Blog Archive: 2015

Birdorable Collared Flycatcher

2015 Bonanza Bird #13: Collared Flycatcher

Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues today with a pretty black-and-white flycatcher from the Old World: the Collared Flycatcher!

Birdorable Collared Flycatcher

The Collared Flycatcher is a pretty black-and-white species of songbird found in the Old World. These flycatchers are migratory; they breed across parts of Europe and winter in southeastern parts of Africa.

As one would expect, Collared Flycatchers feed on flying insects. They also eat other insects like ants and spiders, as well as snaile. They may also feed on seeds and berries found in their preferred forested habitat.

Collared Flycatchers nest in cavities, using tree holes or nest boxes. An open nest is constructed inside the cavity for incubation and brooding. During the nesting and fledgling stages, young Collared Flycatchers or unhatched eggs may fall prey to Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Via scientific bird ringing or banding, it is known that the longest-lived wild Collared Flycatcher reached nearly 8 years of age.

Muchárik bielokrký (Ficedula albicollis); Collared Flycatcher
Photo by Andrej Chudý (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Halsbandsflugsnappare / Collared Flycatcher
Photo by Stefan Berndtsson (CC BY 2.0)

The Collared Flycatcher is our 629th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Collared Flycatcher!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a bird named for its very large beak. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Gray-hooded Gull

2015 Bonanza Bird #12: Grey-hooded Gull

December 12th, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, Gulls, New Birds 1 comment

Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues today with a gull found on two continents: the Gray-hooded Gull!

Birdorable Grey-hooded Gull

The Gray-hooded Gull, also known as the Grey-headed Gull, is a small species of gull found across parts of South America and sub-Saharan Africa. These birds breed in both coastal areas as well as around inland freshwater bodies.

Gray-hooded Gulls take two to three years to reach full maturity and adult plumage. Breeding adult birds are grey around the face with a faint darker outline. Wings appear grey with black primary feathers, while the underparts and neck are white.

In 2011 a vagrant Gray-hooded Gull was found by birders on Coney Island in New York. That bird may be the northernmost recorded bird of its species. You can read about this interesting sighting on Amar Ayyash's North American Birding article The Coney Island Gray-hooded Gull.

Grey-headed gull
Grey-headed gull by Bob Adams (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Grey-headed Gull  (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus)
Grey-headed gull by Ian White (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Gray-hooded Gull is our 628th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Gray-hooded Gull!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with an Old World pied flycatcher. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Many-colored Rush Tyrant

2015 Bonanza Bird #11: Many-colored Rush Tyrant

December 11th, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds No comments

Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition is rolling along! Today's new bird is a South American species of flycatcher: the Many-colored Rush Tyrant!

Many-coloured Rush Tyrant

Many-colored Rush Tyrants are songbirds in the flycatcher family. They are found across much of southern South America. This colorful little bird comes from a family of rather dull-colored flycatcher species, making its multicolored plumage even more remarkable.

The Many-coloured (or -coloured) Rush Tyrant is found around wetlands and lakes, and in reeded marsh habitat. They feed by gleaning insects from reeds or stems. Prey is also captured on the wing or while the bird hunts by hopping or running across the ground.

Tachuris rubrigastra
Papa-piri / Many-colored Rush-tyrant by Joao Quental (CC BY 2.0)

The Many-colored Rush Tyrant is our 627th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Many-colored Rush Tyrant!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a small gull found in both South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Northern Flicker

2015 Bonanza Bird #10: Northern Flicker

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with a New World woodpecker: the Northern Flicker!

Birdorable Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is a fairly common and widespread species across its range and can be found across North America. There are two living subspecies: the yellow-shafted and the red-shafted.

Yellow-shafted flickers show yellow under the tail and wings; these are found in the eastern part of the range. Red-shafted flickers are found in the west and show red under the tail and wings.

In the past, these subspecies have been considered completely separate full species. The closely related Gilded Flicker was formerly also considered to be the same species as the Northern Flicker.

Unusual among woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker can often be found feeding on the ground. They like to eat ants and other insects which they forage by probing the earth with their beaks.

Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted) by wplynn (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted) by Nick Varvel (CC BY 2.0)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus cafer)
Red-shafted Northern Flicker by Dominic Sherony (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Northern Flicker is our 626th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Northern Flicker!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a small and very colorful flycatcher of South America. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Eastern Phoebe

2015 Bonanza Bird #9: Eastern Phoebe

December 9th, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds 3 comments

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with a New World species of tyrant flycatcher: the Eastern Phoebe!

Birdorable Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebes are tyrant flycatchers that are found in eastern North America. These cuties are migratory, breeding as far north as the Northern Territories of Canada and spending the winter as far south as Central America.

Eastern Phoebes are one of three species of phoebe. The Black Phoebe and Say's Phoebe are also New World birds, though their ranges are further to the west. Phoebes are named for their song, which sounds like "fee-bee".

The Eastern Phoebe has a place in ornithological history: it was the first North American species to be "banded" for science. In 1803 John James Audubon himself placed silver thread around the legs of young Eastern Phoebes, which he knew at Pewee Flycatchers at the time, at his Pennsylvania home. He hoped to track the future movements of the birds. The following season he was able to capture two returning birds that still wore the silver thread.

IMG_9335-189.jpg
Eastern Phoebe by David Mitchell (CC BY 2.0)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Eastern Phoebe by Amy Evenstad for Birdorable
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe by Kelly Colgan Azar (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Eastern Phoebe is our 625th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Eastern Phoebe!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a North American woodpecker with two distinct subspecies best identified by their undersides. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Bee Hummingbird

2015 Bonanza Bird #8: Bee Hummingbird

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with the smallest species of bird in the world: the Bee Hummingbird!

Birdorable Bee Hummingbird

An adult Bee Hummingbird weighs in at 2 grams or less, which is lighter than an American penny coin. In fact, a nickname for this tiny 2-inch long bird is the "Penny Hummingbird". It is both the smallest and the lightest species of bird in the world. The second-smallest living species of bird in the world is the Bumblebee Hummingbird.

The tiny size of the Bee Hummingbird may be attributed to competition with other hummingbirds in its habitat. Over time the species evolved to feed on smaller flowers than other hummingbird species that shared its habitat.

Bee Hummingbirds are endemic to Cuba, meaning they are found only on the islands of that country and no where else on earth. They are non-migratory but may disperse during the year depending on availability of nectar-producing flowers.

Mellisuga helenae
Mellisuga helenae by Ekaterina Chernetsova (CC BY 2.0)

Mellisuga helenae
Mellisuga helenae by Ekaterina Chernetsova (CC BY 2.0)

The Bee Hummingbird is our 624th Birdorable bird and our 7th species of hummingbird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Bee Hummingbird! Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a common North American flycatcher that sings its name. Can you guess tomorrow's species?