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Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae)

Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae)

The long-tailed broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae) is a species of broadbill that is found in the Himalayas, extending east through Northeastern India to Southeast Asia. It is the only bird in the genus Psarisomus. The long-tailed broadbill is about 25 cm (10 inches) in length and weighs between 50 and 60 grams. It can be identified by its shrill call.

The long-tailed broadbill is a forest bird that lives on insects. It is very sociable and normally travels in large, noisy parties except during the mating season. It builds a pear-shaped nest in a tree. The female usually lays between 5 and 6 eggs that are incubated by both sexes; both sexes also help to feed the young.

The scientific name commemorates Christina Broun, Countess of Dalhousie (1786–1839), wife of George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie.

Lulu’s tody-flycatcher or Johnson’s tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus luluae)

Lulu's tody-flycatcher or Johnson's tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus luluae)

The Lulu’s tody-flycatcher or Johnson’s tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus luluae) is a species of bird in the Tyrannidae family. It was briefly known as Lulu’s tody-tyrant, but following the death of Ned K. Johnson, one of the people responsible for the description of this species in 2001, the name was modified to Johnson’s tody-tyrant by the SACC. Following the move of this species to the genus Poecilotriccus from Todirostrum, it was recommended modifying the name to tody-flycatcher. It is endemic to humid thickets, usually near bamboo, in the highlands of Amazonas and San Martín in northern Peru. It is threatened by habitat loss and is consequently considered endangered by BirdLife International and IUCN.

10 cm. Small, well marked tyrant flycatcher. The most striking feature is the rich chestnut-red hood (except small white throat). Hind neck band is grey/black and remaining upperparts are green, with coverts, tertials and secondaries fringed yellow. Below the hood is a narrow, white breast band, and the remainder of the underparts are bright yellow. Voice Call is an emphatic chick. Song probably consists of a short, rather harsh trilling.

Poecilotriccus luluae is known from six localities in north-east Peru: at Wicsocunga, near Lonya Grande, in the northernmost extension of the Cordillera Central (T. Mark in litt. 2003); two sites in the Cordillera de Colán (30 km east of Florida (Johnson and Jones 2001), and south-east of Bagua (Davies et al. (1994)); and three areas to the east in an unnamed range in the Eastern Andes (the García area north-east of Abra Patricia; 6 km south-east of Corosha; and 33 km north-east of Ingenio) (Johnson and Jones 2001; Davies et al. 1994).

Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna)

Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)

Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna) is a medium-sized stocky hummingbird native to the west coast of North America. This bird was named after Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli. In the early 20th century, Anna’s hummingbird bred only in northern Baja California and southern California. The transplanting of exotic ornamental plants in residential areas throughout the Pacific coast and inland deserts provided expanded nectar and nesting sites, and the species was able to expand its breeding range greatly.

Anna’s hummingbird is 3.9 to 4.3 in (9.9 to 10.9 cm) long. It has an iridescent bronze-green back, a pale grey chest and belly, and green flanks. Its bill is long, straight and slender. The adult male has an iridescent crimson-red derived from magenta to a reddish-pink crown and gorget, which can look dull brown or gray without direct sunlight, and a dark, slightly forked tail. Female Anna’s hummingbirds also have iridescent red gorgets, though they are usually smaller and less brilliant than the males’. Anna’s is the only North American hummingbird species with a red crown. Females and juvenile males have a dull green crown, a grey throat with or without some red iridescence, a grey chest and belly, and a dark, rounded tail with white tips on the outer feathers.

These birds feed on nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue. They also consume small insects and other arthropods caught in flight or glean from vegetation. A PBS documentary shows how Anna’s hummingbirds eat flying insects. They aim for the flying insect, then open their beaks very wide. That technique has a greater success rate than trying to aim the end of a long beak at the insect. On rare occasions, bees and wasps may become impaled on the bill of an Anna’s hummingbird, causing the bird to starve to death.

While collecting nectar, they also assist in plant pollination. This species sometimes consumes tree sap. The male’s call is scratchy metallic, and it perches above head-level in trees and shrubs. They are frequently seen in backyards and parks, and commonly found at feeders and flowering plants.

Open-wooded or shrubby areas and mountain meadows along the Pacific coast from British Columbia to Arizona make up C. anna’s breeding habitat. The female raises the young without the assistance of the male. The female bird builds a nest in a shrub or tree, in vines, or attached to wires or other artificial substrates. The round, 3.8-to-5.1-centimetre (1.5 to 2.0 in) diameter nest is constructed of plant fibers, downy feathers and animal hair; the exterior is camouflageed with chips of lichen, plant debris, and occasionally urban detritus such as paint chips and cigarette paper. The nest materials are bound together with spider silk. They are known to nest as early as mid-December and as late as June.

