January 30, 2018 – Red-crested Finch or Red Pileated-finch (Coryphospingus cucullatus)
These tanagers are found in a large range in central South America, with small populations in Peru, the Guianas, and northeastern Brazil. Little is known about their diet, but they forage on the ground and in low vegetation, forming mixed-species flocks with seed-eating birds outside of the breeding season. Breeding between November and February, they build cup-shaped nests from small twigs, vine stems, dry grasses, lichens, and other materials.
January 27, 2018 – Scrub Blackbird (Dives warczewiczi)
Found in parts of arid coastal Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, these blackbirds are also found in small flocks in open woodland and agricultural areas. Though the specifics of their diet are not well known, they probably eat insects, other arthropods, small vertebrates, fruit, and seeds, foraging mostly on the ground. Probably monogamous, they breed between February and May.
This bird is part of my yearly tradition of drawing closely related blackbird species on the anniversary of my first bird. Here are the others, if you’d like to see the whole group: Male Brewer’s Blackbird, Female Brewer’s Blackbird, Male Rusty Blackbird, Female Rusty Blackbird
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 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 18, 2018 – Madagascan Wagtail or Madagascar Wagtail (Motacilla flaviventris)
These wagtails are found in open areas near water on the island of Madagascar. Usually seen alone or in pairs foraging on the ground, they eat invertebrates, including spiders, caterpillars, and moths. Pairs build bulky cup-shaped nests, from twigs, stems, and moss lined with soft plant materials. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks.
January 14, 2018 – Rock Earthcreeper (Ochetorhynchus andaecola)
These birds in the ovenbird family are found in southern Bolivia, northwest Argentina, and possibly parts of Chile. They primarily eat arthropods, catching them on the ground. Probably monogamous breeders, they build their nests at the ends of tunnels.
January 10, 2018 – White-winged Diuca Finch (Diuca speculifera or Chionodacryon speculiferum)
These finches spend all year in the high Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. Their diet is not well known, but is probably made up of seeds and arthropods, much like that of other closely related species. They spend most of their time foraging in pairs or small groups in puna grasslands and are currently the only bird known to commonly build nests directly on glacial ice. The bulky nests, made from sticks and lined with grass, have been found on stony hillsides as well as on the Quelccaya glacier in Peru.