galliformes, family Phasianidae, subfamily Perdicinae).

Partridges don’t migrate.  Partridges  — such as the Rock Partridges of the Holy Land — often nest in hilly or montane areas, in fairly dry climate zones, laying more than a dozen eggs in a minimally lined ground scrape – quite a humble nest!   This habit leaves partridge eggs quite vulnerable, for many ovivorous predators (including hungry humans – see Deuteronomy 22:6-7) hunt around the nesting grounds of partridges.  Resourceful foragers themselves, partridges routinely eat accessible ants, seeds, berries, lichen, and other low-to-the-ground vegetation.  Like other land-fowl partridges spend most of their time on the ground, hidden in ground cover, so don’t expect to see them flying around much, or perching in tree branches.

Partridges are mentioned only twice in the Old Testament (noted below), as translations of the Hebrew word qoré’ – a noun derived from the verb qara’ (meaning “to call”, “to cry”).   The Hebrew root  verb qara’ is used to describe calling out someone’s name, when you wish to speak to that person, and it is used to describe God’s actions when He “called” the light Day, the dark Night, the dry land Earth, etc. (in Genesis chapter 1).  Partridges, therefore, are “criers”, famous for their calls.  The Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca), which seems to have been common during Bible times, is known for its “cok-cok-cokrr” call, in the arid piedmonts of Israel.

The Rock Partridge ranges “from the mountains of Lebanon in the north across the coastal plains to the dry hills of Judaea, but its range also extends westwards through Greece and all over Italy” [quoting George Cansdale, All the Animals of the Bible Lands (Zondervan, 1970), page 165].  Its Holy Land cousin, the Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa), resembles the Rock Partridge from a distance, so the Bible could refer to either or both, as well as any hybrids.  Another partridge found in Israel’s desert lands is Hey’s Partridge (Ammoperdrix heyi), by the Dead Sea.

“Partridges” ae mentioned once in 1st Samuel 26:20 and once in Jeremiah 17:11.  Both verses illustrate important life lessons.

Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa) ©WikiC

Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa) ©WikiC

Living life on the run

As a fugitive trying to escape King Saul, David compares himself (in 1st Samuel 26:20, quoted above) to a partridge being hunted in the mountains.  Because partridges don’t fly far away, as chased ducks or geese may, hunters chase partridges in the hilly scrublands, causing the partridges to run this way and that, often wearying the partridges to the point that they became targets for whatever weapons (even sticks used for clubbing) the hunters have available.  Surely David saw such partridges in the arid wilderness scrublands he hid in, and likely David himself hunted, caught, and ate such partridges.  Because David was daily fleeing Saul’s soldiers, in the hilly wilderness  of Israel, David knew what partridges felt like, being pursued by hunters.  Yet God protected David from Saul’s evil efforts, and in God’s providence it was David, when the dust settled, who survived and reigned over Israel, not Saul.

What can we learn from David’s fugitive plight?

First, there is no good reason to surrender to one’s enemies!  When persecutors aim at innocent victims, as has been the plight of believers ever since Cain murdered Abel (Genesis 4:8-9; Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51), we are counseled to evade persecutions when possible (Matthew 7:6 & 10:14 & 10:23; Luke 9:5 & 10:11 & 21:21; Acts 9:25 & 13:51).

Second, David’s example reminds us that God is sovereign – He will not let us die until it is the proper time for dying.  So long as God has earthly work for us to do, He will sustain us (James 4:13-15).

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Arthur Grosset

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Arthur Grosset

Don’t count your chickens (or partridges) before they hatch

Another lesson from the partridge comes from Jeremiah 17:11.  It seems that partridges have a bad reputation for being less than fully successful in hatching their eggs!  This parental deficiency is compared to the tentative gains of those who acquire wealth by unrighteous means – they will, in the end, be seen as the fools they are!  Why?  Because the wealth of this world, even if kept until death, is only transitory wealth.  It is like eggs laid in a slipshod nest, never to be successfully hatched.

Don’t invest the best of your life in the transitory things of this world  —  because the investment will be a disappointment, when life is over.  Rather, invest your time and treasure in what God values.  It is truly foolish to lay up temporal treasures, “where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19).  Materialistic treasures are a long-term waste of investment, to be displayed as folly in eternity (and often earlier, on earth), as “gains” wrongly gotten – because we are only stewards of the assets God entrusts to us.

Therefore, let us rather, on a daily basis, accrue (by God’s grace) “treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20).  It’s really a matter of the heart:  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

(Dr. James J. S. Johnson, an apologetics professor for ICR, previously taught ornithology at Dallas Christian College.)


Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Pixabay

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Pixabay

Lee’s Addition:

Rock Partridges belong to:

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P.S. – As of this post, James J. S. Johnson is now one of our regular contributors to the blog. An introduction will be given soon.

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Bible Birds – Peacocks I

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

 

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22 KJV)

For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (2 Chronicles 9:21 KJV)

In my reading today in I Kings 10, I came to the peacocks arriving to Israel via the Navy of Tharshish or Tarshish. We have written about them in Birds of the Bible – Peacocks (2008) and Birds of the Bible – Pied Peacock and Allies (2011). It’s time to see what else can be discovered about these beautifully created birds by the Lord.

Peacock Feather

Peacock Feather

We know He, The LORD, questioned Job about the Peacocks “goodly wings” in Job 39.

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (Job 39:13 KJV)

Now, in I Kings and II Chronicles, the Peacocks are arriving in ships by the Navy of Tharshish. It appears that every three years those ships arrived with its precious cargos. Where had the ships gone to collect these items. There is speculation by some writers that the ships went west to Spain and other think in another way toward India and areas in that direction. The Bible does not say, so, we really don’t know.

Does that make you curious? It make me wonder where they found those peacocks.

Checking the history of Peacocks from CreationWiki and Wikipedia, they say that there are two species of Peafowl from Asia and one species from Africa. Is that were they got these Peacocks mentioned here in Scripture? When you are reading the Bible, do questions like this every give you an urge to dig a little deeper?

First, the “Peacocks” are the males. The females are called “Peahen” and their chicks are called “Peachicks.”  Collectively the birds are called Peafowl. They all belong to the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.

The two species from India-Asia are the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

and the Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus).

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

The African member of the family is the Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis).

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Here are some of the thought of various commentaries:

JFB – once in three years — that is, every third year. Without the mariner’s compass they had to coast along the shore. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the north coast of Africa, where the animals were to be found. They were particularized, probably as being the rarest articles on board.

Geneva – By Tharshish is meant Cilicia, which was abundant in the variety of precious things.

Darby – 1 Kings 10:1-29 – The king of Tyre also was dependent on the king of Israel; and the queen of Sheba comes from the far south to delight herself in the wisdom of the head of God’s people, and to be filled with wonder at the sight of his glory, and to praise Jehovah who had raised him so high, and who had blessed the people in giving him to be their king. She also came with gifts; for the king’s renown had spread into distant lands. Nevertheless, although it was a true report that she had heard, the sight of his glory went far beyond all that had been said of it.

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

We have no clear idea of where they came from, and it really does not matter other than we are told they came by ship. We know that Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest king because God promised him back when he prayed for wisdom.

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in….. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. (1 Kings 3:7-14 KJV)

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Wow! Is that not true of those of us who know the Lord? The Lord answers our prayers many times by giving us much more than we ever asked for. As long as our prayers are in line with His Word.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:17-20 KJV)

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Birds of the Bible – Peacocks II

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22 KJV)

For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (2 Chronicles 9:21 KJV)

In my reading today in I Kings 10, I came to the peacocks arriving to Israel via the Navy of Tharshish or Tarshish. We have written about them in Birds of the Bible – Peacocks (2008) and Birds of the Bible – Pied Peacock and Allies (2011). It’s time to see what else can be discovered about these beautifully created birds by the Lord.

Peacock Feather

Peacock Feather

We know He, The LORD, questioned Job about the Peacocks “goodly wings” in Job 39.

