" CARD 41

HOUSE SPARROW
, , ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~
ORDER
Passeriformes
FAMILY
Passeridae
GENUS &: SPECIES
Passer domesticus
The house sparrow is one of the most
numerous and widespread birds on earth. It is rarely
found far from human settlements.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 5-7 in.
Wingspan: 9-10 in.
Weight: 1-1 ' h oz.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding: March to August.
No. of broods: Usually 2-4;
occasionally up to 7.
Eggs: 3-5 (sometimes more).
White with gray blotches.
Incubation: 11-14 days.
Fledging period: 14-16 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Active by day. Sociable.
Diet: Seeds, buds, flowers, fruit,
berries, and scraps.
Voice: A rattling repeated call .
Lifespan: 10 years in the wild.
23 years in captivity.
RELATED SPECIES
There are 20 species of true
sparrow.
Range of the house sparrow.
DISTRIBUTION
Originally found throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia
as far east as Burma and northeastern Soviet Union. Since
the mid-eighteenth century the house sparrow has been
introduced to North and South America, southern Africa,
Australia, and New Zealand.
CONSERVATION
The house sparrow is in no danger of extinction.
THE HOUSE SPARROW'S NEST
Nest: Built mostly
of straw and grass.
Tucked into tight
spaces under eaves
and roof overhangs.
Seldom far from
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The house sparrow's survival is due to a
combination of boldness and wariness and to
its adaptability in exploiting human food-from
spilled grain to breadcrumbs on bird feeders,
from orchards to cornfields. The male has a
distinctive brown-streaked back and black
bib, and the female is a dull brown.

We associate the house spar-
row with humans, yet at one
time it lived in the wild, prob-
ably in dry areas with thorny
bushes and other shrubs.
Like other sparrow species,
it would have eaten seeds,
especially grass seeds.
The house sparrow prob-
ably began to spread outward
from Europe toward the end
of the last Ice Age. It took
advantage of early farming
communities sometime
before the eighth century
A .D ., feeding on spilled grain
and forsaking its natural cave,
cliff, or bush nesting sites for
the roofs of dwellings and
other man-made sites.
As farms and human settle-
ments spread, so did the
house sparrow. From the
mid-nineteenth century on-
ward, the house sparrow was
introduced to much of North
and South America, southern
Africa, Australia, and New
Zealand. Its world population
now totals in excess of 500
million birds .
DID YOU KNOW?
• House sparrow nests of-
ten contain human litter
such as bits of paper, cloth,
and plastic, as well as a
lining of feathers .
• The house sparrow's
exotic relative, the golden
sparrow, lives in Africa and
Saudi Arabia. This bird has
canary-yellow plumage.
FOOD & FEEDING
The house sparrow is an adapt-
able feeder, supplementing its
primary diet of seeds with food
provided (intentionally or not)
by humans, from bread and
peanuts to the buds of fruit
trees or ears of ripening grain.
One of the reasons for the
house sparrow's survival is that
it is able to adapt well to
change. When trains and cars
replaced horse-drawn vehicles,
The African species has a
chestnut-colored back.
• The house sparrow fre-
quently annoys gardeners
by tearing off and shredding
up the petals of flowers-it
seems to have a preference
for yellow varieties.
• The house sparrow likes to
take dust baths.
this bird lost a major food
source: the corn lying on
stable floors and food spilled
from the horses' feed bags.
More recently, the practice
of plowing under stubble in
cereal fields immediately after
they have been harvested has
deprived the house sparrow
of yet more food.
The sparrow is considered
a pest in many areas .
Left: The female
sparrow is less
brightly colored
than the male.
Right: Ripe
elderberries
make a tasty
meal.
Center: The
sparrow takes
advantage
of any food
offered it.
The male house sparrow is
ea ily confused with its smal-
ler and more rural rel ative,
the tree sparrow.
The tree sparrow has a
chocolate-brown crown and
nape, unlike the gray crown
of the male house spa rrow.

