Birdorable Blog

Birdorable Rufous Hornbill

2020 Bonanza Bird #26: Rufous Hornbill

December 19th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Hornbills 2 comments
Birdorable Rufous Hornbill

Today’s new species is one of 10 hornbill species found in the Philippines. The Rufous Hornbill is a Philippine endemic found in forest habitat across 11 of the nations’ islands. It is also known as the Philippine Hornbill.

There is little known to science about Rufous Hornbills as they have not been studied in detail. Not much is known of their behaviors. They feed on a varied diet including fruit, seeds, and insects.

There are three subspecies of Rufous Hornbill. Our bird is of the Northern race (Buceros hydrocorax hydrocorax). These have an all-red bill. Northern birds have either red or blue eyes. Southern birds are in two subspecies (Buceros hydrocorax mindanensis and Buceros hydrocorax semigaleatus). These birds have yellow on the lower part of the bill and all have blue eyes. Some taxonomies split the Northern and Southern birds into two separate species.

Rufous Hornbills are vulnerable to extinction due to habitat loss and illegal hunting, with a decreasing population trend.

Rufous Hornbill
Rufous Hornbill by Ronnie Macdonald (CC BY 2.0)

Tomorrow’s new bird is a common species found across sub-Saharan Africa. These widespread doves are named for a plumage attribute – can you guess the species?

Birdorable Javan Hawk-Eagle

2020 Bonanza Bird #25: Javan Hawk-Eagle

December 18th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Eagles 2 comments
Birdorable Javan Hawk-Eagle

Today’s new Birdorable is a bird of prey endemic to Indonesia. The Javan Hawk-Eagle can only be found on the island of Java.

Adult Javan Hawk-Eagles can be recognized by their very tall dark head crests and dark brown upperparts. They also have heavily barred underparts. Young birds have little to no barring and are lighter, more rufous in color.

Javan Hawk-Eagles are endangered, primarily due to habitat loss. The population trend is decreasing, and there is currently no plan in place to help the species recover. It is thought the Javan Hawk-Eagle may face extinction in as few as 5 years if a conservation plan is not implemented in time.

Tomorrow we’ll add an endemic hornbill of the Philippines named in part for the color of its body. There are 10 hornbill species found in the Philippines – can you narrow it down to our bird?

Birdorable Tricolored Heron

2020 Bonanza Bird #24: Tricolored Heron

December 17th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Herons 3 comments
Birdorable Tricolored Heron

Today we introduce a New World species of waterbird. Meet the Birdorable Tricolored Heron!

The Tricolored Heron is a mid-sized type of heron named for its plumage of blue-grey, lavender, and white. They can be recognized especially by their white bellies and neck stripe, unique among dark herons or egrets.

Tricolored Herons range across coastal and freshwater habitat around the southeastern United States, as well as Central and far northern South America. They can also be found in the Caribbean. Tricolored Herons feed primarily on fish. Their hunting style ranges from slow methodical lethal bill stabs from a hunched position to comically running and chasing prey in shallow water.

Through bird banding data, we know that the oldest recorded Tricolored Heron lived to be at least 17 years and 8 months of age. Bird banding science has been around for a long time -- that particular bird was banded in 1958!

Tricolored Heron

Tomorrow’s new species is an endemic and endangered bird of prey from the island of Java. The species is the national bird of its country. Do you know this one?

Birdorable Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

2020 Bonanza Bird #23: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

December 16th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Woodpeckers 2 comments
Birdorable Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Today an Old World woodpecker joins Birdorable! We welcome the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker to our flock.

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers have a large range in temperate and boreal forests across much of Europe and Asia. At least 10 subspecies are recognized, with a variety of plumage and size differences across the range. All birds have a recognizable black and white pattern with males showing a bright red cap. Some birds, like our Birdorable version, have a buff wash over the white underparts and various levels of buff coloration around the face.

This species is the smallest woodpecker in all of Europe. They nest in tree cavities and lay five to 8 eggs per brood. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers that survive through fledging are thought to have an average lifespan of about 7 years.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker by hedera.baltica (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow we’ll add a New World wader with a newish name. Prior to the 1980s the species was named after a state in the southeast of the U.S. Do you know this bird?

Birdorable Crested Owl

2020 Bonanza Bird #22: Crested Owl

December 15th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Owls 1 comment
Birdorable Crested Owl

Today’s new species is a very special type of owl with a unique look. The Crested Owl is a medium-sized owl that lives in wet forest habitat across parts of Central America and South America.

These strictly nocturnal birds are year-round resident birds; they don’t migrate. They feed on small vertebrates and insects.

Crested Owls can be recognized by their long white head crests. The species has two color morphs (our Birdorable looks like the dark type) but all adults have the long crests that extend up from white “eyebrows”, giving them a very unique look.

Crested Owl
Lophostrix cristata by Joao Quental (CC BY 2.0)

Tomorrow's new bird is a spotted Old World woodpecker, smaller than its Great cousin. Surely you can guess the species with this easy clue!?

Birdorable Rose Robin

2020 Bonanza Bird #21: Rose Robin

December 14th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Thrushes 2 comments
Birdorable Rose Robin

Today’s new Birdorable is a small type of songbird found in Australia: the Rose Robin!

Rose Robins live in wet forest habitat in southeastern Australia. They feed on a variety of insects, beetles, and spiders. They are named for the pretty rose-pink breast on adult male birds. In addition to the flashy rose, males are dark grey above and white below. Females are dark above and light below as well but overall a more mousey-brown color.

Rose Robins are part of a family of Australian songbirds related to fairywrens and honeyeaters. They are not closely related to American Robins (thrushes) or European Robins (flycatchers).

Rose Robin
Rose Robin by Wag Tales (CC BY 2.0)

Tomorrow we’ll add a New World owl with a very distinct look. These strictly nocturnal birds appear in two color morphs, both of which have crests extending from their white “eyebrows”. Can you guess which owl is joining Birdorable tomorrow?