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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Selasphorus calliope
POPULATION: 4.5 million
HABITAT: Breeds in open forest and edge, scrub, and meadows at higher elevations in the of western North America; winters in thorn and pine-oak forests and shrubby edges in western Mexico.
The Calliope Hummingbird is a tiny wonder – at only around 3 inches long, it’s the smallest breeding bird in Canada and the United States, and the smallest long-distance migratory bird in the world.
When a female Calliope Hummingbird perches within his territory, the resident male swings into courtship mode, hovering in front of his potential mate with iridescent throat feathers spread into a shining starburst. He also makes a loud buzzing noise during this flashy display. If the female is suitably impressed, she leaves her perch and joins the male in an aerial dance, with both birds circling each other, sometimes even clasping bills.
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Since humans arrived, 95 of 142 bird species found nowhere else have become extinct on Hawaii. Thirty-three of Hawaii’s remaining 44 endemic birds are listed under the Endangered Species Act; ten of those have not been seen for decades and are likely extinct.
AKIKIKI A BIRD IN NEED
ABC’s Hawaii Program has made the conservation of the ‘Akikiki and other forest birds one of its top priorities.
Troubled Times on the Hawaiian Islands:
Mosquito-borne diseases such as avian malaria and avian pox have decimated ‘Akikiki populations. The problem may worsen, as climate change could continue to raise the elevation where mosquitoes can live, further shrinking this bird’s habitat.
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PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD has over 1,500 members and over 109,000.
BIRD OF THE WEEK
The Peruvian Plantcutter is a cotinga, part of a diverse group of Neotropical birds that includes the Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Palkachupa Cotinga, and Andean Cock-of-the-rock.
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.