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Due to heavy reconstruction of this webpage, this blog is temporary suspended to renew in this summer, it will be updated again after late-autumn, thank you for your visits in these 9 years.

28 June 2014

Giants of the sky

Wandering Albatross (漂泊信天翁)
Pitcairn Islands (2014)
27th February, 2014. Pitcairn Islands

Wandering Albatrosses have the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.5m and are capable of remaining in the air without flapping their wings for several hours. Spending most of their life in flight, their range is all the southern oceans from 28° to 60°. The length of the body averages 120 cm (with females being slightly smaller) and they weigh between 6.5 and 12kg. Plumage varies with age, with the juveniles starting chocolate brown changing to white bodies with black and white wings as adults. The large bill is pink, as are the feet. They also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe.

They can live for over 50 years and pairs of Wandering Albatrosses mate for life and breed every two years. Breeding takes place on sub-Antarctic islands and one egg is laid usually on an exposed ridge near the sea. During the early stages of the chick's development the parents take turns to sit on the nest while the other searches for food. They are night feeders and feed on cephalopods, small fish and crustaceans and on animal refuse that floats on the sea.

21 June 2014

Birds of prey in China, II

From left to right :
Eastern Imperial Eagle (白肩鵰) ; Eurasian Kestrel (紅隼)
Northern Harrier (白尾鷂) ; Northern Goshawk (蒼鷹)
China (2014)
23rd February, 2014. Nantou, Shenzhen

Though raptors, also known as birds of prey, occupy the top of the food chain, the wild carnivorous birds are now all under the key protection of the state in China. This stamp set shows four diurnal raptors in Falconiformes. Eastern Imperial Eagle is about 75cm long and inhabits mountain forests and places on the edges of forests. It usually stays on trees and preys when opportunities emerge. Northern Harrier is about 50cm long, and lives on open plains, grasslands and farmlands. The greatest natural enemy of other birds and hares in forests, Northern Goshawk is about 56cm long and can fly rapidly and flexibly in forests to get preys. Eurasian Kestrel is only 33cm long. These small raptors can often be seen in open areas. They are famous for their graceful hovering in the air.

14 June 2014

Songbirds of USA

From left to right :
1sr roll : Mountain Bluebird (山藍鳥) ; Western Tanager (黃腹麗唐納雀)
Painted Bunting (麗色彩鵐)
Baltimore Oriole (橙腹擬黃鸝) ; Western Meadowlark (西草地鷚)
2nd roll : Scarlet Tanager (猩紅麗唐納雀) ; Rose-breasted Grosbeak (玫胸白斑翅雀)
American Goldfinch (美洲金翅雀)
White-throated Sparrow (白喉帶鵐) ; Evening Grosbeak (黃昏錫嘴雀)
USA (2014)
15th April, 2014. Redmond

Between 4,000 and 4,500 different types of songbirds can be found around the planet, accounting for nearly half of all bird species. Songbirds are identified by their highly developed vocal organs. Some songbirds, like the crow, have harsh voices, others sing rarely or not at all. All songbirds are classified as perching birds. With three toes pointing forward and one pointing backwards, they can grip branches and grasses with ease.

Why do songbirds make such a glorious sound every morning? In a word, love. Males sing to attract females and to warn rivals to keep out of their territory.

From left to right :
1sr roll : Baltimore Oriole (橙腹擬黃鸝) ; Painted Bunting (麗色彩鵐) 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (玫胸白斑翅雀)
2nd roll : Western Tanager (黃腹麗唐納雀) ; Scarlet Tanager (猩紅麗唐納雀)

 Western Meadowlark (西草地鷚)
3rd roll : White-throated Sparrow (白喉帶鵐)

American Goldfinch (美洲金翅雀)
USA (2014)
5th April, 2014. Dallas, Taxes

7 June 2014

Songbirds of Tunisia

Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Tunisia (1992)
25th March, 2014. Avenue Farhat Hached, Carthage

Finally I got first one example of bird cover from Tunisia, which is a unforgotten place to me. Although it issued on 1992, it looks beautiful and attractive, this Goldfinch is one of 4 in the set, others are European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎), Serin (金絲雀) and Greenfinch (金翅雀). The average Goldfinch is 12–13 cm long with a wingspan of 21–25 cm and a weight of 14 to 19 grams. The sexes are broadly similar, with a red face, black and white head, warm brown upperparts, white underparts with buff flanks and breast patches, and black and yellow wings.

On closer inspection male Goldfinches can often be distinguished by a larger, darker red mask that extends just behind the eye. In females, the red face does not reach the eye. The ivory-coloured bill is long and pointed, and the tail is forked. Goldfinches in breeding condition have a white bill, with a greyish or blackish mark at the tip for the rest of the year. Juveniles have a plain head and a greyer back but are unmistakable due to the yellow wing stripe. Birds in central Asia (caniceps group) have a plain grey head behind the red face, lacking the black and white head pattern of European and western Asian birds.
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