The house sparrow rarely
breeds far from humans. Usual
nest sites are under the eaves
of buildings, in holes in walls,
or in farm buildings and stacks
of hay or straw.
If the house sparrow cannot
find a suitable artificial site, it
builds an untidy, ball-shaped
The tree sparrow also has
a black patch on it s white
cheeks, a double white
wing bar and a distincti ve
staccato fli ght call. In con-
trast to the house sparrow,
bot h the male and female
tree parrow look ali ke.
nest in a tree or bush, among
ivy, or in a hole among rocks,
on a cliff, or on an earth
bank. Nests in the wild are
usually widely spaced, while
on houses they are often
crammed densely into every
available space.
Although sociable through-
out the year, the house spar-
row defends its nest site
fiercely against intruders. It
will even throw other birds
out of their nests.
The male spends less time
incubating the eggs than the
female does, but he helps
feed the young, even after
they leave the nest.
Left: Fed by both parents, the
young house sparrow is able to
fly after about 15 days.
EURASIAN SPOONBILL
ORDER
Ciconiiformes
FAMILY
Threskiornithidae
GENUS &: SPECIES
Plata lea leucorodia
The Eurasian spoonbill is a large, graceful wading bird found
throughout Europe and Asia. It uses its unique, specially adapted
bill to sweep the water for fish and aquatic insects.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 2
1
/2-3 ft.
Wingspan: 3
1
/2-4
1
/2 ft.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 3 years.
Breeding season: April to May.
Incubation: 21 days.
Eggs: Usually 4; white with rust-red
spots.
Fledging period: 7 weeks.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Wader, often colonial and
migrant.
Diet: Aquatic insects, crustaceans,
mollusks, and fish.
Range of the Eurasian spoonbill.
DISTRIBUTION
Lifespan: Oldest known bird,
28 years 2 months.
RELATED SPECIES
Widely dispersed sites in Holland, Spain, eastern and south-
eastern Europe, India, and central and southern Soviet
Union.
CONSERVATION
There are 5 other species of spoon-
bill including the American roseate
spoonbill, Platalea ajaja, the African
spoonbill, P. alba, and the Asian
black-faced spoonbill, P. minor.
A few key breeding sites have been established as reserves,
but the drainage of breeding and feeding sites and the
pollution of wetlands threaten the species.
FEATURES OF THE EURASIAN SPOONBILL
Nest: Built on broken reeds or other marsh
plants and lined with leaves and grass.
Both parents feed the young regurgitated
food.
Legs: With its
long legs, the
spoonbill can
wad in w a t e ~
up .p one an -+-____ ..... .
half feet deep. ' \
/
Feeding: The spoonbill dips its long,
spatulate bill in the water and moves it
in a sideways scything motion. The
spoon-shaped bill stays half open,
trapping food that passes through.
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PRINTED IN U.S.A.
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0160200331 PACKET 33
The Eurasian spoonbill is one of just
six species of spoonbill. It is the only one found
in Europe. This shallow-water wader is
becoming increasingly rare as more
of its wetland breeding and feeding sites are
drained or polluted each year.
~ HABITAT
The spoonbill lives by coastal
lagoons, estuaries, and reed
marshes. Sometimes solitary,
the spoonbill usually feeds in
flocks of 50 or more around
large bodies of shallow water.
It prefers isolated lakes or
channels with muddy or sandy
bottoms where prey live.
The spoonbill lives by both
fresh and salt water. It prefers
tidal or slow-flowing water to
water that is either stagnant or
turbulent.
During spring breeding
season, the spoonbill nests in
a sheltered site and raises its
young. Many populations
leave their winter roosts on
sheltered coasts and estuaries
for their spring breeding
grounds located in marshes
and reed beds near lakes and
rivers. The spoonbills nest
close to the water, where
they can be better protected
from predators.
The spoonbill also nests
above the ground in trees
such as willow or poplar.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
The spoonbill feeds mainly at
night, leaving its daytime roost
before dusk to search for food.
Often a flock feeds together,
wading through the shallows
in a ragged line. With its long
legs, the bird can wade in
water more than a foot and a
half deep. Stepping slowly and
carefully, it does not muddy
the clear water or disturb its
aquatic prey.
As it wades the bird dips its
spatulate bill into the water
and rapidly sweeps it from side
to side. Edible food is filtered
through and trapped in the
Left: The spoonbill has a varied
diet, including water plants, fish,
insects, and frogs.
The spoonbill breeds from
March to July. Courting birds
raise their crests, point their
bills, and preen each other.
Spoonbills build nests among
reed mats on the ground or
upto16feetabovethe
ground in trees. Nests are
half-open spoon-shaped tip.
The spoonbill catches most of
its food while wading, but if it
spots prey such as a frog near
the shore, the bird quickly
moves to the water's edge to
catch it.
The spoonbill's diet varies
widely from season to season
and according to whether it
lives in a freshwater or marine
habitat. It feeds mainly on
aquatic insects such as water
beetles, caddis flies, and
dragonfly larvae.
The spoonbill also eats wa-
ter snails, small crustaceans,
and fish. It catches water
worms and tadpoles, too, and
eats some plants.
spread three to six feet apart
in colonies. During breeding
the spoonbill is uncharacteris-
tically territorial and protects
its nest from outsiders.
The female lays her eggs at
two- or three-day intervals
and both parents incubate
DID YOU KNOW?
• The spoonbill's total clutch • The spoonbill once bred in
weight stays the same no England until the 17th
matter how many eggs it century. Now it is extinct
lays-the more eggs it has, throughout much of its
the smaller each one will be. range.
• During migration, the • The spoonbill can stand on
spoonbill soars on thermal air one leg like a stork and perch
currents. in a tree like a heron.
BIRDWATCH
The spoonbill can be found
in patches throughout
Europe in spring and fall. Its
large size and creamy white
plumage make it easy to spot
when feeding in shallow
freshwater marshes and
Left: Male and
female share
the rearing of
the young,
from building
the nest to
feeding the
young chicks.
Right: A
female
spoonbill uses
her large
wingspan to
shelter her
chicks from a
rainstorm.
them. The female lays only
one clutch a year, but if the
eggs are lost to predators or
flooding, she lays a replace-
ment clutch.
Both parents feed regurgi-
tated food to the young.
Too big to fit in the nest at
estuaries (river mouths).
The spoonbill's long,
spoon-shaped bi ll is recog-
nizable even in flight. It fl ies
with its head and neck ex-
tended, not tucked back in
an S-shape.
one month old, the young
stand nearby, waiting to be
fed. Often they mingle with
young from other nests. They
fledge (grow feathers) at seven
weeks, but they stay with
their parents to feed and
roost together.
"" CARD 43
KOOKABURRA


