Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii)

The Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii) is an estrildid finch found in dry savannah, tropical (lowland) dry grassland and shrubland habitats in northern and eastern Australia. They are sometimes referred to as Bicheno’s finch; and also as owl finch, owing to the dark ring of feathers around their faces.

The name of the species commemorates James Ebenezer Bicheno, a colonial secretary of Van Diemen’s Land appointed in September 1842.

I couldn’t get a clear shot of one so these are from Wikipedia

DBFinch DBFinch2 They have a good sized range in Australia but to date the only place I have seen them is Mosquito Creek Road near Lake Coolmunda.

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Up close and personal with Double Barred Finches, very cute little bird!

 

My Top Twenty-Five Bird Sightings Of 2013

Following on from last year’s post in which I highlighted only parrot sightings, this year I have expanded to all bird species.  There were just so many birds who made a major impression on me!  I have also increased the number to 25 since we did 3 birding trips this year.  I didn’t always get good shots so I will put my own photo when I got one.  Some of them were pretty quick!  They are being presented in chronological order.

1.  Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) – seen at Nimbokrang & Waigeo, Indonesia; March 2013

Palm Cockatoo2.  Lesser Bird-of-paradise, (Paradisaea minor) – seen at Nimbokrang, Indonesia; March 2013

I couldn’t get a photo as he stayed in the trees so here’s one taken in Jurong Bird park, Singapore.

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3.  Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) – seen at Nimbokrang, Indonesia; March 2013

Victoria Crowned Pigeons, Nimbokrang

Victoria Crowned Pigeons, Nimbokrang

4.  Western or Arfak Parotia (Parotia sefilata) – seen at Siyoubring, Indonesia, March 2013  I’ll never forget this feathered Lord of the Dance trying so hard to woo 3 aloof females!

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves.  There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves. There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

5.  Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis inornata) – seen at Siyoubring, Indonesia, March 2013

OK lady Bowerbirds, come and check out my awesome bower!

OK lady Bowerbirds, come and check out my awesome bower!

6.  Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) – seen near Nimbokrang and on Waigeo Island, Indonesia, March 2013

IMG_78677.  Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, (Cicinnurus respublica) – seen on Waigeo Island, Indonesia in March 2013.   This little guy played hard-to-get with the camera.
Wilson's Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

8.  Red Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rubra) – seen on Waigeo Island, Indonesia , March 2013.

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), Waigeo- dancing in the trees

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), Waigeo- dancing in the trees

9.  Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis) – seen at Crooked Tree, Belize, Tikal, Laguna del Lagarto, Carara, Soberania, August 2013.  This was the first parrot we saw after arriving in Central America so I chose him to represent all the Amazon species seen all over Central America.

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

10.  Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – seen at Crooked Tree, Belize, Tikal, Selva Verde, Laguna del Lagarto, Soberania, August 2013

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11.  Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) – seen at Selva Verde & Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013

IMG_951112. Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013.

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13.  Brown-hooded Parrot (Pyrilia haematotis)  – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013.

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14.  Collared Araçari (Pteroglossus torquatus) – seen at Selva Verde, Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, Soberania.  August 2013.

IMG_982415.  Hummingbirds (all of them) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Monteverde, Savegre, Soberania.  There is no way I can single out one species, they are all spectacular!

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IMG_1486 IMG_1483 IMG_149616.  Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker (Celeus castaneus) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013

IMG_969917.  Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) – seen at Monteverde (Curi Cancha) & Savegre.  I will never forget both sightings of this stunning bird!  The first one because I found him by myself and the 2nd one because there were several of them and they hung around a while so I could watch them.

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IMG_1092a18.  Sulphur-winged Parakeet (Pyrrhura hoffmanni) – seen at Savegre, Costa Rica, August 2013

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I haven’t started the India & Sri Lanka series yet, we only got back a few weeks ago and I have been playing catch-up.  These birds will be covered first thing in the New Year.  The photos are a sneak-peek!

19. Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides) – seen in Coorg, India; Nov. 2013.  This time there were only fleeting glimpses of a flock flying overhead so the photo is one I took in 2011 in Kerala.

Malabar Parakeet A20.  White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) – seen at Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.

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21.  Layard’s Parakeet (Psittacula calthropae) – seen at Kithulgala & Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  They were swift flyers and refused to perch & pose.

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22.  Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus) – seen at Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  At least he posed, albeit with the sun behind him!

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23.  Alexandrine Parakeet – (Psittacula eupatria) – seen at Kithulgala & Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.

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24.  Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) – seen at Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  He only let me get one shot before turning his back.

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25.  Sri Lanka Blue Magpie or Ceylon Magpie (Urocissa ornata) – seen at Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.

I didn’t get a photo of them since they stayed in the trees so here’s one from Wikipedia.

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Western Parotia – The Feathered Lord Of The Dance

The Western or Arfak Parotia, Parotia sefilata, is a medium-sized, approximately 33 cm long, bird of paradise with a medium-length tail.   Although their range is geographically limited, they are widespread in their range and not considered to be endangered.  By far, the easiest place to see them is in the Arfaks where Zeth Wonggar has built hides at their display grounds.  Like other Birds of Paradise, they stay at the same display grounds year round so that makes them predictable.  Good for eco-tourists but not good if they are being stalked by trappers.

Western Parotia Range

The first visit in the afternoon saw the bird unsuccessfully trying to call in some females so he could strut his stuff.

Western Parotia calling for females so he can dance for them

Western Parotia calling for females so he can dance for them

We were up at dawn and back in the hide and this time our feathered friend managed to lure a few females in closer.

Western Parotias gather in the trees at dawn

Western Parotias gather in the trees at dawn

Western Parotia sees females overhead and prepares to dance

Western Parotia sees females overhead and prepares to dance

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves.  There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves. There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

 

You can’t blog about the “Feathered Lord of the Dance” (my nickname for this bird) without showing his moves, so here’s a compilation of clips taken the afternoon before and the morning we saw him dance.  This little guy tried so hard to entice the females, I was so hoping he would “get lucky” but although he got some feminine interest he wasn’t able to “seal the deal”.

 

If you are curious about how Parotias use the iridescent patches on their heads, see my post on Extreme Photography where a Nat Geo crew shows the lengths they went to to get the same angle the female Parotia sees.