Day: August 3, 2014

Hispaniolan Trogon (Priotelus roseigaster)

Hispaniolan Trogon (Priotelus roseigaster)

The Hispaniolan Trogon (Priotelus roseigaster) is a species of bird in the Trogonidae family. It is the national bird of Haiti. It is found on the island of Hispaniola shared by Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and what is now heavily degraded forest. It is threatened by habitat loss. It has been sighted in the upper altitudes in the forests of Haiti’s mountain ranges and is confined to several areas in the country’s protected areas.

The Hispaniolan Trogon, is the only member of the trogon family that occurs on the island of Hispaniola. This also is one of only two trogons found in the Caribbean. The Cuban Trogon (Priotelus temnurus) is the only other member of the genus Priotelus which is confined to the Greater Antilles. The Hispaniolan Trogon is unlike any other species known to occur on Hispaniola with it’s metallic green upperparts, gray breast, red belly and dark blue tail strongly marked with white.

This species occurs from sea level to the highest peaks, although it only rarely occurs at lower elevations. The introductory paragraph of the account of the Hispaniolan Trogon by Whetmore and Swales (1931) provides a good description of an encounter with this strikingly beautiful bird: “In travel along the wilder trails through the hills of Hispaniola there may come to the ear a curious cooing call suggesting the note of a pigeon but at the same time differing from the sound produced by any of the familiar species of that group. The call is ventriloquial and seems to arise first from one side and then from another. Finally there is a glimpse of a bird in black silhouette, resting in shadow on some open limb, with body erect and tail hanging straight down. No color is visible and it is a pleasurable surprise when one of the birds pitches to a lower perch or is brought into closer view by the aid of binoculars and the colors of the plumage flash out brilliantly, the clear red of the abdomen sharply marked from the gray of the breast, and the back a shimmering green.”

Japanese paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata)

Japanese paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata)

The Japanese paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata), also called the black paradise flycatcher, is a medium-sized passerine bird. It was previously classified with the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae, but the paradise-flycatchers, monarch flycatchers and Australasian fantails are now normally grouped with the drongos in the family Dicruridae, which has most of its members in Australasia and tropical southern Asia.

The Japanese paradise flycatcher is mainly migratory and breeds in shady mature deciduous or evergreen broadleaf forest of Japan (southern Honshū, Shikoku, Kyushu and the Nansei Shoto islands), South Korea, Taiwan (including Lanyu island) and the far north Philippines. It is a non-breeding visitor to mainland China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Sumatra, Indonesia.

Habitat: In Jeju-do of South Korea, Gotjawal Forest, a forest formed on a rocky area of volcanic AA Lava, is one of the important breeding sites of Japanese paradise flycatcher[2]

There are three subspecies, the nominate T. a. atrocaudata which breeds through most of Japanese/Korean range, T. a. illex which is resident in the Ryukyu Islands, and T. a. periophthalmica restricted to Lanyu Island off southeast Taiwan.

The Japanese paradise flycatcher is similar in appearance to the Asian paradise flycatcher but slightly smaller. Mature males have a black hood with a purplish-blue gloss which shades into blackish-grey on the chest. The underparts are off-white to white. The mantle, back, wings and rump are plain dark chestnut. The tail has extremely long black central feathers, which are shorter in immature males. Unlike the Asian paradise flycatcher there is no white morph. The female resembles the male but is duller and darker brown on the chestnut areas. It has black legs and feet, a large black eye with a blue eye-ring, and a short blue bill.

The song is rendered in Japanese as tsuki-hi-hoshi, hoi-hoi-hoi, which translates to Moon-Sun-Stars and gives the Japanese name of the bird サンコウチョウ (三光鳥) sankōchō (literally, bird of three lights, i.e. moon, sun, star, from san three + kō lights + chō bird).

A recent survey detected a steep decline in part of the Japanese breeding population which has presumably occurred because of forest loss and degradation in its winter range.

Peach-fronted Conure (Eupsittula aurea)

Peach-fronted Conure (Eupsittula aurea)

The Peach-fronted Parakeet (Eupsittula aurea), more commonly known as the Peach-fronted Conure in aviculture, is a species of parrot in the Psittacidae family. It is widespread and often common in semi-open and open habitats in eastern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, far northern Argentina and southern Suriname (Sipaliwini savanna). Both its common and scientific name is a reference to the orange-yellow forehead, although this is reduced in juveniles.
The Peach-fronted conures average 10 inches (25 cm) in length and weigh around 3.7 ozs. (105 g). They have a greyish-green back with a lighter green color on the breast. The forehead and part of the crown are bright orange. The rest of the crown is blue-green. There are black tips on the wings and blue tips on the tail. The beak is black.

Peach-fronted Conures are easily available on the pet market and are popular pets that love to play and climb. Natural branches and lots of toys are recommended. Half-moon Conure can be very noisy and destructive as they like to chew on things. Providing them with toys and / or non-toxic wood / branches is a good way to stop them from chewing on items you would like to keep whole (like your furniture :-). Like most conures, they are wonderful sentinel (watch) birds alerting you to anything they feel should not be there. They do like to chew on things and should be given lots of toys to keep them happy. Like most conures, Peach Fronts love to bathe. Some like their water dishes, others learn to love spray baths.

These small birds become quite partial to their owners, may be taught a small amount of speech and can make wonderful pets. Since they have a low-pitched sound, they would make a great apartment bird. They are relatively inexpensive compared to other conures.

They are relatively easy to breed. The recommended nesting box should be 13″ x 10″ x 10″ in size, with an entrance hole about 3 1/4″ in diameter. The hen lays 2 to 4 eggs, which she incubates for about 26 days. The nestlings fledge after about 52 days.

Below are the dimensions of nesting boxes generally used for these birds. But the dimensions can vary widely, as they are influenced by the previous owner’s and conures’ preferences – the latter is often guided by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.

If the breeding birds don’t appear to accept their given nest boxes, the solution is often to offer them a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and place them in various locations within the aviary. This way, the parent birds can make their own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season. Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed. If the “spare” boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.