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (Job 39:13 KJV)

Now, in I Kings and II Chronicles, the Peacocks are arriving in ships by the Navy of Tharshish. It appears that every three years those ships arrived with its precious cargos. Where had the ships gone to collect these items. There is speculation by some writers that the ships went west to Spain and other think in another way toward India and areas in that direction. The Bible does not say, so, we really don’t know.

Does that make you curious? It make me wonder where they found those peacocks.

Checking the history of Peacocks from CreationWiki and Wikipedia, they say that there are two species of Peafowl from Asia and one species from Africa. Is that were they got these Peacocks mentioned here in Scripture? When you are reading the Bible, do questions like this every give you an urge to dig a little deeper?

First, the “Peacocks” are the males. The females are called “Peafowl” and their chicks are called “Peachicks.”  Collectively the birds are called Peafowl. They all belong to the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.

The two species from India-Asia are the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

and the Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus).

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

The African member of the family is the Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis).

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Here are some of the thought of various commentaries:

JFB – once in three years — that is, every third year. Without the mariner’s compass they had to coast along the shore. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the north coast of Africa, where the animals were to be found. They were particularized, probably as being the rarest articles on board.

Geneva – By Tharshish is meant Cilicia, which was abundant in the variety of precious things.

Darby – 1 Kings 10:1-29 – The king of Tyre also was dependent on the king of Israel; and the queen of Sheba comes from the far south to delight herself in the wisdom of the head of God’s people, and to be filled with wonder at the sight of his glory, and to praise Jehovah who had raised him so high, and who had blessed the people in giving him to be their king. She also came with gifts; for the king’s renown had spread into distant lands. Nevertheless, although it was a true report that she had heard, the sight of his glory went far beyond all that had been said of it.

Constable – God forbade Israel’s kings from multiplying chariots (1Ki_10:26), the most effective and dreaded military machines of their day (Deu_17:16). God wanted His people to depend on Him primarily for their protection. Material prosperity and security often lead people to conclude that they have no needs when really our need for God never diminishes. Solomon fell into this trap. Wealth is not sinful in itself, but it does bring temptations with it (cf. Jam_5:1-6).

Though Solomon experienced great blessings from his faithful God, he fell prey to the sins these blessings make easier, as the writer explained in the next chapter.

Barnes – This is given as the reason of the great bountifulness of silver in the time of Solomon. The “navy of Tharshish” (not the same as the navy of Ophir, 1Ki_9:26) must therefore have imported very large quantities of that metal. Tharshish, or Tartessus, in Spain, had the richest silver mines known in the ancient world, and had a good deal of gold also; apes and ivory were produced by the opposite coast of Africa; and, if north Africa did not produce “peacocks,” which is uncertain, she may have produced the birds called here “tukkiyim,” which some translate “parrots,” others “guinea-fowl” – the latter being a purely African bird. The etymology of the Hebrew words here rendered “ivory,” “apes,” and “peacocks,” is uncertain; but even if of Indian origin, the Jews may have derived their first knowledge of ivory, apes, and peacocks, through nations which traded with India, and may thus have got the words into their language long before the time of Solomon. The names once fixed would be retained, whatever the quarter from where the things were procured afterward.

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

We have no clear idea of where they came from, and it really does not matter other than we are told they came by ship. We know that Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest king because God promised him back when he prayed for wisdom.

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in….. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. (1 Kings 3:7-14 KJV)

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Wow! Is that not true of those of us who know the Lord? The Lord answers our prayers many times by giving us much more than we ever asked for. As long as our prayers are in line with His Word.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:17-20 KJV)

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Birds of the Bible – Strutting Rooster

Rooster Portrait ©WikiC

Rooster Portrait ©WikiC

While working on a future Birds of the Bible article, I came across these verses and decided to share them.

the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king whose army is with him. (Proverbs 30:31 ESV)

The strutting rooster, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him. (Proverbs 30:31 NASB)

a strutting rooster, a male goat, and a king with his army around him. (Proverbs 30:31 NET)

the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king striding before his people. (Proverbs 30:31 NRSV)

Rooster from the Philippines ©WikiC

Rooster from the Philippines ©WikiC

There are three things which are stately in their march, Even four which are stately when they walk: The lion which is mighty among beasts And does not retreat before any, The strutting rooster, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him. (Proverbs 30:29-31 NASB)

The Roosters referred to in this article are from the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family. The term “rooster” can used other in ways. The Pheasants and Fowls are known to strut or display to try to win the eye of the female. The male is called a “rooster,” especially within the Domesticated Fowls.

Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) by Kent Nickel

Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) by Kent Nickel in Phasianidae Family

Have you ever seen a parade with the King or a Captain marching in front of his troops? He sure doesn’t slouch or just walk nonchalantly. No, especially if a band is playing, they almost “strut.”

The Lion and a Goat can also be known to walk stately, or “strut.” These verses are not referring to a false pride, but something that is good. There are times to present a stately presence, David was rejoicing when he brought the Ark back to Jerusalem.

I like what Harry Ironside wrote in his Notes on Selected Books:

“30:29-31

It is quite proper to speak of the first three creatures as excelling in their movement, though it would hardly apply to a king. Majestic and glorious, he moves with stately bearing and therefore comes under the second head.

The lion is characterized by unflinching boldness; it represents that holy courage which should mark the Christian soldier as he contends earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. In his faith, he is to have virtue, true courage, to withstand in the evil day and remain true to his course. It is not mere dogged determination that is contemplated, but “the irresistible might of weakness” that leans on God; this is what led Paul to write, “when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Rooster by ©Flickr-one woman's hands

Rooster by ©Flickr-one woman’s hands

The second in this series has been variously translated as “a greyhound,” “a girded horse,” “a zebra,” and “a strutting rooster.” The latter is preferred in the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, and Chaldee versions. But according to the best authorities the word simply means girded as to the loins. It may therefore be applied to any slender creature characterized by swiftness. The translators of the King James version preferred “greyhound” as most fully expressing the idea of an animal adapted to running. It matters little what beast is signified. The lesson for us is clear enough. As a girded animal does not rest until it reaches its prey or the goal to which it is running, so the saint is to press swiftly on, refusing to be turned aside by the attractions of this world. He is viewed as a racer in Philippians 3:13-14:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

This should always be the Christian’s attitude. Having no city here, he does not halt to dally with the insignificant things of earth. With girded loins and eyes fixed on Christ, he hastens on to the judgment seat where the prize is to be awarded.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 12:1-2).

Christ was the great pattern-pilgrim, passing through this world as a stranger; He found only sorrow and grief here, but His joy is now full in glory!

Mountain Goat at Mount Massive ©WikiC

Mountain Goat at Mount Massive ©WikiC

The male goat is the climber. Refusing the low and often un-healthful valleys, he mounts up higher and higher to the rocky hills and the peaks of the mountains. (See Psalm 104:18). Breathing the exhilarating air of the top of the rocks, he finds both pleasure and safety in his retreat. The lesson is simple. The Christian must walk on the high places; then like Habakkuk, he will be able to rejoice in the day of trouble and joy in the God of his salvation when everything of earth seems to fail (Habakkuk 3:17-19). From the soul of the climbing saint there will ever be melody.

A heavenly-minded soul is lifted above all the mists of this poor world and enabled to view all from God’s standpoint.

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3).

This is the lesson of the male goat. Would that every believer could enter into it!

The last in the list of these pleasant things is the king going forth in undisputed, majestic strength. It is the overcomer, the man of faith, made a king unto God; his dignity is never greater than when he walks in lowliness and meekness through this world, drawing his supplies from above not from below. Great is the honor conferred on all who have been redeemed. No longer children of the night, but of the day, they are called to overcome the world in the power of the truth revealed to them by faith. Abraham was such a “king” as he went from Melchizedek’s presence to meet Sodom’s fawning monarch. He vanquished this ruler in a different way from that in which he had defeated the confederacy headed by Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14). God would have every Christian defeat his enemy in stately majesty, joining forces with Him, and counting the richest treasures of earth as dung and dross. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Strong in faith, the man of God views his present situation in the light of his future reward. Then, even though accounted as sheep for the slaughter, he can exclaim, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).”

Rooster by ©Flickr GypsyStepf

Rooster by ©Flickr GypsyStepf

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