Blog Archive: March 2015

Birdorable Blue Crane

Cranes of the World Map for Crane Week

March 31st, 2015 in Cranes No comments

We're celebrating the cranes of the world as Crane Week continues!

Yesterday we answered a frequently asked question about cranes: Where do cranes live?

The answer: Cranes have a nearly cosmopolitan distribution. These tall, long-legged and long-necked birds are found on all continents -- except for Antarctica and South America.

Today we're sharing our Cranes of the World map that shows all of the world's cranes and where you can find them.

Asia has the most diversity of species, with eight different cranes making a home in the region. Africa has five different resident species, plus one species that spends part of the year. North America, Europe, and Australia all boast just two species each.

The Cranes of the World map is available as a free printable poster download. You may also purchase the map in larger formats or on gifts and novelties.

Birdorable Siberian Crane

Interesting Crane Facts

March 30th, 2015 in Cranes, Fun Facts No comments

It's Crane Week, which means we're celebrating the cranes of the world! Today's post contains some interesting and fun crane FAQs.

Where do cranes live?
They have a nearly cosmopolitan distribution. Cranes are found on all continents except for Antarctica and South America.

How big are cranes?
Cranes are large birds. The smallest species, the Demoiselle Crane, is around 36 inches (91 centimeters) tall. The tallest crane is the Sarus Crane which reaches 69 inches (176 centimeters) or more in height. The heaviest crane is another species, the Red-crowned Crane, which may weigh up to 26 lb or 12 kg.

Size of Demoiselle Crane vs. Sarus Crane

Why do cranes have bare faces?
Most species of crane have featherless heads. They can change the intensity of color in the bare skin by manipulating facial muscles; this is used to communicate between the birds. Two species of crane have feathered heads: the Blue Crane and the Demoiselle Crane.

Bare skin of Birdorable Wattled Crane

Why are cranes endangered?
Of the 15 species of crane in the world, all but four are considered to have some level of threat to their survival. Seven species are considered vulnerable to extinction, 3 are endangered, and one is critically endangered. Only four species are placed in the category of least concern.

Most cranes rely on wetlands for feeding and nesting. Global decline in wetland habitat is devastating to these birds. The species face various other threats, depending on their range. Other threats include secondary poisoning, illegal poaching, and pollution.

What do cranberries have to do with cranes?
The word cranberry comes from what European settlers called the fruit when they came to the new world: craneberry. In their eyes, parts of the plant's flower, stem, and petals resembled the neck, head, and beak of their familiar Common Crane.

Cranberry plant and Common Crane by Birdorable

What is the collective noun for cranes?
A collective noun is a word used to name a group of the same things. A group of birds is known as a flock, while a group of crows is a murder, and a group of geese is a gaggle. What about cranes? A group of cranes may be known as a sedge of cranes, or as a siege of cranes.

Birdorable Whooping Crane

It's Time for Crane Week!

March 29th, 2015 in Cranes No comments

Welcome to Crane Week! We're celebrating the world's crane species this week on the Birdorable blog, with crane facts and crane fun! Stay tuned to the blog throughout the week to learn about this family of large, long-legged birds.

To start off the week, here's a look back at some previous crane posts from our blog.

Birdorable Sandhill Cranes in a field

The Sandhill Crane was added to Birdorable in July 2010; it was featured as the first bird in our second annual Birdorable Bonanza in 2010. It was our 259th Birdorable bird. The Whooping Crane was added the following month. In total there are 15 living species of crane; the rest of the birds in the family have all been recently added to Birdorable.

We told you about the Midwest Crane Count which is a citizen science survey that takes place each year. In 2015, the crane count will take place on Saturday, April 18th.

Baby Sandhill Cranes and baby Whooping Cranes are very small when the first hatch, and look so different from their parents in their soft and downy yellow feathers. We featured both species as youngsters on the blog in the past.

Join us as this week continues with our celebration of the world's cranes!

Birdorable Red-cockaded Woodpecker

T-Shirt Tuesday: Save the Red-cockaded Woodpecker

March 25th, 2015 in T-Shirt Tuesday, Woodpeckers No comments

This week's featured t-shirt is our Save the Red-cockaded Woodpecker design on a Men's Basic Dark T-Shirt. The male Red-cockaded Woodpecker has a small red streak on the side of its head, called a cockade, which gives the species its name. These woodpecker live in the southeastern United States, and unfortunately their conservation status is considered vulnerable. Show your support for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker with this Birdorable graphic tee.

