Pygoscelis antarctica
The chinstrap penguin gets its name from the black feathers that
form a distinctive line across its throat. This bird is just
as comfortable on land as it is in the water.
Length: About 2 ~ ft.
Weight: 8-10 lb.
Sexual maturity: 3 years.
Breeding season: From Novem-
ber to February.
No. of broods: 1.
Eggs: 2.
Incubation: 5 weeks.
Fl edging period: 10 weeks.
Habit: Social; nests in colonies that
may number thousands.
Diet: Krill, other crustaceans, and
small fish.
Call: Shrill cries at nesting colony.
The genus Pygoscelis contains 2
other species: the Adelie penguin,
P. ade/iae, and the gentoo penguin,
P. papua, both of which also inhab-
it the Antarctic region.
Range of the chinstrap penguin.
Antarctic and sub-Antarctic seas. Breeds on the Ant arctic Peni n-
sula and South Atlantic islands; also on Cape Horn and islands
of the South Pacific and Indian oceans.
Numbers seem to be increasing in many areas, with a recent
expansion in range. The chinstrap penguin population may be
affected in the future by increased levels of fishing.
Feet: Webbed. Waddle on
land but are efficient in
the water.
Flippers: Stiff and narrow. Reg-
ular beats followed by short
gl ides propel the chinstrap
through water.
Feeding: When searching for prey
such as krill , the chinstrap makes ei-
ther shallow horizontal dives or deep-
er vertical dives, depending on the
depth at which it is foraging.
Plumage: White chest and black
back and wings. Distinctive black
stripe across throat.
PRINTED IN U.S.A. 01 60200891 PACKET 89
The chins trap penguin is abundant in the ice-filled waters
around Antarctica. In the breeding season, thousands of
these birds gather on islands and coasts, where their calls
combine to create a shrill song. The chinstrap is one of the
most aggressive penguins, especially at its nesting grounds.
~ H A B I T S
The chinstrap penguin is found
in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic
waters. In the winter it swims in
open water or rests on icebergs.
It can leap three feet out of wa-
ter to land on the ice. As many
as 3,000 penguins have been
seen on one ice floe.
When swimming underwater,
the chinstrap penguin makes
regular beats of its stiff and nar-
row flippers, followed by short
glides. It almost never dives be-
low 165 feet, but one individual
was seen diving over 330 feet
in search of food for its chick.
The chinstrap penguin returns
to its nesting grounds to breed.
Of about 6.5 million pairs, some
5 million breed on the South
Sandwich Islands in the South
Atlantic. Large colonies also ex-
ist on the South Orkneys, South
Georgia, and the Antarctic Pen-
insula. The chinstrap waddles
on its webbed feet on land. But
in snow, it drops onto its belly
and propels itself with its feet.
The chinstrap penguin begins
returning to its nesting grounds
in late October, as the Antarctic
winter ends. Individuals return
to the same area each year. Part-
ners from the previous season
reunite whenever possible, even
though the pair may have been
separated for months.
Nesting takes place on ice-free
coastal land, usually on rocky in-
clines, cliff ledges, or on boulder-
strewn slopes with very little or
no vegetation. Breeding colo-
nies frequently include Adelie
and gentoo penguins, although
the chinstrap is not very tolerant
of those birds.
Around two weeks after mat-
ing, the female lays two eggs.
Left: The chins trap penguin is of-
ten aggressive toward Adelie and
gentoo penguins.
She incubates the eggs beneath
her abdomen for about six days,
sometimes turning them over
with her bill. The male then takes
over, incubating the eggs while
the female goes off to feed for
several days before returning for
the next shift. Changes in nest
duty are accompanied by noisy
displays. The incoming penguin
may tramp about the nest, nod-
ding its head. Or it may stand
with head up and flippers out-
stretched, calling loudly.
The chicks grow very quickly.
In three to four weeks they can
be left in a nursery with other
young while the parents forage.
After gaining waterproof plum-
age, the young enter the water.
Right: The circular pebble nest is
just secure enough to keep the eggs
from rolling away.
• Recent increases in the chin-
strap penguin population may
be a result of whaling. The de-
crease in whale populations
means that there is more krill
left for the penguins to eat.
Like many Antarctic animals, the
chinstrap penguin relies on the
sea's vast supply of krill. Large
concentrations of these shrimp-
like crustaceans provide food for
fish, seals, and whales, as well as
penguins. Krill makes up over 90
percent of the chinstrap's diet.
The remainder consists of other
crustaceans plus small fish.
The chinstrap catches prey by
Left: The female chinstrap penguin
regurgitates food such as fish and
krill to her hungry young.
• The chinstrap penguin some-
times eats snow as a source of
fresh water.
• The aggressive chinstrap will
attack dogs and even people
that enter its nesting colony.
pursuing it through the water.
Little is known about its feeding
method. However, the bird ap-
pears to make both shallow hor-
izontal dives and deeper vertical
dives, depending on the depth
at which it is seeking prey.
In the breeding season, adults
increase their rate of feeding to
provide for the young. They for-
age up to 55 miles from the col-
ony, and their feeding dives last
about 90 seconds, with a rest of
36 seconds between plunges.

_______________________________ GROUP 2: BIRDS
Oxyura jamaicensis
The ruddy duck is found in the Americas, from Canada south
to Chile and Argentina. This bird has also been introduced
into southern England, where it now nests.
Length: 14-17 in.
Weight: 1-1 l4' lb.
Sexual maturity: Usually 2 years;
sometimes 1 year.
Breeding season: April to July.
Eggs: 6-10; dull white.
Incubation: Almost 4 weeks.
Fledging period: 7-8 weeks.
Habit: Lives in loose flocks; mi-
grates in flocks. Pairs for most of
the breeding season.
Diet: Aquatic plants such as sedges,
bulrushes, and reeds. Also insects
and crustaceans.
There are 6 species in the genus
Oxyura, including the rare white-
headed duck, o. /eucocepha/a,
which is seriously threatened by
hybridization with the ruddy duck.
Range of the ruddy duck.
Found in much of North America and the West Indies, as well
as in the mountains of western and southern South America.
Introduced into southern England.
The ruddy duck is not a common species, and numbers are
threatened by loss of habitat.
Nonbreeding male:
Female: Finely marked dark brown
upperparts, paler underparts. Cream
cheeks have a brown stripe running
back from the bill , which is dull gray
throughout the year.
Resembles the female
in plumage and bill col-
or but can be distin-
guished by his black
head and his pure
white cheeks.
