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These outstanding multimedia guides from Scilly Pelagics
introduce a new and better way to prepare for pelagic trips:
Watch live from a camera in a Bermuda Petrel nesting burrow: CahowCam
Two worthwhile second editions reviewed in the latest issue of
Juvenile Gray-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis that mimics adult Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus
Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus reintroduction project update
See this NHK World video report about the first breeding attempt by birds moved as chicks from Torishima in the Izu Islands to Mukojima in the Ogasawara Islands. For details on the Short-tailed Albatross conservation program, see the Short-tailed Albatross section of the Yamashina Institute of Ornithology website.
Sillem's Mountain Finch Leucosticte sillemi rediscovered in Tibet
Banded Ground-Cuckoos Neomorphus radiolosus Attract Birders
Also from Ecuador: Chocó Vireo Vireo masteri at Masphi, Pichincha, May 2010. (Dušan M. Brinkhuizen). Details.
In the April 2012 Auk
Spotted Antpitta Hylopezus macularius has been split into four phylogenic populations and three biological species. Carneiro et al. The Auk 129(2):338-351, 2012 (pdf). One species consists of the nominate form (voice) from north of the Amazon east of the Rios Negro & Branco, together with Zimmer's Antpitta H. dilutus (voice) from north of the Amazon west of the Rios Negro & Branco. The others are Snethlage's Antpitta H. paraensis (voice) from south of the Amazon east of the Rio Xingu and a newly-described species, Alta Floresta Antpitta Hylopezus whittakeri (photo / voice) named after Worldtwitch contributor Andy Whittaker, from west of the Xingu and south of the Amazon.
DNA study places the extinct Carolina Parakeet Conuropsis carolinensis closest to Nanday Parakeet Nandayus nenday, Golden-capped Parakeet Aratinga auricapillus, Sun Parakeet A. solstitialis & probably Jandaya Parakeet A. jandaya, which was not sampled and most closely resembles Conuropsis. Kirchman et al. The Auk 129(2):197-204, 2012. See the phylogram of the relationships among parrots at page 202, which supports the authors's contention that "Aratinga itself is highly polyphyletic and in need of revision."
News from Brazil
Aves do Brasil - WikiAves - Encyclopedia of the Birds of Brazil - post your photos and recordings, identified or not.
From the latest issue of Revista Brasileira da Ornitologia:
First record of Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus geoffroyi in caatinga. Link (pdf). It was photographed by camera traps in the vicinity of Sento Sé, BA, about 200 km southwest of Juazeiro near the Rio São Francisco. The habitat looks much better than in the vicinity of the former Spix's Macaw site at Curaçá, northeast of Juazeiro, where goats have destroyed most vegetation they can reach.
New records of Kaempfer's Woodpecker Celeus obrieni (photo) in Goiás. Link (pdf). This recently rediscovered species has now been found at 20 sites in Goiás, mostly in the north near the border with Tocatíns, athough three sites are south of Brasília.
New records of Forbes's Blackbird Curaeus forbesi in Minas Gerais. Link (pdf). The new records are in the Rio Doce basin, north and south of Rio Doce State Park, where the species was known to occur.
January 2012 News
Steve N.G. Howell. Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America - A Photographic Guide. Details. Princeton University Press 2012. xxiii + 483 pages, 975 photos and figures, 66 maps. US | Kindle | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
This is the finest identification guide to pelagic birds published to date. For the first time, everything you need to prepare for tubenose ID on both east and west coast pelagic trips is accessible in one volume. It's also an authoritative and well-written text on tubenose biology. The book is extremely well-organized to help the user zero in on critical marks. Thus, for example, the section on Pacific gadfly petrels is introduced by five pages of photos and accompanying text showing and comparing the 10 species most likely to be encountered. Following are subsections on each species with comparative photos, including species not yet recorded but which may occur. For Cook's Petrel, there five pages of photos, with comparative shots of De Filippi's Petrel, Black-winged Petrel, and Pycroft's Petrel. Without question, a 2012 WorldTwitch Best Bird Book award winner.
In case you missed it, the report of the Jamaica Petrel Pelagic Expedition (November-December 2009) by Hadoram Shirihai, Maria San Román, Vincent Bretagnolle and David Wege is posted on the BirdLife website (pdf).
Here's another great article for pelagic birders: First observations at sea of Vanuatu Petrel Pterodroma (cervivcalis) occulta by Hadoram Shirihai & Vincent Bretagnolle, Bull.B.O.C. 2010 130(2):132-140 (pdf).
Reports from BirdLife:
New stronghold for the Japanese Murrelet Synthliboramphus wumizusume -- about 1000 birds in the Izu Islands on the Pacific side of Japan. Details and photo.
Grauer's Swamp Warbler Bradypterus graueri at Kibira National Park, Burundi -- an estimated 30 singing males, with a bird mistnetted on 25 January 2011. Details & photo. Vocalization from Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda on xeno-canto.
New population of Grey-breasted Parakeets Pyrrhura griseipectus found in caatinga around "table mountains", e.g., Pedra da Galinha-choca, at Quixadá, Ceará, Brazil. Birdlife summary. W. Girão, A. Alves Campos & C. Albano, O Eco Colunista Convidado, 26 April 2010. (Article with excellent photos, including next box breeding.) Vocalizations on xeno-canto.
Two West Indian Whistling-Ducks Dendrocygna arborea were found at the Woodbourne Shorebird Refuge, Barbados, on 10 September 2011, the first Barbadan record since 1961. Details with photo. The species was found breeding at Petite-Terre Islets National Naure Reserve, Guadaloupe in February 2008. (pdf, see p. 3). Vocalizations from southwest Puerto Rico on xeno-canto.
Jon L. Dunn & Jonathan Alsterdorfer. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition. November 2011. 576 pages. Greatly expanded and improved, the National Geographic guide is once again the most essential field guide to North American birds. It's now the world's second best field guide, trailing the spectacular second edition of the Collins Bird Guide (new large format version). (The identical US edition is Birds of Europe). US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Until reading the illustrated addedum on accidentals, I hadn't realized that the type specimen of Worthen's Sparrow was collected at Silver City, New Mexico in 1884, from a population subsequently extirpated. In view of this bird's occurrence with Mexican Prairie Dogs at the "Tanque de emergencía" stakeout in Coahuila, Mexico, I wonder if poisoning of prairie dogs may have contributed to its disappearance from the U.S. and most of its Mexican range. (Vocalizations of Worthen's Sparrow on xeno-canto.)
Kenn Kaufman. Field Guide to Advanced Birding. (North America). Details. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. 448 pages. Like Kenn's earlier book, Advanced Birding, which it does NOT replace, his new "field guide" covers numerous field problems birders in North America will encounter. It's an essential book for almost everybody who watches birds here, especially visitors from abroad who lack experience with North American birds. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Scroll down on this Surfbirds page to see a fine photo of a mist-netted Grey-breasted Crake Laterallus exilis from Veracruz, Mexico taken by Manuel Grosselet. This small rail can be heard in many places throughout the Neotropical lowlands, including around oxbow lakes in Amazonia. It readily approaches in response to playback but usually is impossible to see in its dense marsh habitat. (Vocalizations on xeno-canto.)
Coming Soon - New Editions: