ornithology

Tetrapod Zoology

Category archives for ornithology

Hoopoes and woodhoopoes

Yet more from that book project (see the owl article for the back-story, and the hornbill article for another of the book’s sections). Hornbills, hoopoes and woodhoopoes are all similar in appearance and have been classified together in a group termed Bucerotes. Vague similarities with other long-billed, forest-dwelling birds (like woodpeckers, long-billed cuckoos and such…

Suppose you’re interested in the anatomy and biology of ground hornbills. Now suppose that you get the chance to make physical contact with one of these awesome birds. Here, at last, is the opportunity to get bitten!! Surely you’ve always wanted to know what it feels like when a ground hornbill bites you. No? Ok,…

An introduction to hornbills

More from the bird book. For the back-story, see the previous owls article. Hornbills are among the most distinctive and spectacular of Old World tropical birds. Often flaunting bright colours and sometimes reaching huge sizes (the largest species have wingspans of 1.8 m), they’re well known for their enormous, curved bills and large bony crests.…

There’s something they don’t tell you about freelance writing. It’s about all the fails: the many, many projects that get pitched, worked on and made into proper presentations that then get sent to book fairs, interested companies and so on, but ultimately explode on the launch pad, or die a slow, lingering death. I don’t…

Giant owls vs solenodons

Here’s something you don’t see very often… This illustration (by Peter Trusler) shows the large Pleistocene Cuban owl Ornimegalonyx oteroi battling with a solenodon. Ornimegalonyx has been mentioned here a few times before (use the search bar), but nothing substantive, sorry. Most sources mention O. oteroi as if it’s the only named species of Ornimegalonyx.…

I’ve long had a special interest in the sleeping habits of small birds. In fact, as you’ll know if you read the article I published here back in September 2008*, I’ve covered this issue before. In that article, I noted that at least some passerines secrete themselves away in crevices or thick foliage. I first…

Birds vs planes II

It’s a sad fact of life that, as long as there are aircraft, and as long as there are birds, there will be collisions between aircraft and birds. I did in fact cover the issue of bird-strikes back in January 2008, but since then I’ve learnt a few new things that I’d like to share.

I love seeing tetrapod-themed art, especially in unexpected places. While in London recently I noticed this ‘tropical bird’ painting on a piece of wooden boarding, erected to conceal building work. As you can see (larger version below), the work is mostly a brilliant montage of birds-of-paradise (properly Paradisaeidae), the remarkable resplendent “rainforest crows in fancy…

I have a great liking for cassowaries, and I’ve had good reason to write about them several times. I’ve also had fun playing with preserved specimens and skeletons – something I must elaborate on at some time. Back in 2006 – the days of Tet Zoo ver 1 – I blogged some of my cassowary-related…

Time to finish one of those long-running series of Tet Zoo articles: at last, the long-awaited, much anticipated third and final instalment in the series on the clubs, spurs, spikes and claws present on the hands of numerous neornithine bird species. If you haven’t done so already, do check out the previous parts here (on…