Sorry about all the birds recently.
Okay, so I'm not really sorry. I love drawing birds. But do not fear - we'll be up to "Horse" soon, followed by a very strange arthropod.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
These guys were pretty common around Sydney, where I nicknamed them the "scolding bird" because of the indignant call they made.
Friday, August 29, 2014
The Honeycreepers are several species of small bird related to the tanagers. Flocks forage in the canopy of tropical forests from Mexico to Brazil, including around plantations. As his name suggests, he is a nectar drinker, using his long bill to sip from flowers. Fruit and insects are also eaten. Outside of breeding season, the male sheds his vibrant blue plumage in exchange for a more dowdy and camouflaged olive green, better matching the females. The female builds a small, cup-shaped nest in which she lays two eggs. These hatch within 14 days, and the chicks fledge two weeks later.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Bees play a very important role in pollination, as the workers fly from flower to flower, collecting nectar to carry back to their hive. It is of considerate concern that bee numbers are in the decline, possibly due to the widespread use of pesticides. It has been predicted that if the Honeybee were to go extinct, then many of our crops would no longer become viable as a food source.
There is so much that can be said about the humble honeybee. She truly is a remarkable creature.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
The Hercules Beetle is a rhinocerous beetle, characterised by the long horns of the male - these the female lacks entirely. They are used in fights with rival males. His Hercules tag is well deserved - he can lift up to 850 times his body weight. Some males can measure up to 17cm in length. He is found in Central and South America, foraging across the forest floor in search of decaying fruit upon which to dine.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Friday, August 22, 2014
Acclimatisation Society and has now become an invasive species. The spines are hollow hairs, made stiff with keratin. These act as a deterrent to any predator, as the Hedgehog will curl up into a ball. He is nocturnal in nature, spending his days curled up in a den and venturing out at night to forage on a variety of foodstuffs, including earthworms and fruit. He is a vocal creature, grunting and snuffling, even chirping when distressed. Hedgehogs that live in colder climates, or where food may be scarce, will hibernate.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Hawksbill Turtle is a critically endangered reptile. She favours tropical coral reefs. Her main diet consists of sea sponges, although she also eats jellyfish, algae and sea anemones. Every two years, she comes ashore in secluded lagoons to mate. After mating, she hauls herself ashore under cover of darkness, digs a nesting hole with her rear flippers and lays her eggs. This can take many hours, during which she buries them again and returns to the sea. The baby turtles hatch two months later, during the night, and begin the perilous journey to the sea. Any that remain out during daylight are preyed upon by birds and other predators. It takes decades for these youngsters to attain maturity.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The African Harrier-Hawk is a medium sized raptor. She makes her home in woodlands, tree plantations and urban areas. Her diet is omnivorous and includes the fruit of the oil palm, as well as small vertebrates. She is a skilled climber, using her wings as well as her feet and beak. Her knees are double jointed, which allow her to reach into these otherwise inaccesible holes and crevices. In this manner, she raids the nests of cavity-breeding birds. Her own nest is a large structure of sticks, built in a tree or on a cliff ledge. She broods up to three eggs but, like most raptors, siblicide is common and often only one chick will survive to fledging.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
The Hartebeast is a species of antelope who makes her home in the African grasslands. She is social in nature and can live in herds numbering into the hundreds. Within the herds, separate groups form with males being separate from females, and with a frequently contested social hierarchy. Whilst the herd grazes, several individuals keep an eye out for danger. Hartebeast will only migrate in times of great need - such as after a natural calamity or during a drought. She consumes less water than her relatives, and has a lower metabolic rate. Reproduction is year-round, although most prevalent when food is available in sufficient quantity.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Hammerhead is characterised by his oddly shaped head, which somewhat resembles a hammer. The purpose for this may be related to improved sensory functions, as it allows the shark 360 degrees of vision. It may also help him keep stable while making sharp turns, although his vertebrae is also specially developed to aid in this. During the day he gathers in schools, but in the evening he becomes a solitary hunter. His mouth is very small, and he feeds mostly along the ocean bed, dining on squid, stingrays and other fish. He will use his head to pin the prey, before killing and eating it.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The Halibut is the largest flatfish species, with some individuals weighing over 200 kg. He begins life pale coloured, with eyes on both sides of his body and swims like a salmon. As he matures, his left eye eye begins to migrate over to the right side of his body, which also begins to grow darker in colouration. This allows him camouflage from above where he blends in with the ocean floor, and from below when he becomes less visible against the light. This trait is found in many fish species. He commonly rests on the ocean bed and forages for other fish, crustaceans and anything he can fit in his mouth.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
The Guineafowl are a Family of gamebirds native to Africa. The most well known is the Helmeted Guineafowl, who has been domesticated and as such introduced to other countries, including Australia, Brazil and France. Gregarious in nature, they gather in flocks outside the breeding season, roosting together. She lives terrestrially, devouring insects, seeds, fruit and even small mammals. Flocks can consume large numbers of ticks, which help to slow the spread of Lyme disease. During breeding season, monogamous pairs are formed and she will lay up to 12, thick-shelled eggs. The chicks are active within moments of hatching, and will be able to fly within two weeks.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
The Guillemot are members of the Auk family. This Black Guillemot is found on rocky cliffs and headlands around Iceland and the United Kingdom, as well as northern America. He dives into the water in pursuit of fish and crustaceans, favouring shallow inshore waters to the open ocean. His bright red legs and scarlet gape provide a striking contrast against his black plumage and play a role in his courtship displays. Outside of breeding season, his black plumage moults out, replaced with greyish-white, making him appear as if a different species.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Friday, August 1, 2014
Grouse are a Family of heavily built ground birds, often known as "game birds". They are browsers, nibbling on leaves, buds, twigs and catkins, although youngsters will dine on invertebrates. Males - like this Black Grouse - are larger and more dramatically coloured, as befits his polygamouse lifestyle. He puts on an elaborate courtship display during the breeding season, attempting to attract as many females as he can. This will also involve singing, and he has a fine call, loud and bubbling, somewhat resembling that of a dove. Grouse are frequently hunted for sport, with their plumes being used to decorate hats.
His mating display has been turned into a folk dance:
And here's a courtship display: