Today’s new Birdorable is one of four species of junglefowl in the world. It’s the Red Junglefowl, and the 750th bird species on Birdorable!
The Red Junglefowl is an exotic tropical species with a familiar look, due to it being a primary ancestor of today’s domestic chicken. It is thought that the chicken was first domesticated around 8,000 years ago, also using stock from the other three junglefowl species. The name Red Junglefowl is also sometimes used to describe feral chicken populations established from escaped farm chickens.
Our Birdorable bird is a male Red Junglefowl, with his flashy and fleshy red comb and wattles, long iridescent tail, and golden hackles. Females are cryptic with a camouflaged plumage to help keep them safe -- especially during breeding and brooding season, when they alone care for their chicks.
As we get closer to Christmas our remaining Bonanza birds will follow a theme. The first of three “kings” will arrive tomorrow. The bird is a migratory species of New World flycatcher with black and white plumage. Can you guess the species, if we tell you the name includes a cardinal direction?
The White-winged Guan is a critically endangered species found in a small area of Peru. They live around ravines and feed on things like seeds, fruit, leaves, and other plant matter.
White-winged Guans were thought to be extinct for about one hundred years, the time between recorded sightings of the species. When it was rediscovered in the late 1970s, a captive breeding program was introduced in an effort to save the species.
The current wild population of the White-winged Guan is very small, with a likely count of 250 individual birds or fewer. There are two distinct populations, a northern group and a southern group. Threats facing survival of the species include hunting and habitat destruction.
Tomorrow we'll add a species of spoonbill to Birdorable. There are six species of spoonbill in the world, and we already have the Roseate Spoonbill and the Eurasian Spoonbill. Our new bird does not have a black face, a yellow bill, or a royal name. That just leaves one...
If you live in the United States then you will probably be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. And like many families, chances are you will have a turkey on the table. But what do you really know about these birds? Did you know that Wild Turkeys sleep in trees, can fly up to 55 miles per hour, and that theyâ€™re highly intelligent and social animals? Here are some cool facts about one of the most famous birds in North America.
Many people think that, because they are so heavy, turkeys are slow and that they stick to the ground. But in fact Wild Turkeys have powerful legs and can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and fly as fast as 55 miles per hour.
Wild Turkeys sleep in trees. Even domesticated birds try to sleep in trees when they get the chance. This keeps them safe from predators, such as coyotes, foxes and raccoons, as not only people have a taste for turkey.
Male turkeys are substantially larger than females. They look different too: the maleâ€™s feathers are iridescent red, green, copper, bronze, purple and gold, while the female is much duller overall and mostly brown and grey. This difference is called sexual dimorphism.
A turkeyâ€™s gender can be determined by its droppings! Males produce spiral-shaped poop, while females produce â€œJâ€ shaped poop. Also, the diameter of the droppings increase as the turkey gets older.
A popular story is that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national bird, instead of the Bald Eagle, but this is actually not quite true -- at least not officially. Back in 1784, Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter disapproving of a drawing that had been produced of an eagle that looked liked a turkey and that such a bird would actually be preferable to the eagle as national symbol. As Franklin explained, the Bald Eagle had a â€œbad moral characterâ€ and was a â€œrank cowardâ€ that merely steals its food from other birds. So while it is true that he floated the idea that the turkey might be a better bird for a national symbol, it was only in this personal letter and in relation to the drawing. He never actually advocated this notion publicly.
Did you know that male turkeys have â€œbeardsâ€? Male turkeys are called gobblers and the hairlike bristles that grow from the center of their chest get about 9 inches in length. In some populations 10 to 20% of females have a beard too, although itâ€™s usually shorter and thinner than that of the male.
The color of the Turkeyâ€™s head and throat changes depending on its mood. It can change from gray to shades of red, white and blue when the bird is excited or distressed. During mating season, the maleâ€™s wattle turns a scarlet red. The fleshy object over the maleâ€™s beak is called a â€˜snoodâ€™.
