The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita) was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the Syrian desert near Palmyra in 2002. Habitat disturbance and hunting are the main drivers behind the bird's decline in its Middle Eastern habitat.
This glossy black ibis ranges in size from 70 to 80 cm (28 to 31 inches) glossy black ibis, has an unfeathered red face and head, and a long, curved red bill. It breeds colonially on coastal or mountain cliff ledges, where it typically lays two to three eggs in a stick nest, and feeds on lizards, insects, and other small animals.
According to a Turkish legend, the northern bald ibis was one of the first birds that Noah released from the ark, as a symbol of fertility. [ ... ]
The darker bird pictured above belongs to a family of trickster birds known as the cuckoo. The common cuckoo is notorious for creeping into other birds' nests and laying their eggs, leaving the hosts to raise the chick as their own. This mechanism is known as brood parasitism, and it is quite common in the animal kingdom. However, not all cuckoos are dead-beat parents, many do raise their own young. The cuckoo birds that do use this mechanism are obligate brood parasites, meaning that they only reproduce in this fashion.
The best-known example is the European common cuckoo (shown above). The shells of the eggs of brood-parasites are usually thick. They have two distinct layers with an outer chalky layer that is believed to provide resistan [ ... ]
Can you spot the cat amongst the pigeons? This is Hungarian artist's - Dudolf - latest optical illusion that has some several viewers puzzled. The cause of all this difficulty is likely to have something to do with the way in which the brain processes visual information, by identifying repeating patterns and then using this to automatically fill in the gaps in peripheral vision. This makes it very difficult to spot minor details or irregularities in our visual field without focusing directly on these elements, which means you probably won't see the cat unless you stare straight at it. [ ... ]
Southern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) mate for life, reuniting with the same partner year after year during mating season. But even though they're monogamous, a new study reveals that penguin couples really don’t spend much time together.
Using GPS trackers mounted to the penguins’ legs, scientists monitored 16 birds over the course of a mating season. The data show that males arrived at the nesting site approximately 6 days before their female counterparts and stayed about 6 days longer. However, the short mating season means the pairs are only united for about 20 to 30 days a year. And when they were separated, it was usually by a large distance: During the winter months, partners were separated by an average distance of abo [ ... ]
Sometimes it pays to have big, bad neighbors! Tiny black-chinned hummingbirds (shown above) have learned to build their homes near hawk nests. The hawks are too big to be interested in teeny hummingbird eggs, and they scare off the medium-sized birds that are.
According to the study, of the 342 hummer nests studied over three years, 80% were near hawk nests - and for good reason. The researchers monitored hummingbird egg and fledgling survival near six active and six inactive hawk nests. Those hummers unlucky enough to be near inactive nests lost all but 8% of their young, while those in a “good” neighborhood had a 70% success rate, they report.
It turns out that butterflies with eyelike spots evolved to scare off predators. A recent study concluded that about 68% of the birds that were shown an image with eye-mimicking spots, flew away or showed signs of being startled such as chirping a warning call as they flew in for food (within a controlled setting). That’s on par with the 57% showing the same reactions to the owl with open eyes, the research team notes. The full study can be analyzed in the link below:
This bird might look like a holiday ornament, but it is actually a rare half-female, half-male northern cardinal, with female plumage on the left and male on the right. A new study suggests being half-and-half carries consequences: The cardinal didn’t have a mate, and observers never heard it sing.
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