Jacana

Walk on water little jacana.

  • A jacana is a wader, and is also known as a ‘Jesus bird’, ‘lily trotter’, ‘lotus bird’ and ‘jaçana’.
  • Jacanas are tropical birds found throughout the tropical regions of the world, that live in shallow lake areas, ponds and wetlands.
  • There are eight known species of jacanas that come from the family ‘Jacanidae’, and males range from 15 to 39 cm (6 to 15 inches) in length and the females are slightly larger.
  • Jacanas’ diet consists mainly of insects, molluscs and other small animals found in a lake habitat, as well as aquatic seeds.
  • Jacanas appear to walk on water, and have long legs and large feet and claws or toes up to 7 cm (2.75 inches) long, which allows the bird to walk on lily pads and other vegetation in the water.

Jacana, Water, Ten Random Facts

Image Courtsey of Val Laird

  • Jacanas are typically brown in colour with pointy beaks and are good swimmers and divers. and can stay under water for long periods of time.
  • Jacanas build nests from plant material, that sit on floating or submerged vegetation.
  • Jacana females lay approximately four glossy eggs that are camouflaged with different markings, and the male sits on them and looks after the chicks.
  • Some jacanas have spurs on their wings which they use for fighting, and their wings are sometimes used to pick up eggs or their young to move them to another location.
  • Jacanas rarely leave their lake habitat to walk on land, and they only fly short distances.
Bibliography:
Jacanas, 2013, Wikipedia, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacana>
 Jacanas aka Lotus Birds, Lily Trotters or Jesus Birds, n.d, Avian Web, < http://www.avianweb.com/jacanas.html>

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Ostrich

Huge, heavy ostriches.

  • Ostriches are big, black, grey and sandy coloured birds, which cannot fly and have long legs and necks.
  • Ostriches are native to the savannahs and deserts of most of Africa, and often travel and graze with peaceful African animals such as zebras or giraffes.
  • The scientific name of ostriches is Struthio camelus and are from the family Struthionidae, which is a family of flightless birds, or ratites.
  • Ostriches weigh between 63 to 145 kg (140 to 320 pounds) and be 1.7 to 2.8 meters (5.6 to 9.2 feet) in height, and can run for up to 70km/hour (43miles/hour) but they run at 50 km/hour (31 miles/hour) on average.
  • Ostriches are the largest bird species, have the largest eyes and lay the largest eggs of all non-extinct birds and land animals.

Ostrich, one, Single, Struthio Camelus, Maasai Mara Game, Kenya, Africa, savanna, Bird, Animal, Fluffy, Ten Random Facts, National Geographic Stock

Ostrich
Image courtesy of National Geographic
  • Depending on the season, ostriches can be found living in herds or flocks of 5 to 50, living in pairs or by themselves.
  • Ostriches eat plants or small land animals and insects, and can go without drinking water for long periods of time, because they absorb moisture from their food.
  • To escape predators an ostrich usually runs away or lies flat on the ground to blend into its surroundings, but if cornered or threatened the bird will deliver a powerful kick with it’s two toed, sharp clawed foot, which can kill a human or large animal like a lion, but it can only kick forwards.
  • Ostriches are  bred on farms for feathers, leather and meat, which tastes a bit like beef, and they can be ridden on, in a similar way to a horse.
  • All the female ostriches in one flock will usually lay their eggs in one nest, with the male and the dominant female taking it in turns to sit on them, although on average, less than 10% of the nests will survive to hatching, and only 15% of the hatched ostrich chicks will live to the age of one.
Bibliography:
Ostrich, 2013, National Geographic, <http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/birds/ostrich/>
Ostrich, 2013, San Diego Zoo, < http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/ostrich>

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Yellow-bellied Sunbird

Darting here and there…

  • The Yellow-bellied sunbird is also known as an ‘Olive-backed sunbird’ and a ‘Yellow-breasted sunbird’ and its scientific name is Cinnyris jugularis or Nectarinia jugularis.
  • Yellow-bellied sunbirds can be found from north-east Australia to south Asia, including parts of China, Philippines and Malaysia.
  • The yellow-bellied sunbird’s diet generally consists of nectar, and sometimes insects.
  • Yellow-bellied sunbirds are normally 11-12 cm (4.3-4.7 inches) in length, and are quick fliers and have fast beating wings.
  • Yellow-bellied sunbirds are a species of sunbird and belong to the song bird family, Nectariniidae, and although they look similar to a hummingbird, they are not related.

