Today we add two new videos to the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) account, showing the juvenile plumage. For this species, apart from juvenile and adult plumages, you can see two different subsepecies: occidentalis (which occurs in Costa Rica) and urinator (endemic from the Galapagos Islands).
Continuing with the Galapagos trip, today we add several videos filmed in Genovesa island, showing the Yellow Warbler. This parulid has already very complete material in the web, together with previous videos availabe. You can already find male and female plumages, a bird calling, an individual foraging and a video of another one looking for a place to take a bath.
One more new family for Videoaves website: Spheniscidae. The penguins include 17 species in 6 genera, of which the Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) constitutes the northernmost distribution of the family’s range. The species is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and today we add a video taken in Bartolome island showing an adult bird resting and preening on a rock.
Located on the equator, the Galpagos Penguin represents the most northerly breeding penguin species. Nonetheless, its distribution is highly linked to the cool and nutrient-rich oceanic waters in the western archipelago that allows for a high density of prey year-round (Palacios et al. 2006). It nests at sea-level, and appears to forage close to shore and at relatively shallow depths (Mills and Vargas 1997, Steinfurth et al. 2008). Galpagos Penguins breed throughout the year, with two marked peaks from March to May and from July to September coinciding with variation in the upwelling (Steinfurth 2007). Recent studies show that during chick-rearing adult birds move up to 23.5 km from the nest, concentrating foraging within 1 km of the shore (Steinfurth et al. 2007). While breeding Galpagos Penguins show a high site-fidelity (>80%), non-breeding Galpagos Penguins (adults and juveniles) tend to migrate away from their colony (max. 64 km) (Steinfurth 2007).
We continue with the Hydrobatidae, adding a new species from Genovesa island, the Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma tethys). In this case we show a breeding colony, with thousands of individuals coming in and out from their nests.
This marine species can be found over pelagic waters usually well offshore except when near colonies. It feeds mostly on small fish, squid and crustaceans caught on the wing by pattering and dipping, or by surface-seizing while sitting on the water. It feeds mainly at night. During breeding it forms colonies on cliffs or lava fields, nesting in rock crevices or under vegetation cover (del Hoyo et al. 1992).
Information from BirdLife International, find more here.
From northern Europe to the Neotropics! This week we will upload material from the Galapagos Islands, filmed during our trip in 2011. We start with a new species and new family for the guide: Hydrobatidae. With this adding we reach 90 families in the web, containing 521 species from 9 different countries and 3 biogeographic regions.
We upload today 2 videos of the Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma castro) showing the general features of the species with a sequence of birds in flight and another video of birds foraging, showing their feeding technique to take crustaceans and small fish from the water surface.
This marine species is highly pelagic, occuring in warm waters and rarely approaching land except near colonies. It feeds mostly on planktonic crustaceans, fish and squid but will also feed on human refuse. It mainly feeds in the day on the wing by pattering, dipping and also by surface-seizing. Its breeding season varies locally in colonies on undisturbed islets, in flat areas near the sea or inland on cliffs (del Hoyo et al. 1992)
Find references on BirdLife International.
To finish our waders week, we have uploaded several videos of the Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) filmed in Ekeroy beach, Varanger peninsula. This new material shows the breeding and juvenile plumages, as well as the feeding behavior of an individual and the entire flock.
This species is a full long-distance migrant (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from late-May to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1996), although it may also form small colonies (Flint et al. 1984). After breeding adults disperse to coastal moulting sites, the onward migration to wintering grounds then continuing into October and November (Hayman et al. 1986). The species often flies in large flocks (Hayman et al. 1986) and forages in groups outside of the breeding season (del Hoyo et al. 1996), occasionally aggregating into huge flocks of several hundreds of thousands of individuals at favoured sites (e.g. in Mauritania) (Hayman et al. 1986).
The species breeds in marshy, swampy areas in lowland moss and shrub tundra (Johnsgard 1981, Flint et al. 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1996) near wet river valleys (Johnsgard 1981), lakes and sedge bogs (Flint et al. 1984), as well as on swampy heathlands in the willow and birch zone near the Arctic treeline (Johnsgard 1981), in open larch Larix spp. woodland close to water (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and occasionally on open bogs in the extreme north of the coniferous forest zone (Johnsgard 1981). On passage the species may frequent inland wetlands (Hayman et al. 1986), sandy beaches with pine Pinus spp. stands, swampy lowlands near lakes (Flint et al. 1984) and short-grass meadows, but during the winter it is more common in intertidal areas along muddy coastlines, estuaries, inlets, mangrove-fringed lagoons and sheltered bays (del Hoyo et al. 1996) with tidal mudflats or sandbars (Johnsgard 1981).
