Post has attachment
With 10,400 species of birds worldwide, you might expect diverse opinions on which continent or country has the most beautiful ones.

South America has stunning birds. Of course, you knew that. Here's a list of the top-13 beautiful birds of Peru: https://goo.gl/CQ3kg6

The ranking is based on surveys compiled by scientists.

While the analysis was objective, we can’t say that about the survey respondents.

The stunning bird pictured here topped the list in Peru, one of the most biodiverse countries on earth.

Photo

Post has attachment
Argentina farmers have nearly wiped out Ruddy-headed Geese as “pests,” but Falkland Islands sheep farmers and the birds benefit by sharing pastures. https://goo.gl/2krcbN

Tierra del Fuego Island’s tall grasses are ideal breeding habitat, just as the lowlands of southern Argentina offer the geese a warmer retreat in winter. However, Ruddy-headed Geese there have been relentlessly hunted along with other geese, sometimes with the use of aircraft. The Argentinian government also promoted massive destruction of Ruddy-headed Goose eggs on Tierra del Fuego.

After Falkland farmers said the geese also competed with their sheep for grass, researchers at a Falklands grasslands organization investigated. They discovered that the digestive efficiency of Ruddy-headed Geese is only about 25%. They reported their surprising findings that goose droppings are a rich nutritional resource for sheep in the Journal of Applied Ecology .

“The feed value of goose feces to sheep, which often eat them, was measured in terms of digestibility and nitrogen content,” the researchers said. “They had a similar digestibility and nitrogen content to good quality grass.”

That study revolutionized the views of Falkland farmers: they allowed the geese to feed alongside sheep in their pastures.

Read more – https://goo.gl/2krcbN

Photo

Post has attachment
Swallow Tanager ‘lenticular’ feathers shift from dazzling blue to camouflage green at light speed. https://goo.gl/B1oyaC

“One of the most gorgeously colored species of the entire Neotropical region” would seem to be an easy target for avian predators, but when they look down they see an emerald oval against the forest background.

Scientists described the male tanager’s lenticular feathers in The Auk: Ornithological Advances.

The blue color in all feathers comes from an interior nanostructure that looks like highly ordered foam. Under a sheet of keratin, the protein of human fingernails and hair, the foam is a highly ordered matrix of high-refractive-index elements alternating with lower-refractive-index elements.

When light passes through the barbs of Swallow Tanagers, blue light reflects in the direction of birdwatchers, and green light reflects toward the sun where hawks, Harpy Eagles and Bat Falcons soar.

The “double scattering” phenomenon is common among hummingbirds, but it also might be operating in other blue songbirds.

Read more – https://goo.gl/B1oyaC
Photo

Post has attachment
The largest living tortoise is helping the Galapagos Islands’ biggest bird – an endangered master aerialist of the Pacific Ocean – the Waved Albatross. https://goo.gl/hDiuHQ

Only about 34,000 of the birds with 8-foot (2.4 m) wingspans survive. The Waved Albatross is the only tropical albatross in the world. It breeds almost exclusively on Española Island.

The fish- and squid-eater, like other seabirds, takes advantage of the island’s geographic position at the confluence of three ocean currents and the rich marine ecosystem there.

On Española Island, vegetation had grown unchecked after thousands of endemic Española Giant Galapagos Tortoises were eliminated by humans. The last 15 tortoises were evacuated decades ago to a captive breeding facility on another island.

Introduced goats made matters worse for the albatrosses. The goats quickly devoured the prickly pear cactus forests and other plants that had benefited tortoises. However, the goats ignored woody plants, which grew tall enough to interfere with the albatrosses’ takeoffs and landings.

The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands has repopulated the island with tortoises from its captive-breeding facility.

The reptiles are munching their way through the vegetation, removing woody-plant seedlings before they grow tall enough to impede the birds. Scientists call it “ecosystem engineering.” More work is needed to clear all the tall, old brush, but conservationists and tortoises make a good team.

Read more – https://goo.gl/hDiuHQ
Photo

Post has attachment
The Red-headed Barbet is chubby-looking, big-headed fruit-eater that spreads seeds to “garden” forests from Panama and Colombia to Venezuela and Ecuador. https://goo.gl/LhTWcH

Individual birds visit up to 60 species of trees and bushes. Their quest? Anything ripe, delicious and nutritious. (They provide an insect-supplemented diet to nestlings.) If today’s ripe fruit contains a big seed, no problem – they swallow everything and regurgitate the pit on the go.

Their fruit diet makes them important seed dispersers and forest regenerators. They perform optimally in primary forests with big dead trees in which to excavate nest cavities, or enlarge old woodpecker holes. They are a distant relative of woodpeckers and more closely related to toucans.

