November 23, 2017 – Black-eared Cuckoo (Chalcites osculans)
Found throughout much of Australia year-round, these cuckoos are non-breeding visitors to parts of Indonesia and New Guinea. They eat insects, including caterpillars and beetles, along with some seeds, foraging on the ground or in shrubs. Brood parasites, they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, including the Redthroat and other small Australian warblers.
November 19, 2017 – White-naped Tit (Machlolophus nuchalis or Parus nuchalis)
These tits are found in scattered areas of southern and northwestern India. Their diet is poorly known but includes small invertebrates, such as spiders and insect larvae, as well as some fruit, berries, and nectar. Breeding after the monsoons, they nest in abandoned woodpecker holes, shrubs, or cavities in dead trees, lining them with plant and animal fibers. Both parents care for the chicks. They are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, because of a sharp population decline from habitat loss due to agriculture, development, mining, and other human activities.
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 11, 2017 – Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima)
These caracaras are found in open habitats from southern Central America to northern Argentina and Uruguay. They eat carrion, arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, other vertebrates, insects, and fruits, often foraging on the ground in small flocks or alone. They sometimes ride on the backs of capybaras or cattle, picking parasites from their fur or capturing prey disturbed by the large animals. Pairs build stick nests high in trees or on the ground if no trees are available.
November 7, 2017 – Chestnut-bellied Seed-finch (Sporophila angolensis)
Found in northeastern, eastern, and central South America, these birds are closely related to Thick-billed Seed-finches. The two species were previously known as the Lesser Seed-finch. They eat seeds and insects, foraging on the ground or while perching on grass stems. Their flimsy cup-shaped nests are built from grasses and vines.
November 3, 2017 – McKay’s Bunting (Plectrophenax hyperboreus)
These buntings breed only on two small islands in the Bering Sea, Hall and St. Matthew Islands. They may have evolved from Snow Bunting populations that became isolated on these islands. Their diet is not well known, but they likely feed on insects and spiders in the summer and mostly seeds in the winter, foraging mostly on the ground. Though little is known about their breeding behavior, it is thought to be similar to the Snow Bunting’s. They build shallow cup nests from grasses in cavities in cliffs, under rocks, or in driftwood. Both parents probably feed the chicks.
October 30, 2017 – White-winged Swallow (Tachycineta albiventer)
These swallows are found in the northern parts of South America. Their diet is made up of flying insects, usually caught on the wing as they fly low over water. They are often seen in small groups near water in open terrain. Although they prefer cliffside crevices, they may build their nests in almost any small protected area, such as the space between boulders or open pipes. Little is known about their parenting habits, but it is common in swallows for both parents to incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.