Friday, 30 October 2015

Hill blue-flycatcher

Cyornis banyumas

Photo by P. Supat (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
hill blue-flycatcher (en); papa-moscas-das-colinas (pt); gobemouche des collines (fr); papamoscas de Banyumas (es); bergblauschnäpper (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

Range:
This species is found in south-east Asia, from the eastern Himalayas in north-eastern India, through southern China and Myanmar, and into northern Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Java.

Size:
These birds are 14-15,5 cm long and weigh 14-17 g.

Habitat:
The hill blue-flycatcher is mostly in dense, moist tropical forests, both in lowland and mountainous areas. They also use bamboo thickets, moist scrublands, rural gardens and urban areas.

Diet:
They feed on various small arthropods, mainly flies, beetles and cockroaches.

Breeding:
Hill blue-flycatchers can breed all year round, but mainly in March-July. The nest is an untidy cup made of moss and fine plant fibres, placed low in the forest understory. there is no information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as rare in the Himalayas, but common to locally common throughout south-east Asia and very common in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Rattling cisticola

Cisticola chiniana

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rattling cisticola (en); fuinha-chocalheira (pt); cisticole grinçante (fr); cistícola cascabel (es); rotscheitel-zistenänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cisticolidae

Range:
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Ethiopia south to D.R. Congo, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique, and into northern Namibia, Botswana and north-eastern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 12-15 cm long and weigh 10-21 g.

Habitat:
The rattling cisticola is mostly found in dry grasslands and savannas, particularly in reas dominated by Acacia, but also use dry scrublands, old plantations, rural gardens and arable land. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

Diet:
They feed on various insects and other small invertebrates, including beetles, termite alates,  grasshoppers, flies, ants, caterpillars and snails. They are also known to take nectar from Aloe plants.

Breeding:
Rattling cisticolas breed in October-April. The nest is an oval or ball shaped structure with a side entrance, made of dry grass secured with spider webs. It is typically attached with spider web to a grass tuft, shrub, Acacia sapling or to the foliage of a fallen branch, usually up to 1.2 m above the ground. there the female lays 2-5 eggs which she incubates alone for 13-14 days. The chicks fledge 13-15 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as locally common to abundant, with wide variations in abundance across its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Rock shag

Phalacrocorax magellanicus

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
rock shag (en); corvo-marinho-das-rochas (pt); cormoran de Magellan (fr); cormorán cuello negro (es); felsenscharbe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Phalacrocoracidae 

Range:
This species breeds along the coasts of southern South America, in Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. During winter they range north as far as the coasts of Uruguay and the coast of Chile as far north as Valparaíso.

Size:
These birds are 66-71 cm long and have a wingspan of 92 cm. They weigh up to 1,5 kg.

Habitat:
Rock shags forage in coastal water, particularly in kelp beds, favouring areas along rocky coastlines in channels and sheltered bays, and also in harbours, estuaries and inland waters. They typically nests on cliff ledges and on top of steep-sided rocks or islets, as well as in gulleys, caverns and occasionally on exposed shipwrecks and jetties.

Diet:
They forage by pursuit diving, taking small benthic fish, crustaceans, cephalopods and polychaetes.

Breeding:
The rock shag breeds in October-February. They nest in small colonies, which are often occupied throughout the year. Each pair builds a cup-shaped nest from seaweed, tussock grass and leaves, which are cemented together by mud and guano. The female lays 2-5 eggs which are incubated by both parents but there is no information regarding the leght of the incubation period. Chicks are fed by both parent, often even after fledging, but there is no information regarding the length of the fledging period.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as locally common, but not abundant. The population in the Falkland islands has been estimated at 60.000 breeding pairs. Although this species is not threatened at present, increasing levels of pollution by oil and rubbish together with expanding ecotourism industries bringing rising numbers of tourists to seabird colonies by pose some impacts in the future.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

White-spotted flufftail

Sarothrura pulchra

Photo by Dave Curtis (Flickr)

Common name:
white-spotted flufftail (en); frango-d'água-pintado (pt); râle perlé (fr); polluela pulcra (es); perlenralle (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Rallidae

Range:
This species is found is western and central Africa, from Senegal and The Gambia, along the coast of West Africa to Nigeria and then eastwards as far as western Kenya and south wards as far as northern Angola and extreme northern Zambia.

