Glenn Bemont


Pretty in pink

Greater flamingo closeup - wildlife park - UK The greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the largest species of flamingo, averaging 110–150 cm tall and weighing 2–4 kg. The largest male flamingos have been recorded at up to 187 cm tall and 4.5 kg. The greater flamingo is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in parts of Africa, southern Asia, Israel and southern Europe. The bird resides in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and molluscs. The greater flamingo feeds with its head down and its upper jaw is movable and not rigidly fixed to its skull.

Love birds

2 very loved up bulbuls on an aloe - South Africa They sat together on the aloe for about 5 minutes, clearly very happy in each other's company. The common bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus) is a resident breeder in much of Africa. It is found in woodland, coastal bush, forest edges, riverine bush, montane scrub and in mixed farming habitats. It is also found in exotic thickets, gardens and parks. This species nests throughout the year in the moist tropics, elsewhere it is a more seasonal breeder with a peak in breeding coinciding with the onset of the rainy season. The nest is fairly rigid, thick walled, and cup-shaped. It is situated inside the leafy foliage of a small tree or shrub.

Darter on a branch

African darter on a branch - Drakensberg - South Africa Darter sunning itself on a branch at a small lake. I find darters difficult to photograph as they are wary birds. This one was fairly accommodating although it was quite far away. The African darter (Anhinga rufa), sometimes called the snakebird, is a water bird of sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq. It often swims with only the neck above water, hence the common name snakebird. Unlike many other waterbirds the feathers of the African darter do not contain any oil and are therefore not waterproof. Because of this, the bird is less positively buoyant and its diving capabilities are enhanced. After diving for fish, the feathers can become waterlogged. In order to be able to fly and maintain heat insulation, it needs to dry its feathers. Thus the African darter is often seen sitting along the waterside spreading its wings and drying its feathers in the wind and the sun along with cormorants which may share its habitat.

Red-winged Starling on branch

Red-winged Starling - South Africa The red-winged starling (Onychognathus morio) is a bird of the starling family Sturnidae, native to eastern Africa from Ethiopia to the Cape in South Africa. Like other starlings, the red-winged starling is an omnivore, taking a wide range of seeds, berries, nectar from plants such as Aloe and invertebrates, such as beetles. They may take nestlings and adults of certain bird species, such as the African palm swift. It will also scavenge on carrion and human food scraps. The red-winged starling is territorial, aggressive and intolerant when nesting, and will attack other species, including domestic animals and humans. When not breeding, red-winged starlings are highly gregarious and will associate with other members of their species in large flocks.

Masked weaver on a post

Masked weaver - Drakensberg - South Africa African masked weaver or southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus) is a resident breeding bird species common throughout southern Africa. This weaver is very widespread and found in a wide range of habitats, including shrubland, savanna, grassland, open woodland, inland wetlands and semi-desert areas. It also occurs in suburban gardens and parks. The adult male in breeding plumage has a black face, throat and beak, red eye, bright yellow head and underparts, and a plain yellowish-green back. The African masked weaver nests in colonies, mainly from September to January. Males have several female partners, and build a succession of nests, typically 25 each season. The nests, like those of other weavers, are woven from reed, palm or grass. A female will line a selected nest with soft grass and feathers. The nest is built in a tree, often over water, but sometimes in suburbia. This weaver also nests in reeds.

White fronted bee eater

White fronted bee eater - South Africa The White-fronted bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) is endemic to Africa, occurring from Gabon and Uganda south to southern Africa. It is often associated with riverbanks and eroded gullies, as they are used as nesting sites. It generally prefers wooded grasslands, bushy pastures, broad-leaved and mixed woodlands, especially with nearby watercourses. It feeds exclusively on insects, mostly the Apis mellifera (Honey bee) but also bugs, wasps etc. It has one of the most complicated societies of all birds, with each colony, which is made up of 10-20 nests dig into riverbanks or gullies. Colonies comprising a number of groups, known as clans. Within each clan is a number of families, each containing a breeding pair and 1-5 "helpers", which are usually the previous season's brood.

Allo allo

Lovely little yellow-fronted canary on an aloe - South Africa The yellow-fronted canary (Serinus mozambicus) is a small passerine bird in the finch family. It is also known as the green singing finch. This bird is a resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Its habitat is open woodland and cultivation. It nests in trees, laying 3–4 eggs in a compact cup nest. The yellow-fronted canary is 11–13 cm in length. The adult male has a green back and brown wings and tail. The underparts and rump are yellow, and the head is yellow with a grey crown and nape, and black malar stripe. The female is similar, but with a weaker head pattern and duller underparts. Juveniles are greyer than the female, especially on the head. The yellow-fronted canary is a common, gregarious seedeater.

Up the garden path

Blackbird posing on a concrete garden path.

