December 19, 2017 – Spectacled Monarch (Symposiarchus trivirgatus)
These monarch-flycatchers are found along much of the eastern coast of Australia and in parts of Papua New Guinea, the Moluccas, and Timor. Foraging mostly in the middle and lower levels of the forest, they pick their insect prey from foliage or catch it in flight, while calling frequently. They build cup-shaped nests in forked branches or hanging vines from fine bark, plant fibers, moss, and spiderwebs. Males aggressively defend their territories.
December 18, 2017 – Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris)
Breeding in the boreal forests of Canada and the northern United States, these flycatchers migrate through parts of the eastern U.S. to winter in Central America. They eat insects and arthropods, catching them in the air or picking them from foliage, along with some berries and seeds. Their nests are constructed on or near the ground from moss, weeds, rootlets, pine needles, and grass stems. Females incubate the eggs and both parents feed the chicks.
December 17, 2017 – African Collared-dove, Barbary Dove, or Ringed Turtle-dove (Streptopelia roseogrisea)
Found across central Africa into parts of the Middle East, these doves have established small feral populations in several southern United States cities from birds that have escaped from captivity. Foraging on the ground, they eat mostly seeds from grasses and other plants, along with berries, other plant foods, and insects. They build flimsy platform nests from twigs in trees or bushes where both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.
January 1, 2018 – Phoenix (phoinix fenix)
Requested by: mostdelightfulhat, thornsinthyme, and serotina
Reports of these birds occur across Eurasia and parts of Africa, though most early records come from Greece and Egypt. A similar species is found in China, Japan, and other parts of Asia, but they may not be closely related. Though little is known about their diet, they are thought to eat resin and some fragrant spices. Their lifespan seems to be between 500 and 1,000 years. As they near the end of this period, they begin to construct a large nest from fragrant wood, myrrh, frankincense, cassia, and other items. After the nest is completed, the phoenix sets it on fire, combusting itself along with the nest and rising again from the ashes.
Happy New Year!
I actually completed this request awhile ago, but really wanted to wait for the right occasion to put it up. Thank you to the requesters above for suggesting this bird, I had a lot of fun putting the piece together. The phoenix has always been one of my favorite mythical birds!
December 16, 2017 – Malay Plover or Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii)
These plovers are found in parts of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Little is known about their diet, though they have been recorded feeding on Sand Bubbler Crabs. Spending much of their time in pairs, they breed on beaches and saltflats, laying their eggs in scrapes and caring for the eggs and chicks together. They are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to disturbance and development in their coastal habitats.
December 15, 2017 – Banded Wattle-eye (Platysteira laticincta)
These wattle-eyes are found only in the Bamenda Highlands in western Cameroon. Often foraging in the undergrowth, they eat insects, which they sometimes catch in the air. They build their small nests from lichen, moss, and other plant material. Classified as Endangered by the IUCN, their population is thought to be declining due to habitat loss and degradation in their small range.
December 14, 2017 – Blue-crowned Laughingthrush (Garrulax courtoisi)
These laughingthrushes are found only in a small part of China. They eat fruit and invertebrates, foraging in trees and on the ground in flocks. Breeding in colonies, they build cup-shaped nests out of twigs and grasses. Small family groups raise chicks together, with young birds from earlier broods assisting their parents. Due to their very small population of around 200 to 250 birds in their tiny, fragmented range, they are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Trapping for the bird trade, habitat destruction, and disturbance at their breeding sites are the main threats they face.