Size:
These birds are 16-17 cm long and weigh 39-53 g.

Habitat:
The white-spotted flufftail is mostly found in lowland rainforests, most often in areas associated with water such as swamp forests, marshes, streams, pools and river banks. they are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.600 m.

Diet:
They feed on a wide range of invertebrates, including earthworms, nematodes, small leeches, small gastropods, myriapods, spiders and various insects.

Breeding:
They possible breed during the local rainy season. Otherwise, there is no information regarding the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to locally abundant. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Screaming cowbird

Molothrus rufoaxillaris

Photo by Jorge Vicente (Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur)

Common name:
screaming cowbird (en); vira-bosta-picumã (pt); vacher criard (fr); tordo chillón (es); rotachsel-kuhstärling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

Range:
This species is found from south-eastern Bolivia and Goiás in central Brazil, through Paraguay and Uruguay and into Argentina as far south as Río Negro and north-eastern Chubut.

Size:
These birds are 18-21 cm long and weigh 45-60 g.

Habitat:
The screaming cowbird was originally associated with grasslands and open woodlands, but is now mostly found in arable land and man-made pastures. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on insects and other arthopods, particularly beetles and ants, but also eat seeds.

Breeding:
These birds are apparently monogamous and breed in October-March. They are obligate brood parasites, meaning they never build their own nests, always laying their eggs on the nests of other birds. Most often they parasitize bay-winged cowbirds Agelaioides badius, but can also lay eggs on the nests of chopi blackbirds Gnorimopsar chopi and brown-and-yellow marshbirds Pseudoleistes virescens. Each female lays 2 eggs which are incubated by the host for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by the host and fledge 12-16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The screaming cowbird has more than doubled the extent of its range in the last 50 years, probably due to conversion of natural vegetation into pastures and arable land.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Lilac-tailed parrotlet

Touit batavicus

Photo by Cesar Villalba (Flickr)

Common name:
lilac-tailed parrotlet (en); apuim-de-sete-cores (pt); touit à sept couleurs (fr); cotorrita sietecolores (es); siebenfarbenpapagei (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

Range:
This species is patchily distributed from northern Colombia, along northern Venezuela, and into Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana and possibly marginally across the border into Amapá, in extreme northern Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 52-72 g.

Habitat:
The lilac-tailed parrotlet is mostly found in mountain cloud forests, but also in lowland rainforests and rural gardens. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.700 m.

Diet:
They feed on flowers, nectar, buds, berries, seeds and fruits.

Breeding:
Lilac-tailed parrotlets possibly breed in November-March. They nest in large, arboreal termite mounds, or in tree cavities including old woodpecker nests. The female lays 5-6 white eggs, which she incubates alone for about 19 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 4-5 weeks after hatching, but may continue to receive food from the parents for another 3-4 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as fairly common. the lilac-tailed parrotlet is suspected to lose 8% of suitable habitat within its range over the next 15 years, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, which given its susceptibility to hunting and trapping suggests they are likely to suffer a small decline in the near future.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Rufous-crested tanager

Creurgops verticalis

Photo by Peter Franze (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rufous-crested tanager (en); saíra-de-crista-ruiva (pt); tangara à cimier roux (fr); tangara crestirrufa (es); ockerschopftangare (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

Range:
This species is found in the Andes, from central Colombia south to central Peru.

Size:
These birds are 15 cm long and weigh 21-27 g.

Habitat:
The rufous-crested tanager is found in humid and wet mossy mountain forests, especially clound forests and ocasionally also along forest edges. They occur at altitudes of 1.400-2.700 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on insects, but also take some fruits.

