he Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), also known as the Lammergeier or Lammergeyer, is a bird of prey, and the only member of the genusGypaetus. Traditionally considered an Old World vulture, it actually forms a minor lineage of Accipitridae together with the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), its closest living relative. It is not much more closely related to the Old World vultures proper than to, for example, hawks, and differs from the former by its feathered neck. Although dissimilar, the Egyptian and Bearded Vulture each have a lozenge-shaped tail – unusual among birds of prey.
It eats mainly carrion and lives and breeds on crags in high mountains in southern Europe, the Caucasus,Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, andTibet, laying one or two eggs in mid-winter that hatch at the beginning of spring. Populations are resident. This bird is 94–125 cm (37–49 in) long with a wingspan of 2.31–2.83 m (7.6–9.3 ft). It weighs 4.5–7.8 kg (9.9–17.2 lb), with the nominate race averaging 6.21 kg (13.7 lb) and G. b. meridionalis of Africa averaging 5.7 kg (13 lb).In Eurasia, vultures found around the Himalayas tend to be slightly larger than those from other mountain ranges.Females are slightly larger than males.
Lost his luggage
The Tawny Frogmouth conserves its energy entering daily torpor
Living organisms are either ectothermic or endothermic. Ectotherms have low metabolic rates, lack insulation and therefore their body temperature is a function of ambient temperature. Because they do not ‘waste’ energy on internal heat production for thermoregulation, their energy and nutrient requirements are low, but they and their bodily functions are directly affected by the temperature of their environment.
Endotherms, on the other hand, have metabolic rates that are many-fold higher than those of ectotherms and therefore their energy requirements are high. Endotherms usually insulate their bodies to minimize heat loss.
Endotherms include most mammals and birds. Some species, however, are heterothermic, it is they can switch between ectothermic (or poikilothermic) and endothermic (or homeothermic) strategies to deal with energetic and other challenges, and, during certain times of the day or year, enter a state of torpor.
Mammalian and avian torpor (including hibernation and daily torpor) is characterized by temporal, substantial but controlled reductions in body temperature, metabolic rates, water loss, heart rate and other physiological functions and is the most effective means for energy conservation available to endotherms.
The Tawny Frogmouth, Podargus strigoides (Caprimulgidae - Podargidae) is an endemic, nocturnal bird species widespread throughout Australia. They are heterotherm and the largest bird know to use torpor. Like Nightjars, Tawny Frogmouths enter daily torpor at night and/or in the early morning. This birds remain torpid for only part of the day, but usually continue to forage during their active phase.
Unlike hibernators, daily heterotherms, such as the Nightjars and the Tawny Frogmouth, always express daily torpor independent of ambient temperature, season and trophic state. Daily torpor lasts only for hours rather than days or weeks, is usually not as deep as hibernation, and is often interrupted by activity and feeding.
Photo credit: ©Peter Nijenhuis | Locality: The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, Port Douglas, Craiglie, Queensland, Australia
I’m settling down for bed last night, and my Mum calls down the stairs to come quickly— and quietly— and FAST! in a tone of voice that says, “You won’t believe this!”
I huff, assume one of the cats is doing something cute, and go upstairs.
Turns out she went into her bathroom to find this fluffball asleep on her make-up, head tucked under wing. Completely unfazed as we turned the light on, and got cameras, and realised we didn’t have to whisper.
We left it alone for a bit, but couldn’t resist another peek before bed, when it finally perked up to give us a wary look before ungainly flopping back out the window.
I’ve seen kestrels here from a distance before, and Mum checked on the RSPB website and reckons it’s a juvenile— who picked a fairly novel place to get some shut-eye. I hope it was okay after it flew off into the dark, and we didn’t disturb it too much. The plan was to leave it till morning, and if it was still there, call someone with experience to help it.
It’s a one-up from cutting indignant starlings from blueberry nets or getting sparrows out the log-burning stove after they’ve flown down the chimney, and served to remind me just how much I love living in the countryside. (Although these guys have adapted well to urban sprawl according to the RSPB website.)