The gizzard, which is part of the turkeyâ€™s stomach, contains tiny stones that the bird previously swallowed. Also known as gastroliths, these little stones help the bird to digest its food, since birds donâ€™t have teeth. They actually have two stomachs. The first is called the glandular stomach, where food is broken down. After this the food entered the turkeyâ€™s gizzard.Â
A turkey has 5000 to 6000 feathers. 18 of those are tail feathers that make up the maleâ€™s distinct fan.
Each turkey has a unique voice, allowing birds in a group to recognize each other. Turkeys create lasting social bonds and are very affectionate. The turkeyâ€™s gobble can be heard a mile away. Only males gobble. The females, or hens, communicate through clucks and small chirp-like noises.
Turkeys have very good geographic skills and are able to learn the precise details of an area over 1,000 acres in size.
Looking for something to do this Thanksgiving while the rest of the family is preparing dinner or watching a football game? Then grab your crayons and start coloring because we have a great coloring page for you with our cute cartoon Wild Turkey! Show your love for Wild Turkeys with this coloring page from Birdorable and have a wonderful day tomorrow with your friends and family.
Best known for their elaborate mating dance, Greater Prairie-Chickens once thrived across large parts of North America. Hunting and habitat loss over the last century has drastically reduced these beautiful birds to near extinction. Once so abundant they were a main food source for pioneers settling in the west, the birds have become extremely rare and have disappeared in much of their range.
Prairie-chickens are of great significance to Native Americans and many tribes have prairie-chicken dances. The grassland birds are well-known for their mating ritual, in which male birds defend their 'booming grounds' by perform a display in hopes of attracting females. The dance involves inflating air saces on the side of their neck and snapping their tails. The strange booming sound gives the bird its nickname "Boomer".
There are three subspecies of this bird:
The Heath Hen was originally found along the Atlantic coast, but became extinct in 1932.
The Attwater's Prairie-Chicken is highly endangered and restricted to small coastal areas in Texas and Louisana. Around the year 1900 over a million Attwater's Prairie-Chickens lived in the gulf coastal prairie and huge numbers of males gathered to perform their elaborate courtship ritual. Now, less than one percent of the original coastal prairie habitat remains. Less than 100 Attwater's Prairie-Chickens are left in the wild, all resulting from release of animals raised in captivity. In 1967 the species was listed as federally endangered and in 1973 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
The Greater Prairie-Chicken nominate subspecies is threatened, but remains numerous enough to still be hunted in four states. The bird went almost extinct in the 1930s due to hunting and habitat loss and now lives only on small parcels of managed prairie land. In states such as Iowa and Missouri, where Greater Prairie-Chickens were once abundant, only hundreds remain.
Greater Prairie Chicken Range Map by Cephas (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Read more about these amazing birds and prairie-chicken conservation efforts on the following websites:
On the twelfth day of Birdorable, my true love gave to me… 12 Drumming Ruffed Grouse! Our 12 Days of Birdorable concludes today with a new bird: the Ruffed Grouse!
The line Twelve Drummers Drumming in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” refers to musicians playing drums. Since Ruffed Grouse perform an act called "drumming" as part of their courtship ritual, we thought they would be a suitable bird substitute for this final day of gifts. Ruffed Grouse beat their wings to make the noise, either on the ground or on a fallen log. The noise is part of what they do to attract a mate.
Ladies Baby Doll Fitted T-Shirt
This is the twelfth and final day of our 12 Days of Birdorable holiday event. Previously featured were:
While the traditional 12 Days of Christmas, according to the folk song, begin on Christmas Day and run through January 5th, the 12 Days of Birdorable start today! And what a grand start - our Partridge in a Pear Tree, the beautiful Red-legged Partridge, is our 300th Birdorable bird!! Although all of the gifts in the 12 Days of Christmas song are not birds, over the next 11 days we will feature another Birdorable bird for our 12 Days of Birdorable. Be sure to check back each day for this fun event! :)
The Red-legged Partridge is native to France and other parts of Europe, but introduced to the United Kingdom, where the Christmas carol first appeared. Despite being introduced, the Red-legged Partridge is thought to be the "Partridge in a Pear Tree" because this species is much more likely to be perched in a tree compared to native UK partridges.
Find our many other cute Birdorable birds on the Meet the Birds pages.