Breeding:
Rufous-crested tanagers possibly breed in March-June. There is no further information regarding their reproduction.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range, but is described as uncommon. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Blyth's kingfisher

Alcedo hercules

(Photo from World Birds)

Common name:
Blyth's kingfisher (en); guarda-rios-de-Blyth (pt); martin-pêcheur de Blyth (fr); martín pescador hércules (es); Herkules eisvogel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae

Range:
This species is found from extreme north-eastern India and eastern Nepal, into extreme southern China, and southwards into Myanmar, northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Size:
These birds are 22 cm long and weigh around 60 g.

Habitat:
The Blyth's kingfisher is found along streams and small rivers, and adjacent areas of moist tropical forests, favouring deep ravines and hilly country. They occur at altitudes of 200-1.200 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on fish, but are also known to take some insects.

Breeding:
Blyth's kingfishers breed in March-July. They nest is placed at the end of a deep tunnel, excavated into the bank of forest stream or vertical face of forest ravine. There the female lays 4-6 eggs which are incubated by both parents. There is no available information regarding the length of the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be widespread, but occurring at low densities. The population is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by ongoing deforestation. Construction of dams, human disturbance and river pollution possibly also affect this species.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Ochre-breasted brush-finch

Atlapetes semirufus

Photo by Tony Morris (Wiki Aves de Colombia)

Common name:
ochre-brested brush-finch (en); tico-tico-de-peito-ocre (pt); tohi demi-roux (fr); atlapetes semirrufo (es); ockerbrust-buschammer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

Range:
This species is found in the mountain of northern Venezuela and in the eastern slopes of the Andes in western Venezuela and northern Colombia as far south as Bogotá.

Size:
These birds are 18 cm long and weigh 29-33 g.

Habitat:
The ochre-breasted brush-finch is mostly found in the understorey of mountain rainforests, particularly along forest borders, also using second growths. They occur at altitudes of 600-3.500 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on seeds and arthropods, but also take some berries and small fruits.

Breeding:
These birds breed in March-July. The nest is built by the female, consisting of an open cup made of thick grasses and small sticks, and lined with thinner grasses and rootlets. It is concealed among grasses, vines or scrubs, and located up to 3 m above the ground. The female lays 2 white eggs with reddish-brown spots, which she incubates alone for 14-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-11 days after hatching. Each pair is believed to raise a single brood per season.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Vermiculated screech-owl

Megascops vermiculatus

Photo by Arlene Koziol (Flickr)

Common name:
vermiculated screech-owl (en); corujinha- (pt); petit-duc vermiculé (fr); autillo vermiculado (es); kritzel-kreischeule (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This species is found from northern Costa Rica to Colombia, and along the Andes south to northern Bolivia. There are also separate populations in north-western Colombia and northern Venezuela, and in southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and extreme northern Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 20-23 cm long and weigh 90-130 g.

Habitat:
The vermiculated screech-owl is mostly found in humid tropical forests, also using dry tropical forests. They are mainly found in lowland areas, but can occur up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on large insects, but possibly also some small vertebrates.

Breeding:
Vermiculated screech-owls breed in March-July. They nest in natural tree cavities, or sometimes in old nest holes of other birds such as trogons. The female lays 2-3 eggs which she mainly incubates alone for 26-37 days. There is no information regarding the fledging period, but when food is scarce the larger chicks may eat their smaller siblings.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range. There is very little information about its abundance, but its possibly not rare, at least in some areas. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Black-throated blue warbler

Dendroica caerulescens

Photo by Paul Jones (Flickr)

Common name:
black-throated blue warbler (en); felosa-azul-de-garganta-preta (pt); paruline bleue (fr); reinita azulada (es); blaurücken-waldsänger (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Parulidae

Range:
This species breeds in south-eastern Canada, from southern Ontario to Nova Scotia, and southwards into the eastern United States as far south as Tennessee and northern Georgia. they migrate south to winter in the Caribbean, from southern Florida south to Panama and Barbados.

Size:
These birds are 13 cm long and weigh about 8,5-12 g.

