The beautiful, liquid song of the Palila was once thought a sign of rain. Now the distinctive sound is rarely heard.
The Palila and the māmane tree are two of Hawai’i’s many species found nowhere else. The tree is essential to the bird: The Palila’s hooked bill is just right for opening the tough, fibrous seedpods of māmane, the bird’s primary food.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Somateria spectabilis POPULATION: 4.5 million TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Nests near freshwater lakes and ponds; winters along rocky coasts and on open ocean.
The King Eider’s species name spectabilis is Latin for “remarkable display,” referring to the drake, or adult male, in its breeding plumage. During that time, the drake is unmistakable, with powder-blue head and neck, light green cheek, orange-yellow frontal lobe outlined in black, and a red bill.
The female eider sits tightly on her eggs and sometimes can be approached very closely. Females are so faithful to their nests that they sometimes go a week or more without feeding, and thus may lose significant amounts of weight while incubating.
PLANET EARTH IN SILHOUETTEShas over 1,500 members and over 23,000 photos and videos.
Living in the threatened long-leaf pine flats, the dusky gopher frog needs fire, water, and earth to survive. Earthen tunnels, dug by other animals like gopher tortoises, are a damp refuge for these frogs when the weather is dry, while fire keeps the longleaf forest healthy and open, and the rainwater that gathers in seasonal wetlands serves as a perfect place to lay eggs.
With only a single population of about a hundred adult frogs in Mississippi’s Harrison County, these dumpy, speckly frogs are the rarest species of amphibian in North America. If startled, they cover their eyes with their front feet, and can also inflate their bodies to look bigger. The male frogs’ mating calls are said to sound like a human snoring.