Last of the summer wine

Wood pigeon taking a break from collecting the last grapes on the vine.

Bird and lantern

A blackbird posing next to a garden lantern.

Grey heron hunting

Grey heron searching for food on Lee Valley canal - London, UK

Teenage coot in windy weather

Teenage coot sailing with the wind - Lake, London, UK

Sleepy Jean

Slender billed gull caught scratching an itchy eye - Lake, London, UK

White pigeon of Whittington

White pigeon at Whittington Castle - Shropshire, UK.

Mother duck

Mother duck - Wales, UK Everybody loves a duck. Portrait of a mother duck, pictured without her ducklings. The reflection of greenery in the water and the light made very pretty patterns in the water.

Alert

Alert jackdaw on a slate roof - Wales, UK Measuring 34–39 centimetres in length, the western jackdaw is a black-plumaged bird with a grey nape and distinctive pale-grey irises. It is gregarious and vocal, living in small groups with a complex social structure in farmland, open woodland, on coastal cliffs, and in urban settings. An omnivorous and opportunistic feeder, it eats a wide variety of plant material and invertebrates, as well as food waste from urban areas. Western jackdaws are monogamous and build simple nests of sticks in cavities in trees, cliffs, or buildings. About five pale blue or blue-green eggs with brown speckles are laid and incubated by the female. The young fledge in four to five weeks.

Wingman

Seagulls formation flying through cloud - Wales, UK.

Mouette en vol à Calais

How do you make a title about a seagull more interesting? Well you could try translating it into French... :)

The moon's a balloon

Olive Bee-eater on a branch overhanging the sea - Guinea Bissau Okay so it's not the moon. It's image flare that happened to be in an appropriate place in the photo. "The Moon's a Balloon" is actually a very enjoyable memoir written by British actor David Niven but it made for an interesting title for this picture. The Olive Bee-eater prefers open riverine woodland, coastal plains (especially with mangroves) and wooded swamps - it is seldom far from water. It is insectivorous, doing most of its foraging in open areas, hawking insects on the ground and in the air. It lives in colonies of about 10-30, sometimes even 400 breeding pairs, who dig their burrows into a riverbank or erosion gully.

Gull on ice in autumn

Black headed gull on thin autumnal ice - London, UK This black headed gull (chroicocephalus ridibundus) is pecking at a bug which is in midair in this picture - that is why the 2 black bugs are so far apart and not touching like the 2 bird's feet are. The picture has been inverted so that the gull's reflection is on top. In summer, the adult black headed gull has a chocolate-brown head (not black, although it does look black from a distance), pale grey body, black tips to the primary wing feathers, and red bill and legs. The hood is lost in winter, leaving just 2 dark spots. It breeds in colonies in large reed beds or marshes, or on islands in lakes, nesting on the ground. Like most gulls, it is highly gregarious in winter, both when feeding or in evening roosts. It is not a pelagic (living in open oceans or seas) species and is usually found far from coasts.

Parakeet in the Park

Monk Parakeet in a park - Barcelona, Spain If you visit Barcelona you will definitely come across a flock of noisy Monk Parakeets in a park or on the street. The Monk Parakeet, (Myiopsitta monachus) also known as the Quaker Parrot, is a species of parrot. It originates from the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries in South America. Self-sustaining feral populations occur in many places, mainly in North America and Europe. Barcelona has the greatest population of monk parakeets in Europe. The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest, in a tree or on a man-made structure, rather than using a hole in a tree. This gregarious species often breeds colonially, building a single large nest with separate entrances for each pair. In the wild, the colonies can become quite large, with pairs occupying separate "apartments" in nests that can reach the size of a small automobile.

About to launch

Eurasian Collared Dove on a fountain in Barcelona - Spain The Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) is one of the great colonisers of the bird world. Its original range at the end of the 19th century was warm temperate and subtropical Asia from Turkey east to southern China and south through India to Sri Lanka. In Europe it has been observed to colonise at a rate of 45 km/year and at a rate of 100km/year in North America where it has been introduced. It is closely related to the African Collared Dove of sub-Saharan Africa. The song is a coo-COO-coo, repeated many times. It is phonetically similar to the Greek decaocto ("eighteen"), to which the bird owes its zoological name. It also makes a harsh loud screeching call lasting about two seconds, particularly in flight just before landing.

Eastern Great Egret

Eastern Great Egret - wildlife park, Brisbane The Eastern Great Egret (ardea alba modesta) often breeds in colonies with other herons, egrets, cormorants, spoonbills and ibises. One brood is raised a year, although the breeding season varies within Australia. In the north of the country it is in March to May, in southern and central Queensland December and January, and October to December in the south. Located atop trees at a height of 20 m or more, the nest is a flat wide platform of dry branches and sticks with a shallow basin for eggs and young. The clutch consists of anywhere from two to six pale blue-green eggs, with three or four being the usual number.

