Tag Archive: BIRDS

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes (toes, three pointing forward and one back, which facilitates perching).
Family: Estrildidae (weaver-finches)

Genus/species: Erythrura gouldiae

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The upper body (dorsal) is grass-green from the lower nape to the back and wings. The rump is pale blue and the breast is purple. Ventrally the belly is bright yellow, and the bill is whitish, with a red or yellow tip.
The three distinct color variations are individuals having either a red, black or yellow head (all the same species).

Young Gouldian Finches are dull ashy grey on the head and hind neck, becoming olive on the back and tail. The underparts are brown white, paler on chin, and have a faint yellow tinge on the belly. The upper bill is blackish and the lower bill is pinkish. white. Adult colors appear after several months.

(male, red-head)

Gouldian Finch 19577587499_daaa661dd8_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Predominantly northern Australia tropical savannah woodland with grassy understory and open wide plains with hollow-bearing Eucalyptus trees.

(male, red-head)

Gouldian Finch Gouldian Finch 19738034016_fc07c6e883_k

DIET IN THE WILD: Grass seeds. In addition they feed on a variety of insects including beetles, termites, flies, flying ants, and spiders.

(female red-head)


Gouldian Finch 19141610094_37add50720_k

REPRODUCTION: E. gouldiae nest in tree hollows. Males and females incubate the eggs and help to raise the young. Gouldian finches may produce both the adults incubate the eggs and help to raise the young. Gouldian finches may produce four to eight eggs per clutch.

(young birds, immature colors)

CONSERVATION: IUCN Near Threatened (NT) by habitat modification due to cattle grazing, wildfires and increasing human developments. There are presently estimated to be only 2,500 to 10,000 mature individuals in the wild.

(female black-head)


Color of Life note Sexual Selection
Sexual dichromatism is a form of sexual dimorphism in which males and females differ in color.
The male Gouldian finch is more brightly colors to impress prospective female partners. Ref: California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life exhibit.


Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/19576167410/in/album-72157652559028013/

California Academy of Sciences Color of Life 2017

ARKive  www.arkive.org/gouldian-finch/erythrura-gouldiae/

Birdlife International www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=8695

IUCN  www.iucnredlist.org/details/biblio/22719744/0

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1050437/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1y1

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves (Feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrates)
Order: Passeriformes (passerines or perching birds) Toes; three pointing forward and one back.
Family: Thraupidae (Tanagers)

Genus/species: Tangara mexicana

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The adult takes its name from the turquoise face,  sides of the neck, and flanks. The upper parts are extensively black. The belly is a contrasting pale color, light yellow in Amazonia. Sexes are similar. T. mexicana has a long-tail and with a dark stout pointed bill.

Length 14 cm (5.5 inches)

Tangara mexicana9611641554_5dc8bd4f7e_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Trinidad, Colombia, and Venezuela, much of Brazil, and south to Bolivia. Found in the canopy of the rainforest, mangroves, open woodland and cultivated areas.

DIET IN THE WILD: Insects and fruit.

REPRODUCTION: Cup nest are made of dead grasses and leaves lined with fine roots on branches, high above the ground. Eggs are whitish, marked with grayish and brown spots. The clutch size is two-three with the female incubating them for 12-14 days.

Call and Map: xeno-canto www.xeno-canto.org/species/Tangara-mexicana?&view=3

Tangara mexicana3044967328_5b81056859_o

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least Concern (LC)

Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for vulnerable. Also has an extremely large range.

REMARKS: Call: sharp, twittering chirps.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3160948559/in/set-72157608454346681

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/22722807/0

Cornell Lab of Ornithology http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/identification?p_p_spp=610636

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-15N


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves (Feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrates)
Order: Passeriformes (passerines or perching birds) Toes; three pointing forward and one back.
Family: Thraupidae (Tanagers).

Genus/species: Tangara cayana

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Males of the cayana group (our group) have an orange-rufous crown, black mask, and cream underparts distinctly tinged blue on the throat and chest. Wings and tail are turquoise. Females are duller than the males, and have black restricted to a poorly demarcated “shadow” of a mask.

Length 13-14 cm (5.1-5.5 inches)

Tangara cayana 3192755611_63af368705_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical to sub-tropical areas of South America. Favors tropical moist lowland forests, but also found in open terrain with scattered trees and cultivated areas.