ORDER
Coraciiformes
FAMILY
Alcedinidae
GENUS &- SPECIES
Dacelo novaeguineae
The Australian kookaburra is the largest member of the
kingfisher family. It will devour almost any small prey.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 1'/2 ft.
Weight: Up to 1 lb.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Eggs: 2-3, white.
Incubation: About 20 days.
Fledging: About 30 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: A complicated social system
with helpers at the nest.
Diet: Insects and other inverte-
brates, rodents, reptiles, birds and
their chicks.
RELATED SPECIES
There is only one other species of
kookaburra, the blue-winged
kookaburra. The two other mem-
bers of the genus Dacelo are the
Aru giant kingfisher and the
rufous-bellied giant kingfisher.
Range of the kookaburra.
DISTRIBUTION
The kookaburra is common throughout its range of Australia
and Tasmania. The blue-winged kookaburra is found in the
warmer parts of northern Australia.
CONSERVATION
Conservation measures are not needed at present, since
the kookaburra is so widespread. It has been successfully
introduced into Tasmania.
FEATURES OF THE KOOKABURRA
,
Head and neck: The
head is large and the
, I \ . ,..
' f , 'l,i t' -;
"
neck is short, -------__e
Wings: There is a
pale blue iridescent
wing patch,
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Color: Top of
the head, back,
wiogs, and tail
are brownish.
0160200201 PACKET 20
The kookaburra watches from its perch
for any small creature that might make
a tasty meal. It does not usually hunt over
water for fish. Preying on a variety of other
animals that humans regard as pests,
the kookaburra is a welcome sight to
people living in the area.
~ HABITAT
There are two species of
kookaburra. One, the blue-
winged kookaburra, is found
only in northern Queensland
in northeastern Australia, while
the other is more widespread
throughout the country in
woodland and open country.
It has also been introduced
into Tasmania.
The kookaburra prefers to
roost in the small, leafy trees
that grow in the woodlands.
This habitat supports numer-
~ BREEDING
The kookaburra nests in hol-
low trees, holes in the walls of
buildings, or the nests of ter-
mites.
The female lays two to three
white eggs. Once the young
have hatched, they are depen-
dent on their parents for sev-
Below: Kookaburras perch on
branches, waiting to spot prey.
ous tree varieties, including
eucalyptus.
Unlike other birds that in-
habit Australia's acacia forests,
the kookaburra is found in less
densely wooded areas and
sometimes near inland waters.
eral months. Often the young
remain with their parents as
'helpers', providing food for
the next brood of chicks.
The young also help defend
the territory by warning away
other birds with their charac-
teristic laughlike call, which
becomes louder as more birds
join in.
DID YOU KNOW?
• The kookaburra is also
known as the "Iaughing
jackass" because of its
braying, laughlike call .
• The kookaburra is the
largest of all kingfishers and
is found only in Australia.
• The kookaburra can mimic
unusual sounds, such as a
steam whistle.
~ FOOD &: HUNTING
The kookaburra is a member
of a subfamily of kingfishers
known as the Dace/oninae,
some of which are called
"tree kingfishers." Like most
kingfishers, the kookaburra
hunts during the day, perch-
ing on a tree branch to spot
prey.
From its high vantage
point, the bird waits for prey,
such as insects, snakes, crabs,
rodents, and other birds
(including young chicks) to
pass underneath it. It then
swoops down rapidly from its
perch and seizes the victim in
its long, daggerlike bill.
The kookaburra, like the
majority of birds in the
kingfisher family, does not
actually catch fish.
Above: The female kookaburra
feeds a small reptile to her
hungry young.
Below: With great accuracy, the
kookaburra swoops down to
catch its prey.
HERRING GULL

ORDER
Charadriiformes
FAMILY
Laridae
"" CARD 44
GROUP 2: BIRDS
GENUS &: SPECIES
Larus argentatus
The herring gull, also known as the seagull, lives on the coast and
in populated inland areas. It breeds on rocky cliffs and sand
dunes, as well as on rooftops at seaside towns.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: Male, 1-2 ft. Female,
slightly larger.
Wingspan: 4-5 ft.
BREEDING
Sexual Maturity: 3-7 years.
No of broods: 1 .
Eggs: 2-3, brownish olive with
black markings.
Incubation: 28-30 days.
Fledging period: 35-40 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Sociable, mates for life.
Call: Shrill calls and chuckles.
Diet: Fish, shellfish, birds, eggs,
chicks, small mammals, and
edible garbage.
Lifespan: Over 30 years in wild.
RELATED SPECIES
There are 11 subspecies,
although some authorities name
3 separate species: herring gull,
yellow-legged herring gull, and
American herring gull.
Range of the herring gull.
DISTRIBUTION
Breeds throughout coastal Europe, North Africa, northern
Asia, and North America. In winter, it moves inland or
migrates south and west of these areas.
CONSERVATION
Without control, the increasing number of herring gulls
could overcrowd bird reserves to the detriment of rarer
birds.
COMPARISON BETWEEN GUllS
The herring gull , like the common gull
and the black-headed gull, has a gray
back with white underparts.
Common gull:
The smallest of the
three, it has red legs
and a red bill.
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Black-headed gull:
The second large t of the gulls, it
has a yellow bill, yellow-green legs
and a black head in winter.
PRINTED IN
Herring gull:
The largest gull of
the three, it h
yellow bill with 11
red spot and pink
legs.
0160200211 PACKET 21
The herring gull once survived
mainly on fish and shellfish, but it has
become one of nature's opportunists.
