November in Shanghai means the large-scale return of buntings, such because the smallest of them, the appropriately named Little Bunting.
Nevertheless, the most typical bunting at Nanhui in winter is the Pallas’s Reed Bunting. Curiously, eBird states that the “music is a sequence of moist buzzy ‘tsli’ notes”. What are moist notes?
Since 2016, the Rustic Bunting has been listed as Weak, as knowledge instructed fast inhabitants declines (HBW). led its itemizing as Weak. Certainly, some papers have fairly gloomy titles, corresponding to “The subsequent frequent and widespread bunting to go? World inhabitants decline within the Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica“.
The migration patterns of Yellow-throated Buntings have been analyzed through a fairly intelligent but considerably difficult technique, isotope-based geographic project. Given the complexity of the analysis, the end result looks like a little bit of a letdown – “northern populations begin migration sooner than southern populations, particularly in autumn”.
The species identify of the Chestnut-eared Bunting is fucata, from the Latin “fucare”, to color crimson.
I didn’t discover a lot about this hen on-line aside from a paper with the thrilling title “A new quill mite Torotrogla emberizae sp. nov. (Acariformes: Syringophilidae) from the Chestnut-eared Bunting (Passeriformes: Emberizidae) in Japan (morphology and DNA barcode data)”. Ah, to be a scientist.
Hopefully, the winter time in Shanghai offers the Black-faced Buntings a while to loosen up from the challenges of the breeding season. A problem for the males is getting cuckolded by members of the identical species – which required strenuous mate-guarding (source). In distinction, the females want to ensure to not get duped into elevating precise cuckoos – the buntings are a focused host species (source). Thankfully for the buntings, they appear to detect most cuckoo eggs smuggled in (75% in a single examine).
Plainly the protection mechanisms towards parasitism by cuckoos could range inside a species, relying on the dimensions of the menace posed by cuckoos. A examine discovered that for Plain Prinia, egg traits in a mainland China location with many cuckoos make it a lot simpler to identify cuckoo eggs than in a Taiwan location with few cuckoos (source). For many who suppose evolution is a unsuitable idea, these variations could nicely have been created by god.
The Chestnut-crowned Warbler may be very uncommon at Nanhui – in reality, it’s the first one I’ve seen right here in Shanghai. Elsewhere, it is not uncommon sufficient to even be parasitized by cuckoos – which has made them begin to reject eggs based mostly on measurement (source).
Provided that this hen strikes very quick and thus results in hen photographers spending a variety of time getting largely utterly unusable images, I believe the parasitism is well-deserved. Perhaps there’s some justice on this world in spite of everything.
Bramblings in Finland – although not really being parasitized by cuckoos – however rejected the overwhelming majority of non-matching eggs in a study – they thus appear well-prepared for a possible future cuckoo invasion. Higher secure than sorry.
I’ll have stated this earlier than, however thrushes all the time remind me a little bit of German housewives – strong and dependable, however not significantly swish (there’s a purpose I reside in China and never in Germany). This definitely applies to the comparatively featureless Pale Thrush, which mainly lives as much as its unpromising identify fairly nicely.
This thrush really is among the many prey items of the very uncommon Iriomote Cat, a cat that lives solely on a small island. As it’s critically endangered (there are solely about 100 left), I believe it may be forgiven for killing the occasional Pale Thrush (which is listed as Least Concern).
The White-browed Thrush shouldn’t be much more enticing. As a consequence, it solely performs a really small cameo function in a paper on the time required for species detection through digital camera traps.
And what are you able to count on of a species named Dusky Thrush? Truly, it appears a bit extra fascinating than the identify suggests, I believe.
Alternatively, it will get some factors deducted for wanting too much like Naumann’s Thrush. The hen is called after Johann Andreas Naumann (1744-1826), a farmer and newbie naturalist who – regardless of being a German – apparently didn’t commit any noteworthy atrocities.
