May 4, 2018 – Black-bellied Cuckoo (Piaya melanogaster)
Found in parts of northern South America, these cuckoos are less common than the closely related Squirrel Cuckoo, which looks somewhat similar and shares much of their range. They mostly eat insects, like grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, and ants. Little is known about their breeding behavior, though they are not brood parasites like some species of cuckoo and do build their own nests and care for their chicks.
May 3, 2018 – Woodwards’ Batis, Woodward’s Batis, or Zululand Batis (Batis fratrum)
These batises are found in forested parts of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa. They eat insects, plucking them from branches and foliage, often while hovering. Their small cup-shaped nests are constructed from rootlets, tendrils, bits of dry leaves, lichen, and spiderweb. Females lay between one and three eggs, probably incubating them alone. Though they are classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, their population is thought to be decreasing due to habitat destruction.
May 2, 2018 – Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Red-capped Babbler, Rufous-crowned Babbler or Chatterer (Pomatostomus ruficeps)
These babblers are found in dry woodlands and shrublands of inland southeastern Australia. They eat insects, spiders, small amphibians, reptiles, and crustaceans, as well as some fruits and seeds. Cooperative breeders, they form groups with two to four monogamous breeding pairs and up to eight helpers. They build domed stick nests in trees or shrubs, with breeding groups often building multiple nests. They also build communal roosting nests from sticks.
May 1, 2018 – Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus)
Breeding in four separate ranges in northern Europe and Asia, these geese winter in parts of southern Europe, the Middle East, and eastern Asia. They feed on a variety of plant foods, including grasses, roots, leaves, fruits, aquatic plants, and grains. Nesting in May and June, they lay three to five eggs, often hidden in vegetation near water. The goslings hatch after two or three months and learn to fly around a month later. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN due mostly to disturbance on their breeding grounds, hunting, habitat deterioration, and nest predation by foxes.
April 30, 2018 – Hooded Tanager (Nemosia pileata)
These tanagers are found in two separate ranges in northern and central South America. Foraging in pairs or small flocks, they feed primarily on invertebrates, including beetles, ants, caterpillars, and spiders, occasionally also eating some fruit. Pairs build small cup-shaped nests from plant fibers held together with spiderwebs. Females usually lay two eggs and probably incubate them alone.
April 29, 2018 – Black-backed Woodpecker or Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)
These woodpeckers are found in boreal forests from Alaska though much of Canada and into parts of the northern United States. They mostly eat the larvae of bark beetles and wood-boring beetles which are found primarily in recently burned forests. Their sooty black backs allow them to blend in against burned tree bark while feeding. Pairs excavate their nest cavities together in trees or utility poles. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. Though listed as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, their specialized diet leaves them vulnerable to habitat disruption, especially by the wide suppression of forest fires in parts of their range.
April 28, 2018 – Ringed Warbling-finch (Microspingus torquatus)
These birds in the tanager family are found in semiarid grasslands, open woodlands, and shrublands of central Bolivia, western Paraguay, and central Argentina. They mostly eat arthropods during the breeding season, along with some seeds, foraging mostly in vegetation and only rarely on the ground. Breeding from late October to February, they build open cup-shaped nests from plant fibers and hair. Though only the females incubate the eggs, both parents feed the chicks.