It exploits man's waste by scavenging
on everything from scraps thrown
off of fishing boats to
edible trash at garbage dumps.
~ HABITAT DID YOU KNOW?
The herring gull, the most • The herring gull inter-
common species found in breeds with several gull
the United States, lives near species, including the
water-in both coastal towns lesser black-backed gull
and rural areas. A sociable, Larus fuscus, and the
noisy bird, the herring gull glaucous gull, Larus hyper-
spends winter away from the boreus.
colony and returns in spring • The oldest herring gull in
to claim its territory and begin captivity lived 44 years.
mating. Each spring the bird • Young herring gulls
breeds in the same site with travel and spend the
the same mate. winter futher south than
Herring gulls usually breed breeding adults from the
in large colonies on rocky same colony.
cliffs, sand dunes, and by • Herring gulls swim well
lakes. But many herring gulls on water, but they cannot
seem to prefer the rooftops swim underwater or dive
and chimneys of seaside completely into the water
towns, where they can from the air.
scavenge for food.
~ FOOD & HUNTING
The herring gull mainly eats
fish, but it has become an
accomplished scavenger, its
numbers increasing rapidly
due to the great supply of
edible waste in garbage dumps
and fishing ports.
Below: Herring gulls circle
garbage dumps, looking for food
to scavenge.
Herring gulls are found
along the coast, perched
on buildings, flying over
the sea, and searching for
food on t he ground. They
are a familiar sight when
t hey are scavenging for
food on freshly plowed
fields and garbage dumps.
Inland, they often sleep on
large reservoirs.
The herring gull looks
similar to the common
gull, which also has black
and white wingtip feathers.
The herring gull is much
larger, though, with pink
legs and a bright red spot
on its bill .
In rural areas, the gull
feeds on small animals, frogs,
and snakes. On the coast,
the herring gull preys on
the eggs and chicks of
nesting birds, including
those of its own species.
The gull hunts the shore-
line for small crustaceans,
dead marine animals, and
~ BREEDING
In spring the herring gull
returns to the colony to claim
its territory and begin court-
ing its mate . . It will find a neW
mate only if the old one has
died. Then the bird builds a
round nest from seaweed,
grass, or other plants.
Each pair has a small ter-
ritory. The birds of the colony
squabble until they settle
down and the birds find their
own place to build a nest.
The female lays two or
three brownish olive eggs
with black markings. The
pair takes turns incubating
the eggs until they hatch 26
to 33 days later. The chicks
stay close to the nest for six
shellfish, such as mussels.
To break open the shell-
fish, the bird carries it into
the air and drops it on to
a hard surface in order to
break the shell. The bird will
continue to do this until the
shell finally breaks.
When catching fish at sea,
the herring gull half-folds its
weeks until they start flying.
Parents defend their young
by flying at other birds to
scare them away and giving
alarm calls for chicks to return
to the nest.
The herring gulls feed
the chicks regurgitated food
(partially digested food
brought back into the
mouth). The chick pecks at a
red patch on the adult's bill,
stimulating it to regurgitate
food. Later on, the adult gulls
will drop pieces of food by
the nest for the maturing
chicks to eat.
The young black-billed
herring gull molts its brown
feathers in spring and fall. In
wings and swoops down,
dropping into the water.
Usually only the gull's
head and neck enter the
water; its body is rarely
submerged.
Below: Herring gulls wi/l eat
almost anything. Here a gull eats
a stranded fish.
three years, the gull will
have the full adult plu-
mage. The regular molts
make it easy to tell the
ages of young birds.
Below: A chick hatches from its
brownish olive and black shell.
RAINBOW BEE EATER
~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
~
ORDER
Coraciiformes
FAMILY
Meropidae
GENUS &: SPECIES
Merops ornatus
The rainbow bee eater is a brilliantly colored bird that,
as its name suggests, feeds mainly on bees. It removes
the bees' stingers before eating the insects.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 7-8 in. Central tail feathers
extend 3/4 in. beyond male's body,
3 in. beyond female's.
Wingspan: Approximately lOin.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Mating: Before and after rainy
season in northern part of range;
November to January in south.
Eggs: 3-7, usually 4-5. Glossy white.
Incubation: Approximately 24 days.
Fledging: 30 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Very social. Pair for life.
Diet: Mainly bees and wasps. Also
inchneumon flies, dragonflies,
damselflies, moths, butterflies, and
grasshoppers.
RELATED SPECIES
There are 22 other species of bee
eater found throughout the warmer
parts of the eastern hemisphere.
Range of the rainbow bee eater.
DISTRIBUTION
Found in summer in most of southern Australia, including
Tasmania, but not in forest areas. Winters in northern
Australia, some Indonesian islands, and New Guinea.
CONSERVATION
The rainbow bee eater is common in most parts of its range.
Its habitat has increased as a result of deforestation, which
has deprived many other birds of their habitat.
HOW THE RAINBOW BEE EATER DIGS ITS BURROW
The rainbow bee eater uses its strong, sharp bill to dig its
burrow. It pushes the loose soil backward, away from the
burrow with its leg, while supporting itself with its beak and
wing bones. The birds generally dig three inches a day; the
female does most of the work.
©MCMXCIIMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM PRINTED IN U.S.A.
'"

