National birds of various countries

This video from New Zealand says about itself:

21 January 2010

Last night the worst drought in 20+ years here on Purerua Peninsula was broken with a 36mm rainfall. This afternoon, one of our local kiwis came out in broad daylight. We think it had been getting hungry because the ground was too hard and dry to penetrate during the drought, but with the softer soil today, the bird came out to catch up on feeding.

Kiwis are the national birds of New Zealand.

This week, the black-tailed godwit won in the Dutch national bird election.

Dutch Vroege Vogels TV then went to The Hague, where the foreign embassies are, to ask the ambassadors of New Zealand, Israel, India and the USA about their national birds. The interviews are on this video.

The national bird of India is the peacock.

This video is called Pavo cristatus – Indian blue peacock calling.

The peacock is the symbol of the gods Indra and Vishnu in Hindu religion. Killing a peacock used to be punished with the death penalty.

This is a hoopoe video from the Czech republic.

In May 2008, the hoopoe was voted national bird of Israel. 155,000 people participated in the election.

This video from North Dakota in the USA is called Bald Eagles (Accipitridae: Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Nest-building.

In 1782, the United States Congress voted to have the bald eagle as national bird; though Benjamin Franklin would have preferred the turkey.

Birds have been honored, revered and worshipped in many different cultures throughout human history, and birds as gods or god-like figures is just one of the many cultural connections humans and birds share: here.

Threatened birds, new Red List

This video says about itself:

Birds: Critically endangered species in India: IUCN Red list

5 August 2015

From BirdLife:

2015 Red List – vultures, shorebirds and other iconic species

By Adrian Long, Thu, 29/10/2015 – 00:02

The plight of Africa’s Vultures is big news for the 2015 Red List update, but a number of other important changes also grab the attention this year.

Worldwide, 40 more bird species are now classified as having a higher risk of extinction in the 2015 Red List. Besides the vultures, these include many wading shorebirds, and other iconic species like Helmeted Hornbill, Swift Parrot, Atlantic Puffin, and European Turtle-dove.

Conversely, 23 species of birds have been downgraded to lower threat categories. In some cases, this reflects a better understanding of how they are faring, but some species have undergone remarkable recoveries as a result of conservation action, including Seychelles Warbler and Chatham Petrel.

IUCN Red List changes – summary in numbers

24 bird species are now classified as having a higher risk of extinction (either Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered) in the 2015 Red List update of birds, with seven species being upgraded to Critically Endangered. Another 16 bird species have seen their status change from Least Concern (the lowest level of threat) to Near Threatened. 23 species have been downgraded to lower threat categories.

7 species uplisted to Critically Endangered

Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus: Endangered to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

– White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus: Endangered to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis: Vulnerable to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

– Rüppell’s Vulture Gyps rueppellii: Endangered to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

– Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil: Near Threatened to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.
As well as severe loss of its South-East Asian forest habitat, the species is known to be targeted by hunters for its feathers and for its solid ‘ivory’ casque, which is used to produce handicrafts and traded with China. Previously, it was thought that capture rates may be relatively low as a result of the species becoming shy over centuries of hunting. However, recent reports suggest that the species is currently being traded on a large scale.

– Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor: Endangered to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.
Breeds on Tasmania before migrating to the Australian mainland for the winter. Affected by extensive habitat loss (both breeding and wintering areas) and, in 2014, it was reported that the species is also facing a severe threat from the introduced Sugar Glider Petaurus breviceps – a small possum – in its breeding areas.

Chestnut-capped Piha Lipaugus weberi: Endangered to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.
There are fewer than 250 individuals of this grey songbird, which is restricted to a few fragmented forest populations on the northern slope of the Central Andes of Colombia. Continued forest degradation and clearance for construction, agriculture and commercial plantations in the region are having profound and long-term environmental impacts on the species.

Wader/Shorebird species declines

Eight wader/shorebird species have seen their threat status upgraded, including Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris and Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis. Both species, which have gone up from Vulnerable to Endangered, use the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and are under intense pressure from the loss of intertidal stopover habitat in the Yellow Sea region of East Asia. Up to 65% of intertidal habitat in the Yellow Sea has been lost over the past 50 years, and the remaining habitat is currently disappearing at a rate of more than 1% annually, owing to reclamation for agriculture, aquaculture and other development.

Several other more widespread species of wading bird have seen their status raised from Least Concern to Near Threatened. Populations of the Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, Red Knot Calidris canutus and Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea are declining in East Asia and Australasia for the same reasons as above – but also in some other parts of their large world ranges, from Africa to the Americas.

Two other well-known waterbirds concentrated in Europe, Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus have also been uplisted to Near Threatened, owing to factors including the loss of breeding meadow habitat and overharvesting of shellfish, respectively.

Main successes

A total of 23 species have been downlisted to a lower level of threat. However, not all of these changes are down to actual improvements in the species’ plights, with many of the downlistings due to a better knowledge of individual populations and a more accurate revised picture of how the species in question are faring.

However, one particular conservation success story is Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis. Once one of the world’s rarest songbirds, it was present on a number of Seychelles islands until human disturbance reduced it to a single population of just 26 birds on the tiny (0·3 km²) Cousin Island in 1968. The island was purchased by the International Council for Bird Preservation (the forerunner to BirdLife International) in that year.

Subsequent intensive conservation management, such as the clearance of coconut plantations, which allowed the warbler’s woodland to regenerate, and translocations to four other Seychelles islands, means that the population reached 2,800 individuals in 2014, with conservationists expecting it to rise to a capacity of around 7,000 birds in future. As a result the species has been downlisted from Vulnerable to Near Threatened.

In addition, Audouin’s Gull Larus audouinii, formerly one of the world’s rarest breeding seabirds, with just 1,000 pairs in 1975, has seen its status improve from Near Threatened to Least Concern, due largely to the protection of its breeding colonies in the Ebro Delta in north-east Spain. There are now more than 20,000 pairs in the western Mediterranean.

Chatham Petrel Pterodroma axillaris breeds only in the remote Chatham Islands, c. 400 miles south-east of New Zealand. Historically, like many Pacific seabirds, its numbers were significantly impacted by invasive introduced mammalian predators, such as cats and brown rats. During the second half of the 20th century, the Chatham Petrel faced another threat in the form of nest-site competition with a much commoner seabird, Broad-billed Prion Pachyptila vittata. This led to a reduction in the Chatham Petrel population at a rate of approximately 1% a year, and in 1995 the population stood at a low of around 600-800 birds; the species was consequently listed as Endangered. However, following conservation measures, such as the installation of burrow flaps (which allow Chatham Petrels access to their nest sites, but exclude the prions) and the translocation of the petrels to two predator-free islands in the group, the species has been downlisted to Vulnerable.

Wildlife and weather in India, film

This video from India says about itself:

Wildlife Documentary – When The Peacocks Sing: A Prequel to the Monsoons | Pocket Films

18 October 2014

This beautifully shot documentary captures the magical transformation of the dry state of Rajasthan into a lush, beautiful region when the monsoon sets in.

The organisers of the Wildlife Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, write about this film:

In the semi-arid state of Rajasthan in North West India, the receding summer gives way to the pre-monsoons (a brief period with intermittent rains) making it one of the best spectacles of transformation. Set amidst dry landscapes and ancient monuments, the film showcases how the heat affects the inhabitants of the region – both human and wild animals, and behaviour patterns of each species in this period of scarcity.

Then the Monsoons finally descend, transforming everything around it – playing their part in the cyclic rotation of seasons that has been going on since time immemorial.

Thirsty Indian leopard gets head stuck in pot

This video says about itself:

30 September 2015

A thirsty leopard found itself in a tight spot after he went foraging for water in an Indian mining dump.

The wild animal was found with its head stuck in a metal pot in the Indian village of Sardul Kheda in Rajasthan in the country’s north-west.

The agitated leopard wandered around as it struggled to get rid of the vessel, with onlookers recording and photographing the scene.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Forest officials eventually tranquilised the animal and sawed the pot off.

It was then taken to an enclosure a safe distance from the village.

District forest officer Kapil Chandrawal said: “It has been brought to a safe place.

“We have also called veterinarians to assess its health, which is in good condition. We have also tranquilised the animal.”

Mr Chandrawal said the leopard was around three and a half years old.

Disruption to wild habitats have led to increasing numbers of wild animals straying into inhabited areas in search of food.

According to the BBC, a recent wildlife estimate puts the leopard population of India at between 12,000 and 14,000.

Saudi diplomat accused of raping Nepalese women

This video says about itself:

India Calls In Saudi Ambassador Over Rape Case

10 September 2015

India called in the Saudi Arabia ambassador to seek his cooperation with an investigation into allegations one of his diplomats repeatedly raped two Nepalese women.

While the Saudi royal air force kills Indian sailors, a Saudi royal diplomat in India is accused of crimes as well.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Nepalese maids accuse Saudi diplomat of rape

Thursday 10th September 2015

TWO Nepalese maids have accused a Saudi diplomat of rape and torture while they were working in his home outside the Indian capital New Delhi, Indian police said yesterday.

The women have filed complaints with police alleging that the unnamed diplomat kept them locked in his apartment where they were repeatedly abused, said assistant commissioner Rajesh Kumar.

A police team rescued the women late on Monday after a third recently hired maid alerted a local NGO.

“We have registered a case of rape, sodomy and illegal confinement based on their complaint,” said Mr Kumar.

“They have also said that even guests at the house raped them.

“That is why we have added gang rape to the list of charges.”

Police said they were trying to determine whether the Saudi official had diplomatic immunity before proceeding with their investigation.

One of the women said they had been held for about four months.