Blog Archive: Birdorable Bonanza 2020

Birdorable Verreaux’s Eagle

2020 Bonanza Bird #20: Verreaux's Eagle

December 13th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Eagles No comments
Birdorable Verreaux's Eagle

Today’s new species is a large type of eagle found across parts of Africa and the Middle East. Verreaux’s Eagle joins Birdorable today!

The species, also known as the Black Eagle, was named for a French naturalist who collected the specimen used to first describe the bird for western science. Jules Verreaux visited Africa in the early 1800s on a expedition for the French Academy of Sciences.

An adult Verreaux’s Eagle can be recognized by its mostly black body plumage, white back, and very large size, all of which makes them virtually unmistakable across their range.

Verreaux’s Eagles have extremely specialized prey; they feed mostly on small mammals called hyraxes. The preferred habitat of the eagle corresponds to this prey preference; they can be found in dry and rocky environments where hyraxes thrive.

Rock Hyrax
Rock Hyrax by by Berndard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow’s new Birdorable has ‘robin’ in its name but it is neither a thrush nor a flycatcher. Can you guess this Australian species named for the color of its breast?

Birdorable Australian Pelican

2020 Bonanza Bird #19: Australian Pelican

December 12th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Pelicans 1 comment
Birdorable Australian Pelican

Today’s new species breeds in Australia with a winter range that extends to nearby islands, including New Guinea, Fiji, and Indonesia: the Australian Pelican.

The Australian Pelican has a white body plumage, mostly black wings, and an enormous beak. At up to nearly 20” in length, Australian Pelicans have the largest beaks of any bird species. They use their beaks to grab prey items from the water. They forage by swimming on the surface and diving down to hunt for fish and other aquatic food.

The Australian Pelican joins our other species of pelican: the American White Pelican; the Brown Pelican; and the Great White Pelican.

Australian Pelican

Tomorrow’s new Birdorable is a large species of eagle that has a very specialized diet, feasting almost exclusively on small mammals known as dassies, or hyraxes. Do you know this bird of prey?

Birdorable Bridled Tern

2020 Bonanza Bird #18: Bridled Tern

December 11th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Terns 2 comments
Birdorable Bridled Tern

Today’s new Birdorable species is a pelagic seabird: the Bridled Tern!

Like many seabirds, the Bridled Tern has a monochromatic plumage in whites, greys, and blacks. Their plumage is countershaded, meaning they are dark above and light below. This is a type of camouflage -- the way natural light hits them helps to make them less visible to aquatic prey from below and potential predators from above.

Bridled Terns are found in tropical and subtropical waters across parts of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This cutie joins Birdorable as our 15th species of tern.

Bridled Tern

Tomorrow we’ll add a species of waterbird with the longest bill size of any species. Do you know this bird?

Birdorable White-faced Whistling-Duck

2020 Bonanza Bird #17: White-faced Whistling-Duck

December 10th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Ducks 1 comment
Birdorable White-Faced Whistling-Duck

Today’s new Birdorable is one of eight species of Whistling-Duck in the world. The White-faced Whistling-Duck joins the family!

White-faced Whistling-Ducks have an interesting range that includes large areas on two continents. They are found around freshwater habitat in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout much of South America. Their disjointed populations are a source of speculation among experts, some of whom believe that human interference may have brought the ducks across the pond.

Other species of Whistling-Duck include the Fulvous and Black-bellied, both of which are found in North America. The family gets their name from their distinct, un-duck-like, whistling calls. Whistling-Ducks are known to be gregarious, forming large roosting flocks.

Another name for this bird family is “tree duck”, as many Whistling-Ducks nest in trees. This alternative family name doesn’t apply to the White-faced, however, as they mostly nest on the ground.

White-faced Whistling Duck
White-faced Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna viduata, at Austin Rober by Derek Keats (CC BY 2.0)

Tomorrow we’ll add a species of tern with a name that sounds like it might be ready for marriage. Or perhaps they have equestrian dreams? Can you guess the species based on our silly wordplay clue?

Birdorable White-rumped Swallow

2020 Bonanza Bird #16: White-rumped Swallow

December 9th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Swallows 1 comment
Birdorable White-rumped Swallow

Today we’re adding a species of swallow to our Birdorable family. Today’s new bird is the White-rumped Swallow!

These swallows are found in parts of Brazil, Argentina, and neighboring countries in South America. Some White-rumped Swallows are migratory; northern birds are sedentary but southern birds will head north for the winter, once breeding season is over.

Speaking of non-breeding season, these usually solitary birds will form mixed swallow feeding flocks in the winter, numbering 100 or more individual birds. They feed on the wing, taking aerial prey like flying ants, dragonflies, and flies.

Tomorrow’s new Birdorable is a species of waterfowl in a family that is named for their calling sound. The species we’re adding has a range over two continents and is named for the color of its face. Can you guess what it is?

Birdorable Red-billed Blue-Magpie

2020 Bonanza Bird #15: Red-billed Blue Magpie

December 8th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Magpies 2 comments
Birdorable Red-billed Blue-Magpie

Today’s new Birdorable is a species of corvid (the family of birds that includes crows, jays, and ravens) found in parts of Asia. The Red-billed Blue-Magpie is a stunner!

Red-billed Blue-Magpies have extraordinarily long tails – among the longest of any corvid species. In addition to their long tails, they can be recognized by their sharp dark blue, black, and white plumage, and by their bright red-orange bills.

They are fairly gregarious, often found in small feeding flocks of 6-8 individuals.

Red-billed Blue Magpie
Red-billed Blue Magpie in Timlipani, Uttarakhand, India by soumyajit nandy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow we’ll add a species of swallow found in open habitat in South America. This cutie is named after the color of its rump! Can you guess the species from this cheeky clue?


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