birding

Feathers vary widely in their shape and size and are one of the defining characteristics of birds. Feathers perform many functions for birds which include flight in most species, thermoregulation, waterproofing in marine species, and communication and camouflage via their colour. Thank you to all the photographers that submitted photos of bird feathers, your pictures…

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Forests are very productive ecosystems accounting for a third of the Earth’s primary productivity. This productivity, and their many layers from forest floor to canopy, make them a great habitat for many bird species across the globe. Worldwide however anthropogenic factors such as logging, introduced invasive species, and land conversion for agriculture, have reduced the…

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Mountains provide habitats for many birds. Mountain ecosystems have adapted to their specific environmental conditions which makes them sensitive to environmental change. Birds that use mountain habitats have adapted to these conditions and are thus also sensitive to environmental change; in many mountain areas habitat change has resulted in the reduction of liveable habitats for…

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Rivers and lakes are important habitats for many bird species because they provide food in the form of fish and aquatic invertebrates, shelter made from aquatic vegetation, and nesting sites within the aquatic vegetation that are sheltered from view. In some areas the water levels of rivers and lakes may vary with rainfall causing their…

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Birds make use of plumage colouration and behaviour to conceal themselves from potential predators or prey, this is known as camouflage. In some species plumage colouration will match the surrounding environment, while patterns such as countershading reduce the shadow on the bird’s underside making it less visible. Certain behaviours such as crouching low to the…

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Herons, egrets and bitterns as a group are varied and have a worldwide distribution, but are common in the tropics. These wading birds are often associated with both fresh and coastal water where they feed at the edge of lakes, rivers, and the sea on aquatic prey including fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Some species may specialise…

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Many birds make use of black plumage, whole or only partially. In feathers it is melanin pigments that produce the black to reddish-brown colour, these pigments are enclosed in granular structures called melanosomes. The melanosomes make black feathers stronger and more resistant to wear than non-melanised feathers, and often birds that have mostly white plumage…

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Energetic and colourful courtship displays are used by many bird species to attract a mate and show readiness to copulate. These displays vary widely and include the use of colourful and ornate breeding plumage; melodious songs; energetic dances; and gift giving. Once a mate is chosen pairs may strengthen bonds using behaviour such as allopreening,…

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In the Northern Hemisphere autumn is underway and many birds are making their way back to warmer climates to overwinter in areas with increased prey availability. Many of the bird species that migrate are aerial foragers and waders, migrating between warm areas because their main food source, insects and crustaceans, are more active and abundant…

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