Tangara cayana 3258665043_d18c0223fe_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Mainly fruit.

VOCALIZATIONS:  http://www.xeno-canto.org/explore?query=tangara+cayana

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern due to an extremely large range.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3258665043/in/album-72157608454346681/

Cornell Ornithology http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/identification?p_p_spp=607916

Cornell (map) https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/nb/species/bubtan2/overview

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1052896/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1u3


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves (Feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrates)
Order: Passeriformes (passerines or perching birds) Toes; three pointing forward and one back.
Family: Thraupidae (Tanagers).

Genus/species: Tangara cyanicollis


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Blue or violet hood, and broad black breast band, and greenish straw wing coverts. The posterior underparts are black, violet, or blue. The beaks, legs, and feet are black and juveniles are brownish gray. Coloration of adults varies slightly by region. They are monomorphic (males and females look similar).

Average length 12 cm (4.75 inches) and weigh 17 g (0.6 ounces).

Tangara cyanicollis5976846934_9b15387833_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: T. cyanicollis range is discontinuous being found widely in foothill and lower montane forests in the eastern Andes between western Venezuela and central Bolivia. There is a separate population in the lowlands of southern Amazonian Brazil to northeastern Bolivia. Often it is described as a nonforest tanager and has been spreading due to deforestation.

SONG AND MAP   www.xeno-canto.org/explore?query=Tangara+cyanicollis

Tangara cyanicollis5976282811_fe4ee3e6a6_b

T. cyanicollisas has an extremely large range and the population trend appears to be stable. Often is described as a nonforest tanager and has been spreading due to deforestation.


California Academy of Science 2017

Cornell Lab of Ornithology neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/references?p…

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/22722915/0

xeno-canto www.xeno-canto.org/explore?query=Tangara+cyanicollis

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5976282811/in/set-72157608454346681/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-166

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes  (psittacines or parrots, cockatoos, and relatives)
Family: Psittacidae (parrots)

Genus/species: Ara ararauna

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: A large parrot ultramarine blue color on their backs and wings, yellow under parts, green forehead feathers, and green tips on the end of their wings. Their under-wing coverts and breast are yellow-orange and they have black beaks, throat, and legs. Their eyes are yellow and their facial area consists of bare white skin with several black feather lines around their eyes.

Length 32-36 inches with a wing span of 41 to 45 inches.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Eastern Panama in Central America south across northern South America, extending to Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. Can be found throughout subtropical and tropical forests, woodlands, and savannas nesting high in trees to avoid predation.


DIET IN THE WILD: Mostly fruits and seeds. They use their strong beaks they break open nut shells and seeds. Consuming riverbank clay detoxifies unripe seed toxins. Dispersing seeds is important to the rainforest.

REPRODUCTION: Blue and Gold Macaws are monogamous mating for life. Females lay 2 to 3 eggs and incubate them for 24 to 28 days, after which the young hatch blind and featherless. Fledglings become independent in 3 months.

LONGEVITY Up to 50 years while their breeding age ranges from 30 to 35 years.

PREDATORS: A. ararauna are attacked while in flight by harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja), hawk eagles (Nisaetus cirrhatus) and orange-breasted falcons (Falco deiroleucus).

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Least Concern (LC) due to their large geographic range.

REMARKS: Their beaks are extremely powerful with a bite force  up to 200 lbs per square inch. Beaks are used as ‘third foot’. Feet are “Zygodactyl”  (2 toes oriented forward, 2 toes oriented backward) are used for climbing, holding food.

 Ara ararauna4039106324_204cd8fb42_b-2

These birds are in the parrot family, and are referred to as Psittacines. They are known for their extraordinary coloration, intelligence, social behavior as well as being very vocal.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ara_ararauna/

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1177961/details

IUCN Red List animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ara_ararauna/

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608454346681/with/3776086742/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-14s

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class Aves: (Feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic or warm-blooded, egg-laying, vertebrates)
Order: Passeriformes (passerines or perching birds)
Family: Thraupidae (Tanagers).

Genus/species: Ramphocelus carbo

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Adult male: velvety crimson back with deep crimson throat and breast; upper mandible black, lower mandible bright silver. Female: duller; brownish upper parts and reddish-brown underparts, throat, and breast.

Ramphocelus carbo3142853893_b630accb43_o


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:  The Silver-beaked Tanager is a resident breeder in South America from Columbia and Venezuela south to Paraguay and central Brazil as well as on Trinidad. It is found in light woodland and cultivated areas.