Birdorable Save the Red-cockaded Woodpecker Men's Basic Dark T-Shirt
Birdorable Monk Parakeet

Fun Facts about Monk Parakeets

March 18th, 2015 in Fun Facts, Parakeets 2 comments
Birdorable Monk Parakeet

Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parrots in aviculture, are medium-sized parakeets with a mostly green plumage, gray at the forehead and throat, and a pale pink bill. Here are some facts about these cute birds:

  • The native range of Monk Parakeets is around subtropical parts of Argentina and surrounding countries in South America.
  • There are many self-sustaining feral populations of Monk Parakeets outside of South America, mainly in Europe and North America.
  • The Monk Parakeet was brought to the United States in the late 1960s as a pet. The first feral Monk Parakeet to be recorded in the U.S. was in New York in 1967. Many birds escaped or were intentionally released, and populations were allowed to proliferate. By the early 1970s, Monk Parakeets were established in seven states, and by 1995 they had spread to eight more. There are now thought to be approximately 100,000 in Florida alone.
  • The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest rather than using a hole in a tree. These birds typically build their nest in a tree or on a man-made structure.
  • These huge nests attract many other tenants, including birds of prey such as the Spot-winged Falconet or ducks such as the Yellow-billed Teal.
  • Monk Parakeets often breed colonially and build a single large nest with multiple entrances for each pair. In the wild these colonies can become quite large, with nests that can reach the size of a small car.
  • There are four recognized subspecies:
    • Myiopsitta monachus monachus -- Lives from southeastern Argentina and Uruguay and is the largest subspecies;
    • Myiopsitta monachus calita -- Native to the Andean foothills from southeastern Bolivia to Paraguay and northwestern Argentina. Has wings more prominently blue and darker gray head than other subspecies;
    • Myiopsitta monachus cotorra -- Nests in cliffs in southwestern Brazil and has less yellow below and is brighter overall;
    • Myiopsitta (monachus) luchsi (aka Cliff Parakeet) -- Has no scalloping on breast, underparts are brighter yellow and lives in the Andean valleys of central Bolivia.
  • The Cliff Parakeet subspecies may eventually be recognized as its own species again, as it has been on-and-off since it was first described in 1868.
  • The lifespan of a Monk Parakeet is 15 to 20 years in the wild and 25 to 30 years in captivity.
  • Other names for this bird are: Quaker Parrot, Monk Parrot or Quaker Parakeet.
  • A group of parakeets is collectively called a "chatter" or a "flock" of parakeets.
  • Quaker Parrots are popular pet birds for their comical personalities and energetic nature, but they are also notoriously loud and noisy birds, so take caution before rushing out to get one. They can live to be 30 years old, so caring for one is a long commitment. The birds are also illegal to keep in some U.S. states, especially in the south due to the established feral populations.
  • The Monk Parakeet was added to Birdorable in August 2007 and we have hundreds of original customizable gifts with this cute bird. Check out our cute Monk Parakeet gifts or our other Birdorable parrots and parakeets.
cotorritas argentinas 04 Monk Parakeet, Myiopsitta monachus
Photo by Ferran Pestaña (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Monk Parakeet / Myiopsitta monachus / 翁鸚哥(オキナインコ)
Photo by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) (CC BY 2.0)
Birdorable Eurasian Magpie

Mag-PI Coloring Page with Birdorable Magpie for Pi Day

March 12th, 2015 in Coloring Pages, Magpies No comments

This Saturday, March 14th, is Pi Day! This year Pi Day has an extra significance on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m., with the date and time representing the first 10 digits of the digit π. This only happens every one hundred years, so celebrate this very special Pi Day in style with this cute coloring page from Birdorable. A Black-billed Magpie (or Eurasian Magpie, it's your pick) is sitting on a large π symbol. It's your job to color the bird and Pi however you like, but if you want some hints you can have a look at the profile pages for each bird. If you can't get enough you can find dozens of other Birdorable coloring and activity pages in our Downloads section. Have fun and enjoy 3/14/15!

Birdorable Mag-PI Coloring Page