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2011-01-20 06:24:10
Birds South Africa

Basic intro to birds, guiding and birds in South Africa
Show Answers:

  1. Why are birds important in guiding?
    Because it is the largest hobby in the worlds and most clients will have some type of identification book.
  2. What are the covert feathers responsible for?
    Covert feathers responsible for giving general outline and shape of bird.
  3. What are contour feathers for?
    Contour feathers give a bit of stiffness where is it needed, ie the wings.
  4. Why are down feathers important?
    They are important as they are covered by the coverts and their main purpose is thermo-regulation.
  5. Name the three purposes of feathers?
    • 1.Protection - Against the elements cold & hot
    • 2.Mobility - Not just in flying, but moving, ability to move in general.
    • 3.Display - Using feathers for display, 2 main being attracting a mate & warning off others.
  6. Describe an elliptical wing and give an example of a bird with this type of wing?
    An elliptical wing, is very broad , birds that have to get up into the air quickly from the ground have Barn Owl, Forest birds, Francolins
  7. Give an example of a bird with a high aspect-ratio wing, and describe its uses?
    • Wandering Albatross & Tristan Albatross.
    • They have to work very hard to get up into the air, there is not enough air flow over the wing. But it makes them exceptional gliders.
  8. What is a high speed wing and give a bird example?
    High speed wing is a cross between a elliptical wing and a high aspect ratio. Birds can get very high speeds through the air. is Raptures
  9. What is a variable geometry wing, and give an example?
    Variable geometry wing enables the bird to change the wing formation to adapt to its Cape Gannet, that dives very quickly into water to catch fish.
  10. What are the purpose of slotted wings , and give example?
    Birds that have slotted wings use thermals to fly, the slots on the primaries means that each feather can change individually enabling very accurate flight. ie Cape Vulture
  11. What are the purpose of streamlined tails and give an example?
    Birds that need to get away quickly but also need to be able to spread tail to hover, have these ie European Bee Eater
  12. What are graduated tails and give an example?
    Graduated tails are used by birds for support when chiselling, The Raucous sticks out the end of the feather so it can attach to a tree for extra support. ie Bennets Woodpecker.
  13. What are display tails and name an example?
    Birds use these to help in display to attract a mate, but this will be to the detriment of the bird as it will stand out easy to predators, but this is an example of social survival ie Pin tailed Whydah,Rock Jumper, Peacock.
  14. Explain the basic foot structure of a bird?
    Birds have four toes and they are numbered 1-4, these numbers relate to how many bones are in that toe.
  15. What is an Anisodactyl foot and give an example?
    An anisodactyl foot, is the most common foot structure, with three toes to front, in a triangle shape and one to the rear. The rear toe is numbered 1, 2 is front left, 3 middle, 4 end Asly Flycatcher.
  16. Describe Pamprodactyl feet and give an example ?
    Pamprodactul feet are all four fours facing Swifts, White backed mouse bird.
  17. Describe a Syndactyl foot and give an example?
    1 at rear, 2 to the left side 3&4 are fused together. ie Giant Kingfisher, Bee eaters
  18. Describe Zygodactyl feet and give and example?
    • Toes 1 & 4 backwards, Toes 2 & 3 forwards.
    • ie Woodpeckers, Acacia Pied Barbet, Caucals, Parrots
  19. Describe a Hetrodactyl foot and give an example?
    Toes 1 & 2 are backwards facing and 3 & 4 forwards facing. ie Trogons.
  20. Name the three feet adaptations and give example for each?
    • Perching - Anisodactyl - Passerine - African Stonechat.
    • Ground Dwelling - needs as much stability to stand & move - Ostrich, Emu
    • Swimming - Has webbing to assist in water. - Egyptian Goose.
  21. Describe a seed eater bill and give an example?
    Seed eater has a short, conical hard bill - Blue Waxbill.
  22. Describe a Tweezer bill and give an example?
    Very accurate tweezer like, soft bill, as usually catch food in flight - European Bee eater.
