The Indian Subcontinent, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Arabian Peninsula, SE Asia, North America, South America, the poles and everywhere else… In the forests, oceans, wetlands, lakes, grasslands, rivers, mountains, coastlines and all places in between… Those first birds that descended from dinosaurs were to pioneer vertebrate flight and conquer the abundant insect protein and safety in the skies. With this new found security birds started announcing themselves to each other every morning and every evening to maintain feeding and breeding territories that share out the various niches and available habitat. With reduced predation risk and the growing necessity to attract breeding females in competition with other males kicked off a burst of creativity that has lasted millions of years and resulted in over 10,000 unique species with a myriad of designs, colors, shapes, sizes, forms, functions, lengths and breadths. Some designs like the tail feathers of the mail African paradise flycatcher remain impractical, but do get the ladies interested. An abundance of beautiful feathers, crests, tails, breasts, culverts, wattles, eye stripes, and crowns created for the female of the species.
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“Emerald gem in the forests” Emerald doves are a common sighting in the tropical and sub-tropical Indian Subcontinent, as far E as Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even N and E Australia. This dove is the state bird of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. (Ramashesh Athri)
“Little Master” Oriental dwarf kingfishers are seen near water in the lowland forests of the Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia, and are well-known in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. (Ritesh Nangare)
“Old man of the forest” Blue-bearded bee-eaters are most common in the openings in patches of dense forest in the Indian Subcontinent and parts of SE Asia. (Saminathan Babu)
“Together we are stronger” Sociable weaver build among the largest communal nest structures of any bird and are endemic to Southern Africa. (Richard & Eileen Flack / www.theflacks.co.za)
“Delivery!” Woodland kingfishers are common throughout SubSaharan Africa and are resident within 8° of the equator, but populations in the subtropics are migratory, moving back into the equatorial zone during the dry season. (Chris Krog)
“Full moon vantage” Common kestrels are one of the most widespread birds in the world and are widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa. (Sreeji Nair)
“Pink perfect” Southern carmine bee-eaters are a migratory species across sub-equatorial Africa from KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Namibia and Botswana all the way to Gabon, E Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. (Martin Heigan)
“Photo happy” Lilac-breasted rollers are one of the most photographed birds in the world and are widely distributed in the open woodlands and savanna of subSaharan Africa and the S Arabian Peninsula. (Martin Heigan)
“Built-in crowbar” Strong-billed woodcreepers are found in the subtropical and tropical moist lowland and montane forests of Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. (Owen Deutsch / owendeutsch.com)
Broad-billed motmots are found in the subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru. (Owen Deutsch / owendeutsch.com)
“Common camouflage” Common starlings are indigenous to the temperate parts of Europe and W Asia, but have established thriving feral populations in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa. (Prasanna AV)
“Standing proud” The almost 2.5 million King penguins breed on the subantarctic islands at the N reaches of Antarctica, South Georgia, and several of the more temperate islands of the Antarctic region. (Marius Coetzee / www.oryxphotography.com)
“African waterman” Lesser moorhens can be found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (Richard & Eileen Flack / www.theflacks.co.za)
“Crowd favorite” According to BirdLife Australia, the superb fairywren is Australia’s most popular bird. They are distributed throughout the wetter parts of SE Australia from Kangaroo Island and Adelaide, as well as the Eyre Peninsula, all the way to Victoria, Tasmania, coastal and sub-coastal New South Wales, and Queensland. They are common bird in the suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. (Lennart Hessel)
“Sunset cruise” Lesser whistling ducks are resident breeders on the Indian Subcontinent and much of SE Asia, and are known for their nocturnal feeding habits. (Gurum Ekalavya)
“Leafy master” Golden-fronted leafbirds are a common sighting in the forest and scrub habitat of India, Sri Lanka and parts of SE Asia. (Dhritiman Hore)
“Tossed invertebrate?” Green bee-eaters are widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal and the Gambia to Ethiopia, the Nile valley, western Arabia and Asia through India to Vietnam. (Deepansh Mishra)
“Eye-balling” Brown pelicans are a common sighting along the coastal areas of S and W United States. (Dave Gibson)
“Mountain forester” Brown sicklebills are endemic to mountain forests of New Guinea and were first described in 1884. (Markus Lilje / www.rockjumperbirding.com)
“Stalking fisherman” Painted storks are found in the wetlands of tropical Asia S of the Himalayas in the Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia. (Aditya Padhye)
“Waking up to the world” Spotted eagle-owls are common residents in sub-equatorial Africa from Kenya and Uganda S to the Western Cape (South Africa), as well as the W Arabian Peninsula (Anja Denker)
“Tiny catcher” The little-known Palawan flycatcher is endemic to the Philippines and prefers subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. (Carlo Benitez Gomez)
“Africa’s rarest” Cape parrots are endemic to the remaining Afromomtane forest patches in the S and E parts of South Africa. They are Endangered with less than 1,000 remaining in the wild. (Rodnick Clifton Biljon)
“Arctic moon owl” Snowy owls nest in the Arctic tundra of N stretches of Alaska, Canada and Eurasia, migrating S to Canada and N Eurasia during the cold, dark winters. (Christina Anne McCallum)
“Must provision…” African paradise flycatchers are relatively common residents in SubSaharan Africa , preferring open forests and savanna. (Chris Krog)
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See last week “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #58″: