neoaves

The Chestnut-flanked sparrowhawk (Accipiter castanilius) is a small, poorly understood accipiter from Central and Western Africa. It is a specialized hunter of small vertebrates, and is commonly found in lowland rainforest habitats.

Pic: by Niall Perrins, Tchimpounga, Republic of Congo, October 2013 (via African Affinity Birding)

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ok so today I saw silvereyes feeding in a planted oak tree and ??? they’re so tiny ??? and cute ??? and their eyes are so !!! ??? and I’m still thinking about those beautiful little birds ???!!! but my phone camera doesn’t zoom and my actual camera is broken SO THEY CAN LIVE ON ONLY IN MY HEART

god bless u biogeographical evolution for sending a species of white-eye to southern Australia 

Demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides virgo) are avian migrants par excellence. The smallest crane in the world, standing at a mere 76 cm (30 inches), the demoiselle still achieves the most goliath task in the avian world every year. In August and September, tens of thousands of the birds take wing to avoid the icy winters of Central Asia, passing over the Himalayas on their way to the warmer climes of India. The way is arduous, with intense attrition rates from inclement weather and predation by eagles. All the same, they are resilient fliers, capable of traveling hundreds or thousands of miles without needing to land or to eat, and most of the birds surmount this monumental obstacle for years on end.

While some western populations winter in northern Africa instead, it is in India that the demoiselle is best known. In fact, the people of Rajasthan, who call the demoiselle the koonj, revere the crane for its historic place in Indian literature and mythology. Demoiselles typically mate for life in monogamous pairs, and care for hatchlings for about two months until they fledge. Unlike most cranes, the demoiselle is not a bird of the wetlands, instead preferring upland regions, where it feeds upon a wide array of both plant and animal matter.

Photo: by Sumeet Moghe (at Wikimedia Commons), at Tal Chappar, Churu, Rajasthan, 1 February 2014.

The Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) is a striking eagle which ranges widely across Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the far southwest of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. So-named for the French bateleur, ‘street performer’, for the way its wings recall a balancer’s pole in flight. With a wingspan of as much as 1.8 meters (6 ft, 1 in.), the bateleur is a proficient hunter, its preferred prey being the avifauna of its native veld, but it may also seek out carrion.

Female bateleurs are tawny in color, in contrast to the black-and-red raiment of males. The bateleur is estimated to number in the tens of thousands, but populations across its range are in a marked decline due to accidental deaths from pesticide, and from hunting. It is classified by the IUCN as Near Threatened.

Photo: by ‘cyrusbulsara’ (at Wikimedia Commons), San Diego Zoo, 7 November 2009.

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The future of the Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschildi) is an uncertain one. This strikingly-colored starling, the emblematic animal of the Indonesian island of Bali, is nearly extinct in the wild, with only a couple hundred individuals left in the Balinese jungles. Captive breeding programs are hard at work to save this unique and beautiful species, though the illegal bird trade continues to endanger what few populations are left.

The Bali Myna reaches lengths of as much as 25.4 cm (10 inches) with little sexual dimorphism. It commonly approaches the ground, unlike many other starlings, where it feeds upon plant matter and small invertebrates.

Pics:

[1] - by “Cburnett”, Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens, 6 October 2006 (via Wikimedia Commons)

[2] - by the Begawan Foundation, Sibang, Bali, 17 June 2014 (via Wikimedia Commons)

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(And yes, that is Jane Goodall!)

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One of the world’s most spectacular hummingbirds must be the White-bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon lindenii). Small and comparatively short-billed, it is found exclusively in the Andes of northwestern Venezuela, where it can be seen perching upon boulders or feeding on the nectar of flowering shrubs. It is unmistakable for its resplendent crest and striking black-and-white facial patterning.

Until 2014, all bearded helmetcrests were counted as a single species, but a study by Collar & Salaman split it into four, of which the White-bearded variety is the most common.

Although uncommon, the White-bearded Helmetcrest is considered a Least Concern species.

Pics:

[1] - by Peter Boesman, 16 July 2007, Mérida State, Venezuela

[2] - by Émile Parzudaki, 1849

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