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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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!