0160200171 PACKET 17
In southern Australia the arrival
of rainbow bee eaters is usually
regarded as a sign of spring. These vibrantly
colored birds eat not only bees,
but also harmful locusts,
wasps, and hornets.
~ I D YOU KNOW?
• The rainbow bee eater is
also known as the rainbow-
bird, pi ntailed bee eater,
spinetail, berrin-berrin, gold-
digger, and gold-miner.
Sometimes it is called a
kingfisher, but the two
species are not related.
• When adult rainbow bee
eaters enter or exit their nest
burrows, their bodies fit so
tightly into the narrow tunnel
that they act like a piston,
pumping in fresh air and
pumping out stale air.
• A nest burrow found in
southern Australia contained
two adult and four nestling
rainbow bee eaters, along
with 18 young white-backed
swallows, all roosting
together.
l ~ HABITS
Like all bee eaters, rainbow
bee eaters are very social birds.
When not breeding, they roost
together at night in dense un-
. dergrowth or large trees. The
roosts are often so crowded
that the birds touch each
other as they perch.
The birds sometimes perch
BREEDING
Soon after the birds reach their
breeding grounds, they pair-
possibly for life. The birds raise
their crown feathers and lower
and vibrate their tail feathers.
The males bring the females
insects. The birds then mate
and dig their nest burrows.
After the female lays her
eggs, both she and the
hatchlings are vulnerable to
predators such as large
Australian monitor lizards
together with their backs to
the sun and the feathers on
their upper backs raised.
They fly down to the ground
occasionally to clean their
feathers with dust, which also
gets rid of parasites.
Many of the birds die dur-
ing their summer migration.
called goannas, wild dogs,
and foxes.
Once the young fledge
(grow feathers), they are
reared by both parents, as
well as by other young bee
eaters. Until the young birds
are fully grown, they help
raise their parents' or another
pair's next brood. Other birds
that are non-breeders or have
lost a mate also help to raise
other pairs' broods.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
The rainbow bee eater perch-
es on power lines or branches
of dead trees to search for
food. It is always alert for
flying insects and can spot a
bee from 150 feet away. The
bird immediately flies after it
and almost always catches its
prey.
Once the bee eater catches
a bee it usually removes the
stinger even though the bird
is immune to bee and wasp
stings, which kill other small
birds. Bee eaters eat several
hundred bees and wasps a
day. They cough up the
indigestible portions in the
form of pellets.
When a flock of bee eaters
spots a large swarm of small
termites, it attacks the swarm
and eats as many insects as
possible in a short time.
Right: The bird
digs its nest
burrow in
bare, flat
ground, in a
pile of gravel,
or in the side of
a low bank.
Below left:
Rainbow bee
eaters rest in a
nest chamber.
~ BEE EATER & MAN
Beekeepers have traditionally
feared the arrival of bee
eaters, which eat the culti-
vated bees. Hives are espe-
cially vulnerable to attack
when the weather is cool,
since there are not as many
insects flying about for hun-
Right: The bee
eater knocks its
prey against
the perch to
subdue it. With
lightning
speed, the bird
then alters its
grip to grasp
the insect by
the tip of its
abdomen.
Closing its eyes
to avoid being
squirted with
poison, the bee
eater then rubs
the insect's
stinger against
the perch to
remove it
before eating
the prey.
gry bee eaters to prey on.
But the damage bee eaters
do to hives is generally out-
weighed by their control of
harmful insects such as lo-
custs, as well as the wasps
and hornets that are them-
selves honeybee predators.

