The gregarious Pinyon Jay, known by the folk name Blue Crow, is so closely tied to the life cycle of coniferous trees that it’s even named for its favorites, the pinyon pines.
This crestless jay of southwestern pine and juniper forests is the only representative of its genus, Gymnorhinus, which means “bare nostrils.” Unlike many of its close relatives such as the Blue Jay and Common Raven, the Pinyon Jay lacks feathers at the base of its bill to cover its nostrils.
The Peruvian Plantcutter has a short, conical bill like a Northern Cardinal’s, but with an important addition — serrated edges. These tooth-like ridges allow the plantcutter to chew vegetation into a pulp before swallowing, which is something quite rare in the bird world. Plus, this bird has extra-efficient intestines that process large amounts (for a songbird) of plant material in a short time.
The “little devil,” or Black-capped Petrel, is among the rarest and most secretive seabirds in the Western Hemisphere. Extremehabitat losson their breeding grounds was thought to have driven the bird extinct until its rediscovery in 1963. This species remains in danger ofextinction, with fewer than 2,000 pairs in existence.
These seabirds spend most of their lives in flight over open water, returning to land only to breed. One reason Black-capped Petrels remain little known is that their breeding sites are hidden in the rugged mountains of Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The Blue-billed Curassow is one of the birds closest toextinctionin the Americas. It belongs to a group of large, ground-dwelling tropical birds that are closely related to turkeys. Some say the birds are just as tasty as domestic turkeys, and unfortunately, harvesting the birds and eggs for food is an ongoing problem.
Blue-billed Curassow populations have also declined dramatically due tohabitat loss. Huge areas of lowland forest in the bird’s former range have been razed for livestock and crops, illegal coca farms, oil extraction, and mining. Although the species has been seen infrequently at other sites in Colombia, theAlliance for Zero Extinctionhas recognized a small portion of the Magdalena Valley as most critical for the curassow’s survival. This appears to be home to one of the last viable populations for the species.
The InteriorLeast Tern, once considered rare, may soon be taken off the Endangered Species list, thanks to a partnership of ABC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
The success is in part due to management techniques that keep predators off nesting sandbars on the Lower Mississippi River.