Monday, October 9, 2017

Micro Post: The Sand Tiger Shark

Sand Tiger Shark, the most popular aquarium shark.

The sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus), the most popular shark in the aquariums since it’s doing very well in captivity. Sand tiger shark also known as grey nurse shark, spotted ragged-tooth shark, or blue-nurse sand tiger they inhabits subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. The sand tiger shark rarely attacks human with no confirmed human fatalities.

The size of adult sand tiger shark range from 2 m (6.5 ft) to 3.2 m (10.5 ft) in length while weighing around 91 kg (200.6 lb) to 159 kg (350.5 lb). The shape of its head is pointy and opposed to round, while the snout is flattened with a conical shape. The sand shark has well built body and bulky with its easily seen extends beyond the eyes. They usually swim with its mouth open displaying three rows of sharp-pointed teeth. Besides its docile temperament, it’s become the most suitable shark to use as display in many aquariums.

Sand Tiger Shark with its meal.

Eating their smaller aquarium mate (aquarium in Seoul, Korea).

For their diet, most of their prey creatures are demersal (i.e. from the sea bottom), that consist of crustaceans, squid, skates and small bony fish. They prey also changes according to their stages of life, where when it getting larger they will start to take more benthic prey.

Other special characteristic of sand tiger shark includes the ability of breath air from the surface which allows it to float near the surface with ease. They have small eyes with no eyelids. While during pregnancy their young might eating each other while they still in their mother’s body.

Sharper teeth to easily catch its prey.

Arrays of 3 layer teeth can easily be seen.

As they doing very well in captivity, the sand tiger shark is listed vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. It would be nice if we know more about this gentle creature as they might get closer to your beach. Kindly share if you have any additional information about sand tiger shark in the comment below.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Micro Post: Quetzal

Quetzal popular for its stunning plumage and long tail feathers.

Quetzal is considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world. It has immensely coloured plumage with iridescence green or golden-green wing coverts, back, chest and head, while red in its belly. They are fairly large with size up to 32 cm (13 in) slightly bigger than any other trogon species.

They habitats ranging throughout mountainous rainforest of Central America where they prefer the high mountain ranges at altitudes of between 4,000 and 10,000 feet. These areas are highly in moisture and cooler with dense vegetation. High moisture level too will form great deal of fog and these types of areas known as the best place for quetzal to live and breed.

Perching on the branch of tree in its clouds forest.

Leaving its nest.

Flying out of its hole.

Even though “quetzal” mostly used for the resplendent quetzal, the long-tailed quetzal found in southern Mexico and Central America, which is also the national bird and the name of the currency of Guatemala. Now it is also referring to all other species of the genera Pharomachrus and Euptilotis.

They are strongly sexual dimorphic where the females’ plumage are only brown and grey. They live high in the trees close to the top of the canopy in the hole where they either built it using their powerful beaks or ones that have been abandoned by woodpeckers. With their striking colours of plumage, quetzals are perfectly camouflaged in the dense vegetation of the rainforest.

Quetzal in omnivorous and also skilled hunter that capable to swoops its prey before eating whilst still in the air. They also prefer fruit-based diet from vast numbers around fruiting trees. They diet will change to small animals including insects, lizards, frogs, snails and larvae to provide nutrition for its body needs. As any other birds in the forest quetzal also play bigger roles in dispersing the seeds from fruits and berries throughout the forest from their droppings.

The male quetzal.

The female quetzal.

Although the quetzal known for its long tail feathers, they only grow when the males reach their maturity estimated at least three years. It can also be longer for some individuals. Anyway, these long tail feathers can reach length up to 1 meter long against its body around 35 cm (average).

Well there are many other interesting things to know about this beautiful bird. So if you have something to share about it, please write it down in the comment area.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Micro Post: Cock-of-the-rock

The prominent fan-shaped crest on cock-of-the-rock.

What kind of name, anyway this bird cock-of-the-rock absolutely the bird that going to catches the attention on anyone. They live in tropical and sub tropical rainforest close to the rocky areas, where they build their nest. They are two main species of this bird; the Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus) and the smaller Guianan cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola).

The Guianan cock-of-the-rock live in the lowland forest in the South America’s north-east, while the Andean or Peruvian live in the higher Andes gorges. The Andean cock-of-the-rock also became the national bird of Peru.

The Guianan cock-of-the-rock.

The Andean cock-of-the-rock.

Both species has exhibit sexual dimorphism in term of bright colours and also their prominent fan-shaped crests. They also perform lek displays as part of their complex courtship behaviour in order to get an attention of the overall brownish females. Their nest will be build on the rocky cliffs or large boulders, and raise the young on their own. Usually there will be two eggs in their nest that is built out of plant fibres and saliva. The incubation period will be around 23 ~ 28 days.

Group of males for their lek.

The female.

Female in their nest.

It is not easy to locating this bird in the forest canopy as it is very shy unless during their mating season. With their primary source of food are fruits and berries, they are also important as dispersal agents for rainforest seeds.

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Micro Post: Sword-billed Hummingbird

Sword-billed hummingbird with its long bill.

One of the wonderful things about Sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) is the long beak that even longer from its own body. It’s also the biggest in its family with the averages length up to 14 cm (5.5 in) - not including its 8 cm (4 in) bill. While its weighs about 12 grams (0.4 oz).

It’s living in high elevation areas mostly from 2,500 m (8,200 ft) in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The main purpose of sword-billed hummingbird is to pollinating the flowers with long corollas such as Passiflora mixta and angel's trumpets family (Brugmansia sanguine) where most other pollinators wouldn’t be able to pollinate it.

The flower that rely on the hummingbird to be pollinated.

The skeleton of sword-billed hummingbird.

Other than flower’s nectar they also feed on small spiders and insects as part of important sources of protein, especially during the breeding season. The insects are important to help proper develop their young. A nesting female can capture up to 2,000 insects a day.

The males will establish feeding territories and will aggressively chase away other males as well as other large insects - such as bumblebees and hawk moths that trying to feed in their territory.

Another interesting thing about the sword-billed hummingbird is they need to hold its long bill up high in order to balance while perching to avoid toppling over.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Micro Post: Victoria Crowned Pigeon

The closer look of Victoria crowned pigeon.

Commemorates the British monarch Queen Victoria, the Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria) is the largest pigeon in their family. It is so easy to recognize by its size, bluish-grey pigeon with elegant blue lace-like crests, maroon breast, and red irises. It is part of ground dwelling pigeons from more than 40 species of pigeon can be found in New Guinea region.

Being the largest it reaches the size typically 73 to 75 cm (29 to 30 in) long and weight of up to 3.5 kg (7.7 lb). There are two other crowned pigeon that slightly smaller that also live in New Guinea.

The Victoria crowned pigeon at Gondwanaland Zoo Leipzig, Germany.

The Victoria crowned pigeon at San Diego Zoo.

Crowned pigeons have 16 tail feathers while there’re only 12 in any other pigeons. The easiest way to recognize the crowned pigeons is by its superb fan-shaped, lacy crest of plumes on the head of both sexes.

All crowned pigeons live on the forest floor, flying into the three only to roost or nest. Because of its size, they produce a loud clapping sound when it takes flight. They also have similar mating calls as the other two species of crown pigeons with courtship display.

This bird will enjoying walking on the land.

They also can easily found moving in pack.

Even though easily breed in captivity, the Victoria crowned pigeon become rarely in their own natural habitat due to logging and hunting for its plumes and meat. Trapping of pigeons to be kept alive for captive collections is now illegal, but is still likely to be occurring. Now you can see this bird in most zoos and bird parks all around the world. 

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