2021 Bonanza Bird #6

Meet the Birdorable Little Blue Heron: A Bird of Two Colors

Little Blue Heron

Today we add a small wader to Birdorable: the Little Blue Heron!

Little Blue Herons are New World wading birds with a wide distribution covering parts of North and South America. They are found near wetland habitats, where they feed, roost, and breed. Some birds are year-round residents (especially in South America) while some birds in North America migrate to breed further north.

Little Blue Herons are named for the plum and blue plumage of adult birds. For the first year of life, Little Blue Herons aren't blue at all -- they are white! This gives the young birds an advantage when hunting among Snowy Egrets, who are more likely to tolerate a bird, all white like them, hunting in close proximity.

Little Blue Heron Photo

Tomorrow we'll add another wading bird to Birdorable. Our illustration will feature the female of the species! This bird is named for a famous ornithologist. Can you guess the bird based on these clues?

Birdorable Bonanza preview #7

Cute Little Blue Heron Gifts

2021 Bonanza Bird #5

Introducing the Birdorable Galapagos Penguin: The Northernmost Penguin in the World

Birdorable Galapagos Penguin

Today we are adding another penguin species to Birdorable: the Galapagos Penguin!

This species of penguin has the northernmost range of all penguins, and it is the only penguin species to live north of the equator. The climate on their island home is warmer than that of most other penguins, so they have adapted methods to keep cool, which includes panting like a dog! They also jump into the water to cool off.

Galapagos Penguins are among the smaller penguin species. They are unfortunately the most endangered species of penguin, facing threats related to climate change as well as introduced predators and pollution.

Galapagos Penguins photo
Galapagos Penguins by Peter Swaine (CC BY 2.0)

Tomorrow we'll add a little New World wading bird named for the color of the adult plumage. Juveniles of these birds have no color at all. Can you guess the species?

Birdorable Bonanza preview #6

Cute Galapagos Penguin Gifts

2021 Bonanza Bird #4

Introducing the World's Smallest Stork: The Abdim's Stork!

Birdorable Abdim's Stork

We're excited to welcome the Abdim's Stork to the Birdorable family! This charming bird holds the title of being the world's smallest species of stork, and its diminutive size is just one of the many fascinating facts about this feathered friend.

Abdim's Storks are known for their striking appearance. Their plumage boasts a dark and iridescent sheen that sets them apart from their larger stork relatives. During the breeding season, these elegant birds undergo a captivating transformation. The bare patch of skin on their faces changes color, turning a vibrant shade of blue. It's a beautiful sight that signals their readiness for the breeding season.

These storks are not only visually appealing but also highly migratory. They embark on impressive journeys across the skies, covering vast distances during their annual migrations. While they call sub-Saharan Africa home during their breeding season, their travels take them as far south as South Africa during the non-breeding season.

Keep an eye out for these marvelous birds as they grace the African skies with their presence.

Abdim's Stork photo
Abdim's Stork by Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)

We hope you enjoy getting to know the Abdim's Stork, our latest addition to the Birdorable family. Stay tuned for more captivating bird species coming your way!

Tomorrow we'll add a new species of penguin to Birdorable! This penguin is the only species found north of the equator. Can you guess the species?

Cute Abdim's Stork Gifts

2021 Bonanza Bird #3

Meet the Colorful Birdorable Blue-gray Tanager: A Tropical Delight!

Birdorable Abdim's Stork

Today, we're thrilled to introduce the vibrant and charming Blue-gray Tanager to the Birdorable family! This tropical beauty is sure to captivate bird enthusiasts with its stunning appearance and delightful personality.

Blue-gray Tanagers are native to a wide range of habitats, making them a versatile and adaptable species. You can spot these striking songbirds in various wooded and open environments, stretching from central Mexico to the northern regions of South America. With their extensive range, they have become a beloved sight for birdwatchers across the continent.

One of the remarkable characteristics of the Blue-gray Tanager is its diverse diet. These avian wonders have a palate that includes fruits, seeds, insects, and even nectar on occasion. Their ability to feed on a variety of food sources showcases their resourcefulness and adaptability in their chosen habitats.

What truly sets the Blue-gray Tanager apart is its enchanting plumage. These birds boast a captivating blend of blue and gray tones, which makes them a true tropical gem. Their vibrant colors are a testament to the beauty of the natural world, and observing them in the wild is an unforgettable experience.

Blue-gray Tanager photo
Blue-gray Tanager by Becky Matsubara (CC BY 2.0)

Unlike some migratory species, Blue-gray Tanagers are resident birds, meaning they remain in their habitats throughout the year. This makes them a reliable sight for bird enthusiasts who wish to enjoy their colorful presence whenever they venture into the great outdoors.

The Blue-gray Tanager is a perfect addition to the Birdorable collection, and we're excited to share its beauty with you. Stay tuned for more exciting additions to our Birdorable family as we continue to celebrate the wonderful world of birds.

Tomorrow's new bird is the smallest species of stork in the world. Do you know the name of this bird?

Cute Blue-gray Tanager Gifts

2021 Bonanza Bird #2

Introducing the Stunning Smew: A New Addition to Birdorable

Birdorable Smew

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.

Smew photo
Smew by Ryan Mandelbaum (CC BY 2.0)

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?

Cute Smew Gifts

2021 Bonanza Bird #1

Spotlight on the Vietnam Pheasant: An Endangered Rainforest Species

Birdorable Vietnam Pheasant

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!

Vietnam Pheasant by cuatrok77
Vietnam Pheasant by cuatrok77 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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?

Cute Vietnam Pheasant Gifts

Bird Term: Sympatry

Sympatry in Nature: When Species Share the Same Space

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.

Three species of flamingo in South America are sympatric. The Andean Flamingo, Chilean Flamingo, and James's Flamingo can all be found across a similar range and are known to share nesting sites.

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.

Birdorable flamingos

Cute Flamingo Gifts

2020 Bonanza Bird #32

Festive Name, Fascinating Bird: The Birdorable Christmas Shearwater

Birdorable Christmas Shearwater

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.

Christmas Shearwaters
Christmas Shearwaters by Duncan (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Christmas Shearwater
Christmas Shearwaters by Duncan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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!

Cute Christmas Shearwater Gifts

2020 Bonanza Bird #31

Introducing the Birdorable King Penguin: Nature's Royalty in Black and White

Birdorable King Penguin

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.

King Penguins
King Penguins at Salisbury Plain by Liam Quinn (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow is Christmas day! We will conclude our 2020 Birdorable Bonanza with an appropriately named seabird. Are you ready? We sure are!

Cute King Penguin Gifts

2020 Bonanza Bird #30

Meet the Birdorable King Eider: The Majestic Sea Duck of the North

Birdorable King Eider

Today the second of our three “kings” joins Birdorable in the lead-up to Christmas. The King Eider is a large species of sea duck found in both the Old and New World.

King Eiders are hardy ducks, spending almost all of their time at sea. Breeding brings them to land, but females care for the nest and chicks alone, so they spend a bit more time away from the sea than males.

Speaking of male King Eiders, look at that crazy plumage! Males in breeding season are sensational, with a lot going on in terms of both color and form. They are pale blue from the forehead to the nape of the neck, with pale green cheeks and a bright yellow-orange frontal lobe framed inside a black outline. All this, and a red bill, too. It’s almost too much, but then they’ve got what looks like little “sails” on their backs, formed from special wing feathers. With a plumage so crazy, they fit into our cartoon bird family perfectly.

King Eider
King Eider by Tim Sackton (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow’s new Birdorable will be the third and final “king” bird before Christmas. The silhouette should make this one easy! Can you guess?

Cute King Eider Gifts