The Beautiful Maroon Bird Of Southeast Asia — Ward’s Trogon

The Ward’s trogon (Harpactes wardi) belongs to the family of trogons and quetzals, Trogonidae in the order Trogoniformes.

These species of trogons are distributed in Northeast India (Arunachal Pradesh), Bhutan, Northeast Myanmar, China (West Yunnan province) and Vietnam (Tonkin region). The Ward’s trogon is a sparsely distributed species and it has a moderately small population which is under steady decline. All over its range, this trogon species is becoming uncommon and rare due to habitat loss and degradation.

The Ward’s Trogon is classified as Near Threatened (NT), is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.

A sluggish bird of mature tropical hill forests. A small head and prominent pale eye-ring give it a comically surprised appearance. Male has a wine-purple back, a scarlet belly, and a red plush patch on the forehead. Female is brownish with a yellow cap and underparts. Like other trogons, usually still and hard to detect on a low or mid-level perch, from which it sallies out to take insects, fruits, and seeds. Song is a series of bubbling hoots that accelerate and rise, then taper off gradually towards the end.

This bird is comfortable where they are and doesn’t have any intention of moving quickly.

Most sources just describe the bird’s appearance and habitat, without a lot of detail about their habits.

They live in forests both temperate and tropical, throughout much of Southeast Asia and the northeastern sections of the Indian subcontinent.

Though they are lovely birds, they’re hard to spot, which has made study difficult.

They don’t like to work for their food, which consists of insects, seeds, and fruit. Females have the same pattern to their feathers, but are olive and yellow in hue.

Trogon species in general tend to be sedentary.

Their proportions result in short, weak legs that can’t properly support their large body. Most trogons aren’t even able to turn around on a branch without using their wings to hover. Those same stubby legs make tagging birds difficult, resulting in less data about them overall.

Glorious Capture Of Bonding Moment Between Mongolian Eagle Keepers And Their Birds

In the treacherous Altai Mountains in the far reaches of western Mongolia, golden eagles build their nests high up on rock faces. Every winter, nomads from the country’s Kazakh minority brave subzero temperatures and travel the mountains on horseback in search of young eaglets to take home and train as their hunting partners.

After maintaining this practice for hundreds of years, the burkitshi — as men who hunt with eagles are called in Kazakh — are slowly dying out. There are no more than 50 to 60 “true” hunters left, and each winter claims a few more. Young people are uninterested in the tradition and increasingly migrating to cities, like the polluted Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator.

Photographer Daniel Kordan recently spent time with a group of eagle keepers, where he was able to capture the beauty of their bonds.

Each September, a large berkutchi festival takes place, attracting tourists from around the region. But Kordan’s experience was decidedly more intimate, as he used local guides to connect with nomad families, who brought him in and introduced him to the area’s eagle keepers. His images demonstrate the power and skill of both the handlers and the eagles, as well as the pride both parties take in their shared mission.

Kordan, who also leads photography workshops and expeditions, came away from his time in Mongolia with a renewed respect and appreciation for the people he encountered.

In an interview for My Modern Met, Daniel said, “I’m fascinated by nomad culture. It’s an elusive culture, almost extinct nowadays. There are just around 300 eagle keepers left keeping this thousand-year-old tradition. It’s hard to keep and so easy to move toward “civilization,” but these people try to keep the tradition and pass it on through generations.”

Racing through the mountain range on horseback, the Kazakh people practice their ancient tradition of hunting with golden eagles.

The eagles soar through the air at speeds of up to 200mph as they race to reach their keeper first, during an annual festival celebrating the heritage of the Turkic group.

The Golden Eagle festival is held every October in Bayan-Olgii, a province in western Mongolia.

The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practising falconers.

The tradition of hunting with golden eagles is said to have been started by the nomadic Khitans from Manchuria in northern China around 940AD.

Other activities held during the Golden Eagle festival include horse racing, archery and Bushkashi, which is a goatskin tug of war on horseback

The festival also sees awards handed out for Best Turned Out Eagle And Owner, Best Eagle At Hunting Prey and Best Eagle At Locating Its Owner From A Distance.

