Mandarin Duck Pair at Zoo Miami

While working on the Life List of All the Birds We Have Seen, I came across this video and decided to share it. We were at the Wings of Asia Aviary at Zoo Miami.

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalms 8:3-5 KJV)

“The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) is a perching duck species found in East Asia. It is medium-sized, at 41–49 cm (16–19 in) long with a 65–75 cm (26–30 in) wingspan. It is closely related to the North American wood duck, the only other member of the genus Aix. Aix is an Ancient Greek word which was used by Aristotle to refer to an unknown diving bird, and galericulata is the Latin for a wig, derived from galerum, a cap or bonnet.

The adult male has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and “whiskers”. The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange “sails” at the back. The female is similar to female wood duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill.

Both the males and females have crests, but the crest is more pronounced on the male.

Like many other species of ducks, the male undergoes a moult after the mating season into eclipse plumage. When in eclipse plumage, the male looks similar to the female, but can be told apart by their bright yellow-orange beak, lack of any crest, and a less-pronounced eye-stripe.”[Wikipedia]

Life List of All the Birds We Have Seen – Part I

Life List of All the Birds We Have Seen

Falcated Duck at Zoo Miami

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) by Dan at ZM

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) by Dan at ZM

While we were on our latest visit to the Wings of Asia Aviary at Zoo Miami, the Falcated Duck caught my attention. We have seen it before, because there are photos of them, but for some reason, it was just another duck then. The sun caught its iridescent head and I started looking closer this time. Wings of Asia has one male and one female at this time.

These Falcated Duck (Teal) are just one more example of the variety and beauty the Lord gave His creatures when they were created.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 KJV)

Apparently when the male wears his breeding plumage, that green really shines.

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) ©WikiC

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) ©WikiC

I tried to get photos of his beautiful feathers at the back, but my photos aren’t the best, but maybe you can catch some of the great beauty that the Lord gave these Falcated Ducks.

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Falcated Ducks are mainly from Asia and belong to the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family. By the way, “falcate” means “curved or hooked like a sickle.” (Wordsmith)

Males and females have similar lengths at 19-21.5 in (46 to 53 cm.) Their weight can range from 422 to 770 grams, with males weighing more than their female counterparts. Wingspans range from 31-36 in (79 to 91 cm). The breeding male is unmistakable. Most of the body plumage is finely vermiculated grey, with the long sickle-shaped tertials, which give this species its name, hanging off its back. The large head is dark green with a white throat, and a dark green collar and bronzed crown. The vent region is patterned in yellow, black and white.

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) Female ©WikiC

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) Female ©WikiC

The female falcated duck is dark brown, with plumage much like a female wigeon. Its long grey bill is an aid to identification. The eclipse male is like the female, but darker on the back and head. In flight both sexes show a pale grey underwing. The blackish speculum is bordered with a white bar on its inner edge. Young birds are buffer than the female and have short tertials. Juveniles have plumage similar to females of the species.

The Anas falcata are known to have very striking and beautiful sickle feathers. This is in comparison with many other birds like swams and geese.

Medium dabbling duck with long black and white tertial feathers extending over black rump. Body white, black, gray in finely-scaled pattern. The crested iridescent head is green and purple-brown. White throat has black ring; black tail and black-green speculum are edged in white.

Breeds and winters in southeastern Asia but strongly migratory. Birds seen in North America beyond Alaska may be escaped captives from private collections or wild birds. Favors wetlands, lakes, ponds, rivers, estuaries, and marshes. Near-threatened in the wild. Most U.S. sightings occur between Pacific and Californian coasts, Baja peninsula, Mexico, India, and Canada. (From internet sources including WhatBird and Wikipedia)

Here’s a short clip I took of him washing his feathers at Zoo Miami.

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In 2011 a Falcated Duck family showed up at the Colusa Natiional Wildlife Refuge. Rare visitors from their normal range. It brought the photographers to catch the rare glimpse of these beautiful birds. Watch this video to see them in action,

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Falcated Duck – Audubon

Falcated Duck – WhatBird

Falcated Duck – Wikipedia

Birds of the World – Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans

Wordless Birds

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Birds of Asia – Cotton Pygmy Goose

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. (1 Kings 4:33 KJV)

Let me introduce you to another interesting avian friend from His Creator’s Hand. This is the Cotton Pygmy Goose or Cotton Teal (Nettapus coromandelianus) which is a small perching duck that breeds in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, southeast Asia and south to northern Australia.