Breeding male: Ri ch red-brown
upperparts, white belly and rump.
Black neck and head. Small tufts on
the crown. White oheeks, pal e blue
bill . When displayi ng, he paddles fur-
iously with his stiff tai l cocked and
beats his bil l against his breast.
0160200891 PACKET 89
The small, rounded ruddy duck is sometimes called the
butterball or the stiff-tail. The second nickname refers to
the duck's long, firm tail feathers, which it can use as a
rudder in the water. The ruddy duck is a sociable bird that
lives and migrates in flocks. North American populations
winter .in the southern United States and Mexico and then
head north to the summer quarters where they breed.
~ H A B I T A T
The ruddy duck avoids extreme-
ly cold climates and is almost
never found near running wa-
ter. Instead it prefers areas that
have more stable water levels
and is most at home on prairie
marshes. This secretive bird al-
ways selects heavily vegetated
habitats where it is able to nest
in dense cover.
Although it is usually found in
fresh water, the ruddy duck may
settle on brackish (slightly salty)
water in its winter quarters. This
is probably because salt water
freezes more slowly than fresh
water, although it may also be
because salty water sustains
more underwater vegetation.
The ruddy duck population in
North America numbers about
600,000. The populations in the
West Indies and South America
are unknown but are thought
to be stable.
Right: A dark stripe on the female's
cheeks distinguishes her from the
white-cheeked male ruddy duck.
In the winter, male and female
ruddy ducks ignore each other.
They are busy feeding, and the
male lacks the summer plum-
age with which he attracts a
mate. The sexes often migrate
separately and pair up after ar-
riving at the breeding grounds,
usually in April. By then, the
male's breast has developed
the rich chestnut plumage for
which the species is named.
To attract a female, the male
performs a "bubbling" display.
He puffs up his neck, then beats
his bill on it to produce a loud
noise. It takes several weeks be-
Left: Usually dull gray, the male's
bill turns sky blue during the breed-
ing season.
• The ruddy duck must patter
along the water's surface, flap-
ping its wings in order to pick
up enough speed to fly.
• The usually quiet ruddy duck
does not quack. However, the
female may squeak if threat-
ened, and the male makes a
strange belching noise after
his "bubbling" display.
fore the pair bond is established
and mating occurs. The female
and male then construct a nest,
usually among bulrushes and
reeds that can be easily bent to
form a structure that is about 12
inches wide and 3 inches deep.
The nest bowl may have a ramp
of reeds leading to it as well as a
"roof" of vegetation.
The female lays six to ten eggs
at a rate of about one a day. She
incubates them alone, but the
male may help protect the new-
borns. The young fly at seven to
eight weeks old, but they are in-
dependent before then.
Right: The dark down of the young
ruddy ducks helps to conceal them
in riverside vegetation.
• When it molts in summer,
the ruddy duck loses so many
wing feathers that it cannot fly
until new feathers grow.
• The female ruddy duck may
lay some eggs in the nests of
other females, which end up
with large broods containing
ducklings at different stages
of development.
The ruddy duck feeds mainly on
plants. It eats the tubers, stems,
and leaves of waterweeds such
as sedges and the underwater
stems of bulrushes and reeds.
Like many other water birds,
the ruddy duck feeds by shovel-
ing its short, broad bill along
the water bed and then surfac-
ing to drain water from plants it
has gathered. The duck uses its
bill to probe deep into the sedi-
ment for edible matter. A hard,
curved "nail" along the center
Left: The male
duck cocks his
tail to show off
his white rump
to a prospective
mate. The fe-
male observes
passively, but
she squeaks
at males that
come too near.
of the bill helps to crop foliage.
When feeding, the duck dives
for about 15 seconds. It is able
to reach a depth of around 10
feet but prefers to make a series
of short dives in shallow water.
The ruddy duck also feeds on
insects and small crustaceans. It
was once thought that the duck
ate these creatures inadvertent-
ly, along with plant matter. But
it is now known they are eaten
deliberately to satisfy most of
the duck's protein needs.
Charodriiformes Sternidae Anous stolidus
The brown noddy may be named for its habit of nodding its head
vigorously during the courtship display. Or its name may be
derived from an old English word meaning 1/ stupid."
Length: 15-16 in.
Wingspan: ft .
Weight: 6-7 oz.
Breeding season: Varies, depend-
ing on latitude.
No. of broods: 1.
Eggs: 1. White, pale gray, or pale
pink with purplish blotches.
Incubation: About 5 weeks.
Fledging period: 6-8 weeks.
Habit: Nests in dense colonies and
often feeds in flocks.
Diet: Small fish and squid.
Call: Mainly silent. Harsh croaking
alarm calls and a variety of shrill
and cackling threat notes.
Lifespan: Unknown.
It is related to the black (or white-
capped) noddy, Anous minutus, and
the lesser noddy, A. tenuirostris.
Range of the brown noddy.
Found over the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans, the brown
noddy breeds on tropical and subtropical islands, as well as on
the coasts of Venezuela and northern Australia.
The brown noddy is still abundant in many areas. But some
populations sufferfrom hunting and egg collecting, predation
by introduced predators, loss of habitat, and oil pollution.
Flight: Slow and
heavy. Similar to
a gull 's wing
Plumage: Adult has dark brown body,
wings, and tai l. In the bright t ropical
light of the bird's habitat. the pale
lavender-gray forehead and crown
appear white from a distance.
Nest: Made of sticks and seaweed.
Built by both male and female, often
alT]ong branches of trees and shrubs.
Egg: 1. White,
pale pink, or
pale gray with
0160200991 PACKET 99
The brown noddYt also known as the common or greater
noddYt spends a great deal of its time at sea and swims well.
However, it prefers to roost on dry sites or floating debris on
the water in order to prevent its distinctive plumage from
becoming waterlogged. This bird can be seen flying over
the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Its slow flight is
more like the flight of a gull than that of other terns.
~ H A B I T A T
The brown noddy breeds on the
Venezuelan and northern Aus-
tralian coasts as well as tropical
and subtropical islands world-
wide. These include islands off
the coasts of western Mexico
and Australia, as well as remote
oceanic islands such as the Gala-
pagos in the Sout h Pacific and
Tristan da Cunha in the Atlantic.
Right: Because
the brown nod-
dy nests in dense
colonies, there
are frequent dis-
putes over nest
sites. Rivals ag-
their bills and
utter croaking
Some noddy populations mi-
grate, probably mostly south-
ward, and may be found in big
flocks far out at sea. But other
birds remain year-round near
their breeding islands, islets,
and coral reefs.
