Birdorable South Island Takahē“

Take a look at this beauty! Today a colorful New Zealand rail joins Birdorable! Introducing our South Island Takahe!

The South Island Takahē is a large flightless species of rail that was once thought to be extinct. A similar species, the North Island Takahe, is only known from skeletal remains.

South Island Takahes are endemic to New Zealand and are managed and protected to ensure the survival of the species.

Once a bird of wetlands and swamps, the South Island Takahe is now a species of alpine grasslands. This move is due to the impact humans have had on the landscape of the South Island -- swamps have been drained and turned into farmland, forcing the takahe to move. They are altitudinal migrants, heading down from the higher alpine habitat when snow covers the land.

Tomorrow a pelagic species joins Birdorable. Can you guess the species from the silhouette alone?

Birdorable Purple Gallinule

Our special 10th anniversary 10 species Birdorable Bonanza concludes today with the Purple Gallinule!

The Purple Gallinule is a duck-like species in the rail family. They are native to the southeastern United States, much of Central America, and a wide range within South America. They prefer wetland-type habitats like swamps, lakes, and marshes.

Purple Gallinules are omnivorous with a varied diet that includes both plant and animal material. They will feed on seeds, leaves, and fruit, as well as take prey items including spiders, worms, snails, and fish. They find food by swimming on the water's surface or by walking around on vegetation that is floating or at the shoreline.


Photo by Andy Morffew (CC BY 2.0)



Adult Purple Gallinules have a striking plumage and are easy to recognize. The underparts are purple-blue while the upperparts are iridescent green. The face is a palatte of colors including the yellow and red of the bill and the pale blue of the facial shield. The legs and oversized feet are bright yellow.

This concludes our 10th anniversary Birdorable Bonanza! Thank you for following along! We wish all of our followers all the best for a wonderful holiday season!

It looks like yesterday's bird, the Least Bittern, totally got photobombed by a Rufous-necked Wood-Rail! How often does that happen? Our 499th Birdorable species and second-to-last 2013 Bonanza bird is the Rufous-necked Wood Rail!

Rufous-necked Wood-rail

Rufous-necked Wood-Rails are usually found in coastal habitats in parts of Central and South America. However, one day earlier this month, birder Matt Daw had an interesting experience while making a video of a Least Bittern at a National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Have a look at the photobombing wood-rail that sent the birding world into a frenzy:


Rufous-necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR by Matt Daw

News of Daw's rare sighting spread like wildfire among the birding community and visitors came from all over the United States to see the wood-rail. American Birding Association president Jeffrey Gordon recorded an interview with Matt Daw which you can see here: Interview with Matt Daw, finder of the New Mexico Rufous-necked Wood-Rail. And the famous sighting also got coverage on a recent episode of CBS This Morning.

Rufous-necked Wood-Rail merchandise

Tomorrow our 2013 Bonanza will conclude with Birdorable species #500. This once-abundant species will have an important but sad anniversary next year. Join us tomorrow as we reveal our 500th cute Birdorable cartoon bird!

bonanza-2013-preview-31

A Real Loudbeak

The Corn Crake is a migratory species of rail that breeds across temperate parts of Eurasia and winters in southern Africa. When they return to their breeding grounds in the spring, male Corn Crakes call out to establish territory and to attract a mate. The call sounds like this:

This may not be the most melodious song, but it is remarkable due to the fact that it can be heard from up to a mile away and repeated more than 20,000 times a night! That's a lot of sound coming from an 11-inch tall bird. The Corn Crake (also known as Corncrake) was added to Birdorable on August 21, 2012. If you love these little loudmouths -- er, loudbeaks -- be sure to check out our collection of cute Corn Crake t-shirts and gifts!

Birdorable Common Moorhen

For 19 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2011. We're counting up to revealing our 350th species! Today's bird is the Common Moorhen.

Common Moorhen photo

The Common Moorhen is a species of rail that has a wide range. They live across parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The similar North American Common Gallinule was recently split from the Common Moorhen. Common Moorhens have dark, chubby bodies supported by yellow legs and relatively enormous feet. They have a prominent red facial shield as well.

Birdorable Moorhen Product Samples

Tomorrow's bird can be easily recognized from the black line under its chin. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview
Birdorable Lord Howe Woodhens

On the tenth day of Birdorable, a unique surprise awaited me… ten Lord Howe Woodhens! As we continue our festive 12 Days of Birdorable celebration, we're thrilled to introduce a bird that's not only new to our collection but also carries the distinction of being critically important to conservation efforts—the Lord Howe Woodhen.

Diverging from the traditional "Ten Lords-a-Leaping" verse from the beloved "The 12 Days of Christmas" carol, we find a remarkable avian counterpart in the Lord Howe Woodhen. With its regal name, this bird perfectly embodies the essence of nobility and grace. The Lord Howe Woodhen, a precious gem within the rail family, calls Lord Howe Island home. This small, remote island off the coast of Australia is the only place on Earth where these birds can be found, making them endemic to this specific locale. Their story is one of survival and conservation triumph, as efforts have been made to protect their habitat and ensure their future.

Unlike the grandeur suggested by lords leaping, the Lord Howe Woodhen leads a more humble existence. It thrives in the dense undergrowth of the island's forests, foraging for food and living a largely unseen life. However, its significance cannot be overstated; the Lord Howe Woodhen is a symbol of the delicate balance of ecosystems and the importance of conservation work in preserving our planet's biodiversity.

May the story of the Lord Howe Woodhen inspire you to learn more about endangered species and the efforts to protect them. Happy holidays, and here's to finding joy and wonder in the natural world around us.

This is the tenth day of our 12 Days of Birdorable holiday event. Previously featured were:

Our 'old' coots

Birdorable Eurasian CootWhen we lived in Leiden, there were Eurasian Coots, also called Common Coots, living all over the Singel (the canal or moat surrounding the city). This was one species of bird we saw nearly every day. Here's an arial view of Leiden, from Google Maps. You can see the zig-zag shape of the Singel going around the city. The old city walls used to follow the water around the city. (Our house was in the upper right corner of the map, just outside of the Singel)

Anyway, if you walked along the Singel virtually any time of year, you could find coots in the water or in the parks just off shore. They stayed all year round, but in the spring you really noticed them because they were always fighting, aggressively defending their territory. And they were busy busy busy constructing nests, usually surrounded by water, attached to some piece of garbage in the water (most likely a sunken bicycle or shopping cart), or along the water's edge. It was fun to watch them build their nests, which would be made up of primarily vegetation, but also pieces of paper, plastic bags and other found garbage.

It was also so much fun to watch them with their babies. Coot babies (I call them cooties) are precocial, which means they are relatively mature from the moment they hatch. We would see very tiny coots swimming behind adults in the water, bouncing in the gentle wake of their parents. The very young ones would try to dive down for food like their parents, but they were too small and much too buoyant to stay under for any amount of time. They would just pop up immediately.

Once the breeding season was over, and the babies were taking care of themselves, the coots were more convivial. Large groups of adult and juvenile coots would feed together and no arguments would break out as they swam around the Singel. We would also see coots when we went birding out of Leiden. They don't call them Common Coots for nothing; they are fairly widespread all across Europe.

Eurasian Coot

Common Coots are one of our favorite birds and I'm glad we finally have a Birdorable version of this species! Be sure to check out our shop for the new Birdorable Eurasian Coot gear.