SWALLOW
" GROUP 2: BIRDS "'-

... ORDER ..... FAMILY ... GENUS & SPECIES
'1IIIIIIII Passeriformes '1IIIIIIII Hirundinidae '1IIIIIIII Hirundo rustica
The swallow is a popular summer visitor that nests in barns and
garages and under the eaves of houses. Migrating swallows are a
welcome sign of the beginning of summer.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 7 in.
Weight: Under 1 oz.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding season: April-August.
No. of Broods: 2-3.
Eggs: 3-6 white eggs, lightly
spotted with brown and gray.
Incubation: 14-16 days.
Fledging period: 20-22 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Sociable except during
breeding season.
Call: High, thin twittering call.
Diet: Flying insects.
Lifespan: Usually up to 4 years.
Maximum recorded, 16 years.
RELATED SPECIES
There are 75 species of swallow
and martin; 34 are of the genus
Hirundo.
• Breeding range of the swallow.
DISTRIBUTION
Summer visitor, breeding in North America, North Africa,
and across Asia. Also breeds throughout Europe, wintering
in Africa.
CONSERVATION
The swallow is a successful bird that has become well
adapted to close human populations. But its food source is
threatened by the use of pesticides.
FEATURES OF THE SWAllOW
Male
Eggs: Glossy white, speckled
with pinkish brown or pale gray.
<DMCMXCIIMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILpM
Male: The male has a distinctive russet-red throat and long,
elegant tail streamers. The upper body is blue-black, with
white spots on the tail. The chest is a yellow-brown color.
The
female's tail
has shorter
feathers, and she
is a dull color.
PRINTED IN U.S.A. 0160200221 PACKET 22
The swallow is an attractive summer visitor
with its deeply forked tail, pointed wings, and
acrobatic feats of flying. Distinctively colored,
the swallow has glossy, dark blue upper feathers
with a creamy white underside and a bright
brick-red forehead and throat.
~ HABIT
The swallow leaves its sum-
mer home in late autumn to
winter in Africa, since there is
a shortage of insects in tem-
perate zones. Unlike most
other migrating birds, who
molt (shed feathers) after
breeding, the swallow post-
pones its annual molt until it
reaches its winter quarters.
Swallows winter in flocks of
hundreds or even thousands
of birds, roosting in reeds or
on overhead wires in cities.
~ FOOD &: FEEDING
The swallow feeds on a variety
of flying insects, but it seems
to prefer large flies. In cold,
wet weather the swallow has
difficulty finding enough in-
sects and has to hunt longer
for food. The few species of
insects that fly in bad weather
live over water; this is where
the swallow searches for its
food. Occasionally, when
food supplies are short, the
swallow supplements its diet
with caterpillars.
When feeding its chicks, the
swallow carries several insects
at a time to the nest, com-
pressing them into a ball,
which it carries in its throat. A
pair of swallows may bring as
many as 400 separate meals
per day to a brood of chicks.
Left: A swallow shows its distinc-
tive red throat.
Easily identified by its dis-
tinct ive blue and white
pl umage and deeply forked
t ail, t he swallow is a com-
mon sight in towns and
citi es. Large groups perch
on rooftops or on telephone
wires in aut umn, waiting to
migrate. During breedi ng
season look for the swal-
low's cup-shaped mud and
straw nest under the eaves
of houses, in garages, and
under bridges.
The swallow returns to the
same nest site each year and
mates with the same partner.
The oldest birds arrive first.
Young, non-breeding birds
remain within a few miles of
their parents' nest site.
DID YOU KNOW?
• The swallow's song is a
mixture of fluid, twittering
notes, often ending with a
dry trill that sounds like a
watch being wound. It sings
when flying and when
perched on high rooftops
and telephone wires.
• When wintering in Africa
the swallow eats ants as well
Right: If the
last brood is
still in the nest
when the
swallows
migrate, the
parents stay
until the chicks
are able to
leave.
Below right:
Male and
female both
take turns
feeding their
demanding
brood.
~ BREEDING
A sociable bird for much of
the year, the swallow is sol-
itary when breeding and
defends a small area around
its nest, although several pairs
may nest under one roof.
Mating begins in spring,
when food becomes plentiful.
After nest building is com-
plete, the female lays three to
six eggs. The eggs hatch in 1 3
to 1 6 days, and the chicks
stay in the nest for 20 to 22
days, until they fledge (grow
feathers). Both parents feed
the chicks.
During a good year, there
may be two or three broods.
The young from an earlier
brood help to feed the next
brood.
as flying insects .
• The proverb "One swal -
low does not make a sum-
mer, nor one fine day" is
thought to have originated
in Greece with the ancient
philosopher Aristotle.
• The resul ts of chariot
races in ancient Rome were
sent to Volterra, a distance
of about 125 miles, by ty-
ing t he winners' colors to
the legs of swallows.
• Evidence found from t he
recovery of t agged birds
shows that swallows visit ing
Great Britain in summer
migrate as far away as
South Afri ca during the
winter.
'" CARD 47
CANARY
~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - - ~
~
ORDER
Passeriformes
FAMILY
Fringillidae
GENUS &: SPECIES
Serinus canarius
The canary is one of the most popular pet birds because
of its beautiful song. It still exists in the wild on the Azores,
Madeira, and Canary islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
lil
~
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 5 in.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding season: January to July.
No. of broods: Up to 5 in a single
season in some areas.
Eggs: 3-5. Blue-green with red-
brown or violet markings.
Incubation: 14 days.
Fledging period: About 15 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Sociable.
Diet: Mainly seeds and other
vegetable matter.
Call: Twittering for contact.
RELATED SPECIES
The canary is a member of the
Cardueline subfamily of finches,
which also includes the goldfinch,
greenfinch, and linnet.
Range of the canary.
DISTRIBUTION
Forests, orchards, and gardens on the Azores, Madeira, and
Canary islands.
CONSERVATION
The canary is a common bird in many parts of its range. It
seems to be more resistant than other finches to the effects
of crop spraying with insecticides. Still, in some areas the
canary population has declined over the last 100 years.
FEATURES OF WILD AND DOMESTICATED CANARIES
Wild (below):
Gray-brown
upper parts and
yellow-green
breast and
rump.
©MCMXCI IMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM
Crested
Norwich
(below): Head
feathers hang
over eyes.
siskin.
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
Pure yellow
(left) : Lacks dark
pigment called
melanin.
0160200181 PACKET 18
The wild canary is a small finch with a
forked tail. It has gray-brown upper parts
and a yellow-green breast and rump.
Domesticated canaries are more colorful and
have bright yellow, yellow and white, yellow and
black, orange, or pink feathers.
~ BEHAVIOR
The wild canary is a sociable
bird that feeds and roosts in
flocks, except during breed-
ing season. The male is
much more colorful than the
female. Noticeable when he
is flying, the bright yellow
rump of the male is hidden
~ BREEDING
In early spring groups of male
canaries perch together on
tree branches and sing to
attract females. Once a male
attracts a female, the pair flies
off together to mate. As more
birds are paired and leave, the
flock becomes smaller. But
some mixed flocks of males
and females still feed and roost
together during the breeding
season.
The canary prefers to nest
in small trees and bushes. On
the coasts of the subtropical
Atlantic islands, the canary
may start building its nest
as early as January or February.
In the islands' cooler moun-
tains, the canary does not
begin nesting until June.
The male chooses the nest
site and collects building
material, but the female
constructs the nest on her
own. She builds a neat, cup-
shaped nest of small twigs,
from view when perched.
The female is duller in
color than the male. She has
grayer wing feathers and
yellow-green feathers on her
underside.
Both the male and female
are swift and agile fliers.
~ CANARY &: MAN
The canary was introduced in
Europe in the early sixteenth
century and was bred in
captivity. Since the wild canary
is plain compared to European
finches, it was probably valued
for its song rather than its
appearance.
Several varieties of canary
have been bred-not all as
pets. Canaries were once
routinely taken into coal mines
to test for poisonous gases;
they are still occasionally used
for this purpose today. They
hilve also been used to test
for the presence of poison-
ous gases in wartime.
grass stems, and moss, held
together with white vege-
table down or lichens. The
inside of the nest is lined
with a soft layer of vege-
