US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently released the 2011 State of the Birds Report. For the first time, the report focused on the role that publicly owned lands (i.e. federal parks) play in the natural history and conservation of native birds. The report was spurred by the US North American Bird Conservation Initiative, and represents the efforts of numerous groups, including the National Audubon Society, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Both “citizen scientists” (please see article below) and professional biologists played important role in data collection. Read More »
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Toucans and their relatives are among the most recognizable of all birds, and highly desired as pets. Captives can be most engaging, but few private bird keepers have room for the large, better-known species such as the Toco Toucan. The smaller Aracaris and Toucanets, however, are more easily accommodated. Today I’d like to continue with my overview of this delightful group of birds by introducing the Spot-Billed Toucanet, Selenidera malirostris (please see below for articles on the care of other species).
Spot-Billed Toucanets are native to southeastern Brazil and adjacent portions of Argentina and Paraguay, where they favor primary rainforest. In common with the 37-40 related toucan species, they mainly forage in pairs or family groups, and generally stay to the mid or upper levels of the forest (ground feeding has been observed, however). Read More »
Parrots are known to be very intelligent, but a recent study of Kea Parrot (Nestor notabilis) learning abilities surprised even well-experienced ornithologists. The study differed from most in that it required the birds not only to learn new tasks but to build upon that knowledge and to discard learned behaviors once they were no longer useful. As you’ll see, the Keas definitely lived up to their Latin species name – notabilis – with quite “notable” results! Read More »
A YouTube video of an Eclectus Parrot clinging to the windshield wiper of a speeding car has recently enraged people around the world. Thousands followed the story on Facebook, petitioned the Victoria (Australia) Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to seize the bird, and called for the arrest (and worse!) of the owner. But the story developed new wrinkles, and it continues to grow stranger as time goes on… Read More »
The Kiwi, New Zealand’s national bird, is the ultimate avian oddball. Kiwis are round in shape, lack visible wings and have spiky, hair-like feathers; unlike other birds, their nostrils are located at the ends of their long, slender bills, and they have a well-developed sense of smell. Apparently, however, such distinguishing features were not enough to suit Manukura, a Kiwi that hatched in May, 2011 at the Pulcaha Nature Reserve…he is all white, as well! Manukura, whose name, means “Of Chiefly Status” in a local indigenous language, is a Northern Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, one of 5 Kiwi species found on New Zealand. Read More »