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17 June 2017

Fiji

From left to right :
Metallic Pigeon (白喉林鴿) ; Rock Pigeon (野鴿)
Fiji (2001)

10 June 2017

Luxembourg

Little Owl (縱紋腹小鴞)
Luxembourg (2008)

3 June 2017

Malawi

From left to right :
Blue-breasted Cordonbleu (安哥拉藍飾雀) ; Variable Sunbird (雜色花蜜鳥)
African Emerald Cuckoo (黃腹金鵑)
Malachite Kingfisher (冠翠鳥) ; Blue-breasted Cordonbleu (安哥拉藍飾雀)
Malawi (2016)

House Sparrow (家麻雀)
Malawi (2016)

27 May 2017

Treasures from German Museums

Demoiselle Crane (蓑羽鶴) ; Red-billed Toucan (紅嘴巨嘴鳥) and
Black Crowned-Crane (黑冕鶴)
Germany (2017)

2nd January, 2017. Bonn

The French court painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) set the vain beauty contest of three feathered opponents in his painting "Pfefferfresser, Jungfern- und Haubenkranich" (1745). The master of the exotic animal portrait does not only understand the virtuoso play with color and light. Experts also attest to a subtle and nuanced approach to his "models", which gives these almost human traits. On the threshold of Rococo at the time of the Enlightenment animals were also given a soul in animals.

Oudry, one of the most important painters of his time and a respected figure in the cultural life of Paris, studied the behavior of animals in nature. As court painter of Louis XV. He specialized in dramatic jazz scenes, which belonged to the king's favorite subjects. Famous is his zoologically accurate depiction of the exotic animals in the royal menagerie - especially the life-size picture of the Indian rhino lady "Clara". For about 25 years Oudry worked for the French court and made a name for himself all over Europe. Until his death, he created around 1000 paintings and 3000 drawings.

The impressive painting by Clara was shown in the Paris Salon in 1749, and in 1750 by Duke Christian Ludwig II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, together with a series of menagerie paintings. Around 56 drawings by the celebrated court painter went into the possession of the Schweriner Hof, so that today a closed collection of Oudry's works is still located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. With 34 paintings - among them "pepper-eaters, gannets and caterpillars" - and about forty manuscripts, Schwerin owns the worlds largest collection of the French animal painter. The menagerie paintings were moved from Staatliche Museum Schwerin to the baroque palace Ludwigslust in 2016, 35 kilometers south of the state capital.

20 May 2017

Aerogramme of Giibraltar

From left to right :
Mediterranean Shag (地中海鸕鶿) ; Eurasian Hoopoe (戴勝)
Gibraltar (1992, 2008)

25th August, 2016. Gibraltar

Gibraltar has long been known as a key location for observing birds so we thought what better subject for the 2008 Definitive. The ‘Birds of the Rock’ Definitive focuses on some of the beautiful birds that grace Gibraltar’s skies.

Hoopoe breeds throughout the Mediterranean and is known to many locals as ‘Gallito de Marzo’. They are particularly noticeable around the Alameda Gardens in March during its main migration period every spring.

Mediterranean Shag is a small breeding colony of 5-8 pairs of this threatened seabird breeds in sea caves along the east side of Rock. The Gibraltar colony is possibly the only one left on mainland Iberia.

13 May 2017

Aerogramme of Vanuatu

From left to right :
Pacific Imperial-pigeon (太平洋皇鳩) ; Purple Swamphen (紫水雞)
Streaked Fantail (點胸扇尾鶲)
Vanuatu (2012)

21st September, 2016. Port Vila

The Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres has a fascinating migration story compared to the Vanuatu Petrel Pterodroma occulta which breeds on Vanua Lava while the Vanuatu Scrubfowl Megapodius layardi (Namalao), found on Ambryn Island, predominantly incubates its eggs in geothermally-heated soil. Nambiru or the Purple Swamphen Porphyrio Porphyrio has a very loud explosive call described as a "raucous high-pitched screech”. The Dark-brown Honeyeater Lichmera incana is also loud and noisy in contrast to the endemic Southern Shrikebill Clytorhynchus pachycephaloides which is a beautiful songbird. Long-tailed Triller Lalage leucopyga simillima is endemic to Vanuatu and not threatened.