Small individuals of this species are the smallest waterfowl on earth, at as little as 5.6 oz (160 g) and 10 in (26 cm). White predominates in this bird’s plumage. Bill short, deep at base, and goose-like.

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) PB Zoo by Lee

Male in breeding plumage is glossy blackish green crown, with white head, neck, and underparts; a prominent black collar and white wing-bar. Rounded head and short legs. In flight, the wings are green with a white band, making the male conspicuous even amongst the huge flying flocks of the lesser whistling duck, which share the habitat. Female paler, without either black collar and only a narrow or nonexistent strip of white wing-bar. In non-breeding plumage (eclipse) male resembles female except for his white wing-bar. Flocks on water bodies (jheels), etc.

The call is a peculiar clucking, uttered in flight

It is largely resident, apart from dispersion in the wet season, but Chinese birds make long-distance migrations to winter further south. It nests in tree holes, laying 8–15 eggs. The nesting season is July to September (SW. monsoon). Its nest is a natural hollow in a tree-trunk standing in or near water, sometimes lined with grass, rubbish and feathers. The eggs, are ivory white.

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

This is an abundant species in Asia, although the slightly larger Australian race appears to be declining in numbers.

Found on all still freshwater lakes (jheels), rain-filled ditches, inundated paddy fields, irrigation tanks, etc. Becomes very tame on village tanks wherever it is unmolested and has become inured to human proximity. Swift on the wing, and can dive creditably on occasion.[citation needed] Found in ponds and lakes in southern Pakistan . However numbers are declining and it is definitely endangered.

Its food is chiefly seeds and vegetable matter, especially water lilies; also insects, crustaceans, etc. (From Wikipedia with editing)

I enjoyed watching this female Pygmy Goose floating and took a short video of her.

I just made a page for  Zoo Miami and the Wings of Asia under the Birdwatching Trips. There are most of the articles that have been written about our visits to the Zoo, but especially to the Wings of Asia Aviary. That is where we spend most of our time. This last trip was our fourth visit down to Miami to see those amazing birds.

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Cotton Pygmy Goose – Wikipedia

Cotton Pygmy Goose – Ducks of the World

Birds of the World

Birdwatching Trips

Zoo Miami and the Wings of Asia

Wordless Birds

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Ruddy and Raja Shelducks at Wings of Asia

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) at Wings of Asia by Dan

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) at Wings of Asia by Dan

We enjoyed our latest birdwatching adventure to Zoo Miami. Caught video of the Ruddy Shelducks discussing something. So this time we will share the two species of Shelducks at the Wings of Asia aviary. The Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) and the Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) are members of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans. They are in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. There are seven species in the Tadorninae subfamily. Wings of Asia has the Ruddy and Raja Shelducks.

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. (Psalms 104:1 KJV)

The Lord has provided for the Shelducks, as He does for all His critters. They are designed for the conditions they live in, in this case swimming, feeding and migrating, with beaks, feet, wings, and coloration to help them survive.

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) at ZM

Ruddy –  There are very small resident populations of this species in north west Africa and Ethiopia, but the main breeding area of this species is from southeast Europe across central Asia to Southeast Asia. These birds are mostly migratory, wintering in the Indian Subcontinent.

Facts:

  • They are sometimes called Brahminy Ducks.
  • Can be seen in many Zoos in America.
  • In Tibet and Mongolia, Ruddy Shelduck is considered sacred by the Buddhists. It is also a sacred animal in Slavic mythology.

Although becoming quite rare in southeast Europe and southern Spain, the ruddy shelduck is still common across much of its Asian range. It may be this population which gives rise to vagrants as far west as Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. However, since the European population is declining, it is likely that most occurrences in western Europe in recent decades are escapes or feral birds. Although this bird is observed in the wild from time to time in eastern North America, no evidence of a genuine vagrant has been found.

This is a bird of open country, and it will breed on cliffs, in burrows, tree holes or crevices distant from water, laying 6-16 creamy-white eggs, incubated for 30 days. The both shelduck is usually found in pairs or small groups and rarely forms large flocks. However, moulting and wintering gatherings on chosen lakes or slow rivers can be very large.

