birds

We Call Fowl!

We Call Fowl!

We met our last animal of our visit to the Great Victorian Desert! We will be heading to the coral reefs of the Raja Ampat Islands for the last month of the school year! We can hardly wait! And then- we head off to Camp E & E for the summer- where you are all invited!

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Date: 4/27

Location: Great Victorian Desert

Malleefowl Fun Facts:

  • Malleefowl tend to stay on the ground. They only fly when threatened.
  • They are distantly related to chickens.
  • Malleefowl are mostly solitary.
  • Malleefowl can also freeze when they spot a predator, causing them to blend in with their surroundings.
  • Males build large nest mounds on the ground. The building is complicated and it done so the eggs are kept at a constant temperature.
  • Chicks are born in their underground nest and must dig their way out when they hatch. It can take 2-15 hours for the chick to reach the surface.
  • Chicks tend to hatch one at a time and then they do not interact with the adults or their siblings.

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We spotted a few of these stout birds and they do indeed stop motionless when they see you! It’s amazing that the little chicks have to survive with no parental help or care!

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Categories: Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Parrot with a Crown!

The Parrot with a Crown!

We met a feathered friend in the outback! This shy green bird is not always easy to spot, but we were lucky!

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Date: 2/25

Location: Great Victorian Desert

Princess Parrot Fun Facts:

  • Princess parrots were named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
  • They are quiet colorful, with bluish heads, pink throats and blue tails.
  • Males have longer tails and brighter colors than females.

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  • They make loud calls.
  • Princes parrots are known to live around 30 years.

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We were so excited to find a few of these chatty little birds! They tend to gather in a group for mating and then disappear again!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Give us a V for Parrot!

Give us a V for Parrot!

We wanted to meet one of the parrots of Madagascar! We were lucky enough to spot them in the trees on our afternoon trek yesterday! Let’s all get to know this bird together!

vasa parrot

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Date: 3/22

Location: Madagascar

Greater Vasa Parrot Fun Facts:

  • Vasa Parrots are dark grey to black in color.
  • Their dark beaks turn bright white during breeding season.

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  • Females are dominate and live with 3 to 8 males. This social set-up is highly unusual in parrots.
  • Vasa parrot eggs only incubate for 18 days. It’s the shortest incubation period for any parrot.
  • They are known to be voracious eaters.
  • Vasa parrots are vocal and intelligent.

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We loved watching this interesting birds! They are not heard of much in the US or in the pet trade. We love to see parrots in the wild!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Buzz Off Buzzard!

Don’t Buzz Off Buzzard!

After sleeping in after our last two night adventures, we got up and did a little bird watching! We were happy to find one of Madagascar’s raptors!

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Date: 3/15

Location: Madagascar

Madagascar Fun Facts:

  • Madagascar buzzards are old world buzzards.

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  • They call many parts of the island home, including forests, open forest and rocky hillsides.
  • Some lemurs have alarm calls for the buzzard, so some scientists think they may prey on them.
  • Madagascar buzzards have broad wings for soaring.
  • They have yellow eyes and talons.
  • Madagascar buzzards chicks are born in September and October.

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We had a lovely time watching a few of these buzzards soar in the skies. Raptors will never cease to amaze us!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fishing for an Eagle

Fishing for an Eagle

It’s our last day here in Africa. We head on vacation next week, so new posts til March. We will definitely be coming back! In March we will be heading to the large island just off the coast of Africa- Madagascar. Woohoo! Today we meet a large bird – the African Fishing Eagle.

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Date: 2/23

Location: Serengeti

African Fish Eagle Fun Facts:

  • Female African Fish Eagles are larger than the males.
  • They have white heads and bodies and brown/black wings.
  • African fish eagles are known for their loud cry that can be heard around their habitats.

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  • They build nests in trees close to the water. The nests grow in size every year.
  • African fish eagles can live up to 24 years in the wild.
  • They are the national bird of Zimbabwe and they appear on Zimbabwe’s flag.

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We had a fabulous time in Africa. We are super excited to head to Madagascar in March though! Woohoo!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | 1 Comment

Hornbills

Hornbills

We enjoyed the best day learning more about some super neat birds- the Southern Ground Hornbill. We headed back to camp after getting to know them and then enjoyed a lovely night at base camp listening to the lions roar.