“That people are actually very happy with this life, no matter how hard it is. And even kids starting from 13 years old can keep their eagle. The bond with the bird is so strong! Actually, even the eyes and the look of the eagle and its master resemble each other. They also respect their bird and release it into the wild after it turns 10 years old.” explained the artist.

Talking about the daily routine of Mongolian people, Kordan said, “They start the day early, by taking care of their horses, sheep, goats, cooking meals, and making furs. Closer to winter and in the spring they migrate from one spot to another. Sometimes nomads need to travel thousands of kilometers. So winter migration is the most fascinating thing. Every day they need to assemble their Ger tent and move to another place with all their herds. That’s lots of endurance and work.”

As you can imagine, these people have their own culture and their uniqueness is a form of isolation from the rest of the world. So reaching out to them is not as easy as one may think.

“I found local guides and drivers to bring me to nomads. It took me a while to find the right contacts during my research. Basically, all nomad families are connected, so after you find the first connection, it’s easy to communicate. I also speak Russian and it helped to communicate with them, as some of older people know Russian from Soviet times.”

 

 

The Mysterious Bird—Rufous-Bellied Niltava

Rufous-bellied niltava, Niltava sundara, Hodgson, 1837, also known as the black-and-orange niltava or as the blue-and-orange niltava or orange-bellied niltava, also (appropriately) as the beautiful niltava, or as the Sundara/Sundra niltava, photographed at the Ban Luang Resort, Doi Ang Khang, Chiang Mai province in the far north of Thailand. This mystery bird is from Thailand.

This species is very similar to the small niltava, N. macgrigoriae, with nearly identical colouring and patterning of the upperparts, but the male rufous-bellied niltava is considerably, and has orange underparts (small niltava has grey-blue underparts).

The rufous-bellied niltava lives in the brushy undergrowth in a variety of moist and tropical forest types, including mixed, broadleafed, secondary and disturbed lowland montane forests throughout the Himalayas. The bird ranges from central China through Myanmar (Burma) and into northern Thailand and Indochina.

The rufous-bellied niltava, Niltava sundara, is a bird that perfectly demonstrates the power of complementary colors.

As typical for its family, this species is mainly insectivorous and it also consumes fruit. This species constructs an open cup nest hidden in dense vegetation. The hen lays 3-4 eggs per clutch, which she incubates alone, and both parents feed and care for the chicks. Young birds are primarily fed insects.

The male gets his brilliant colouring from a combination of pigments and structural colours. The orange underparts come from pigment-based colouring, created by a group of pigments known as carotenoids. The carotenoids are produced by plants, and are acquired by eating plants and storing the pigments until moult, at which time the carotenoids are placed inside the growing feathers.

These beauties’ habitat extends in a curve across southern Asia.

It starts in north-most Pakistan and skims the top of India before curving through mountainous Nepal, Bhutan, and down into the area of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. They can also be found in pockets throughout southeastern China.

Here is a video of an adult male:

Blue is a combination of structural colouring and pigment-based colouring. The rich dark blue of the bird’s upperparts is the result of tiny air pockets inside the feather barbs that scatter incoming light, creating the blue colouring. The feather itself contains pigments — melanins — that strengthen the feather structure and deepen the blue colouring. When you see this bird in low light or when it is backlit, the blue colouring resulting from light scattering is lost, so the bird will look black-and-orange instead of blue-and-orange.

This species is strongly dimorphic. The female has olive-brown upperparts, greyer crown and nape, a buffy eyering around large black eyes, rufous wings with white streaking, rufous tail. The underparts are greyish-olive, the throat is buffy and there is a small but very noticeable incomplete white neck band in the middle of the neck with a tiny iridescent blue at each end.

Here’s a video of an adult female:

They like brushy undergrowth in moist or tropical forests and eat mostly insects and fruit.

The particularly shiny nature of the males’ blue hues are due to a mix of dark melanin pigment and light scattering.

 

Gorgeous Lilac-breasted Rollers Have the Spring-like Colors

Spring is usually a magical time for most of us. However, with the pandemic and threat of the coronavirus, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about this season. The warm and lovely colors and those first blushing blooms are wilted and the brighter, livelier ones are poking their heads out.