The ruddy shelduck is a distinctive species, 22.8-27.5 in (58-70) cm long with a 43-53 in (110–135 cm) wingspan. It has orange-brown body plumage and a paler head. The wings are white with black flight feathers. It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck. The sexes of this striking species are similar, but the male has a black ring at the bottom of the neck in the breeding season summer, and the female often has a white face patch. The call is a loud wild honking.

Not sure what these Ruddy’s were debating about, but it seems the single one lost the discussion and left.

 

 

The ruddy shelduck is a common winter visitor in India. This bird is found in large wetlands, rivers with mud flats and shingle banks. Found in large congregation on lakes and reservoirs. It breeds in high altitude lakes and swamps in Jammu & Kashmir. Arrives in north India by October and departs by April. The genus name Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means “pied waterfowl”, essentially the same as the English “shelduck”.

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) at Wing of Asia by Dan

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) at Wing of Asia by Dan

Raja Shelduck – The Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah), is a species of shelduck found mostly in New Guinea and Australia, and also on some of the Moluccas. It is known alternatively as the raja shelduck (IOC Name), black-backed shelduck, or in Australia as the Burdekin duck.

The Raja Shelduck forms long-term pair-bonds, and is usually encountered in lone pairs or small flocks. During the wet season the males commonly become very irritable, and have been observed attacking their mates.

The diet consists mainly of mollusks, insects, sedge materials and algae. Pairs start searching for nesting sites during the months of January and February. They nest close to their primary food source, often in the hollow limbs of trees, which makes habitat destruction a particular issue.

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) by Dan at Zoo Miami

The radjah shelduck does not use nesting materials except for some self-supplied down feathers. Egg-laying is usually done by May or June, but depends on the extent of the wet season. The clutches range from 6 to 12 eggs. Incubation time is about 30 days. (Wikipedia edited)

Here are photos of both Shelducks. Some of the photos are from other trips and some from Ian. (PBZ is Palm Beach Zoo)

 

 

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Here I Am

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

“Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. (Psalms 102:2 KJV)

Dan and I just returned from a three-day birdwatching adventure. With almost 1,000 photos and videos to sort, name, and clean-up, I’ll have plenty to post.

The Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is becoming a favorite of mine, because they are so hard to find. The Lord has given them such camouflage and an ability to freeze when threatened, they are a challenge. We were fortunate this time while visiting the Wings of Asia aviary at Zoo Miami. By following the feeder, that enjoys the birds as much as just working there, he helped us find the new Tawny Frogmouth. They now have two of them. This new one is more active and alert. Could it be that the feeder had a cup with 4 mice in it?

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

We actually saw Tawny with his eyes open and I even got a short video of him opening that mouth that gives them their name.

I have written about this bird before, Zoo Miami’s Wings of Asia – Wow! – I, seeing this one, forces me to write again. They belong to the Podargidae – Frogmouths Family which has 16 species of Frogmouths.

Masters of Camouflage Related to Oilbirds, Whip-poor-wills, and Nighthawks, the Tawny Frogmouth’s excellent camouflage covering makes it look like dried leaves. When frightened, the bird freezes in plosition and, with its cryptic colorations, looks like broken bramches.” (Amazing Bird Facts and Trivia, p 135) Isn’t the Lord’s Wisdom fantastic?

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

Another book, (National Geographic, Bird Coloration, p 150-151). says this: “Some birds hide not by being hard to discern, but by appearing not to be birds. The birds that best mimic inanimate objects are found in two groups of distantly related nightjars, the potoos in the Neotropics and the frogmouths in tropical Asia and Australia. Species in both of these groups hunt flying insects at night and rest during the day. Potoos and frogmouths use a strategy to hide during the day that differs … They hide conspicuously in view. The strategy…is to look exactly like an extension of a branch on which the bird sit.”

“Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. (Psalms 143:9 KJV)

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

Tawny Frogmouth at Wings of Asia by Dan

“They are named for their large flattened hooked bills and huge frog-like gape, which they use to capture insects. Their flight is weak. Their longer bristles which may exist to protect the eyes from insect prey.  Tawny frogmouths are large, big-headed birds that can measure from 13 to 21 in (34 to 53 cm) long….stocky and compact with rounded wings and short legs. They have wide, heavy olive-grey to blackish bills that are hooked at the tip and topped with distinctive tufts of bristles. Their eyes are large, yellow, and frontally placed, a trait shared by owls” (Wikipedia)

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This video is of two segments. The keeper tried to get him to come down and then we came back a second time. Several photographers were waiting to get a photo of him coming down, but I guess this calls for another excuse to visit the Wings of Asia.

