Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bird Watching – Know the types of birds

Birding or bird watching is one of the most liked hobbies of people around the world. While the city dwellers have to make an effort to go to places which abound in birds, those in rural areas and countryside have a far easier access to watch these beautifully coloured creatures pecking on their window panes or singing while perched in the trees. In fact the sound of birds is so melodious that one wouldn't like these to cease and continue listening to one of the best voices created by the Nature.

For bird watchers, there is a wide variety of birds to chose from, as the variety of birds changes from place to place. One would find it easier to recognize birds if one knew what kind frequented in the area. Herein under are some of the types of common birds that are seen, spotted and loved by bird watchers around the world.

Left to right: Avocet, Eastern Bluebirds, Doves, Gray Catbird, Great Spotted Eagle, Bald Eagle

Avocet: Avocets are long legged, webbed feet birds with a long and thin up-curved bills. The long bills are used to catch the feed from the wetlands they prefer. There are four species of avocets namely the Pied avocet, American avocet, Red-necked avocet and the Andean avocet. The avocets are found in Americas, Europe and Australia.

Eastern Bluebirds: These small birds, only six and half inches long, are often found in farmlands, orchards and open places and recognized by their white bellies, with bright blue and red top and reddish brown throat and breast. The female birds usually have a grayish head with shades of blue. Eastern Bluebirds are found east of the Rockies, southern Canada to the Gulf States and southeastern Arizona to Nicaragua.

Doves: who would not recognize a dove as it is the international symbol of peace and romance. A little smaller than an ordinary pigeon, doves have long tail. The doves are found throughout the world and have a very peculiar melodious voice.

Gray Catbird: This is a medium sized bird and is found in North America. In some areas it is also known as the Slate-coloured Mockingbird. Gray in colour, catbirds are known for imitating the sounds of other birds.

Eagles: Eagle is one of the most majestic birds that are found throughout the world. There are more than 60 species of eagles that are found in Africa, Asia and Eurasia. The Golden and Bald eagles are the two species that are specific to the USA and Canada. In Pakistan one can find Pallas's Fish Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle (above second from right) and the Imperial Eagle in various national parks.

Flamingo: The pink coloured long legged bird with a unique elongated and turning down beak, flamingo is one of the most beautiful bird. There are six species of flamingo, namely Greater Flamingo (found in parts of Africa, S. Europe and S. and SW Asia), Lesser Flamingo (found in the Great Rift Valley of to NW India and Pakistan), Chilean Flamingo (found in temperate South American countries), James’ and Andean Flamingos (found in High Andes in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina) and American Flamingo found in Caribbean and Galapagos islands.

Geese: Geese are a common sight across the globe and are often domesticated. Most of the species of the geese are migratory and can be spotted during migratory seasons in countries where wetlands attract these from nearby colder regions. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller. 

Herons: Herons, often called Egrets or Bitterns, are in fact a large number of different birds that include storks and spoonnills. These are also migratory birds found around wetlands. There are 64 recognized species of birds falling under Heron family. The herons are medium to large sized birds with long legs and necks. The largest species of heron is the Goliath Heron (above right). The necks are able to kink in an s-shape, due to the modified shape of the sixth vertebrae. 

We will talk of more bird types in our next post.

Header Photo: southern cassowary portrait on black by rogersmithpix

related reading: Bird watching in Pakistan
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