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Black Kite Bird Species Information, Health, Diet and Nutrition

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 12:45 am

Black Kite Bird:

The black kite is a bird of prey that is part of the family of eagles, buzzards, and other raptors. This is a bird that is ubiquitous with nearly every part of the world except the Americas. The bird can be identified with its characteristic eagle-like look but its plumage is largely consistent with a single hue of brown. It will have a ribbed set of stripes present on the underside of its tail. The bird is not uncommon to urban areas where like other urban raptor species, they are famed for taking advantage of the thermal air currents that rise of urban structures like buildings. They are particularly adept at catching food on the wing and are known to be major hunters of pigeons and other smaller birds.

These birds are spread all over the world and in areas where they are native to the tropics like India and Africa do not migrate like variants that hail from colder parts of the world like Australia. In these regions, the birds will migrate away from the area during the winters. In the United Kingdom, the bird is only visible as a passing feature on its migratory path towards its native lands. These birds have quite interesting hunting habits and will soar high in the air and swoop down on their prey. They are especially attracted by instinct towards smoke that comes from the ground. This is because of an instinct that tells them that where this is smoke, there would be some kind of prey running away from a fire on the ground. This is quite different in an urban setting and the bird would not hesitate to swoop down on a human that could have some kind of food.

The variants of the bird include the European black kite, black-eared kite, pariah kite, fork-tailed kite, and the Taiwan kite. The black-eared kite is native to the regions of Persian and the Himalayas, the black-eared kite is a native of India, and the Pariah kite is a native of Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In the India subcontinent, the kite is known to follow the patterns of the monsoon and is a regular site before the onset of a major storm or the monsoon period in general. The bird is also of extreme importance to most airports because of the presence of prey near airports that ends up attracting the bird to runaways causing bird strikes.

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Bird Species Information, Diet | Wedge-Tailed Eagle Health

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 12:33 am

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Bird:

The Wedge-tailed eagle, also popularly known as the eaglehawk, is one of the world’s largest eagles and the largest raptor known to man. The bird is characterized by its long, large wings and the distinctive wedge shaped tail. The eaglehawk also has fully feathered legs which makes it appear extremely large.
The wedge tailed eagle is known to be one of the largest birds of prey in the world and is not very hard to spot, owing to its wedge shaped tail. The eagle is predominantly dark in color, seen in different shades of dark brown. Since the wings are rather large, the wingspan is huge and usually averages to about 8-8.5 feet. The length of the eagle itself is about 4 feet. It is believed that the wedge tailed eagle is a subspecies of the Verreaux’s eagle, Golden eagle, and Gurney’s eagle. The female is much larger than the male and may weight from 9 lbs. to 12 lbs. The male eagle weighs around 6-9 lbs.

When young, the eagle is usually a mild brown in color, but as it grows, the color becomes darker, ultimately becoming a black-brown color by the time they are adults. It has been observed that the males are slightly darker than the females. The wedge tailed eagles are found abundantly in Australia and Tasmania. They are easily spotted in the open country—especially in the southern and the eastern parts of the continent. The mating rituals of the wedge tailed eagle include a dramatic display of aerobatic flights. A pair may often be seen performing various mid flight acrobatics.

The eaglehawks nest in the wedges of trees. They are not particular about having a new nest. Sometimes, they may simply add new sticks or leaves to an old and abandoned nest. Sometimes, if there is a scarcity of trees or an appropriate nesting place, the eagles may nest on a cliff edge. Both the birds contribute to building a nest. Both the male and the female take turns to incubate the eggs. The young fledglings depend on their parents for food for about six months, after which they become independent and fly away.
The birds fly at very high altitudes and may soar for many hours without beating their wings even once. They can reach 5900 feet easily and may even go higher sometimes. They have very keen eyesight which can see through both the infrared and ultraviolet bands. Since they fly at such high altitudes, their keen eyesight helps them spot prey many feet below.