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Podargidae – Frogmouths Family

Zoo Miami’s Wings of Asia – Wow! – I

Wings of Asia Aviary

Zoo Miami

Sunday Inspiration – Hide Thou Me

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Start Birdwatching Today: Enjoy The Lord’s Paintbrush – Zoos

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan at Zoo Miami

I trust you are enjoying our “Start Birdwatching Today!” series. We have been trying to motivate you to go out and observe the many birds around you. This is the second article about “Enjoying The Lord’s Paintbrush” Click for first one.

Seeing as our subtitle is “Birdwatching from a Christian Perspective,” I want to do a few articles that you won’t see in most birding books. We believe that the world and all that its critters were created by the Lord and not evolved.

For thus says the Lord–Who created the heavens, God Himself, Who formed the earth and made it, Who established it and did not create it to be a worthless waste; He formed it to be inhabited–I am the Lord, and there is no one else. (Isaiah 45:18 AMP) O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions— (Psalms 104:24 NKJV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)

While creating the birds, the Lord has used a fantastic array of colors and designs. I can imagine Him using a fine brush when some of my favorite birds here in America were being dressed for “His pleasure.” Zoos are a fantastic place to see birds that you would have to travel to other countries to see. It is more economical to travel to a Zoo nearby.

The birds at zoos are well cared for and many are being bred to preserve their species. Some birds are so endangered by loss of habitat and other causes, that the only birds left are the ones in the zoos or preserves. We are fortunate to have some very super zoos right here within a day’s drive and our country has many others that are first class also. The birds seen here in this article are some of the fantastically painted birds created by the Lord that Dan and I have seen in Zoos.

Look at the Mandarin Duck at the top. He is related to the Wood Duck up there last week. Another beautiful bird that likes to hide and make it difficult to get a good photo of him. The male is the colorful one and the female is a plain brownish to protect her while on the nest. She is in the background and you can see her painted eyelines.

Now if you have an ugly vulture and want to pretty it up, look at this design on the head of a King Vulture.

King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) by Lee at Brevard Zoo

King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) by Lee at Brevard Zoo

Here are a few more beauties by their Creator: How about these feathers on the Scarlet Macaw?

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Feathers - Brevard Zoo

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Feathers – Brevard Zoo

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) by Lee Brevard Zoo

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) by Lee Brevard Zoo

Or the gorgeous Blue-and-yellow Macaw?

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) at Brevard Zoo

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) at Brevard Zoo

My favorite “painted” bird at the Brevard Zoo was this one:

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Wow!!! Down in Miami at the Wings of Asia aviary at Zoo Miami we were able to see these beautiful birds: The Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo

Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo (Cacomantis castaneiventris) Wings of Asia

Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo (Cacomantis castaneiventris) Wings of Asia

Or this cool bird which I call “Joe Cool.” Looks like the Lord painted sunglasses on it.

(Black and White) Sumatran Laughingthrush (Garrulax bicolor) by Lee

(Black and White) Sumatran Laughingthrush (Garrulax bicolor) by Lee

An Inca Tern seen at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA:

Inca Tern by Dan at National Aviary

Inca Tern by Dan at National Aviary

This Victorian-crowned Pigeon is at most of the zoos we have visited. They look like lace was placed on its head.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon by Dan at National Aviary

Victoria Crowned Pigeon by Dan at National Aviary

Back here locally to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, there are many birds to enjoy. We met a group of our Homeschoolers over there on Friday and had the pleasure of introducing them to my avian friends there. They enjoyed all of them, but had the most fun feeding the beautiful Lorikeets.

Rainbow Lorikeets at Lowry Park Zoo

Rainbow Lorikeets at Lowry Park Zoo

Homeschoolers at Lowry Park Zoo

Homeschoolers at Lowry Park Zoo

Homeschoolers at Lowry Park Zoo

Homeschoolers at Lowry Park Zoo

Rainbow Lorikeet at Lowry Pk Zoo by Dan

Rainbow Lorikeet at Lowry Pk Zoo by Dan

There are many more that could be shown, but if you”Start Birdwatching Today” with a trip to a zoo or somewhere similiar, you might just be surprised by the beauty and magnificence of the birds. Then thank the Lord for His many blessings to us.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33 NKJV)

See the whole “Start Birdwatching Today” series *