Maybe Birds Can Have It All: Dazzling Colors and Pretty Songs, Too  
by Hugh Powell
A study of one of the world’s largest and most colorful bird families has dispelled a long-held notion, first proposed by Charles Darwin, that animals are limited in their options to evolve showiness. The study—the largest of its kind yet attempted—was published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The natural world is full of showstoppers—birds with brilliant colors, exaggerated crests and tails, intricate dance routines, or virtuosic singing. But it’s long been thought that these abilities are the result of trade-offs. For a species to excel in one area, it must give up its edge in another. For example, male Northern Cardinals are a dazzling scarlet but sing a fairly simple whistle, whereas the dull brown House Wren sings one of the most complicated songs in nature.
Animals have limited resources, and they have to spend those in order to develop showy plumage or precision singing that help them attract mates and defend territories,” said Nick Mason, the paper’s lead author.  ”So it seems to make sense that you can’t have both. But our study took a more detailed look and suggests that actually, some species can.” Mason did the research as a master’s student at San Diego State University. He is now a Ph.D. student at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology…
(read more: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Photos by Peter Wendelken, Frank Shufelt, Keith Bowers, Vivek Tiwari, and Priscilla Burcher

Maybe Birds Can Have It All: Dazzling Colors and Pretty Songs, Too 

by Hugh Powell

A study of one of the world’s largest and most colorful bird families has dispelled a long-held notion, first proposed by Charles Darwin, that animals are limited in their options to evolve showiness. The study—the largest of its kind yet attempted—was published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The natural world is full of showstoppers—birds with brilliant colors, exaggerated crests and tails, intricate dance routines, or virtuosic singing. But it’s long been thought that these abilities are the result of trade-offs. For a species to excel in one area, it must give up its edge in another. For example, male Northern Cardinals are a dazzling scarlet but sing a fairly simple whistle, whereas the dull brown House Wren sings one of the most complicated songs in nature.

Animals have limited resources, and they have to spend those in order to develop showy plumage or precision singing that help them attract mates and defend territories,” said Nick Mason, the paper’s lead author.  ”So it seems to make sense that you can’t have both. But our study took a more detailed look and suggests that actually, some species can.” Mason did the research as a master’s student at San Diego State University. He is now a Ph.D. student at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology…

(read more: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Photos by Peter Wendelken, Frank Shufelt, Keith Bowers, Vivek Tiwari, and Priscilla Burcher

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:

Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis)

…a species of tanager (Thraupidae) that is the sole member of the genus Tersina. Swallow tanagers are native to South America and range from Panama to northern Argentina. They typically inhabit forest edges, open woodlands, clearings, and other areas near water. Like other tanagers T. viridis feeds mainly on insects and a variety of fruits, mainly berries and avocados. Swallow tanagers are sexually dimorphic with females sporting a green coloration and the males sporting a blue coloration.

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Thraupidae-Tersina-T. viridis

Images: Ben Tavener and Dario Sanches

Eye on conservation: Valuable land added to species-rich reserve in Brazil
American Bird Conservancy press release
Six rare birds listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, publisher of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, will benefit from an expansion of Brazil’s Serra Bonita Reserve.
The reserve sits in an area already designated an Important Bird Area. It is located in the Serra Bonita Mountain Range, one of the last remnants of moist submontane Atlantic rain­ forest in the eastern state of Bahia. The range is part of the once­-vast Brazilian Atlantic Forest biome, which contains the highest levels of biological diversity and endemism in the entire Western Hemisphere.
Wildlife surveys conducted across an area roughly five times the size of New York’s Central Park have found 330 species of birds, 458 species of trees, and the world’s greatest collection of moths and butterflies. The area is estimated to contain a staggering 5,000 species, more than the number found in all of North America.
About 400 species of birds inhabit the entire mountain range. Nine are threatened, and 59 are endemic to the Atlantic Forest. The six birds of conservation concern are the en­dangered Bahia Tyrannulet and the vulnerable Pink-­legged Graveteiro, Plumbeous Antvireo, and Salvadori’s Antwren, and two vulnerable seedeaters attracted to the area’s seeding bamboo: Buffy­-fronted Seedeater and Temminck’s Seedeater…
(read more: Birdwatching)
photo of red necked tanager by Dave Krueper

Eye on conservation: Valuable land added to species-rich reserve in Brazil

American Bird Conservancy press release

Six rare birds listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, publisher of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, will benefit from an expansion of Brazil’s Serra Bonita Reserve.