Admittedly, the male Japanese Thrush doesn’t fairly match into the thrush sample as it’s fairly enticing. One Japanese study discovered that it arrives at its breeding grounds sooner than previously, most probably because of elevated spring temperatures. Why these have occurred, no person is aware of – it can’t be because of world warming as Donald Trump in 2012 has made clear that local weather change was “created by and for the Chinese language to be able to make US manufacturing non-competitive” (source).
The feminine shouldn’t be fairly as enticing however nonetheless simply beats most German housewives.
Given the experience of Mr. Trump, the Chinese language should even be accountable for the sooner laying date of Northern Lapwings, as described here.
Surprisingly, the Latin identify of the Hair-crested Drongo is Dicrurus hottentottus – Hottentot is a reputation beforehand given to the Khoikhoi, a nomad pastoral individuals of Namibia and South Africa, distant from the place this drongo lives. The identify Hottentot is best now not used because of its unfavorable connotations: “The primary Dutch to come across the San and Khoikhoi peoples referred to them as ‘Hottentots,’ or stutterers, as a result of their Khoisan language employs clicks to indicate consonants, a function of speech unsympathetic to European ears. Thus, the disparaging time period “Hottentot” grew to become an ordinary identifier of the inhabitants of southwest Africa” (source). Thus, the poor drongo is contributing to the perpetuation of racism …
Do the male Hair-crested Drongos search to have intercourse with females apart from their fastened accomplice (they’re socially monogamous)? Sure, however provided that there are sufficient females round, finds a study. Hm.
As with many different hen species, the Latin identify of the Hen Harrier, cyaneus (“darkish blue”), shouldn’t be an excellent description of the feminine.
Sadly, Hen Harriers die disproportionally close to British Grouse moors – most probably killed illegally by individuals looking grouse for sports activities (source). I assumed the British see themselves as particularly reasonable sportspeople – that is undoubtedly not an excellent instance. I want there was a solution to give some weapons to Hen Harriers in order that they may shoot again.
In response to this paper, “Feeding by Black-faced Spoonbills usually appeared chaotic as a result of they normally stroll everywhere in the feeding web site at a variable pace”. You may see for your self here.
And sure, they’re combined with Eurasian Spoonbills. If you’re a frog and wish to learn a horror story, you might wish to take a look at this paper. By which a largish marsh frog – resisting being swallowed by a Eurasian Spoonbill by spreading its limbs – will get them damaged one after the other till resistance is futile and the frog will get swallowed after 10 minutes. Guantanamo for frogs. Although to be traditionally correct, the breaking wheel could be a greater comparability. Then once more, what the spoonbill does additionally has its waterboarding element: “[The bird] shook the marsh frog underneath the water to interrupt the limbs one after the other”.
Amongst philosophically-minded Dunlins, the dichotomy between being a person …
… and being half of a big society is extensively mentioned.
In an analysis of birds offered at Indonesian hen markets, the Scaly-breasted Munia was discovered to be by far essentially the most quite a few species, accounting for greater than half of all people. Weirdly, this hen can also be described as a typical pest in Indonesia, accountable for substantial losses of rice. Alternatively, within the West, mice, and rats are additionally saved as pets, perhaps with the identical logic.
The Pallas’s Leaf Warbler shares its identify with no less than 6 different hen species together with the bunting proven above – a little bit of an overkill if you happen to ask me. Alternatively, he bought his Ph.D. when he was 19 whereas it took me 10 years extra. No marvel no species are named after me.
Plainly Black-tailed Godwits are a bit extra individualistic than many different species. A study discovered that they arrive at their breeding grounds throughout a span of greater than 5 weeks – considerably bigger than for many different birds. Presumably, the late arrivals then mate with different late arrivals, additional announcing the variations and finally main to 2 subspecies, Black-tailed Godwit rapidus and Black-tailed Godwit tardus (sure, I studied Latin in highschool and am joyful to point out off about this).
I would not have something fascinating to say concerning the Pink-flanked Bluetail proper now, however the male is a really stunning hen.
A study on the breeding success of the Gray Heron had one very predictable end result (“chick mortality considerably decreased with rising numbers of feeding visits per nest”) and one barely horrifying one (“siblicide was additionally an important purpose of chick mortality in these colonies – 54% and 32% chicks died in nests the place sibling aggression was noticed”). So assuming that these outcomes are transferable to people, mother and father ought to feed their offspring recurrently (first discovering) however prohibit themselves to at least one youngster (second discovering).