table down, feathers, hair,
and wool.
The female lays three to
five eggs that she incubates
without her mate's help.
The male feeds her during
the incubation period, and
both parents feed the young
on soft, half-ripe seeds.
from twigs. They are fed on soft,
half-ripe seeds.
Left: These
canaries are
domesticated
varieties that
have been
bred. All
domesticated
canaries are
: descended from
the wild
species, and
they have a
wide variety of
colors.
~ FOOD &: FEEDING
The canary's bill, jaw, and
gizzard (the part of the
stomach where solid food is
ground) are very strong.
The canary holds a nut in
a groove in the side of its
mouth and crushes it with its
lower jaw. The bird then
peels the husk away with its
tongue and swallows the
kernel whole.
DID YOU KNOW?
• The yellow canary may
have evolved as a result of a
natural mutation that
eliminated dark pigment.
• The Canary Islands' name
comes from the Latin word
for dog, canis, because of the
large dogs that were kept on
one of the islands by ancient
Romans. ·
• Canaries have been used
by biologists for experiments
on bird physiology and be-
havior.
DIPPER
, , ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
~
ORDER
Passeriformes
FAMILY
Cindidae
GENUS fir SPECIES
Cindus cindus
. The dipper is similar in appearance to the wren. It feeds by diving
into shallow streams and rivers to catch insects and tiny fish that
hide among stones below the surface of the water.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 7 in.
Wingspan: 10-12 in.
Weight: 2-3 oz.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding season: April to June.
Eggs: 4-5, glossy white. Usually
only 1 brood.
Incubation period: 12-18 days.
Fledging period: 20-24 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Lives along clear, shallow
streams and rivers.
Diet: Aquatic insects, water snails,
and small fish.
Lifespan: Oldest known bird, 8
years.
RELATED SPECIES
There are 4 species of dipper
worldwide. The small, dark brown
European Cindus cindus is
sometimes considered a separate
species.
HOW THE DIPPER FEEDS
The dipper catches aquatic insects by
plunging below the water's surface and
walking along the stream bed. To walk
upstream, the dipper uses its wings like
paddles.
©MCMXCI IMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM
Range of the dipper.
DISTRIBUTION
Found along rivers and streams in hilly and mountainous
areas of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central
Asia.
CONSERVATION
Severely affected by water pollution from acid rain, industrial
waste, and sewage.
The young dipper learns to swim
before it can fly. At this stage, its
plumage is gray-brown.
PRINTED IN U.SA 0160200161 PACKET 16
The dipper can be recognized
by its dark back and wings. Its snowy white
throat contrasts with its ruddy brown head.
The dipper's rapid, direct flight is
distinctive as well, and its song can
be heard year-round.
Dippers live along shallow,
rocky rivers and fast-running
streams in mountainous and
hilly areas. The richly oxygen-
ated waters have no sediment,
and they support the dipper's
prey: aquatic insects, tadpoles,
and worms.
Where food is abundant,
pairs of dippers may be found
every half mile along the
water. They fly low over the
water and perch on rocks,
where they bob up and down
repeatedly. Dippers rarely fly
over land; instead, they follow
the course of a fast-flowing
river or stream.
Dippers begin mating toward
the end of winter. Then the
male and female build the
nest together. They place it
on a rock ledge within six feet
of the water or in the cavity
of an old tree near the water's
edge. If rocks and trees are
scarce, the birds build the
nest on a man-made struc-
ture such as the underside
of a bridge.
The only entrance to the
nest is through a hole that
opens down, toward the
water. This makes it harder
for predators to invade the
nest. Despite this, one nest
Pollution has made many wa-
t erways of the dipper's habitat
unlivable for t he bird. Although
the dipper is more difficult to
spot t oday, it can be recog-
nized by its white breast. It sits
on rocks in the water and bobs
in 10 is either raided by pred-
ators or lost in a flood.
If the weather is mild, the
female may begin laying her
eggs in late February, but most
wait until April. She lays four to
five glossy white eggs, which,
hatch 12 to 18 days later. The
hatchlings can swim almost
immediately, but they cannot
fly until they are three weeks
old.
Right: Dippers build a domed nest
with moss and line it with leaves.
Both sexes care for the young (inset)
until a week after they have
fledged (grown feathers).
up and down before plung-
ing in or taking off to fly low
over t he water's surface.
Favored perches are often
splattered with the dipper's
white droppings. Li sten for a
loud, high-pitched cal l.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Both male and female
dippers sing, but the male
has a more melodious song.
• In the Soviet Union dippers
can survive in temperatures
as low as -40
0
F. As long as
the water does not freeze,
they can continue to feed.
• It is estimated that there
are more dippers in the
Soviet Union than in any
other country.
• Dippers colonize areas near
lowland rivers where dams
and stepping stones create
good feeding conditions.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
The dipper is the only small
bird that has developed the
skills to feed on underwater
insects. It particularly likes the
larvae of the caddis fly. The
dipper also feeds on freshwater
shrimp, snails, and small fish.
The bird dives repeatedly
Far left: The
dipper can be
easily recog-
nized by its
white throat
and breast and
its red-brown
belly.
Right: A dipper
floats to the
surface after a
dive. When
submerged, it
walks along
the beds of
rivers and
streams in
search of food.
into three-foot deep water for
prey, and stays underwater for
up to 30 seconds.
Plants cannot live in the
stony beds of the waterways
where the dipper feeds, but
aquatic insects live there in
great numbers.
~ DIPPER & MAN
The greatest threat to the
bird is acid rain. The areas
most damaged by acid rain
are forests, where many
dippers live. The coniferous
(cone-bearing) trees act as
giant filters, removing pollu-
tion from the air. Rain then
washes the pollution into
, streams and rivers, killing the
insects and small fish that are
the dipper's prey.
Run-off from chemical ferti-
lizers used on nearby farms
also drains into the water-
ways. This type of pollution
also kills aquatic life and re-
duces the bird's food supply.
'" CARD 49
GREEN WOODPECKER
~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ ~
.. ORDER
~ Piciformes
GENUS &: SPECIES
A large and brightly colored bird, the green woodpecker
inhabits the trees of open woodland. It uses its powerful
beak to excavate nest holes in soft bark.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 12 in.
Beak length: 2 in .
Tonguelength:4in.
Wingspan: 16 in.
Weight: 6-7 oz.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding season: April-August.
Eggs: 5-7 white eggs in clutch.
Incubation period: 1 7-19 days.
Fledging period: 23-27 days.
LIFESTYLE
Habit: Woodland bird, but feeds
mainly in grassland. Birds mate in
spring and share nest duties.
• Range of the green woodpecker.
DISTRIBUTION
Diet: Mainly ants, including eggs,
larvae, pupae, and adults. Also other
insects, seeds, and fruits.
Widespread throughout central and southern Europe, but
not found in Ireland or northern Scotland.
Lifespan: Oldest known bird, 7
years, 4 months.
CONSERVATION
The destruction of woodland and improvement of pasture
has led to a decline in green woodpecker population in many
places.
RELATED SPECIES
There are over 200 species of
woodpecker worldwide.
FEATURES OF THE
GREEN WOODPECKER
Feeding: Having
opened up the
ants' nest with its
bill , the green
woodpecker uses
its long, sticky
tongue to fish for
ants deep inside.
Juvenile: Easily
identified by
speckled neck
and breast
plumage.
Female:
Identified by
black cheek
stripe.
The well-camouflaged green woodpecker
is one of the most elusive of woodpecker
species since, once among the trees, the
bird soon disappears from view. Then the
only clue to its presence is its loud ringing
call most often heard in spring.
BREEDING
Male and female green wood-
peckers feed and roost sepa-
rately during the winter but
remain in the nesting area
year-round. In spring, they call
loudly to one another from
their roosting trees, signaling
that they are ready to mate.
Sometimes the birds will use
one of their winter roosting
holes for nesting. If they do
not, it will take both birds 10
to 30 days to excavate a new
hole in a tree trunk. The fe-
male then lays five to seven
small white eggs.
Both birds share the duties
of incubating the eggs and
feeding the young. Once the
young are able to leave the
nest, the parents may split up
the brood, each caring for
three or four young until the
chicks can fend for themselves.
:::>

