January 26, 2018 – Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus)
These coursers are found in southern and southwestern Africa. They eat termites, beetles, and other insects, foraging while running along the ground, stopping suddenly to peck at prey. Monogamous pairs lay their eggs on bare ground without building nests. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks, which can leave the nest around eight hours after they hatch.
January 25, 2018 – Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata)
Breeding only on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, these petrels spend most of their lives flying over the open ocean. Often foraging in small flocks, they eat mostly squid and fish and may also scavenge on floating carrion or refuse. Though little is known about their breeding behavior, they nest in colonies on steep cliffs, digging nest burrows into the soil. Females lay a single egg, which may be incubated by both parents. Thought extinct until they were rediscovered in 1963, they are currently classified as Endangered by the IUCN due mostly to habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals.
When I started this blog four years ago, I never imagined I would manage to draw nearly 1,500 birds! I’m thrilled to be celebrating another year and, as always, I’m grateful for those of you who have been with me the whole way and those who are just joining me. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten very behind in replying to people and I’d like to apologize and let anyone waiting on a reply know that I don’t mean to ignore them. Thank you again for supporting this blog, I look forward to bringing you even more birds!
January 24, 2018 – Palila (Loxioides bailleui)
These Hawaiian honeycreepers are only found on Mauna Kea mountain on the island of Hawai’i. Their finch-like beaks are adapted to feed on the pods of the Mamane tree, which make up 90% of their diet. They also feed on other parts of the Mamane tree, insects, and berries. Females construct nests from grasses, stems, roots, and bark and incubate clutches of two eggs, while males gather food. Both parents feed the chicks. They are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN and were one of the first species listed as endangered in the 1960s. Introduced sheep threaten their habitat, while predators, such as cats and mongooses, feed on their eggs. They are also at risk from introduced mosquito-borne diseases.
January 23, 2018 – Rufous-fronted Bushtit or Rufous-fronted Tit (Aegithalos iouschistos)
These bushtits are found in forest edges in a narrow band along the southern flank of the Himalayas. They are considered part of a superspecies, along with the Black-browed Bushtit and White-throated Bushtit. Foraging in small groups in the canopy and undergrowth, they feed mostly on insects, including their eggs and larvae, and some plant foods. Foraging flocks separate into breeding pairs between March and July.
January 22, 2018 – White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna)
These swallows are widespread across open habitats in Australia, especially near water. Their diet is primarily flying insects, which they catch in the air. Breeding after the rains in dry areas, they nest in tunnels which they excavate in sandy cliffs, often near rivers. Females incubate the eggs, possibly with help from males, and both parents care for the chicks.
January 21, 2018 – Red-necked Crake (Rallina tricolor)
These crakes are found on Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands and in northern areas of Australia. Their diet is mostly made up of various invertebrates, including worms, mollusks, crustaceans, spiders, and insect larvae. They breed between November and February, building their nests close to or on the ground in dense vegetation.