Cassowary

Cassowary closeup - wildlife park, Brisbane The Southern Cassowary (casuarius casuarius) is a large flightless black bird native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, nearby islands, and northeastern Australia. Cassowaries feed mainly on fruit, although all species are truly omnivorous and will take a range of other plant food including shoots, grass seeds, and fungi in addition to invertebrates and small vertebrates. Cassowaries are very shy, but when provoked they are capable of inflicting injuries to dogs and people, although fatalities are extremely rare.

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove - wild life park, Brisbane. I love the pink crown. The Rose-crowned Fruit Dove (ptilinopus regina) is found in lowland rainforests of eastern Australia, and monsoon forests of northern Australia and some Indonesian islands. The diet consists mainly of various fruits, palms and vines. The female usually lays a single white egg.

Curlew closeup

Bush Stone-curlew closeup - Australia Zoo, Australia Slightly more abstract than true to life. The relatively high ISO seems to make the feathers more feathery with the higher grain. During the day, Bush Stone-curlews (burhinus grallarius) tend to remain inactive, sheltering amongst tall grass or low shrubs and relying on their cryptic plumage to protect them from predators. When disturbed, they freeze motionless, often in odd-looking postures. For visual predators like raptors (and humans), this works well, but it serves little purpose with animals that hunt by scent such as foxes, dingoes or goannas.

Cormorant on the beach

Australian Pied Cormorant - Moreton Island, Australia The Australian Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) is a medium-sized member of the cormorant family. Although typically found in marine habitat, they are also attracted to inland waters, including lakes, deep and open swamps, and rivers.Australian Pied Cormorants are sometimes seen as solitary individuals, sometimes in pairs and sometimes in very large flocks.

Shadows and reflections

Mallard swimming in shadow with green light reflected through leaves - Essex lake, UK. Mallards (anas platyrhynchos) are very adaptable, being able to live and even thrive in urban areas which may have supported more localized, sensitive species of waterfowl before development. The release of feral Mallards in areas where they are not native sometimes creates problems through interbreeding with indigenous waterfowl. These non-migratory Mallards interbreed with indigenous wild ducks from local populations of closely related species through genetic pollution by producing fertile offspring. Complete hybridization of various species of wild ducks gene pools could result in the extinction of many indigenous waterfowl. The wild Mallard itself is the ancestor of most domestic ducks and its naturally evolved wild gene pool gets genetically polluted in turn by the domesticated and feral populations.

Baby coots

Baby coots - not quite as pretty as ducklings but nevertheless they are still little cooties - Essex lake, UK Coots are medium-sized, crane-like birds that are members of the rail (rallidae) family. Common coots (fulica atra) have prominent frontal shields or other decoration on the forehead, with red to dark red eyes and coloured bills. Many, but not all, have white on the under tail. The featherless shield gave rise to the expression "as bald as a coot," which the Oxford English Dictionary cites in use as early as 1430. Like other rails, they have long, lobed toes that are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. Coots have strong legs and can walk and run vigorously. They tend to have short, rounded wings and are weak fliers, though northern species nevertheless can cover long distances.

Foraging on the shore

Thrush foraging on the shore of lake Zemplínska Šírava (sometimes called the "Slovak sea") in eastern Slovakia, near the town of Michalovce.

Brown duck

Mallard cross duck in a stream - Kedron Brook, Brisbane, Australia I am not 100% sure this is a mallard. Please let me know if you can identify it. The Mallard (anas platyrhynchos) is omnivorous and very flexible in its choice of foods. They usually feed by dabbling (moving the bill around in shallow water) for plant food or grazing. The majority of the Mallard's diet seems to be made up of gastropods (snails and slugs), frogs, invertebrates (including beetles, flies, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, and caddisflies), crustaceans, worms, many varieties of seeds and plant matter, and roots and tubers.Mallards usually nests on a river bank, but not always near water. They are highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and forms large flocks, which are known as sords.

White-faced Heron in the mangroves

White-faced Heron in the mangroves - Sunshine Coast, Australia White-faced Herons (egretta novaehollandiae) eat most small aquatic creatures and their varied diet is fish, frogs, small reptiles and insects. They use a variety of techniques to find food including standing still and waiting for prey movement (often employing a peculiarly rhythmic neck movement whether in water or on land), walking slowly in shallow water, wing flicking, foot raking or even chasing prey with open wings. White-faced Herons generally feed solitarily or independently in small groups.

Pacific Black Duck

Pacific Black Duck - Kedron Brook, Brisbane, Australia The Pacific Black Duck (anas superciliosa) is a dabbling duck found in much of Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and many islands in the southwestern Pacific.This sociable duck is found in a variety of wetland habitats, and its nesting habits are much like those of the Mallard. It feeds by upending, like other Anas ducks.

