June 3, 2018 – Fan-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes axillaris)
These widowbirds are found in tall grasslands in a disconnected range across central, eastern, and southern Africa. Though their diet is mainly made up of grass seeds, gathered from plants or the ground, they also occasionally feed on caterpillars and termites. Males build several oval-shaped nests with side entrances woven from grass strips. They defend territories that may include up to eight of these nests. Females line the nests with grass seed heads, incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks alone.
May 30, 2018 – White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)
These kites are found in grasslands in parts of California, Texas, Mexico, and Central and South America. They hunt mostly small mammals, along with some birds, lizards, and insects, hovering high above the ground facing the wind to search for prey before diving onto it. Males present food to females during courtship, passing it to them during aerial displays. Pairs choose nest sites, usually in the tops of trees and may build the bowl-shaped nests together, from twigs, grass, hay, and leaves. Females incubate the eggs and brood and feed the young chicks while males bring food to the nest.
May 26, 2018 – Crested Hornero (Furnarius cristatus)
These ovenbirds are found from southeastern Bolivia and Western Paraguay south to Argentina. They feed on arthropods, foraging on the ground alone or in pairs. Their nests are round oven-like structures made from mud, with curving tunnel entrances which are thought to protect the eggs and chicks from mammalian predators.
May 22, 2018 – Lesser Striped Swallow (Cecropis abyssinica)
These swallows are found in open habitats across much of central and southeastern Africa. They eat a variety of insects, including flying ants, bees, beetles, and flies, along with some fruits and seeds. Breeding mostly during the wet season, pairs build nests from mud pellets on buildings, bridges, rocks, or in tree cavities, lining them with grasses and feathers. They return to the same nest for several seasons, repairing it each year. Females incubate the eggs alone, but both parents feed the chicks.
May 18, 2018 – Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus)
These sparrows are found in semi-arid regions of southern and southwestern Africa. Foraging mostly on the ground, they eat seeds, fruits, nectar, and other plant foods, as well as insects, including ants, beetles, and termites. Pairs build ball-shaped nests from grass, weed stems, plant fibers, feathers, and other materials. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks.
May 14, 2018 – Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
Breeding in much of Europe, as far east as Siberia, these shrikes winter in southern and eastern Africa. Mostly feeding on invertebrates, they often drop onto them from a perch or catch flying insects in the air. They also sometimes eat small birds, mammals, lizards, and frogs and like other shrikes, store some of their prey on thorns for later. Laying their eggs between May and July, they build cup-shaped nests from roots, stems, grass, moss, and hair in thorny bushes.
May 10, 2018 – Red-rumped Bush-tyrant (Cnemarchus erythropygius)
These tyrant flycatchers are found from Colombia south to central Bolivia. Mostly foraging alone, they eat insects, usually dropping onto their prey from exposed perches. They build open cup-shaped nests in bushes, though little else is known about their breeding behavior.