The reserve sits in an area already designated an Important Bird Area. It is located in the Serra Bonita Mountain Range, one of the last remnants of moist submontane Atlantic rain­ forest in the eastern state of Bahia. The range is part of the once­-vast Brazilian Atlantic Forest biome, which contains the highest levels of biological diversity and endemism in the entire Western Hemisphere.

Wildlife surveys conducted across an area roughly five times the size of New York’s Central Park have found 330 species of birds, 458 species of trees, and the world’s greatest collection of moths and butterflies. The area is estimated to contain a staggering 5,000 species, more than the number found in all of North America.

About 400 species of birds inhabit the entire mountain range. Nine are threatened, and 59 are endemic to the Atlantic Forest. The six birds of conservation concern are the en­dangered Bahia Tyrannulet and the vulnerable Pink-­legged Graveteiro, Plumbeous Antvireo, and Salvadori’s Antwren, and two vulnerable seedeaters attracted to the area’s seeding bamboo: Buffy­-fronted Seedeater and Temminck’s Seedeater…

(read more: Birdwatching)

photo of red necked tanager by Dave Krueper

Two New Additions to Brazilian Reserve Help Protect Rare Birds, Critically Endangered Monkey

ABC media release

Two new properties totaling about 237 acres (96 hectares) have been added to the Brazilian Serra Bonita Reserve, expanding protections for six rare birds, a critically endangered monkey, the yellow-breasted capuchin, and a wide diversity of flora and additional fauna, including 330 bird species. Another measure of the conservation value of the region was illustrated in the 1990s when a world record of 458 tree species was counted in an area the size of a football field.

The acquisition of the two parce ls was a joint effort involving three conservation organizations—American Bird Conservancy (ABC), Instituto Uiraçu, and Rainforest Trust (formerly called World Land Trust–US). Funding for the purchase was provided by these groups, in addition to the Robert Wilson Charitable Trust and other private individuals and groups.

The reserve is located in the Serra Bonita Mountain Range, which is one of the last remnants of moist submontane Atlantic rainforest in southern Bahia. This range covers an area of approximately 18,525 acres (7,500 hectares), located in the municipalities of Camacan and Pau Brazil, about 80 miles (130 km) from the port city of Ilhéus on the Atlantic Coast…

(read more: American Bird Conservancy)

photos: Amaro Luis Alves, John Tschirky, and Robin Moore

Protection expanded for rare Gold-ringed Tanager
via: American Bird Conservancy
One of the last strongholds of the endangered Gold-ringed Tanager — a distinctively marked black, green, and yellow bird known to inhabit only five locations along 150 miles of ridgetop on the Pacific slope of the Andes — has been expanded.
More than 2,750 acres have been added to the reserve known as Las Tángaras, in the Chocó area of western Colombia. It now encompasses almost 8,500 acres located between 4,100 and 11,155 feet (1,250-3,400 meters) above sea level.
The reserve protects one of the most diverse and important tropical-forest sites on Earth. It was created in October 2009 by American Bird Conservancy, World Land Trust-US, World Land Trust, and the Colombian nonprofit organization Fundación ProAves with support from the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust to preserve habitat for Gold-ringed Tanager and another endemic species, Black-and-Gold Tanager…
(read more: Birdwatching Daily)

Protection expanded for rare Gold-ringed Tanager

via: American Bird Conservancy

One of the last strongholds of the endangered Gold-ringed Tanager — a distinctively marked black, green, and yellow bird known to inhabit only five locations along 150 miles of ridgetop on the Pacific slope of the Andes — has been expanded.

More than 2,750 acres have been added to the reserve known as Las Tángaras, in the Chocó area of western Colombia. It now encompasses almost 8,500 acres located between 4,100 and 11,155 feet (1,250-3,400 meters) above sea level.

The reserve protects one of the most diverse and important tropical-forest sites on Earth. It was created in October 2009 by American Bird Conservancy, World Land Trust-US, World Land Trust, and the Colombian nonprofit organization Fundación ProAves with support from the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust to preserve habitat for Gold-ringed Tanager and another endemic species, Black-and-Gold Tanager

(read more: Birdwatching Daily)