Galah in the gah-rass

Galah foraging in the grass - Brisbane, Austalia The Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), also known as the Rose-breasted Cockatoo, is one of the most common and widespread cockatoos, and it can be found in open country in almost all parts of mainland Australia.They are common in some metropolitan areas and open habitats which offer at least some scattered trees for shelter. "Galah" is also derogatory Australian slang, synonymous with 'fool' or 'idiot'.

Darter in the drizzle

Australasian Darter enjoying the drizzle - Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane, Australia Australasian Darters (Anhinga novaehollandiae) feed mainly on mid-sized fish; far more rarely, they eat other aquatic vertebrates and large invertebrates of comparable size. These birds are foot-propelled divers that quietly stalk and ambush their prey; then they use their sharply pointed bill to impale the food animal. They do not dive deep but make use of their low buoyancy made possible by wettable plumage, small air sacs and denser bones.

Rainbow Lorikeet in shadow

Rainbow Lorikeet in partial shadow - Brisbane - Australia The Rainbow Lorikeet, (Trichoglossus haematodus) is a species of Australasian parrot found in Australia, eastern Indonesia (Maluku and Western New Guinea), Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In Australia, it is common along the eastern seaboard, from Queensland to South Australia and northwest Tasmania. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas.

Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra in a tree - Brisbane - Australia Kookaburras are terrestrial tree kingfishers. The laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a carnivorous bird native to eastern Australia. Male and female adults are similar in plumage, which is predominantly brown and white. A common and familiar bird, this species of kookaburra is well known for its laughing call. Kookaburras hunt much as other kingfishers do: by perching on a convenient branch or wire and waiting patiently for prey to pass by. Common prey include mice and similar-sized small mammals, large insects, lizards, small birds and nestlings, and most famously, snakes. Small prey are preferred, but kookaburras sometimes take large creatures, including venomous snakes much longer than their bodies.

Blue faced honey eaters in a palm tree

Juvenile Blue faced honey eater in a palm tree - Brisbane - Australia The bare facial skin of Blue faced honey eaters (Entomyzon cyanotis) that have just fledged is yellow, sometimes with a small patch of blue in front of the eyes, while the skin of birds six months and older has usually become more greenish, and turn darker blue beneath the eye, before assuming the adult blue facial patch by around 16 months of age.

Willie wagtail

Willie Wagtail at the golf course - Brisbane - Australia The Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is insectivorous and spends much time chasing prey in open habitat. Its common name is derived from its habit of wagging its tail horizontally when foraging on the ground. Aggressive and territorial, the Willie Wagtail will often harass much larger birds such as the Laughing Kookaburra and Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Crested pigeon on the ground

Crested pigeon on the ground - Brisbane - Australia Crested pigeons (ocyphaps lophotes) make a beating and whistling sound with their wings when they take off. This is most likely to draw the attention of predators to birds on the wing and away from any birds remaining on the ground and as an alarm call to other pigeons.

Duck in green soup

Female mandarin duck in a pool with leaves reflected in the water. The Mandarin Duck (aix galericulata), is a medium-sized, East Asian perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. In the wild, Mandarin Ducks breed in densely wooded areas near shallow lakes, marshes or ponds. They nest in cavities in trees close to water and during the spring, after mating the females lay their eggs in a cavity in the tree. A single clutch of nine to twelve eggs is laid in April or May. Although the male may defend the brooding female and his eggs during incubation, he himself does not incubate the eggs and leaves before they hatch. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, their mother flies to the ground and coaxes the ducklings to leap from the nest. After all of the ducklings are out of the tree, they will follow their mother to a nearby body of water.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

Australian White Ibis - Brisbane Australia The Australian White Ibis (threskiornis moluccus), is widespread in eastern, northern and southwestern Australia. It occurs in marshy wetlands, often near open grasslands and has become common in Australian east-coast city parks and rubbish dumps in the urban areas. Alternate colloquial names include "Bin Chicken", "Dump Chook" or "Tip Turkey", from its habit of rummaging in garbage, and "Sheep-bird".

Bird on the wire

Spotted Dove on a telephone line - Brisbane - Australia When disturbed spotted doves (spilopelia chinensis) rise swiftly and dash for leafy cover, revealing the white tips of their outer tail feathers. Their habit of flushing into the air when disturbed makes them a hazard on airfields, often colliding with aircraft and sometimes causing damage. "Like a bird on the wire, Like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way to be free." (Leonard Cohen - 1968)

Silver gull bath

Silver gull taking a bath - Australia Silver gulls (chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) often engage in kleptoparasitism; one bird takes prey or other food from another that has caught or collected the food.

Curlew on the tidal flats

Bush Stone-curlew on the tidal flats with mangrove roots showing through the sand - Morton Island - Australia Bush Stone-curlews (burhinus grallarius) make a somewhat eerie, wailing noise at night, and have been responsible for many a phone call to the police from people thinking someone was screaming in the bush. For this reason the Bush Stone-curlew is also known as the 'Screaming Woman Bird".

Magpie in the grass

Magpie in the grass - London, UK The black and white Eurasian Magpie (pica pica), is one of the few animal species known to be able to recognize itself in a mirror test. It has been observed that they cut up their food in correctly sized proportions, depending on the size of their young. In captivity, magpies have been observed counting up to get food, imitating human voices, and regularly using tools to clean their own cages. In the wild, they organise themselves into gangs, and use complex strategies when hunting other birds, and when confronted by predators.

Wet swan

Close up of mute swan's head after a recent dip - London, UK The Mute Swan (cygnus olor) is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as cobs) averaging about 11–12 kg and the slightly smaller females (known as pens) weighing about 8.5–9 kg.

Pied Oystercatcher in the surf

Pied Oystercatcher in the surf - Moreton Island - Australia The diet of coastal Pied Oystercatchers (haematopus longirostris) is varied, although dependent upon coast type; on estuaries bivalves, gastropods and polychaete worms are the most important part of the diet, whereas rocky shore oystercatchers prey upon limpets, mussels, gastropods, and chitons. Other prey items include echinoderms, fish, and crabs.

Male Mallard closeup

Closeup of a male Mallard on a lake - London, UK Mallards (anas platyrhynchos) frequently interbreed with their closest relatives in the genus Anas (dabbling ducks), and also with species more distantly related, leading to various hybrids that may be fully fertile. This is quite unusual among different species, and apparently is because the Mallard evolved very rapidly and recently, during the late Pleistocene.

A couple of greylag geese

Greylag geese heads - London, UK The waterfowl genus "Anser" (includes all grey geese) contains ten living species, which span nearly the whole range of true goose shapes and sizes. The largest is the Greylag Goose (anser anser) at 2.5 – 4.1 kg, and the smallest is the Ross's Goose at 1.2 – 1.6 kg. All have legs and feet that are pink, or orange, and bills that are pink, orange, or black.

Swanning along

Mute swan gliding along in a lake - London, UK The down of the cygnets may range from pure white to grey to buff, with grey/buff the most common. All Mute Swans (cygnus olor) are white at maturity but white cygnets have a leucistic gene (a condition characterized by a lack of cells capable of making pigment).

Male mallard portrait

Male mallard on a lake,.London - UK Due to the malleability (appropriate that a Mallard should be malleable) of the Mallard's (anas platyrhynchos) genetic code, which gives it its vast interbreeding capability, mutations in the genes that decide plumage colour are very common and have resulted in a wide variety of hybrids such as Brewer's Duck.

Greylag goose family outing

Greylag goose parents and goslings on a family outing. Note the beak of the straggler at far left of the picture - London, UK. In Great Britain, Greylag geese (anser anser) numbers had declined as a breeding bird, retreating north to breed wild only in the Outer Hebrides and the northern mainland of Scotland. However during the 20th century, feral populations have been established elsewhere, and they have now re-colonised much of England. The breeding habitat is a variety of wetlands including marshes, lakes, and damp heather moors.

Crow in a tree

Crow in a tree - London The Carrion Crow (corvus corone) is a member of the passerine (perching) order of birds and the crow family which is native to western Europe and eastern Asia. The crow genus makes up a third of the species in the Corvidae family. Crows appear to have evolved in Asia from the corvid stock, which had evolved in Australia. The collective name for a group of crows is a flock or a murder. Recent research has found some crow species capable of not only tool use but also tool construction and meta-tool use. Crows are now considered to be among the world's most intelligent animals with an encephalization quotient (a measure of relative brain size defined as the ratio between actual brain mass and predicted brain mass for an animal of a given size, which is hypothesized to be a rough estimate of the intelligence of the animal) approaching that of some apes.

Pelican trawling

Great white pelican looking for food in a lake in a London park. The Great white pelican's (pelecanus onocrotalus) pouch serves simply as a scoop. As the pelican pushes its bill underwater, the lower bill bows out, creating a large pouch which fills with water and fish. As the bird lifts its head, the pouch contracts, forcing out the water but retaining the fish.

Tufted duck

Pretty little male tufted duck in a park - London - UK The rapid expansion of the Tufted Duck (aythya fuligula) in Britain during the late 19th/early 20th century is probably due to the colonisation of Britain by Zebra Mussels (small freshwater mussels) which were brought into London docks in the 1820s.