Habitat:
The black-throated blue warbler breeds in undisturbed deciduous and mixed-deciduous forests, particularly maple, birch, beech, hemlock, spruce and fir, favouring areas with dense understory. Outside the breeding season they also use moist tropical forests, tropical scrublands, plantation, rural gardens and urban areas.

Diet:
During the breeding season they are mainly insectivorous, taking beetles, caterpillars, butterflies, flies, bugs and spiders. During the rest of the year they complement this diet with fruits, berries and seeds.

Breeding:
These birds are generally monogamous, although extra-pair copulations are common in both sexes. The nest is built by the female, consisting of a cup made of bark, dried grasses and twigs, and lined with fur, mosses or rootlets. the nest is usually place less than 1,5 m above the ground in dense foliage. There the female lays 2-5 white eggs with dark speckles, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-10 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. Overall the population has undergone a small increase in the last 4 decades, although some local decreases took place at the edges of the range and have been attributed to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Great potoo

Nyctibius grandis

Photo by Philip Perry (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
great potoo (en); urutau-gigante (pt); grand ibijau (fr); nictibio grande (es); riesentagschläfer (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Caprimulgiformes
Family Nyctibiidae

Range:
This species is found from extreme southern Mexico, through Central America into Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, and southwards east of the Andes down to central Bolivia, northern Paraguay and south-eastern Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 45-60 cm long and have a wingspan of 70-80 cm. They weigh 320-650 g.

Habitat:
The great potoo is mostly found in the canopy of lowland rainforests, also using moist savannas, second growths and plantations.

Diet:
They hunt at night, mainly taking flying insects such as beetles, katydids and grasshoppers, but also bats.

Breeding:
Great potoos are monogamous and can possibly breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They don't build nests, laying their single egg in a deep notch in a large tree branch. Both parents incubate the egg but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 55 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single chick per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and has a global population estimated at 500.000-5.000.000 individuals. There is no information on population trends, but the great potoo is estimated to lose 19-25% of suitable habitat over the next 2 decades, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation. It is therefore expected to suffer a small decline in the near future.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Minas gerais tyrannulet

Phylloscartes roquettei

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
Minas Gerais tyrannulet (en); cara-dourada (pt); tyranneau de Minas Gerais (fr); orejerito de Minas Gerais (es); gelbbürzel-laubtyrann (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae

Range:
This species is endemic to south-eastern Brazil, only being found in northern Minas Gerais and southern Bahia.

Size:
These birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh about 8 g.

Habitat:
The Minas Gerais tyrannulet is found in dry tropical forests, riparian forests and semi-deciduous forests within cerrado including second growths and forest fragments. They occur at altitudes of 400-900 m.

Diet:
They forage in pairs or family groups, taking small arthropods from the foliage.

Breeding:
Minas Gerais tyrannulets possibly breed in October-February. The nest is a small, globular structure. There is no further information on the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a large breeding range but the global population is estimated at just 1.500-7.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining at a very rapid rate due to habitat loss through charcoal burning, forest cutting for pasture, cattle ranching and agricultural development. The São Francisco basin is also threatened by limestone quarrying and a large-scale irrigation project that has already resulted in the loss of large areas of forest.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Peruvian wren

Cinnycerthia peruana

Photo by Nick Athanas (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Peruvian wren (en); carriça-do-Perú (pt); troglodyte brun (fr); cucarachero peruano (es); sepiazaunkönig (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Troglodytidae

Range:
This species is endemic to Peru, being found in the eastern Andes from Amazonas to Ayacucho.

Size:
These birds are 15,5-16 cm long and weigh about 20 g.

Habitat:
The Peruvian wren is found in mountain rainforests, including forests edges and nearby second growths, at altitudes of 1.500-3.400 m.

Diet:
They forage on or near the ground, possibly taking small invertebrates.

Breeding:
Peruvian wrens possibly breed in June-February. The nest is purse-shaped and made of small roots interwoven with green moss. It is placed hanging from a bamboo. There the female lays 2 creamy-white eggs with reddish-brown spots. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as common. However, the population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Wire-crested thorntail

Discosura popelairii

Photo by Niels Dreyer (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
wire-crested thorntail (en); bandeirinha-de-Popelaire (pt); coquette de Popelaire (fr); rabudito crestado (es); haubenfadenelfe (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trochilidae

Range:
This species is found along the eastern slopes of the Andes, from central Colombia to southern Peru.

Size:
These birds are sexually dimorphic. The females are 7,5-8 cm long, while the males are up to 11,5 cm long including the elongated tail feathers. They weigh about 2,5 g.

Habitat:
The wire-crested thorntail is found in moist tropical forests at altitudes of 400-1.200 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on nectar, particularly of Inga trees, but also take some arthropods.

Breeding:
The is little information about the reproduction of wire-crested thorntails. One nest was found in Colombia, in April, placed at the end of a tree branch about 8 m above the ground.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range but is described as generally rare to uncommon. Although there is no data on population trends, the wire-crested thorntail is suspected to lose 28% of suitable habitat within its range over the next decade based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, being therefore suspected to suffer a moderately rapid decline in the near future.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Mountain wren-babbler

Napothera crassa

Photo by James Eaton (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
mountain wren-babbler (en); zaragateiro-pequeno-montês (pt); turdinule des montagnes (fr); ratina montana (es); blasskehltimalie (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

Range:
This species is endemic to northern Borneo, being found along the border between Malaysia and Indonesia, and also in Brunei.

Size:
These birds are 14 cm long and weigh about 25 g.

Habitat:
The mountain wren-babbler is found in dense, moist tropical forests, mainly in mountainous areas, but also at lower altitudes.

Diet:
They feed on insects, such as grasshoppers, and small snails.

Breeding:
Mountain wren-babblers breed in February-August. They nest in a cup made of grasses, placed in moss-covered bank by a forest trail. The female lays 2 white eggs. There is no information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as uncommon in Sabah and common in Mount Kinabalu National Park and in Gunung Niut Nature Reserve. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Crescent honeyeater

Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
crescent honeyeater (en); melífago-d'asa-dourada (pt); méliphage à croissants (fr); mielero alifuego (es); goldflügel-honigfresser (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

Range:
This species is found in endemic to south-eastern Australia, being found from north-eastern New South Wales to south-eastern South Australia, and in Tasmania and islands in the Bass Strait.

Size:
These birds are 14-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 16-23 cm. They weigh 12-23 g.

Habitat:
The crescent honeyeater is mostly found in tall, Eucalyptus-dominated sclerophyll forests, also using dry scrublands, plantations and urban areas.

Diet:
They feed on nectar, fruit and insects, as well as manna, honeydew and lerp.

Breeding:
Crescent honeyeaters can breed all year round and form long-term pair bonds. They nest in loose colonies, each female building a deep cup made of of cobweb, bark, grass, twigs, roots and other plant materials, and lined with grass, down, moss and fur. It is placed in the centre of a scrub, often near water. there she lays 2-3 pale pink eggs with lavender and chestnut splotches, which she incubates alone for 13 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 13 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 2 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Eurasian sparrowhawk

Accipiter nisus

Photo by Tomi Muukkonen (Vogelwarte)

Common name:
Eurasian sparrowhawk (en); gavião-da-Europa (pt); épervier d'Europe (fr); gavilán común (es); sperber (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species breeds throughout most of Eurasia, from western Europe to eastern Russia and south to Japan, Korea and central China. They also breed in Morocco, Tunisia, northern Algeria and the Canary Islands. The more northern and eastern populations migrate south to winter in southern Asia and in eastern Africa along the Nile basin.

Size:
These birds are 28-40 cm long and have a wingspan of 56-78. Females tend to be larger than males, weighing 185-350 g while males weigh 105-195 g.

Habitat:
The Eurasian sparrowhawk is found in a wide range of forest habitats, including coniferous, deciduous and mixed in boreal, temperate and tropical areas, usually favouring areas interspersed with open areas such as scrublands, savannas and arable land. They also use plantations, rural gardens and urban areas. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 4.500 m.