Right: The newly hatched brown
noddy has pale, insulating down
and a short, stubby bill.
The brown noddy rarely dives
into the sea to find its food, as
most terns do. But sometimes
it settles on the surface to feed
or rest. It skims waves and even
flies through the crests to find
prey, staying just above the wa-
ter's surface. It snatches small
fish and squid that have been
driven to the surface by large
predatory fish. It also hovers
Left: Although the brown noddy is
mostly silent it can utter a variety
of noisy calls.
• The brown noddy possesses
superb homing abilities. Some
birds were caught in the Gulf
of Mexico, taken U 80 miles
away, and then released. They
returned to their nests in just
five days.
• The brown noddy may roost
on unusual sites like the back
of a turtle or head of a pelican.
before dipping in order to seize
prey in its bill.
The brown noddy often feeds
in flocks of up to a thousand or
more. Unlike most other terns,
it is able to store food in its crop
(throat pouch) and regurgitate
it later. As a result, the brown
noddy can forage widely and
make fewer trips when feeding
its chicks.
Right: The brown noddy possesses
a wedge-shaped tail rather than
the forked tail of most terns.
• When breeding on the same
island, the brown noddy and
other terns avoid competition
for food by catching different
prey in different places. For ex-
ample, the lesser noddy gen-
erally eats smaller fish than the
brown noddy, and the sooty
tern tends to feed farther from
land than the brown noddy.
Brown noddies usually breed in
dense, noisy colonies on islands.
The colonies may include other
terns, such as the black noddy
and the sooty tern. If disturbed,
many pairs or even the entire
colony may rise silently together
in a sweeping flight. This phe-
nomenon is called a dread.
When paired, brown noddies
may display by stretching their
necks forward and then opening
their bills to reveal their orange
mouths. They may also engage
in mock fights with their bills-
nodding their heads and bow-
ing. In a pair-bonding ritual, the
male disgorges fish for his mate,
and she begs for the gift like a
hungry chick. The paired cou-
Left: The brown
noddy is known
for the way it
nods its head
up and down
repeatedly dur-
ing the court-
ship display.
This unusual
habit may be
the origin of its
strange name.
pie usually stays together for life.
Nest sites vary over the spe-
cies' wide range. Unlike other
terns, the brown noddy rarely
nests on the ground. It often
nests in trees and large shrubs,
but competition from frigate-
birds for sites in trees may force
the noddy to use rock crevices
instead. The nest is a large struc-
ture of sticks and seaweed, built
by the male and female.
Both parents incubate the sin-
gle egg and care for the chick.
Ayoung brown noddy fledges
within eight weeks but may re-
turn to the colony at night for at
least three months longer. It ut-
ters whistling calls in order to ob-
tain food from its parents.
'" CARD 284 I
, - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
"1IIIIIIII Passeriformes '11IIIIIIII Fringillidae '11IIIIIIII Acanthis cannabina
In winter the linnet ~ dull plumage provides good camouflage in
the bleak fields where it feeds. But in spring the male ~ feathers
actually wear away to reveal his pink breeding colors.
Length: 5 in.
Weight: ~ - % oz .
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding season: April to July.
No. of broods: Often 2, some-
times 3.
Eggs: 4-6; bluish white with gray
markings and reddish blotches.
Incubation: 12-14 days.
Fledging period: 11-1 7 days.
Habit: Sociable.
Diet: Small seeds. Young are also
fed insects.
Lifespan: Oldest recorded bird,
9 years.
There are 5 other species in the ge-
nus Acanthis, including the com-
mon redpoll, A. flammea.
Male: Winter
plumage has
patches of crim-
son on the crown
and breast. Back
Female: Primarily mottled
brown, with gray face. Speck-
led brown breast and white bel-
ly. Plumage is drabber than the
male's breeding plumage.
Range of the linnet.
Found from the desert fringes of northern Africa and the Mid-
dle East to northern Europe a few degrees south of the Arctic
Circle, and from Ireland to northern Siberia.
The decline in farmland weeds has caused the linnet to be-
come less cornmon. However, the species remains widespread
throughout its range.
Flight: Deeply undulating and
fast, revealing white wing
flashes and cleft tail .
Eggs: 4 to 6.
Bluish white with
faint gray mark-
ings. Reddish
blotches near
broader end.
0160200931 PACKET 93
The linnet cannot eat large seeds or fruit because its bill
is too small, so it depends on the small seeds of weeds for
food. TodaYt because of herbicides, cultivated fields have
fewer weeds than they once did. As a result the linnet is
not as common as it was in the past. Nevertheless, the bird
is still widespread, and farmland remains a vital habitat.
The sociable linnet nests in loose
colonies in bushy areas, includ-
ing parks and vacant lots. Breed-
ing colonies usually contain four
to six pairs. But up to 40 pairs of
linnets have been recorded nest-
ing together.
The linnet forms flocks of 200
or more members in winter, of-
ten with goldfinches, twites, and
other finches. The birds feed on
open land such as salt marshes.
The linnet migrates, but the
details of its winter movements
are not known. Some birds in
northern Europe fly south into
France and Spain, while some
southern European populations
migrate to North Africa.
Right: In his winter plumage, the
male linnet has a crimson patch on
his head and breast.
The linnet eats small seeds from
a wide variety of weed plants,
especially members of the mus-
tard, daisy, and dock families.
It also feeds heavily on familiar
weeds such as dandelion and
chickweed. With the decline in
weeds on farmland in recent
years, the linnet has turned to
Gorse thickets are the linnet's
favorite nest site. The tangles of
branches and spines hide the
nest and protect the bird from
predators. Other typical nesting
sites include hedges, patches of
hawthorn scrub, and bramble
bushes on hillsides.
The female builds a cuplike
nest from thin twigs and grass
Left: In spring the male's winter
feathers wear away to reveal his
bright breeding plumage.
• The species name of the lin-
net comes from the scientific
term for hemp, Cannabis sati-
va. This plant is best known as
the source of the drug mari-
juana. However, it is also one
of the linnet's food sources in
I parts of Europe.
strawberry seeds, and it is now
considered a pest in some areas
where strawberries are grown.
During summer the bird often
perches on plants to feed, hop-
ping around on the thin, bend-
ing stalks. In fall it feeds on the
ground, where seeds have fall-
en or been exposed by a plow.
and lines it with wool, hair, this-
tledown, and sometimes feath-
ers. The young hatch in about
two weeks and are fed small in-
sects and seeds.