Tawny Frogmouth Bird Species Information, Diet | Tawny Frogmouth Health

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 12:31 am

Tawny Frogmouth Bird:

The Tawny Frogmouth, is an Australian bird which is found in the mainland of the continent, New Guinea, and Tasmania. The bird looks like an owl and is often mistaken as belonging to a subspecies of an owl. There are several colloquial names for the frogmouth, the most common being mopoke or morepork. However, these are alternate names for a sub species of an owl and therefore incorrectly used for the tawny frogmouth.

Both the male and female tawny frogmouths look alike. They are the same in length; both have yellow colored eyes and a wide beak which is covered in a small tuft of feathers. They emit a distinct clacking sounds which they make using their beaks. They are also known for making loud booming calls, which often reverberate around in the wilderness.

The tawny frogmouths, unlike owls, do not fly around hunting for prey. Instead, they sit at a very low perch and wait for food to come to them. They sit very still and catch their prey in their beaks as soon as it crosses them. They may also suddenly fall from their perch, dropping on the ground, to catch their prey.
The tawny frogmouths are nocturnal and hunt only in the night. They roost on dead trees or branches which are very close to the trunk, during the day. They are extremely clever birds and are able to camouflage themselves among their surroundings by sitting extremely still. When they are sitting still, they often look exactly like a part of the branch. The color of their feathers also allows them to pull this off.

The primary prey of the tawny frogmouth are rodents and insects. They may also feed on frogs and other smaller animals from time to time. However, unlike owls, they do not use their talons to catch their prey; they use their beaks for hunting and catching prey.

They have only one partner throughout their life and remain with that partner until either of them dies. They make a very untidy and loose platform to perch on and may make repairs from time to time to keep it from falling apart.

Though the tawny frogmouths look a lot like owls there are several behavioral differences between the two. Owl’s feet are much stronger since they use their talons for hunting. As opposed to this, the talons of the tawny frogmouths are not very strong. Owls are able to swing about their talons but the tawny frogmouths can’t do that.

Chowchilla Bird Species Information, Diet | Chowchilla Health

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 12:29 am

Chowchilla Bird:

The Chowchilla belongs to the order of Passeriformes, to which more than half of the birds in the entire world belong. This bird can only survive in wet tropics and therefore is native only to Australia and is not even found in the neighboring Tasmania.  The bird is usually found in the upland rainforest regions of Australia. However, it does not generally inhabit some of the wettest areas of the region. The bird is also known as the Northern Longrunner. Apart from the chowchilla, there is only one other identified longrunner species.

The chowchilla dwells on the ground, unlike most other birds. It is unmistakable for its appearance. Both the males and the females of this species are dark brown in color. They have a unique white colored ring around their eyes. Their tail feather shaft is also visible as it extends beyond the feather vanes as the spin of the bird. The males are easily identifiable because of their white neck, belly and breast. The female’s throat and upper breast is of a bright rufous color and the lower portion of the breast as well as the belly is white in color.

The bird is in the habit of foraging for food, generally in the litter of leaves. It typically scratches the leaves in order to search for food and while doing this, it calls loudly. The calling of the chowchillas is different from region to region and it is believed that the chowchillas interact in different dialects with each other. Their vocalizations are rather complex but largely, the sounds emitted are that of chattering and singing.
The chowchilla is often also known as the Spalding’s Spinetail, which is what it was called before being named as chowchilla. This name was given to them owing to their long spines which often extend beyond the feathers, becoming visible.

Since the bird typically forages for food on the ground, the tail has adapted itself to support the chowchilla when it is trying to lean backwards, looking for food. The bird leans backwards and throws aside leaves in order to search for small animals and insects which it can consume. Sometimes, the bird gets so involved in this that it gets completely covered in litter, thus disappearing for short whiles.
The birds flock together and are extremely territorial. They usually move together in groups of 3-8. They move quickly and are usually related to each other.

Brolga Bird Species Information, Diet | Brolga Health

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 12:27 am

Brolga Bird:

The Brolga (Grus rubicund) is one of the largest flying birds found in Australia, commonly called as Australian Crane. Brolga is one of the cranes which are found in Australia, the other crane is known as Sarus. The brolga, also the official bird emblem of the state of Queensland, is a tall and slender light-grey coloured crane. Both male and female brolgas have similar appearance except for the fact that males are a bit larger than their female partners. The brolga is a gregarious wetland bird species with a patch of red skin on their heads.