  23. Describe a tearing bill and give an example?
    Very hard bill, with top bill being slightly curved at the top -
  24. Describe a nectar feeding bill and give an example?
    Has a long softer bill curved under, usually has a long tongue - Southern Double Collard Sunbird
  25. Describe a Spearing bill and give and example?
    Very thin and long, use bill to spear prey - White Stork, Malachite Kingfisher.
  26. Describe a rapture bill and give an example?
    Very hard bill, short with top end curved over - Tawny Eagle.
  27. Describe a mud probing bill and give an example?
    Long bill with flattish end - Greater Painted Snipe.
  28. Describe a Sieve feeding bill and give an example?
    Quite broad and curved under - stir up mud with feet, then sieve food from the water - Lesser Flamingo
  29. Describe a Chisel bill and give an example?
    It is short and herder that a tweezer bill - Bearded Woodpecker.
  30. Describe a netting bill and give an example?
    It is a very broad bill and they fly with it open, to catch insects etc. - Rufus Cheeked Nightjar.
  31. What is a birds tails used for?
    There are different tails dependig on what the bird needs it for, Main purpose is for steering and mobility in flight, so they are also flight feathers.
  32. Describe the two types of tails and what they are used for and give an example for each?
    • Forked tails - for birds that fly over long distances, need stability but less drag - Black Saw wing.
    • Fanned tails - Used for stopping in mid air, found in hovering species - Carmine Bee- Eater.
  33. What type of foot would a Thick Knee have and why?
    Thick Knees walk on marshy ground so they have slightly flattened toes to assist in walking on this type of ground,
  34. What feet adaptions have raptures got and give an exmple?
    A Rapture has an Anisodactyl foot, it uses force to grab his prey. the 3 front toes are used for holding and the front for killing so longer and sharper - Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk.
  35. What type of feet does an African Jacana have and why?
    They have very long elongated toes to enable them to walk on water plants without sinking.
  36. What type of feet do Cape Gannet have and why?
    They have a flap that goes round all toes, as they use their feet for incubation, their brood patch is on their feet, 2-3o warmer than the body. They sit with the egg under their feet. They can also close down blood flow to their feet.
  37. What is the main thing when it comes to bird identification?
    • GISS
    • G - General
    • I - Impression
    • S - Shape
    • S - Size
  38. If you don't have GISS what do you look for?
    • 1. Size
    • 2.Bill ( Shape/Colour)
    • 3.Legs (Length/Colour)
    • 4. Plumage
    • 5. Habitat} Where possible
    • 6.Habits } "
  39. What do you look for in Size?
    • Small - 15cm - Bee eaters
    • Medium - 25cm - Laughing Dove
    • Large - 55cm - Guinea Fowl
    • V Large - 100cm - Secretary Bird
  40. What do you look for when looking at the legs of a bird?
    • 1. Length - in relation to body size.
    • 2. Shape - How far do feathers come down legs.
    • 3. Colour - note colour of all parts of legs, this can be one of the easiest way to distinguish species
    • 4. Toe Arrangement - Try and see toe arrangement.
  41. What do you look for when looking at the plumage of a bird?
    • 1. Colour
    • 2. Markings
    • 3.Outstanding Features
    • 4. Crest
    • 5. Area around eye
  42. What different types of colouration do you get?
    • Reflection - o/s layer of feather looks polishes and reflects light - Yellow Billed Duck.
    • Refraction - Absorbing other parts of the spectrum - Common Starling
    • Melanism - Much darker than normal has more melanin - Whalbergs Eagle
    • Melanin - Concentration depends on whether feathers lighter/darker.
    • Leucism - Colours very washed out - little melanin - African Penguin
  43. Name the types of markings on bird and describe?
    • Streaked - Markings running down - Cardinal Woodpecker
    • Barred - Markings running across - Bearded Woodpecker
    • Blotched - Knysna Woodpecker
    • Arrow marks - Arrow marked Babbler
    • Scalloped - like a shell - Hartlaub Babbler
  44. What other things can you use to try to identify birds?
    • Outstanding features
    • Crests - Is there a crest present.