When breeding the species feeds on insects, annelid worms, molluscsand occasionally seeds and berries (del Hoyo et al. 1996). In intertidal areas the species’s diet consists of annelids (e.g. Nereis spp. and Arenicola spp.), bivalves and crustaceans, although it will also take cranefly larvae and earthworms on grasslands and occasionally larval amphibians (tadpoles) and small fish (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
The nest is a depression positioned on a dry elevated site (del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as a tundra ridge (Johnsgard 1981) or hummock (Flint et al. 1984), often between clumps of grass (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or under a thicket (Flint et al.1984).
Information from BirdLife International, find references here.
Today we show another wader species filmed during our trip to Norway. During a visit to the inland of the Varanger peninsula we found this typical tundra limicol, the European Golden-Plover (Pluvialis apricaria). We upload today two videos showing and adult in breeding plumage calling and a sequence of the breeding habitat. In the species account you will also find several previous videos taken in Spain showing the winter plumage and feeding habits.
If you are interested in this species and other waders, we encourage you to follow Over the treeline blog, by ornithologists Paula Machín and Juan Fernández-Elipe.
This species is fully migratory but may only move short distances in some regions (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from May to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), adults leaving the breeding grounds before the juveniles between July and August (Hayman et al. 1986). The return migration in the spring peaks between April and early-May (Hayman et al. 1986). The species feeds in small flocks during the breeding season, but on passage and in winter feeding flocks of tens to thousands of individuals may occur (Hayman et al. 1986, Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996).
The species breeds on humid moss, lichen and hummock tundra (del Hoyo et al. 1996), low-lying marshes in moss tundra (Johnsgard 1981), shrub tundra, open bogs in forest, peatlands, alpine tundra (del Hoyo et al. 1996), highland bogs , moors (Johnsgard 1981), and swampy highland heaths with high abundances of sphagnum moss and heather (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). It shows a preference for nesting on short vegetation less than 15 cm tall (Ratcliffe 1977). When on passage and in its winter quarters (del Hoyo et al. 1996) the species frequents freshwater wetlands (Urban et al. 1986), moist grasslands (Urban et al. 1986), pastures (del Hoyo et al. 1996), agricultural land (e.g. stubble, ploughed or fallow fields) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and highland steppe (Urban et al. 1986), also foraging on tidal shores, coastal rocky outcrops (Johnsgard 1981), intertidal flats (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and saltmarshes (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) in shallow bays and estuaries (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Its diet consists predominantly of insects (especially the adults, pupae and larvae of beetles (del Hoyo et al. 1996), larval Lepidoptera, locusts and grasshoppers (Urban et al. 1986)), as well as earthworms, spiders, millipedes, snails, polycheate worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996), crustaceans (Johnsgard 1981) and some plant material (e.g. berries, seeds and grass) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The nest is a shallow scrape on bare ground in flat, sparse areas with short vegetation (less than 15 cm) (del Hoyoet al. 1996). The species is a solitary nester, although in optimal habitats neighbouring pairs may nest only a few hundred metres apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Extensive grazing of wetland grasslands (e.g. c.0.5 cows per hectare) was found to attract a higher abundance of the species in Hungary (Baldi et al.2005), and in the UK the species shows a preference for nesting on heathlands and moors managed by rotational burning (a management strategy used to encourage grouse) as this keeps the vegetation short and prevents grasses from being displaced by heathers (Ratcliffe 1977, Johnsgard 1981).
Information from BirdLife International, find references here.
Continuing with our day at Vadsøya, today we add material of the Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), showing both adult and juvenile plumages. Phalaropes are one of the few bird species in which sexual dimorphism is inverted, being females more conspicuous than males.
This species is fully migratory and travels over land on both broad and narrow fronts (del Hoyo et al. 1996) using favoured lakes as staging points on route (Hayman et al. 1986). It breeds from late-May to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs, occasionally forming loose colonies where suitable habitat is restricted (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species leaves the breeding grounds between late-June and early-September (Hayman et al. 1986), migrating in gregarious flocks and wintering at sea in flocks of 20-100 (del Hoyo et al. 1996).Habitat Breeding The species breeds in the Arctic on coastal and inland tundra, forest tundra and alpine tundra near lakes, pools (del Hoyoet al. 1996), ponds, lagoons, streams or other permanent water-bodies (Johnsgard 1981) with marshy margins overgrown with grass, sedge or moss (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996) in freshwater marshes and bogs (Hayman et al. 1986). It may also frequent coastal moorland, flood-plains and islets in large rivers, and in Iceland it commonly nests on sparsely vegetated lava deserts (del Hoyo et al. 1996).Non-breeding On passage the species frequents inland saline and hypersaline lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) as well as reservoirs, sewage-ponds and coastal marshes (Hayman et al. 1986). During the winter it is largely pelagic however, foraging at sea in upwelling zones and marine areas with a high abundance of plankton (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding In its breeding range its diet consists of insects (especially adult and larval Diptera, beetles, caddisflies, ants and Hemiptera) and other small invertebrates (e.g. snails, crustaceans and annelid worms) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), larval amphibians (tadpoles) (Johnsgard 1981) and seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding On passage the species may take larval brine-flies (Ephydra spp.) from saline lakes, but when feeding pelagically during the winter it feeds on zooplankton (e.g. euphausiids and calanoid copepods) and other floating planktonic particles (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape on bare ground or amongst sparse vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in sedge thickets or damp, grassy or hummocky areas close to water (Flint et al. 1984). Management information In the UK management regimes to benefit the species include increasing the area of open water in mires by digging small pools, controlling water-levels and providing tussocky vegetation suitable for nesting (through grazing by ponies and cattle) (O’Brien et al. 1997).
