July 29, 2017 – Half-collared Kingfisher (Alcedo semitorquata)
Found in parts of southern and eastern Africa, these kingfishers frequent rivers, streams, and estuaries. They eat small fish, crabs, frogs, and aquatic insects and their larvae, hunting from a perch, then diving into the water to catch their prey. Pairs dig nest burrows in riverbanks and both parents incubate the eggs.
July 25, 2017 – White-tailed Lapwing or White-tailed Plover (Vanellus leucurus)
These lapwings are found in parts of the Middle East, northeastern Africa, and Asia. Their diet includes a variety of invertebrates, including beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, worms, and mollusks, as well as some small vertebrates. They capture prey near the water’s surface while wading, or sometimes while swimming, and also forage on dry ground. Breeding in small colonies, they build their nests in shallow scrapes, sometimes lined with plant material and surrounded by mud. Both parents care for the chicks and aggressively defend them from predators.
July 21, 2017 – Plumbeous Rail (Pardirallus sanguinolentus)
These rails are found near water in parts of central and southern South America from southern Ecuador to Tierra del Fuego. They eat grubs, worms, and insects, foraging during dawn, dusk, and sometimes at night. Pairs sing duets with males making high-pitched squealing sounds, while females make a low rumbling sound. Usually breeding between October and January, depending on the area of their range, they build their nests near water from dry grasses.
July 17, 2017 – Guanay Cormorant or Guanay Shag (Leucocarbo bougainvillii)
These cormorants are found along the west coast of South America from Peru to Chile, as well as in parts of the east coast of Argentina. They eat mainly anchoveta, or Peruvian Anchovies, and other schooling fish, catching their prey during rapid pursuit diving. Once known as the “billion dollar bird,” they were the largest producers of guano in Peru. Breeding in large colonies of over 1,000 pairs, they compete for nest space with Peruvian Brown Pelicans and Peruvian Boobies. Their nests are built on the ground from guano, feathers, and other debris. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. They are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to guano mining and overfishing of their food sources.
July 13, 2017 – Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris)
These gulls are found around the coasts of southeast Russia, Japan, Korea, and eastern China. Their diet depends on the area of their range and season, but includes small fish, crustaceans, insects, offal, mollusks, and polychaete worms. They build nests from dry grasses on sandy or rocky shores, cliffs, or islets in colonies that can include as many as 10,000 pairs.
July 9, 2017 – Grey-tailed Tattler, Ashen Tringine Sandpiper, Gray-tailed Tattler, Grey Sandpiper, Grey-rumped Sand-piper, Grey-tailed Sandpiper, Polynesian Tattler, Siberian Grey-tailed Tattler, or Siberian Tattler (Heteroscelus brevipes or Tringa brevipes)
Breeding in Siberia and Kamchatka, in Russia, these shorebirds winter in Taiwan, parts of Southeast Asia, and Australia. Foraging alone or in groups, they eat worms, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, and some fish. They hunt for crabs in shallow water, throwing them to the ground several times after capturing them to remove their legs. First breeding around the age of two and a half years, they nest on the ground in shallow scrapes or reuse the nests of other birds. Females lay clutches of around four eggs and both parents care for the chicks. They are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to habitat loss and degradation, disturbance, and hunting, mostly on their migration routes and wintering grounds.
July 5, 2017 – Madagascar Grebe or Madagascar Little Grebe (Tachybaptus pelzelnii)
These small grebes are found only in Madagascar, on permanent and temporary bodies of fresh or sometimes brackish water. They eat aquatic insects, crustaceans, and sometimes small fish, diving, or plucking food from the water’s surface. Like other grebes, they also consume their own feathers. They build floating platform nests from aquatic plants, often among water lilies. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to changes in their wetland habitats, including conversion to rice fields and fish farms, predation on chicks and competition for food from introduced fish species, water pollution, and entanglement in gill-nets.