The Streaked Fantail Rhipidura spilodera is also endemic on all except the smallest islands from Vanua Lava to Efate. These can be compared to the Red-bellied Fruit Dove Ptilinopus greyii, which is considered to be capable of flying between islands. Of the others, the Pacific Imperial Pigeon Ducula pacifica (locally known as Nawemba) dines on fruiting native trees; the Silvereye Zosterops lateralis has a distinctive olive coloured head and white eye-ring and the Striated Mangrove Heron Butorides solomonensis reaches only 45cm in height but has interesting behavioural traits.

6 May 2017

Antillean crested hummingbird

Antillean crested hummingbird (鳳頭蜂鳥)
British Virgin Islands (2014)

7th July, 2014. Road Town

The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a tiny hummingbird species with a small geographic range in the Caribbean, from eastern Puerto Rico through much of the Lesser Antilles. In its range, it is easily identified both by the small size and the obvious crest. In the United States it is generally unknown, although there are a handful of disputed sightings in both Texas and Florida.

Found in a variety of habitats, typically open, lowland areas such as forest edges and clearings, parks, and residential areas. Feeds on both nectar and small insects.

Forages by taking nectar from flowers, vigorously defending favored patches from rivals. They also will take insects, both by gleaning from vegetation while hovering, or by capturing insects in flight. The nest of an Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a small cup built of plant fibers and decorated with bits of moss, lichen, and other material, built within 3 to 10 feet of the ground in a shrub, vine, or other protected area. The female usually lays 2 eggs, and she alone incubates them. She alone feeds the young once they hatch. The young fledge after about 3 weeks.

29 April 2017

Birds of prey, Singapore

From left to right :
White-bellied Sea Eagle (白腹海鵰) ; Brahminy Kite (栗鳶)
Black-winged Kite (黑翅鳶) ; Changeable Hawk Eagle (鳳頭鷹雕)
Singapore (2016)

21st September, 2016. Toa Payoh Central

Changeable Hawk Eagle is well established in Singapore. Its name reflects its occurrence in two different colour morphs – dark and light. It is a mid-sized raptor and a forest edge bird, with typically broad wings and a relatively small wingspan. It feeds on small- to large-sized birds, mammals – up to the size of small macaques, and reptiles.

White-bellied Sea Eagle is one of Singapore’s largest native raptor. It is seen frequently gliding over reservoirs and woodland areas and adult birds can be identified easily by their pure white lower bodies. It hunts fish, sea snakes, terrapins, frogs, rats and fruit bats.

Brahminy Kite is a highly adaptable raptor. It is common in Singapore and distinguished easily by a contrasting combination of an auburn-brown body with a grey-white head. Unlike other kites, it has a round, instead of a forked, tail. It feeds mostly on garbage from the surface of the sea. It also eats small crustaceans, frogs, rats, shellfish and fish.

Black-winged Kite is a medium-small raptor found mostly in grassland areas. It can be recognised by its red eyes and its light grey plumage that has a black patch on each wing. It hunts usually from a perch but is also capable of hovering like the kestrel species. In this, it is unique among kite species. It feeds mostly on rodents and insects.

From left to right :
White-bellied Sea Eagle (白腹海鵰) ; Brahminy Kite (栗鳶)
Black-winged Kite (黑翅鳶) ; Changeable Hawk Eagle (鳳頭鷹雕)
Singapore (2016)

21st September, 2016. Philatelic Bureau

22 April 2017

Red-billed Leiothrix

Red-billed Leiothrix (紅嘴相思鳥)
China (2016)

9th August, 2016. Longdong, Guangzhou

Red-billed Leiothrix is native to the Indian subcontinent. Adults have bright red bills and a dull yellow ring around their eyes. Their backs are dull olive green, and they have a bright yellow-orange throat with a yellow chin; females are somewhat duller than males, and juveniles have black bills. It has also been introduced in various parts of the world, with small populations of escapees having existed in Japan since the 1980s.