Presumably a survivor of siblicide (which might make it a killer, proper?)
In a paper on the Oriental Turtle Dove, Toshio Okazaki and Shinichiro make the daring declare that the “examine represents the primary demonstration of protoporphyrin IX in dove plumage”.
It seems Black-winged Stilts have a desire for utilizing one or the opposite eye relying on the exercise (“behavioral lateralization”, to sound like an actual scientist). They’re extra profitable catching meals when wanting with their proper eye however the males desire to take a look at the females with their left eye. If that isn’t proof of an almighty creator god, then what’s?
eBird calls the Black-winged Stilt a “putting massive black-and-white wader with a skinny, straight invoice and vibrant pink legs” – a mistake, as my picture reveals the hen clearly solely has one leg.
My guess is that (much like some actors who didn’t efficiently make the transition from silent films to talkies), Pied Kingfishers have been extra common with hen photographers earlier than shade images grew to become extensively used. It’s the solely kingfisher with none shade apart from black and white (the male Crested Kingfisher has some rufous bits on its breast).
As this video signifies, these birds spend a variety of time not doing a lot – or in scientific phrases, “resting/perching”. This was present in a examine – do you wish to guess the place this examine was accomplished? A slight trace – the title of the study is “Exercise patterns of pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) and stork-billed kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) on the Chittagong college campus, Bangladesh” …
Chinese language Penduline Tits apparently bury their eggs inside their nests to forestall them from falling out of the nests on windy days. The plain different answer – constructing sturdier nests created from concrete bolstered with metal, as any respectable human would suggest – doesn’t appear to cross their minds.
Black-crowned Night time Herons (no less than the adults) appear to benefit from the autumn colours, as they properly complement their very own look.
The juveniles look depressing as common.
The sector identification part of the HBW entry for the Chinese language Gray Shrike has a a lot nicer picture than this one, taken by me 5 years in the past. Nicely, I assume I used to be a greater photographer then.
Eurasian Woodcocks are normally significantly better hidden than proven in my recent post. A typical daytime encounter could appear like this:
And I’m positive that if this put up had been written by Dave Barry, he would comment that Eurasian Woodcocks could be a fantastic identify for a punk band.
The HBW entry for the Mallard has a 300-word part on priorities for future analysis solely – type of puzzling provided that that is definitely a well-researched species. However then, perhaps not – it appears to be the character of science that the extra you understand, the extra you wish to know. A lot for this put up’s pseudo-philosophical thought.
The courtship of the Larger Scaup sounds a bit scary to me: “Throughout courtship, males collect in teams of as much as 17 and encompass a single feminine whereas calling” (source). Alternatively, perhaps some feminine readers of this weblog suppose that this sounds fairly thrilling. Amongst newly printed books (the titles of which I typically scan), fairly a number of are titles within the “reverse harem” style – goodreads even has its personal web page on the style.
There’s (or was?) a journal with the considerably improbable-sounding identify of “Journal of Thermal Biology”. I’m not positive what precisely thermal biology is, however the journal printed a paper on the thermal properties of nests of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. Which finds that the “insulating worth of nests largely trusted their completeness and the proportion of feathers within the lining”.
The species identify of the Narcissus Flycatcher was most likely not chosen with the feminine in thoughts (proven right here) – in accordance with the HBW, “Narcissus was a fantastic youth who grew to become enamored of his personal reflection in a pool and wasted away”. This was later taken up by Oscar Wilde within the story “The Disciple” (“Keats and Yeates are in your facet whereas Wilde is on mine”, The Smiths, “Cemetery Gates”).
Vinous-throated Parrotbills are parasitized by the Widespread Cuckoo, the Vladimir Putin of the hen world – in accordance with the HBW, “cuckoos’ eggs are all the time of a blue kind however bigger than these of host, and host rejected greater than 60% of cuckoo eggs when laid in blue-egg clutches and 100% when laid in white-egg clutches.”