November 18, 2017 – Black-billed Gull (Larus bulleri)
These gulls are found only in New Zealand on parts of the North and South Islands and on Stewart and Snares Islands. Often foraging in large flocks, they eat earthworms, insects, small fish, and aquatic invertebrates. They often follow plows on farmland to catch invertebrates disturbed by the machines. Nesting in dense colonies, pairs build twig and grass nests in depressions near rivers or lakes. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. Although the chicks can breed at two years of age, they usually do not until they are three to six. They are classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to rapid declines in their population during the last few decades, caused by predation, disturbance, and habitat degradation at their nesting colonies.
November 17, 2017 – Fiery-browed Starling, Flame-browed Starling, or Fiery-browed Myna (Enodes erythrophris)
These starlings are found in forests on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. They eat fruit and invertebrates. Little is known about their breeding habits, though they may be cavity nesters. They are classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, but their population is probably decreasing because of habitat loss and fragmentation.
November 16, 2017 – Izu Thrush (Turdus celaenops)
These thrushes are found only on several Japanese islands, including the Ryukyu and Izu Islands. Foraging alone or in small groups of up to three birds, they search for food on the ground or in the canopy. They eat fruit and seeds, switching to mostly invertebrates in the summer. Building their nests from grass, leaves, mud, and moss on low branches or the ground, they lay clutches of two to five eggs. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to nest predation by weasels, crows, and domestic cats, along with habitat loss and volcanic eruptions on Miyake-jima.
November 15, 2017 – Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus)
These kestrels are found across parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Hunting from high perches, they eat a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate prey, including insects, reptiles, rodents, birds, bats, and earthworms. They are one of the few species of raptors that may also eat oil palm fruits. Pairs often take over the nests of Hamerkops, sometimes stealing them from the birds, or nest in tree cavities or old stick nests.
November 14, 2017 – Paint-billed Crake (Neocrex erythrops)
These crakes are found mostly in wet grassy areas in a spotty range from Costa Rica south to northern Argentina, including the Galapagos Islands. Known as a mysterious species, they can be difficult to observe, but have been found outside of their usual range somewhat frequently. Their diet is not well known, but they likely eat insects, millipedes, and seeds. Little is known about their nesting habits, though incubating parents often remain on the nest until the last moment when approached, helping to camouflage the eggs.
November 13, 2017 – Orange-footed Scrubfowl or Orange-footed Megapode (Megapodius reinwardt)
These megapodes are found in parts of Indonesia, New Guinea, and northern Australia. They eat mostly plant foods, including seeds, berries, roots, fruits, shoots, and flowers, along with some invertebrates and small vertebrates. Breeding during and after rains, they build large nest mounds, using the heat produced by decaying plant material to incubate their eggs. The chicks dig themselves out of the mounds after hatching and are developed enough to run immediately and fly very short distances soon after.
November 12, 2017 – Fire-capped Tit (Cephalopyrus flammiceps)
These small birds are found through the Himalayas into parts of South and Southeast Asia and southern China. They eat small invertebrates, along with plant material, such as flower buds and young leaves. Usually breeding between April and June, they are monogamous and build their nests in tree cavities from grasses, rootlets, and other materials.