Dinosaur of the week: Brown Skua

 

brown skua

Skua taxonomy is a wee bit confusing, but I think this is a Stercorarius antarcticus which I saw on King George Island on my trip to Antarctica a few years ago.

Skuas seem to have amazing cognitive abilities. Like crows and pigeons, they can recognize individual humans (doi: 10.1007/s10071-016-0970-9).

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Dinosaur of the week: Little Egret

little egret

Admire the yellow feet of this Egretta garzetta who was standing near a mooring station in Venice. The species is doing well overall, but numbers in Europe are in decline. Major threats are, you’ll have guessed, wetland degradation and contamination from agricultural and industrial operations.

Dinosaur of the week: Common Ringed Plover

plover

Small birds and waders are tricky to catch, and small wading birds in full camouflage even more so. I almost overlooked this Charadrius hiaticula which I encountered around sunset some years ago on the west coast of Scotland.

Among other issues this migratory species is threatened by petroleum pollution and wetland drainage for irrigation. We really need to get on with the Half-Earth project and population control of Homo sapiens.

Dinosaur of the week: Brahminy Kite

eagle

This Haliastur indus was hunting over a river in southern Cambodia. Australians call the species red-backed sea-eagle.

From the IUCN Red List:  The population is declining, especially in South-East Asia, owing to loss of habitat, persecution, over-use of pesticides and, possibly, increased human hygiene resulting in reduction of available scraps.

Dinosaur of the week: Greater Flamingo

flamingo

A few weeks ago I spent a handful of days in the south of France. This Phoenicopterus roseus and its hundreds of kin were foraging in the Parc Ornithologique Pont de Gau near Montpellier. The species is threatened by pollution in the water and shriking wetlands.

I think Half-Earth is such a wonderful idea. Homo sapiens should stay in restricted areas and be limited in numbers (birthcontrol), and all the millions of other species get back their space.