Unlike most northern temperate hummingbirds, the male Anna’s hummingbird sings during courtship. The song is thin and squeaky, interspersed with buzzes and chirps, and is drawn to over 10 seconds in duration. During the breeding season, males can be observed performing a remarkable display, called a display dive, on their territories. The males also use the dive display to drive away rivals or intruders of other species. When a female flies onto a male’s territory, he rises up approximately 130 ft (40 m) before diving over the recipient. As he approaches the bottom of the dive the males reach an average speed of 27 m/s (89 ft/s), which is 385 body lengths per second. At the bottom of the dive the male travels 23 m/s (51 mph), and produces a loud sound described by some as an “explosive squeak” with his outer tail-feathers.

New Zealand kaka, aka kākā, (Nestor meridionalis)

New Zealand kaka, aka kākā, (Nestor meridionalis)

The New Zealand kaka, also known as kākā, (Nestor meridionalis) is a New Zealand parrot endemic to the native forests of New Zealand.

Medium sized parrot, measuring 45 cm (18 in) in length and weighing from 390 to 560 g (14 to 20 oz), with an average of 452 g (0.996 lb). It is closely related to the Kea, but has darker plumage and is more arboreal. The forehead and crown are greyish-white and the nape is greyish-brown. The neck and abdomen are more reddish, while the wings are more brownish. Both sub-species have a strongly patterned brown/green/grey plumage with orange and scarlet flashes under the wings; color variants which show red to yellow coloration especially on the breast are sometimes found.

This group of parrots is unusual, retaining more primitive features lost in most other parrots, because it split off from the rest around 100 million years ago.

The calls include a harsh ka-aa and a whistling u-wiia.

They live in lowland and mid-altitude native forest. Its strongholds are currently the offshore reserves of Kapiti Island, Codfish Island and Little Barrier Island. It is breeding rapidly in the mainland island sanctuary at Zealandia (Karori Wildlife Sanctuary), with over 300 birds banded since their reintroduction in 2002.

They are mainly arboreal and occupy mid to high canopy. Often seen flying across valleys or calling from the top of emergent trees. They are very gregarious and move in large flocks often containing Kea where present.

They eat fruits, berries, seeds, flowers, buds, nectar, sap, plants and invertebrates. It uses its strong beak to shred the cones of the kauri tree to obtain the seeds. It has a brush tongue with which it feeds on nectar, and it uses its strong beak to dig out the grubs of the huhu beetle and to remove bark to feed on sap.

They make their nests in hollow trees, laying clutches of 2 to 4 eggs in late winter. Both parents assist in feeding the chicks. In a good fruiting year pairs can double clutch often utilizing the same nest hole for the second clutch. It is unusual for a pair to raise more than three chicks in a clutch.

changeable hawk-eagle or crested hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus)

changeable hawk-eagle or crested hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus)

The changeable hawk-eagle or crested hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus) is a bird of prey species of the family Accipitridae. It was formerly placed in the genus Spizaetus, but studies pointed to the group being paraphyletic resulting in the Old World members being placed in Nisaetus (Hodgson, 1836) and separated from the New World species.

Changeable hawk-eagles breed in the Indian subcontinent, mainly in India and Sri Lanka, and from the southeast rim of the Himalaya across Southeast Asia to Indonesia and the Philippines. This is a bird occurring singly (outside mating season) in open woodland, although island forms prefer a higher tree density. It builds a stick nest in a tree and lays a single egg.

The changeable hawk-eagle is a medium-large raptor at about 60–72 centimetres (24–28 in) in length with a 127–138 centimetres (50–54 in) wingspan, and a weight ranging from 1.2 to 1.9 kg. It is a relatively slender forest eagle with some subspecies (especially limnaetus) being dimorphic giving the name of “Changeable”. This, and also a complicated phylogeny further complicates precise identification.

Normally brown above; white below with barring on the undersides of the flight feathers and tail; black longitudinal streaks on throat and chocolate streaks on breast. Some subspecies have a crest of four feathers, but this is all but absent in others. The sexes are quite similar in their plumage, but males are about 15% smaller than females. The underparts and head of juveniles are whitish or buff with few dark streaks.

The wings are long and parallel-sided, and are held flat in flight, which helps to distinguish this species from the similar mountain hawk-eagle. In overhead flight, comparatively rounded wings (upturned at tip), longish tail, white body (spotted with brown) and grey underside of wings (streaked and spotted) are leading pointers. Call is a loud, high-pitched ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-kee, beginning short, rising in crescendo and ending in a scream.