Pretty boy

Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot on a branch at a wild life park - Hertfordshire, UK The Blue-fronted Amazon (amazona aestiva) is commonly seen as a pet, both in South America and other parts of the world. Their talking ability varies greatly from individual to individual, but some speak nearly as well as the Yellow-headed Amazon group and they seem to have an inclination for singing. They require interaction but also can play with toys contently for several hours at a time. Pets require plenty of toys, perches, and climbing room. As with some other birds, under no circumstances are Blue-fronted Amazons to eat avocado as it is poisonous to them.

Plover in the surf

Spur-winged plover in the surf - Guinea Bissau, Africa The Spur-winged plover (vanellus spinosus) is known to sometimes use its wing-claws to attack animals who get too close to its exposed offspring.

Fi-male fezent in the feeld

Wild female common pheasant that I was lucky to come across at relatively close quarters in a field. I don't know who was more surprised! The males are of course a lot more colourful than the females but that doesn't mean this is not a pretty lady. - London, UK The Common Pheasant is one of the world's most hunted birds; it has been introduced for that purpose to many regions, and is also common on game farms where it is commercially bred.

Brown blackbird

Female common blackbird in a park - London, UK The male Common Blackbird defends its breeding territory, chasing away other males or utilising a "bow and run" threat display. This consists of a short run, the head first being raised and then bowed with the tail dipped simultaneously. If a fight between male Blackbirds does occur, it is usually short and the intruder is soon chased away. The female Blackbird is also aggressive in the spring when it competes with other females for a good nesting territory, and although fights are less frequent, they tend to be more violent.

Wood pigeon stare

Common Wood pigeon on the grass in the park - London, UK I personally love all types of pigeons. My father used to keep racing pigeons. Common Wood Pigeons seem to have a preference for nesting in trees near roadways and rivers. The nests are vulnerable to attack, particularly by crows, the more so early in the year when the leaf cover is not fully formed. Young Common Wood Pigeons swiftly become fat, as a result of the 'milk' they are fed by their parents. This is an extremely rich, sweet fluid that is produced in the adult birds' crops during the breeding season.

Giant Kingfisher on a dead tree

Giant Kingfisher on a dead tree - Zimbabwe, Africa The Giant Kingfisher (megaceryle maxima) is the largest kingfisher in Africa, where it is a resident breeding bird over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert other than the arid southwest. The Giant Kingfisher feeds on crabs, fish, and frogs, caught in the typical kingfisher way by a dive from a perch.

Pretty pigeon

I thought this was quite an unusual and pretty pigeon I spotted resting on the grass - London This pigeon (columba livia) has leucism; a condition characterized by reduced pigmentation in animals. In this case this has resulted in patches of body surface having a lack of cells capable of making pigment. Leucism is not like albinism, which is only caused by a reduction in the pigment melanin. Leucism is caused by a reduction in all types of skin pigment (not just melanin).

Great-billed Heron searching the shallows

Great-billed Heron wading in the shallows - Krabi, Thailand The Great-billed Heron's habitats are largely coastal such as islands, coral reefs, mangroves, large rivers, etc. However, occasionally, it can be found inland in shallow ponds. It feeds in shallow water, spearing fish with its long, sharp bill. It will wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim.

Sleepy kelp goose

Sleepy female kelp goose basking in the sun. The males are white. Tierra del Fuego, Argentina Kelp geese inhabit areas of southern Chile and Argentina, mainly in Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and the Falkland Islands. They habitat rocky coasts around their food sources. Kelp geese are noted for only eating kelp and will migrate along the coast of South America in order to find kelp, hence the name 'kelp geese'.

Pit pat waddle pat

Female mallard duck at a river (with a blade of grass on its breast) - Blenheim, New Zealand The Mallard (anas platyrhynchos) is a rare example in birds of both Allen's Rule (endotherms from colder climates usually have shorter limbs/appendages than the equivalent animals from warmer climates) and Bergmann's Rule (within a broadly distributed taxonomic clade, populations and species of larger size are found in colder environments, and species of smaller size are found in warmer regions). Bergmann's Rule, which states that polar forms tend to be larger than related ones from warmer climates, has numerous examples in birds. Allen's Rule says that appendages like ears tend to be smaller in polar forms to minimize heat loss, and larger in tropical and desert equivalents to facilitate heat diffusion, and that the polar taxa are stockier overall. Examples of this rule in birds are rare, as they lack external ears.

Chimango Caracara

Chimango Caracara (at least I think it is) on a rock - Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

My patch

Sooty Shearwater on an island in the Beagle channel with a view of Ushuaia, Argentina Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) are spectacular long-distance migrants, following a circular route, travelling north up the western side of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans at the end of the nesting season in March–May, reaching sub Arctic waters in June–July where they cross from west to east, then returning south down the eastern side of the oceans in September–October, reaching the breeding colonies in November. They do not migrate as a flock, but rather as single individuals, associating only opportunistically. An incident involving crazed sooty shearwaters in California in 1961 inspired Hitchcock's 1963 thriller The Birds, a cautionary tale of nature revolting against man.

