Happy New Year

We wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. May all your birding wishing come true. Many thanks to all of our customers, blog readers and visitors to Birdorable in the last year. We'll continue to make many new cute birds in 2009 and we hope you'll continue to visit our website.

Happy New Year 2009 from Birdorable

Here's the first Birdorable quiz of the new year: In the above picture there are two species that are represented twice. Can you find them? You can click the image to view a larger version. Best wishes from Arthur & Amy at Birdorable.

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Birdorable holiday season.

Merry Christmas from Birdorable

Send your friends and family one of our fun Christmas E-Cards.

The Marabou Stork

Birdorable Marabou Stork

The Marabou Stork is a peculiar-looking bird. It has a bald head, two inflatable air sacs around the neck and with 10.5 feet it has the largest wingspan in the world, sharing the record with the Andean Condor! These birds can be found throughout most of tropical Africa, south of the Sahara desert. They adjust very well to human activity and this has actually benefited the species. Populations have increased in some areas. They are so large they need to eat more than 1.6 lbs of food a day. They get most of their food through scavenging and will eat anything that they can get their beaks on. They are attracted to grass fires and will march in front of the advancing fire grabbing animals that are fleeing. How unscrupulous is that? We saw one Marabou Stork flying overhead on our trip to The Gambia last year. It was a magnificent sight to see the large bird fly above us. Here are some pictures of this stork:

Herzlich willcommen!
Photo by no1chrism
Marabou Stork
Photo by njchow82
Marabou Sentry
Photo by WOLD
Marabou Stork
Photo by bpark_42

Introducing The Shag

birdorable European Shag

Our 154th Birdorable bird and the answer to the last Spot the Birdorable is the European Shag. This cute cormorant can be found across Europe, northern Africa and south Asia. Shags are deep divers. Using depth gauges, they have been shown to dive as deep as nearly 150 feet.

What birdwatcher doesn't enjoy Shags? Especially this cute little Shag in this original design from Birdorable. A cheeky design for fun-loving birders everywhere.

Shag and Guillemot Colony - Farne (Phalocrocorax Aristotelis)
Shag, Farne Islands (Northumberland), 13-May-04
Photo by Dave Appleton

The Greater Flamingo

Birdorable Greater Flamingo

We've added the Greater Flamingo to Birdorable. It is our 153rd bird. This species of flamingo can be found across Africa, southern Europe and southern Asia. You'll most likely find them in large groups feeding in shallow water in which they use their feet to stir up the bottom. They then stick their heads underwater and suck up both mud and water to filter out the yummy algae, crustaceans, and mollusks. Their unique large beaks allows them to filter food from the water.

Greater Flamingo by Bernard DUPONT
Photo by Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Did you know that flamingos get their bright pink color from their diet? It's true! The pink shrimps that they eat give them their unique color. In fact, captive flamingos in zoos get paler when they don't get supplement food that contains these natural pigments. Young ones are born white and gray and it takes two years before they turn pink. Isn't that cute?

Birdorable Greater Flamingo

Another thing that a baby flamingo has to grow into is its large beak. Chicks are born with a straight bill and it starts to curve after about one month. They can filter feed properly at two and a half months and will be fully grown after two years. These birds can get up to 30 years of age in the wild, but the oldest known Greater Flamingo is in Adelaide Zoo in Australia and is thought to be at least 75 years old. It was brought into the zoo in 1933. Here it is on a video. Looking good for a 75-year-old flamingo!

Here are some more photos of this beautiful bird:

Greater Flamingos
Greater Flamingos by David Brossard (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Phoenicopterus roseus
Phoenicopterus roseus by Christian Ferrer (CC BY 2.0)
Greater Flamingos by Giuseppe Calsamiglia (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Snowy Plover

Birdorable Snowy Plovers

One of the latest birds we added at Birdorable is the Snowy Plover. There are five separate races of Snowy Plovers throughout the world. The one in Europe is known as the Kentish Plover. In North America, the Snowy Plover can be found along the western coast from Washington to California and along the Gulf coast from Mexico to Florida.

western-snowy-plover-9450e Charadrius alexandrinus
Photo by mikebaird

Young Snowy Plover chicks leave their next within three hours of hatching! They can walk, swim and look for food unassisted by their parents. How cute is that?

Snowy Plover Chick #1
Photo by singraham

Unfortunately, studies have found declines in plover populations in the United States, with an estimated 20% decline in breeding birds from the late 1970s to the late 1980s. The decline is caused by habitat alteration and increased recreational use of beaches.

Happy Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
The First Thanksgiving by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States who celebrates this holiday. Send your family and friends our new Thanksgiving E-Card.

The White Stork

Birdorable White Storks

We've added a new species to Birdorable: the White Stork. These beautiful large black-and-white birds are a great sight across Europe where they build nests on rooftops and on tall posts near highways. The last time we saw many of them was earlier this year, visiting Munster in the Alsace area of France. Dozens of White Storks were on nests on the rooftops all across the small town:

White Storks in Munster, France
White Storks in Munster, France

White Storks breed across Europe and migrate south as far as South Africa to spend the winter. They use thermals of hot air to travel large distances as they migrate between Europe and Africa. The shortest route would be to cross the Mediterranean Sea, but thermals only work over land, so most storks take one of two detours. Some cross into Africa from Spain to Morocco, but most of them take the eastern route over Turkey and Egypt.

White Storks migration map

On these migration routes the birds get together at specific locations to rest in large groups. Obviously, these are extremely popular birding locations for birdwatchers! We were lucky enough to see thousands of White Storks at the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt when we were on a scuba diving holiday in Sharm-el-Sheikh in October 2007. During autumn, at least 500,000 storks pass through Egypt (or 80% of the European population), the majority flying through Eastern Sinai. At a popular watering hole the birds were 'falling' out of the sky by the dozens as they came flying in from the mountains:

White Storks in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt

As we watched the storks on the other side of the pond, a squadron of White Pelicans came gliding in and set down among the tight pack of storks. It was a day we'll never forget.

White Storks in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt
Birdorable White Stork

___ Source of map: Wikipedia.org

Birdorable Parrots and Parakeets Christmas Tree design

A huge flock of totally cute Birdorable parrots and parakeets perch together to make up a Christmas tree in this original holiday design. Macaws, Conures, Cockatiels, Budgies, Linnies, Cockatoos and other cute birds make up this festive flock! An original design that would make a perfect holiday-themed gift for any parrot lover! It is available on many different products.

For more original Birdorable Christmas designs visit our Christmas page.

Birdorable Barn Swallows

This new Birdorable spends much of its time in the air catching flying insects. It even gets its water while flying by skimming over the surface and scooping up water with its bill. The Barn Swallow can be found almost all over the world, from Europe to Asia and Africa to the Americas. The title of this article is actually a quote from a movie in which James Stewart goes out birdwatching and every time he asks his companion "What kind of bird is that?", the answer is always "Barn Swallow!". Do you know what movie I'm talking about? Barn Swallows build cup-shaped nests in accessible buildings such as barns, stables and under bridges. Look at these cute babies in their nest waiting for mom or dad to come back with a snack:

Barn Swallow By George W Bowles Sr
Photo by georgesr58

Barn Swallow is the answer to yesterday's Spot the Birdorable.