The linnet begins nesting as
early as April, and most pairs
raise two broods. If it is a good
year, the birds may even raise
three broods.
Right: The male linnet shares with
his mate the task of feeding insects
to the nestlings.
• The linnet gets its common
name from lin an Old English
word for flax. When flax was
commonly grown for the fi-
bers of its stem, which were
made into linen, the plant's
seeds probably formed a mJ -
jor part of the bird's diet.
Male and female linnets show
white flashes on thei r wings
and tail feathers duri ng their
bouncy, rapid flight. In the
breeding season, the brightly
colored male is easy to spot.
In winter the linnet can be
The linnet was once a popular
cage bird in Europe. According
to books written at the turn of
this century, its song was sweet-
er than that of any other finch.
People caught linnets to supply
the demand, and the wild pop-
ulation decreased dramatically.
But numbers increased once
trade in wild birds was banned.
In recent years humans have
hard to distinguish from other
finch species because the male
lacks his bright pink breeding
colors. The linnet is especially
easy to confuse with the twite,
but the twite has more heavily
streaked plumage.
affected the linnet in a different
way. By using herbicides to kill
weeds and by removing hedges,
they have decreased the bird's
food sources and nesting sites.
But even well-kept farm fields
have some weeds around the
edges where the linnet can find
food. There are also patches of
rough ground and bushy areas
where it can find shelter.
"'------- ORDER
Coccothraustes coccothraustes
The hawfinch is among the largest of the European finches, with a big
head and a large, powerful bill. Although it is widely distributed
across temperate Eurasia, this shy, timid bird is rarely seen.
Length: 7 in.
Wing length: 4 in.
Weight: 1 ~ - 2 oz.
Breeding season: Spring to summer.
No. of eggs: 4-6; off-white with
dark blotches.
Incubation: 9-14 days.
Fledging period: 10-14 days.
Habit: Shy and secretive. Sometimes
breeds in small colonies and associ-
ates in flocks in winter.
Diet: Mainly seeds and kernels.
Call: Sharp "ptik" or weak warble.
Lifespan: Up to 7 years.
There are 9 finch species distributed
throughout the world in the genus
Coccothraustes. These include the
evening grosbeak, C. vespertinus, of
North America.
Range of the hawfinch.
Southern Scotland, eastern Wales and England, and southwest
across Europe from southern Sweden south to the Mediter-
ranean and northern Africa. East across Europe and central Asia
to Japan.
Although it is not often seen, the hawfinch is widespread and
fairly common.
Male: Rich rusty-brown upper body and
crown; gray shoulders; black on wings,
chin, and around bill ; warm pinkish breast
and belly. White flashes on wings and tail .
Eggs: Off-
white, with
dark blotches.
Bill: Large,
powerful, and
Ideal for split-
ting nuts and
seeds. Steel
gray in sum-
mer, yellow
in winter.
Female: Simi-
lar to male but
with duller
0160200911 PACKET 91
The stocky hawfinch has an unmistakable flight silhouette,
in which its large head and short tail make it appear
top-heavy. Its flight is relaxed and undulating, except
when the bird is alarmed. At such times, the hawfinch
flies in a straight line with rapid beats of its wings.
The hawfinch inhabits mature
woodlands and orchards. It also
lives in well-wooded parks and
gardens, often in densely pop-
ulated suburbs. Across its wide
range, it frequents both lowland
and mountain areas, as well as
forest steppes and broad-leaved
forests beside rivers and lakes. In
winter, when it often flocks with
other hawfinches, it may move
to more open country.
Many hawfinches do not mi-
grate, but some fly to warmer
areas to breed. Migration is er-
ratic, however, and it may be
connected to the availability of
food supplies.
By day the hawfinch perches
high in tall trees. It reveals its
presence with a sharp, robinlike
"ptik" call, which it utters when
perching and in flight. In spring
it also makes a feeble warble.
Right: Both the male and female
hawfinch bring food to the young.
• The generic name of the
hawfinch comes from Greek
words meaning "nut-breaker."
• There were 5,000 to 10,000
hawfinch pairs in Great Britain
in the early 1980s.
The hawfinch feeds on nuts and
seeds, many of which cannot be
opened by other birds. Its large
bill, strengthened internally by
horny pads, can easily crack fruit
pits to expose the kernels. The
bill is made even more effective
by the palate bones and power-
ful jaw muscles.
The hawfinch likes the pits of
cherries, damson plums, and
sloes. It also feeds on beechnuts
and holly, plus yew, maple, horn-
beam, and hawthorn seeds. In
addition, it raids vegetable gar-
dens for peas, which it deftly
shells. In spring the bird nibbles
buds. In summer it feeds high in
trees, on plants and insects.
Left: The hawfinch is the largest
European finch found outside the
northern conifer belt.
Right: The hawfinch usually feeds
in a tree, but it may eat fallen seeds
and fruit in winter.
• A force of over 60 pounds is
required to crack open a cher-
ry pit. The hawfinch's deep,
broad-based bill is believed to
have a thrust of more than
100 pounds.
The wary hawfinch is difficult
to spot, but its robin like call
may reveal its presence. Neat-
ly split fruit pits and seeds are
evidence of its feeding.
The hawfinch usually constructs
its nest in a thick thorn bush or
a tree in an orchard, garden, or
dense wood. The nest is set on
a horizontal branch about 5 to
35 feet above the ground.
Both the male and the female
build the shallow, bulky nest out
of twigs, roots, and moss. They
line it with grass, finer roots, and
hair or fibers. Some pairs nest
singly, while others gather to-
gether in small colonies. The
The hawfinch may eat nuts
and seeds at a bird feeder. It is
sometimes seen early in the
morning, eating peas in a gar-
den or drinking at a pond.
birds often return to the same
nest site for several years.
Mating occurs in April, and
several weeks later the female
lays four to six off-white eggs
with dark blotches. There is usu-
ally one clutch each year, but
occasionally two. While the fe-
male incubates the eggs for 9
to 14 days, the male feeds her.
Both parents feed the young,
which are able to fly at 10 to
14 days old.
Bucephala clangula
In North America, the common goldeneye nests mainly in Canada.
It winters in small flocks on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts
as well as on lakes in the interior that have not frozen.
Length: About 1 %; ft .
Wingspan: 2-2%; ft.
Weight: Up to 2%; lb.
Sexual maturity: 2 years.
Breeding season: From April
to June.
