Arabian Green Bee-eater

The Arabian Green Bee-eater is usually treated as conspecific with M. viridissimus and M. orientalis, but differs from both in its very short stub-ended central tail feathers; bright blue forehead, supercilium and throat, and bluer lower belly; broader, smudgier black breast-bar; marginally larger size and clearly longer tail (minus the tail extensions) than the other […]

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Peccary’s disappearance foreboding for other Mesoamerican wildlife

The white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), a hairy, pig-like mammal that once lived throughout the forests of Central and South America, now only skitters around in 13 percent of its former range, according to a report released in November 2018. More than two-thirds of white-lipped peccary populations are on the decline, said scientists who met to […]

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Arabian Magpie

The taxonomic position of Arabian Magpie Pica asirensis is certainly uncertain, although it is generally regarded as a subspecies of Eurasian Magpie. Gill & Donsker (2016) regard it as such, though there is a caveat “MtDNA phylogeny suggests that Eurasian Magpie comprises several potential species including Korean Magpie P. sericea, Mahgreb Magpie P. mauritanica and […]

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Saving the Helmeted Hornbill

Helmeted Hornbills Rhinoplax vigil are used to clashes. When a tall forest tree is in fruit, rival individuals launch into one of the most remarkable skirmishes seen among birds anywhere. The mighty hornbills, up to 1.5 m in length, take off from their high perches with deep beats of their enormous wings. Just above the […]

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Great visit to Wallasea Island

Sometimes a days birding can deliver very little and then sometimes days like today come along where it all seems to go right. A Barn Owl as we pulled into the track to the reserve followed by two Short-eared Owls hunting at first light then a male Merlin flashes across us and sits out on […]

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The long journey to saving the Sumatran rhino, via Borneo (commentary)

In 1982, an orangutan researcher working in Indonesian Borneo wrote to a colleague at the biology department at the National University in Jakarta. He told of meeting a traditional-medicine trader at the market in Pangkalan Bun, a city in Central Kalimantan province. “A whole Sumatran rhino head is immersed in coconut oil in a basin,” […]

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‘Death by a thousand holes’: Scientists race to avert a salamander crisis

Any day now. That’s when Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), the “salamander-eating” fungus, is expected to arrive in the United States, home to more than a third of the world’s species of these slippery amphibians.It all began in 2008, when Bsal traveledsome through the pet trade from Asia to northern Europe. There, it escaped into the wild […]

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