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Date: 2/16

Location: Serengeti

Southern Ground Hornbill Fun Facts:

  • Southern Ground hornbills earned that name, because they spend most of their time on the ground foraging for food.
  • They are the largest of the hornbill family.
  • Females have a blue/black patch on their red throat pouch.
  • Southern Ground hornbills live in small family groups with a dominant pair.
  • The other birds help the dominate pair raise the young.
  • They are famous for their low pitches, haunting call.

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  • Ground hornbills can live up to 50-60 years.
  • They are known to groom warthogs to eat the parasites that live on them.

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We love these vocal birds! They have such personalities! And the best eyelashes to help keep dirt out of their eyes. That is a great adaptation out on the Serengeti plain!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Found a New Secretary

We Found a New Secretary

Today we hung out with one of most favorite birds, the Secretary Bird. We wanted him to come be our new secretary at HQs, alas he decided to stay in the Serengeti- probably a good plan!

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Date: 2/14

Location: Serengeti

Secretary Fun Facts:

  • Secretary birds are diurnal (they’re active during the day) and nests in Acacia trees at night.
  • They have long powerful legs that they use for striking prey.
  • It’s thought that they were named after English secretaries because the crests on their heads look like quills that secretaries used to write with, but it’s now thought that is it comes from an Arabic word meaning “hunter bird”.

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  • Secretary birds walk more than they fly. They can walk up to 15 miles a day in search of food.
  • It is admired in Africa for its hunting skills, especially its ability to kill venomous snakes.
  • It’s even part of the Coat of Arms for South Africa.

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We love these graceful menacing looking birds. You better watch out if you’re a snake in this bird’s path!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pinkies!

Pinkies!

We’re back- after having an internet issue out here in the Serengeti, we got our signal back. We headed off to meet some bright pink birds! Flamingos are always one of our favorites!

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Date: 2/9

Location: Serengeti

Lesser Flamingo Fun Facts:

  • Lesser flamingos have black edges on their wings.
  • They have deep red bills and crimson legs.
  • Flamingos have no sense of smell.

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  • Lesser flamingos are famous for their group mating dances. These can include a few bird or up to several hundred.
  • Male and females incubate the egg.
  • Lesser flamingos travel around lakes to find food.

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We had fun watching these fabulous flamingos dance around and eat. We love long legged birds and flamingos fit the bill. Hehehe!

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Birdie!

Hello Birdie!

After spending the day on the boat whale watching, we decided to chill on the shore and have a picnic while bird watching. We found a group of black birds called pelagic cormorants who were quiet entertaining!

 

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Date:1/23

Location: coast near the kelp forests

Pelagic Cormorant Fun Facts:

  • Male and females look the same.
  • They are not very efficient flyers, due to short wings.
  • Those short wings help with diving for prey.
  • Pelagic cormorants are also clumsy walkers on land.
  • Unlike other water birds, cormorants do not have waterproof feathers. They must dry and preen them on shore.
  • They do not nest in large colonies, but in small groups.

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  • Both male and females help incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.

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We had a lovely afternoon watching the cormorants and the other shore birds. Pelicans are still our favorites with their big beaks. Having a healthy population of shore birds is often an indicator for healthy oceans. But like marine mammals, our shore bird friends suffer from ingesting plastic! So keep up the recycling and throw away that trash!

 

 

Categories: Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bird of the Sea!

Bird of the Sea!

We spent the day on the cliffs bird watching. So many sea birds to love and learn about. We were especially thrilled to spot some black and white birds, reminiscent of penguins in appearance, but better fliers!

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Date: 1/12

Location: kelp forest coastline

Common Murre Fun Facts:

  • Common murres are not very agile flyers, but are amazing at diving.
  • Common murres use their wings to propel them deep in the water to catch fish.
  • They have been recorded diving at depths of 590 ft.
  • They are related to gulls and terns.

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  • Common murre eggs are pointed on one end. They are also different colors.
  • It is thought the eggs are different colors to help the breeding pairs tell them apart.
  • After mating season, both females and males molt. During the molting season they can not fly.

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We had a great time watching these birds dive and hang out on the rocks. It was a great way to end the week!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, oceans, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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