A blog about birds, especially those in Brazil and South America, by Ben Tavener

 

Yellow-chevroned Parakeets (Brotogeris chiriri) are native to tropical South America, from central Brazil to southern Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina.
 
I spotted a group of them in the Parque Municipal of Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais state in Brazil.

A short video of the world’s smallest macaw, the Red-shouldered macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis) in my garden in São Paulo.

The purpose of the video is to show you how noisy they are!

Filmed by me in Butantã, São Paulo.

How many birds are killed by windows?

Spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere, the sun is shining, the birds are migrating back from warmer climes. But do they face a deadly foe on their return - the pane of glass?

Bird flies into a window

The figures reported for bird strikes against windows are astonishing. It is often said that between 100 million and a billion birds die in the US each year after striking windows.

These numbers appear in news articles, bird guides and even the American Bird Conservancy’s website.

In the UK, the British Trust for Ornithology estimated a few years ago that100 million bird strikes occurred each year, of which a third are fatal.

But are the numbers accurate?

Continue reading

One of the UK’s commonest birds, both in cities and the countryside, the jackdaw (Corvus monedula) is a gutsy and subtly beautiful corvid - with icy cold eyes and a gregarious call.

Filmed by me in Leeds Castle, Kent, UK.

The Water rail (Rallus aquaticus) is a fairly common but usually highly secretive bird that is normally heard squealing and grunting like a pig rather than actually being seen.

However, at the RSPB’s fantastic Titchwell Nature Reserve on the north Norfolk coast, there is an extremely obliging water rail, and he was easy to film once he came out into the open.

Filmed by me at RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla - male) seen today at Stodmarsh NNR, Kent.
See a video of this blackcap here.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla - male) seen today at Stodmarsh NNR, Kent.

See a video of this blackcap here.

Another visit to Stodmarsh NNR in Kent today, but this time I spent a good five-six hours slowly walking round the whole reserve - and it was really worth it.

Many recently-arrived migrants were present, including: whinchat, nightingale, blackcap, willow warbler, chiffchaff, sedge warbler, swallow, house martin, whitethroat and a group of about 20 yellow wagtail.

Other highlights included: lesser redpoll, treecreeper, bearded tit (reedling), marsh harrier and courting great crested grebes.

Filmed by me at Stodmarsh, UK.

Avocets (Recurvirostra avosetta) are one the UK’s prettiest waders.

Black and white with its distinctive upcurved beak, it’s the emblem of the RSPB and symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species. 

After numbers were decimated, it made a comeback in the 1940s and numbers then increased, representing one of the most successful conservation and protection projects.

Filmed by me at Oare Marshes, Kent, UK.

This video shows the kind of view that most of us manage to get of a water rail (Rallus aquaticus) in the UK - frustratingly short unless you’re really lucky.

After sitting quiet for a while, I managed to film these very fleeting shots of a water rail - it’s no Attenborough :)

Filmed by me in Stodmarsh NNR, Kent.

A pair of mute swans (Cygnus olor) swim across the main lake at Stodmarsh NNR in the cold springtime sunshine.
Taken by me at Stodmarsh NNR.

A pair of mute swans (Cygnus olor) swim across the main lake at Stodmarsh NNR in the cold springtime sunshine.

Taken by me at Stodmarsh NNR.

The Penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus) is a rare visitor to England.

Filmed by me at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve, Kent.

The Penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus) is a rare visitor to England.
I was lucky enough to find this one at a nature reserve near where I live, in bulrush/wetlands habitat similar to the marsh habitat it would call home in mainland European countries, such as France.
Taken by me at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve, Kent.

The Penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus) is a rare visitor to England.

I was lucky enough to find this one at a nature reserve near where I live, in bulrush/wetlands habitat similar to the marsh habitat it would call home in mainland European countries, such as France.

Taken by me at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve, Kent.

Sex role reversal: Female shorebirds rule the roost

Greater Painted Snipe

Greater painted snipe - photo by Aweilee


A study of shorebirds has helped shed light on why some species reverse the roles of the sexes, with males carrying out the parental duties.

A team of European researchers found that an imbalance between the number of males and females triggered the change.

They reported the switch occurred when there was a higher ration of males to females, making it beneficial for males to stay with their mate.

Full article on BBC News

This Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) has turned up in our garden and we think it might be looking for a nesting site, maybe in the shed.

It’s the UK’s third smallest bird (after the goldcrest and firecrest) but is a fiesty little devil.

Filmed by me in Chestfield, Kent, UK.

Dunnocks (Prunella modularis), the only member of the Accentor family in the UK, are beautiful little birds that normally skulk in the bottom of bushes.
This behaviour once earned it the name of the “hedge sparrow”, although they are not related to sparrows.
This picture is a screen shot from this short video clip.
Taken by me in my garden in Chestfield, Kent, UK.

Dunnocks (Prunella modularis), the only member of the Accentor family in the UK, are beautiful little birds that normally skulk in the bottom of bushes.

This behaviour once earned it the name of the “hedge sparrow”, although they are not related to sparrows.

This picture is a screen shot from this short video clip.

Taken by me in my garden in Chestfield, Kent, UK.