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Mystery Bird of October – SOLVED

Mystery Bird of October

Mystery Bird of October – from Tumblr via Pinterest

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Wow! Just look at those blue feet. OK, someone, tell us who he is…

Once again, many thanks to Jay at naturalistsangle.blogspot.com for identifying this blue-footed mystery bird as the Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus) from East Africa.

Superb Starling - newquayzoo.org.uk

Superb Starling – newquayzoo.org.uk

This species is 7.1 to 7.5 inches long. Adults have black heads and iridescent blue-to-green back, upper breast, wings, and tail. The belly is red-orange, separated from the blue breast by a white bar. The undertail coverts and the wing linings are white. Juveniles have duller plumage with no more than a suggestion of the white breast band. Their irises are brown, later grayish white, eventually the adult’s cream-color.

The Superb Starling has a long and loud song consisting of trills and chatters. At midday it gives a softer song of repeated phrases. There are several harsh calls, the most complex of which is described as “a shrill, screeching skerrrreeee-cherrrroo-tcherreeeeeet.”

The Lamprotornis superbus feeds primarily on the ground, often below, or in the vicinity of, acacia trees. It is gregarious and is generally rather tame and unafraid of people.[3]

Superb Starling - en.wikipedia.org

Superb Starling – en.wikipedia.org

The appearance of the Superb Starling is very similar to Hildebrandt’s Starling, also found in East Africa. The Superb Starling is distinguished by having white eyes, as opposed to the red eyes in the Hildebrandt’s.

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Jack
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Mystery Birds

 

Mystery Bird of August – SOLVED

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Wow! I’m glad I don’t have a tail like that. I’d be forever stepping on it and slamming it in doors.
If you recognize this bird, please respond in the Comments Section below, and help to enlighten our readers.

UPDATE: Many thanks to Jay (at naturalistsangle.blogspot.com), for identifying our August Mystery Bird. This fascinating small bird is the Peruvian Spatuletail Hummingbird (Loddigesia mirabilis), also known as the Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird.

The Marvelous Spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis) is a medium-sized (up to 15 cm long) white, green and bronze hummingbird adorned with blue crest feathers, a brilliant turquoise gorget, and a black line on its white underparts. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Loddigesia. It is sexually dimorphic.

The Marvelous Spatuletail is considered by many to be the world’s most spectacular hummingbird species. It is also one of the world’s rarest hummingbirds, with an estimated 500-800 found in one small area of northern Peru.

Distribution of the Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird - wikipedia

Distributioin of the Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird – wikipedia

A Peruvian endemic, this species is found on forest edges in the Río Utcubamba region. It was first reported in 1835 by the bird collector Andrew Matthews for George Loddiges, after whom the genus is named.

maxwaugh.com

Spatuletail Hummingbird – maxwaugh.com

The Marvelous Spatuletail is unique among birds in having just four feathers in its tail. Its most remarkable feature is the male’s two long racquet-shaped outer tail feathers that cross each other and end in large violet-blue discs or “spatules”. He can move them independently.

Due to ongoing habitat loss, small population size, and limited range, the Marvelous Spatuletail is evaluated as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In spite of that, through the man-made miracles of modern photography and the internet, literally billions of us can still wonder at the beauty and grace of these splendid creatures.

If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

Jack
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Mystery Birds

 

Mystery Bird of December – SOLVED

Many thanks to Jay (at naturalistsangle.blogspot.com), for identifying our December Mystery Bird! This colorful bird is a Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys), native to Costa Rica and Panama. Here’s some more info on it…

Golden Browed Chlorophonia - tsuyukibird.hustle.ne.jp

Golden Browed Chlorophonia – tsuyukibird.hustle.ne.jp

The golden-browed chlorophonia is found from northern Costa Rica to western Panama, where they are restricted to subtropical or tropical montane forests (usually just below treeline altitudes). The species is typically uncommon and somewhat local, being found in the canopy of highland forests on both Pacific and Caribbean slopes, but only at relatively high elevations (above 3,000 ft). It may venture lower in the wet season when food is scarce in the mountains.

Males are striking and easily identified birds with bright grass green upperparts, throat and upper breast, while the rest of the underparts and broad supercilium are yellow. There is also a patch of bright green on the lower flanks, and the crown is blue. Females are somewhat less distinctive, but share the blue crown and nape, and have some yellow on the underparts, but are otherwise mainly green.

Mystery Bird of December

Mystery Bird of December

Golden Browed Chlorophonia - by Joel Delgado

Golden Browed Chlorophonia – by Joel Delgado

This little bird is 5 inches long and weighs about 25g. It’s diet consists of mistletoe fruits, berries of various epiphytes, and figs. Also eats insects and spiders, and hunts by leaning forward to peek under leaves and branches. Its voice is a series of clear but melancholy and disconnected whistles; sometimes sounding like squeeky hinges. The nests are holes in mosses and other epiphytes, found high up (35-100 ft) on trees in mountain forest clearings. At least three eggs per brood. Regurgitates food to feed young.

Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Beautiful Birds

 

Mystery Bird of December

Mystery Bird of December

Mystery Bird of December

Another beautiful bird with amazing color! Only problem is we don’t know what kind of bird this is…

OK, someone, tell us who he is…

There are so many excellent photos of UNIDENTIFIED beautiful birds available on the Internet. This is the next in a series of Monthly Mystery Birds from around the world. This series seeks to tap the knowledge of people who recognize these beauties, and to spread that knowledge to the rest of us. There’s something satisfying about knowing the names of birds. They become more familiar to us and seem more like friends when we know what to call them. Sort of like, “Oh, there’s Brad Pitt”, rather than, “Oh, there’s some guy on the street.”

