Readers’ wildlife photos

We have a roundup of bird species today from four different readers:

Reader Phil from Oz sends this:

An Australian bird for you. Little corella (Cacatua sanguinea). This was taken at Ocean Shores, near Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, Australia’s most easterly point.

Little corella

Reader Victor Chocho sends a juvenile blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii):

I’m a biology student in Ecuador; last weekend I went to the beach and took this pictures, I hope you enjoy it…

In the picture you see a Sula nebouxii, (“Piquero de patas azules” in Spanish)I found this little one by the beach and it looks like he loved to have his picture taken!)


Reader John from Ethiopia sends a black predator and some notes on local worship:

Here is another fine bird, a Bateleur Eagle [Terathopius ecaudatus;the only species in its genus], spotted in the South Omo Region of Ethiopia.

You would like it here where I am at this moment (not): the Muslim call to prayer, blasting out from a gigantic loudspeaker about a quarter mile away, is facing stiff competition from chanting Ethiopian Orthodox Christian priests, broadcasting through their own gigantic speakers also about a quarter mile away. To be fair, the call to prayer lasts only about 10 minutes, five times a day, while the Ethiopian Orthodox (a very large and pious majority here in the north of the country) often chant all through the night.


Reader Tony Eales, also from Oz:

I have two shots of the Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoidesa relative of the WEIT favourite nightjars. They’re experts at camouflage during the day as in the one in the photo pretending to be a stick, but can put on an arresting display as in the one I discovered being attacked by a pair of Brown Falcons. Also a spot the owlet nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus). It was the best shot I could get, he/she was expert at keeping a few leaves and branches between myself and it.

First the owlet nightjar; can you spot it?


Then the tawny frogmouths, this one being attacked by brown falcons:

TFM annoyed

It’s an expert at pretending to be a broken branch:

TFM Stick



  1. Hempenstein
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    The poor iggle looks to be doggedly holding on against the auditory blasts, with an expression that reminds me of Cosmo Fishhawk (of the Shoe cartoon strip).

    • Posted July 16, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I do miss Shoe!

      • Posted July 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Merilee, do you mean you miss the strip Shoe by originator Jeff Mcnally, as opposed to the present continuation by his daughter & co.?

        Check out Shoe on GoComics!

        • Posted July 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          No, i did jot know about the new daughterly Shoe. Will check it out! I’ve had a Shoe cartoon on my bathroom door for decades. It’s a sign on a hand dryer in a public bathroom. It says something like Wash Hands. Rub hands together briskly. Wipe hands on pants.

  2. MikeW
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    And if looking like a stick is enough, he has a switchblade!

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted July 16, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      The frogmouth is really cool! Reminds me of our Western Hemisphere potoos.

    • still learning
      Posted July 16, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Yes, that “knife” is a great illusion, especially paired with his facial expression!

  3. MikeW
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    “isn’t enough”

  4. Posted July 16, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    The booby looks like it’s about ready to extend a wing and shake “hands,” and earnestly express how delighted it is to meet the photographer….


    • Posted July 16, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Delight is the expression I’d pin to him too. He seems rather interested in posing for his picture as if they are going to go off and have a pint later.

      • Posted July 16, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        I think it’s pretty safe to suggest that, just as our brains have their origins in a common ancestor much older than the latest common ancestor with birds, so, too, do the things that happen in the brains have an ancient common ancestor. And that would include both emotions and the physical expressions of those emotions. As such, we should expect a great deal of similarity between individuals across species.


  5. Posted July 16, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Love blue footed boobies!!

    • Draken
      Posted July 16, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Then buy the T-shirt!

      • Posted July 16, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        I might just do that:-))

        Anyone remember the story ( which I can’t seem to find through googling) about Richard Nixon’s meeting up with a North Vietnamese leader on a remote Pacific island and a multitude of sweepers having to disperse the multitude of blue-footed boobies off the runway. I know I could NOT have dreamed this up…

        • Posted July 16, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          Haven’t heard that one but every time I think of Nixon I laugh at him calling Pierre Trudeau an asshole and when asked about it, Trudeau replying, “I’ve been called worse things by better people”. Classic.

          • Posted July 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

            Yes, that is a classic, both Tricky Dick and Pierre!

    • eric
      Posted July 16, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Yeah what a great picture. The facial expression is amusing, disconcerting, and compelling all at the same time.

      • Posted July 16, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        See! I’m not the only one who sees facial expressions in animals! Faces are everywhere! 😛

  6. Draken
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    For a second I thought I’d finally spotted the nightjar! Turned out to be a frogmouth. Bummer.

  7. still learning
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I just saw a Google news post about a new fossil discovery in China. It’s a bird, Changyuraptor Yangi, and had 4 wings!

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      It’s not exactly a ‘bird’ in the modern sense: technically it’s a microraptorine dromaeosaur, nearly the size of Velociraptor, but they reckon it could fly. The ‘4 wings’ condition, with long feathers on the metatarsus, is known in quite a few dino-birds now including Microraptor (where it was first reported) and our old fave Archaeopteryx.

  8. hank_says
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I love corellas.* My mother worked at a wildlife park in South Australia for many years during the 1980s; on weekends on holidays I’d get in for free and have the run of the place. One of my favourite stops was the aviary where, if you weren’t paying attention, a certain cheeky specimen would sidle up to your shoe and undo your laces with his beak. I experimented with ever more complex knots, but this bird was as patient and determined as a safe-cracker and bested me every time.

    *In small doses. In the bush, corellas flock in their hundreds and are infamous for the racket they make at dawn & dusk. Campers don’t get to sleep in if there are corellas about.

    • kelskye
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:03 am | Permalink

      “In small doses”
      For a couple of months a year, Corellas swarm the area where I live. They can be quite noisy, but it’s worth it because the birds are so playful. In any case, they’re not quite as loud as sulphur crested cockatoos.

      • hank_says
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Yep, sulphurs sure have a squawk on them – more than makes up for their relatively small flocks!

        There’s no shortage of them around here (inner NE Adelaide) – I frequently see them clowning around on the wires up and down my block and scoping out backyards (a couple of houses around here are enabling them with seeds and bread). Noise aside, they’re really quite entertaining.

        • kelskye
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 4:25 am | Permalink

          “Yep, sulphurs sure have a squawk on them”
          There’s nothing quite one flying low overheard and letting off a good squawk.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Last year we had a lot of Carnaby’s Black Cockies (endangered due to destruction of most of their breeding trees, but still numerous because they live as long as humans), Ringneck Parrots and several species of honeyeaters in the neighbourhood (Perth area), but this year there were massive numbers of Australian Ravens (and no honeyeaters anymore) and the odd White Ibis, and just lately the ravens have nearly gone but there’ve been daily increasing mobs of Little Corellas, which spend some of the time feeding in pines, plane trees and olives (none native, of course), some apparently grazing in the adjacent park, and the rest just wheeling around the sky in massive squawking flocks.
      We found out a couple of months ago that a lady across the road was putting out a daily loaf of bread (hence ravens and ibises), and today learned that she’s given that up, and instead has been dumping out a large bag of seed every morning in the park. This shows why feeding birds is (mostly) ecological vandalism; it mainly feeds the aggressive, widespread, weedy species that then suppress the ones with restricted ranges and important ecological functions (pollination, insectivory etc.).
      Ah well, it’s a good thing I enjoy watching magpies and butcherbirds, and listening to the Boobooks of a night, because at least they’re still here.

      • hank_says
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        I agree – it’s nice to have birds in your yard (where I grew up in the Adelaide hills we’d spread a little seed each morning to attract red-browed finches – mum called them her “chooks”) but I think a lot of people don’t know how a little interference can upset the balance. I think it’s especially dodgy in the burbs or inner city because aggressive ferals like blackbirds and starlings already thrive in the network of backyards and gardens – they don’t need the encouragement but they’ll sure take it.

        My m-in-law feeds mince to butcherbirds, magpies and kookaburras at her Sunraysia property. They’re not dependent by any means and they don’t attract ferals, but they do get insistent – especially the butchers, who front up to the kitchen window and knock with their little hooked beaks. At least the magpies have some class and just sing for their snacks.

        Where I am now in Adelaide’s inner north-east, the river and attendant parklands provide a nice wildlife corridor from the hills, through the burbs and all the way to the city. There’s no real need for anyone to feed birds around here because you can just go outside or walk a couple of minutes to the riverbank. Sulphur-crest cockies, rainbow lorrikeets, magpies (of course), rosellas, ibis, wood duck, pink galahs (they often swarm the local soccer club’s pitches and devour the grass seed) and (at night) fruit bats and various owls abound. Of course, so do flamin’ noisy mynah birds and other ferals, but for the most part I think the river provides abundance for the native species, so they’re on top.

  9. Diane G.
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Phil, Victor, John, and Tony for the excellent pictures and comments. I can never get enough of birds, and these are all wonderfully foreign-to-me species.

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