The species usually found in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Burma and parts of Tibet. This species is a bird of the hill forests, found in every type of jungle though it prefers pine forests with bushes. It has also been found at elevations ranging from near sea level to about 7,500 feet.

The species was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1918 and spread to all the forested islands except Lanai. Its population on Oahu crashed in the 1960s and it disappeared from Kauai, but is now common and increasing on Oahu. The leiothrix was released in Western Australia but it failed to become established. This species was also introduced in Great Britain but permanent establishment was unsuccessful. It was introduced to France, where it is now established in several areas, and Catalonia where it is increasing and spreading from the Collserola Park.

15 April 2017

Varity events in Germany

Bird of the year 2016 :
Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Germany (2016)

11th September, 2011. Neckarwestheim

50th anniversary of BSV :
Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Germany (2016)

6th November, 2011. Gaildof

150th anniversary of Post in Haiteebach :
Common Cuckoo (普通杜鵑)
Germany (2017)

15th January, 2017. Haiteebach

8 April 2017

Bird definitive series (3) of Slovenia

€0,25 : European Green Woodpecker (綠啄木鳥) ; €0,30 : European Honey Buzzard (鵰頭鷹)
€0,50 ; Hazel Grouse (花尾榛雞), €0,75 : Firecrest (火冠戴菊)
€1,00 : European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎)
Slovenia (2016)

27th May, 2016. Maribor

European Green Woodpecker is one of the largest members of the woodpecker family, growing to a length of 30–33 cm. Its habitat consists of open areas with some trees, preferably old orchards. The female lays clutches of five to seven eggs in unlined tree cavities. It feeds on insects, especially ants, and therefore spends a lot of time on the ground hunting food with the help of its remarkably long tongue. It is a widely distributed species in Slovenia and a common species throughout the year.

European Honey Buzzard lives in open deciduous and mixed woodland bordering pastures and meadows. It usually builds its nest high in a tree and will frequently occupy the abandoned nest of other birds. The female lays one clutch of one to three eggs. It feeds on wasp larvae, adult wasps and bees, and also on amphibians and birds. The European honey buzzard is a summer species that migrates via Gibraltar, Sicily and the Bosporus to southern Africa. It is a relatively common nesting species in Slovenia.

Hazel Grouse is one of the smaller members of the grouse family, growing to a length of 35–37cm. It lives in coniferous and mixed forests with some undergrowth and, unlike the other members of the family, remains within a very small area, of just a few hundred square metres, throughout the year. It lives in pairs and is very shy, and therefore difficult to observe. The female lays clutches of six to ten eggs and both parents care for the chicks. The hazel grouse feeds on a variety of plant food (buds, shoots and seeds). It is relatively widely distributed in Slovenia and is found in all mountainous areas.

Common Firecrest is one of two members of the kinglet family found in Slovenia, it grows to a length of 8.5–9cm and weighs barely more than 5.5 g. Its habitat consists of coniferous and mixed forest, where it tirelessly hunts tiny insects among the needles and leaves of trees. It builds a bowl-shaped nest high up in a tree, where the female lays between seven and eleven eggs. Each female lays two clutches. A relatively common summer species in Slovenia, individual specimens also remain over the winter in southern areas.

European Bee-eater iswonderfully coloured member of the bee-eater family grows to a length of 27–29 cm. Its preferred habitat is open areas with clayey or sandy cliffs in which to dig a breeding burrow. The European bee-eater nests in colonies. The female lays clutches of four to seven eggs and both parents incubate and care for the chicks. Bee-eaters are aerial hunters of prey consisting of the larger insects, such as dragonflies, and also bees. This summer species migrates south in autumn. It is a very rare nesting species in Slovenia.

