April 6, 2019 – Red-fronted Coot (Fulica rufifrons)
Found in southern South America, in parts of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, these coots look and behave somewhat like gallinules. Though they usually feed at the surface, they occasionally dive under the water, feeding on plant and animal foods. Monogamous pairs build small nests from plant materials.
April 2, 2019 – African Rail or African Water Rail (Rallus caerulescens)
These rails are found in swamps and marshes in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the east and south of the continent. They eat worms, crabs, spiders, insects, small fish and frogs, and some plant foods, usually foraging in shallow water among floating plants. They build shallow cup-shaped nests from plant materials hidden in aquatic vegetation.
March 29, 2019 – African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)
Found in Africa south of the Sahara and southeast Iraq, these ibises are extinct in their former range in Egypt, but have been introduced to parts of Europe. They feed on insects, crustaceans, worms, mollusks, and some vertebrates, including fish, frogs, and lizards. Nesting in colonies, females build the nests in trees from sticks, leaves, and grasses gathered by the males. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.
March 25, 2019 – Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)
Breeding in the Balearic Islands, these shearwaters spend most of their time in the western and central Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic Ocean. They feed mostly on small schooling fish, like anchovies and sardines, along with some squid and plankton. Nesting colonially in caves and crevices in island cliffs, females lay their eggs around March and chicks fledge in early July. Classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, they are often captured incidentally by fisheries and are threatened by introduced predators, including rats and cats, at their breeding colonies. Other threats to their population include oil spills, overfishing, habitat disturbance and degradation, and plastic pollution.
March 21, 2019 – Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis)
These flamingos are found in mudflats, estuaries, lagoons, and salt lakes from western central Ecuador south to Tierra del Fuego and east to southern Brazil and Uruguay. They feed on aquatic invertebrates and algae, using the comb-like structures in their beaks to filter food from the water. Monogamous pairs build mud nests in shallow water where they raise a single chick. Both parents feed the chick with a nutritious milk-like substance produced in their crops. They are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to the risks posed by egg harvesting by humans, hunting, and habitat disturbance and degradation.
March 17, 2019 – Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Breeding from western Europe east to northwestern China and western Mongolia, these ducks winter around the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas to India and southwest China. They eat the roots, seeds, and leaves of aquatic plants, as well as some aquatic invertebrates and small vertebrates. Forming pairs in the fall and winter, they travel to their breeding sites in the spring, building their nests under plants on land or on floating vegetation, from roots, twigs, and leaves. Females incubate the eggs and care for the ducklings.
March 13, 2019 – Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus)
Found in southern and southwestern Australia, these large gulls are usually seen around rocky or sandy coasts. They eat a variety of marine animals, including mollusks, fish, and birds, often dropping the mollusks onto rocks from the air to break their shells. Nesting as solitary pairs or in loose colonies, they build scrapes on the ground, sometimes lined with small rocks, or bowl-shaped nests from sticks, grass, seaweed, and feathers. Females do most of the incubation.