Spanish researchers have discovered that baby European Rollers have an unconventional method of deterring potential predators. The young birds will "vomit a smelly orange liquid when scared by predators." The act serves two purposes. First, the stinky puke may disgust predators from further harassing or attacking the nestlings. Second, the smell serves as a signal to the parent birds that the nest is in danger. The parent birds approach the nest with extra caution when the babies have vomited. Not exactly cute -- but pretty neat, right? Read more about the discovery here: Bird in the hand is worth... ew, is that vomit?.

Baby European Rollers' unique defense

Many countries have an official national bird. For example, the national bird of Belgium is the Common Kestrel, and the national bird of Honduras is the Scarlet Macaw. All U.S. states also have official birds. But did you know that there are even some cities that have their own official bird?

The official city bird of Deltona, Florida is the state-endemic Florida Scrub-Jay. Birdorable headquarters recently moved from northern Illinois to central Florida, to a community close to Deltona. We are very lucky to have seen the official Deltona bird in the city itself, at the Lyonia Preserve park.

Florida Scrub-Jays live in a very specific type of habitat that is found in and around central Florida. By choosing a state and federally threatened species as the official city bird, Deltona helps bring awareness of this charismatic bird's status.

Birdorable Florida Scrub-Jay with the Flag of Deltona, Florida
Birdorable Florida Scrub-Jay with the flag of Deltona, Florida

Some Birdorable wetland species are coming soon to the brand new Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre (PDF) in County Kerry, Ireland. A tracing table designed by WWT Consulting will feature Birdorable birds to inspire young artists. Hopefully we'll have more photos to share with you when the centre opens around Easter, but in the meantime here are some sneak peak pictures!

Many countries have an official national bird. For example, the national bird of India is the Indian Peacock, and the national bird of Panama is the Harpy Eagle. All U.S. states also have official birds. But did you know that there are even some cities that have their own official bird? The official city bird of Hanam, South Korea is the Ring-necked Pheasant (also known as the Common Pheasant). Ring-necked Pheasants today can be found almost everywhere, being a common introduced game bird. These beautiful birds are native to parts of Asia, including Korea. Their ability to adapt to a huge variety of habitats has made them extremely popular game birds, and they may be the most hunted bird on earth. At least they get the respect they deserve in Hanam!

Birdorable Ring-necked Pheasant with the emblem of Hanam

Today is Penguin Awareness Day! This commemorative day is always celebrated on January 20th, though the origins of the holiday are unclear. What is very clear is that these special charismatic birds deserve celebration! Many of the world's penguin species face population threats from habitat loss and other environmental strains.

Here are some resources for learning more about penguins:

To get your mind on these flightless black-and-white beauties, we are debuting a new fun puzzle series here at Birdorable. Let's play Which one doesn't belong?

The birds in the image below have a lot in common, but one of them doesn't really belong. Can you pick out the species of penguin that doesn't go with the others, and tell us what the others have in common? Visit the meet page if you need help identifying the birds and finding out which one doesn't belong.

Which one doesn't belong?
Birdorable Oystercatchers on the beach

We recently added two new species of oystercatcher to Birdorable: the Black Oystercatcher and the Eurasian Oystercatcher. These join our updated American Oystercatcher.

Oystercatchers are a fascinating family of conspicuous, large shorebirds, boasting several intriguing characteristics and a wide range of species. Here are some captivating facts about these remarkable birds:

  • Currently, there are 11 recognized species of Oystercatchers still living in the world. These birds are spread across various continents, each adapting uniquely to its environment.
  • The Canarian Oystercatcher is a notable species that unfortunately went extinct in the early 1900s, highlighting the fragility of shorebird populations.
  • In the Americas, four distinct species of Oystercatchers can be found: the American Oystercatcher, Black Oystercatcher, Blackish Oystercatcher, and Magellanic Oystercatcher. Each of these species has its own unique traits and habitats.
  • Australia and New Zealand are home to five Oystercatcher species: the Sooty Oystercatcher, Pied Oystercatcher, Variable Oystercatcher, Chatham Oystercatcher, and South Island Oystercatcher. These regions provide diverse environments for these birds to thrive.
  • The remaining two extant species are named after their geographical ranges: the Eurasian Oystercatcher and the African Oystercatcher.
  • Oystercatchers, across all species, have a stocky shorebird build, adapted for their shoreline habitats.
  • While all Oystercatcher species have black feathers, some species feature black on top with white feathers underneath, showing diversity within the family.
  • A striking feature of Oystercatchers is their large bills, which are either bright orange or bright red, aiding in foraging and feeding.
  • Contrary to what their name suggests, Oystercatchers do not exclusively feed on oysters. They have a varied diet, and each species has a slightly different bill shape, specialized for the type of food they primarily consume.
  • Nesting habits of Oystercatchers involve creating scrapes on the ground, with most species nesting at or near shore habitats, taking advantage of their natural surroundings.
  • The Eurasian Oystercatcher stands out as the lightest species, averaging around 526 grams, while the Sooty Oystercatcher is typically the heaviest, averaging about 833 grams.
  • The Eurasian Oystercatcher's ability to inhabit both coastal and inland areas is unique among its kind.
  • The national bird of the Faroe Islands is the Eurasian Oystercatcher, a testament to its cultural significance in the region.
  • Variable Oystercatchers are named for their plumage variations, ranging from all-black to pied black-and-white, demonstrating remarkable diversity within a single species.
  • The South Island Oystercatcher, endemic to New Zealand, is also known as the South Island Pied Oystercatcher, or SIPO, highlighting its distinct regional presence.

These fascinating facts about Oystercatchers offer a glimpse into the diverse world of these shorebirds, each species bringing its own unique qualities and behaviors to the ecosystems they inhabit.

Eurasian Oystercatcher by ianpreston (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Cute Oystercatcher Gifts