Read more – https://goo.gl/LhTWcH

Photo

Post has attachment
The Guianan Cock-of-the rock, parrots, hummingbirds, birds-of-paradise, trogons and half the 10,400 bird species are brilliantly colored. Ever wonder why? http://goo.gl/yyvAMe

Crazy-colored, iridescent, psychedelic-plumed tails, crests and other ornaments provide no obvious survival advantage to a bird. In fact, quite the opposite. Which is why Darwin, the father of Evolution by Natural Selection, said birds’ feathers made him sick.

The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock illustrates an exciting new scientific revolution in the understanding of bird coloration and vision. Research findings are re-defining what constitutes a ‘bird’s-eye view.’

The concept bedeviled Darwin, but a fresh approach to it is part of a radical new area of research in the fields of ornithology, cognitive science and philosophy. Scientists also are debating how birds' superior color vision, episodic memory, self-recognition, understanding of motivations of other birds (called theory of mind), and high intelligence create a form of avian consciousness that they don't yet understand. http://goo.gl/yyvAMe
Photo

Post has attachment
Cerulean Warblers, like many migratory birds, are declining in rejuvenated, “perfect” U.S. forests. Why? They may require openings created by fire and other disturbances to flourish. http://goo.gl/7rZEYg

The warbler’s 70% global population decline since 1966 had mystified ornithologists. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists the warbler as a “species of conservation concern.”

However, researchers and conservationists are slowly piecing together what went wrong in the past 50 years.

Read more – http://goo.gl/7rZEYg
Photo

Post has attachment
The Red-crested Cardinal uses clever strategies to outmaneuver Argentina’s deadly botflies, cowbird “brood parasites,” and avian predators. https://goo.gl/EAxx4K

This cardinal actually is in the Tanager family, and is only distantly related to other cardinals. It sings like a tanager and eats food that tanagers eat - berries, insects, fallen fruit and seeds.

The mystery to ornithologists has been how this gorgeous bird became so numerous in habitats that are sub-optimal for most other birds.

Here’s the 3 main strategies the cardinals use:

1. They use visual discrimination as an energy-efficient way to basically hack the deceptive techniques used by Shiny Cowbirds, which are brood parasites.

2. They adjust egg-laying so that its chicks have protective feathers before the botflies arrive to try to pester them.

3. And they nest in small patches of trees away from rivers and forest edges that avian predators prefer.

The end result is enjoyed by birders in Argentina: lots of beautiful Red-crested Cardinals.

Read more – https://goo.gl/EAxx4K
Photo

Post has attachment
The 2016 Summer Olympics offers may birdwatching venues, including Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds’ leks in and around Rio de Janeiro. https://goo.gl/B265dG

Females pick their mates at leks. These are semi-established places where males engage in early-morning displays to win the chance to breed with the neighborhood’s choosy females.

Both sexes of the species look alike (females are slightly smaller, and males have a slightly curved bill) with violet-blue head, throat, neck and tail with bronzy-green underparts.

Groups of 6 to 15 males gather daily at leks about 27 minutes before sunrise throughout the year in eastern and southern Brazil, including urban areas. Each male sings for 17 minutes, then stops and waits in silence for females to respond.

The leks are large enough that individual males can’t see each other. However, males challenge each other by approaching closely and spreading their deeply forked tails in a “tail-flashing.” The provocation usually elicits an angry chase from any male that takes offense.

Read more – https://goo.gl/B265dG
Photo

Post has attachment
Finding the nest of a Flame-faced Tanagers is daunting. Over 9 years, researchers found only 10 nests to study, but discovered something unique among all birds. The parents exercise extreme flea-fussiness to keep chicks parasite-free. https://goo.gl/hoLRqF

When tanagers nest most of them go silent. The “feathered jewels” become reclusive, exhibit little if any obvious territorial behavior, and become difficult to find. That’s why ornithologists haven’t – until now – found enough nests to study the breeding behavior of the Flame-faced.

Biologists from the University of Wyoming and the Yanayacu Biological Station & Center for Creative Studies near Cosanga, Ecuador, used tripod-mounted video cameras to record an unusual behavior at the 10 nests they filmed. (The nests were made mostly of moss and pieces of fern.)

Parents frequently probed the nesting material - sharply and rapidly – as if they were -what?- cleaning. It was highly effective, because the researchers “did not find a single flea” in the nests immediately after the chicks fledged.

Read more – https://goo.gl/hoLRqF
Photo
Wait while more posts are being loaded