1 April 2017

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl (穴鴞)
Aruba (2016)
25th July, 2016. Oranjestad

Burrowing Owl is a small, long-legged owl found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. It can be found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts, or any other open dry area with low vegetation. They nest and roost in burrows, such as those excavated by prairie dogs. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are often active during the day, although they tend to avoid the midday heat. But like many other kinds of owls, burrowing owls do most of their hunting from dusk until dawn, when they can use their night vision and hearing to their advantage. Living in open grasslands as opposed to the forest, the burrowing owl has developed longer legs, which enables it to sprint as well as fly when hunting.

Adults have brown heads and wings with white spotting. The chest and abdomen are white with variable brown spotting or barring, also depending on the subspecies. Juvenile owls are similar in appearance, but they lack most of the white spotting above and brown barring below. The juveniles have a buff bar across the upper wing and their breast may be buff-colored rather than white. Burrowing owls of all ages have grayish legs longer than those of other owls.

25 March 2017

Birds of Georgia

1,0L : Little Bustard (小鴇) ; 0,6L : Caucasian Black Grouse (高加索黑琴雞)
0,4L : Grey Partridge (灰山鶉)
Gambia (2011)

29th July, 2016. Akhaltsikhe

Georgia is located at the edge of Asia and Europe. Georgia is a country of exceptional beauty: diverse in nature, with rich and ancient history. The country is mostly complex and mountainous. The highest peak is 5201m (peak Shkhara) above sea level. Due to Georgia's specific geographic location, on a relatively small territory (69,700 square km.) there are extremely diverse ecosystems from Alpine meadows to semi-deserts, wetlands, costal landscape, numerous lakes and rivers, caves, magnificent mountain-chains and peaks covered with eternal snow.

In Georgia there are several spectacular birdwatching locations, with very different characteristics. Each of them is interesting in terms of species composition. On a relatively small territory there is a multitude of diverse ecosystems. This is very favorable for bird watching, as in a short period of time and in area very close to each other it is possible to see birds from totally different habitats.

Birders tend to target the 'big five' species: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Caucasian Chiffchaff but other regional specialties including: Twite (interior Asian form - a potential split), Red-fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, Citrine Wagtail, White-winged Snowfinch, Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Chukar, Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Greenish Warbler, Barred Warbler, Alpine Accentor, Common Rosefinch and dozens of other species.

18 March 2017

The New Zwin

Common Shelduck (翹鼻麻鴨) ; Common Tern (普通燕鷗) ; Barn Swallow (家燕)
Pied Avocet (反嘴鷸) ; Eurasian Spoonbill (白琵鷺)
Belgium (2016)
16th June, 2016. Roesela

The new Zwin is the international migratory bird airport. It is a unique and varied top attraction where you experience nature to the full. The new Zwin has something in store for everyone.

The Zwin Nature Park is an interactive nature experience park for the entire family. It is a place where you can discover the special Zwin nature in an attractive and stimulating manner.

Apart from the Zwin Nature Park, the Zwin is accessible free of charge: the Zwin Bistro, the Zwin Shop, the Zwin Region Information Centre and no less than 220ha of Zwin dunes and polders which guide you to the Zwin Nature Park on foot or by bike from Knokke Het Zoute.

11 March 2017

Birds of Cameroon

Top : Mount Kupe Bushshrike (庫山叢伯勞) ; Martial Eagle (猛雕) ; Purple Heron (紫鷺)
Bottom : European Robin (知更鳥) ; Black-casqued Hornbill (黑盔犀鳥)
Cameroun (1983, 1985, 1991)
12th July, 2016. Yaounde

Cameroon offers some of the best and most exciting birding in West and Central Africa. Cameroon boasts of more than 900 species of birds and a lot of them being endemic and near endemic. Cameroon bird habitats in Cameroon are mountain forests, savanna plateaus in the Mid North, Sahel in the Extreme North, the numerous forests and lakes.