.
lM BIRDWATCH
Green woodpeckers are com-
mon throughout much of
central and southern Europe.
They can be found in parks
where mature trees grow and
on hillsides where ant colonies
are plentiful. Someti mes the
bi rds move to more open areas
in winter .
Generally, however, wood-
peckers are more often heard
than seen, since their loud call
is easily recognizable. Bird-
watchers may be able to fol-
Iow a woodpecker by its call
and catch a brief but me-
morable view of the colorful
bird.
u
HABITAT
Green woodpeckers favor sun-
ny areas of short grass and
habitats that contain large old
trees in which they can exca-
vate their holes.
These birds can be found in
parks and in any mature wood-
land that is bordered by
cropped grass.
Right: A
juvenile clings
to a branch
using its long,
clawed feet,
balancing itself
on its stiff tail.
left: Up to
seven young
are hatched in
a cramped nest
hole, which is
cut into the
trunk of a dead
tree by both
adults.
Right: The
characteristi-
cally rounded
wing shape of
-0 all woodpeck-
ers is clearly
visible in this
juvenile.


<.!l
-;
FOOD &: FEEDING
The green woodpecker has an
insatiable appetite for ants and
consumes approximately 2,000
a day. When it finds an ants'
nest, it will tug at the grass and
dig a hole three inches deep
with its long beak. As the ants
rush out, the bird licks them up
with its tongue.
Once a large ants' nest is
found, the bird will feed for i
an hour or more and return to
the nest often.
Although the green wood-
pecker prefers ants, it feeds on -;
almost any insect it can pull
out of the ground or from the
bark of trees.
Above: A female green wood-
pecker returns to feed her hungry
young.
GREEN WOODPECKER &: MAN
Modern farming methods for livestock. The ants' nests
have led to a widespread de- are destroyed in the process,
cline of the green woodpecker. and the shade of the tall grass
In the past, pastures were left makes conditions too cool
undisturbed, allowing ant and moist at ground level for
colonies time to become them to recolonize.
established and grow large. Still, despite habitat loss,
Today pasture is regularly the green woodpecker
plowed, reseeded, and fertil- continues to be fairly wide-
ized to produce richer grazing spread.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Woodpeckers also eat fruit
and seeds. They pick up pine
cones and hammer out the
seeds with their beaks.
• The woodpecker' s charac-
teristic tappi ng sound is
actually a mating cal l. It is
produced by the bird's ham-
mering its bill on branches,
which resonate and amplify
the sound.
• In wi nter, the green wood-
pecker tunnels through drifts
of snow for food . It has been
known to dig a tunnel a yard
long to reach an ants' nest.
• Some people call t he green
woodpecker the rain bird,
since its call is believed to
herald the coming of rain.
'\; CARD 50 ]
MALLARD
~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
~
ORDER
Anseriformes
FAMILY
Anatidae
The mallard is the largest of all ducks and is a
common sight on lakes and ponds. It is one of the most
numerous and widespread of all bird species.
KEY FACTS
SIZES
Length: 20-25 in.
Wingspan: 30-40 in.
Weight: Male, 44 oz. Female,
38oz.
BREEDING
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Mating season: March.
No. of broods: 1 .
Eggs: 10-12 gray-green or buff
colored (occasionally blue) .
Incubation: 27-28 days.
Fledging period: 50-60 days.
LIFESTYLE
• Range of the mallard.
DISTRIBUTION Diet: Plant material, seeds, shoots,
insects, and mollusks.
Habit: Sociable.
lifespan: Oldest recorded, 29
years.
Widespread throughout northern hemisphere. Breeds
through most of North America, Asia, and throughout
Europe. Winters in southern part of range.
CONSERVATION
RELATED SPECIES
There are 45 species and 58
subspecies related to the mallard.
Despite being widely hunted, mallards are not endangered.
The species' adaptability and willingness to live alongside
man may guarantee its survival.
THE MALLARD'S DESCENDANTS
AYlESBURY
MALLARD
©MCMXCI IMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM
All varieties of domestic duck are de-
scended from the mallard, except for
the South American muscovy, Gairina
moschata. Many of the domesticated
species of duck retain clearly visible
mallard features, such as the curly tail
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
in all domestic drakes and the bottle
green head and white collar visible
among the drakes of the Rouen and
Welsh harlequin varieties. Other
mallards display a wide variety of
colors and characteristics.
0160200151 PACKET 15
Most mallards feed by
searching underwater for food-by
dabbling or upending themselves.
But they can also be found grazing on
land, like geese. Archaeological
evidence suggests that mallards were
bred by ancient Egyptians,
possibly even before the
chicken was domesticated.

The mallard is one of the most
widespread of all bird species.
It is found in a variety of habi-
tats throughout much of the
northern hemisphere.
Although it prefers still and
shallow inland waterways,
such as ponds, lakes, rivers,
reservoirs, and marshes, the
mallard may also be f.ound
on the sea, particularly
during its winter migration.
Most ducks are wary by
nature. Yet one of the mal-
lard's most interesting char-
acteristics is its willingness to
live close to human popula-
tions.
Above: The
male mallard
has distinctive
markings.
Right: The
drably colored
female watches
over her eggs.

Large numbers of mallards
pair off in August to mate, al-
though migrating birds may
not mate until spring. The
birds usually pair for just one
season, but occasionally the
same birds mate again in sub-
sequent years. Mating takes
place on the water at regular
intervals between September
and March. A pair separates
when the female begins incu-
bating. The male, called a
drake, may then try to mate
with other females.
The large winter flocks begin
to break up in February as
cE pairs look for breeding sites
I
around which they establish a
o
& left: Female mallard with
ducklings, displaying her
speculum (patch of color).
home range. Once a site is
selected, the female makes a
cup-shaped nest and lines it
with grass, as well as with
feathers she plucks from her
breast. The nest is usually on
the ground, although some
are in hollow trees or on the
roofs of buildings.
The female lays 10 to 12
eggs that she incubates. The
male behaves protectively
toward the eggs at first, but he
soon loses interest and goes
off to feed with other males.
Once the young hatch, the
female leads them to water
and watches over them. De-
spite her care, more than 50
percent of the ducklings are
eaten by foxes, weasels, rats,
pike, and predatory birds.
FOOD & FEEDING
Mallards eat a wide range of
food. They feed by dabbling
in the water: sifting water
through their broad and flat
bills to filter out tiny plant
and animal material. They D
also feed by grazing underwa-
ter and on land.
<t: To reach submerged veg-
a.. •
etatlon, mallards upend
themselves, rather than dive,
so that their bodies remain
c
o



a..
on the surface of the water,
>-
D
(j)
while their heads and necks
Above: A mallard upends itself.
D are stretched below the
surface. For this reason they Below: A mallard dabbles.
prefer shallow water.
Throughout the year mal-
lards eat a variety of food, in-
cluding grains, grasses,
potatoes, insects, mollusks, -fg
crustaceans, and small fish.
S Their varied diet allows them
to eat what is available.

DID YOU KNOW?
• Only female mallards quack
-males whistle and grunt.
• Mallards have a distinctive
patch of color on their wings
called a speculum.
• Ducklings born in nests
above ground must jump out
to reach water. They are so
light that they often fall 10
feet or more without harm.
BIRDWATCH
Mallards are found year-
round in thei r habitat. The
male' s disti nctive marki ngs
make him easy to spot in t he
summer: bright green head,
brown breast, bl ue and white
speculum, pale grey bell y,
• The mallard is a popular
game bird, and hunters shoot
thousands of the ducks yearly.
• Some species of mallard
interbreed with domestic
species of duck.
• It is believed that the mal-
lard was the first domesti-
cated bird, predating even
the chicken.
and white ring around hi s
neck. Females are harder to
find because of thei r dull,
mottled brown coloration.
In t he winter males molt
into thei r eclipse plumage
and resemble females.

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