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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Iranian Owl

The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) is a species of owl which breeds in Europe, Asia, and North America. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls of  Strigidae family which contains most species of owl. The other grouping of owls are the barn owls, family Tytonidae.  The Long-eared Owl is a medium sized owl, 31-37 cm in length with an 86-98 cm wingspan. It has erect blackish ear-tufts, which are positioned in the center of the head. The female is larger in size and darker in colouration than the male. The Long-eared Owl’s brownish feathers are vertically streaked. Tarsus and toes are entirely feathered.   Its habitat is forest close to open country. It nests in trees, often coniferous, using the old stick nests of other birds such as crows, ravens and magpies and various hawks.  An unusual characteristic of this species is its communal nesting in thickets during the winter months. The Long-eared Owl hunts over open country by night. It is very long winged, like the similar Short-eared Owl, and glides slowly on stiff wings when hunting. Its food is mainly rodents, small mammals, and birds.
Little Owl (Athene noctua) breeding habitat in Iran is usually in old seasonal river banks in rocky semi-deserts and deserts of Iran. one of the fascinating places to watch many of them breeding in extreme eastern steppes of Iran around Birjand Province.  Little owl often sits in the open in day time around the nest and if agitated, often bobs in an upright posture.
The Brown Fish Owl (Bubo zeylonensis or Ketupa zeylonensis) is an owl. This species is a part of the family known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most living owls. It inhabits the warm subtropical and humid tropical parts of continental Asia and some offshore islands.The four fish owls were previously generally separated in the genus Ketupa. mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data is equivocal on which genus name is applied for them, and today they are commonly lumped with the horned and eagle-owls (Bubo) – which they also resemble osteologically very much – for sake of convenience. Depending on whether some little-studied tropical eagle-owls are closer to the fish-owls than to the typical eagle-owls, Ketupa might be a valid genus if these as well as the fishing owls (formerly Scotopelia) are included in it. It is a large owl with prominent "ear" tufts, typically around 55 centimetres (22 in) in length and weighing 2–2.5 kilograms (4.4–5.5 lb) when fully grown. Subspecies differ in size and males are smaller than females, with the smallest birds not quite 50 cm (20 in) long and weighing as little as 1,100 grams (39 oz). The upperparts are reddish brown and heavily streaked with black or dark brown. The underparts are buff to whitish, with dark streaks and finer brown barring. The throat is white and can be conspicuously puffed, while the facial disk is indistinct. The irides are yellow, the feet a duller yellow, and the bill is dark. Sexes do not differ in appearance except for size.
The Spotted Owlet (Athene brama) is a small owl which breeds in tropical Asia from India to Southeast Asia. A common resident of open habitats including farmland and human habitation, it has adapted to living in cities. They roost in small groups in the hollows of trees or in cavities in rocks or buildings. It nests in a hole in a tree or building, laying 3-5 eggs. The species is absent from Sri Lanka, although the birds are found across the Palk Straits, just 30 kilometres away at Rameshwaram. Nests near human habitations may show higher breeding success due to increased availability of rodents for feeding young. The species shows a lot of variation including clinal variation in size and forms a superspecies with the very similar Little Owl.