Information from BirdLife International, find references here.
Vadsøya is a tiny island in Varanger peninsula which many species use to breed. There is a short path and a small pond where you can spend a very interesting birding day. Today we upload a couple of videos of the Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) in breeding plumage, showing a close view of an adult perched on a wood pole and another individual calling due to our presence.
Most populations of this species are fully migratory and travel on a broad front over land and along coasts, some Icelandic and Western European populations remaining close to their breeding grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from March to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitarily pairs or in loose colonies (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), departing the breeding grounds from June to October, and returning from the wintering grounds again between February and April (Hayman et al. 1986). Outside of the breeding season the species forages singly, in small groups (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or occasionally in larger flocks of up to c.1,000 individuals (Snow and Perrins 1998) especially at roosting sites (Hayman et al. 1986) or when feeding on fish (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds on coastal saltmarshes, inland wet grasslands with short swards (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (including cultivated meadows) (Johnsgard 1981), grassy marshes, swampy heathlands (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and swampy moors (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding On passage the species may frequent inland flooded grasslands (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and the silty shores of rivers and lakes (Flint et al. 1984), but during the winter it is largely coastal (del Hoyo et al. 1996), occupying rocky, muddy and sandy beaches, saltmarshes, tidal mudflats, saline and freshwater coastal lagoons (del Hoyo et al. 1996), tidal estuaries (Johnsgard 1981), saltworks and sewage farms (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding When breeding its diet consists of insects, spiders and annelid worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding During the non-breeding season the species takes insects, spiders and annelid worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996), as well as molluscs, crustaceans (especially amphipods e.g. Corophium spp.) (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and occasionally small fish and tadpoles (del Hoyoet al. 1996). Breeding site The nest s a shallow scrape or hollow (Snow and Perrins 1998) on a hummock or at the base of a tuft (Flint et al. 1984) of grass (del Hoyo et al. 1996), often well hidden by overhanging leaves (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species usually nests solitarily inland (less than 10 pairs/km2) but in loosely colonial groups (up to 100-300 pairs/km2) on the coast (del Hoyo et al. 1996).Management information Optimal breeding conditions for this species may be provided by creating a mosaic of unflooded grassland, winter-flooded grassland and shallow pools (Ausden et al. 2002). Winter flooding of grasslands is beneficial to the species as it helps to keep the sward height short and open and also creates pools which provide a source of aquatic invertebrates in the spring (Ausdenet al. 2002, Olsen and Schmidt 2004). Such shallow pools on coastal grazing marshes should be maintained until the end of June (Ausden et al. 2003). The number of breeding pairs on improved grassland was successfully increased on a reserve in Wales by the implementation of a two-year rotation of chisel ploughing, as well as a seasonal sheep and cattle grazing regime and a controlled increase in the water-level (Squires and Allcorn 2006). At Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland the breeding population of the species increased considerably as a result of cutting rush beds in mid-winter (although the species nested on uncut areas, chicks benefited from the presence of adjacent short, open areas for feeding) (Robson and Allcorn 2006). Low-level grazing of salt marshes (e.g. c.1 cow per hectare) does not appear to affect the species and may even be beneficial to breeding populations (Norris et al. 1997, Ausden et al. 2005), although cattle should not be put onto the marsh until towards the end of the nesting season (e.g. late-May or early-June) to minimise the risk of nest trampling (Norris et al. 1997). There is also evidence that too heavy grazing can be detrimental (Evans 1986). The species is known to show increased hatching success when ground predators have been excluded by erecting protective fences around nesting areas (Jackson 2001), and in the UK there is evidence that the removal of Spartina anglica from tidal mudflats using a herbicide is beneficial for the species (Evans 1986).