We're adding a new species every day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the Gray Catbird.

Birdorable Gray Catbird

Gray Catbirds are migratory birds in the mimid family. Other mimids include mockingbirds and thrashers. Mimids are known for their ability to mimic sounds made by others. The Gray Catbird has a cat-like mewing call but is also skilled at mimicking other birds, frogs, and even mechanical noises.

Grey Catbird
Gray Catbird (photo by blogger)

Gray Catbirds tend to lurk low in vegetation. They are well-adapted to living in suburban landscapes and careful observation may reveal them visiting back yard feeding stations to partake of jelly, suet, mealworms, or even seed.

gray catbird
Tomorrow's Bonanza bird is a conspicuous and popular species found Down Under.
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We're adding one new bird each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species on the last day of July. Today's Bonanza bird is the King Bird-of-paradise.

King Bird-of-paradise

The King Bird-of-paradise is the smallest of the bird-of-paradise family. It lives in Papau New Guinea and on outlying islands. Males are stunning with red body plumage, a white chest, blue feet, and long green-tipped tail feathers that extend nearly five inches from end to end. All male birds-of-paradise have remarkable colorful plumage and special feathers that they use in dances or other rituals in order to attract females. This short video shows a male King Bird-of-paradise performing part of its dance.


King Bird-of-Paradise video copyright Cornell Lab of Ornithology

If you'd like to see more King Bird-of-paradise action, check out this video from the Smithsonian: Dancers on Fire: King Bird-of-Paradise. It includes a female King Bird-of-paradise, so you can clearly see that the species is sexually dimorphic (males and females have different plumage).

king bird of paradise

Tomorrow's new Bonanza bird makes a sound like another animal, and that's how it got its name. bonanza-2013-preview-20

We're 18 days into July, which means that today we are revealing the 18th bird in our 2013 Birdorable Bonanza! Today we introduce our latest new species, the White Wagtail.

Birdorable White Wagtail

White Wagtails are found across much of Europe and Asia. There are at least nine subspecies of White Wagtail -- some taxonomies recognize up to eleven. This large variety means that you can find White Wagtails sporting many different plumage variants.

White Wagtail - Motacilla alba
White Wagtail by Lars Falkdalen Lindahl (CC BY 2.0)

These subspecies also go by many different regional common names. If you're talking about a Pied Wagtail, Moroccan Wagtail, a Masked Wagtail, Amur Wagtail, or Black-backed Wagtail, you're talking about the same species.

white wagtail

Tomorrow we'll add a bird in a family known for amazing plumage and even more amazing courtship dances.

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We're adding new birds each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the Blue-throated Macaw.

Birdorable Blue-throated Macaw

The Blue-throated Macaw is a large species of macaw endemic to Bolivia. These bright and beautiful birds are critically endangered in the wild. Some estimates put the wild population at less than 350 individuals.

Blue throated Macaw
Blue throated Macaw by Steve Wilson (CC BY 2.0)

The population suffered from exploitation from the pet trade in the past. Today, habitat loss is another factor in their critical situation. These beautiful parrots are popular in aviculture and the captive population is much greater than the current wild population. They can live up to 80 years.

blue-throated macaw

Color + behavior = the name of the common Eurasian species that will be added to Birdorable tomorrow.

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Our Bonanza rolls on with the addition of our second Birdorable albatross species. Today's Bonanza bird is the Wandering Albatross.

Birdorable Wandering Albatross

The Wandering Albatross is remarkable for the size of its wings. It has the largest wingspan of any living bird, averaging a span of 10 feet, 2 inches (just over 3 meters). Their amazing wings allow them to remain in flight, without flapping, for long periods of time.

Wandering Albatross
Wandering Albatross by Ed Dunens

Many species of albatross are in jeopardy; 19 species out of 21 are threatened with extinction. The conservation status of the Wandering Albatross is Vulnerable. These majestic seabirds face dangers from ocean fishing operations, non-native predators, plastic pollution, and others. Conservation organizations are working to help save struggling albatross populations. Education and spreading awareness about threats are key factors in attempts to save endangered species.

wandering albatross

Tomorrow's bird is a species endemic to Bolivia. Check us out tomorrow to find out what it is!

