Blog Archive: Birdorable Bonanza 2019

Birdorable Grey Wagtail

2019 Bonanza Bird #10: Grey Wagtail

December 12th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, New Birds No comments
Birdorable Grey Wagtail

Today our Birdorable 2019 Bonanza concludes as we reveal the 10th bird of the series: the Grey Wagtail!

Grey (or Gray) Wagtails are songbirds in the wagtail family with a wide distribution across Asia and parts of Europe and Africa where both migratory and resident populations can be found.

The Grey Wagtail can be recognized by its handsome (and more than grey) plumage, which includes grey upperparts and yellow underparts, black chin, and striking white eyeline. True to their family name, they can often be found wagging or bobbing their tails as they walk and forage for food.

Grey Wagtails prefer a habitat near running water, especially during the breeding season, where they can feed on aquatic insects and other small aquatic animals.

Thank you for following along with our 2019 Birdorable Bonanza!

Grey Wagtail photo
Grey Wagtail by ianpreston (CC BY 2.0)
Birdorable Bananaquit

2019 Bonanza Bird #9: Bananaquit

December 11th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, New Birds No comments
Birdorable Bananaquit

Today's new bird is a warbler-like species found across much of South America, the Bananaquit!

Bananaquits can be recognized by their curved bills, and their plumage, which is a mix of grey, yellow, and white. Their white eyebrow stripe is distinctive. Across their wide range there are over 40 recognized subspecies of Bananaquit. Size varies across the subspecies, as do some aspects of coloration.

Bananaquits use their specialized bills to feed on flower nectar, by piercing flowers, and on fruit juices, which they obtain by piercing fruits. Bananaquits also supplement their diets with insects and spiders.

Tomorrow we'll wrap up our 2019 Bonanza by revealing an Old World species that likes to live near water and is bit more colorful than its name suggests. Any guesses?

Birdorable Pesquet's Parrot

2019 Bonanza Bird #8: Pesquet's Parrot

December 10th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, Parrots No comments
Birdorable Pesquet's Parrot

Today's new Birdorable bird is a species that feeds almost exclusively on sticky fig fruits. Today Pesquet's Parrot joins our family!

The Pesquet's Parrot is a large species of parrot found in New Guinea rainforest habitat. These birds are specialist frugivores, feeding mostly on figs. These sticky fruits could get matted in feathers, so the Pesquet's Parrot has developed a strategy to avoid this: they have nearly bald heads! This gives them the nickname "Vulturine Parrot".

Besides their bald heads, Pesquet's Parrots can be identified by their dark plumage, with scallops on the breast, and bright red patches on the belly and wings.

Tomorrow's new species is a warbler-like New World bird with a fruit-like name. This bird has over 40 recognized subspecies! Can you guess the bird?

Birdorable Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

2019 Bonanza Bird #7: Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

December 9th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, Nuthatches No comments
Birdorable Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

Today's new species in our 2019 Birdorable Bonanza is a colorful member of the nuthatch family: the Velvet-fronted Nuthatch!

Nuthatches typically have a muted plumage, with a mix of black, white, and slate often in the mix. This bird doesn't follow that convention, with its aquamarine upperparts, bright red beak, and yellow eye, this bird is a knockout!

The Velvet-fronted Nuthatch ranges across a variety of forest types throughout southern and central Asia. They are the only kind of nuthatch on Borneo.

Velvet-fronted Nuthatches feed mainly on insects and spiders. Typical for nuthatches, they forage by walking up and down tree trunks in search of food.

Tomorrow we'll add a species of parrot with a fun nickname based on its (lack of) facial plumage. Do you know the bird?

Birdorable Surf Scoter

2019 Bonanza Bird #6: Surf Scoter

December 8th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, Ducks No comments
Birdorable Surf Scoter

Today we are introducing a species of sea duck to our Birdorable family: the Surf Scoter!

Surf Scoters feed on a variety of marine invertebrates. They are restricted to North American waters, breeding on freshwater bodies in Alaska and Canada and wintering along both coasts of the continent. After the nesting period, Surf Scoters molt their flight feathers. They find a safe place to do this, because during the process, they are flightless and vulnerable to predators.

Male Surf Scoters, like our cute Birdorable version, have an all-black plumage, with distinctive white patches on the face and an orange-looking bill. Females are brown.

Via bird banding, we know that wild Surf Scoters can live to be at least 11 years old.

Surf Scoter Close-up Photo
Surf Scoter by Becky Matsubara (CC BY 2.0)

Tomorrow's new bird is a colorful species of nuthatch found in Asian forests. Can you take a guess?

Birdorable Spectacled Flowerpecker

2019 Bonanza Bird #5: Spectacled Flowerpecker

December 7th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019 No comments
Birdorable Spectacled Flowerpecker

Today's new Birdorable is really a brand new bird! The Spectacled Flowerpecker was officially described by science in October of this year. The bird was first sighted in Borneo in 2009, but a specimen wasn't available for detailed study until March of 2019.

In addition to describing the bird's external appearance and features, scientists also learned about the diet of the Spectacled Flowerpecker. Part of the diet includes a species of mistleote. Information like this can help ornithologists to learn more about the bird's range and preferred habitat.

The Spectacled Flowerpecker joins our Birdorable Finches and Friends. Flowerpeckers are songbirds in a separate family but show some similarities to finches. The Spectacled Flowerpecker is not closely related to any other known flowerpecker species.

Tomorrow's new bird is a species of North American sea duck that might like to "hang ten". Can you guess the species?