palaeopedia
palaeopedia:

The giant Moa, Dinornis (= terrible bird) (1843)
Phylum : ChordataClass : AvesSuperorder : PaleognathaeOrder : DinornithiformesFamily : DinornithidaeGenus : DinornisSpecies : D. novaezealandiae, D. robustus
Extinct in 1500
3,6 m high and 240 kg (size)
New Zealand (map)
Although Dinornis wasn’t the heaviest prehistoric bird that ever lived—that honor belongs to Aepyornis, or the Elephant Bird—it was definitely the tallest, with some individuals attaining 12 feet in height, about twice as tall as an adult human. Considering its size and bulk, though, Dinornis seems to have been a relatively gentle creature, subsisting entirely on vegetation, unlike its omnivorous or carnivorous giant bird cousins.
Like other giant birds of the Pleistocene epoch, Dinornis was doomed by the fact that it evolved in a relatively isolated environment (New Zealand) without any natural predators, and thus without the need to develop natural defenses. The arrival of human beings in about the 10th century AD spelled its doom, as individuals were easily hunted down (and their eggs stolen and eaten) over the ensuing centuries.

palaeopedia:

The giant Moa, Dinornis (= terrible bird) (1843)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Superorder : Paleognathae
Order : Dinornithiformes
Family : Dinornithidae
Genus : Dinornis
Species : D. novaezealandiae, D. robustus

  • Extinct in 1500
  • 3,6 m high and 240 kg (size)
  • New Zealand (map)

Although Dinornis wasn’t the heaviest prehistoric bird that ever lived—that honor belongs to Aepyornis, or the Elephant Bird—it was definitely the tallest, with some individuals attaining 12 feet in height, about twice as tall as an adult human. Considering its size and bulk, though, Dinornis seems to have been a relatively gentle creature, subsisting entirely on vegetation, unlike its omnivorous or carnivorous giant bird cousins.

Like other giant birds of the Pleistocene epoch, Dinornis was doomed by the fact that it evolved in a relatively isolated environment (New Zealand) without any natural predators, and thus without the need to develop natural defenses. The arrival of human beings in about the 10th century AD spelled its doom, as individuals were easily hunted down (and their eggs stolen and eaten) over the ensuing centuries.

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

White-headed Buffalo Weaver (Dinemellia dinemellia)

…a species of Weaver (Ploceidae) that native to Eastern Africa, occurring in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Like other weavers D. dinemellia typically inhabits savannas and shrublands, especially those with Acacia thickets and dry brush. White-headed buffalo weavers are highly gregarious, and will forage for a wide range of insects, fruit, and seeds in mixed flocks with other birds (usually starlings). True to their family name White-headed Buffalo Weavers will construct intricate nests which usually have several “rooms” and defensive thorns on the outside.

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Ploceidae-Dinemellia-D. dinemellia

Images: Bob and Derek Ramsey

GOOD NEWS:

First Endangered Whooping Crane Nest in Louisiana in 75 Years!

Two eggs sitting on a nest of marsh grass and sticks in a crawfish pond offer a hope in a project to bring back the endangered whooping crane to south Louisiana.

“Our fingers are crossed that next week we might have chicks hatching there,” said Sara Zimorski, a biologist with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

It’s been 75 years since a whooping crane egg was documented in the state, and the birds had disappeared from the Louisiana landscape by 1950, the victim of habitat loss and hunting…

(read more: Clarion-Ledger)

ABC Bird of the Week:  Black-throated Blue Warbler

The Black-throated Blue Warbler’s species name is the Latin adjective caerulescens, which means “turning blue.” The male is a lovely sight—a striking mix of black, blue, and white.

Unlike some eastern wood warblers, such as Cerulean and Golden-winged, the Black-throated Blue’s population is stable, and ABC’s work helps to keep it that way. Reserves in our International Reserve Network—now numbering more than 60—provide overwintering habitat. Efforts to reduce threats to birds support the Black-throated Blue and many other warblers, which are frequent casualties of free-roaming cats, collisions with glass windows, wind turbines, and communication towers.