In the far north, large concentrations of waterbirds such as White-faced Whistling Duck and Long-tailed Cormorant can be found along with a great variety of raptors. Further south are the transition zones of the Adamawa plateau in the Mbam Djerem National Park and the lowland evergreen forests. In the western part of the country is the Cameroon Mountain Arc with the Afro-tropical mountain vegetation type. This is where the endemic species such as Mount Cameroon Francolin, Mount Kupé Bush-Shrike and Bannerman’s Turaco can be found. There are also several freshwater systems such as River Sanaga and Nyong and a few lakes e.g. Lake Magba and Lake Maga where waterbirds such as cormorants, darters, storks and herons can be seen. The south-west of the country has a 350 km coastline with a marine ecosystem that provides a roosting ground for a host of migratory species.

4 March 2017

Great Frigatebird

Great Frigatebird (小軍艦鳥)
Nauru (2008)

21st April, 2016. Nauru

Great Frigatebird is a large seabird in the frigatebird family. Major nesting populations are found in the Pacific (including the Galapagos Islands) and Indian Oceans, as well as a population in the South Atlantic.

It is a lightly built, large seabird up to 105cm long with predominantly black plumage. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism; the female is larger than the adult male and has a white throat and breast, and the male's scapular feathers have a purple-green sheen. In the breeding season, the male is able to distend its striking red gular sac. The species feeds on fish taken in flight from the ocean's surface (mostly flying fish), and indulges in kleptoparasitism less frequently than other frigatebirds. They feed in pelagic waters within 80km of their breeding colony or roosting areas.

25 February 2017

200th anniversary of Audubon

150f : Marabou Stork (禿鸛) ; 70f : Saddle-billed Stork (鞍嘴鸛)
200f : Secretarybird (蛇鷲) ; 110f : Common Ostrich (鴕鳥)
Chad (1985)

15th July, 2016. N'Djamena

John James Audubon
(born Jean Rabin; April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was an American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Audubon identified 25 new species.

Audubon developed his own methods for drawing birds. First, he killed them using fine shot. He then used wires to prop them into a natural position, unlike the common method of many ornithologists, who prepared and stuffed the specimens into a rigid pose. When working on a major specimen like an eagle, he would spend up to four 15-hour days, preparing, studying, and drawing it. His paintings of birds are set true-to-life in their natural habitat. He often portrayed them as if caught in motion, especially feeding or hunting. This was in stark contrast to the stiff representations of birds by his contemporaries, such as Alexander Wilson. Audubon based his paintings on his extensive field observations.

He worked primarily with watercolor early on. He added coloured chalk or pastel to add softness to feathers, especially those of owls and herons. He employed multiple layers of watercolouring, and sometimes used gouache. All species were drawn life size which accounts for the contorted poses of the larger birds as Audubon strove to fit them within the page size. Smaller species were usually placed on branches with berries, fruit, and flowers. He used several birds in a drawing to present all views of anatomy and wings. Larger birds were often placed in their ground habitat or perching on stumps. At times, as with woodpeckers, he combined several species on one page to offer contrasting features. He frequently depicted the birds' nests and eggs, and occasionally natural predators, such as snakes. He usually illustrated male and female variations, and sometimes juveniles. In later drawings, Audubon used assistants to render the habitat for him. In addition to faithful renderings of anatomy, Audubon also employed carefully constructed composition, drama, and slightly exaggerated poses to achieve artistic as well as scientific effects.

18 February 2017

Definitive issue 2015 of St Helena

50p : Red-billed Tropicbird (紅嘴熱帶鳥) ; 40p : Wilson's Storm Petrel (黃蹼洋海燕)
60p : Masked Booby (藍臉鰹鳥) ; 30p : Java Sparrow (爪哇禾雀)
St Helena (2015)

23rd July, 2016. Jamestown

The avifauna of Saint Helena Island include a total of 68 species. Only one endemic species survives today, the Saint Helena plover. Several more endemics are extinct and known only from subfossil remains: the Saint Helena petrel, Olson's petrel, Saint Helena shearwater, Saint Helena crake, Saint Helena swamphen, Saint Helena dove, Saint Helena cuckoo and Saint Helena hoopoe. At least five non-endemics have been extirpated from Saint Helena but still occur elsewhere. Nine species have been introduced by humans and formed established breeding populations while many more species were introduced in the past but failed to become established. Of these, 43 species are rare or accidental visitors.

20p : Brown Booby (白腹鰹鳥) ; 5p : White Tern (白玄鷗)
10p : Zebra Dove (斑姬地鳩) ; 15p : Chukar Partridge (石雞)
St Helena (2015)

19th July, 2016. Sandy Bay

11 February 2017

National bird of Mongolia

Saker Falcon (獵鷹)
Mongolia (2013)

11th July, 2016. Ulaanbaatar

Saker Falcon is a large hierofalcon, larger than the lanner falcon and almost as large as gyrfalcon at 47–55cm length with a wingspan of 105–129cm. Its broad blunt wings give it a shadow similar to Gyrfalcon, but its plumage is more similar to a lanner falcon's.

Saker Falcons have brown upperbellies and contrasting grey flight feathers. The head and underparts are paler brown, with streaking from the breast down. Males (called sakrets in falconry) and females are similar, as are young birds, although these tend to be a duller brown. The call is a sharp kiy-ee.

Adults can be distinguished from the similar lanner falcon since the lanner is blue-grey above with a reddish back to the head. However, juveniles of the two species can be very similar although the saker falcon always has a uniformly buff top of the head with dark streaks, and a less clear pattern on the sides of the head.

A further complication is that some Asian birds have grey barred upperparts; these must be separated from lanner on size, structure, and a weaker moustache stripe. Saker falcons at the northeast edge of the range in the Altai Mountains are slightly larger, and darker and more heavily spotted on the underparts than other populations. These, known as the Altai falcon, have been treated in the past either as a distinct species "Falco altaicus" or as a hybrid between saker falcon and gyrfalcon, but modern opinion is to tentatively treat it as a form of saker falcon, until comprehensive studies of its population genetics and ecology are available.

This species belongs to the close-knit hierofalcon complex. In this group, there is ample evidence for rampant hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting which confounds analyses of DNA sequence data to a massive extent; molecular studies with small sample sizes can simply not be expected to yield reliable conclusions in the entire hierofalcon group. The radiation of the entire living diversity of hierofalcons seems to have taken place in the Eemian interglacial at the start of the Late Pleistocene, a mere 130,000–115,000 years ago; the saker falcon represents a lineage that expanded out of northeastern Africa into the interior of southeastern Europe and Asia, by way of the eastern Mediterranean region.

4 February 2017

Wildes Deutschland

Postmark : Golden Eagle (金鵰)
Germany (2016)

26th June, 2016. Zürpich

Postmark : Nightingale (夜鶯)
Germany (2016)

23rd June, 2016. Berlin

Phytogeographically, Germany is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The territory of Germany can be subdivided into two ecoregions: European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine.[37] The majority of Germany is covered by either arable land (33%) or forestry and woodland (31%). Only 15% is covered by permanent pastures. Plants and animals are those generally common to middle Europe. Beeches, oaks, and other deciduous trees constitute one-third of the forests; conifers are increasing as a result of reforestation. Spruce and fir trees predominate in the upper mountains, while pine and larch are found in sandy soil. There are many species of ferns, flowers, fungi, and mosses. Fish abound in the rivers and the North Sea. Wild animals include deer, wild boar, mouflon, fox, badger, hare, and small numbers of beaver. Various migratory birds cross Germany in the spring and autumn.

