Wood ducks visit Texas barn owls


This video from the USA says about itself:

Early in the morning of April 20, 2015, a pair of Wood Ducks investigated the Texas Barn Owls‘ box. The female owl responded with a series of aggressive reactions that resulted in the ducks departing.

New lizard species discovery in India


Hyderabad-based herpetologist Aditya Srinivasulu found called Cnemaspis adii, a new species of gecko, in the ruins of Hampi in Karnataka in India

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of gecko lizard found at Indian World Heritage Site

A new type of gecko, a lizard found in warm climates, has been identified having been found in the ruins of Hampi, the World Heritage Site in Karnataka, India, reports The Hindu.

The lizard has been named Cnemaspis adii after Aditya Srinivasulu, a young herpetology researcher from Hyderabad who was involved in the discovery.

The animal belongs to the family of day geckos which are distinguished by the round pupils in their eyes which differ from the vertical pupils found in more common geckos.

Zoologists have identified the area around Hampi as having great potential for a rich biodiversity and more new species of smaller vertebrate and invertebrates.

“The discovery is significant because other species of day geckos have been, so far, reported only from the Western Ghats and southern Eastern Ghats in peninsular India,” says lead author Dr Chelmala Srinivasulu.

“This is the first time that day geckos have been found in the central regions of peninsular India between Eastern and Western Ghats.”

Dr Srinivasulu, along with G Chethan Kumar and Bhargavi Srinivasulu, all from the zoology wing of Osmania University in Hyderabad, published their findings in the journal Zootaxa.

This new day gecko species was first discovered by Dr Bhargavi Srinivasulu in 2012 while doing research on bats in the Hampi complex.

This latest team of zoologists studied photographs of live animals and researched on known species of day geckos reported from other parts of India. It is this work that has led to the current confirmation of the new species.

Cuckoos in nests help carrion crows


This video says about itself:

Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)

There were 5 birds together at Anarita Park, Cyprus, on 18th March 2015. Filmed with a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS hand held.

For information about the status and distribution of this species, see the following link.

From Wildlife Extra:

Carrion Crows in Spain thrive when they have a cuckoo in the nest

Carrion Crow chicks derive benefits from having to share their nest, researchers have found

A study in Spain has uncovered an interesting relationship between Carrion Crows and Great Spotted Cuckoos, reports Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

When the cuckoos lay up to three eggs in the nests of the larger crows, the chicks of both species are often raised together successfully, with the young crows ultimately growing bigger than the cuckoos.

So it’s not so bad for crow chicks as it can be for other species of birds who find their nests taken over by a cuckoo youngster.

When our Common Cuckoos utilise the nests of Reed Warblers, the growing cuckoo chick will push other eggs and chicks out of the nest.

When Great Spotted Cuckoos parasitise and take over Magpie nests, they do not evict the host’s young from the nest. They do, however, succeed in out-competing the magpie chicks for food, which often leads to the latter’s death.

Carrion Crow chicks, by contrast, sit back and wait for food to arrive while the cuckoo chick does all the begging, discovered Diana Bolopo of the University of Valladolid in Spain, who led a study into the pros and cons associated with this particular parasitic relationship.

Bolopo’s team filmed seven parasitised crow nests and six uninvaded ones in Northern Spain from the 2004 to the 2007 breeding seasons.

They observed how intensely the various chicks begged for food, and how adult Carrion Crows responded to these hunger cries when deciding which chick to feed first.

The sampled parasitised nests contained between one to five crow chicks, as well as one cuckoo chick.

The observations revealed that the cuckoo chicks raised alongside the crow chicks were not able to monopolise the food being brought to the nest.

It appears that crow caregivers prefer to feed crow nestlings rather than cuckoo nestlings.

The fact that cuckoo chicks begged more intensely than crow chicks balanced matters out so that the young ones of each species ultimately received an equal amount of food.

“Despite a higher begging intensity, Great Spotted Cuckoos do not out-compete bigger Carrion Crow nestlings,” says Bolopo.

She speculates that the cuckoo’s begging strategies are part of how it has evolved and adapted to a parasitic life in which it has to compete with either similar or larger-sized nest mates.

“It might actually be advantageous to crow chicks to share the nest with a cuckoo, because the crow chicks do not have to waste so much energy on begging intensely for food on their own.”

Irish prisoners help northern lapwings


This video is about young northern lapwings at their nest in the Netherlands.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Lapwings: Threatened bird species takes sanctuary in a Northern Ireland prison

Prisoners serving life sentences helped create the habitat for breeding lapwings

Michael McHugh

Monday 20 April 2015

One of the world’s most threatened birds has found a sanctuary within a prison that houses Northern Ireland’s most dangerous inmates.

Prisoners serving life sentences helped create the habitat for around 20 pairs of breeding lapwings. The birds have made their home on a marshy no-man’s-land at HMP Maghaberry, dominated by razor wire and lookouts behind reinforced glass.

The six-acre patch of waste ground lies between the perimeter fence and the wall of the jail, near Lisburn in County Antrim, known for holding dissident republicans, sex offenders and murderers.

Swampy, short grass and the lack of predators such as foxes have created the ideal conditions for breeding chicks, said retired prison guard and gardener Denis Smyth.

“We have to work together as a team, the prisoners and myself. We have a very good relationship with them; there is never a problem,” he said.

Lapwings, which are about the size of pigeons, have suffered a population decline of 50 per cent during the last 25 years as changes in farmland have impacted on habitats.

First convictions in Malta for illegal shooting of a Cuckoo and a Lapwing: here.