Great tit attacks insect hotel, video


In this video, a great tit has found out how to catch the insects hidden in the back of the insect hotel. Maybe more glue should have been used in making the insect hotel?

Melchior van Tweel made this video in his garden in the Netherlands.

Otter swimming with fish, video


This is a video about an otter swimming with a sizable fish in its mouth.

Ruud Bomert made this video in Overijssel province in the Netherlands.

Breeding ecology of the Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) in the wetland complex of Guerbes-Sanhadja, north-east Algeria


Originally posted on North African Birds:

Mouslim, B., Merzoug, S. E., Rassim, K., Bouslama, Z., & Houhamdi, M. (2014). Aspects of the breeding ecology of the Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio in the wetland complex of Guerbes-Sanhadja, north-east Algeria. Ostrich 85(2): 185-191.

PDF disponible maintenant sur African Journals online.

Abstract:

The Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio is a common rail that previously was little investigated in North Africa. From 2011 to 2013, its breeding ecology was studied at two natural wetlands in north-east Algeria, namely Garaet Hadj Tahar and Garaet Messaoussa. Numbers of Purple Swamphens at both localities peaked in late April and early May. Egg-laying started in early March, whereas hatching started in late March. Peak egg-laying took place in late March and early April, and peak hatching from mid-April to early May. There were significant differences in the size and weight of eggs between years and localities. The mean clutch size was 2.75…

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Young swans feeding, under water video


This is a video, filmed mostly under water, of young mute swans feeding in the Netherlands.

Marjo Steffen made the video.

Why vultures can eat carrion


This video is called Feeding a Vulture – Vultures: Beauty in the Beast – Natural World – BBC Two.

From Wildlife Extra:

A super-gut allows vultures to eat disgusting carcasses

Vultures are able to eat rotting carcasses covered in bacteria that could kill other creatures because their super-digestive tract is able to kill, or tolerate, dangerous bacteria like Clostridia, Fuso- and Anthrax-bacteria without ill-effects, a new study has found.

Co-author Michael Roggenbuck from University of Copenhagen explains: “Our results show there has been strong adaptation in vultures when it comes to dealing with the toxic bacteria they digest. On one hand vultures have developed an extremely tough digestive system, which simply acts to destroy the majority of the dangerous bacteria they ingest.

“On the other hand, vultures also appear to have developed a tolerance towards some of the deadly bacteria — species that would kill other animals actively seem to flourish in the vulture lower intestine.”

The scientists investigated the DNA of bacteria living on the face and gut of 50 turkey and black vultures from the USA and found the facial skin of vultures contained DNA from 528 different types of micro-organisms, whereas DNA from only 76 types of micro-organisms were found in the gut, meaning a staggering 452 have been got rid of along the way.

“Apparently something radical happens to the bacteria ingested during passage through their digestive system,” says fellow co-author Lars Hestbjerg Hansen from Aarhus University in Denmark.

Gary Graves of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History observed: “The avian microbiome is terra incognita but it is not unreasonable to suppose that the relationship between birds and their microbes has been as important in avian evolution as the development of powered flight and song.”

See also here.

Rare African desert warbler in western Europe for first time


This video is about an African desert warbler.

The video was recorded in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, on 21 November 2014, by Adri de Groot.

This north African species had never been seen in Europe, except for a few times in Spain and Italy.

Photos of this bird are here.