June 7, 2017 – Grey-headed Lapwing or Grey-headed Plover (Vanellus cinereus)
Breeding in parts of northeastern and eastern China and neighboring areas of Russia and Japan, these lapwings winter in Nepal, northeast India, Bangladesh, southern China, and parts of Southeast Asia. Though their diet is poorly known, they likely eat insects, worms, and mollusks, foraging while wading. Monogamous pairs defend breeding territories in wetlands, building nests on the ground from grasses. Both parents incubate the eggs and defend the chicks. Multiple pairs may join defensive flocks to mob predators that enter their territories.
June 3, 2017 – Titicaca Grebe, Titicaca Flightless Grebe, or Short-winged Grebe (Rollandia microptera)
Found on freshwater lakes in southeastern Peru and western Bolivia, including Lake Titicaca, Poopó, and Uru-uru, these grebes cannot fly. The majority of their diet is fish, particularly pupfish species. Nesting solitarily or in loose colonies, they may lay eggs in any month, though November to December seems to be the peak of their nesting season. They are classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to a variety of threats, including gill-nets, chemical contamination, introduced fish species, hunting, threats to their breeding habitats, and disturbance by boats. Their current population is estimated at around 2,000 birds.
May 30, 2017 – Cory’s Shearwater, Atlantic Shearwater, Mediterranean Cory’s Shearwater, Mediterranean Shearwater, North Atlantic Shearwater, or Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
Nesting mostly on cliffs and islands in the Mediterranean, these shearwaters also breed on the Canary Islands, Salvage Islands, Berlengas Islands, and the Azores. They winter off South Africa into the southwest Indian Ocean and off the east coasts of North and South America. Eating fish, squid, crustaceans, and scraps from fishing boats, they pluck prey from the surface of the water or just below it. They breed in colonies, which may include other seabird species, building their nests inside long burrows or crevices in rocks. Pairs are probably monogamous and seem to reuse nest sites for multiple years. Both parents incubate the single egg in alternating weeklong shifts. The chicks reach breeding age at between 7 and 13 years old.
May 26, 2017 – Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)
Requested by: @gepwin
These plovers are found in wetlands across Australia and the southern part of New Guinea. Their diet includes small crustaceans, insects and their larvae, and seeds. Foraging along the water’s edge, they search for prey in the mud while walking, wading, or sometimes swimming. Their nests are scrapes in the ground, which may be lined with grasses and sheltered by bushes. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. Young birds can swim immediately after hatching and often swim to shelter in thick plants when in danger.
May 22, 2017 – Hartlaub’s Duck (Pteronetta hartlaubii)
These ducks are found in forested areas in parts of central and western Africa. They eat mostly aquatic invertebrates, along with some plant foods, such as seeds and roots. While they spend most of their time in pairs or small groups, they join flocks of over thirty and congregate on open water while molting. Though little is known of their breeding habits and no nests have been found in the wild, they are thought to breed in the rainy season and may build their nests in tree hollows or on the ground in dense vegetation. They are classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, but face threats from habitat loss and degradation, along with hunting.
May 18, 2017 – Water Thick-knee or Water Dikkop (Burhinus vermiculatus)
These thick-knees are found near water in parts of central and southern Africa. They eat crustaceans, insects, mollusks, worms, amphibians, millipedes, and grass seeds, feeding mostly at night in pairs or small flocks. During the non-breeding season they may form flocks of 30 or more birds. Nesting solitarily or in small, loose colonies, they lay their eggs in scrapes in the ground on sandbanks, shorelines, or islets.
May 14, 2017 – Banded Dotterel, Double-banded Plover, Tūturiwhatu, Tuturiwhatu, or Pohowera (Charadrius bicinctus)
These dotterels are found in New Zealand, Fiji, and southern and eastern Australia. They eat a variety of invertebrates, including crustaceans, worms, flies, spiders, beetles, and a variety of aquatic insects, along with some berries. Pairs are territorial, defending their shallow scrape nests which they usually line with stones or shells. Both parents incubate the eggs and often draw predators away from the nests by pretending to be injured. Mammalian predators, including cats, stoats, hedgehogs, and rats are common threats to eggs and chicks.