The Spotted Owlet is small (21 cm) and stocky. The upperparts are grey-brown, heavily spotted with white. The underparts are white, streaked with brown. The facial disc is pale and the iris is yellow. There is a white neckband and supercilium. Sexes are similar. The flight is deeply undulating. The nominate form is darker than the paler forms such as indica of drier regions.
The Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) is a large and powerful owl in Iran. Iran also hosts Ascalaphus sub specie of eagle owls. The other sub specie known as desertorum lives in arid regions of Arabia. In Iran we should be able to observe two different variants of eagle owl; One being common eagle owl and the other being Ascalaphus SS. The Ascalaphus is known to be 20% smaller and has paler underparts blending to less spoted and blotched markings. In compare with eagles, smaller than the Golden Eagle but larger than the Snowy Owl. Snowy owl is hardly seen in Iran only random reports of them wintering in NE Iran. Eagle owl is titled the Iran's largest owl. The photo on the right is Ascalaphus SS of eagle owl (Bubo ascalaphus) which is resident in Iran.  The Eagle Owl has a wingspan of up to 138-200 cm and measures 58-75 cm long. Females weigh 1.75-4.2 kg and males weigh 1.5-3.2 kg. It mainly feeds on small mammals, but can kill prey up to the size of foxes, Jackals and young deer (up to 10 kg/22 lb), if taken by surprise. I've seen her at night rubbing a sparrow hawk of its sleeping branch of a tree. Fur or feather eagle owls are savvy night hunters. Larger prey is consumed on the ground which leaves the bird vulnerable to ground hunters like wolves. The call of the Eagle Owl is a deep resonant “ooh-hu” with emphasis on the first syllable for the male, and a more high-pitched uh-Hu for the female (in German, the name of this bird is "Uhu"). Each member of an Eagle Owl population can be identified by means of its vocalizations. The size, ear tufts and orange eyes make this a distinctive species. It has a strong direct flight. The ear tufts of males are more upright than those of females.
The horned owls are a part of the larger grouping of owls known as the typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.
The Pallid Scops Owl (Otus brucei) is a small Scops Owl ranging from the Middle East to West and Central Asia, sometimes called the Striated Scops Owl.
The Pallid Scops Owl is a small eared owl similar in appearance to the Common Scops Owl but with more distinct streaks on the back and less intricate markings.The Pallid Scops Owl ranges from the Middle East to West and Central Asia, with some populations moving as far as the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and Pakistan in the winter. It inhabits semi-open country with trees and bushes and has an estimated range of one to ten million kilometers. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20 a="a" and="and" appears="appears" approach="approach" be="be" combined="combined" criterion="criterion" declining="declining" does="does" extent="extent" fluctuating="fluctuating" for="for" fragmentation="fragmentation" habitat="habitat" hence="hence" km2="km2" locations="locations" not="not" number="number" of="of" or="or" population="population" quality="quality" range="range" severe="severe" size="size" small="small" species="species" stable="stable" the="the" thresholds="thresholds" to="to" trend="trend" under="under" vulnerable="vulnerable" with="with">30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10 a="a" be="be" continuing="continuing" decline="decline" estimated="estimated" individuals="individuals" mature="mature" to="to" with="with">10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crested Serpent Eagle - Burma

Crested Serpent Eagles

Crested Serpent Eagles are medium-sized eagles that live throughout Indochina and southern Asia, in a wide range of habitats. Generally, Crested Serpent Eagles are dark from above with a lighter brown underside. They have white spots and streaks on their wing coverts and scapulars and the underside of their flight feathers is black with broad white bands. The nape of neck and the crown are black, while the crest is brown and barred with white. The breast is barred or a solid color, and the belly, thighs, and crissum are rufous with dark barring and white spots. The tail is black with a white tip and thick white bar. The wings are short and broad. When the crest is raised in alarm, it frames the entire face. Legs are unfeathered, and the eyes are bright yellow.
Habitat and Distribution:
They occur in a wide range of habitats, including rain forest, open savannah, mangrove swamps, plantations, ravines, evergreen and deciduous forest, and tidal creeks. Crested Serpent Eagles tolerate habitat disturbance, as long as there are some large trees. They live from 0-1,500 meters above sea level, but go as high as 2,500 m in Taiwan and 3,350 m in Nepal. They are irruptive or local migrants.
Their range spans the Indian subcontinent and southern Asia, from the Himalayas, the Kashmir region, and Nepal east to Tibet, southern China, and the Malay peninsula, along with the Philippines, Indonesia, Borneo, and the Andaman Islands. Their total distribution size is 7,720,000 km², from 35°N to 9°S.
The Crested Serpent Eagle, as its English name suggests, is a specialist reptile eater which hunts over forests, often close to wet grassland, for snakes and lizards. It is placed along with the snake eagles of the genus Circaetus in the subfamily Circaetinae. It is found mainly over areas with thick vegetation both on the low hills and the plains. This species is a resident species, but in some parts of their range they are found only in summer. The breeding season is mainly in winter to spring. The nest is a large platform built high on a tree. Both birds in a pair build the nest but the female alone incubates. In central India, the Terminalia tomentosa is often used. The nests are lined with green leaves from the tree on which it is placed.  The usual clutch is one egg but two are sometimes laid and only a single chick is successfully raised in a season. Nests are defended by the parents.
Within its widespread range across tropical Asia, 21 populations have been named as subspecies. The most widespread subspecies are the nominate from along the sub-Himalayan range in India and Nepal, melanotis in Peninsular India, spilogaster of Sri Lanka, burmanicus in most of Indochina, ricketti in northern Vietnam and southern China, malayensis of the Thai-Malay Peninsula and northern Sumatra, pallidus from northern Borneo, richmondi from southern Borneo, bido from Java and Bali, batu from southern Sumatra and Batu, hoya from Taiwan, rutherfordi from Hainan, and palawanensis from Palawan. The remaining subspecies are all restricted to smaller islands: davisoni in the Andamans, minimus (Central Nicobar Serpent Eagle) from the central Nicobars, perplexus (Ryukyu Serpent Eagle) from Ryukyu, natunensis (Natuna Serpent Eagle) from Natuna, abbotti (Simeulie Serpent Eagle) from Simeulue, sipora (Mentawai Serpent Eagle) from Mentawai, asturinus (Nias Serpent Eagle) from Nias, and baweanus (Bawean Serpent Eagle) of the Bawean. The last seven (with English names in brackets) are sometimes treated as separate species.  Although the Crested Serpent Eagle remains widespread and fairly common overall, some of the taxa that are restricted to small islands are believed to have relatively small populations that likely are in the hundreds. The rarest is probably the Bawean Serpent Eagle with a declining population of about 26–37 pairs, which makes it critically endangered. The specific name cheela is derived from the Hindi name for kites.

