Conservation Status

Among the sixty-six species of plovers and lapwings, one is considered Critically Endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction two are Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction five are Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction and six are Near Threatened, in danger of becoming threatened. The Javanese lapwing is listed as Critically Endangered and is, in fact, likely extinct it has not been seen since 1940. The St. Helena plover is Endangered, with only about three...

Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus

Physical characteristics Rufous horneros are large ovenbirds with slightly rounded to nearly square tails. They have short-to-medium, pointed bills that are almost straight. The upper part of the bill is a brownish gray, to grayish or dark brownish while the lower part of the bill is pale horn to pinkish with a dark tip. They have rufous-brown foreheads and dull brown crowns, top of head. This species has The rufous hornero, like many other ovenbirds, builds a nest out of mud, clay, dung, and...

Barn Owls Tytonidae

Like typical owls in the family Strigidae, barn owls have forward-facing eyes, excellent vision in dim light, and very sensitive ears. (Research shows that the common barn owl can locate prey by sound alone in complete darkness.) Tytonids differ from typical owls in having long, compressed bills, rather short tails, and rather long legs. The facial disk is heart-shaped instead of round. They lack the feather structures called ear tufts that many typical owls display. Their dark eyes are...

Fulmarus glacialis

Physical characteristics One of the larger shearwaters, the northern fulmar is about 18 inches (46 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of 40.2 to 44.1 inches (102 to 112 centimeters). Northern fulmars resemble gulls, with gray upper bodies and white heads. However, their wings are broader, and the neck is thicker. Their bill is yellow. Geographic range Northern fulmars live in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They breed in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Habitat Northern fulmars prefer...

Words to Know

Acacia A thorny tree, or any of several trees, shrubs, or other plants of the legume family that tend to be ornamental. Adaptation Any structural, physiological, or behavioral trait that aids an organism's survival and ability to reproduce in its existing environment. Adaptive evolution Changes in organisms over time that allow them to cope more efficiently with their biomes. Adaptive shift An evolutionary process by which the descendants of an organism adapt, over time, to ecological niches,...

Behavior And Reproduction

Most jacanas do not migrate, but remain in the same place year-round. During the breeding season, they are generally found in pairs or small groups. During the non-breeding season, jacanas congregate in flocks of as many as several hundred individuals. Jacanas are good swimmers and divers and frequently move into water to escape potential predators. In several species, ja-cana chicks have breathing holes at the ends of their bills that allow them to hide with most of their bodies underwater....

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

Physical characteristics Both males and females have dark gray feathers on the top of their bodies. On the lower body are gray and white feathers. Females of some species have brownish red feathers on their upper breasts. The cuckoo's long tail is black. Cuckoos have black bills and weigh about 3.7 ounces (115 grams). Their head-to-tail length is 12.6 to 13 inches (32 to 33 centimeters). Geographic range Common cuckoos are found throughout Europe and Asia. They also live in Siberia and parts of...

Oriolus oriolus

Physical characteristics Eurasian golden orioles are covered with a golden color except for black wings, tails, and a stripe through the eyes. Females are duller than males with a greenish back. Geographic range They range in Europe and far northwest Africa east to Asia Minor, the Caspian Sea, western Siberia, and, in winter, sub-Saharan Africa Central Asia, from western Siberia south in winter to Afghanistan and Himalayas, peninsular India, and north Sri Lanka. Habitat Eurasian golden orioles...

Phytotoma raimondii

Physical characteristics Adult Peruvian plantcutters are 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 centimeters) in length and weigh approximately 1.5 ounces (40 grams). Both males and females have bright yellow eyes and a short crest, but the male is more colorful, with red patches on his lower breast and forehead. The birds' short wings make them agile fliers, and their strong feet allow them to grasp their leafy food tightly as they shred it with their tough, ridged beaks. Geographic range The Peruvian...

Picoides borealis

Physical characteristics Red-cockaded woodpeckers are medium, black-and-white woodpeckers with large white cheek patches and back plumage that has alternating, horizontal stripes of black and white. They have a black forehead and the back of the neck is also black with a small red streak on each side of the forehead (called a cockade, thus its name), a black stripe behind eyes, whitish under parts, and a black tail with black-spotted white outer feathers. They have black wings and wing coverts...

Physical Characteristics

They have an almost human appearance, with upright posture, large rounded heads, and large eyes that face forward (most birds have eyes on the sides of their heads). All owls are carnivores, or meat-eaters, and several adaptations make them effective hunters, including a hooked beak for tearing flesh and strong feet tipped with sharp talons, or claws. The toes can be used in a two-forward, two-backward arrangement for a good grip on prey (most birds have three toes...

Owls And People

Through the ages, owls have been the subjects of myth, folklore, and art. People have used owls in different ways. Snowy owls are a subsistence food for Arctic people. Owl body parts are used by traditional healers in Southeast Asia. They have been revered in some cultures. In ancient Babylon, for example, pregnant women wore protective owl amulets. In many cultures, however, owls have been feared. The Swahili believed owls made children sick. Some Arab cultures believed owls were evil spirits...

Branta canadensis

Physical characteristics This is a large goose with a solid black neck. The head is also black, but there is a white band running underneath the chin. The Canada goose weighs 4.5 to 14.4 pounds (2 to 6.5 kilograms) and stands 21.7 to 43.3 inches (55 to 110 centimeters) tall. Its bill is black, as are its feet. The plumage (feathers) is various shades of brown. Adults lose their feathers and become flightless for three to four weeks each summer until their feathers regrow. Geographic range Found...