    • Around the eye - Some have different colours
    • Habitats - What habitat are you in.
  45. Name some Important Bird Areas in South Africa ( IBA's )?
    • Waterberg
    • Mabula
    • Kruger National Park
    • Sabi Sands
    • Mkuze
    • Tembe Elephant Park
    • Timbavati
  46. Name the three main habits of birds?
    • 1. Flight Pattern
    • 2. Feeding Behaviour
    • 3. Calling
  47. Name the types of flight patterns and give examples?
    • Dynamic soaring - uses air flow to glide. - Various Albatross species.
    • Thermal soaring - Do not see this in the cold, but in warmer parts, as they use the warm air. usually birds with slotted wings - White Stork Vulture
    • Flapping & Gliding - Flaps to go up, glides coming down - Eagles
    • Bounding - constantly flapping up & down - Doves
    • Constantly Flapping - But do it in a straight line - Ducks
  48. Name the types of feeding behaviour?
    • Swimming & Diving - African Finfoot
    • Pecking on Ground - Cape Francolin
    • Hawking Insects - European Bee - eater.
  49. What's the difference between a call and a sound?
    • A call is an alert ie to locate a mate or signal danger.
    • A Song is to attract mates or advertise territory.
    • A song is identifiable as it is more elaborate, a call isn't
  50. What differences do birds have when they are in breeding?
    Birds may have different plumage, in that it may be more brightly coloured. They only need it for breeding to attract mates, so will not exert the effort at other times.
  51. What are the Zoo-geographical regions relating to birds?
    • Neartic - North America, Canada, Alaska, Greenland.
    • Neotropic - South America to Mexico
    • Afrotropical - Sub Saharan Africa, Madagascar,
    • Paleartic - Europe, Asia, North Africa, Middle East, Japan.
    • Oriental - India, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, North of the Wallace Line.
    • Australiasia - Australia, New Zealand, South of Wallace Line.
  52. Name the Oceanic Faunal Zone?
    Pelagic Zone - 10m + offshore, nest on South Arctic Islands ie Atlantic Yellow Nosed Albatross.
  53. Describe the Shore Faunal Zone and name bird examples?
    Shore - birds found mostly on beaches, rocky shores ie. Greater Sand Plover, only go about 1m from shore.
  54. Describe the Littoral Bush and give example of birds ?
    Littoral Bush - is closest to shore, ie Forest @ Natures Valley, may go onto shore but stick mainly to the dense bush - Olive Thrush, Cape Robin Chat.
  55. Where is the Montane Forest Zone and name a bird from that area?
    • This is the next section after the Littoral Zone - Crowned Hornbill, Forest Canary,
    • Knysna Touraco.
  56. What birds will you find in the Bushveld/Thornveld areas?
    Red Billed Quelia in large flocks, Violet eared Waxbill often in swarms
  57. What birds will you find in the Grassland Zone?
    Rufus-naped Lark,Crowned Lapwing.
  58. Name birds from the Desert Zone and give a difference they have to other birds?
    • Burchells Sand Grouse, Kori Bustard.
    • They have highly absorbent feathers on their chest as they are usually quite far from water , so they will absorb water into the feathers then fly back to the nest,
  59. Name birds from the Mountain Zone?
    Cape Bunting, Jackal Buzzard, Karoo Korhaan .
  60. What are the three Wetland area's and give an example of birds from that zone?
    • Deep Water - Fish Eagle, Little Grebe.
    • Shallow Water - Still inside the water - Pied Avocet ( only bird with up curved beak)
    • Shoreline - Do not hunt in the water, but are in the reeds & thick clumps - Black Crake
  61. What is the Grassland Habitat, and name birds from that area?
    Grassland habitat may be in another Zone - African Pipit, Cape Rock Thrush.
