SCIENTIFIC NAME:Sialia currucoides POPULATION: 6 million TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Breeds in open areas with scattered trees; winters on plains and grasslands.
The Mountain Bluebird was once called the Arctic or Ultramarine Blue-Bird — names that recognize its northerly range and the male’s vivid sky-blue plumage. This small thrush, about two-thirds the size of an American Robin, is the state bird of Idaho and Nevada.
Mountain Bluebirds breed in high, open country across western North America, as far north as Alaska. Usually nesting at elevations above 7,000 feet, they favor open territories year-round, including alpine meadows and clearings, as well as lower-elevation grasslands, plains, fields, farmland, pastures, and gardens.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Icterus graduacauda POPULATION: Fewer than 5,000 in U.S., but most of range is in Mexico. TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Riparian and live-oak woods.
Formerly known as the Black-headed Oriole, the flashy but furtive Audubon’s Oriole is one of North America’s two yellow-and-black orioles. (The other is Scott’s Oriole, also found in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico.) Audubon’s Oriole, like the Green Jay, is a species sought after by birders visiting Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Although as brightly colored as a Green Jay or Painted Bunting, this large oriole can be a challenge to spot. Bright yellow is often difficult to distinguish amid green foliage, and unlike the more familiar Baltimore Oriole, Audubon’s Oriole tends to remain deep under cover, where it is more often heard than seen.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Pipilo maculatus POPULATION: 30 million TREND: Stable HABITAT: Forest edges, shrubs, thickets, brushy backyards, and parks.
The Spotted Towhee and its close relative, the Eastern Towhee, were once considered one species — the Rufous-sided Towhee — but were recognized as distinct species in 1995. One of the distinguishing features of the Spotted Towhee is the white spotting splashed over its wings and back. (The Eastern Towhee is dark-backed.)
The word “towhee” mimics the loud whistle of the Eastern Towhee. Although the Spotted Towhee retained this name after the species split, its call is actually more of a cat-like mew, reminiscent of a Gray Catbird.
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SCIENTIFIC NAME:Eudyptes chrysolophus POPULATION: 12.6 million TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Breeds on rocky slopes or bare, level ground; spends rest of time at sea.
The Macaroni Penguin is part of a larger group known as crested penguins, all found on small islands in the southernmost reaches of the world’s oceans. All crested penguins are distinguished by eye-catching yellow crests and reddish eyes, beaks, and feet.
The Macaroni Penguin’s range barely reaches the Americas, where it can be seen around the coasts of Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina and Chile. The bulk of the population dwells outside of the Americas, breeding on small islands in the sub-Antarctic regions of the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Antilophia bokermanni POPULATION: About 800 adults IUCN STATUS: Critically Endangered TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Lower and middle levels of tall, humid forest, with an abundance of vines.
The Araripe Manakin’s Critically Endangered status, which has led to its listing as anAlliance for Zero Extinction(AZE) species, has also focused attention on the importance of conserving its unique habitat. This habitat determines not only this bird’s continued survival but also the quality of life for thousands of people living in this largely impoverished region of northeastern Brazil.
Both bird and habitat are threatened by the clearing of forests for farming, cattle, and home-building.