fauna grey

Western Grey Plantain-eater - Crinifer piscator

The Western Grey Plantain-eater, scientifically named Crinifer piscator (Cuculiformes - Musophagidae), is a West African species whose call is one of the most familiar of this area.

Like all turacos, this one is strongly territorial. They can be seen in family groups for long time. The group may travel large distances to find abundant food source such as a particularly favoured fruiting tree. 

They are monogamous with strong pair-bonds. These birds display effusive greetings bowing their heads and spread their tail fan. Rituals also include mutual exchange of food and loud calls when they perch in the treetops.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Isidro Vila Verde | Locality: Abuko Reserve, Sara Job Kunda, Western, The Gambia (2007)

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Hamadryas fornax and H. februa,_Orange & Gray Crackers | ©Carol Hunt

Hamadryas fornax (top) and Hamadryas februa (bottom) are species of cracker butterflies in the Nymphalidae family. The former is commonly known as the Orange cracker, while the second as Grey cracker. Both are Neotropical butterflies.

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Grey Seal pups - Halichoerus grypus

The Grey seals, Halichoerus grypus (Carnivora - Phocidae), occur in temperate and subarctic waters of the North Atlantic ocean and in the Baltic Sea. The breeding season of the grey seal varies greatly, occurring anywhere from mid-December to October, depending upon the location of the population.

The lovely pups are born with white coats and suckle from their mother for about 2 to 3 weeks. The mother then leaves the pup. She will mate again before leaving the beach. After one week’s development, the foetus stops growing for about 100 days, after which it continues to develop and is born the following November. The deserted pup sheds its white coat. After a while, hunger drives it to make its way to the sea to look for its own food.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Alan Hill | Locality: Donna Nook National Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, England, 2012] - [Bottom: ©Vince Burton | Locality: not indicated, 2010]

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The legacy of wolves in Yellowstone 

Although packs of the Gray Wolf, Canis lupus (Canidae), once roamed from the Arctic tundra to Mexico, loss of habitat and extermination programs led to their demise throughout most of their range by early in the 1900s.

In the first years after restoration began in Yellowstone in 1995, the wolf population grew rapidly as the newly formed packs spread out to establish territories with sufficient prey, primarily elk. The wolves have expanded their population and range, and now are found throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

The park’s wolf population has dropped substantially since 2007, when the count was 171. Most of the decrease has been in packs on the northern range, where it has been attributed primarily to the decline in the elk population there. Disease, primarily distemper and possibly mange, have also been factors in the population decline.

The gray wolf was removed from the endangered species list in 2011 in Idaho and Montana. Wolves are now delisted throughout the northern US Rocky Mountains, including Wyoming. For the first time since restoration, wolves are hunted in each state surrounding Yellowstone.

The wolf pictured is a daughter of Yellowstone’s most famous wolf (IMO) aka Wolf 302. 

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Doug Dance | Locality: Near Phantom Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, US (2012)

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Great Grey Owl | ©K. Koontz   (Parkland, Minnesota, US)

The Great Grey Owl, Strix nebulosa (Strigidae) is the tallest owl, standing at a length 24-33 inches high, with a wing span of 54-60 inches, depending on degree of maturity.

Strix nebulosa is larger and grayer than other owls and its round head does not have any ear tufts. Its bill and eyes are yellow [1].

This species breed in North America from as far east as Quebec[2] to the Pacific coast and Alaska, and from Finland and Estonia across northern Asia. A small population, estimated at less than 100 birds, occurs in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This population is the southernmost population of the species’ range and is listed Endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act [2].


The perfectly still waters of Alexandra Cave in South Australia reflect the stalactites hanging tight to the ceiling above it that have precipitated drop by drop from water supersaturated in calcium carbonate. Part of the world heritage Naracoorte Caves in the limestone area in the south of the state, the park contains 26 caves of varying beauty and interest. Some of the cave contain world famous fossil deposits of extinct animals including Australian megafauna, mostly extinct since the arrival of humanity on the island continent.

There are two layers of limestone here, interrupted by a gap of non deposition of nearly 180 million years, creating an unconformity in the rocks deduced from the fossils that they entomb. Most of the rock is 200 million years old, as the Triassic era ended and the world of the dinosaurs was taking shape. Groundwater during wet areas has carved out the caverns, which trapped the animals that were discovered fossilised within, preserved within layers of blown in topsoil up to 20 metres thick. The area also contains live fauna, including grey kangaroos, possums and wombats.


Image credit: dmmaus