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Posts Tagged "ornithology"

Dog Spies

A New Flock of Researchers: Citizen Scientists in Animal Behavior

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Wow! You study animal behavior. So cool! People must have a field day with you at parties. When they first meet you, they probably think you just look at animals all day and travel to exotic locations. La di da, oh look there’s a tiger. But we know the truth. Studying animal behavior is a [...]

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Running Ponies

Rinjani scops owl: New owl species discovered in Indonesia

Rinjani scops owl

A new species of owl called the Rinjani scops owl has been discovered, and it’s unique to the tiny Indonesian island of Lombok. Until fairly recently, it was common practice for scientists to identify owl species based largely on their plumage and morphology. Both features are important in distinguishing all kinds of birds, but can [...]

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Running Ponies

Flamingo hows, wheres and whys: Pink; erectile tissue; one leg

Flamingos are a pretty underrated bird. But the more you dig, the more you discover how strange they are, from their limbs to their pigment to the erectile tissue in their mouths. One of the most recognisable traits of this leggy bird is how it seems to prefer to stand on one leg– even when [...]

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Symbiartic

Unfeathered for All the World to See

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One of the most astonishing illustrated books to come out this year is the work of Katrina van Grouw, an ornithologist and fine artist who counts taxidermy among her eclectic skills. The book, titled The Unfeathered Bird, is described as no less than her lifetime’s ambition and leafing through its pages, it’s easy to see [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt on Exhibit in July/Aug 2013

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Looking for a way to escape the summer heat? Pop into any of these galleries nationwide or abroad and get your fix of cool temps and hot sciart. EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION WINGED TAPESTRIES: Moths at Large through September 29, 2013 American Museum of Natural History Central Park West and 79th St. New York, NY Witness [...]

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Symbiartic

Shoot To Kill or Aim To Embarrass?

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As I’ve pointed out before on Symbiartic, before the modern naturalist movement, nature lovers would shoot and kill the objects of their fancy to get a better look. Audubon himself would take dead specimens and pin them into life-like poses before drawing them and turning them into the prints that are so treasured today. But [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 1: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

The intersection of science and art is bustling with activity. With this weekly-ish post, we’ll try to keep you abreast of the most happenin’ happenings around the country. Don’t miss out! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS Beacon, NY’s Annual Open Studio Event (Beacon, NY) September 24-25, 2011; 12-6pm | Take a tour of scientific illustrator Chris Sanders‘ and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Margaret Kinnaird and Timothy O’Brien’s The Ecology & Conservation of Asian Hornbills: Farmers of the Forest

Kinnaird & O'Brien (2007), front cover.

Hornbills are among the most charismatic, fascinating and awesome of birds, yet surprisingly little is known about them, dedicated studies are few, and they are incredibly elusive and hard to study. Approximately 60 hornbill species occur across tropical Africa and Asia, and also in the Middle East and Australasia. These are birds of superlatives. The [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Age of Maximum Cassowary

Over the past several years, remote cameras have obtained images of a remarkable new species of giant flightless bird.

Yet again, the world is cockahoop and head-over-heads in awe over another thrilling, dumbfounding, truly novel zoological discovery. No, I’m not talking about the discovery of suspension-feeding anomalocarids, ancient echolocating odontocete cetaceans, or even of new tapirs (did I mention the new tapir?), but of a stupendous new living bird, discovered clinging to existence in [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Controversies from the world of ratite and tinamou evolution (part I)

Palaeognath montage, featuring members of all recent lineages: ostriches, rheas, kiwi, emus, tinamous, moa, elephant birds, and cassowaries. Image by Darren Naish.

As blasphemous and offensive as it seems to say it, birds are pretty samey. Generally speaking, they’re small flying things with long forelimbs, proportionally large heads with big, globular braincases, and grasping feet where an enlarged first toe (the hallux) opposes the remaining three. A shape like this was – so both the fossil record [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Bird behaviour, the ‘deep time’ perspective

Composite cladogram of Avialae - topology and names based mostly on Yuri et al. (2013), and with many lineages excluded for reasons of space – showing where the fossil record gives us key insights into behaviour. From Naish (2014): this diagram is a much-updated version of the tree published in Naish (2012).

The behaviour of long-extinct animals remains an area of major public and scientific interest – the great perennial problem being that we’re always massively constrained, if not crippled, by a frustrating lack of data. Think of all the things we want to know, versus the things that we actually do know. In a paper recently [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Happy 8th birthday Tetrapod Zoology: 2013 in review

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It’s January 21st, meaning that, once again, a year has passed and that much-loved internet phenomenon known at Tetrapod Zoology is fully one year older. Eight years of Tet Zoo… it seems incredible that I’ve been doing this for nearly a decade now. In fact, that’s scary. As is tradition, my aim here is simply [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Cheer pheasant

Captive Cheer pheasant. Photo by Darren Naish, CC BY.

The gamebird clade – properly called Galliformes – includes an enormous number of obscure and weird species that you rarely hear much about, nor see in zoological collections (unless you’re an obsessive who’s made a point of tracking them down). Among the weird is the fascinating and odd Cheer pheasant, Chir pheasant or Wallich’s pheasant [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

It’s hot and sunny, so birds lie down and sunbathe

Greater necklacked laughingthrush sunbathing, another photo taken at Birdworld. Photo by Darren Naish.

It’s hot and sunny here in the UK right now, and elsewhere in the world too, I’m sure. In celebration of the current conditions, I figure now is a good time to recycle a Tet Zoo ver 3 article that’s already two years old: my brief review of sunbathing postures in dinosaurs. By which I [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

My famous duck-based rant

Assorted waterfowl I have known. Clockwise from top left: Swan goose (Anser cygnoides), weirdly pale female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Madagascan or Bernier’s teal (A. bernieri), Black swan (Cygnus atratus), male Upland or Magellan goose (Chloephaga picta), and Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata). Photo by Darren Naish.

Back in February 2001, noted ornithischiphile Pete Buchholz accused ducks of being boring. How dare he. I could only respond… “Errm… the evolution of carpal spurs and knobs, extreme pugnacity and territoriality, nest parasitism, creching behaviour, parental carrying of young both in the water and (!) in the air, monogamous pair-bonding, underwater copulation and the (?)reinvention [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Historical ornithology 101, a Tet Zoo Guide

Images by Emily Willoughby (top left), Matthew Martyniuk (bottom left), and John Conway (at right).

Several of the diagrams here are from my review of bird diversity and evolution (Naish 2012). For Tet Zoo articles on various of the subjects illustrated here, see… Gary Kaiser’s The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution Luis Chiappe’s Glorified Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds Thor Hanson’s Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Tet Zoo Bookshelf: van Grouw’s Unfeathered Bird, Bodio’s Eternity of Eagles, Witton’s Pterosaurs, Van Duzer’s Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps!

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I feel guilty about the fact that I haven’t been able to keep up with book reviews lately. It typically takes me – literally – months to years to read a book and then write a substantive review, and pressures of work, domestic life, research and other commitments make it very hard to find the [...]

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