Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks nest in tree cavities and will use nest boxes. They can often be found perching in trees. In fact, they used to be known as Black-bellied Tree Ducks. There are 8 species of Whistling-Duck in the world. They are named for their unmistakable whistling calls.
The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a striking species of duck with a visually pleasing mix of black, white, and chestnut to its plumage. In addition, they have a bright pink-orange bill and feet, making them easy to distinguish from other species of duck.
Tomorrow's new Birdorable species is a really new species -- only recently officially described by science. Can you guess this species, first found in Borneo over 10 years ago?
Today's new Birdorable species is a parrot endemic to Australia, where it is found along the eastern coast. Today we introduce the Birdorable Australian King-Parrot!
Australian King-Parrots display sexual dimorphism -- males and females have different coloration. Our Birdorable cartoon is of a male bird, which has red on the head and chest, with blue-green elsewhere. Females have a similar color palette but the arrangement is different: green at the head, back and chest; red at the belly; and blue at the rump.
Australian King-Parrots are fairly gregarious and can be found flocking with rosella parrots within their range.
Tomorrow we'll add a duck to Birdorable! The new species is known for its bright feet and beak, and belongs to a family named for the way it sounds! Can you guess the species?
Today's new bird has a fabulous plumage and an interesting name: here is our Birdorable Mrs. Gould's Sunbird!
Mrs. Gould's Sunbird is a small species of bird native to parts of Asia, including China, India, and Thailand. It is part of the sunbird family, which consists of 146 different species spread across parts of the Old World.
Mrs. Gould's Sunbird is named after the British artist Elizabeth Gould, whose works include the illustrations for The Birds of Australia and Darwin's Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle.
Mrs. Gould's Sunbird has a striking plumage, with a bright reddish-orange back, yellow breast, and blue tail. There are iridescent feathers at the crown, cheeks, and chin. It has a downcurved bill, specialized to feed on the nectar of flowers.
Tomorrow's new species is a parrot from Down Under. Males and females of this endemic species have very different plumage. Tune in tomorrow to see our new bird!
It's Bonanza time again here at Birdorable! Today we're kicking off our 11th annual Birdorable Bonanza! For the next 10 days, we'll reveal a new Birdorable bird. Today we introduce a new species of cuckoo to Birdorable: the Yellow-billed Cuckoo!
Yellow-billed Cuckoos are migratory. They breed across much of the eastern half of the United States, as well as across the Caribbean and into parts of Central America. They spend the winter across much of South America.
While the Common Cuckoo of the Old World is known to be a brood parasite, much like the familiar Brown-headed Cowbird of the New World, Yellow-billed Cuckoos only rarely lay eggs in other birds' nests. In times of especially abundant availability of food, Yellow-billed Cuckoos have been known to lay eggs in other cuckoo nests, as well as in nests of robins, catbirds, and thrushes.
In the southern United States, where Yellow-billed Cuckoos breed, they have been known colloquially as the Rain Crow or the Storm Crow. This is because they have a reputation for calling or singing before summer thunderstorms.
Today we'd like to share with you the meaning of the term altricial, especially as it relates to birds. It is the opposite of a term we shared earlier on the blog: precocial. Let's learn about what it means to be altricial!
The term altricial comes from the Latin alere, which means "to nurse, to rear, or to nourish." An altricial species is one in which the newly hatched or born young need to be cared for by their parents for an amount of time. While a precocial animal may be mobile and relatively independent within days or even hours of being born or hatched, an altricial species must rely on its parents to survive for a period of weeks, months, or even years before it is independent.
In birds, this means youngsters come out of the egg almost completely naked. They are relatively immobile, needing to stay in their nest, and some have closed eyes as well.
While having helpless babies may seem to be a disadvantage, there are advantages to this breeding strategy. Altrical eggs are smaller, relatively speaking, than precocial eggs, resulting in less biological stress to mother birds. Precocial animals are born or hatched with brains relatively large compared to their body size, but don't grow much as they mature. Altricial species are born or hatched with smaller brains which grow as the animal matures. In general, altricial species therefore "have a wider skill set" when they reach full maturity.
Most songbirds have altricial young, as do owls, hawks, herons, and woodpeckers. Rodents, cats, dogs, and humans also have altricial young, which rely on their parents for the first few weeks or decades of life, depending on the species and individual young.