  62. What birds will you find in a Urban area and why?
    Cape Sparrow, Cape Wagtail. - They are used to living with humans.
  63. What birds habitat is the Sky?
    Black Sparrow Hawk, Black Kite, Martial Eagle.
  64. What are the advantages of a breeding Colony?
    • 1. Safety in numbers
    • 2. Safety from predators
    • 3. Limited amount of nesting sites
    • 4. Proximity to food supply
    • 5. Mating system
  65. What are Roosting sites?
    Basically areas where they are safe, they do not breed here, just a place of safety overnight.
  66. Name something different about the Hamerkop?
    The male stands on the females back as part of mating.
  67. Name the courtship rituals re Ostriches?
    When a male comes into breeding his skin becomes more pink, and neck more blue and beak more pink. He starts a deep calling sound and go into elaborate display and rituals. This shows the female which male is best, as they help in raising the young.
  68. Name the mating strategies?
    • Monogamy - one male one female, but perhaps different partner next time breeding.
    • Polygamy - One male, lots of females - Cape Weaver
    • Polyandry - One female , many males, male responsible for chicks - African Jacana
  69. Name birds that nest on the ground?
    Spotted Thick knee, Cape Korhaan,Ostrich, Swans.
  70. Name birds that nest in cliffs?
    Verreaux's Eagle,Rock Kestrel, Cliff Swallow, Speckled Pigeon.
  71. Name birds that nest in trees?
    • Hamerkop - has very extensive nest,with chambers inside, every year will build it up more.
    • Tawny Eagle, very elaborate & big nests.
    • Sociable Weavers
  72. What are mud cups?
    They are nests using mud, ie Greater Striped Swallow.
  73. Name a bird that have a woven nest?
    Cape Penduline Tit, Weavers.
  74. What is Co operative breeding?
    It is where there is an Alpha Pair who will be the only ones that breed during tough times, the others will assist with building the nest, feeding the young, feeding of incubating adults.
  75. What are the advantages of Co operative breeding?
    • More food providers
    • More to defend territories
    • More to defend nest against predators.
  76. What are the three types of brood parasites?
    • Intra species - Red Billed Teal will parasitize another female Rd Billed Teal nest , by laying her eggs in the other one.
    • Inter species - Red Chested Cuckoo will lay eggs in a Cape Robin Chat nest.
    • Kleptoparasites - Steals food from another ie Fish Eagle steals food from Saddle Billed Stork.
  77. Name the four types of groupings and give examples?
    • Solitary - European Roller
    • Pairs - Ant eating Chat, Greater Striped Swallow.
    • Family - Pair + young - Common Moorhen
    • Large Flocks - Flamingoes
  78. Name a bird that has home range and one the has Territories?
    • Home Range - Ant Eating Chat
    • Territories - Bokmakierie, Karoo Korhaan ,
  79. Name the three anti predator behaviours?
    • Mobbing - diving bombing snakes - Burchell's Starling.
    • Alarm Calls - Helmeted Guinea Fowl
    • Distraction - Pretend to have a broken wing etc - Blacksmith Lapwing.
  80. What are the purpose of Bird Calls?
    • 1. Attracting mates
    • 2. Advertise territory
    • 3. Keeping in contact
    • 4. Signalling danger
    • 5. Pair Bonding
  81. What are the four types of learning song?
    • Genetic imprinting
    • Imitating parents
    • Mimic
    • Dialect
  82. What are the role of birds in the environment?
    • Seed dispersal
    • Pollinate plants
    • Decomposer
    • Food for others
    • Population control
  83. What are the four interactions and give examples?
    • Mutualism - Red Billed Ox pecker feeding ticks off buffalo, rhino etc
    • Commensalism - Cattle Egrets eat what is chased up by cattle, Tawny Owl nesting in trees.
    • Parasitism - Cuckoo laying eggs in others nest to the detriment of the other bird.
    • Kleptoparasites - Fish Eagle following Saddle billed Stork and stealing its food.
