Chionis minor

Physical characteristics Black-faced sheathbills range from 15 to 16.1 inches in length (38 to 41 centimeters) and from 19 to 32 ounces (540 to 900 grams) in weight. They have a wingspan, distance from wingtip to wingtip, of 29.1 to 31.1 inches (74 to 79 centimeters). They have black bills, black sheaths, and black carbuncles on their faces. The feathers are all white. Geographic range Black-faced sheathbills are found on a handful of subantarctic islands in the Indian Ocean. These include...

Spheniscus magellanicus

Physical characteristics Although both sexes measure 28 inches (71 centimeters), the male weighs more (5.9 to 9.0 pounds 2.7 to 4.1 kilograms ) than the female (6.4 to 10.6 pounds (2.9 to 4.8 kilograms ). This penguin has two black strips across its white chest. The cheeks and cap are brownish black, and the white under parts are speckled with black. The brown eyes look out over a short black bill. Feet are pink with black spots. Magellanic penguins often return to the same nesting site every...

Fairy Bluebirds Leafbirds And People

Ioras provide humans with a natural form of insect control. Leafbirds pollinate flowering trees, and spread the seeds of the parasitic oriental mistletoe between trees. Leafbirds are well-represented in art, with the Chinese depicting them since at least the fifteenth century. Many other varieties of this family have been prized as well for their beauty and were shipped commercially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Before World War II, India was the largest supplier of...

Turdus migratorius

Physical characteristics The American robin has a range in length of 9.8 to 11 inches (25 to 28 centimeters). Males weigh an average of 2.1 to 3.2 ounces (59 to 91 grams) females weigh between 2.5 to 3.3 ounces (72 to 94 grams), and thus are usually larger than males. Both males and females have dark, brownish gray upperparts. Males have black heads and females have heads that are black and brownish gray. Eye rings are white bills are yellow and breasts are brick red in the male and...

Behavior And Reproduction

Puffbirds are arboreal birds, meaning that they live in trees. They perch motionless in trees for long periods waiting for prey to approach. When flying, puffbirds fly quickly and swiftly on whirl-sounding wings. They defend their territory throughout the year with sounds that tell outsiders they are close by and to stay away. They are generally solitary birds, although some species are found in small family groups. Vocal sounds are also used to attract mates. Their voice is thin and ring-like,...

Somateria spectabilis

Physical characteristics Weighs 3.3 to 4.4 pounds (1.5 to 2 kilograms) and measures 17 to 25 inches (43 to 63 centimeters) in length. Male has a blue, yellow, and white head. Bill is bright orange and yellow and develops from a shield from the top of the face. Geographic range King eiders live on the Arctic coasts. They winter off the coast of Iceland, Norway, Kuril and Aleutian Islands, and as far south as California and Long Island (New York). Habitat Lives in oceans and other saltwater...

Physical Characteristics

Dodos and solitaires were about 40 inches (100 centimeters) long and probably weighed between 24 and 40 pounds (10.5 to 17.5 kilograms). However there are some accounts of birds that may have weighed as much as 50 pounds (22.5 kilograms). Dodos were heavily built, with tiny, non-functional wings, strong legs and feet, and a large, strong hooked bill. Dodos had bare faces without feathers. The rest of the body was covered by bluish or brownish gray feathers. Rodrigues solitaires were somewhat...

Galbula ruficauda

Physical characteristics Rufous-tailed jacamars have metallic coppery green upperparts, pale buffy chins, a white or buff patch on the throat, which is sometimes speckled green, rufous (reddish) to chestnut underparts, blackish primary feathers, and long graduated central tail feathers. Females are slightly duller and paler than males, with a cinnamon-buff chin and throat and dark cinnamon-buff underwing coverts (small feather around base of quill). They have a very long, slender bill,...

