Readers’ wildlife photos

June 3, 2019 • 8:00 am

We have photos from two biologists today. First, here are some bird pictures from evolutionary biologist and naturalist John Avise’s site Avise’s Birds of the World, all posted with permission. John’s captions are indented:

Eurasian teal, Anas crecca. Drake; vagrant at site of photograph (California, USA; 2011-02-27):

Photo by John C. Avise

Snow goose (Chen caerulescens). Note black wing tips (California, USA; 2007-02-04):

Photo by John C. Avise

Knob-billed Duck. Drake (Sarkidiornis melanotos) posing for a head portrait; note the knobbed bill (Zoo; 2012-09-19):

Photo by John C. Avise

Azure Jay (Cyanocorax caeruleus); note black crest feathers (Brazil; 2007-11-09): 

Photo by John C. Avise

Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), blue face; crest; long tail; totally unique appearance (Ecuador; 2012-03-20). [JAC: look up this remarkable bird, whose young have claws to help them climb up trees when they jump into the water at the approach of predators. See video here.]

Photo by John C. Avise

Virginia rail (Rallus limicola), walking with high-steps (California, USA; 2007-07-26:

Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis). A strong and beautiful flyer; note smudge around eye (Hawaii; 2007-04-12)

Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria). Trio; note the sturdy legs; light patch on wings (Zoo; 2008-10-21)


Piotr Naskrecki, another biologist, naturalist, and photographer, takes some wonderful pictures, lately in Mozambique. He documents his adventures there on his Gorongosa National Park site and on his Mozambique “diary” site, The Smaller Majority. I saw this stunning photograph on his Facebook page and asked him for permission to reproduce it here, which he granted. Look at that katydid! Piotr’s caption:

One of Mozambique’s most beautiful katydids, Pardalota karschiana. Unlike most katydids they are active during the day. They can afford being seen by birds and other predators as they are chemically protected, and advertise this fact with bright coloration. [JAC: this warning coloration is called”aposematic coloration”.]

Photo by Piotr Naskrecki

8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful photographs of beautiful birds. I’d not known of the Hoatzin, a crazy looking bird that now goes on my list of favorites. However, I won’t try to cozy up to one as I find that they’re also called “stink birds” because they stink from fermenting their food in their crop before digestion.

    The cool katydid looks like it’s wearing some Mozambiqe textiles just like the women.

  2. I’d never heard of a hoatzin before. Australia’s got ‘cute’ and ‘deadly’ sewn up (with some overlap between the categories!), but South America wins ‘most fantastically incredible birds’ hands down.

  3. [JAC: this warning coloration is called”aposematic coloration”.] – I’ve wondered about this. As a kid I heard that dogs are color-blind and extended that to all animals, including birds and insects. As an adult, not having updated this old info point, I got confused on hearing about poison coloration. How can they “see” these colors to be warned? Now that I have the time to look up the details of things that make me go “huh?”, I hope kids today are brighter than I was.

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