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Plain Black And White Photographs and Images

Friday, February 29, 2008

White-throated Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis

This fellow was pretty okay with me coming close. The fact that I had the 70-300VR from Nikkor surely helped. :)

The White-throated Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis, also known as the White-breasted Kingfisher or Smyrna Kingfisher, is a tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in south Asia from Turkey east to the Philippines. This kingfisher is essentially resident over much of its range, apart from seasonal movements.

This is a large kingfisher, 28 cm in length. The adult has a bright blue back, wings and tail. Its head, shoulders, flanks and lower belly are chestnut, and the throat and breast are white.

Classic images.. check the description above... bang on target . . .

The kingfisher doing its thing. Look hard enough and you will see the fish in its beak. Its a pity the background was so distracting

On the lookout for more fish

The flight of the White-throated Kingfisher is rapid and direct, the short rounded wings whirring. The large bill and legs are bright red.

In flight, large white patches are visible on the blue and black wings. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult. The call of this noisy kingfisher is a chuckling chake-ake-ake-ake-ake.

White-throated Kingfisher is a common species of a variety of habitats with some trees, and its range is expanding. It perches conspicuously on wires or other exposed perches within its territory, and is a frequent sight in south Asia. This species mainly hunts large insects, rodents, snakes, fish and frogs. It is reputed to eat tired migratory passerine birds like Chiffchaffs where the opportunity arises.

White-throated Kingfisher has a striking display in which the wings are spread to show the white patches. The nest is a 50cm tunnel in an earth bank. A single clutch of 4-7 round white eggs is typical.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hoopoe, Upupa epops

Hoopoes are widespread in Europe, Asia and North Africa, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. They migrate from all but the southernmost part of their range to the tropics in winter.

Their habitat is open cultivated ground with short grass or bare patches. They spend much time on the ground hunting insects and worms. That diet may have been among the reasons the Hoopoe is included on the Old Testament's list of unclean birds

Rare pic of 4 Hoopoe sitting together on a tree ...

One of my favourite 'flying bird' pictures. A Hoopoe in flight

The Hoopoe is 25–29cm long, with a 44–48cm wingspan. This black, white and pink bird is quite unmistakable, especially in its erratic flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly. The crest is erectile, but is mostly kept closed. It walks on the ground like a starling.

The song is a trisyllabic "oop-oop-oop", which gives rise to its English and scientific names.

The nest is in a hole in a tree or wall. Like those of its relatives the kingfishers, the nest tends to contain copious amounts of faeces and smell very foul as a protection against predators. Nesting hoopoes are capable of squirting fecal matter at intruders.

Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus

Thol is a haven for migratory birds. And its pretty common to see a lot of flamingoes here especially during the winters. These pics where taken last weekend.

Coming in for a landing

Doing what they do best .. FEED !! These birds seem to be in a perpetual feeding frenzy ...

I love these 2 pics with the birds flying past the flamingoes

The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in parts of Africa, southwest Asia (including Turkey), southern Asia (coastal regions of India) and southern Europe (including Spain, Sardinia, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, and the Camargue region of France). Some populations are short distance migrants, and records north of the breeding range are relatively frequent; however, given the species' popularity in captivity whether these are truly wild individuals is a matter of some debate. A single bird was seen on North Keeling Island (Cocos (Keeling) Islands) in 1988.

This is a large species, averaging 120-140cm tall, and is closely related to the Caribbean Flamingo and Chilean Flamingo, with which it is sometimes considered conspecific. Like all flamingos, this species lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound.

Most of the plumage is pinkish-white, but the wing coverts are red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black.

The bill is pink with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Darter, Anhinga melanogaster

I have been to Thol a couple of times but have never see this bird before. It is not a very pretty bird, but it looks really amazing in flight...

The darters or snake-birds are birds in the family Anhingidae. There are four living species, one of which is near-threatened. The darters are frequently referred to as snake-birds because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged.

The darters are large birds with sexually dimorphic plumage. The males have black and dark brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have a much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. Both have grey stippling on long scapulars and upper wing coverts. The sharply pointed bill has serrated edges. The darters have completely webbed feet, and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving. Vocalizations include a clicking or rattling when flying or perching. During breeding adults sometimes have caw or hissing calls.
Darters are circum-equatorial, tropical or subtropical. They inhabit either fresh or brackish water and can be found in lakes, rivers, marshes, swamps, estuaries, bays, lagoons and mangrove swamps. They tend to gather in flocks sometimes up to about 100 birds but are highly territorial when breeding. Most are sedentary and do not migrate, however the populations at extreme distributions may migrate. The Oriental Darter is near-threatened species. Habitat destruction along with other human interferences is among the main reasons for a declining population.

White Pelican, Pelecanus onocrotalus

The White Pelican, Pelecanus onocrotalus also known as the Eastern White Pelican or Great White Pelican is a bird in the pelican family. It breeds from southeastern Europe through Asia and in Africa in swamps and shallow lakes. The tree nest is a crude heap of vegetation.

This is a large pelican, at a mass of 10 kg (22 lbs), 160 cm (63 in) long and with a 280 cm (110 inch) wingspan. It differs from the Dalmatian Pelican, the only larger species of pelican, by its pure white, rather than greyish-white, plumage, a bare pink facial patch around the eye and pinkish legs. Males are larger than females, and have a long beak that grows in a downwards arc, as opposed to the shorter, straighter beak of the female. Immature birds are grey and have dark flight feathers.

More than 50% of White Pelicans breed in the Danube Delta. This pelican migrates short distances, wintering in northeast Africa. In flight, it is an elegant soaring bird, with the head held close to and aligned with the body by a downward bend in the neck.

Pelicans catch fish in their huge bill pouches, most, like this species, while swimming at the surface.

Like the Dalmatian Pelican, this species has declined greatly through habitat loss and persecution.

The White Pelican is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.