Ramphastos toco

Physical characteristics This is the largest of the toucans and very easy to identify. Toco toucans are black overall except for a white throat. The truly enormous bill is orange with a black oval spot at the tip. The skin around the eyes is also orange. Individuals average 21.5 to 23.8 inches (55 to 61 centimeters) long and may weigh 17.7 to 30.4 ounces (500 to 860 grams). Geographic range These toucans live from the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil southward to Paraguay, northern Bolivia,...

Conservation Status

The two species of seriemas are not currently considered threatened. However, their populations are declining in some areas due to hunting and habitat destruction. Snakes are part of the diet of both species of seriemas. Unlike many snake-eaters, however, the black-legged seriema appears to be unable to tell the difference between poisonous snakes and non-poisonous snakes. They are not immune to snake venom and are therefore sometimes killed by their intended prey. Farmers sometimes keep them...

Pitta angolensis

Physical characteristics African pittas have a black head with a yellow side stripe white throat with pink wash blackish brown bill with a reddish base deep buff breast and flanks (sides) whitish color under the bill and throat that turns yellow at breast bright olive green upperparts with blue and black banding on wings dark azure-blue rump blackish flight feathers with paler tips black tail with red underside and blue upperside and pinkish to grayish white feet. Males and females look alike....

Alberts Lyrebird Menura alberti

Physical characteristics The male Albert's lyrebird (also known as Prince Albert's lyrebird) is not as dramatic looking as the superb lyrebird, since its tail lacks the outer lyre-shaped tail feathers of its cousin. The Albert's species is slightly smaller than the superb as well, with adult females measuring 33 inches (84 centimeters) and adult males measuring 35.5 inches (90 centimeters). Both sexes have small heads, long tails, and long, powerful legs and claws. They are virtually...

Poecile atricapilla

Physical characteristics Black-capped chickadees have white outer tail feathers (longer than other chickadees), light gray on the upper-parts, white under parts, white cheeks, deep brownish buff sides and flanks, rather large, round heads with black caps (patch on top of head) and bibs (chest). They also have strong feet and claws that are blackish gray, as well as short black bills. Males and females are similar in physical features. They are 4.8 to 5.7 inches (12.3 to 14.6 centimeters) long...

Spotted Quailthrush Cinclosoma punctatum

Physical characteristics Spotted quail-thrushes range in length from 10.2 to 11 inches (26 to 28 centimeters), and weigh between 2.4 and 3.1 ounces (67 and 87 grams). Their plumage is a mottled blend of white, buff, rust or reddish brown, brown, and black. They have light brown heads with a white brow stripe. Their throats are black with a white patch, and their breasts are a pinkish tone. Geographic range The spotted quail-thrush can be found in southeast Australia, Tasmania, and in the Mount...

Dendropicos goertae

Physical characteristics Gray woodpeckers are small woodpeckers with a long, straight, rather wide bill, unbarred green or brownish green upperparts, a red rump, a brownish black tail, and gray under parts with an orange-to-yellow belly patch and some barring on the flanks. Males have a pale, striped, gray head with red on the back of the head and neck, while females lack the red on the head. Adults are about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long and weigh between 1.4 and 1.9 ounces (40.5 and 52.5...

Cranes Rails Relatives And People

Gruiforms have been important to humans for a variety of reasons. Many species currently or traditionally have been hunted for food. Mesites are hunted for food in their habitats in Madagascar. Many species of buttonquails are also hunted for food, although this became illegal in many countries in 2001. Several species of buttonquails are now farmed as domestic livestock. In addition, some buttonquails play a role in the religious ceremonies of the Australian aborigines, and one species, the...

Whitenecked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos

Physical characteristics White-necked puffbirds look a little bit like kingfishers, being identified mainly by their white forehead and wide, glossy black breast band. They have glossy black-blue upperparts, a white collar, throat, sides of face, and belly. The bill is White-necked puffbirds dig nests into former termite nests built in trees, or nest in holes in the ground. (Illustration by Dan Erickson. Reproduced by permission.) black, there is variable dark barring on the flanks, the tail is...

