Today we welcome a pretty tropical species to Birdorable: the Blue-gray Tanager!
Blue-gray Tanagers are found in a variety of wooded and open habitat types from central Mexico down through the northern half of South America. There, they feed on a diet of fruits and seeds, with some insects and nectar on occasion.
These pretty blue and gray songbirds are residents throughout their range, meaning they don't take part in any seasonal migration.
Tomorrow's new bird is the smallest species of stork in the world. Do you know the name of this bird?
Today, a striking species of duck joins Birdorable. Our second Bonanza bird of 2021 is the Smew!
Smews are Old World ducks found in northern parts of Europe and Asia. These migratory ducks are easily recognized by the striking plumage of male birds: a white body with black stripes that look like cracks across the back, and a dark spot around the eye. Females are also beautiful, with a markedly different plumage of drab dark brown with ruddy red along the top of the head and back of the neck. Our cute Birdorable Smew is a male.
Smew ducks forage for food by diving beneath the surface where they look for small prey items like insects, frogs, and fish. They also feed on some vegetation.
Tomorrow Birdorable will go to the tropics when we add a new species of tanager to Birdorable. This bright songbird has two colors in its name, and has at least 14 recognized subspecies. Can you guess this bird?
How can a year both fly by and drag on? Can we all agree that 2021 has been an interesting one? As the weeks wind down, it's time for us here at Birdorable to share a flock of new birds in quick succession. Today marks the start of our 2021 Bonanza! For the next 11 days we'll reveal a brand new Birdorable bird species each day.
And so our 13th annual Birdorable Bonanza kicks off with a critically endangered species found in Asia. Welcome the Vietnam Pheasant to the Birdorable family!
The Vietnam Pheasant is endemic to rainforest habitat in parts of Vietnam. Rare in the wild, the species is part of a cooperative breeding and reintroduction program between several different conservation organizations.
The Vietnam Pheasant joins Birdorable today as our 755th species!
Tomorrow we'll add a black and white species of duck to Birdorable. This Old World bird has a simple four-letter name. Can you guess the duck?
Today we'd like to discuss a term that describes two related species or populations that exist in the same area: sympatry. Sympatry can refer to almost any kind of species or populations, but for this discussion we will focus on examples that include birds.
Species that are sympatric live in the same habitat, encounter each other frequently, and may share breeding or feeding locations. Interbreeding between species may occur.
Sympatric species do not necessarily share resources in this mutually beneficial way. The Great Spotted Cuckoo and its parasitic host species the Eurasian Magie are also considered to be sympatric. Cuckoos are brood parasites to their neighbors the magpies.
Sympatry is one of four terms used to describe how species (or populations) relate to each other. Species that exist in adjacent locations are parapatric. Species that are separated can be either peripatric or allopatric.
Today is Christmas Day! And it’s the last day of our 2020 Birdorable Bonanza. Our final bird is the Christmas Shearwater, a species of shearwater found around tropical and subtropical islands in the Pacific Ocean, including Christmas Island.
This bird has a festive name but a rather drab appearance with an entirely dark brown body plumage.
Christmas Shearwaters eat fish and other aquatic prey. They depend on oceanic predators, like tuna, to drive small fish and other small creatures upwards where the shearwater can snatch prey either at the surface or after a short and shallow hunting pursuit. To help them retain their prey, Christmas Shearwaters have specialized indentations on their tongues and along the back of their beaks.
On this Christmas day we wish all of our followers a wonderful holiday and a safe season! Thanks for following along. We’ll see you in 2021!
Today’s new Birdorable is our third “king” before Christmas. Here is our cute cartoon King Penguin!
The King Penguin is a very large species of penguin, smaller only than the Emperor Penguin. Adult birds can be recognized by their black and white body plumage and by the golden orange patch at the back of the head.
King Penguins have an unusual breeding cycle which takes around 15 months to complete. They breed in large colonies. After a chick hatches, the parents take turns keeping the baby penguin safe and warm while the other adult forages for food for 3 to 7 days. The foraging bird returns, feeds the chick, and relieves the other parent to go off and find food for 3 to 7 days. This period, known as the “guard phase” lasts up to 40 days. Then, during the austral (southern hemisphere) winter, parents leave their chicks in a large communal creche. The chicks fast (eat nothing) for over 4 months, huddling together to keep warm as they wait for the parents to return. Fledging (which for penguins means achieving independence – not flight) occurs a few months after the adults return.
Tomorrow is Christmas day! We will conclude our 2020 Birdorable Bonanza with an appropriately named seabird. Are you ready? We sure are!