Common Barn Owl Tyto alba

Physical characteristics Sometimes called simply the barn owl, this species is widely distributed. Populations in different locations can be quite different in size and appearance. They range in length from 11 to 17 inches (29 to 44 centimeters) and vary in weight from 0.4 to 1.5 pounds (0.2 to 0.7 kilograms). The North American subspecies is the largest. The feathers are subtly colored but quite beautiful seen up close. They are mottled gray and buff-brown on the back and pale on the belly,...

Attagis gayi

Physical characteristics Rufous-bellied seedsnipes are 10 to 11 inches in length (27 to 30 centimeters) and weigh between 10.6 and 14.1 ounces (300 to 400 grams). The head, neck, back, and breast are barred black, brown, and cream, a pattern that allows individuals to blend in with their environment. The belly is reddish brown or a pink cinnamon in color. Geographic range Rufous-bellied seedsnipes are found in the Andes of Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. They generally occupy high...

Dicrurus paradiseus

Physical characteristics The body length is 13 inches (33 centimeters). The plumage is black all over with iridescent shades of blue on the upper wings. The head bears a crest of feathers that begins at the upper base of the beak. The eyes are bright red. The bill is gray. The tail is as long as the body, forked into two narrow, almost wirelike feathers, each of which flares into a rounded shape at the tip, thus the racket-tail. Geographic range Greater racket-tailed drongos live in all of...

Rostratula benghalensis

Physical characteristics The greater painted snipe measures 9 to 10.9 inches (23 to 28 centimeters) in length and 3.2 to 6.7 ounces (90 to 190 grams) in weight. The female greater painted snipe has a reddish brown head and neck with a bronze-green back and wings. The male has a gray head and back spotted with gold. Both males and females have white eye patches and a white stripe on the top of the head. Young greater painted snipes resemble adult males. Geographic range The greater painted snipe...

Cracticus torquatus

Physical characteristics Gray butcherbirds are medium-sized, bull-headed birds with a tapered body patterned plumage of blacks, grays, and whites black head with white spot (between eyes and upper bill) and collar dark brown eyes gray-and-black bill gray back white rump black tail (with white tips) and wings (with white stripes) grayish white underparts and dark gray legs and feet. Females are smaller than males, generally have more gray on their breast, and have a shorter bill. Juveniles look...

Nyctea scandiaca

Physical characteristics This is the only mostly white owl. Males may be completely white females have black bars on the back and belly. These heavy-bodied owls have very large, rounded heads and no ear tufts. The eyes are yellow and the dark beak may be hidden by feathers. Snowies are particularly well adapted to the cold. The legs and feet are completely covered with feathers. The feathers are unusually stiff, to keep out Arctic winds. Geographic range Snowy owls are found in a ring of...

Nyctibius griseus

Physical characteristics The gray potoo's plumage is brown with streaks of other colors that include gray, black, and reddish brown. The bird has black streaks on the crown (top) of the head and the lower part of the body. The potoo's patterned plumage resembles the tree branches where potoos perch, so the birds can roost (rest) during the day without being seen by predators. Male and female potoos have similar coloring. Gray potoos live in the rainforests and grasslands of Mexico and Central...

Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella

Physical characteristics The Australian pratincole varies between 7.5 and 8.7 inches (19 to 22 centimeters) in length and weighs about 2.3 ounces (65 grams). It is light brown in color across most of its body, but has a dark brown upper belly and white lower belly. The bill has a bright red base and black tip. The Australian pratincole has a slender body, long legs, and extremely long wings. Geographic range The Australian pratincole is found in most of inland and northern Australia, as well as...

Aceros cassidix

Physical characteristics Sulawesi red-knobbed hornbills are black with a white tail. They have a high, wrinkled, red casque. Necks are rufous, reddish, in males, and black in females. Their beaks are ridged and yellow with blue throat skin. Adults are 27.6 to 31.5 inches (70 to 80 centimeters) long. Female weight is unknown, and male weight is between 5.2 and 5.5 pounds (2.4 and 2.5 kilograms). Geographic range They are found in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and nearby islands of Lembeh,...

Ecotourism Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. Ecotourism benefits animal life in many ways. First, some money goes toward the cost of maintaining wildlife populations and habitats. Second, ecotourists are more likely to invest time or money into the part of the environment that they are concerned about. Birds like diving-petrels do not interact directly with...

Periodicals

Travel Africa Magazine Online at http www (accessed on March 24, 2004). Animal Areas. Hamerkop. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. http (accessed on March 26, 2004). Anniversary Animals. Hamerkop. Kansas City Zoo. http www.kcmo. org kc150.nsf web hamerkop opendocument (accessed March 26, 2004). Bird Families of the World. Hamerkop. Monterey Bay. http www. montereybay.com creagrus hamerkop.html (accessed March 24, 2004). Birds of the National Zoo. Hammerkop. Smithsonian National Zoological...

Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus

Physical characteristics The coloring of male and female eclectus parrots is so different that they were once thought to be two different species. The female bird has red and blue feathers and a black bill. The male has green plumage and a yellow bill. All eclectus parrots have feathers of a smooth texture that have been compared to silk. The birds are 16.5 inches (42 centimeters) in length and weigh 0.9 to 1.2 pounds (440 to 660 grams). Geographic range Eclectus parrots live in Indonesia in...