Ardea cinerea : Grey heron

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The grey heron [Ardea cinerea] is a long-legged predatory wading bird of the heron family, Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in much of its range, but some populations from the more northern parts migrate southwards in autumn. A bird of wetland areas, it can be seen around lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes and on the sea coast. It feeds mostly on aquatic creatures which it catches after standing stationary beside or in the water or stalking its prey through the shallows.

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Standing up to a metre tall, adults weigh from 1 to 2 kg [2.2 to 4.4 lb]. They have a white head and neck with a broad black stripe that extends from the eye to the black crest. The body and wings are grey above and the underparts are greyish-white, with some black on the flanks. The long, sharply pointed beak is pinkish-yellow and the legs are brown.

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The birds breed colonially in spring in “heronries”, usually building their nests high in trees. A clutch of usually three to five bluish-green eggs is laid. Both birds incubate the eggs for a period of about 25 days, and then both feed the chicks, which fledge when seven or eight weeks old. Many juveniles do not survive their first winter, but if they do, they can expect to live for about five years.

In Ancient Egypt, the deity Bennu was depicted as a heron in New Kingdom artwork. In Ancient Rome, the heron was a bird of divination.

Photos: Art Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands; Yishun Pond, Yishun, Singapore [20160401, 20160218]

Source: Wikipedia

Pycnonotus goiavier : Yellow-vented bulbul

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The yellow-vented bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is resident breeder in southeast Asia from southern Thailand and Cambodia south to Borneo and the Philippines. It is found in a wide variety of open habitats, but not deep forest. It is one of the most common birds in cultivated areas. They appear to be nomadic, roaming from place to place regularly.

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The yellow-vented bulbul builds a well-camouflaged but fragile, loose, deep, cup-shaped nest from grass, leaves, roots, vine stems, and twigs. The nest is untidy on the outside, but it is neatly lined with plant fibers. It may be built in a wide range of places from low bushes to high trees. This is a species adapted to humans and may even nest in gardens.

The yellow-vented bulbuls eats berries and small fruits. They also sip nectar, nibble on young shoots, and take some insects.

Photos: Pasir Ris Park and Nature Reserve, Singapore [20160306]

Source: Wikipedia

Junco hyemalis: Dark-eyed junco

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The dark-eyed junco [Junco hyemalis] is the best-known species of the juncos, a genus of small grayish American sparrows. This bird is common across much of temperate North America and in summer ranges far into the Arctic.

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Adults generally have gray heads, necks, and breasts, gray or brown backs and wings, and a white belly, but show a confusing amount of variation in plumage details. The white outer tail feathers flash distinctively in flight and while hopping on the ground. The bill is usually pale pinkish.

Photos: Chamblee, GA, USA [20160102]

Source: Wikipedia

Setophaga coronate: Yellow-rumped warbler

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Four closely related North American bird forms—the eastern myrtle warbler [ssp coronate], its western counterpart, Audubon’s warbler [ssp group auduboni], the northwest Mexican black-fronted warbler [ssp nigrifrons], and the Guatemalan Goldman’s warbler [ssp goldmani]—are periodically lumped as the yellow-rumped warbler [Setophaga coronate].

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The yellow-rumped warbler breeds from eastern North America west to the Pacific, and southward from there into Western Mexico. Among warblers it is by far the most widespread in North America in winter,  in the northern and central parts of the continent, it is among the last to leave in the fall and among the first to return.

These birds are one of North America’s most abundant neotropical migrants. They are primarily insectivorous. The species is perhaps the most versatile foragers of all warblers. Beyond gleaning from leaves like other New World warblers, they often flit, flycatcher-like, out from their perches in short loops, to catch flying insects.

Photos: Chamblee, GA, USA [20151231]

Source: Wikipedia

Zonotrichia albicollis: White-throated sparrow

The white-throated sparrow [Zonotrichia albicollis] is a passerine bird of the American sparrow family Emberizidae.

There are two adult plumage variations known as the tan-striped and white-striped forms. On the white-striped form the crown is black with a white central stripe. The supercilium is white as well. The auriculars are gray with the upper edge forming a black eye line.

On the tan form, the crown is dark brown with a tan central stripe. The supercilium is tan as well. The auriculars are gray/light brown with the upper edge forming a brown eye line. Both variations feature dark eyes, a white throat, yellow lores and gray bill. There is variation and some individuals may show dark lateral stripes of each side of the throat.

White-throated sparrows breed in central Canada and New England. They nest either on the ground under shrubs or low in trees in deciduous or mixed forest areas and lay three to five brown-marked blue or green-white eggs. In winter, it migrates to the southern and eastern United States.

Photo: Chamblee, GA, USA [20151126]

Source: Wikipedia

Mimus polyglottos: Northern mockingbird

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The northern mockingbird [Mimus polyglottos] is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America. This bird is mainly a permanent resident, but northern birds may move south during harsh weather. This species has rarely been observed in Europe.

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The northern mockingbird is renowned for its mimicking ability, as reflected by the meaning of its scientific name, ‘many-tongued mimic.’ The northern mockingbird has gray to brown upper feathers and a paler belly. Its wings have white patches which are visible in flight.

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The northern mockingbird is an omnivore. It eats both insects and fruits. It often found in open areas and forest edges but forages in grassy land. The northern mockingbird breeds in southeastern Canada, the United States, northern Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Greater Antilles.

Photo: Chamblee, GA, USA [20151115]

Source: Wikipedia

Baeolophus bicolor: Tufted titmouse

The tufted titmouse [Baeolophus bicolor] is a small songbird from North America, a species in the tit and chickadee family, Paridae. The habitat is deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks and shrubland in the eastern United States. They are all-year residents in the area effectively circumscribed by the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

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They forage actively on branches, sometimes on the ground, mainly eating insects, especially caterpillars, but also seeds, nuts and berries. They will store food for later use. They tend to be curious about their human neighbors and can sometimes be spotted on window ledges peering into the windows to watch what’s going on inside. They are more shy when seen at bird feeders; their normal pattern there is to scout the feeder from the cover of trees or bushes, fly to the feeder, take a seed, and fly back to cover to eat it.

Photo: Chamblee, GA, USA [20150915]

Source: Wikipedia