Here are a few quick key facts about brolga:

  • Social creatures: Brolgas are social birds and mostly live in a large flock which is led by a male Brolga. They make a large family and may leave their natural habitat outside breeding season. Brolgas usually fly to very high altitudes in search of cool air.  However, once their breeding season approaches they always prefer to come back to their natural habitat.
  • Habitat: These birds nest in freshwater marshes and large open wetlands, preferably lakes, grassland, and irrigated croplands that occur primarily close to permanent open water which is in association with vegetation. They can also survive in marginal brackish and salty wetlands. They are the only creatures with the unique feature of having a gland in the corner of their eyes. This helps in passing out the excessive salt.
  • Eating habits: Brolgas are omnivorous; however, they prefer swollen tubers from vegetative plants. They eat a variety of food items including grass, wetland plants, small fishes, small reptiles, crustaceans, roots, small lizards, and insects.  They usually feed during the daytime and generally go very far in search of food.
  • Lifetime partners/lifelong commitment: Brolgas choose a mate for life time and mostly isolate their territory which is protected by both the partners. Their mating season is generally winter (November-December). Both female and male partners take up the responsibility to incubate the two eggs which almost take a month to hatch.
  • Mating Dance: During their mating season they display graceful dancing skills. They are popularly known for their intimate mating dance. Brolgas may dance solely for the opposite genders but generally they dance in pairs. At times a dozen of them dance together, by stretching their wings and dramatically shaking their head. These birds have trumpet like loud calls which they make during flight, rest and especially during the courtship display.
  • Threats to the species: The threats to the survival of these birds include loss of freshwater habitats. It is crucial to protect the wetlands and encourage predator control by landowners, for retaining the suitable breeding habitats.

Black Falcon Bird Species Information, Diet | Black Falcon Health

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 12:24 am

Black Falcon Bird:

The Black Falcon is a large falcon that is a native of Australia and is not naturally found in any other place in the country. The black falcon is the largest of all falcons found in Australia. The bird is found mainly in open grassy areas or woodlands in the northern parts of Australia. It can also be found along tree lined water bodies in the Australian region. It is a raptor that flies at a high speed. It has typical wings which are long, pointing and tapering. Even though it is a relatively large bird, the shape of the wings allows it to take long flights. The color of the bird ranges from dark brown to a raven black. However, the throat is usually paler than the rest of the body. The feet and the beak are also different colored in a hue of bluish white.
Like some of the other raptors, the female black falcon is larger, about 22 inches long, whereas the male black falcon is only about 18 inches long. Other than the size difference, there is not much of a difference in the appearance of the two. The male and the female black falcons have a rather interesting relationship.

The black falcon is a relative of the brown falcon with the only difference being the color of the down and the absence of a barred tail. The flying action of the black falcon is also different from the brown one. While the brown falcon flies with slow strokes that appear like rowing, the black falcon flies with strong and powerful beating of the wings. The black kite may also appear similar to the black falcon but has a forked tail.

The black falcon is not a very commonly found bird and is sparsely spread in the inland of the Australian region. Like many other birds, the black falcon also has certain seasonal movements and may travel southwards with the change of season. It is nomadic and may also change its habitat with the changing availability of food.

The falcon preys on small birds which it hunts in midair. However, the black falcon is also known to hunt smaller animals that dwell on ground. Animals like rabbits, lizards, quails and rats often fall prey to the black falcon. Depending on the availability of food, the black falcon may also be seen feeding on dead carcasses. They are also known to steal their prey from other raptors.

