Birdorable Blog

Birdorable European Starling

Baby Birdorable: European Starling

October 7th, 2018 in Baby Birds, Starlings No comments

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the European Starling.

Across North America, the European Starling is a huge "success" story. Today's population of over 200 million birds can all be traced back to the release of about 100 individuals in New York in the early 1890s. Unfortunately, they compete with native birds, especially those that use cavities for nesting.

In Europe, where they are native, the starling population has suffered declines since the 1980s due to loss of available food sources.

Whether you see these birds as pests or beloved natives, it's hard to deny that they have pretty adult plumage and that they are even cuter when they are chicks.

Baby Starling
Baby Starling by Audrey (CC BY 2.0)
Baby Starlings in Nest
Baby Starlings in Nest by hedera.baltica (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Baby Starling
Baby Starling by Airwolfhound (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Baby European Starling
Baby European Starling by Keith Laverack (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Adult and Baby Starlings
Adult and Baby European Starling by Chris Isherwood (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Mother and Baby Starlings
Mother and Baby Starlings by Airwolfhound (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Adult with Baby Starling
Adult with Baby Starling by marneejill (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Young Starling
Young Starling by Jo Garbutt (CC BY 2.0)
Birdorable Wood Stork

Facts About Wood Storks

October 2nd, 2018 in Fun Facts, Storks No comments
Birdorable Wood Stork

There are 19 species of stork in the world. These birds are generally heavy and tall, with long, thick bills.

The Wood Stork is one of three New World species of stork (the others are the Maguari Stork and the Jabiru). The range of the Wood Stork extends the furthest north of these three species. Here are some interesting facts about this unique species.

Carnivores

Wood Storks frequently feed in and around water, where they find prey items like fish, frogs, and even small alligators. They will also eat insects, crabs, and other small animals. Wood Storks find food by feeling around with their bill in shallow water. They may use their feet to stir up potenial prey as they slowly move through the water.

Longevity

In the wild, it is believed that Wood Storks reach an average age of 11-18 years. From banding records, we know that the oldest wild bird lived at least 22 years and 4 months. The oldest captive Wood Stork lived to be just over 27 years of age.

Collective Noun
A group of storks is known as a "muster". A group of storks in flight is called a "phalanx". Have you ever seen a muster or phalanx of Wood Storks?

A group of Wood Storks in flight
Population Status

The Wood Stork has a large natural range, covering much of South America, coastal Central America, and extreme southern parts of North America. The international IUCN considers the Wood Stork's population threats to be of Least Concern. In the United States, however, loss and degradation of habitat cause its status to be considered Threatened.

Name Games

The Wood Stork superficially resembles an adult White Ibis and was formerly known as the Wood Ibis. This iconic bird has some interesting local nicknames, including Preacher, Ironhead, and Flinthead.

Do Wood Storks Deliver Babies?

No, you're thinking of White Storks.

The Wood Stork was added to Birdorable on Feburary 22, 2017.

Birdorable Greater Flamingo

Fun Coloring Pages for Flamingo Week

September 22nd, 2018 in Coloring Pages, Flamingos, Free Downloads No comments

Flamingos are known for being pink. To wrap up our first-ever Flamingo Week, we're sharing a couple of fun coloring pages featuring these iconic birds. Have fun coloring in these cartoon birds with different shades: carnation; blush; mauvelous; primrose; salmon; coral; fuschia; or roseate.



Direct link to coloring pages:

All of our coloring pages are free to download. Find more coloring pages for other species on our free coloring page downloads. And be sure to check out the color schemes for these and all of our birds by visiting the Meet the Birds section of our site.

Have you used our coloring pages at home, in your classroom, or at an event? We’d love to hear about it! Send us photos of the pages in action, or the final result – we may showcase them on our blog!

Birdorable American Flamingo

Flamingo Extreme Facts & Oddities

September 21st, 2018 in Avian Extreme, Flamingos, Fun Facts No comments
Birdorable Plastic Yard Flamingos

Flamingo Week continues today with some interesting flamingo extremes and odd facts about this family of pink birds.

Extremely Social Birds

Flamingos live in colonies that may number thousands of individuals. Breeding is also colonial, with birds typically separating into smaller groups of 7-25 pairs. Breeding follows synchronized dancing displays whicih are performed by both male and female birds.

The range of the James's, Chilean, and Andean Flamingo overlap in some areas. These social birds of different species will live in colonies together and even share nesting sites.

Popular In Plastic

In the United States, plastic pink flamingos are a famous kitschy lawn ornament. The decorations were first designed for the U.S. market in 1957. While some homeowners associations ban the plastic pinkies, the city of Madison, Wisconsin designated the plastic flamingo as the city's official bird in 2009.