Blue Whistling Thrush

Blue Whistling Thrush shot as it foraged in in a cave - Thailand It is known for its loud human-like whistling song at dawn and dusk. Like others in the genus, they feed on the ground, often along streams and in damp places. They eat fruits, earthworms, insects, crabs and snails. Snails and crabs are typically battered on a rock before feeding. In captivity, they have been known to kill and eat mice and in the wild have been recorded preying on small birds.

Egret on the rocks

Yellow-billed egret on the rocks - Guinea Bissau The Yellow-billed Egret stalks its prey methodically in shallow coastal or fresh water, including flooded fields. It eats fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects. It often nests in colonies with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Two to five eggs are laid, the clutch size varying with region.

Palm nut vulture

Palm nut vulture in a tree - Guinea Bissau Unusual for Birds of Prey, the Palm nut vulture (gypohierax angolensis) feeds mainly on the fruit of the oil-palm though it also feeds on crabs, molluscs, locusts, fish and has been known to occasionally attack domestic poultry.

Palm nut vulture

Closeup of palm nut vulture - Guinea Bissau At 1.2-1.5 kg, 60 cm and 150 cm across the wings, the palm nut vulture (gypohierax angolensis) is the smallest Old World vulture. Its plumage is all white except for black areas in its wings. It has a red patch around the eye. In flight this species resembles an eagle more than a typical vulture, and it can sustain flapping flight, so it does not depend on thermals.

Ring-necked dove

Pretty Ring-necked Dove in a tree - Guinea Bissau The Ring-necked Dove is a mostly sedentary bird, found in a variety of open habitats. Within its range, its penetrating and rhythmic, three-syllabled crooning is a familiar sound at any time of the year. Like all doves they depend on surface water and sometimes congregate in large flocks at waterholes in dry regions to drink and bathe.

When shall we 3 meet again?

3 hooded vultures in a tree stretching their wings- Guinea Bissau

Bulbul on a branch

Common Bulbul posing on branch - Guinea Bissau The Common Bulbul is found in woodland, coastal bush, forest edges, riverine bush, montane scrub and in mixed farming habitats. It is also found in exotic thickets, gardens and parks. This species nests throughout the year in the moist tropics, elsewhere it is a more seasonal breeder with a peak in breeding coinciding with the onset of the rainy season. The nest is fairly rigid, thick walled and cup-shaped. It is situated inside the leafy foliage of a small tree or shrub. Two or three eggs is a typical clutch. It, like other bulbuls, is parasitised by the Jacobin Cuckoo.

Little dove in the leaves

Lovely little Blue-headed Wood Dove scratching around in the leaf litter raised its head to get a good look at me as I took this photo - Guinea Bissau The Blue-headed Wood Dove is distributed to primary rainforests of equatorial mid-western Africa. Blue-headed Wood Doves mostly feed on various seeds (in particular grass seeds), fallen fruits, insects and small animals. Most foraging occurs on the ground.

Pied crow on the sand

Pied Crow on the sand with a tidal river in the background - Guinea Bissau The Pied Crow, Africa's most widespread member of the genus Corvus, occurs from Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Senegal, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea down to the Cape of Good Hope and on the large island of Madagascar, the Comoros islands, Aldabra, Zanzibar, Pemba and Fernando Po. All of its food is obtained from the ground such as insects and other small invertebrates, small reptiles, small mammals, young birds and eggs, grain, peanuts, carrion and any scraps of human food and fruit.

Western Reef Heron at full height

A Western Reef Heron spots something in the water and raises itself up, from its customary huddle, to full height - Guinea Bissau The Western Reef Heron has two plumage colour forms. There is an all-white morph and a dark grey morph; morphs can also occur with intermediate shades of grey which may be related to age or particoloured in grey and white. It occurs mainly on the coasts in tropical west Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf (Iran) extending east to India.

Wary whimbrel on the rocks

Whimbrel on the rocks - Guinea Bissau. I later discovered that whimbrels are hunted by some of the island residents, which might explain why they were very hard to get close to (even in the national park). Whimbrels (part of the curlew family) feed by probing soft mud for small invertebrates and by picking small crabs and similar prey off the surface. Prior to migration, berries become an important part of their diet. They also eat blue butterflies.

In full song

European robin with a lot to say - London England The European Robin is diurnal, although has been reported to be active hunting insects on moonlit nights or near artificial light at night. Well known to British gardeners, it is relatively unafraid of people and likes to come close when anyone is digging the soil, in order to look out for earthworms and other food freshly turned up. Indeed, the robin is considered to be a gardener's friend and for various folklore reasons the robin would never be harmed.

