Readers’ wildlife photos

April 18, 2021 • 8:00 am

It’s Sunday, and that means we have a new themed bird collection from John Avise. This week’s theme is TEXAS! John’s notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.For some reason many of the links to the Cornell bird site are down today, so several of the links below are to Wikipedia articles.

Some Texas Specials

Jerry’s recent culinary adventures in Texas showcased the state’s BBQ and other gastronomical delights.  But Texas is also a birder’s paradise.  The state is situated at the juncture of North America’s eastern and western avifaunas, so Texas birders can find a mixture of these distinct faunal elements.  The state is also near the northern range limit of a number of Central American bird species.  In 2006, I traveled to South Texas expressly to see some of these Texas avian specialties.  I took the following pictures mostly in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which is widely renowned as one of North America’s supreme birding hotspots.  [And it also has great Mexican food!].

Plain chachalaca, Ortalis vetula:

Least Grebe, Tachybaptus dominicus:

Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Dendrocygnus brasilianus:

Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus:

Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris:

Green Jay, Cyanocorax yucus:

Brown Jay, Cyanocorax morio:

White-winged Dove, Zenaida asiatica:

Inca Dove, Columbina inca:

Couch’s Kingbird, Tyrannus couchii:

Long-billed Thrasher, Toxostoma longirostre:

Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus:

Black-crested Titmouse, Baeolophus atricristatus:

Great-tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus:

Gray Hawk, Asturina nitida:

Ferruginous pygmy owl, Glaucidium brasilianum:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus:

14 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. The Ani is so strange looking- is it a nut eater?

    North American birds are so alien looking to me! Mostly… the tits & thrushes are familiar looking of course.

    1. According to Wikipedia, most of the Ani’s diet consists of insects and other small animals, plus small fruits and seeds.

  2. John – why are so many of these birds long-tailed? I suppose the long tail affects flying or manoeuvrability in some way. I cannot think of so many long-tailed European birds- long tailed tit, magpie, reedling, wagtails, pheasants… er… others that are common do not spring to mind.
    Something to do with woodland?


    1. For the Roadrunner, the long tail clearly is used for balance while the bird is running and turning. For other species such as the grackle, sexual selection is no doubt involved (because the long tail inhibits strong flight and predator avoidance). In such cases, sexual selection and natural selection presumably act in opposition.

  3. Love the Least Grebe. Here we have the Australasian Grebe, Tachybaptas novaehollandiae which are also lovely little water birds. We have seen them carrying a brood of four grebe-lings (?) on a parent’s back.

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