Birding

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Many of us living in the United States — especially in the central states of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas — are very familiar with a long-tailed bird called a scissor-tailed flycatcher. They are often observed on fences, light posts and other exposed places where they scan the air for flying insects, upon which they feed. In the Southern Hemisphere, there is a counterpart of the scissor-tailed flycatcher called a fork-tailed flycatcher. Amazingly, this species has even longer tail feathers — so long that it is a wonder that these birds can even fly!

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On your next Costa Rica ecotour with International Expeditions keep an eye out for the shining honeycreeper. This diminutive tanager is found throughout Central America and in parts of Colombia, and is easily recognizable due to its prominent royal blue coloration.

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Paradise tanagers are as colorful as parrots and just as plentiful in the Amazon rainforests and throughout northern regions of South America. These small birds are prized by birders, and you can see one of the subspecies on your next Amazon cruise. These creatures travel in mixed-species groups of about five to 20, but rarely remain in one spot for very long.

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The plants and animals found on Galapagos that helped Darwin form his Theory of Evolution are exactly what makes a Galapagos cruise unforgettable. There are many endemic birds on the archipelago, including the Galapagos flycatcher. This small bird is also called the large-billed flycatcher even though its bill is not that big in size compared to the bird itself.

September 04, 2012

The Cuban Emerald Hummingbird

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This poem about the Cuban Emerald Hummingbird was shared by James Blackburn, a guest on our recent People-to-People Cuba trip.

 

The Cuban Emerald Hummingbird
by James Blackburn

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Not far from colonial Trinidad lies the Sierra de Escambray, one of the most mountainous regions in all of Cuba. Housed within this area is the Topes de Collantes National Park, which offers travelers one of the best spots to take in some of Cuba’s endemic wildlife and landscapes. The park offers a little bit of everything, which is perfect when traveling with International Expeditions’ small-groups of both causal nature enthusiasts and avid birders.

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The animals found in Africa are often unlike any other creatures in the world, and this goes for birds as well as mammals. The grey crowned crane is a shining example of distinct African birds, as its unusual features make it stand out in the African wetlands and the minds of travelers who see and hear the bird in action.

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Low-level fires are a natural but infrequent occurrence in rainforests, but due to industrialization, logging and other deforestation, the severity of forest fires is increasing. This may pose a serious threat to the plants and animals of these regions, and many scientists are concerned for the future of the Amazonian rainforest. The impact of forest fires on local bird populations in Brazil was the focus of a recent study conducted by researchers from the U.K. and Brazil.

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Superb starlings are some of the most colorful birds endemic to northeast Africa, but you will likely hear these birds long before you can spot them in the bushes of the Serengeti. The songbirds are very vocal and have a variety of different calls they use to communicate with one another. They likely need to be so loud to be heard above the group, as the starlings live in large flocks that can number well into the thousands.

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Fischer's lovebirds are a delightful treat for birders planning a Tanzania wildlife safari. These colorful birds are typically seen in pairs, as they mate for life and stay close by the side of their partner. You will not likely see lovebirds mingling with other parrot species. While they have much love for one another, lovebirds tend to get into trouble with other parrots.

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