Ramphocelus carbo3186808944_6a7ba36a6e_o

DIET IN THE WILD: DIET: Mainly fruit as well as insects.

ACADEMY DIET: Like all of the passerines (all of the birds except the macaws), they receive pellets soaked in water or nectar, nectar cups, and plates with fruit. 

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: R. carbo has a clutch of 2 green-blue eggs blotched with black-brown are laid in bulky cup nest usually built at lower forest level. Female incubates eggs for 11–12 days before they hatch. Chicks fledge 11–12 days later.

Silver-Beaked Tanager eggs
Our rainforest birds have already nested, hatched, and fledged.

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Red List Least Concern due to its extremely large range.

Ramphocelus carbo3142852689_c17ba4a031_o

REMARKS: These social birds tend to be noisy, traveling in groups of 4–8 in the wild.


California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608454346681/

Cornell neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p…

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1052871/details

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/22722507/0

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-14I

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves (Feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrates)
Order: Passeriformes (passerines or perching birds) Toes; three pointing forward and one back.
Family: Fringillidae (Finches, based on molecular-genetic analysis)

Genus/species: Euphonia violacea

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Dorsal or upper side blue-black with deep golden-yellow underparts and a yellow forehead. The female is olive-green above and greenish-yellow below. The male has the curious habit of imitating the vocalizations of a great variety of birds, such as hawks, parrots, toucans and crows.

Length 4.5 inches and weight is 1/2 oz.



DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: E. violacea are found in tropical to subtropical areas of South America favoring tropical moist lowland forests but also found in open terrain with scattered trees and cultivated areas.


 Euphonia violacea 3193598750_af25280bfd_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Forages in underside of crown in upper third of tree mainly eating fruits with some bugs and nectar when seasonally available.



REPRODUCTION: They build a globular nest. The female incubates 3-4 eggs alone for a period of approximately 13 to 14 days. Both the male and the female participate in feeding the nestlings with fledging at about 24 days due to the relatively low protein content in their fruit-rich diet.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Least Concern (LC)
Based upon its wide range and current estimated population size.

REMARKS: E. violacea‘s digestive tract is specialized for processing soft fruit pulp, being little more than a tube with a slight thickening along its length instead of a stomach. As specialists on mistletoe and some other toxic berries their weak digestive system is adapted to removing the flesh of the mistletoe berries without disturbing the toxic viscin layer surrounding each seed. Within ten minutes they can excrete the sticky strings of seeds by vigorous rear end movements, scraping them onto twigs and branches where the seeds have a chance to fall and germinate—good for the bird and good for the seeds. 


California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3193598750/in/album-72157608454346681/

birdlife international datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/22722721

Cornell lab of Ornithology neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/references?p…

National Aviary  www.aviary.org/animals/Violaceous-euphonia

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-15f

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves (Feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic, egg-laying, vertebrates)
Order: Passeriformes (passerines or perching birds)
Family: Thraupidae  (Tanagers)

Genus/species: Thraupis episcopus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  Blue-gray Tanagers are medium-sized light bluish gray, with brighter blue margins to the wings and tail. The wing coverts are bright blue. The bill is short and quite thick. Males and females look-alike.

Length 6.3-7.1 inches and weighs 1.1-1.4 oz.

Blue-grey tanager3151558297_1c281e57c8_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: T. episcopus is from central Mexico to northern parts of Bolivia and Brazil and is common throughout much of Costa Rica. Found in semi-open habitats; often found near cultivated areas, especially fruit orchards.

DIET IN THE WILD: Omnivore feeding on insects, spiders, and fruit. Also sometimes eat flowers, leaves, and nectar.

Thraupis episcopus 3259027098_b449539716_b

REPRODUCTION: The female incubates 2 pale blue-gray eggs with brown speckles laid in open cup nest that is concealed well by vegetation for 12–14 days. Once eggs hatch, both parents feed young, which fledge in about 17 days.

LIFE SPAN: 10-15 years.

PREDATORS: Birds of prey, snakes, wild and feral cats.

SONG and MAPS:  xeno-canto  www.xeno-canto.org/species/Thraupis-episcopus?view=3


REMARKS: Pairs or groups participate in noisy singing and chattering, though the song is not particularly musical.  As fruit-eaters, these birds play an important role in seed dispersal for trees and shrubs in the tropics.

