The San Diego Zoo has been pruning and cutting vegetation in many of the exhibits, sometimes even removing overgrown vegetation or vegetation that was too large for the exhibit.
I felt kind of sorry for the Bateleur Eagles because they had nary a tree left in their exhibit.
I was able to get some pictures of birds that I never had pictures of before, and, of course, knowing how demanding my readers are, I’ll share some of them with you this morning.
First, if you don’t understand my title, see The Birds.
And now, The Birds (of the San Diego Zoo)!
The Bateleur Eagle is from Africa and Arabia and is the only bird in the genus Terathopius. It is believed to be the origin of the Zimbabwe Bird, the national emblem of Zimbabwe. Its daily hunting range can be as large as 250 square miles. The Bateleur Eagle is in the Near-Threatened IUCN Red List category due to loss of habitat, pesticides, capture for international trade, and nest disturbance.
The Steller’s Sea Eagle is from northeast Asia and is the largest eagle in the world, getting up to twenty pounds in weight. It feeds mainly on fish, loving salmon and trout (who doesn’t?). It is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to loss of habitat, industrial pollution, and over-fishing by humans (so next time you go to a restaurant, order catfish!). They are classified as a National Treasure in Japan. The current wild population is estimated at 5,000, and decreasing.
The California Condor is the largest North American land bird, and the only member of its genus Gymnogyps. Its huge wingspan of up to 9.8 feet is the largest of any North American bird. It also gets up to 26 pounds, making it one of the largest native North American bird species. The condor is a scavenger, and has a lifespan of up to 60 years. It is a critically endangered species and one of the rarest birds in the world, with 226 living in the wild and 179 in captivity, as of May 2012. The San Diego Zoo and the Los Angeles Zoo have been instrumental in hatching and raising birds in captivity and, as of 1994, have been re-introducing them into the wild in California, Arizona, and Utah.
The Andean Condor is also a Near Threatened species occurring naturally in South America. It is also a scavenger, preferring large animals such as deer and cattle. It is one of the world’s longest-living birds, having a lifespan of up to 100 years in captivity. It is the national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
The Southern Ground Hornbill is the largest species of hornbill, native to many countries in southern Africa. Its conservation status is listed as Vulnerable to Critically Endangered, depending on the country. This bird is a triennial breeder, very rare in birds, meaning that they breed every third year. The reason for this is that the young have a dependence on the adult birds for a period of up to two years, depending on the weather. Combine that dependence with a 45-day incubation period and an 85-day fledgling period, and there’s your three years.
The Laughing Kookaburra is from Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. I had the privilege of hearing this one laugh, and I really did think it was laughing at me! It is a common and familiar bird so accustomed to humans that birds will often eat out of human hands. It is not uncommon for kookaburras to snatch food out of people’s hands without warning, by swooping in from a distance.
I include this mallard for a couple of reasons. I realized that I didn’t know the scientific name, and it was the only mallard I saw that had not paired off with a female. Instead, it was watching the elephants play in the water.
This peacock took a liking to me. He followed me from just outside Flamingo Lagoon through all the construction at the new Australian Outback around to see the kangaroos, giraffes, and rhinoceroses, through Elephant Odyssey, and on to Polar Bear Plunge where he found some young children willing to give him some of their popcorn. Here’s a short video of this little guy tagging along with me:
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