…a very small (4.3-5 inches!) species of River Kingfisher (Alcedinidae) that is native to northern Queensland and the north Northern Territory in Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. Little kingfishers are often seen in open forest, woodlands, swamps, mangroves, and other sufficiently wet places. Where, like other kingfishers it will plunge dive for small fish and aquatic invertebrates. Little kingfishers will nest on the banks of rivers, nesting typically occurs from October through March.
These sparrows are abundant throughout the eastern half of the United States. Their diet is mostly made up of small seeds from various grasses, including crabgrass, foxtail, and horseweed. During the summer, about half of their diet becomes insects and other small invertebrates. Males return to the same breeding territory most years, while females and younger birds are less likely to return. When a female arrives in a male’s territory she may be attacked by a unmated male, struck out of the air, and sometimes driven to the ground. This appears to be a mating display, as often the pair will be observed searching for a nesting site the next day. Females choose nest locations, build the nests, and incubate the eggs alone. Males may help provide nest materials and both parents feed the chicks.
Phelsuma p. pusilla is widely distributed in eastern Madagascar. Phelsuma p. hallmanni is found only around Andasibe in eastern Madagascar.
Morphology & Colouration:
Phelsuma pusilla is a very small gecko species, reaching a maximum total length of 85-100 mm (100 mm in males of P. p. hallmanni). Like all Phelsuma species, these geckos have a strongly reduced first toe, round pupils, and lack claws. The tail is distinctly verticillated.
These geckos are dorsally green with red spots, although the spots are often lacking in females. There is an arrangement of these red spots on the snout similar to most species in the P. lineata clade. In P. p. hallmanni, one of these red spots forms a bar between and just anterior to the eyes, and the snout is often blue. These geckos possess a dark lateral stripe that is always noticeable. The tail can be teal or turquoise, and the ventral side is whitish.
These geckos are arboreal and diurnal. Phelsuma p. pusilla is frequently found on palms, banana plants, and in urban environments. It is less frequently encountered in rainforest. By contrast, P. p. hallmanni is found on trees at the edge of mid-altitude rainforest, and not on buildings, and is apparently rare.
The juveniles of P. p. hallmanni are grey with lots of tiny blue/white spots, whereas those of P. p. pusilla are greenish.
Phelsuma pusilla is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, due to its apparently wide distribution and commonness. Phelsuma p. hallmanni may be rarer and more threatened because it is not found outside forests.
Taxonomy and Systematics:
Phelsuma pusilla belongs to the P. lineata group (Rocha et al. 2010), and is closest related to P. lineata, P. kely, and P. comorensis. It possesses two subspecies, P. p. pusilla, and P. p. hallmanni, which have been described above.
Glaw, F. and M. Vences. 2007. A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Köln, Germany
Rocha, S., H. Rösler, P.-S. Gehring, F. Glaw, D. Posada, D.J. Harris and M. Vences. 2010. Phylogenetic systematics of day geckos, genus Phelsuma, based on molecular and morphological data (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 2429:1-28
Wilson’s warblers can be found throughout the U.S. during their migration. However, because warblers are small and secretive, their migration often goes unnoticed. These birds spend their days in the heavy riparian vegetation, making them difficult to observe. Sitting quietly with a pair of binoculars can reveal the secret world of warblers. As fall migration begins, keep on the lookout for beautiful birds like this one!