Whiskered Tern Bird Species Information, Health, Diet and Nutrition

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 1:56 am

Whiskered Tern Bird:

The whiskered tern is a small, plump marsh tern. It is also referred to as the black fronted tern or marsh tern. It is a sea bird which belongs to the tern family and has many different races which differ in size and plumage. During breeding its cheeks and sides of the neck turn white and the crown becomes black. The upper area of the body and upper wings are a lighter grey, while the under parts are dark grey. The underside of the tail and wings is white. The eyes are white and the bill is red. The tail is slightly forked. Male and females appear similar. The non-breeding birds have a similar appearance to the breeding ones, expect for their white under parts, white foreheads and white streaks on the crown. Young whiskered terns have a pale grey plumage on the back, upper wings and rump. Their tails are pale grey with black edges.

Young and non-breeding whiskered terns may sometimes be confused with young and non-breeding white winged black terns. White winged black terns are however smaller and leaner and also more compact that the whiskered terns. The other differentiating factor is that the whiskered terns have forked tails with a slightly square tip. Whiskered terns may be found in the mainland areas in Australia. They do not however live in the arid areas of the mainland. They breed in segregated populations throughout southern Europe, Asia, Australia, Madagascar and south-east Africa. These birds tend to live in freshwater swamps, floodwaters, sewage farms, dams, shallow freshwater wetlands and brackish lakes. Whiskered terns are a nomadic and migratory species. Many birds migrate from Australia to south east Asia and Indonesia.

These birds feed on insects and larvae, amphibians, smaller fish and crustaceans. They feed in three different methods, namely plunging, hawking and dipping. When they plunge, they first hover and then dive with their wings raised about 2-4 meters above the water. When hawking they take insects on the wing. They mostly hawk above dry plains.  Breeding season of these birds is irregular. Breeding takes place in colonies in marshes and swamps. They build their nests as either floating or still rafts composed of vegetation. Males and females are both involved in building the nests and caring for the young. Whiskered terns may become aggressive with intruders or attackers, including humans. They emit loud cries and swoop down repeatedly and can even strike the individual’s head with their beaks, if they perceive threat.

Rufous Owl Bird Species Information, Health, Diet and Nutrition

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 1:54 am

Rufous Owl:

The rufous owl lives in rainforests, wet dense forested areas and the surrounding woodlands. During the day it roosts in leafy trees. A rufous owl has a dark rufous colored forehead, crown, nape, back and upper wings. There is also a fine light brown barring on these areas. There are broader bars on the upper tail. The face is a blackish brown and the neck, breast and under part is rufous with fine cream bars. The undersides of the wings are light brown with broad cream bars. The male birds are larger than the females and have flatter and broader heads. Young owls are downy and much smaller in size. Young adult birds have broad bars and a dark sepia color.

Rufous owls tend to have a shy nature and are essentially elusive birds. They are nocturnal birds and very protective of their nests, which they will aggressively defend. They are not very vocal and mostly do not emit any calls outside of the breeding season. The pairs of owls may chatter very softly while roosting. The call these owls most commonly emit is a double hooting which has a deep pitch and is similar to the powerful owl’s call. It is however less powerful and more nasal. The call of the female birds is higher pitched. Rufous owls hunt powerfully and feed on a variety of prey such as beetles, birds and even flying foxes. Other examples of their prey include blue-winged kookaburras, white cockatoo, scrubfowl, herons, ducks, parrots and even crayfish. These owls are able to catch their prey in a variety of ways. Scrubfowls may be taken from their perches, phasmids may be snatched during flight, flying foxes may be hunted aerially and crayfish may be taken from flowing flood water.

The breeding season of the rufous owl is very regular and the females tend to lay their eggs at the same time each year. If there are still young birds in the nest from the previous breeding season, the adult birds may not nest during the present season. The birds begin to roost closely with each other when nesting time approaches. Both, male and female birds may become very aggressive towards humans if they perceive a threat to their nest. Nests are usually hollows in the tree limbs or trunks. The incubation of the eggs last for 37 days. The young owls stay dependent on the parents for many months, sometimes even until the next breeding season.