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A little jewel joins Birdorable today! Today's Bonanza bird is the Buff-bellied Hummingbird, bringing our total number of hummers to five.

Birdorable Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Buff-bellied Hummingbirds breed in eastern parts of Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula. Their northernmost breeding range extends into the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. While some birds are resident, there are also seasonal movements (dispersal) in parts of the population. Some birds fly NORTH for the winter! Their wintering range includes much of the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Buff-bellied Hummingbird by k. draper (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Like other hummingbirds, Buff-bellied Hummers feed on flower nectar. They will readily feed from hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water. Buff-bellieds also feed on very small insects caught on the wing.

buff-bellied hummingbird

Tomorrow's new bird has the longest wingspan of any living species!

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We're adding new birds each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the Superb Starling.

Birdorable Superb Starling

Superb Starlings have striking plumage. You might even call the combination of metallic blue and green with contrasting burnt orange superb!

Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)
Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus) by Lip Kee (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Superb Starlings live in open or wooded habitats across parts of eastern Africa. They are ominvorous, eating a diet of insects, fruits, and berries. They often forage for food on the ground. These beautiful birds are cooperative breeders. Family groups band together to raise young. Some family groups may have multiple generations and several cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, and others joining in to help raise young. The family life of the Superb Starling (and some other eastern African species) is remarkable; read more about them in this article from Cornell: The Uncommon Lifestyle of the Superb Starling.

Superb Starling

Tomorrow we'll add a tiny species to Birdorable. This little gem is a regular breeder in the United States, but not very well-studied.

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We're adding new birds each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is Clark's Grebe.

Clark's Grebe

Clark's Grebe is a large species of grebe found in western North America. They breed along inland lakes; most of the population migrates to habitat along the Pacific Ocean for the winter.

Clark's Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii)
Clark's Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii) by Kevin Cole (CC BY 2.0)

This species can be distinguished from the Western Grebe by face color and bill color. The two are very similar in appearance and were considered to be the same species until the 1980s.

clarks grebe

Tomorrow's bird lives in Africa. It is very pretty. You might even call it Superb!

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Today a beautiful flycatcher joins Birdorable! Today's Bonanza bird is the Great Kiskadee.

Birdorable Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadees are large flycatchers - the largest of all in the tyrant flycatcher family. They are also colorful, a pleasing mix of warm brown, black, white, and yellow making up their plumage. They are noisy and boisterous omnivores, hunting prey ranging in size from small insects to small rodents. They also eat fruit and suet and visit feeding stations where these choices are offered.

Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee by Dawn Scranton (CC BY 2.0)

The Great Kiskadee is very common within its range, which includes much of South America. It can also be found in the southernmost tip of Texas, to the delight of many U.S. birders. They are certainly a target species for birdwatchers visiting hotspots in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

great kiskadee
Tomorrow we will reveal a North American bird that was only recognized as a species in the 1980's.

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We've reached the eleventh day of our 2013 Birdorable Bonanza, and today we're thrilled to introduce a charming and somewhat elusive bird to our family. Today's featured Bonanza bird is the Worm-eating Warbler.

Birdorable Worm-eating Warbler

Despite their name, Worm-eating Warblers are not particularly known for feasting on worms. Instead, these birds have a different approach to foraging. They are often found lurking near the forest floor, skillfully searching for insects like spiders and caterpillars within the understory. Their foraging habits generally keep them away from the ground itself, meaning earthworms are rarely part of their diet, contrary to what their name might suggest.

One of the unique aspects of Worm-eating Warblers is their nesting behavior. These birds build their nests on the ground, carefully crafting them out of leaves and moss to create a safe and concealed space on the forest floor. This ground-level nesting is quite unusual among warblers.

Worm eating warbler
Worm eating warbler by WarblerLady (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The plumage of the Worm-eating Warbler plays a critical role in their survival, especially during the incubation period. Their feathers are an elegant yet dull olive-brown, a coloration that provides excellent camouflage against the forest floor and helps protect them from predators. This subtle but effective plumage allows Worm-eating Warblers to blend seamlessly into their surroundings.

Tomorrow we'll add a colorful, conspicuous and boisterous species of flycatcher that is a target species for south Texas birders.

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Cute Worm-eating Warbler Gifts