Blog Archive: Birdorable Bonanza 2015

Birdorable Fire-tufted Barbet

2015 Bonanza Bird #7: Fire-tufted Barbet

December 7th, 2015 in Barbets, Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds 2 comments

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with an Asian species of barbet: the Fire-tufted Barbet!

Birdorable Fire-tufted Barbet

The Fire-tufted Barbet is one of 26 species of Asian barbets, which are found from Tibet to Indonesia. Birds in this family, Megalaimidae, are generally plump in appearance and large-headed. Fire-tufted Barbets are found in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Fire-tufted Barbets have a mostly green plumage, with deep green back feathers and a lime green breast. Males have a reddish or "fire" colored tuft of feathers at the top of the beak.

The Fire-tufted Barbet feeds on fruit, especially figs, as well as insects. These birds do well in captivity and are found in zoos around the world, where their diet may include other types of fruit and even small rodents.

Fire-tufted Barbet
Fire-tufted Barbet byJason Thompson (CC BY 2.0)

Fire-tufted Barbet - Malaysia_MG_6223
Fire-tufted Barbet by Francesco Veronesi (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Fire-tufted Barbet is our 623rd Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Fire-tufted Barbet!

Tomorrow's new Birdorable is the smallest living bird in the world! Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Wedge-tailed Eagle

2015 Bonanza Bird #6: Wedge-tailed Eagle

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with the largest bird of prey found in Australia, the Wedge-tailed Eagle!

Birdorable Wedge-tailed Eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagles are named for the unique shape of their tails. Across their range, which includes all of mainland Australia as well as Tasmania and southern New Guinea, they are fairly common. In fact, they are the most common of the world's large eagle species.

Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)
Wedge-tailed Eagle by Ron Knight (CC BY 2.0)

Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle by James Niland (CC BY 2.0)

Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)
Wedge-tailed Eagle by Patrick_K59 (CC BY 2.0)

Wedge-tailed Eagles are non-migratory and established mated pairs will defend their territory throughout the year, even outside of breeding season. Earlier this year a territorial Wedge-tailed Eagle was captured on video taking down a drone.

 

 

The Wedge-tailed Eagle is our 622nd Birdorable bird and our 44th cute Birdorable bird of prey. Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with an unusual Asian forest species with fire in its name. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Great Spotted Woodpecker

2015 Bonanza Bird #5: Great Spotted Woodpecker

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with a fairly common Old World woodpecker species: the Great Spotted Woodpecker!

Birdorable Great Spotted Woodpecker

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is found across Europe and northern Asia. This is a resident (non-migratory) species for the most part, though birds in the coldest areas may move seasonally.

Though common across most of their range, this mid-sized woodpecker tends to be quite inconspicuous, spending most of its time well-hidden in tree foliage. They are often heard -- either drumming (tree-pecking) or calling (vocalizing) before they are seen.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers have a varied diet. The will feed on insects foraged from crevices in bark. They also eat plant material like seeds and fruit. Eggs, young chicks and even small rodents are also common food items for Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (adult male)
Adult male Great Spotted Woodpecker by Tom Lee (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Great Spotted Woodpecker Portrait
Great Spotted Woodpecker Portrait by Andy Morffew (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Adult female and juvenile male great spotted woodpeckers
Adult female and juvenile male great spotted woodpeckers by Dave_S. (CC BY 2.0)

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is our 621st Birdorable bird and our 10th cute woodpecker species.

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a very large Australian bird of prey. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Mandarin Duck

2015 Bonanza Bird #4: Mandarin Duck

December 4th, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds, Ducks 5 comments

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with a beautiful species of dabbling duck from eastern Asia: the Mandarin Duck.

Birdorable Mandarin Duck

Male Mandarin Ducks, like our cute Birdorable cartoon version here, are strikingly beautiful, with a unique colorful plumage. The flanks are ruddy, with a contrasting purple breast outlined in black and white. The forehead is teal and the dark eyes stand out against a white crescent-shaped stripe. Two orange sail-like tufts appear at the back.

Mandarin Ducks are closely related to the Wood Duck of North America. Mandarins nest in trees, often in dense woods, near fresh water.

Because of their beauty, Mandarin Ducks are popular in waterfowl collections. Escaped birds have established populations outside of their native range of eastern Asia. In Europe, there are large Mandarin Duck populations in Britain and Germany; in the United States you can find Mandarin Ducks living in the wild in parts of North Carolina and California.

Mandarin duck
Mandarin Duck by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mandarin duck, Hall Drive Pond, Salhouse
Mandarin Duck by Michael Button (CC BY 2.0)

Mandarin DuckMandarin Duck by thecrypt (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow's bird is a great woodpecker that can be found in Europe and north Asia. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Blue-billed Curassow

2015 Bonanza Bird #3: Blue-billed Curassow

December 3rd, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds 3 comments

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with a grouse-like bird from South America: the Blue-billed Curassow.

Blue-billed Curassow by Birdorable

The Blue-billed Curassow is a large species endemic to Colombia in South America. Males, like our cute Birdorable version here, have a mostly black plumage with a white vent and white barring at the end of the tail. Both males and females have a crest at the top of the head made of curly feathers. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Blue-billed Curassow is critically endangered. The current wild population is estimated to be 700 adult individuals or fewer. The population trend is decreasing due to various factors including habitat loss and hunting of both birds and eggs.

Conservation groups including zoos, like the Houston Zoo, have been working to save the species from extinction. More than 50 of the birds have been hatched at the zoo in their ongoing efforts.

The Blue-billed Curassow is our 619th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Blue-billed Curassow!

Tomorrow's bird is a beautiful duck from East Asia. It has a red bill and colorful striking plumage. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Kagu

2015 Bonanza Bird #2: Kagu

December 2nd, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds 3 comments

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with an usual heron-like bird endemic to New Caledonia: the Kagu.

Birdorable Kagu

The Kagu is a flightless bird with a pearly-grey plumage and bright orange legs and bill. The eyes are dark red. Kagus have a long head crest that may be used in territorial displays against other Kagu or as a threat to potential predators. And though they are flightless, the wings of the Kagu are far from useless. Adult birds will use a "broken wing" display to distract predators from their nest or chicks. When outstretched, the Kagu's wings have bold black and white stripes that also may serve to distract predators.

Photo of a Kagu
Kagu by Pierre Fidenci (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Another unique feature that Kagus have is their nasal corns. These are small corn-shaped flaps that rest over their nostrils. These flaps are though to protect the bird's airways when it forages by probing its beak in the earth.

Close-up of Kagu's nasal corn
Close-up of nasal corns

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Kagu is endangered. The current wild population consists of an estimated 250 to 1000 adult birds. They face threats including those from introduced predators, including dogs, deer, and feral pigs. The Kagu is our 618th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Kagu!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a tropical grouse-like bird with a great "hair-do." Can you guess tomorrow's species?