Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition has just has a few more days to go! Today's new bird is a widespread species of plover: the Black-bellied Plover!
Black-bellied Plovers are medium-sized shorebirds that breed in the high Arctic, in tundra habitat. During the winter months, this migratory species can be found along ocean coasts all around the world.
Black-bellied Plovers feed on insects and some plant material while breeding on the Arctic tundra. Their winter diet is very different, with coastal prey like crustaceans, marine worms and more on the menu.
Black-bellied Plovers change their look along with their location throughout the year. Breeding adult plovers have a striking black and white pattern on the back with a white-bordered black belly, breast, neck, and face. During the winter the plumage is much more subdued, with greyish upperparts and dull white underparts. Outside of North America the species is known as the Grey Plover.
Black-bellied Plover in breeding plumage by nigel (CC BY 2.0)
Black-bellied Plover in winter plumage by Peter Massas (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Black-bellied Plover joins Birdorable today as our 638th cute cartoon bird. Be sure to check out our selection of apparel and gifts featuring our Birdorable Black-bellied Plover.
Tomorrow our Bonanza will reveal a type of heron with a very wide bill. Can you guess tomorrow's species?
Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition just has a few more days to go! Today we reveal a little cutie from the same family as chickadees: the Azure Tit!
Azure Tits are small songbirds found across parts of Russia and central Asia. For the most part they are resident birds (non-migratory) throughout their range. This little cutie-pie is in the same family as titmice and chickadees.
The Azure Tit is found in many different types of forested habitat, including cultivated lands like orchards and gardens. Azure Tits feed on a varied diet, which inlcudes both insects and plant material. Outside of breeding season, they will feed in mixed foraging flocks which may contain other species of tit as well as warblers.
Azure Tits nest in cavities. They use holes in trees but also other cavities like inside man-made structures or even in a nook in a pile of rocks. Female Azure Tits construct the nest cup inside the cavity, lining it with soft material like animal fur and moss.
Azure Tit by Jargal Lamjav (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Azure Tit by Anita Szeicz (CC BY-ND 2.0)
The Azure Tit joins Birdorable today as our 637th cute cartoon bird. Be sure to check out our selection of apparel and gifts featuring our Birdorable Azure Tit.
Tomorrow our Bonanza will reveal a widespread species of shorebird that is named for the color of its belly during the breeding season. Can you guess tomorrow's species?
Spotted Towhees are large sparrows found in western parts of North America. They are closely related to the Eastern Towhee. In fact, the Eastern Towhee and Spotted Towhee were once considered to be subspecies of a single species: the Rufous-sided Towhee. Today the Spotted Towhee has at least 20 recognized subspecies of its own.
The Spotted Towhee spends a lot of its time close to the ground. They nest in low bushes or directly on the ground. Feeding also occurs mostly on the ground. They forage for insects like beetles and crickets, as well as plant material like seeds and fruits, by scratching through leaf litter.
Some Spotted Towhees migrate, while others are sedentary throughout the year. Birds in interior parts of their range tend to migrate with the changing of the seasons; coastal birds tend to reside in the same location year-round. Depending on food resources, some non-migratory Spotted Towhees may make altitudinal movements throughout the year.
Spotted Towhee by Jan Arendtsz (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Spotted Towhee by Andy Morffew (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Tomorrow's bird is a small songbird with a white head that can be found across parts of Russia and Central Asia. It is in the same family as titmice and chickadees. Can you guess what it is?
Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition rolls on today with an unusual species of grouse from South America: the Helmeted Curassow!
Helmeted Curassows are large grouse found in the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes Mountains. They can be found in subtropical cloud forest habitat. Their diet primarily consists of seeds and fruits. They will also feed insects and small animals.
The Helmeted Curassow is recognized by the large blue-grey casque, or "helmet", on its forehead. This unsual feature gives the species its name. Both males and females have the casque and look alike. A rare color morph can be found in some females where the plumage is rufous with barring.
Helmeted Curassows are considered to be Endangered by the IUCN. Their current range is heavily segmented along the eastern Andes mountains in Venezuela and Colombia and the species faces major threats from habitat loss and hunting.
Photo by Jason Wesley Upton (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Helmeted Curassow by Jean (CC BY 2.0)
The Helmeted Curassow joins Birdorable today as our 635th cute cartoon bird. Be sure to check out our selection of apparel and gifts featuring our Birdorable Helmeted Curassow.
Tomorrow our Bonanza will reveal a spotted species of sparrow. Can you guess tomorrow's species?
Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition rolls on today with a large species of eagle: the White-bellied Sea Eagle!
White-bellied Sea Eagles are large birds of prey found across parts of Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Indian Subcontinent. It is found in both coastal and inland habitats.
The White-bellied Sea Eagle is also known as White-breasted Sea Eagle. Like many birds of prey, this species is an opportunistic carnivore. The diet is extremely varied and includes aquatic animals like fish and turtles. They take other prey items, including land animals like opossum, as well as birds. White-bellied Sea Eagles also readily consume carrion and will even steal food items from other predatory birds.
The White-bellied Sea Eagle is considered to be culturally significant across several communities within their geographic range. Some indigenous tribes in Australia thought the bird to be a guardian animal. Traditional tales from groups on the Andaman Islands and in some Malaysian communities include the White-bellied Sea Eagle in their mythology.
White-bellied Sea Eagle by shankar s. (CC BY 2.0)Photo by Jim Bendon (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The White-bellied Sea Eagle joins Birdorable today as our 634th cute cartoon bird. Tomorrow's bird is from the same family as one of the birds we featured earlier this month, but this one has a helmet on. Can you guess what it will be?
Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues today with a beautiful and colorful sea duck: the Harlequin Duck!
Harlequin Ducks are very beautiful sea ducks found along coastal waters across North America and eastern Asia. The species prefers fast-moving water and will frequently breed near fast-flowing streams.
The male Harlequin Duck has a striking plumage for which the species is named. Harlequin was a colorful masked character from an Italian style of improvisational comedy theater called "commedia dell'arte". Harlequin was a relatively late addition to the art form, and was popularized when the theater movement gained success in France.
The Harlequin Duck's colorful plumage gives it a lot of interesting alternative local names, including Painted Duck, Totem Pole Duck, White-eyed Diver, and Blue Streak. They have also earned the nicknames Sea Mouse and Squeaker from one of their more un-ducklike high-pitched vocalizations.
Harlequin Ducks feed by diving or by dabbling. They will take marine invertebrates, fish, and aquatic insects as prey. Algae and seeds may also be consumed.
Harlequin Duck by peggycadigan (CC BY 2.0)
Harlequin Duck by Matt Tillett (CC BY 2.0)
The Harlequin Duck is our 633rd Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Harlequin Duck!
Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with the largest bird of prey of Australia. Can you guess tomorrow's species?