No. of broods: 1 .
Eggs: 8-11; bluish green.
Incubation: About 1 month.
Fledging period: 8-9 weeks.
Habit: Lives in a flock, except in
the breeding season.
Diet: Aquatic animals and plants.
Lifespan: Oldest known, 17 years.
The common goldeneye's closest
relatives are Barrow's goldeneye,
Bucephala islandico, and the buffle-
head, B. albeola.
Range of the common goldeneye.
The common goldeneye occurs in North America and from
Great Britain and Ireland east to northern Eurasia.
Although it is hunted in winter, the common goldeneye is not
threatened in North America, where its population exceeds one
million. Larger numbers are shot in northern and central Europe,
where the population is estimated at 200,000.
Female: Dark chocolate-brown head;
white neck and lower breast. Mottled
blackish brown and slate-gray
upperparts with white tips on
Eyes: Bright golden
color can only be seen
close up, shining
some feathers. Gray tail
feathers with pale tips.
Body: Small with
a short neck and
large head.
Male larger
than female.
against the
dark head
Chick: Brownish
down. Lacks the
golden eyes of
the adult.
Male: Black-and-white pattern
on upperparts is clearest when
he takes off. Black head tinged
with metallic green. White neck,
black bill, and distinctive round
white blob on cheek.
Between 8
and 11 per
clutch. Laid
in a nest
hole in a
0160200911 PACKET 91
The common goldeneye gets its name from the bright
golden color of its eyes. This duck feeds primarily on
aquatic animals, and it generally dives for prey. It has a
large airspace behind its nostrils that may supply extra
air while it is searching for food under the water.
The common goldeneye breeds
in the conifer forests that stretch
over northern Europe, Asia, and
North America. In its breeding
habitat, the bird feeds in clear
lakes and pools and nests in old,
hollow trees that woodpeckers
have damaged.
In North America the com-
mon goldeneye breeds as far
south as the Great Lakes region
and Minnesota. In parts of Eu-
rope, birdhouses have been put
up to encourage the birds to
nest in areas outside their origi-
nal northern breeding range.
These ducks fly to warmer ar-
eas for winter. They may settle
on large inland lakes and reser-
voirs, but they usually frequent
estuaries and coastal areas.
The common goldeneye lives
in a flock for much of the year.
Although the flocks are not usu-
ally big, some may contain sev-
eral hundred birds. When the
breeding season begins, pairs
leave the flock to nest.
In late winter and early spring
the common goldeneye begins
its courtship rituals. To impress
females, groups of males swim
around furiously and then fly up
and land again. They call with
rasps and rattles and throw their
heads back over their shoulders.
The males continue to display
during migration as well as at
their breeding grounds
After pairing, the birds find a
nest site, usually a natural hole
in an old tree or a hole made by
a black wood peeker. The nest
cavity may be as much as 50
feet above the ground, and it is
lined with the female's down.
A female sometimes lays her
eggs in another female's nest,
perhaps because nest sites are
Left: The female is duller than the
male, but she has the same high-
browed, almost triangular head.
• The common goldeneye's
nest hole frequently lacks a
perch, so the female must dive
straight into the hole when re-
turning to her eggs or young.
• A female goldeneye in Scot-
scarce. Like other ducks, the
goldeneye does not defend its
nest, so outsiders can easily lay
there. The female accepts other
birds' eggs but abandons the
nest if too many eggs are laid.
When the chicks hatch, they
throw themselves down to the
ground and are led to water by
their mother. Instead of rearing
her chicks on the nearest water,
she sometimes leads them to a
lake up to two miles away.
Goldeneyes did not breed in
Great Britain until the 1960s,
when birdhouses were put up
to provide them with nesting
sites. Since that time, small pop-
ulations have also been breed-
ing in Czechoslovakia and in the
region south of Moscow.
Right: In the breeding season sev-
eral males may circle a female com-
mon goldeneye.
land incubated her eggs in a
birdhouse next to a lake. But
instead of rearing her young
there, she led them across a
railway line, a main road, and
a river to a lake a mile away.
I ~
In summer the common gold-
eneye is most common in Can-
ada, in woodland areas with
lakes and ponds. In winter it
lives in coastal areas a nd close
The common goldeneye feeds
mainly on aquatic animals such
as small fish, shellfish, shrimps,
crabs, and insects and their lar-
vae. It swallows shellfish whole,
crushing the shells in its gizzard
(part of the digestive system).
When it is feeding in shallow
water, the goldeneye dips only
its head and neck below the sur-
face. But it usually dives for food
Left: The common goldeneye rarely
dives more than 10 feet when it is
searching for food.
Left: The com-
mon goldeneye
duckling jumps
out of the nest
hole down to
the ground af-
ter it hatches.
Once it is in the
water, its moth-
er supervises it
for about two
to large reservoirs and lakes.
The male's black-and-white
pl umage is easy to spot. But
the female's grayish body and
brown head are less distinctive.
in deeper waters, overturning
stones to search the mud at the
bottom. The goldeneye has a
large airspace behind its nostrils,
which may provide it with extra
air when it dives. It usually stays
under for 8 to 30 seconds.
The common goldeneye also
eats plant matter. In the winter,
flocks can be seen around out-
lets from breweries and food
processing plants, where they
probably feed on expelled grain
that is washed down.
"" CARD 287 I
, , ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
Vanellus leucurus
The white-tailed plover wades through wetland habitats pecking
at food rather than probing the ground for it. This bird is an
elegant, pale-plumaged relative of Europe's northern lapwing.
Length: Almost 1 ft.
Wingspan: 2 - 2 ~ ft .
Weight: 4-7 oz.
Sexual maturity: 1-2 years.
Breeding season: Late April to July.
Eggs: 3-4.
Incubation: About 3 weeks.
Fledging period: 1 month.
Habit: Sociable, nesting in small,
loose colonies.
Diet: Mainly insects, especially bee-
tles. Also worms and mollusks.
Call: Similar to that of the northern
lapwing. Main call is a loud, mel-
low "peewit./I
The white-tailed plover is 1 of the
24 large plover species known as
lapwings. Its closest relative is the
sociable plover, Vanellus gregarius.
Resident range.
The white-tailed plover breeds in the former U.S.S.R., from
Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan, and in Iran and Iraq. It winters
from northwest India to Pakistan and in the Sudan.
The white-tailed plover is in no danger at present. However,
continued drainage of wetlands will have an adverse effect on
the population.