Dacelo novaeguineae

Physical characteristics Laughing kookaburras are the largest of the kingfishers, with a dark brown and white body, blue rump, and reddish tail with white-tipped outer tail feathers and blue-tipped wing coverts (feathers between flight feathers of the wing and tail). They have a dark stripe through their eyes. The blunt, heavy bill is black in color above and horn-colored below. Their small feet are used mainly for perching. They are from 15 to 17 inches (39 to 42 centimeters) long, and weigh...

Phoeniculus purpureus

Physical characteristics Green woodhoopoes, considered the largest of the woodhoopoes, are primarily black in color with variable green and purple glossy overtones. They have a blue head and throat violet on the back of the neck white spots on their flight feathers and at the tip of its tail a white bar across the middle of the wings and red bill and feet, with bills being black in some populations. They have short, strong legs and sharp claws for gripping bark firmly. The long, graduated tail...

Gulls Terns Relatives And People

In the 1800s, gull and tern feathers, and sometimes even whole birds, were used to decorate women's hats. The eggs of certain species have been, and continue to be, collected for food. Some eggs are considered aphrodisiacs (aff-roh-DEE-zee-acks), substances that enhance sexual desire, in parts of the world. Adult gulls and terns are also sometimes hunted for food. Gulls and terns were sometimes used as a sign that land was nearby by sailors, and terns are still used to locate schools of fish....

Thrushes Chats And People

Throughout much of southern and Mediterranean Europe, especially in Spain, Italy, and Greece, these birds are prized as food delicacies. They are caught and killed in large numbers and offered on restaurant menus and sold in supermarkets, either bottled or as thrush pate. The practice has been going on for centuries. While no exact determination has been made regarding the threat this might be to the species, none are in short supply. Elsewhere in Western Europe, people prize such features as...

New Zealand Wattlebirds And People

One species, the huia, went extinct, died out, in the early twentieth century. Maori chiefs and nobles wore huia feathers as symbols of office and kept them in specially carved boxes. These same feathers eventually became fashionable as hat decorations in Europe. Traders offered bounties to native people to hunt, kill, and bring back huia feathers for export. The last sighting of huias is generally listed as having been in 1907, but Among the more exotic food items that New Zealand wattlebirds...

Coracias garrulus

Physical characteristics European rollers are heavily built, large rollers with no tail streamers. Their head, neck, and underparts are bright pale blue, with rufous to chestnut upperparts, blue square-tipped tail, and vivid blue wing patch. The throat and breast are streaked with white. They have a short black streak through the eye, and a brownish black bill with a white base. The two central tail feathers are dark olive-gray, with the remaining feathers greenish blue with darker bases. They...

Harpactes oreskios

Physical characteristics Orange-breasted trogons generally have an olive-yellow head with feathers that are bristled and upright, chestnut upperparts, orange breast that changes to bright yellow on upper and lower portions, white bars on wing sections, and a blue bill. Males have a dull olive-yellowish head with a blue ring rufous (reddish brown) upperparts and upper tail with paler rump (lower part of back) broad white bars on wing sections and yellow (gray-based) upper breast with some white...

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

Physical characteristics The cactus wren measures in length from about 7.2 to 8.5 inches (18 to 21.6 centimeters) and is the largest species of wren in North America. In color, the bird is a chocolate brown on top with a plain cap. Its back is streaked very prominently in black and white, and the wings, which can spread to a length of 10.7 inches (over 27 centimeters), are barred with buff and black tones. The tail feathers vary between having blackish brown and gray-brown bars. The outer tail...

Nucifraga caryocatactes

Physical characteristics Spotted nutcrackers are named for their appearance and the way they use their large bills to take the shells off of nuts. There are white spots and streaks in their feathers. The spotted nutcracker's brown body plumage is the color of chocolate. The lower part of the body is white. The wing and tail feathers are a shiny black. There are white tips at the ends of the wings and feathers. The spotted nutcracker's bill, legs, and feet are black. The length of nutcrackers...

