Black-crowned night heron migration, new study


This video says about itself:

Black Crowned Night Herons – Nycticorax nycticorax

REGUA Brazil, September 2011. Juvenile bird followed by adults. A couple of Snowy Egrets as well.

From the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in the USA, with map there:

Black-crowned Night-Heron Study

Posted by Leah Culp and Amy Scarpignato on March 4, 2014

Every spring, approximately 100 breeding pairs of black-crowned night-herons arrive at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The herons have been nesting here since before the zoo was established in 1889, yet we still do not know where they spend the winter.

Last August, the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center and the Bird House began a pilot study to unravel this mystery. Three adult herons from the rookery were fitted with satellite transmitters. The satellite transmitters emit signals for 2 hours, daily during migratory periods and every other day the remaining months.

Signals from the transmitters are picked up by satellites passing overhead and relayed to processing centers where the data is collected and processed to provide coordinates of the bird’s location.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the current locations of these birds are temporary stops or final destinations. One thing is certain, we know more now than we did last summer!

JoGayle (in green) left the breeding site on August 13 but remained in the D.C. area, near the Georgetown waterfront. Unfortunately, as of December 22, for unknown reasons, the transmitter stopped receiving locations.

Russ (in red) left the breeding site on September 22. Over the next 6 days, it made its way to Charlotte County, FL, a distance of 1400 km. It remained there since December 30, after which it travelled another 150 km to the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport. This transmitter also stopped receiving locations as of January 14, 2014.

Clive (in blue) left the breeding site on August 15 but remained in the D.C. area for another two months. On October 16 it started to move: first going to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay and staying for about three weeks, then heading south on November 6. It has been in northern Florida, 20 km southwest of Jacksonville, FL since November 20. For unknown reasons, this transmitter also stopped receiving locations as of December 22.

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Tunisian herons nesting, new research


This video says about itself:

Black Crowned Night Herons – Nycticorax nycticorax

REGUA Brazil, September 2011. Juvenile bird followed by adults. A couple of Snowy Egrets as well.

From North African Birds blog:

February 15, 2014 by North African Birds

Ouni, R., Nefla, A., El Hili, A., & Nouira, S. (2011). Les populations d’Ardéidés nicheurs en Tunisie. Alauda, 79 (2): 157–166. PDF

Abstract:

The breeding Ardeidae species of Tunisia.

Nine Ardeidae species breed in Tunisia. About 2,500-3,000 breeding pairs breed each year and more than 12,000 individuals winter. The breeding population includes 8 regular species: Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus and Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris (for the latter species, breeding is certain but no nest has been found). The Western Reef Egret Egretta gularis is a casual breeder. The Great Egret Casmerodius albus is present all the year round but no nesting has been found.

Thanks to Ridha Ouni for the article.

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Capuchin monkeys flirt by throwing stones


This video from Brazil says about itself:

Stone throwing by female capuchin monkeys / Arremesso de pedra por fêmeas de macacos-prego no cio

22 Nov 2013

Stone throwing by female capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) in estrus.

In the Sapajus genus females in estrus follow and try to attract the male attention. This display behavior includes facial expression and vocalizations.

The females of one of our study groups started to included stone throwing in the displays.

Serra da Capivara National Park – Piauí – Brazil.

From the BBC:

14 January 2014

Last updated at 01:22

Female capuchin monkeys throw stones to attract mates

By Ella Davies

Reporter, BBC Nature

Female capuchin monkeys have been filmed throwing stones at potential mates as a form of flirtation.

The primates whine, pull faces and follow potential mates around in scenes reminiscent of the school playground.

But scientists say this is a serious business for female capuchins as it is their only chance to secure a partner.

The previously unrecorded behaviour was filmed for the BBC/Discovery Channel coproduction series Wild Brazil.

Filmmakers captured the footage of bearded capuchins – a subspecies of tufted capuchins – in Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil.

The monkeys live in the dry savannah-like habitat known as the Caatinga in north eastern Brazil.

Although their common name refers to their hairstyles, the monkeys’ passionate side is hinted at in their scientific name Sapajus libidinosus.

Camila Galheigo Coelho from the University of Durham, UK, and the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil, has spent the last two years studying the social interactions of the monkeys for her PhD and helped filmmakers reveal the secrets of the capuchins’ sex lives.

The monkeys are known for their intelligence after being recognised as the first non-ape primates recorded to use tools.

Their manipulation of stones – for cracking nuts, digging soil and investigating holes – has fascinated scientists for years and recent studies have focussed on the capuchins’ ability to accurately aim and throw these stones.

Ms Coelho’s colleagues Tiago Falotico and Prof Eduardo B. Ottoni recently published their description of the females’ novel stone-throwing in the online journal PLoS One.

Unlike other monkeys, female capuchins do not have any physical indicators to show when they are at their most fertile or “proceptive”.

Without brightly coloured, swollen genitals or strong smelling odours or liquids to communicate, the capuchins display they are ready to mate through their behaviour.

The females solicit attention from males with pronounced pouting faces, whining calls or by touching them and dashing away.

This behaviour builds as the females pursue their mates and in the Serra da Capivara capuchins, it leads to females throwing stones directly at the subjects of their desire.

But rather than a signal of aggression, the stone-throwing is a compliment.

“Similar to the other primates where the male might wait until the swelling has reached its peak in size or redness, capuchin males will wait for the female to display full blown proceptive behaviour in order to guarantee copulation at the most fertile stage,” explained Ms Coelho.

The biologist has been studying how individual behaviours can become more widespread traditions but she explained that this particular behaviour is unique to the Serra da Capivara group and is unlikely to be transmitted to others.

“It would be tricky for this behaviour to transfer. In capuchins the females stay with their groups for the rest of their lives – it’s the males that migrate to other groups,” she said.

Other cultures of using stones or sticks have a better chance of transmitting because males migrate into neighbouring groups and end up spreading the behaviour.”

Ms Coelho is now analysing her data to produce a “social network” of the capuchins’ interactions.

“The idea is that I can see who is friends with who and map onto that how the behaviour spreads.”

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Brazilian damselfly discovery


Lestes pictus, photo by Dennis Paulson

From the World Land Trust:

Rare damselfly discovered, new to Guapi Assu Reserve

6 January, 2014 – 15:38

A beautiful blue spreadwing damselfly – Lestes pictus – has been recorded for the first time at Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA) in Brazil, a reserve supported by World Land Trust (WLT).

The recording was made by Dennis Paulson and Netta Smith. This is how Dennis described the discovery:

“Netta and I visited REGUA for almost two weeks in late October to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the lodge and the wildlife of the area, but our special purpose was to look for dragonflies and damselflies.

“On 24 October, we visited a tiny, densely vegetated pond by the abandoned house on the Waldenoor Trail and found Lestes pictus, a new species for REGUA. This beautiful spreadwing damselfly is known from relatively few records from Peru, Argentina and southern Brazil (Mato Grosso, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo).”

Wetland restoration

The sighting is an indicator of the exceptional levels of biodiversity on the reserve, and is testimony to the success of REGUA’s wetland restoration project.

The species belongs to the Lestidae (spreadwing) family of damselflies, which hold their wings slightly open in a V shape at about 45 degrees to the body when resting. This distinguishes them from most other species of damselflies, which hold the wings close to their body when at rest.

Like dragonflies, damselflies belong to the Odonata order of carnivorous insects and they feed on small insects including midges and mosquitoes. (The word Lestes means ‘predator’ in Greek.)

Damselflies and dragonflies can only breed in unpolluted, oxygen-rich water, and their presence is evidence of the clean waters of the reserve’s wetland areas.

During their visit to REGUA, Dennis and Netta encountered 78 species of Odonata, not even half of the species known from the area, but still a very impressive list for a short visit at the end of the dry season.

More information

WLT has been working in partnership with REGUA since 2005, and currently supports two rangers on the reserve through WLT’s Keepers of the Wild programme. You can help more rare species make their home at REGUA by donating to Keepers of the Wild.

A genus of insect that inhabits caves in eastern Brazil has reversed sex organs, say scientists: here.

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New South American tapir species discovery


This video is called New Tapir Species Discovered In Amazon, Indigenous Tribes Were ‘Essential’ To Identify.

From Wildlife Extra:

Dramatic discovery of new tapir species in south-west Amazon

Tapirus kabomani is the largest land mammal to be discovered in decades

December 2013: In one of the most important zoological discoveries of the 21st century, scientists have announced they have found a new species of tapir in Brazil and Columbia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent, although it’s still the smallest living tapir. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for ‘tapir’ in the local Paumari language: ‘Arabo kabomani’.

Tapirus kabomani, or the Kobomani tapir, is the fifth tapir found in the world and the first to be discovered since 1865. It is also the first mammal in the order Perissodactyla (which includes tapirs, rhinos, and horses) found in over a hundred years. Moreover, this is the largest land mammal to be discovered in decades: in 1992 scientists discovered the saola in Vietnam and Cambodia, a rainforest bovine that is about the same size as the new tapir.

Found inhabiting open grasslands and forests in the Brazilian states of Rondônia and Amazonas, as well as the Colombian department of Amazonas, the new species is regularly hunted by the Karitiana tribe who call it the ‘little black tapir’. The new species is most similar to the Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris), but sports darker hair and is significantly smaller: while a Brazilian tapir can weigh up to 320 kilograms (710 pounds), the Kabomani weighs just 110 kilograms (240 pounds). It also has shorter legs, a distinctly-shaped skull, and a less prominent crest.

Lead author and paleontologist Mario Cozzuol first found evidence of the new species a decade ago while looking at tapir skulls, which were markedly different than any other. Researchers then collected genetic material and tapir specimens from local hunters and the Karitiana Indians and extensive research into both the tapir’s physical appearance and genetics proved that the researchers were indeed dealing with an as-yet-undescribed species.

See also here.