  84. What is migration?
    • - Predictable seasonal movement
    • - From or to a single destination
    • - Once in a calendar year
  85. Why do birds migrate?
    • - Finding mates
    • - Finding safe breeding site
    • - Better food supply
  86. What time do they migrate?
    • Day & Night - Fly all the way in one go, - Bar-Tailed Godwits.
    • Night time - Fly to avoid predators
    • Day time - Usually larger birds that need thermals to soar - White Stork
  87. What are the migration routes?
    • Via the Middle East - very busy
    • Via Spain - Morocco
    • Via Italy - Tunisia
  88. What are Paleartic Migrants?
    They migrate from Northern parts of Europe to Southern Parts of S A - ie European Roller, White Stork, Spotted Flycatcher.
  89. What are Inter African Migrants?
    Migrate from North & South of the equator equal distance above /below the equator - Woodlands Kingfisher, Yellow Billed Kite, White rumped Swift.
  90. Describe Attitudinal Migrants?
    May not migrate very far, just up and down mountain - African Stone Chat, Brimstone Canary.
  91. What are the four categories re the IBA's?
    • A1 - Globally threatened Species - Karoo NP - Stebbe Eagle.
    • A2 - Restricted range Species - Swartberg Mountains - Cape Rock Jumper.
    • A3 - Biome Restricted Assemblages - Anysberg Nature Reserve - Only occur in that biome.
    • A4 - Global Congregations - Important for that area globally - Robben Island - Swift Tern.
  92. Give examples of Bird Status?
    • Endemic - Species whole distribution, breeding and non breeding are confined to Southern Africa. - Jackal Buzzard,Fiscal Flycatcher,.
    • Near Endemic - Sp. mostly found in Southern Africa , but extends slightly outside the regions borders - Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Bokmakierie, Cape Penduline Tit.
    • Specials - Endemic restricted to area with that endemic range, ie restricted to Fynbos area - Cape Canary, Orange Breasted Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird.
    • Nomadic - Following good food source & rainfall - Wattled Starling .
  93. According to the Red Data Book what are the 6 conservation status'?
    • 1. Extinct
    • 2. Regionally Extinct
    • 3. Critical
    • 4. Endangered
    • 5. Vulnerable
    • 6. Near threatened.
  94. Describe what Critically Endangered means and give an example?
    • 1. Rapid decline - 80% in last 10yrs.
    • 2. Small range - Occurs in < 100km sq
    • 3. Small population - < 250 mature individuals
    • 4. Endemics - < 50 mature individuals
    • 5. Unfavourable Viability - Probability <50% of extinction in 10 yrs.
    • eg Bittern, Wattled Crane, White-winged Flufftail , Rudd's Lark, Blue Swallow
    • 4 out of 5 ^ Grassveld Biome.
  95. What bird nests in holes?
    Ground Woodpecker,Pied Starling, European Bee eater.
  96. What bird has a floating nest?
    Little Grebe.
  97. Give the circumstances of Endangered according to the Red Data Book?
    • 1. Rapid Decline - <50% in 10yrs
    • 2. Small Range - Occurs <5000km sq
    • 3. Small Population - <2500 Mature individuals
    • 4.Endemics - < 250 mature individuals
    • 5. Unfavourable Viability - Probability >20% extinct in 20yrs.
    • eg.Saddle Billed Stork, Bearded Vulture, Cape Parrot,Spotted Ground Thrush
  98. What is Vulnerable according to the Red Data Book?
    • 1. Rapid Decline - <20% in 10 yrs.
    • 2. Small Range - Occurs <20,000km sq
    • 3. Small Population - <10,000 Mature individuals
    • 4. Endemics - <1,000 Mature individuals
    • 5. Unfavourable Viability - >10 % Extinct in 100yrs.
    • eg.African Penguin,Bald Ibis, Hooded Vulture, Cape Vulture, Kori Bustard, Yellow Billed Ox Pecker.
  99. What birds are regionally extinct?
    Egyptian Vulture, African Skimmer