Bird News

Scientists monitoring at Mount Moreland – South Africa’s largest Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica roost – have captured their first overseas ringed bird from a festively snowy location. The young Barn Swallow had flown all the way from Finland – a total of 11,000 km! “This is an amazing Christmas gift”, said Hilary Vickers of the Lake Victoria Conservancy – sponsors of the Mount Moreland ringing programme.

“We were carefully fitting the swallows with rings so we can monitor their movements when we spotted a bird already carrying one”, said Mount Moreland bird-ringer Andrew Pickles. “A magnifying glass provided the words Helsinki – Finland!”


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A happy new year for penguins

The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society announced today that its efforts to protect a wildlife-rich coastal region in South America have paid off in the form of a new coastal marine park recently signed into law by the Government of Argentina.

Last month a team of American and Honduran researchers and conservationists travelled to western Honduras to search for Honduran Emerald Amazilia luciae, a Critically Endangered species of hummingbird, endemic to Honduras. The principal cause of its decline is habitat destruction, with approximately 90% of its original habitat lost, and the remaining habitat occurring in isolated patches of arid thorn-forest and scrub of the interior valleys of northern Honduras. Based on specimen data, the species was originally known to occur in four Honduran departments, Cortés and Santa Barbara in western Honduras, and Yoro and Olancho in north-eastern Honduras. Despite efforts to find the species in western Honduras, it had not been reported there since 1935. The team conducted searches in Santa Barbara and Cortés and found six sites inhabited by the Emerald, all in the department of Santa Barbara.

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