On the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, the Blue-grey Tanager is called “Blue Jean.”



California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

National Aviary www.aviary.org/animals/blue-grey-tanager

Cornell Lab of Ornithology neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p…

EOL eol.org/pages/1052952/details

Ron’s flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3151558297/in/set-72157608454346681/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-jD

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/22722527/0

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes (Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, songbirds)
Family: Thraupidae (tanagers)

Genus/species: Tangara gyrola

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Bay-headed Tanagers have a bright reddish, chestnut colored head with a narrow yellow collar on the hind neck; a bright grassy-green back; the rump and underparts are turquoise blue. Males and females are alike in appearance, except females are duller and paler in color.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: T. gyrola are found from Costa Rica south through a large area of South America, including parts of the Andes, Amazonia and Eastern Brazil inhabiting the canopy of humid forests, borders of forest and semi-open areas.

DIET IN THE WILD: Primarily fruit nectar, seeds and insects.

REPRODUCTION: An open cup nest is built a by the female. She then lays two brown-blotched white eggs that are incubated for 13-14 days. After hatching, both parents feed the young.



California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32680209973/in/dateposted-public/

DWA www.dwazoo.com/animal/bay-headed-tanager/

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/classify/22722878/0

EOL eol.org/pages/1052911/details

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1N9

Color of Life note: The blackish-grey top surface of the African Penguin camouflages it from predators above it and the mostly white underside does the same for predators below it.

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves (birds)
Order: Sphenisciformes (Penguins )
Family: Spheniscidae

Genus/species: Spheniscus demersus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like most birds with shared parental duties, sexes are similar in appearance. Adults: upper parts blackish-grey, underparts mostly white with inverted black horseshoe extending down flank to thigh. Feet and legs black. Chicks arrive with secondary down feathers. Juveniles are grey blue and immatures gradually come to resemble adults in approx. 3 years..
Length up to To 70 cm (28 inches) tall.
Weight up to 3.5 kg (7.7 lb)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found off the Coasts of South Africa and
Namibia. Nests in colonies mainly on offshore islands. Rarely encountered more than 8 km from islands or mainland.4545404530_496c8cf6b1_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Piscivorous. They feed primarily on shoaling fishes such as anchovies, mackerel and herring. They can reach a top speed of close to 20 km/h (12 mph). On the west coast a typical foraging trip could range from 30 to 70 km (18-44 miles) for a single trip. On the south coast, foraging birds cover an average of 110 km (68 miles) per trip.

Academy diet: Vitamin fortified herring, and capelin.


REPRODUCTION: S. demersus are monogamous colonial nesters. They dig nesting burrows.and lays 2 eggs which are then incubated by both parents for about 40 days. The pair feeds their young for about one month by regurgitating food into the hatchling’s mouth.The average time to independence is 80 days.

LONGEVITY: May live to at least 25 years.

PREDATORS: Seals in the water and mongooses, large-spotted genets and leopards on land. Eggs and chicks are eaten by feral cats, Kelp gulls and Sacred Ibises.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Vulnerable (VU) 2010

Threats: Depleted fish stocks, human collection of penguin guano fertilizer, oil pollution and collection of eggs in the past have resulted in a 90 percent drop in the population since 1900.

REMARKS: The alternate common name “jackass” is a reference to its donkey-like vocalization.

California Academy of Sciences penguins
Wing bands identify males females and couples. Males right, females left and couples are the same color.

African penguins are finding a strong ally in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program sponsored by the California Academy of Sciences and 53 other zoos and scientific institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The captive population acts as a reservoir for genetic diversity, and could eventually be used to bolster wild penguin populations.
See the Academy web site below for more information and a 24 hour web cam.


Penguins constantly work to keep their feathers clean, well-oiled, and waterproofed. They preen their feathers by nipping at an oil glad at the base of their tail to express oil which transferred to their beaks and then to their body feathers.


Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4569783089/in/album-72157623916364716/

California Academy of Sciences  www.calacademy.org/explore-science/common-penguin-behaviors

California Academy of Sciences www.calacademy.org/explore-science/live-penguin-cams

BirdLife International www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3861

ARKive  www.arkive.org/african-penguin/spheniscus-demersus/

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Spheniscus_demersus/

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/22697810/0

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1xH


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