Changeable hawk-eagles eat mammals, birds and reptiles. They like to keep a sharp lookout perched bolt upright on a bough amongst the canopy foliage of some high tree standing near a forest clearing (see photos). There they wait for junglefowl, pheasants, hares and other small animals coming out into the open. The bird then swoops down forcefully, strikes, and bears the prey away in its talons (Ali & Daniel1983).

shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus)

shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus)

The shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus) is a small bird in the tanager family. It is found in the tropical New World in Central America from southern Mexico to Panama and northwest Colombia. It is sometimes considered to be conspecific with the purple honeycreeper (C. caeruleus), but the two species breed sympatrically in eastern Panama and northwest Colombia.

This is a forest canopy species, but also occurs in forest edges and secondary growth. The female builds a shallow cup nest in a tree, and incubates the clutch of two eggs.

The shining honeycreeper is 10 cm long, weighs 11 g and has a long black decurved bill. The male is purple-blue with black wings, tail and throat, and bright yellow legs. The female has green upperparts, a greenish-blue head, buff throat and buff-streaked bluish underparts. The immature is similar to the female, but is greener on the head and breast.

The call of this honeycreeper is a thin high-pitched seee, and the male’s song is a pit pit pit pit pit-pit repeated for minutes at a time.

This species is very similar to the purple honeycreeper, but the male of the latter species is overall slightly darker and its black throat patch is smaller. Unlike the female shining honeycreeper, the female purple honeycreeper has buff (not dusky) lores and, except for its malar, no clear blue tinge to the head.

The shining honeycreeper is easily distinguished from the larger red-legged honeycreeper with which its shares its range by the latter species’ red legs and, in the male, black mantle.

The shining honeycreeper is usually found in pairs or family groups. It feeds on nectar, berries and insects, mainly in the canopy. It responds readily to the call of the ferruginous pygmy owl.

Main food taken: Shining Honeycreepers feed on a variety of fruit and insects and on nectar. Of 16 observations in Panama, 44% were fruit-eating, 37% insect-searching, and 19% at flowers (Greenberg 1981). Fruits consumed by Shining Honeycreepers include the arils of Dipterodendron elegans (Skutch 1972); the seeds of Clusia (Skutch 1972); and the fruit of Spondias edulis (Isler and Isler 1999). They visit feeding tables for bananas, especially during rainy periods (Skutch 1972).

Food capture and consumption: Perches behind and above flowers, and then leans forward to insert the bill for nectar and/or small insects. Gleans arthropods from vines and twigs while perched, or by hanging. Also sallies for flying insects, and probes small curled dead leaves (Skutch 1972, Isler and Isler 1999). They also hover first and then cling before searching for scars and knotholes (Slud 1964).

yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis)

yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis)

The yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis), is an endangered parrot of tropical America. It is found in the western Andes in Colombia and (perhaps only formerly) Ecuador and is closely associated to the wax palm Ceroxylonsp. which is itself endangered.

The yellow-eared parrot nests and lives among wax palms in a few areas of Western and Central Cordillera of Colombia, where it inhabits cloud forests about 1800–3000 meters above sea level. It nests in the hollow trunks of the palms, usually 25–30 meters over the floor level. It also occurred very locally in northern Ecuador where wax palm grows. Their numbers had been greatly reduced, and only 81 individuals were recorded in the Colombian census of 1999. Their populations have been impacted by hunting and habitat destruction, particularly the harvesting of wax palm, which was traditionally cut down and used each year on Palm Sunday. There has been no confirmed records of this parrot from Ecuador since the mid-90s.

It is a relatively large, long-tailed parrot with an average length of 42 cm (17 in) and a weight of about 285 g (10.1 oz). It is overall green, with the underparts being paler, more lime green than the upperparts. The heavy beak and a ring of bare skin around the eyes are black. The origin of the common epithet “yellow-eared” is caused for the yellow patch of feathers that extends from the forehead down to its cheeks and ear-coverts. The yellow-eared parrot mates for life. Its main source of food are the fruits of the wax palm.

From 1998, Fundación ProAves with the support of Fundacion Loro Parque, American Bird Conservancy and CORANTIOQUIA have undertaken an intensive conservation project across Colombia that has led to one of Latin America’s most successful recoveries of an endangered bird. With protection and community support, the yellow-eared parrot population has climbed to over 1500 individuals by 2012.

violet-capped woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopis)

violet-capped woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopis)

The violet-capped woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopis) is a species of hummingbird in the Trochilidae family. It is found in forest (primarily humid), dense woodland, gardens and parks in south-eastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, and far north-eastern Argentina (primarily Misiones Province). It is widespread and generally common, and therefore considered to be of Least Concern by BirdLife International (and consequently the IUCN). The male is distinctive, being overall green with a blue cap and deeply forked dark blue tail. It is occasionally confused with the swallow-tailed hummingbird. The female lacks the blue crown, has entirely greyish-white underparts, and a shorter, white-tipped tail.

Violet-capped Woodnymphs inhabit a wide range of habitats from untouched forests, to scrub, to suburban and city gardens. They gather nectar from both native and non-native flowers and also hunt for insects. During certain parts of the year, Violet-capped Woodnymphs migrate short distances. Males have a bluish violet cap and sparkle with dark green above and gold-green below. Females are dark greenish above and off-white below. During the breeding season, these woodnymphs adorn the outside of their nests with ferns and lichen.

Cuban amazon (Amazona leucocephala)

Cuban amazon (Amazona leucocephala)

The Cuban amazon (Amazona leucocephala) also known as Cuban parrot or the rose-throated parrot, is a medium-sized mainly green parrot found in woodlands and dry forests of Cuba, the Bahamas and Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. The Cuban amazon is a medium-sized parrot 28–33 centimetres (11–13 in) long. It is mainly green with some blue feathers in its wings. The green feathers are edged with a terminal black rim. Its lower face, chin and throat are rosy pink, and its forehead and eye-rings are white. The extent of the various colours of the head, the extent of the rosy pink on the upper chest, and the extent of the dull red on the abdomen vary between the subspecies. Its irises are pale olive-green, its beak is horn-coloured, and the feathers over the ears are blackish. The legs are pink. The juvenile has little or no red on the abdomen, less black edging on the green feathers, and some of the feathers on the top of its head may be pale yellow rather than white.
The Cuban amazon lives in different habitats on different islands. It was once found throughout Cuba, but it is now mainly confined to the forested areas of the main island and Isla de la Juventud. There are about 10,000 individuals in Cuba including an estimated 1,100–1,320 on Isla de la Juventud.

On the Cayman Islands the parrot lives in dry forest and on agricultural land. The population living on Grand Cayman numbers about 3,400 individuals (2006 survey), and the population on Cayman Brac consists of 400–500 individuals. The population on Little Cayman was extirpated in the 1940s.

The populations were estimated at about 3,550 individuals on Abaco and 6,350 on Inagua in 2006. The population on the Acklins and Crooked Islands was extirpated in the 1940s, while it, based on fossil remains and archeologicalfindings, historically also has been present on several other islands in the Bahamas (e.g., New Providence and San Salvador) and on Grand Turk Island.

The breeding season is from March to September. Cuban amazons nest in tree cavities throughout most of its range, the only exception being that the parrots living on the Abaco Islands nest underground in limestone solution holes, where they are protected from pineyard wildfires. Two to four white eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female for 26–28 days.

Due to ongoing habitat loss, occasional natural disasters and trapping for the wild parrot trade, the Cuban amazon is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is protected with a listing on Appendix I of CITES, which prohibits international trade of listed wild-caught species.

The Cuban amazon was seldom-seen in aviculture outside of Cuba and Florida (where it was bred in captivity by Cuban immigrants) until the 1980s and is considered one of the more difficult to breed amazon parrots, with aggressive behaviour from cock birds towards their mates and their own chicks a relatively common occurrence. Despite increased availability in recent times, the Cuban amazon is still one of the highest-priced of all amazons. Several colour mutations have been observed in captive-bred stock.

Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis)

Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis)

The Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis), also known as Lesson’s Parrotlet or the Celestial Parrotlet, is a species of small parrot in the Psittacidae family, native to Ecuador and Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropicalor tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and heavily degraded former forest.

Parrotlets are the second smallest group of all parrots. Pacific Parrotlets are between 4½ to 5½ inches long. They come from the South American countries of Peru and Ecuador. There are seven species of Parrotlets in the genus Forpus. Only three of these species are kept as pets. Of these, the Pacific Parrotlet is the most common.

The Pacific Parrotlets have olive green and grey bodies and lighter blue streaking back from their eyes. It is a dimorphic species. The males have a striking cobalt rump with blue patches on their wings and lighter yellowish green faces. Females are mostly green with much less brightly colored blue patches behind the eyes and no cobalt rump or blue in their wings. These dimorphic color variations are true of most of the color mutations as well. They are from 10 cm – 14 cm long.

This species is not very common in pet stores in the USA and is valued by breeders. Its normal price range is 150-200 USD. This price is much lower than other species because since 1930 the US has had an established breeding population in captivity, before the CITES laws preventing importing wildlife from foreign countries. Some of the color mutations in aviculture include blue, American yellow, American White, European yellow and white, fallow, dark factor green and lutino. Captive bred Pacific Parrotlets can be expected to live between 10 and 15 years with good care and regular veterinary examinations, although individuals may have shorter or longer life spans.