This book will increase the reader’s knowledge of the birds of West Africa considerably. In addition, it will serve as a model for future studies in the region. This remarkably detailed guide is an excellent resource for birders who are planning a trip to Liberia.
What will I learn?
- 1 Flamingos are gregarious wading birds
- 2 Trogons and quetzals are small insectivorous passerine birds
- 3 Indigobirds are medium-sized nocturnal birds
- 4 Phalacrocoracidae are fish-eating seabirds
- 5 Nightjars are finch-like species
- 6 Woodhoopoes are stout-bodied birds
- 7 Trogons are related to the kingfisher
- 8 Grebes are small diving birds
It includes information on the Flamingo, the largest wading bird in the world, as well as the quetzals and trogons, which are small, insectivorous passerine birds. Finally, it includes information on the Phalacrocoracidae, which eat fish.
Flamingos are gregarious wading birds
A flamingo’s colorful plumage and glistening head are instantly recognizable. These gregarious wading birds breed communally on muddy lake beds, where their colonies may number in the millions.
The birds’ nests are mud cones, built about two neck-lengths apart. Both sexes incubate one or two eggs, and young can walk soon after hatching. They remain in the nest for approximately five to eight days, and the parents tend to their young.
In addition to being gregarious, flamingos are also known for their courtship rituals. These flamingos display highly choreographed displays, which resemble a stiff rendition of preening and stretching movements.
During courtship, hundreds of birds participate in the display, marching in stiff flocks. The males of this species are more animated in courting than females.
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Trogons and quetzals are small insectivorous passerine birds
Insectivorous passerine birds of Liberian forests are called quetzals and trogons. They are small to medium-sized passerines that hunt by flying.
While there are no specific order in which these two species are grouped, they are among the most widespread and widely distributed birds in the world. Their contrasting plumage colors help identify these species.
Among the most popular species of thornbills, these beautiful birds are the ecological equivalent of nonpasserine hummingbirds. In the past, they were considered closely related to white-eyes and honeycreepers.
DNA analyses, however, placed them with flowerpeckers and sugarbirds. Later, Irwin revised their classification and concluded that they were not related to any of these species. However, they are primarily insectivorous and are found in dense forests.
Both species are commonly found in tropical and subtropical habitats and winter in the West Indies. Their colorful plumage is highly attractive and attracts females, although males are more likely to be aggressive.
They perform elaborate courtship behaviors, including singing, displaying pectoral tufts, and swaying sideways. When the birds are courting, they often catch insects on their wings and fly sideways while in the air.
Indigobirds are medium-sized nocturnal birds
Indicators of health and well-being are the birds’ coloration and size. These medium-sized nocturnal birds live in open and semi-open country and are often found in areas under cultivation.
They breed in treetops and nest in deep cups lined with leaves. The eggs are chalky blue and are laid by both males and females. The females share the incubation and feeding of the young.
The Black-crowned Tityra is a large, dark, and strikingly beautiful bird in Liberia. It is 45cm long, with large wings and a falconine silhouette.
The adult bird is dark brown with a white patch on the throat and streaks above and below each eye. Juveniles have a mottled brown body with a lighter head, black face, and a greyer, whiter wing covert.
Both sexes are similar in appearance. Males are smaller than females, and females are slightly bigger than males. The head, throat, and breast of the Indigobird are almost entirely black.
The wing coversts and inner secondaries are a pale reddish brown. The bill is long and stout, with a yellow spot at the base.
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Phalacrocoracidae are fish-eating seabirds
The Phalacrocoracidae, or cormorants, are a family of bird-like seabirds native to the Pacific. They roost in large colonies and may use cooperative foraging strategies.
Most species of phalacrocoracids vocalize, with males emitting louder hisses than females. Their plaintive calls are used to solicit feeding by chicks, and specific vocalizations are associated with breeding displays and threats.
The Phalacrocoracidae include pelicans, cormorants, shags, and hammerkops. All of these species are large, water-loving seabirds with distinctive plumage and a pouch under the beak.
They are also notable for their webbed feet and claws, and their vibrant coloration makes them easily identifiable.
The Blue-Eyed Shag has been a focal point of recent research. Research by Shaw P. and Pemberton D., and others in Australia has revealed that the species is highly vulnerable to cormorant nest predation by the latter.
In addition, Kato A. and Shaughnessy FY Shaughnessy studied the diving pattern of foraging King cormorants and their stomach temperature.
Nightjars are finch-like species
These finch-like birds have long, pointed wings and tiny feet. Their plumage can resemble bark or leaves. Some species perch on tree branches during the day to remain hidden from predators.
One species, the Common Poorwill, undergoes a form of hibernation. Other nightjars may enter a state of torpor for short periods of time.
The scientific name for this finch-like species is Parasitic Weaver. Although originally linked to canaries and weavers, this species is now included among the viduids, including the indigobirds and whydahs.
These birds lay their eggs in cisticolid nests and lay up to 30 eggs each season, 1-4 per’set’. In Senegal and the Gambia, the most common hosts of this species are the Tawny-flanked Prinia and Zitting Cisticola.
Nightjars are one of the most common bird species in Liberia. Their striking appearance makes them an interesting addition to any birdwatching trip.
They can be as small as 18 centimetres long. Their finch-like bills are made of blackish metal, and they often perch on tree branches for food. This species is found in dense forests of coastal areas, including the mountains and rainforests near Mount Sahendaruman.
Woodhoopoes are stout-bodied birds
Woodhoopoes are small passerine birds that live in forests in the Northern Hemisphere and sub-Saharan Africa.
Their dull, white-blue plumage makes them attractive to watch as they climb trees in search of insects and other food. While these birds are not migratory, fossil evidence shows that they once inhabited a much wider range.
The Liberian woodhoopoes belong to the Phoeniculus genus, which is endemic to the country. Its range includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and South Sudan.
It also breeds in northern Alaska, central Canada, the Great Plains, and the mountains of Guatemala.
These medium-sized birds are adorned with soft, colorful feathers. Males have metallic green upperparts while females are brown or grayish. Their tails are long and graduated.
The bill is curved and their feet are short. They also have unique heterodactyl feet. The bill is the most recognizable feature of this species. Trogons can be up to 3 feet long, and their wings are short and rounded.
The Narina Trogon gets its name from Khoisan, which means “flower.” French ornithologist Francois Le Vaillant named these birds. They have medium-sized bodies, measuring 32-34cm long.
Their bodies are green and amaranth-coloured. Some species migrate; others live in a single location. Males of the same species are much brighter than females.
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Grebes are small diving birds
These migratory small diving birds are found in most of Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are rarely found in Liberia, but are also found in parts of Africa.
They breed in freshwater lakes and heavily vegetated bays, lagoons, and swamps, and migrate to areas where waters do not freeze. However, they may be seen in small bays occasionally. They are a great example of a species that can adapt to changing conditions.
The grebe is radically different from other small diving birds. It was previously thought that grebes and loons were closely related, but Stolpe 1935 determined this was a crass example of convergent evolution.
The birds once shared the same habitat, but they had distinct characteristics. The grebes and loons are now a separate group. They are similar in size, but they have different plumage colors and distinct bills.
The pied-billed grebe is one of the most common diving birds in the world. These small diving birds have flight and can submerge in water much like a submarine.
They feed mainly on crustaceans and fish, and occasionally consume soft contour feathers. The grebes’ soft contour feathers act as a strainer to trap harmful materials, which they spit out, and form pellets.