Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cardinal


Cardinal


Cardinalis cardinalis


Photo: Cardinal in tree with snow
Noted for their bright red plumage, cardinals have about two dozen songs.
Photograph courtesy Harvey Doerksen/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The northern cardinal is so well loved that it has been named the official bird of no fewer than seven U.S. states. Bright red cardinals are easily identified by even casual bird watchers, and are often seen frequenting backyards and bird feeders. When foraging elsewhere the birds eat insects, seeds, grain, fruit, and sap.
Cardinals, also called "redbirds," do not migrate and have traditionally been more common in warmer climes such as the U.S. southeast. However, in recent decades they have expanded their common range north through the United States and even into Canada. This population growth may be due to an increase in winter birdfeeders and to the bird's ability to adapt to parks and suburban human habitats.
Only males sport the brilliant red plumage for which their species is known. The color is a key to mating success—the brighter the better. Females are an attractive tan/gray.
Cardinals are active songbirds and sing a variety of different melodies.
Males can be aggressive when defending their territory, and they frequently attack other males who intrude. This tendency sometimes leads cardinals to fly into glass windows, when they charge an "intruding bird" that is really their own reflection.
Does't look like an Angry Bird?


Friday, May 3, 2013

Toucan


Toucan

 
Ramphastos toco


Photo: Profile of a toucan
The toucan's large, colorful bill may look like it packs a bite, but it is better adapted for feeding than fighting.
Photograph by Jason Edwards
The Toco toucan is at home in South America's tropical forests but recognized everywhere. The toucan's oversized, colorful bill has made it one of the world's most popular birds.
The 7.5-inch-long (19-centimeter-long) bill may be seen as a desirable mating trait, but if so, it is one that both male and female toucans possess. In fact, both sexes use their bills to catch tasty morsels and pitch them to one another during a mating ritual fruit toss.
As a weapon, the bill is a bit more show than substance. It is a honeycomb of bone that actually contains a lot of air. While its size may deter predators, it is of little use in combating them.
But the toucan's bill is useful as a feeding tool. The birds use them to reach fruit on branches that are too small to support their weight, and also to skin their pickings. In addition to fruit, Toco toucans eat insects and, sometimes, young birds, eggs, or lizards.
Toco toucans live in small flocks of about six birds. Their bright colors actually provide good camouflage in the dappled light of the rain forest canopy. However, the birds commonly keep up a racket of vocalization, which suggests that they are not trying to remain hidden.
Toucans nest in tree holes. They usually have two to four eggs each year, which both parents care for. Young toucans do not have a large bill at birth—it grows as they develop and does not become full size for several months.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...