Adult: Pale fawn face. Large reddish
brown eyes. Narrow pinkish red eye
ring. Brownish gray upperparts have
a lilac sheen; grayish breast has a
rosy buff hue. White underparts. Tail
is white but covered at rest by the
black primary wing feathers.
Flight: Slow wing beats.
Long legs project behind.
Juvenile: Similar to adult ,
except that upperparts are fawn
tipped with dark brown.
Eggs: 3 or 4; buff blotched
with dark brown.
0160200941 PACKET 94
The white-tailed plover is a relatively little-known bird
that breeds in parts of southwest Asia and the Middle
East. This plover is found in a variety of damp habitats
throughout its range. An extremely wary bird, it utters
noisy alarm calls and flies away at the first sign of danger.
The white-tailed plover lives in
damp habitats such as estuar-
ies, marshes, and coastal areas.
Breeding populations in the
former Soviet Union are migra-
tory. They leave their nesting
grounds from late August to
late September and fly across
Iran and Afghanistan to spend
the winter in northwest India,
Pakistan, parts of the Middle
East, and northeast Africa, espe-
cially the Sudan. The popula-
tion in Iraq is mainly resident,
but birds in the northernmost
regions migrate in winter.
• Winter flocks of white-tailed
plovers engage in a strange
ritual. Two birds stand back-
to-back, and one stretches its
wings upward. Then the oth-
er performs the same gesture.
The white-tailed plover general-
ly feeds in shallow water, wad-
ing on its long legs in search of
aquatic invertebrates. Although
it usually pecks at food on the
surface, it may submerge its bill
and sometimes even its head in
the water.
This bird feeds mainly on in-
sects, especially beetles, but it
also eats worms and small mol-
lusks. When foraging on land, it
makes a short run, then pauses
to lower its head and peck at
food before moving on.
Left: The white-tailed plover is
most often found in the tropics,
especially in Asia.
Right: The white-tailed plover
is also commonly known as the
white-tailed lapwing.
Called "flag waving," this ritu-
al may be a contact signal.
• The white-tailed plover may
be expanding its range west-
ward, because it has recently
nested in Syria and Turkey.
The white-tailed plover breeds
close to fresh or salt water on
damp ground that is overgrown
with wormwood as well as oth-
er plants. In spring the birds fly
to their breeding grounds, trav-
eling in small flocks that usually
have fewer than 10 individuals.
They nest in small, loose colo-
nies, often near other waterside
breeders, such as black-winged
stilts, pratincoles, and terns.
After digging a shallow scrape
Left: The white-tailed plover wades
out into deep mud when searching
for invertebrotes.
in the ground, the female lines it
with vegetation. She incubates
the three or four buff-colored
eggs for about three weeks. The
male stands guard nearby and,
if necessary, engages rival males
in midair duels, swooping down
to ward off intruders.
With their fluffy brown, black,
and white down, the chicks are
well camouflaged. They are able
to feed themselves immediately
after hatching and can run fast
almost right away. Nevertheless,
their parents guard them for up
to four weeks.
Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
The sedge warbler is a common, insect-eating summer visitor to
many parts of Europe. It is found primarily on the edges of
marshes, reed beds, and other similarly damp habitats.
Length: 5 in.
Weight: Under ~ oz.
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding season: May to August.
No. of broods: 1-2.
Eggs: 5-6; pale buff or yellowish
green, blotched with thin dark
Incubation: 13-14 days.
Fledging period: 10-14 days.
Habit: Usually solitary and active
by day. Male sings at night in the
breeding season.
Diet: Mostly insects.
Lifespan: Up to 7 years.
The closest relatives in the family
Sylviidae are the other "reed-bed"
warblers: the marsh warbler, Acro-
cephalus palustris, and the reed
warbler, A. scirpaceus.
Plumage: Dark brown with streaks
above, tawny rump, and pale buff below.
Streaked head with a creamy stripe over
each eye. Male and female look alike,
but juvenile is yellower.
Breeding range of the sedge warbler. Winter range.
The sedge warbler breeds in parts of western Asia and most of
Europe, but not in Spain or Portugal. It winters in Africa, south
of the Sahara Desert.
The sedge warbler is still a widespread summer visitor in Eu-
rope, but it has greatly declined in recent years because of in-
creasing drought in the area just south of the Sahara Desert.
Body: Has long, slim shape
characteristic of a "reed-bed"
warbler. The bird's fine, long bill
merges smoothly with its head,
and its tail is supported by un-
usually long tai l coverts.
The bird builds up a large fat
reserve before setting off on its
mig ratory flight. It eats so much
that it may struggle to take off.
Eggs: 5 to 6, pale
buff or yellow-
green with many
speckles. The
female builds the
nest and does most
of the incubating.
0160200971 PACKET 97
The sedge warbler is usually a shy creature. This little
bird-only five inches lonfrspends most of its time
moving stealthily about in dense cover. However, when
the male sedge warbler first arrives in Europe in the spring,
he is more conspicuous, pouring out an endless stream of
high-pitched trills and fast, musical tunes. Sometimes he
delivers his courtship song on a briet vertical display flight.

The sedge warbler breeds in Eu-
rope and parts of western Asia,
but it is scarce in upland regions
and does not breed in Spain or
Portugal. It can be found in a va-
riety of places, from very remote
and wild sites to areas near cities.
Although it favors reed beds be-
side rivers, ditches, and similar
wetland habitats, this adaptable
bird may nest in drier places. It
The sedge warbler feeds in tan-
gled vegetation close to water.
It snaps up small, slow-moving
insects and their larvae with its
fine-pointed bill. In addition to
midges, aphids, flies, and bee-
tles, it eats some worms, slugs,
at times breeds in young conifer
plantations, overgrown hedge-
rows, or even in crops of cereals
or beans that are some distance
from a body of water.
In its African winter quarters,
the sedge warbler lives in open
desert and scrub, as well as cul-
tivated land. It is also found in
lakeside vegetation, swamps,
and other wetland habitats.
and spiders. In the fall it occa-
sionally feeds on berries.
A parent sedge warbler may
travel a considerable distance
from its nest to find enough in-
sect food to satisfy its hungry,
growing brood.

The sedge warbler starts leaving
for its African winter quarters in
late July, although most depar-
tures occur in late August and
early September. The males usu-
ally leave first, followed soon af-
terward by the females and then
by the young birds.
Before embarking, the sedge
warbler eats extra insects and
builds a substantial supply of fat
Left: Despite its name, the sedge
warbler flits about in any dense
cover-not just sedge.
