Day: February 19, 2014

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.

Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata)

The Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata) is a species of bird in the Monarchidae family. It is found in Comoros, Madagascar, and Mayotte. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

When Carl Linnaeus first described the Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher in 1766, he assigned it to the genus Muscicapa, which contained many of the Old World flycatchers. The species remained in that genus until 1827, when Constantin Wilhelm Lambert Gloger created the genus Terpsiphone for the paradise-flycatchers.[2] The genus name Terpsiphone comes from the Greek words terpsi, meaning “delighted in” (from terpo, “to delight”) and phone, meaning “voice”.[3] Thespecies name, mutata is Latin for “changed” or “different”.[4]

The Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher is thought to have evolved from African ancestors, as it appears to be more closely related to the African Paradise Flycatcher than the Asian Paradise Flycatcher.[5] There are six recognized subspecies, which differ only slightly in appearance.[2]

T. m. singetra, described by Finn Salomonsen in 1933, is found in northern, western and southern Madagascar.[2]
T. m. mutata, described by Linnaeus in 1766, is found in the east and on the High Plateau of Madagascar.[2]
T. m. comorensis (sometimes misspelled comoroensis), described by Alphonse Milne-Edwards and Émile Oustalet in 1885, is found on Grand Comoro.[2]
T. m. voeltzkowiana, described by Gustav Stresemann in 1924, is found on Mohéli.[2]
T. m. vulpina, described by Edward Newton in 1877, is found on Anjouan.[2]
T. n. pretiosa, described by René Primevère Lesson in 1847, is found on Mayotte.[2]

Malaysian Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)

The Malaysian Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) is a species of bird in the fantail family. It is locally referred to as muria gila, literally “crazy thrush” in the Malay language.[2] It is found in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar,Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

The fantails are small bodied (11.5–21 cm long) birds with long tails; in some species the tail is longer than the body and in most the tail is longer than the wing.[1] When the tail is folded it is rounded at the end, but when spread in display or aerial foraging it has a characteristic fan shape that gives the family its name.

Fantails adopt a hunched horizontal posture most of the time, with the wings drooped and held away from the body and the tail half cocked. There are some exceptions to this, particularly theNorthern Fantail of New Guinea and the Cockerell’s Fantail of the Solomon Islands, which have a more upright posture reminiscent of the monarch flycatchers.

The wings of fantails are tapered and have sacrificed speed for agility, making fantails highly efficient at catching insect prey. Overall the fantails are strong fliers, and some species can undertake long migrations, but the thicket-fantails (Sooty Thicket-fantail, White-bellied Thicket-fantail and Black Thicket-fantail) are very weak fliers, and need to alight regularly.

The bills of fantails are typical for aerial insect eating birds, being flat and triangular. The gape is surrounded by two rows of rictal bristles which are long, often as long as the bill. The bills of most species are fairly weak, limiting fantails to softer insects, although the more terrestrial Willie Wagtail has a stronger bill.

The plumage of most fantails shows some variation, most species are relatively uniform with some markings.[1] A few species, such as the Rennell Fantail, have uniform plumage, while others have striking if sombre patterns. The colours of most species are greys, blacks, whites and browns, although a few species have yellow or even striking blue feathers. In most species there is nosexual dimorphism in plumage; the notable exception being the Black Fantail of New Guinea where the male has all-over black plumage and the female is almost entirely rufous. In a few species, such as the New Zealand Fantail, there exist two colour morphs, the common pied morph and the rarer black morph (which is most common on the South Island).

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)

The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata), or just Mandarin, is a medium-sized, East Asian perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is 41–49 cm long with a 65–75 cm wingspan.

The adult male is a striking and unmistakable bird. It has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and “whiskers”. The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange “sails” at the back. The female is similar to female Wood Duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill. The Mandarin ducklings are almost identical in look to Wood ducklings, and appear very similar to Mallard ducklings. The ducklings can be distinguished from Mallard ducklings because the eye-stripe of Mandarin ducklings (and Wood ducklings) stops at the eye, while in Mallard ducklings it reaches all the way to the bill. There are various mutations of the Mandarin Duck found in captivity. The most common is the white Mandarin Duck. Although the origin of this mutation is unknown, it is presumed that the constant pairing of related birds and selective breeding led to recessive gene combinations leading to genetic conditions including albinism. The species was once widespread in eastern Asia, but large-scale exports and the destruction of its forest habitat have reduced populations in eastern Russia and in China to below 1,000 pairs in each country; Japan, however, is thought to still hold some 5,000 pairs.

Specimens frequently escape from collections, and in the 20th century a large feral population was established in Great Britain; more recently small numbers have bred in Ireland, concentrated in the parks of Dublin. There are now about 7,000 in Britain, and other populations on the European continent, the largest in the region of Berlin.

Isolated populations exist in the United States. The town of Black Mountain, North Carolina has a limited population,[6] and there is a free-flying feral population of several hundred mandarins in Sonoma County, California. This population is the result of several mandarin ducks escaping from captivity, then going on to reproduce in the wild.