While the male Black-throated Blue is vibrantly colored, the female is so nondescript that Alexander Wilson, known as the “father of American ornithology,” described it as a separate species in the 19th century. Wilson called the female bird “Pine Swamp Warbler,” and several years later, when John James Audubon painted this bird, he called it the same thing…

(read more: American Bird Conservancy)

photos: Male - Jacob Spendelow; Female - Greg Lavaty

itsmeritesh

itsmeritesh:

While driving toward a particular rocky hill in the Greater Rann of Kutch, we saw this magnificent raptor sitting right on top. The Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) is a big bird, about  60 to 80 cms in size, and is hard to miss. These raptors are migratory birds who spend their summers in the Steppes and then head south for winter. The ones that reside in the Mongolian and Russian region, migrate to India during the winter, crossing the mighty Himalayas in their journey. It generally prefers dry desert like surroundings and its diet consists mainly of small mammals and birds. 

Birdlife states that their population is decreasing and puts estimates of around 1 bird per 100 sq km radius. The best place to sight them is in their migratory path, where they form flocks of hundreds while crossing tricky terrain or feeding sites. 

image

dendroica
dendroica:

The Buff-tailed Sicklebill (Eutoxeres condamini), a hermit hummingbird with a magnificently recurved bill, prepares to gather some nectar. The beautiful creatures is native to the Amazonian lowlands and lower elevations of the Andes from Colombia and Ecuador to Peru and Bolivia.
Picture: CHRISTOPHER WITT/REUTERS
(via Pictures of the day: 4 April 2014 - Telegraph)

dendroica:

The Buff-tailed Sicklebill (Eutoxeres condamini), a hermit hummingbird with a magnificently recurved bill, prepares to gather some nectar. The beautiful creatures is native to the Amazonian lowlands and lower elevations of the Andes from Colombia and Ecuador to Peru and Bolivia.

Picture: CHRISTOPHER WITT/REUTERS

(via Pictures of the day: 4 April 2014 - Telegraph)

Interactive Bird Song Poster
Learn the songs of these common breeding birds of the North American north woods region. Click through the image or click the link to click on each bird and learn its song…
(see and play here: MN Dept. of Natural Resources)
Illustration courtesy of Bill Reynolds. All recordings courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds.

Interactive Bird Song Poster

Learn the songs of these common breeding birds of the North American north woods region. Click through the image or click the link to click on each bird and learn its song…

(see and play here: MN Dept. of Natural Resources)

Illustration courtesy of Bill Reynolds. All recordings courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds.

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus)

Also known as the African Pygmy Falcon, P. semitorquatus is a small species of falcon, that occurs in eastern and southern Africa. The population in eastern Africa (P. s. castanotus) occurs from Sudan to Somalia south to Uganda and Tanzania. The population in southern Africa (P. s. semitorquatus) occurs from Angola to South Africa.

True to its common name P. semitorquatus is very small at only 19-20 cm long, making it the smallest raptor in Africa. Pygmy falcons typically inhabit dry bush habitats and will feed on insects, small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Pygmy falcons will usually in the nests of weavers, and even though they feed on bird will rarely go after their weaver neighbors.

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Falconiformes-Falconidae-Polihierax-P. semitorquatus

Images: Steve Garvie and Bob

astronomy-to-zoology
astronomy-to-zoology:

Pink-headed Warbler (Cardellina versicolor)
…a small species of New-World Warbler (Parulidae) that is endemic to the highlands of central and eastern Chiapas in Mexico, to western Guatemala. In this range they commonly occupy humid/semi-humid evergreen and oak forests along with pine forests as well. Like other New World warblers pink-headed warblers are insectivores, foraging for insects and other small invertebrates from vegetation.
Currently Cardellina versicolor numbers are declining, due to habitat fragmentation and lost. This has caused it to be listed as Vulnerable.
Classification
Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Parulidae-Cardellina-C. versicolor
Image: Dominic Sherony

astronomy-to-zoology:

Pink-headed Warbler (Cardellina versicolor)

…a small species of New-World Warbler (Parulidae) that is endemic to the highlands of central and eastern Chiapas in Mexico, to western Guatemala. In this range they commonly occupy humid/semi-humid evergreen and oak forests along with pine forests as well. Like other New World warblers pink-headed warblers are insectivores, foraging for insects and other small invertebrates from vegetation.

Currently Cardellina versicolor numbers are declining, due to habitat fragmentation and lost. This has caused it to be listed as Vulnerable.

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Parulidae-Cardellina-C. versicolor

Image: Dominic Sherony

Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify, with their seasonally changing plumages and often-confused songs and calls. Download eight illustrated plates for free, provided by the authors of The Warbler Guide. Use these “Quick Finders” to help you identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada…