Month: March 2014

Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata)

The Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata) is a bird species in the tanager family (Thraupidae). It was formerly placed in the Emberizidae, and notwithstanding its common name, it is not very closely related to the true cardinals (family Cardinalidae).

It is found in northern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and heavily degraded former forest. Among other regions, it is found in southern part of the Pantanal.

It has also been introduced to Hawaii and Puerto Rico. In Brazil, it has been introduced to various places outside its historical range, as in the Tietê Ecological Park in São Paulo, alongside with its very similar-looking close relative, the Red-cowled Cardinal (P. dominicana).

The Yellow-billed Cardinal (P. capitata) could also be easily confused with the Red-crested Cardinal; both the Red-cowled and Yellow-billed have a very short crest that is not visible except in excited birds, and in the case of the latter also a black throat, darker upperparts and a bright yellow bill.

Blue Coua (Coua caerulea)

The Blue Coua (Coua caerulea) is a species of bird in the cuckoofamily. It is endemic to Madagascar. The bird is a deep blue with a bare blue oval around the eye and beak. It averages a size of 48–50 cm in length and 225–268 g in weight, with females slightly lager. The birds can be found in the north-western and eastern areas of Madagascar. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The bird lays only one egg in a nest hidden in trees and bushes. The diet consists of insects, varied fruits, and small reptiles. This bird is on the red list of threatened species because of hunting.

Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity (Neodrepanis hypoxantha)

The Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity (Neodrepanis hypoxantha) is a small species of bird from the asity family. The species is endemic to montane forest above 1600 m on the island of Madagascar. The species is sometimes known simply as the Yellow-bellied Asity. The plumage of male Yellow-bellied Sunbird-asities is very bright, with clean yellow undersides and dark black upper sides with an iridescent blue sheen; the females are duller. The eye is surrounded by a bright blue wattle which derives its colour, like the rest of the asities, from bundles of collagen. The bill is long and decurved, as it is adapted for nectar feeding.

Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asities are active nectar feeders. They will aggressively defend a nectar source from rivals of the same species as well as from sunbirds.

The Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity is listed as vulnerable by BirdLife International and the IUCN. It was once considered to be an endangered species, and even possibly extinct; however, this was due to a lack of ornithological surveys in its high-altitude range. Subsequent research has found it to be more abundant than previously suspected, although it is still considered threatened due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Western Rosella (Platycercus icterotis)

The Western Rosella (Platycercus icterotis) less commonly known as the Stanley Rosella, Earl of Derby’s parakeet or Yellow-cheeked parakeet, is the smallest species of rosella and is found in the South West of Australia. in Eucalypt forests and timbered areas. These are smallish parrots measuring 25–30 cm (9.8–11.8 in) in length and weighing from 28 to 80 g (0.99 to 2.82 oz), with an average of 63.3 g (2.23 oz). They are red from the head to the breast with white or beige-ish yellow cheeks and blue and green patterned wings with males being slightly larger and having a more vibrant yellow cheek colouring. Their bills are a grey ‘horn’ colour like most Australian parrots. Western Rosellas socialise in pairs but will often congregate in largish groups of twenty or so to forage when the season permits; their diet is herbivorous, consisting mostly of grass and seeds. They nest mostly in hollow tree trunks usually a meter or so deep and will favour hollows that have dust in the bottom (as may be created by insects boring out the tree or limb). The female incubates the eggs and leaves in the morning and afternoon to eat food found by the male. Western Rosellas make reasonable pets however they have a habit of being aggressive if kept with other pets. They are largely sociable with humans and will whistle in return if whistled at.