Diet:
They mainly hunt passerines, but can take birds up to the size of a pigeon, jay or even a small grouse. Occasionally, also small mammals such as voles, shrews, young rabbits and squirrels, and small lizards and amphibians, and rarely insects and carrion.

Breeding:
Eurasian sparrowhawks are monogamous and breed in April-August. the nest is mainly built by the male, consisting of a platform of sticks and twigs placed in a fork in a tree about 6-12 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-6 white eggs which she incubates alone for 32-34 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-30 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 20-30 days later. they reach sexual maturity at 1-3 years of age.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated to be above 1,5 million individuals. In Europe the population is suspected to be stable at present. The population suffered dramatic declines during the 1950s and 1960s due to widespread use of organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, but it has since recovered following bans on harmful pesticides.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Littoral rock-thrush

Monticola imerinus

Photo by Frank Vassen (Flickr)

Common name:
littoral rock-thrush (en); melro-das-rochas-do-litoral (pt); monticole du littoral (fr); roquero litoral (es); dünenrötel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidade

Range:
This species is endemic to southern Madagascar, being found in coastal areas from Tulear to Tolanaro.

Size:
These birds are 16 cm long.

Habitat:
The littoral rock-thrush is mostly found in dry, sandy, coastal scrublands, such as Euphorbia, mainly in dunes and coral rag. They also use dry savannas and forests, pastures and rural gardens. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 200 m.

Diet:
They feed on berries, fruits and insects.

Breeding:
Littoral rock-thrushes breed in October-February. The nest is a bowl made of moss, lichens and other plant fibres, and lined with feathers. There is no further information about the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCn status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as abundant. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Chestnut woodpecker

Celeus elegans

Photo by Maxime Dechelle (GEPOG)

Common name:
chestnut woodpecker (en); pica-pau-chocolate (pt); pic mordoré (fr); carpintero elegante (es); fahlkopfspech (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

Range:
This species is found in northern South America, east of the Andes, from eastern Colombia and eastern Venezuela, through the Guyanas and Trinidad, and into Maranhão e north-eastern Brazil, and south to northern Bolivia and Mato Grosso e central Brazil.

Size:
These birds are 26-32 cm long and weigh 95-170 g.

Habitat:
The chestnut woodpecker is mostly found in tall, moist tropical forests, including terra firme forests, gallery forests and swamp forests, but also use cocoa plantations. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.100 m.

Diet:
They feed on ants, termites and fly larvae, as well as berries and fruits such as Cecropia, citrus and introduced mangos.

Breeding:
Chestnut woodpeckers breed in January-May. They nest in cavities excavated by both sexes into the wood of a dead tree. The female lays 2-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 11-14 days. The chicks fledge 18-35 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range but is described as uncommon. The chestnut woodpecker is suspected to lose 15-18% of suitable habitat within its range over the next 15 years based on a model of Amazonian deforestation. It is therefore suspected to suffer a small decline in the near future.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Spangled cotinga

Cotinga cayana

Photo by Greg Hume (Wikipedia)

Common name:
spangled cotinga (en); cotinga-pintada (pt); cotinga de Cayenne (fr); cotinga celeste (es); türkisblaue kotinga (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Cotingidae

Range:
This species is found in northern South America, east of the Andes, from eastern Colombia and south eastern Venezuela south to Mato Grosso in central Brazil, and to central Bolivia.

Size:
These birds are 20-21,5 cm long and weigh 55-75 g.

Habitat:
The spangled cotinga is found in the canopy of moist tropical forests, mainly from sea level up to an altitude of 800 m, but occasionally up to 1.300 m.

Diet:
They are mainly frugivorous, taking various berries and fruits, but also eat some insects.

Breeding:
There is no information regarding the reproduction of this species.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range but is described as uncommon. The spangled cotinga is suspected to lose 14-16% of suitable habitat within its range over the next decade, based on a model of Amazonian deforestation, so is suspected suffer a small decline in the near future.