28 January 2017

Nature conservation in Japan

From left to right :
Bonin Honeyeater (笠原吸蜜鳥) ; Ryukyu Robin (琉球歌鴝)
Short-tailed Albatross (短尾信天翁) ; Red-crowned Crane (丹頂鶴)
Japan (1975, 1976)

4th May, 2011. Tōro, Shibecha

Japanese archipelago stretches from the subtropical to subarctic zones running parallel to the eastern rim of the Eurasian Continent consists of four main islands and more than 3,900 smaller islands whose area cover almost 378 thousand square kilometers.

Rapid economic development which started in the 1960's has changed the social and economical structure and life style in Japan, particularly in Tokyo and other big cities. Huge industrial complexes have been developed and rapidly urbanized suburban areas.

Still, forest areas cover 67 percent of Japan's total land area and agricultural lands 14 percent. Because of its mountainous topographical nature, a large part of Japan is still decorated with beautiful primitive and secondary forests. Brown bears, black bears, and Japanese deer trot in forests, and golden eagles, cranes and herons glide in blue sky.

21 January 2017

Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher (冠翠鳥)
Namibia (2002)
5th June, 2016. Windhoek Central

Mlachite Kingfisher is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate-related movements.

This is a small kingfisher, 13cm in length. The general colour of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face, cheeks, and underparts are rufous and white patches are on the throat and rear neck sides. The bill is black in young birds and reddish-orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

This species is common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow-moving water or ponds. The flight of the malachite kingfisher is rapid, with the short, rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

Large food items are beaten on a bough or rail; small fish and insects are promptly swallowed. A fish is usually lifted and carried by its middle, but its position is changed, sometimes by tossing it into the air, before it is swallowed head downwards. Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans are eaten.

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both birds excavate. Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached.

Three or four clutches of three to six round, white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is then a short shrill seek. The breeding song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui.

14 January 2017

The Azores - Certified by Nature

Azores Bullfinch (亞速爾紅腹灰雀)
Azores (2016)

21st June, 2016. Nordeste, Azores

Azores Bullfinch also known as the São Miguel bullfinch, or locally in Portuguese as the Priolo, is an endangered passerine bird in the true finch family. It is endemic to São Miguel Island, in the Azores archipelago of Macaronesia in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The bullfinch is now largely restricted to a small area of native laurisilva forest at the eastern end of São Miguel, 300–-800 m asl, mainly centred on Pico da Vara in the Serra da Tronqueira range, but also seasonally (September to December) around Salto do Cavalo, further westwards in the range, probably of juveniles following post-fledging dispersal. It has never been recorded from the western end of the island.

Necessary for the recovery of the Azores bullfinch is to recover the available ecological enclaves of its northern archipelago of Macaronesia. The process of decline that suffers a significant portion of the endemic Azorean flora, is favored by the expansion of invasive alien plants. The projects dedicated to save the Azores bullfinch include the restoration of original laurel forest habitat, in the eastern monteverde of São Miguel.

Azores Bullfinch (亞速爾紅腹灰雀)
Azores (2016)

16th May, 2016. Nordeste, Azores

7 January 2017

Levantine Shearwater

Levantine Shearwater (地中海海鸌)
Malta (1993, 2001)

6th July, 2011. Marsa

Shearwaters, which range from 35 to 65cm in length, nest in burrows on offshore islands and coastal hills in the North Atlantic, eastern South Atlantic, the Pacific and throughout the Mediterranean. These birds feed on fish, squid and other marine creatures while searing out at sea. Large flocks of Shearwaters are commonly seen between March and November, scavenging behind trawlers together with other sea birds. The Shearwater has a very particular call, similar to a crying baby.

This bird breeds in colonies on rocky islands and cliffs, using cavities and burrows. They are frequent breeders and their eggs hatch within 53 days. The largest colony in the Maltese Islands is found at Ta' Cenc cliffs while some pairs also breed on Comino as well as on the Fungus Rock at Dwejra Bay, Gozo.
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