Purplebearded Beeeater Meropogon forsteni

Physical characteristics Purple-bearded bee-eaters are easily identified from other bee-eaters because they have a purple-blue head, throat, and breast. They are colorful birds, with dark green upper-parts, wings, and tail streamers dark brown lower belly green and russet (reddish brown) tail feathers blackish forehead and crown (the top of a bird's head) chocolate on the sides and back of the neck. The long, broad throat feathers hang over the breast, and the neck and nape feathers form a coat...

Unique Kiwi Parenting

Little spotted kiwis have a way of raising their young that is unique among kiwis. The male incubates the eggs for seventy days. Once the chicks hatch, the female helps in the rearing. Adult little spotted kiwis do not feed their young but the males and females escort their chicks into the forest to search for food, mainly berries and worms. With other species, the chicks are left on their own to find food after hatching. The little spotted kiwi is one of the most endangered of all kiwis. Human...

Pelecaniformes And People

Pelicans and other birds in this group are the subjects of many legends and stories for children. Many of these birds seem to enjoy the company of humans and follow their fishing ships and even rest on them. Farmers gather the droppings from seabird nesting sites to make fertilizers for crops. In the Far East, cormorants are trained to catch fish for their owners, and some peoples on South Pacific islands still use the long tail feathers of tropicbirds for decorating their clothing.

Cisticola juncidis

Physical characteristics Also called the fantailed warbler, the fan-tailed cisticola, and the streaked cisticola, this bird is 3.9 to 4.7 inches (10 to 12 centimeters) long and weighs 0.3 to 0.4 ounces (8 to 12 grams). It has a brown body streaked with black, reddish sides and rump, and a black and white spotted belly. It has a small thin bill, short round wings, and a small tail. Geographic range These birds can be found in Spain, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean, India,...

Contents

Readers Guide xi Pronunciation Guide for Scientific Names xiii Words to Getting to Know Birds xli Tinamous and ratites 1 Tinamous Rheas Emu Ostrich Tubenosed seabirds 41 Shearwaters, petrels, and fulmars 53 Storm-petrels 61 Penguins Loons Pelicans and other fishing birds 98 Tropicbirds Frigatebirds Cormorants and anhingas 116 Boobies and gannets 125 Pelicans Wading birds and New World vultures 143 Herons and bitterns 149 Hammerhead 160 Storks New World vultures 175 Shoebill Ibises and Flamingos...

Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus

Aru Edelpapagei

Physical characteristics The coloring of male and female eclectus parrots is so different that they were once thought to be two different species. The female bird has red and blue feathers and a black bill. The male has green plumage and a yellow bill. All eclectus parrots have feathers of a smooth texture that have been compared to silk. The birds are 16.5 inches (42 centimeters) in length and weigh 0.9 to 1.2 pounds (440 to 660 grams). Geographic range Eclectus parrots live in Indonesia in...

New World Quails Odontophoridae

Class Aves Order Galliformes Family Odontophoridae Number of species 32 species These small birds have plump bodies and short wings. They weigh 4 to 16 ounces (125 to 465 grams) and measure 7 to 15 inches (17 to 37 centimeters). Males are slightly larger and, in some species, have slightly more dramatic plumage (feather) coloring. Many species have red rings around the eyes, and some have crests on their heads ranging from tiny tufts of hair to long feathers. Quail bills have serrated (sharply...

Japanese Whiteeye Zosterops japonicus

Physical characteristics Japanese white-eyes have an olive-green back, pale gray underparts, and lemon-yellow throat and undertail coverts. They are about 4.7 inches (12 centimeters) long, and weigh about 0.4 ounces (11 grams). Their wing size is between 20.5 and 25.6 inches (52 and 65 centimeters), and the tail length is between 13.4 and 18.1 inches (34 and 46 centimeters). Geographic range Japanese white-eyes are distributed in the Japanese islands, China, Taiwan, Hainan Island, and the...