There’s this bird that has spring-like colors.

The lilac-breasted roller is one of the most beautiful birds around the globe. It has these nice colors that can surely remind you of spring. With how they look, it’s surely mesmerizing to see them. Their name comes from their lovely purple breast feathers.

Unlike most bird species, there isn’t much visual difference between the males and females. They all get to be fabulous.

They belong to the Coraciidae family and it’s regarded as one of its most colorful members.  These birds are from sub-Saharan Africa, and can be found in areas of savanna or open woodland.

They have an average mass of 104 grams, and their size, on the other hand, ranges between 36 to 38 centimeters. Their fliers have can extend between 50 to 58 centimeters.

The birds like to sit alone or in pairs on treetops, poles, and other high vantage points. The locations enable them to easily spot scorpions, lizards, insects, rodents, and other small animals on the ground. In the winter, the flock can get bigger. This happens as small families fly together. And when they are in the air, they can show really amazing acrobatic and flight techniques.

Known As The Devil Bird Of Sri Lanka, The Spot-Bellied Eagle Owl Has Heart Shapes In Its Feathers

In Sri Lankan folklore, a woman whose child was murdered by her husband went mad and ran off into the jungle to commit suicide. After her death, the gods transformed her into a creature called the ulama, or devil bird, whose horrible, human-sounding wail in the distance is a portent that something terrible is about to happen [source: Dole].

But was this a real animal? In the 1950s, ornithologist George Morton Henry, author of a definitive volume on the birds of Sri Lanka, decided that the devil bird actually was the spot-bellied eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis blighi)[source: Eberhart].

This predatory bird, which is also known as the forest eagle owl, is found in a swath of South Asia stretching from India to Burma. It is about 21 inches (53 centimeters) in length and has heart-shaped spots and prominent black-and-white ear tufts that give it a suitably eerie appearance. But people who are fearful of it shouldn’t worry, because it eats only game birds (like pheasants), reptiles and fish [source: Harrison].

Sightings of the eagle owl are rare, thanks to the increasing presence of humans in formerly forested territory in Sri Lanka. Unlike many wild creatures who adapt to urban settings, this one will make its nests in thick jungle only. The birds return to the same nesting sites year after year, several of which we’ve had the privilege of seeing for ourselves. As the forest habitat of this rare and beautiful predatory bird continues to degrade, its future hangs in a balance.

Distributed across all parts of the Island, in both dry and wet zones, the owls do not necessarily build their own nests. Instead they occupy tree holes or previously abandoned stick nests, laying a single egg and taking turns keeping a watchful eye until the chick sets out on its own.

The largest of Sri Lanka’s owl species, the spot-bellied eagle owl preys on a wide range of creatures, including some fairly large mammals, birds and reptiles. A glimpse of this formidable creature in the open is all that’s required for the forest to come alive with alarm calls from distressed potential prey.

Although they hunt mainly at night, we once witnessed an individual going about its business at dusk. Swooping down upon a medium-sized black-naped hare in the undergrowth at Sooriyawewa, it held the animal tight in its sharp talons, spread its huge wings, and took to the air with its prey. The whole encounter was over in a moment.

These elusive creatures are even harder to spot during the daytime.On safari in Wilpattu National Park one day, a bird – flying too fast to identify – crashed into the back of the vehicle ahead of us. It was only when we approached it, lying motionless on the road, that we realized it was a spot-bellied eagle owl. Our guide picked it up and put it on a branch, and it was just a couple of minutes before it regained consciousness and flew back deep into the jungle.

Feathers of the spot-bellied eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis) appearing as though marked with black hearts.

The spot-bellied eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis), also known as the forest eagle-owl is a large bird of prey with a formidable appearance. It is a forest-inhabiting species found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. This species is considered part of a superspecies with the barred eagle-owl (Bubo sumatranus), which looks quite similar but is allopatric in distribution, replacing the larger spot-bellied species in the southern end of the Malay Peninsula and the larger island in Southeast Asia extending down to Borneo.

