Day: February 1, 2014

sugarbirds make up a small genus, Promerops

The sugarbirds make up a small genus, Promerops, of passerine birds which are restricted to southern Africa. In general appearance as well as habits they resemble large long-tailed sunbirds, but are possibly more closely related to the Australianhoneyeaters. They have brownish plumage, the long downcurved bill typical of passerine nectar feeders, and long tail feathers. The relationships of the sugarbirds have been the source of considerable debate. They were first treated as a far-flung member of the honeyeater family, which is otherwise restricted to the Australasian region. Looking at egg white proteins in the 1970s Sibley and Ahlquist mistakenly placed them with the starlings (the samples used were actually those of sunbirds). They have also been linked to the thrushes (Turdidae) and the sunbirds. Molecular studies find support for few close relatives, and they are treated as a family at present,[1] although it now is usually determined they form a clade with three enigmatic species. These species, from the mountains of East Africa, were formerly placed in the large taxon that includes the Old World babblers.

The Gurney’s Sugarbird is found from Zimbabwe southwards, except the extreme south of South Africa, where it is replaced by the Cape Sugarbird in the Cape provinces of South Africa. It has at times been considered conspecific with Gurney’s. The distribution of the Gurney’s Sugarbird is disjunct, and currently there are two accepted subspecies, one in the north and one further south.

Sugarbirds are dependent on Protea and are found in protea scrub. The Cape Sugarbird is found in Fynbos and has also moved into gardens and nurseries. The two sugarbird species are medium sized passerines that weight between 26–46 g (0.92–1.62 oz) and are 23–44 cm (9.1–17.3 in) in length. Between to 15–38 cm (5.9–15.0 in) of that length is in their massive elongated tails, with the tails of the Cape Sugarbird being overall longer than those of the Gurney’s Sugarbird. In both species the tail of the male is longer than the female, although the difference is more pronounced in the Cape Sugarbird. In overall body size the males are slightly largerand heavier than the females. Both species have long and slender bills that are slightly curved, and again the females have a slightly shorter bill, leading to differences in feeding niches. The skull and tongue morphology of the sugarbirds is very similar to that of the honeyeaters, the result of convergent evolution. The tongue is long and protrusible, and is tubular and frilled at the end. Nectar from the inflorescences of the Protea provide most of the energy these species require, and they are considered significant pollinators of the genus.

The birds’ diet is supplemented by insects attracted to the inflorescences.[3] Studies of the diets of sugarbirds found that bees in the family Apidae and flies formed a large part of the diet and that the insects were obtained by hawking.

The breeding behaviour and nesting habits of the two species of sugarbird are very similar.[1] Sugarbirds are monogamous, and male sugarbirds defend territories during the breeding season.[4] Females lay two eggs in a nest in a fork of a tree

Potoos (family Nyctibiidae)

[AdSense-A] Potoos (family Nyctibiidae) are a group of near passerine birds related to the nightjars and frogmouths. They are sometimes called Poor-me-ones, after their haunting calls. There are seven species in one genus, Nyctibius, in tropical Central andSouth America. These are nocturnal insectivores which lack the bristles around the mouth found in the true nightjars. They hunt from a perch like a shrike or flycatcher. During the day they perch upright on tree stumps, camouflaged to…

Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala)

The Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala), also variously known as the Bristled Shrike, Bald-headed Crow or the Bald-headed Wood-Shrike, is the only member of the passerine family Pityriaseidae and genus Pityriasis. It is an enigmatic and uncommon species of the rainforest canopy of the island of Borneo,[2] to which it is endemic. The Bristlehead is a medium-sized (25 centimetres (9.8 in) in length) black or dark grey bird, with red thighs and a red head, throat and neck, with grey ear-coverts and a featherless yellow crown. There is a white wing-patch, visible in flight, and females also have red spots on the flanks. It has a massive heavy black hooked bill and a short tail, giving it a chunky appearance. The crown is covered by short (3–4 mm) yellow or straw-coloured skin projections like bare feather shafts, hence the name ‘Bristlehead’. Juveniles have black thighs, red ear-coverts, a red eye-ring, just a few red feathers on the head and undeveloped ‘bristles’. It is a noisy species making a variety of unmusical calls, including distinctive high-pitched nasal whining notes interspersed with harsher notes, chattering noises, whistles, honks and chortles.

Banded Woodpecker (Picus miniaceus)

The Banded Woodpecker (Picus miniaceus) is a species of bird in the Picidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.