Japanese Red Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis)



Distribution:
Japanese Crane also known as Manchurian crane, is a large East Asian crane among the rarest cranes in the world. In some parts of its range, it is known as a symbol of luck, longevity, and fidelity.

General Info:
Adult red-crowned cranes are named for a patch of red bare skin on the crown, which becomes brighter during mating season. Overall, they are snow white in color with black on the wing secondaries, which can appear almost like a black tail when the birds are standing, but the real tail feathers are actually white. Males are black on the cheeks, throat, and neck, while females are pearly gray in these spots. The bill is olive green to greenish horn, the legs are slate to grayish black, and the iris is dark brown.

Habitat:
In the spring and summer, the migratory populations of the red-crowned crane breed in Siberia (eastern Russia), northeastern China and occasionally in northeastern Mongolia (i.e., Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area). The breeding range centers in Lake Khanka, on the border of China and Russia. Normally, the crane lays two eggs, with only one surviving. Later, in the fall, they migrate in flocks to Korea and east-central China to spend the winter.Vagrants have also been recorded in Taiwan.
Emu (Dromaius Novaehollandiae)

Distribution:
Widespread on the mainland of Australia and a growing population due to artificial watering points for cattle and sheep. The emu has been resident in Australia at least 80 million years.

General Info:
Fast runner, can reach speeds of up to 40 mph for short bursts. Running bird can make a stride of nine feet. Expert swimmer. Bill is broad and soft, adapted for browsing and grazing. When food is abundant, large stores of fat are developed. They move great distances for food except when males are sitting on eggs.

Habitat:
Found on the grassy plains and dry open forests of Australia.
Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis)
General Info:
The spotted owl is a medium-sized species of owl, one of the smallest of the eagle owls. Its length is 45 centimetres (18 in) and its weight is from 480 to 850 grams (1.1 to 1.9 lb). It has a 100 to 140 centimetres (39 to 55 in) wingspan.

Prey and habits:
Its prey consists of small mammals, birds, insects, frogs, and reptiles. It often swallows quite large prey whole, with much head-jerking, and if the object is really challenging, pausing and resting with the mouth full. Prey too large for such treatment it will tear in the normal raptorial fashion, and it also tears shreds off prey to feed nestlings.
The male will hunt and bring food when the female cannot leave the nest. Sometimes, even in conditions verging on starvation, he will tear the head off a mouse, but bring the body for the female to feed to the young, or to eat herself if the eggs have not yet hatched.


Conservation:
It is illegal to capture or keep these owls in most southern African countries.
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Distribution:
Australia, New Zeland and Tasmania.

General Info:
The Black Swan has almost entirely black plumage (wing-tips are white). Black swans have an orange-red bill with a white band, and grey legs. They are monogamous and will mate for and will share incubation duties and cygnet rearing.

Habitat:
Its favoured territory is open dry country. Australia and Tasmania, introduced in New Zealand inhabiting wetlands, rivers and coastal areas.
Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)



Distribution:
This species has a very large range and can commonly be found in East Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Tanzania.

General Info:

Adults have black heads and iridescent blue-to-green back, upper breast, wings, and tail. The belly is red-orange, separated from the blue breast by a white bar. The undertail coverts and the wing linings are white.[2] Juveniles have duller plumage with no more than a suggestion of the white breast band. Their eyes are brown at first, later grayish white.

The superb starling has a long and loud song consisting of trills and chatters. At midday it gives a softer song of repeated phrases. There are several harsh calls, the most complex of which is described as "a shrill, screeching skerrrreeee-cherrrroo-tcherreeeeeet."


Habitat:
These starlings live in savanna, in thornbush and acacia arid areas, open woodland, lakeshore woodlands, gardens and cultivated fields, at an elevation of 0–2,650 metres (0–8,694 ft) above sea level.
Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo)



Distribution:
The Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) are found in Europe, North Africa, Asia and the Middle East, although they are generally absent from Ireland and Britain, small numbers have begun breeding in the Britain. They inhabit natural rocky areas with cliffs and ravines but can be found in semi-deserts, coniferous forests and grasslands with suitable rocky areas.

General Info:
60-75 cm in length, with a wingspan of 166-180 cm. 1.5-2.8 kg in weight for males; 1.75-4.2 kg for females.
Their diet consists mainly of mammals, up to the size of adult hares or young deer. They will also take large birds such as buzzards or herons.
Breeding usually begins in late winter. They nest in old caves, sheltered cliff faces and in the old nests of other large bird species. 1-5 eggs are laid by the female and she incubates these for 34-36 days. During this period it is up to the male to hunt and bring food back to the nest for her. Chicks fledge at about 7 weeks. They remain dependant on their parents for up to 4 months.
White Cheeked Touraco (Tauraco leucotis)



Distribution:
All touracos are native to Africa, being found in Ethiopa and Eritea.

General Info:
In the wild touracos eat a variety of fruits and plant material including the berries of the juniper tree. They nest in trees, building rough twiggy nests which can be seven to ten meters above the ground. They usually lay two eggs which are incubated for 22 – 23 days.

Habitat:
Mountain forests and connected well wooded streams.
Blue and Gold Macaw (Ara Ararauna) “Pepe”



Distribution:
Panama and South America to northern Argentina.

General Info:
Associate in pairs even within large flocks. Fly close together, wings almost touching. Generally seen flying above the forest canopy or feeding among branches of tall trees. Have regular roosting sites. In early morning, flocks leave to fly to feeding grounds (may be some distance away). Return flights commence just before sunset. Numbers in evening flights run into the hundreds.

Habitat:
Inhabits forests and tall palms growing in swamps or along watercourses.
Snowy Owl (Nyctea Scandiaca) “Diamond & Pearl”



Distribution:
Snowy Owls can be found in the Arctic, being a bird of the frozen tundra. At times they venture as far south as the Shetland Islands, but this is usually only when there is a severe scarcity of prey in their normal abode, and then only in the depth of winter.

General Info:
Most of the apparent bulk of this bird is, in fact, feather insulation. It is nothing like as large and powerful as the European Eagle Owl, although it appears outwardly to be about the same size.
Experiments have shown that it can easily survive ambient temperatures below the lowest recorded in the northern hemisphere, -62 C (-80 F).

Habitat:
Tundra of the Arctic.
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo Novaeguineae) “Ozzie and Queenie”



Distribution:
They are found through out eastern Australia from the northern tip of Queensland right down to Tasmania. They have also been introduced to the southern part of Western Australia.

General Info:
The kookaburra is the largest kingfisher. The laughing kookaburra has a short thick body with a very large head with a dark eye streak. Their colourings are mainly brown with black markings on top with a creamy whit underbelly and head, and "mottled" blue patch on their wings. They are famous for their laughing calls which usually occur at dawn and dusk and is in fact the kookaburra "marking out" its territory.

Habitat:
They frequent open forests and Eucalypt bush land.