Here I have posted  Union of Burma Stamps in block of four

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - my thanks to the editors

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Israel Butterfly

Butterflies’ vibrant colors and gentle flight overwhelm us with feelings of wonder and joy. These beautiful flying insects have inspired artists, poets and intellectuals alike. Their wondrous life cycle, called a “complete cycle”, is made up of four stages: egg, caterpillar, pupa and adult. A complete cycle from egg to adult is called a generation. Some butterfly species produce one generation per year while others produce numerous generations within a single year.
The lifespan of an adult butterfly varies among species, with adults of some species living for approximately one week and others for a number of weeks or even months. Some species are considered to be local while others migrate for distances of hundreds and thousands of kilometers. To date, some 150,000 species belonging to the Lepidoptera order have been identified throughout the world, of which approximately 20,000 species are butterflies, and the rest are moths. In Israel there are an estimated 2,300 Lepidoptera species, including 142 species of butterflies. Mt. Hermon is the richest butterfly species site in Israel, with no less than 100 different species! Mt. Hermon is the southernmost point of distribution for 30 of these 100 species, which do not fly to any other areas in Israel. Overall, Israel’s butterfly population may be categorized into seven families. Five of those families are represented among the butterflies featured in the stamp series:

Swallowtail - Papilio machaon syriacus represents the Papilionidae family. Many members of his family display prominent colors, including black, yellow and red. These colors serve to warn birds and lizards that they are poisonous.

Red admiral - Vanessa atalanta represents the Nymphalidae family. Like many of the species belonging to this family, this butterfly remains camouflaged as long as its wings are closed because its underwings are dull in color, revealing its bold colors only when its wings are open wide.

Caper white - Anaphaeis aurota represents the Pieridae family of white and yellow butterflies. This butterfly’s white wings are decorated with black markings. This species migrates to Israel from Africa nearly every summer and it may be seen flying throughout Israel until early winter.

Plain tiger - Danaus chrysippus is the only representative of the Danainae family to be found in Israel. It migrates annually from Africa to Israel and belongs to the same scientific genus as the American Monarch butterfly, considered to be the most famous butterfly in the world thanks to the tremendous distances it migrates.

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus zelleri and Tawny silver-line - Apharitis acamas represent the largest family of butterflies in Israel – the Lycaenidae family. Like many of the males belonging to this family, the Common blue male is bright blue in color in order to attract females, while the coloring of the Tawny silver-line allows it to blend into its surroundings and remain camouflaged from its enemies.

Butterflies Assist in Biodiversity Conservation 
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently declared that the threat of extinction of animal and plant species has reached a level of global crisis. Within the framework of worldwide efforts to curb extinction, butterflies have been identified as effective bio-indicators of ecosystem changes and have become an important component in natural and environmental preservation. While constant and long term monitoring of butterfly species provides information regarding the loss and extinction of rare butterflies, no less importantly, a dwindling of butterfly varieties also indicates a similar dwindling of plant species and various other animal groups. Members of The Israeli Lepidopterists Society promote national butterfly monitoring in Israel, doing so throughout the country. The Society also initiated a bill to protect 14 endangered butteflies species and a law was enacted in 2009.
Technical Details
Issue Date: 12.04.2011
Values: $2.88