One good tern

Flock of various species of terns (Royal Terns with the yellow bills) on the sea shore - Guinea Bissau, Africa. The Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus albididorsalis ) lives on the coast of West Africa and is only found where there is salt water, they do not live where there is fresh water. They tend to feed near the shore, close to the beach or in backwater bays.

Whimbrel Island

Whimbrel perched on mangrove branches that have been half submerged by the incoming tide - Guinea Bissau

Sunbird amongst the buds

Green-headed Sunbird taking a break from nectar gathering - Guinea Bissau The sunbirds are a group of very small Old World passerine (perching) birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time. The Green-headed Sunbird (Cyanomitra verticalis) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae (very small passerine birds) family.

A long tail

Beautiful Sunbird - Guinea Bissau The Beautiful Sunbird, (Cinnyris pulchella), is a member of the sunbirds group which are part of a group of very small Old World passerine (perching) birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time. The Beautiful Sunbird is a common breeder across sub-Saharan tropical Africa.

HoodedVulture by the sea

Hooded vulture on a rock near the sea - Guinea Bissau Like other vultures the Hooded Vulture is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals and waste which it finds by soaring over savannah and around human habitation, including waste tips and abattoirs. It often moves in flocks, and is very abundant. In much of its range, there are always several visible soaring in the sky at almost any time during the day. This Hooded Vulture is typically unafraid of humans.

All yellow

Greenfinch tucking into its yellow afternoon meal - Guinea Bissau The Greenfinch (carduelis chloris), is a small passerine (perching) bird in the finch family Fringillidae. This bird is widespread throughout Europe, north Africa and south west Asia. It is mainly resident, but some northernmost populations migrate further south. The Greenfinch has also been introduced into both Australia and New Zealand. In Malta it is considered a prestigious song bird which has been trapped for many years. It has been domesticated and many Maltese people breed them.

Was that a bee?

Olive Bee-eater on a branch overhanging the sea - Guinea Bissau The Olive Bee-eater prefers open riverine woodland, coastal plains (especially with mangroves) and wooded swamps - it is seldom far from water. It is insectivorous, doing most of its foraging in open areas, hawking insects on the ground and in the air. It lives in colonies of about 10-30, sometimes even 400 breeding pairs, who dig their burrows into a riverbank or erosion gully.

Buzz off

Snake eagle being buzzed by a small bird - Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe. The Black-chested Snake Eagle (circaetus pectoralis) is a large African bird of prey found throughout southern Africa from Ethiopia and Sudan in the north to South Africa in the south and Angola in the southwest. It inhabits different habitats, providing it can find open terrain to hunt on, trees to perch and nest in, and sufficient food supply. This includes semi-arid or even desert areas. As its name indicates, this bird feeds mostly on snakes, but will also prey on lizards, small mammals and frogs.

Lone vulture

Hooded Vulture in a tree - Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe. The Hooded Vulture (necrosyrtes monachus) is a typical vulture, with a bald pink head and a greyish “hood”. It is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals and waste which it finds by soaring over savannah and around human habitation, including waste tips and abattoirs. It often moves in flocks, and is very abundant. In much of its range, there are always several visible soaring in the sky at almost any time during the day.

Southern Masked Weaver

Southern Masked Weaver in a weaver colony tree - SE Lowveld, Zimbabwe. The Southern Masked Weaver or (ploceus velatus) is a resident breeding bird species common throughout southern Africa. The adult male in breeding plumage has a black face, throat and beak, red eye, bright yellow head and underparts, and a plain yellowish-green back.

Hot penguin

Beach sparrow

House sparrow at the beach - Puerto Piramides, Argentina The House Sparrow (passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. The House Sparrow is strongly associated with human habitations, and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods. Its predators include domestic cats, hawks, owls, and many other predatory birds and mammals.

Squawking gull

Hungry baby Magellan penguins

Through the reeds

The 3 stooges

Magellan penguin

Moroccan Pigeon nesting

Pigeon nesting in a hole in a wall at the Mohammed V monument in Rabat, Morocco. I caught a glimpse of the baby pigeon but didn't manage to get a good picture of it. The quest continues.

Mountain sparrow

Sparrow shot in the High Atlas Mountains - Morocco

Black pigeon, green park

Black pigeon on the railings in the park - London - UK An usually dark street pigeon which I thought was really pretty. This wasn't shot in Green Park but the park was green and the name seemed to fit with the colour theme of the title.

Purple pigeon, green park

Pretty purple street pigeon in the park - London - UK I seem to have taken some nice pictures of pigeons recently so here's another. This wasn't shot in Green Park either (but the park was green and the name seemed to fit with the colour theme of the title).

Polly wants a cracker

Closeup of Amazon Parrot - wildlife park - UK