This owl is noted for its strange, human-sounding call, it was suggested that it be the cryptid known as ulama or “Devil Bird” in Sri Lanka.

Beautiful Mountain Bluebirds Perfectly Live Up To Their Name

The Mountian Bluebird was named the Nevada state bird in 1967. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful birds in the West due to its stunning blue feathers. These birds like to live out in the open. They are often found in mountainous terrains but have been spotted in prairie lands and deserts.

Female birds take charge when deciding where to build a nest. These nests are usually built in any type of cavity, whether this is in trees, cliffs, or dirt banks. It has been speculated that the female bluebirds do most of the work when building a nest.

In a humorous observation, male birds are often seen ‘pretending’ to help, yet frequently lose the nest-building materials.

Mountain bluebirds can be found in much of the western United States and Canada, especially during the breeding season, which makes them a common sign of spring’s arrival. For a while in the 20th century, the population was in decline, but it has managed to bounce back a bit.

Since the birds nest in cavities but don’t make their own, issues like deforestation and agricultural practices limited the number of nesting sites. However, conservation efforts and the creation of “nest boxes” for them has helped a lot. They are said to be aggressive birds, which I can believe after seeing the look on this dude’s face. That’s okay because it’s better for us to appreciate them from afar.

If you live in a place that falls into their breeding territory, building your own nesting boxes in your yard may mean that you can enjoy the sight all season long.

The American Bird Conservancy compares the forging of the Mountian Bluebird to that of a Falcon. These birds feed on the ground, snatching various insects and berries. Their unique feeding behavior sets them apart from similar species.

 

13+ Cute Little Places That Look Too Good To Be Real

Once again planet earth is prooving itself with the beauties it holds. Even in some petite, cute cities, it captures the most breathtaking sceneries, and here we’re presenting to you 18 of those. Now all you have left to do is choose which one to visit first.

1. Xitang, China

2. Shaanxi, China

3. Portofino, Italy

4. Damüls, Austria

5. Colmar, France

6. Shirakawa-Gō, Japan

7. Desenzano Del Garda, Italy

8. Vang Vieng, Laos

9. Manarola, Italy

10. Zermatt, Switzerland

11. Reine, Norway

 12. Hallstatt, Austria

13. Jiufen, Taiwan

14. Kakortok, Greenland

15. Bled, Slovenia

16. Dazhai, China

17. Burano, Italy

18. Yangshuo County, China

16+ Pictures Capturing a Darker Side of Nature

If you’re a person who doesn’t spend a lot of time outdoors, you probably don’t get the chance to see a lot of wildlife. But when it comes to what you’ll see below, probably you would still prefer to just sit inside, set the temperature how you want it, and ignore these caught-up scenes that are neither serene nor relaxing.

1. It’s hard to tell how this gazelle got into this situation, but it’s hard to blame it for not seeing a way out.

2. The day’s already not going well for this little penguin, and it’s probably about to get worse.

3. It’s a little hard to tell what this wasp is eating, but it probably wouldn’t have been when it started.

4. These jumping spiders have no issue with eating each other, but it goes a little deeper than hunger.

5. Yup, there’s nothing suspicious about how chummy this hawk is being with this squirrel.

6. Apparently, nobody won in this fight between snake and toad.

7. There was a much clearer winner between this African rock python and this impala, though.

8. Some people were nervously wondering what this is, but the answer isn’t as scary as they thought.

This is like a rubber eel, which is a member of the caecilian family. These are amphibians that spend much of their time underground and are known for having sharp teeth.

They can also have toxic glands in their skin, but this shouldn’t matter too much as long as you don’t try to eat them whole.

9. Cats may do very well against birds, but they’re not always the winner in that fight.

10. It’s hard to tell how this situation started, but this Cape buffalo is clearly not happy with that baby elephant right now.

The mud could be a sign of what happened before this was taken, or it could be incidental. All we know is that the mama elephant is not going to like this.

11. Something tells me this isn’t how this black-faced vulture expected its day to go.

Somehow, it ended up in a losing battle with a yellow anaconda and even the vulture seems like it’s unsure about how it got there.