Pheasant Coucal Bird Species Information, Health, Diet and Nutrition

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , , — Nik @ 1:52 am

Pheasant Coucal Bird:

The pheasant coucal is a ground dwelling bird with short wings that are roundish in shape and a long tail. It is a species of cuckoos and belongs to the cuculidae family. When breeding, the plumage on the head, neck, and belly take on a black hue. The upper body and wings become reddish brown and are barred cream and black. Cream barring is present on the black tail. When breeding is over, the plumage returns to its chestnut color on the head and back. The under parts of the bird turn a cinnamon color with bold white streaks. The eyes are red and both sexes have a similar appearance, although the female bird is slightly larger than the male. The young ones have a paler appearance with orange spots on the upper body, neck and head. Pheasant coucals usually run instead of flying when disturbed. They may also begin to fly in a clumsy manner and plunge for cover. These birds are not nest parasites, like other types of cuckoos. Pheasant coucals are sedentary birds.

Pheasant coucals bird species are found in Australia, in the eastern and northern regions. They also live in East Timor and New Guinea. The birds usually live in dense under storey vegetated areas such as grasses, sedges, bracken and rushes. They are also commonly found in wetlands, woodlands and forests. Pheasant coucals may also be found around sugarcane fields around wetlands, thickets infested with weeds and farmlands with dense grass. They may also be seen along railway tracks and roads and in gardens and parks. Pheasant coucals, being ground dwelling birds feed on the ground. They eat insects, lizards, frogs and small mammals. They also feed on the eggs and chicks of other birds.

Pheasant coucals remain with their mates for life. Most other cuckoos are parasitic and have a developed a breeding strategy in which they deposit their eggs in the nests of other birds. Pheasant coucals are very different in this manner and build their own nests and also raise their own young. They construct their nests out of grass and sticks and line them with leaves. The nests are kept concealed in weed infested areas or thick grassy fields. The male bird is involved in the incubation of the eggs and also feeds the chicks, while the female helps with the feeding. In today’s times, Pheasant coucals have suffered from the negative effects of increasing urban development.

Blue-faced Honeyeater Species Information, Diet, Health, Breeding Season

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: , , — Nik @ 1:49 am

Blue-faced Honeyeater

The Blue-faced Honeyeater is one of the many birds of the honeyeater family, which is widely found across New Guinea and the northern and eastern coastal areas of Australia. The bird is what is known as a passerine – essentially perching birds that are usually also songbirds. Passerines tend to be relatively small in size and have several other distinctive characteristics relating to their physical structure, feathers, and behavior. The Blue-faced Honeyeater itself is among the larger honeyeaters, and gets its name from a unique patch of blue skin that is visible around the eyes. The bird is otherwise black, with a white stripe across the back of the neck. The underside of the bird is white, and there may be a greenish color to the bird’s wings and back. Young Blue-faced Honeyeaters are not always recognized as such, because instead of blue, the patches of skin around the eyes are a greenish yellow in color. The head may also be dark brown in color, rather than black.

The Blue-faced Honeyeater lives in a wide variety of habitats, but generally prefers wetter land. Mangroves, open woodland, and tropical forests are its favorite habitat, but it is also often found in parks and gardens, as well as in orchards and banana plantations. The bird is in fact quite fond of banana fruit and flowers, which is why it is sometimes known as the Banana Bird. In addition, it also feeds on the fruit and nectar of other local plants, and hunts insects. Insects are in fact the main component of the Blue-faced Honeyeater’s diet.

Blue-faced Honeyeaters are rather noisy birds, with a varied and interesting assortment of calls, ranging from chirps to squeaks. They are inquisitive and relatively unafraid of humans, which is why, in addition to orchards and plantations, they are often also found in public parks and camp sites. One interesting fact about these birds is that when breeding, not only do both the male and the female work together to feed the young, but other Blue-faced Honeyeaters may also pitch in to help with this task. A pair of Blue-faced Honeyeaters will usually lay two eggs, and after the chicks hatch, they usually stay with the parents for a considerable period of time. The Blue-faced Honeyeater is not a migratory bird, and stays in the same location throughout the year. In certain parts of Australia, some seasonal movement has been noticed, but this is local and involves rather small distances.

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