Australia’s crimson rosella parrots, beauty and disease


This video says about itself:

This morning’s delegation of Crimson Rosellas (Platycercus elegans) at Banksia Cottage, one of the Bunjaree Cottages near Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, 100km west of Sydney, Australia.

From Wildlife Extra:

Colours of the Crimson Rosella parrot reveal a deadly secret

The crimson rosella parrot are [sic] immune to Beak and Feather Disease

The vibrant colours of Australia’s Crimson Rosella parrot might not in fact be quite as they seem. The colours covering its feathers could be the result of a virus that is known to kill other species.

A research team from Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE) and School of Medicine carried out an eight-year study of the Crimson Rosella and subspecies across New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

The Beak and Feather Disease Virus that the Crimson Rosella carry around so proudly in the colour of their feathers is surprisingly deadly in other parrot species. As such, the Australian Government have listed the Beak and Feather Disease Virus as a key threat to biodiversity under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Justin Eastwood, Deakin CIE PhD student who worked on the project, explains: “The virus is only found in parrots; it’s no danger to humans, but the danger it presents to parrots seems to vary from species to species and it can be pretty nasty.”

The results, which were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA journal, could have important implications for managing disease in Australia’s unique wildlife. Project author and CIE researcher Dr Mathew Berg explains, “Our research results are not only good news for Crimson Rosellas, but we now have a good model species with which to study the disease, which is extremely important if we are to minimise its impact on the world’s parrot population.”

The research team aim to better understanding how disease and wildlife interact and co-evolve, and will be working with Zoos Victoria, the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease, Charles Sturt University and Biosecurity Victoria to investigate disease ecology and conservation in Australian parrots.

See also here.

New Brazilian bird species discovery


This video says about itself:

Diamantina Tapaculo – Tapaculo-da-chapada-diamantina – Scytalopus diamantinensis

30 August 2012

Described to science only in 2007; this is one of the least known Brazilian Tapaculos. Endemic to the Chapada Diamantina mountain range and seen by just a few world birders… This is the first video available of the species.

From Wildlife Extra:

Newly discovered Brazilian bird species is endangered

A new birds species found in a narrow strip in the Atlantic Forest on the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil, has already been reported as endangered.

The bird is locally called ‘macuquinho-preto-baiano’, and has been catalogued under the scientific name Scytalopus gonzagai, and has also been given the common name of the mouse-coloured tapaculo.

The bird was identified as a new species by an international team of ornithologists led by Dr Marcos Bornschein, and was initially thought by the researchers to be a common species found in south and southeast Brazil, but two expeditions in 2004 and 2006 made it possible for them to investigate further in the region of Bahia and ascertain that the species was indeed new.

The small mouse-coloured tapaculo – which measures just 12cm in length and weighs in at an average of 15g – was quickly listed as an endangered species, as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stipulates that if a species totals up between 2,500 to 10,000 individuals, it is endangered. Calculations undertaken by the team found that there were around 2,888 of the newly discovered tapaculo.

Source: BrazzilSci-news.com.

The scientific description of the new species is here.

L’effet de l’urbanisation sur le phénotype de la Tourterelle turque (Streptopelia decaocto) dans le Nord-Est algérien


Originally posted on North African Birds:

Belabed, A.I., Aouissi, H.A., Zediri, H., Djemadi, I., Driss, K., Houhamdi, M., Eraud C. & Bouslama Z. 2013. L’effet de l’urbanisation sur le phénotype de la Tourterelle turque (Streptopelia decaocto) dans le Nord-Est algérien.Bulletin de l’Institut Scientifique, Rabat, Section Sciences de la Vie 35: (sous presse)  PDF

Résumé:

De nombreuses espèces d’oiseaux se sont adaptées à l’homme, en particulier, les espèces invasives associées aux villes. Ces adaptations aux environnements urbains sont exprimées par des changements du comportement et de la physiologie, reflétant une évolution ou bien une plasticité phénotypique (Møller 2008). Bien que la Tourterelle turque (Streptopelia decaocto) soit une des espèces de colombidés les plus répandues dans les différents milieux algériens ces dernières années (Merabet et al. 2010, Belabed 2013), les données sur sa biométrie sont quasi inexistantes. Ce travail, mené en 2011, dans la région du Nord-Est Algérien, a pour objectif de…

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Eco-ethology of the wintering Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) in Garaet Hadj Tahar, Northeast of Algeria


Originally posted on North African Birds:

Merzoug, S. E., Amor Abda, W., Belhamra, M., & Houhamdi, M. (2014). Eco-ethology of the wintering ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca (Anatidae) in Garaet Hadj Tahar (Guerbes-Sanhadja, Northeast of Algeria). Zoology and Ecology
doi:10.1080/21658005.2014.953800

Abstract:

The ecology (phenology and diurnal eco-ethology) of the ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca was studied during three seasons of its wintering (2010/2011, 2011/2012, and 2012/2013) in Garaet Hadj Tahar (a Ramsar site since 2001 with an area of 120 ha, complex of Guerbes-Sanhadja, Skikda, Northeast of Algeria). The maximum number of ferruginous ducks recorded there in December 2012 was 605 individuals. This figure includes the total number of these birds in two populations living at the site: the first one is a nesting sedentary population consisting of about 20 pairs, and the second one, more numerous, frequents the center of this wetland only in wintering seasons. The study of the rhythm of diurnal…

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Good wheatear news from Texel island


This is a northern wheatear video.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

29-09-14

In the Eierland Dunes on Texel this year, more than twice as many territories of northern wheatears have been counted than in other years: 26! Last year about 12 were found in the same area. Bird counters assume that each territory represents a nest. 26 wheatear territories is very good news, because this bird has had hard times in recent years. Their numbers have declined sharply in most parts of the Netherlands. Only between Callantsoog and Terschelling things are not so bad.