• The song of the male sedge
warbler contains up to 70 dif-
ferent recognizable elements
that are poured out almost at
random in a long stream.
• The sedge warbler arrives in
Africa with worn feathers. But
it soon molts, so it has relative-
ly new feathers for its return
trip in spring.
to sustain it on its journey. It may
double its body weight.
The sedge warbler spends the
winter south of the Sahara Des-
ert. Some birds go only as far as
Kenya, but others fly to South
Africa. Many stop to feed near
the Mediterranean before cross-
ing it and flying over North Af-
rica's barren expanses, but some
make the trip nonstop.
Right: The sedge warbler takes a
short, direct flight from one
patch of cover to another.
• The male sedge warbler is a
superb mimic of other birds'
calls. His song may make use
of such sounds as the linnet's
flight call, the blackbird's alarm
call, and the blue tit's song.
• The sedge warbler may trav-
el nonstop for almost 2,500
miles, taking just nine days to
complete the trip.
The sedge warbler u sually lives
in dense, tangled vegetation
close to water. It giv es harsh,
scolding calls, which often run
together into a stutter.
The male is conspicuous in
spring, when he si n gs to pro-
claim his territory. T he harsh

In Mayor June, the male sedge
warbler sings to attra ct a mate
and warn his rivals to keep away
from his territory. The male may
carry a leaf, twig, or other small
offering for the female in his bill.
Courtship chases rei n force the
bond between the two.
Left: The sedge warbler generally
constructs its nest withi n three feet
of the ground.
and sweet notes mingle with
long trills and the mimicking
of other birdcalls.
The male sings from a prom-
inent perch or while he flies up
vertically and then parachutes
down on fluttering wings with
his tail feathers spread.
The nest is built mainly by the
female. Concealed low in dense
vegetation, this bulky, deep cup
of dry grass and moss is lined
with leaves, flower heads, hair,
and occasionally feathers. It is
supported by plant stems or
neatly woven into them.
The young birds hatch in two
weeks and fledge quickly- oc-
casionally in only 10 days. After
leaving the relative security of
the nest, the young hunch up
their bodies and freeze when
danger threatens, making use
of the camouflage provided by
their streaked plumage.
Left: The cuckoo may lay an egg
in the sedge warbler's nest to be
hatched by the "foster parents. "
CARD 289
"11IIIIIIII Streptopelia senegalensis
The palm dove is a colorful member of the pigeon family.
It is often called the laughing dove because its call is a series
of soft, cooing sounds that rise and fall like laughter.
Length: 10-11 in.
Wingspan: 16-18 in.
Weight: 3-4 oz.
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Breeding season: Varies.
Eggs: Usually 2. Smooth, glossy,
and white.
No. of clutches: Up to 6 per year.
Incubation: 12-14 days.
Fledging period: 13 days.
Habit: Sedentary. Often lives in
small flocks. Pairs for life.
Diet: Seeds, fruit, and insects.
Call: Distinctive five-syllable rising
and falling coo.
Lifespan: Up to 6 years.
There are 16 species in the genus
Streptopelia, which includes the tur-
tle dove, S. turtur, and the collared
dove, S. decaocto.
Range of the palm dove.
Widespread in warm climates. Found in Africa, the Middle East,
and parts of Asia, including Pakistan and India. Successfully in-
troduced into Western Australia.
The palm dove is generally common throughout its range. The
population is increasing in several areas, especially North Africa.
Plumage: Upperparts vary from
reddish brown to a tawny color.
Underparts are creamy white. Dark
gray primary wing feathers and blue-
gray secondaries are especially
obvious in flight. Dark feathers on
long tail are edged with white.
Male has brighter cole Ing
than female an is
sl ightly tar ·er.
Eggs: Usually 2; glossy white. Laid
in a fragile nest of roots and twigs.
May be up to 6 clutches per year.
Head and throat: Lilac plumage.
Relatively long black bill and dark
brown eyes with pink rings. Throat
has distinctive necklace of black or
dark brown spots.
0160200921 PACKET 92
Like the pigeon that is so common in the cities of
North America and Europe, the palm dove is a familiar
sight throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This dove is a very
adaptable bird-just as at home in the parks and gardens
of urban areas as it is in the trees of the vast savanna.

The palm dove can be found in
much of Africa and Asia. It lives
in a variety of habitats, such as
arid scrubland, lightly wooded
savanna, farmland, and even
cities. Able to tolerate high tem-
peratures, it often inhabits palm
groves in tropical Africa. How-
ever, it does not dwell in tree-
less desert areas.
In many areas the palm dove
is quite tame, and it even feeds
on city streets. During the day
and on some moonlit nights, it
announces its presence by call-
ing from a perch in the trees, on
a roof, or on a telephone pole.
A sociable bird, the palm dove
is frequently seen in small flocks.
It spends much of its time on a
perch or foraging at ground lev-
el. It is a weak flier, so it makes
only short, fluttering flights that
stay close to the ground.
The palm dove has many ene-
mies, including herons and the
African marsh harrier, which at
times swoops down on a dove
while it is drinking. A nesting
bird also has to watch for crows,
snakes, and squirrels, which eat
the dove's eggs.

Palm doves live with their mates
all year. The pair bond lasts for
several years, sometimes for life.
In the breeding season, which
varies across the bird's range,
the male performs a courtship
display, consisting of a series of
rapid ascents with wings clap-
ping, followed by a downward
glide. He also puffs out his neck
feathers and bows and coos as
he preens his feathers.
Working in the morning and
late afternoon to avoid the mid-
day heat, the female builds the
nest from roots and twigs sup-
plied by the male. It is a fragile
platform set in a tree or thorn
Left: The palm dove avoids true des-
ert areas since it needs a constant
supply of water.
- The palm dove is also called
the village dove because it has
adapted to life in towns, feed-
ing on handouts.
-When drinking, doves use
special muscles in their throats
bush. Although the dove rarely
nests communally, other nests
are usually not far away.
The female generally lays two
eggs, which both parents incu-
bate for about two weeks. At
first the blind, naked young are
totally dependent on their par-
ents for food, warmth, and pro-
tection from predators. In two
weeks they are ready to leave
the nest, but they are not com-
pletely independent for another
week or two.
For her second clutch, the fe-
male builds a new nest or reuses
the same one. She may have up
to six broods in one year.
Right: The female builds the nest
over a period of several days, some-
times even a week.
to swallow. Most other birds
must tilt back their heads to
let the water flow down.