Unique Feeding Adaptations

Flamingos are omnivores. They filter-feed on brine shrimp, blue-green algea, small insects, mollusks, and other small aquatic animals. Flamingo bills have a unique shape designed to filter feed, separating mud and silt from their food. The bill is used to filter in an upside-down position.

Another special filtering anatomical adaptation flamingos have is lamellae, hairy structures that line their beaks and tongues. Their long legs allow them to stand in water of varying depths, and their webbed feet are used to stir up silt in their search for food items.

Close-up of flamingo's lamellae
Photo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Pink Milk?

Both male and female parent flamingos feed their young chicks a sort of crop "milk", a fat and protein-rich substance produced in upper digestive tract glands and expelled through the beak. This milk is not actually pink. It is similar to the pigeon milk fed to squabs by parent birds in the pigeon and dove family.

Old Flamingos

A Greater Flamingo resident at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia was believed to be at least 83 years old at the time of its death in 2014. That is considerably older than the known longevity record for a wild Greater Flamingo, which was at least 27 years and 6 months, recorded via a rediscovered living banded bird in France.

The longevity record for a wild American Flamingo is just over 13 years, determined via a banding program.

The Most Endangered Flamingo

The Andean Flamingo is considered to be Vulnerable to Extinction. A rapid population decline occured during the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, reducing the global number of wild birds to less than 35,000. Today the population is considered to be stable.

The Most Abundant Flamingo

The Lesser Flamingo is the most abundant species of flamingo, yet it is considered to be Near Threatened due to threats including breeding site degredation.

Height Extremes

While all flamingos are considered to be relatively tall birds, the tallest of the bunch is the aptly named Greater Flamingo, reaching the greatest height at up to 59 inches tall (approximately 150 cm). The smallest is the also aptly named Lesser Flamingo, which may reach only 25 to 35 inches in height (approximately 63 to 89 cm).

Birdorable American Flamingo

Baby Birdorable: Flamingo Week Edition

September 20th, 2018 in Baby Birds, Flamingos 1 comment

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the American Flamingo and Greater Flamingo.

The six species of flamingo have similar nesting habits. They all breed in colonies. Mating rituals involve synchronized dancing. The nest is a pillar or mound of mud. A single chalky-white egg is laid per nesting attempt. Chicks, grey when first hatched, are fed a protein- and fat-rich diet of crop milk by both parents. Baby flamingos leave the nest around 7-12 days after hatching. Young birds gather in a group, called a creche, to evade predation as they grow.

Flamingos do well in captivity and breed if colony conditions are favorable, which include number of birds of breeding age and ratio of males to females. All of the example baby flamingo photos shared below were taken in zoological parks.

American Flamingo Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Charles Barilleaux (CC BY 2.0)
American Flamingo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
American Flamingo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
American Flamingo by Heather Paul (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)
American Flamingo by frank wouters (CC BY 2.0)
American Flamingo by frank wouters (CC BY 2.0)
American Flamingo by Alonso Inostrosa Psijas (CC BY-SA 2.0)
American Flamingo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Birdorable Greater Flamingo

Flamingos in the News

September 19th, 2018 in Flamingos, In the News No comments
Flamingo News

Because of their large size and flashy colors, flamingos capture the imagination of bird lovers and wildlife observers. And because some of the species in this family are facing threats to their survival, flamingos are often featured in the news. Here are some stories featuring these big pink beauties in the past few months.

Florence Forces Flamboyance of Flamingos Inside at Riverbanks Zoo

WISTV – September 13, 2018
A zoo in the path of Hurricane Florence prepares for the coming storm by moving flamingos to indoor enclosures for safety. See video of the pink birds as they get ready to hunker down at the Columbia, South Carolina zoo.

Study Reveals Night-Time Habits of Captive Flamingos

EurekAlert – September 7, 2018
Learn about how flamingos in zoos spend their time after visitors have gone for the day in this scientific study press release.

Amid Europe’s Heat Wave, Rare Flamingos Lay First Eggs in 15 Years

The New York Times – August 11, 2018
For the first time in 15 years, Andean Flamingos are breeding in a wildlife reserve in Britain. Read about the work the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is Slimbridge is doing to help endangered species of flamingo.

Flamingo Spotted in Texas, 13 Years After Escaping Kansas Zoo

LiveScience – June 28, 2018
A Greater Flamingo that escaped a Kansas zoo in 2005 is living life as a free bird in Texas. Read about the Old World flamingo's life in the New World.

The Bahamas Are Filled With Flamingos Once Again

Audubon.org – Spring 2018
Read about the comeback of the American Flamingo in the Bahamas, in part thanks to the preservation of habitat in Great Inagua National Park. This article includes some fabulous photographs of the species in wild habitats.

Record Number of Flamingo Chicks Hatch in Spain

Al Jazeera – August 16, 2018
It's another flamingo baby boom! Learn about how flamingos are doing in Spain.