After some expert supplies the name of our Mystery Bird, we’ll add some details about just who that bird is and where it’s from.

If you recognize this bird, please respond in the Comments Section below, and help to enlighten our readers.

If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Mystery Birds

 

The Gambel’s Quail

The Gambel’s Quail

Male Gambel's Quail - by Tommy Green

Male Gambel’s Quail – by Tommy Green

Gambel's Quail by CL Cochran

Gambel’s Quail by CL Cochran

These unusual birds (Callipepla gambelii) are striking in appearance bearing their cute and amusing comma-shaped head plumes (called “top knots”) dancing above their small heads. Both male and female sport the top knot, but the male’s is fuller and more colorful. He also has a rusty crown, and black face. Like other quail, Gambel’s Quail are plump, volleball-sized birds with short necks, small bill, and square tail. The wings are short and broad. Gambel’s Quail is named for William Gambel (1821-1849), an American naturalist who died on an ill-fated winter crossing of the Sierra Nevada. The scientific name “callipepla” comes from the Greek kalli (beautiful) and peplos (robe).

Adding to their entertaining ways is their habit of running frantically from one place to another on longish feather-less legs. They are richly patterned in gray, chestnut, and cream that can serve as excellent camouflage. Males have a bright rufous crest, chestnut flanks striped with white, and creamy belly with black patch. Females are grayer, lacking the strong head pattern. The birds have a 14-inch wing span and average weight of six ounces.

Gambel’s Quails walk or run along the ground in groups called coveys that can include a dozen or more birds. They scratch for food under shrubs and cacti, eating grasses and cactus fruits. They primarily move about by walking and can move surprisingly fast through brush and undergrowth. They are a non-migratory species and are rarely seen in flight. Any flight is usually short and explosive, with many rapid wingbeats, followed by a slow glide to the ground.

Living in the Desert Southwest, Gambel’s Quail is common particularly in southern Arizona and New Mexico. Here they look and act very much like the more widespread California Quail, but the two species’ ranges do not overlap. Look for these tubby birds running between cover in suburbs and open desert or posting a lookout on low shrubs.

Although they will eat insects and seeds, Gambel’s quail have the ability to select green foods in sufficient quantity to provide nutrition, but also to obtain the moisture they need. The ability to adapt its food choices to seasonal changes allow it to survive in the arid desert environment.

Gambel’s Quail live in warm deserts with brushy and thorny vegetation. These birds also survive well in cultivated communities and prefer mesquite lined river valleys and drainage’s near these lands. Desert mountain foothills, mesquite springs, plains with diverse vegetation and any area of the desert receiving slightly more rainfall than surrounding parts, are all home to good populations of Gambel’s quail.

If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share,
We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

Jack
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Interesting Birds

 

Mystery Bird of November

Mystery Bird of November

Mystery Bird of November – by Sergiu Bacioiu on Flickr

What amazing color! Looks like a band on the right leg, so someone must be able to identify this beauty. Great photography Sergiu.

OK, someone, tell us who he is…

There are so many excellent photos of UNIDENTIFIED beautiful birds available on the Internet. This is the next in a series of Monthly Mystery Birds from around the world. This series seeks to tap the knowledge of people who recognize these beauties, and to spread that knowledge to the rest of us. There’s something satisfying about knowing the names of birds. They become more familiar to us and seem more like friends when we know what to call them. Sort of like, “Oh, there’s Brad Pitt”, rather than, “Oh, there’s some guy on the street.”

After some expert supplies the name of our Mystery Bird, we’ll add some details about just who that bird is and where it’s from.

If you recognize this bird, please respond in the Comments Section below, and help to enlighten our readers.

If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
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2 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2012 in Mystery Birds

 

The Captivating Curve-Billed Thrasher

The Captivating Curve-Billed Thrasher

Curved-Bill Thrasher

Curved-Bill Thrasher – birdfinders.co.uk

The Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) is generally 10 to 12 inches long, slender in build with a long tail, and a long, curved, sickle-shaped bill. It is pale grayish-brown above with lighter-colored underparts that are vaguely streaked. The tips of the tail are streaked with white, and the sides of the tail are a darker color than its back. The eye of an adult is usually a vivid orange or red-orange, although immature birds have a yellow eye.

The Curve-billed Thrasher is commonly found throughout the deserts and brush-filled areas of the south-western United States, from about the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and across New Mexico to west Texas, as well as most of Mexico, from the Sonoran-Chihuahuan Deserts and south through the Mexican Plateau to regions south of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in south-central Mexico.

Curved-Bill Thrasher

Curved-Bill Thrasher – birdsofcorpuschristi.com

This interesting bird often roosts in a tall tree or spiny vegetation, preferring a cactus. The nest is a loosely woven cup made of thorny twigs. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs, which are bluish-green and speckled with brown. The eggs are incubated by both sexes, and hatch after about thirteen days. The young will leave the nest after 14 to 18 days after hatching.

Curve-billed Thrashers feed on ground-dwelling insects, as well as seeds, and berries. It often pushes out Cactus Wrens in its area. This thrasher’s voice call is a sharp, liquid, whistle wet-WEET, or wet-WEET-wet. Its songs, on the other hand, when it takes a perch, perhaps at the top of a honey mesquite or a cholla cactus, are captivating improvisations that famed naturalist Roger Tory Peterson described as “a musical series of notes and phrases.” National Geographic characterized the curve-billed thrasher’s song as “long and elaborate, consisting of low trills and warbles, seldom repeating phrases.”

Although they fly very well, they will often run in a very fast, very amusing manner that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Their legs seem to vanish in a wild blur as the bird charges to its destination.

If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share,
We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.

Jack
TheNatureOfHiking.com
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Interesting Birds