- A palm dove may have as
many as 1,000 seeds stored
in its crop at anyone time.
The palm dove feeds mainly on
seeds and grains such as sun-
flower, corn, and wheat. The
birds that live in India a re espe-
cially fond of bajra seeds. The
palm dove forages on b are and
sparsely covered groun d, grav-
el, sandy roads, or cul t: ivated
land. It also takes seed s from
sedges and herb bush e s.
Occasionally the pal m dove,
especially a breeding f emale,
supplements its diet with inver-
Left: The palm dove drin I<s by im-
mersing its bill and suckin g water
into its mouth.
Left: Within the
wide range of
the palm dove,
there are eight
different sub-
species. These
races all vary
in size as well
as coloring.
tebrates such as termites and
small snails, as well as the eggs
and pupae of ants and house-
flies . The bird may also eat fruit,
small roots, and bulbs.
Newly hatched young are fed
"crop milk," a high-protein liq-
uid that is produced in the par-
ent's crop (a part of its gullet).
After a few days the offspring
are fed seeds and insects regur-
gitated by their parents.
The palm dove always stays
within a few miles of a water
source. It drinks fairly frequent-
ly, making several visits a day.
... ORDER .. FAMILY ..
~ Charadriiformes ~ Stercorariidae ~
Stercorarius longicaudus
The long-tailed jaeger leads an unusual double life. In summer
it is a land bird that nests in the cold tundra of the Arctic
Circle. But in winter it spends all of its time at sea.
Length: Head and body, about 115 ft.
Tail, 15 ft .
Wingspan: 315-4 ft.
Weight: 6-10 lb.
Breeding season: May to August.
No. of broods: 1.
Eggs: 2; pale buff, brown, or green
with darker blotches.
Incubation: About 3 weeks.
Fledging period: About 3 weeks.
Habit: Mainly solitary.
Diet: Mainly small rodents in summer.
Fish, carrion, and waste in winter.
lifespan: Oldest known, 6 years.
The 3 species in the genus Stercora-
rius are known as the small jaegers.
Their closest relatives include the
pomarine jaeger, S. pomarinus, and
the parasitic jaeger, S. parasiticus.
• Range of the long-tailed jaeger.
In summer the long-tailed jaeger breeds in the tundra regions
of the far north. In the winter it is found in the Pacific and At-
lantic oceans, often far from land.
The long-tailed jaeger is not known to be threatened. But, like
all seabirds, it probably suffers to some extent from the effects
of marine pollution.
Plumage: White
underparts and breast,
black wings and cap.
Long tail streamers
on the adults only.
Flight: Glides and
hovers like a hawk.
More agile than
other jaegers.
Eggs: 2; pale buff, brown, or
gfeen with darker blotches. Laid
in a shallow ground scrape.
The long-tailed jaeger is a long-distance migrant. It passes
for off the coasts of North America every year on its journey
from its oceanic winter haunts to its breeding grounds.
Most of the time the long-tailed jaeger flies so for from
shore that it cannot be seen from land. But occasionally
a few of these birds can be seen in our coastal waters.
During summer the long-tailed
jaeger lives in the Arctic tundra.
Its wintering grounds cannot be
pinpointed exactly. But the pri-
mary sites must be in the South-
ern Hemisphere, since the bird
has only rarely been seen north
of the equator between Decem-
The long-tailed jaeger is the rar-
est of the three jaegers found
in temperate North America.
This is because it nests in t he
remote Arctic and migrates far
out at sea. Occasionally a few
birds fly south over the interior
ber and March. It inhabits the
central Pacific at this time and
is found off the coasts of South
America and western Africa.
A solitary bird, the long-tailed
jaeger migrates alone or in small
groups. However, flocks of up to
50 are not unusual.
and may be seen on the Great
Lakes or on smaller lakes.
At a distance the bird's long
streamers may not be obvious.
But its narrow wings and agile
flight distinguish thi s species
from other jaegers.
The long-tailed jaeger engages
in a spectacular courtship dis-
pl ay. The birds chase each oth-
er in zigzagging flights, soaring
high and then swooping down.
Pairs remain together for many
years-possibly for life.
At the breeding grounds, the
pair establishes a territory. The
nest is a hollow in the ground,
unlined or with a little vegeta-
tion on which the eggs are laid.
The parents incubate the eggs
Left: The long-tailed jaeger tends
to avoid the mainland on its long
journey south.
• The long-tailed jaeger seems
to enjoy chasing other birds in
the air, even when it is not try-
ing to steal their food. Long-
tailed and pomarine jaegers
have been seen chasi ng one
another and nipping at each
other's tails.
by placing them on top of their
webbed feet.
Both parents rear the young.
But the female broods the chicks
(covers them with her wings)
while the male hunts for food
and defends the territory. The
male brings food to the female
on the nest and rel ies on her to
feed the young. The chicks ven-
t ure from the nest two days af-
t er they hatch but depend on
t heir parents for food.
Ri ght: The young leave the nest
two days after hatching and fly
about three weeks later.
• The long-tailed jaeger will
defend its territory fiercely. It
mobs humans that come too
close and may strike one on
t he head with its feet. If this
fails, the bird may even perch
on the intruder's head and
peck at it.
When it is at its summer breed-
ing grounds in the Arct ic tun-
dra, the long-tailed jaeger eats
mainly small rodents su ch as
lemmings and voles. It hovers
above its prey before swooping
down to make a kill.
The supply of small r odents
varies greatly from yea r to year.
When these animals ar e abun-
dant, long-tailed jaegers raise
large numbers of youn g. But
in years when the supply of ro-
dents is poor, the birds must
depend on other food sources
and tend to be less successful.
Left: The long-tailed jaeger some-
times visits Scotland's Western Isles
on its journey south.
Left: The long-
tailed jaeger
lays two pale
bu", brown, or
greenish eggs
in a shallow
scrape on the
ground. Both
parents incu-
bate the eggs
for about three
In a very bad year, a pair may
not even try to raise offspring.
The jaeger's summer diet al-
so includes shrews, small birds
and their eggs, beetles, worms,
and fruits such as crowberries.
An expert flier, it can catch but-
terflies in the air.
In winter the long-tailed jae-
ger lives entirely at sea. It feeds
on fish, carrion (dead animal
flesh), and waste from fishing
boats. It also steals food from
other birds, forcing them to re-
gurgitate anything they have
recently swallowed. It will chase
a tern or gull, harassing it until
it gives up its catch or regurgi-
tates its last meal.

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