12. Although it’s usually over when a snake fits something down its throat, that isn’t always the case.

For instance, this equally terrifying giant centipede was somehow able to chew its way out of the snake’s body.

Unfortunately, its victory was short-lived as it apparently died before it could get out. This is likely because it got stuck.

13. If you see these clouds, not to worry. They look scarier than they really are.

According to the Universities Space Research Association, these are undulatus asperatus clouds. Despite how turbulent they seem, they’re actually more likely to come after a storm has already passed than to herald an incoming one.

14. These teeth definitely belong to a dangerous predator, but it might not be the one you’re expecting.

Seals may be the adorable stars of aquarium shows to us, but a lot of penguins know them better for what happens after they bare these intimidating teeth.

15. Even though they may be from the same family, it doesn’t mean hyenas and wild dogs aren’t threatened by one another.

I don’t blame the hyena. I wouldn’t want to be ganged up like this either.

16. Hungry much?

It looks like this catfish bit off more than it could chew, literally. It tried to gobble up an armadillo, but it looks like it might have struggled a bit to get it down.

17. This mama eagle risked her own warmth to protect her eggs.

She buckled down and braved a blizzard to lay on top of her eggs and keep them warm. This not only is a great example of animal extinct but of motherly instinct as well.

18. I think I’ve seen something very similar in a horror movie or in a bad nightmare.

This crab found what it could out in the wild and made this abandoned baby doll’s head its home.

19. This croc was no match for the ferocious and aggressive hippo.

Even though hippos are one of the cutest creatures on this planet, they’re surprisingly one of the most aggressive animals on Earth.

20. I’ve always thought nature photographers were brave for capturing some of the most captivating photos of nature for us to see.

 

Meet Pickley – the Cat With the Most Extraordinary Emerald-green Eyes

Often we encounter beautiful felines with unique features, and now we have a new one to add to the list.

Meet Pickley, the cat with the most extraordinary emerald-green eyes that will make you fall in love the second your eyes meet. He even has an Instagram page to keep people updated on his daily routine, and so far he has gathered an amount of 20k followers who adore him.

Pickley’s family got him in an animal shelter. “While all the other cats were playing, he wouldn’t stop staring at us through the glass. It felt like he chose us,” said his owner.

He’s a sweetheart, who tries to e independent but is actually the most needy cat in the world. He likes breaking lamps and people’s heart who can’t get enough with his green-eyed beauty.

Check out this adorable feline in the pictures below.

 

 

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Nobody Believes This Adorable Tiny Puppy Is Already 2 Years Old And Fully Grown

If you love adorable dogs and puppies, especially Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed, don’t skip this post because we would like to show you a cute tiny pup that will certainly fill your heart with a little bit of joy.

Meet Nessa, probably the tiniest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy who is taking over the internet thanks to his cuteness and sweetness. Although Nessa is already two years old and fully grown, he looks like a tiny pup. While usually cavalier dogs weigh between 13 to 18 pounds (5.9 to 8.2 kg), the little Nessa is just 7 pounds (3 kg). Thankfully, being tiny doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with him. He is still a healthy and happy puppy that loves his owners so much.

Here are some of our favorite pics. We believe that this pint-size cutie is gonna bring smiles to your face every time you see him. His big, cartoonish eyes will surely brighten your day — every day. If you’re ready for the cuteness overload, scroll down to enjoy!

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small spaniel that originated in the United Kingdom. The Cavalier’s all-around beauty, regal grace, and even temper mark him as one of dogdom’s noblemen.

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This breed draws you in with their gentle faces and sweet expressions emanating from their large and round eyes.

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Cavaliers may be aristocrats, but they get along nicely with both children and other animals. They are generally friendly and affectionate, however, they require a lot of human interaction.

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Nobody Believes This Adorable Tiny Puppy Is Already 2 Years Old And Fully Grown

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Which are your favorites? Tell us in comments and don’t forget to share them with everyone to make their day better!

If you love Nessa and want to see more his cute pictures, you can follow him on Instagram.