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tropical

Trogons Nest with Wasps

The "Violaceous" Trogon (recently split into three species), which nests in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, often excavates its dwelling within a large, active wasp or termite nest. It begins by devouring some of the insects, then digs a cavity large enough to accommodate the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Cerulean Warblers Link Conservation on Two Continents

In winter, the Cerulean Warbler forages in tree-tops of the Andes Mountains. In May, at the other end of a 2,500-mile migration, the very same bird sings from the tree-tops in the Appalachian Mountains. The Cerulean Warbler is one of the most threatened birds in the US. American Bird Conservancy... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Gliding with Tropicbirds

With the strong, direct flight of a falcon, a tropicbird can catch a flying fish on the wing, or plunge like an arrow into the sea and — with its serrated bill — capture a squid. Three species of tropicbirds range through most of the tropical latitudes of the world's oceans, and have done so for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Birds of Paradise

It's morning on the island of New Guinea, and the lowland forests erupt with the crowing calls of Birds of Paradise. Male Raggiana Birds of Paradise perform elaborate displays to attract females, sometimes even hanging upside-down with their wings pointing upward. Forty-three species of Birds of... read more »

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Morning in Oaxaca

A winter morning in Oaxaca, Mexico—a great time to visit old friends who spent the summer in the United States. Yellow-rumped Warblers and Western Tanagers—northern summer-nesters that winter in western Mexico—mingle with resident Berylline Hummingbirds, Gray Silky-Flycatchers, and this Crescent... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Tropical Wake-up Call

If you lived along the forest's edge in Central America, every morning might begin with a cacophony of rhythmic guffaws, whistles, screeches, and screams. Plain Chachalacas and Great Kiskadees — like this one — join in the chorus. View a series of photos of the Plain Chachalaca taken by Texan... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Wood-Wrens - A Tropical Duet

Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens sing a duet. Each sings a different phrase, yet the phrases are so closely linked, it sounds like one song. Such singing is called antiphonal song. The pairs use song to stake out and hold breeding territories. Dueting is most typical of birds that live in dense habitats;... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

Where Are They Now?

Where have the birds of summer gone? The Swainson's Thrush is wintering in Central or South America, maybe as far south as Bolivia. Warbling Vireos are now spread through much of Central America, while Black-headed Grosbeaks have migrated to Mexico. This Orange-crowned Warbler also makes Mexico... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Ecuador's Nature Reserves

Ecuador is home to 1,600 species of birds — twice the number in all of North America. Artist and naturalist Paul Greenfield, a long-time resident of Ecuador, has helped create conservation reserves, large and small. He feels that smaller reserves may have the best chance for long-term success.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

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