Migratory birds festival in Portugal


This video is about Eurasian crag martins and red-rumped swallows in Sagres, Portugal.

From BirdLife:

Portugal’s Sagres Birdwatching Festival returns to celebrate migration of soaring birds

By Elodie Cantaloube, Mon, 22/09/2014 – 08:33

The Sagres Birdwatching Festival returns, to the delight of bird lovers and ornithologists, who gather every year to observe the beautiful spectacle of different species flying over the village of Sagres on migration to warmer climates. Thanks to a collaboration between the Vila do Bispo Municipality, the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA, BirdLife in Portugal) and the NGO Almargem, the 5th Sagres Birdwatching Festival will be held from 2nd – 5th of October 2014 in this magnificent part of the southern Portuguese region of Algarve, which is home to unique bird species and the perfect place to witness a natural phenomenon that is not easily seen elsewhere in the country.

During the Festival’s four days, many events and activities will serve to highlight the importance of respecting nature and teaching children how even the smallest of species can affect the whole ecosystem. Activities will include birding tours, mini-courses on various topics, boat trips to observe cetaceans and birds out at sea, horse and donkey rides, photography projects and educational workshops for children.

This year, the attention will be focused on the beautiful Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans, a migrant passerine that enriches local wildlife during the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Similarly, sightings of species such as storks, eagles, vultures and falcons will delight visitors, who will also be lucky enough to samplethe excellent regional food.

In the past, this event has gathered around 800 people, drawing public attention to the migration of birds both in Portugal and abroad.

According to Nuno Barros, SPEA’s Marine Programme Assistant at the Department of Marine Conservation, “Sagres Peninsula is one of the most extraordinary places in Europe for birdwatching. Most of the species are in their post-breeding period between August and November. Thousands of migratory birds gather in this place, some on their way to Africa, others as a result of their dispersal to the South.”

The dynamism brought by the festival to this area has created a strong incentive for people to come back at other times of the year; English tourists are especially keen. The beauty of the landscape in the Sagres Peninsula, together with the fascinating natural phenomena and the festive atmosphere, makes this Festival an occasion that no bird lover would want to miss!

Please visit www.birdwatchingsagres.com for more information or contact Nuno Barros, Marine Programme Assistant at SPEA/BirdLife.

Migratory bird conservation in Africa


This video says about itself:

3 December 2013

Kids in Botswana are very much engaged in the Spring Alive project and they can talk about it in a cheerful, energetic but yet informative way. See yourself how amazing these children are and how great Spring Alive is doing there.

From BirdLife:

Manuals for empowering Africa’s citzens to conserve migratory birds

By Obaka Torto, Wed, 24/09/2014 – 10:21

The wonder of migration has not ceased to captivate the minds of many as a science and a hobby, with records dating back to the 18th century, and even beyond to Aristotle’s Historia Animalium in 350 BC. Interest in bird migration in particular has increasingly gone up in most regions and Africa has not been left behind. To date, at least 14 countries in Africa, namely Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are actively participating in a project tagged Spring Alive that initially started in Europe in 2006. Spring Alive is a BirdLife International conservation education and action initiative targetted primarily at students, their teachers and then the wider community. The annual migration of these birds along the flyways is an ideal vehicle to illustrate the connectivity of sites, countries and continents on our dear planet Earth.

The five flagship species that have so far encapsulated the minds of the communities in Europe, Africa and Asia are the Barn Swallow, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, Common Cuckoo and the White Stork. While these birds are widely known for announcing spring in the European northern hemisphere, in the vast landscapes of motherland Africa, they represent the fruitfulness and vitality of seasonal change. Africa is home to these birds for many reasons, one being that they avoid the chilling temperatures that the northern hemisphere would be experiencing in winter. They start their journey from Europe into Africa in August, arriving from around the 1st of September every year. They inhabit the grasslands, rooftops, tree branches and can be seen soaring and circling through the air for a period of six months before they start their journey to Europe.

While the uptake of the Spring Alive project has been remarkable in Europe, Africa and Asia, more still needs to be done to engage more citizens in the conservation of habitats for migratory birds and to involve them in the fantastic exercise of observing them at different sites. The BirdLife Africa Secretariat in conjunction with BirdLife Poland recently adapted and launched an African teacher’s manuals for Grades 1-3 and 4-6.  The teacher’s manuals cover topics such as bird identification, bird behavior, the concept of migration and the challenges birds face along the routes. The manuals also provide interactive and interesting games for the children. These resources are meant to deepen the engagement of children with birds, inspire their young minds and cultivate interests about the natural world around them. These manuals can also be used by local community groups as well as wildlife/nature clubs.

The Spring Alive Project, whose details can be found at: www.springalive.net and similarly on the BirdLife Africa website contributes to achieving the objectives of wider BirdLife programmes, especially the Local Empowerment Programme and the Migratory Birds and Flyway Programmes. The 14 African Spring Alive Partners also have individual portals on the Spring Alive website that allows people to find out about local activities in each country. These activities include Spring Alive drawing and photo competitions, bird watching events and other information.

For further details about Spring Alive in Africa, please contact: Temidayo.osinubi@birdlife.org / wasro.intern@birdlife.org / obaka.torto@birdlife.org