Yellow-bellied sunbird, Yellow, green, female, red, flowers, background, bird, small, cute, Val Laird, Ten Random Facts

Yellow-bellied Sunbird
Image courtsey of Val Laird
  • Yellow-bellied sunbirds have a curved beak and are yellow underneath, or on their ‘bellies’, and have an olive coloured back and brown coloured wings.
  • Male yellow-bellied sunbirds have an iridescent blue throat, face and upper chest.
  • Yellow-bellied sunbirds build woven nests of branches and plant material, and generally include an overhanging porch.
  • Female yellow-bellied sunbirds lay 1-2 green/blue coloured eggs.
  • Yellow-bellied sunbirds are significant pollinators of mangrove trees, their native habitat, although they have become accustomed to human populated areas.
Biliography:
Olive-backed sunbird, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive-backed_Sunbird>

Blue-winged Kookaburra

Laugh, laugh, laugh like most kookaburras. Well this one doesn’t.

  • Blue-winged Kookaburras are large kingfishers with long beaks.  The males have blue tails, while the females have red-brown tails.
  • Blue-winged Kookaburras are also known as Barking Jackass, Howling Jackass and Leach’s Kookaburra.
  • Blue-winged Kookaburras were first recorded by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770, who thought the kookaburra was a Laughing Kookaburra. Nicholas Vigors and Thomas Horsfield corrected the mistake in 1826.
  • Blue-winged Kookaburras are found in the southern parts of New Guinea and the wetter parts of northern Australia.
  • Blue-winged Kookaburras eat small animals that live on the ground; like reptiles, insects and mammals
Blue Winged Kookaburra, Male, Australia, Kokkaburra, Kingfisher, Bird, Ten Random Facts Photo courtesy of Val Laird
  • Blue-winged Kookaburras live in trees and nest in tree holes.
  • Blue-winged Kookaburras lay 3-5 eggs that are white and a little shiny.
  • Sometimes, in the first week of being born, Blue-winged Kookaburra babies sometimes aggressively kill their youngest sibling.
  • Adult Blue-winged Kookaburras fly quite slow.
  • Blue-winged Kookaburras cackle, trill, bark and screech.
Bibliography:
Broadfoot, E 10 June 2010, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Australian Museum, <http://australianmuseum.net.au/Blue-winged-Kookaburra>

Buff-banded Rail

Buff-banded Rail – interesting name!

  • The Buff-banded Rail is also known as the Banded Landrail or Rail and its scientific name is ‘Gallirallus philippensis’.
  • The Buff-banded Rail is from the specie group ‘ralligae’ or the rails, and there are 26 total subspecies of the Buff-banded Rail, including those which are extinct.
  • The Buff-banded Rail is found throughout most of Australasia.
  • A Buff-banded Rail is normally 28-33 cm when fully grown.
  • The Buff-banded Rail has high pitch double cheeps.

Buff Banded Rail, Banded Landrail, Bird, Val Laird Designs, Ten Random Facts

 Photo courtesy of Val Laird
  • The Buff-banded Rail lives near water and rainforests.
  • The Buff-banded Rail is a shy but terrestrial bird
  • Buff-banded Rail flick their tails frequently.
  • The Buff-banded Rail feed on invertebrates, small vertebrates, seeds and fallen fruit and vegetables.
  • The nest of a Buff-banded Rail is usually constructed with grassy or reddish foliage situated near the water, and usually contains 5-8 eggs.
Bibliography:
Buff-banded Rail4 October 2012 , Wikipedia,  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buff-banded_Rail>
Pizzey, G 1997, Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Angus&Robertson, Australia
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