Published on November 19, 2008
Blue Rock Trush The Blue Rock Thrush or Blue Rock-Thrush (Monticola solitarius) is a member of the thrush family (Turdidae). This species breeds in southern Europe and northwest Africa, and from central Asia to northern China and Malaysia. The European, north African and southeast Asian birds are mainly resident, apart from altitudinal movements. Other Asian populations are more migratory, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, India and southeast Asia. This bird is a very uncommon visitor to northern and western Europe.
Blue Rock Thrush breeds in open mountainous areas, usually higher than the breeding zone of the related Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush. It nests in rock cavities and walls, and usually lays 3-5 eggs. An omnivore, the Blue Rock Thrush eats a wide variety of insects in addition to berries. This is a largish thrush, 21-23cm in length with a long slim bill. The summer male is unmistakable, with all blue-grey plumage apart from its darker wings. Females and immatures are much less striking, with dark brown upperparts, and paler brown scaly underparts. Both sexes lack the reddish outer tail feathers of Rock Thrush.
The male Blue Rock Thrush sings a clear, melodious call that is similar to, but louder than the call of the Rock Thrush. The Blue Rock Thrush is Malta's national bird and is shown on the Lm 1 coins of the country
Turtle Dove Bird Adults : Length 25-30 cm. Wingspan: 50 cm. Weight: 160g. Color : Variations from selective breeding are common. Normal coloration pale sandy gray back. Back mottled with darker gray. Grayish white head and breast. Narrow black ring on nape. Bill black and swelled at base. Similar to the larger and slightly darker Eurasian Collared-Dove. Different in the wings with lighter primaries, tail long and broad in flight with white outer webbing. Webbing gray near rump. Center tail feathers gray. Legs short pink. Eyes dark red. Breeding: monogamous many broods per year, 1-2 white eggs Nesting : Simple saucer-shaped platform of twigs and plant fibers, built in trees and on buildings
Incubation : 13-14 days by both parents Fledging : 12-14 days Maturity : sexually mature at 5-7 months Voice: a rolling "kooeek-KRRRROOOOO(aw)" and a laughing "heh-heh-heh" excitement cry Lifespan : maximum 20 years Flight Speed : 38-50 mph Diet: seeds, grain and fruit. Doves are unique from other birds as they drink by sucking, so they don't have to tilt their head back to swallow. Habits: Colonial, non-migratory Habitat : woodlands and parks near human habitation
Range: Occurs sporadically throughout the continent, although reproduction is questioned throughout the range. These are the doves of the Bible. The domestic Ringed Turtle-Dove originated through selective breeding of the African Collared-Dove, S. roesogrisea from northeast Africa and Saudi Arabia. Raised as pets for over 2,000 years, they are now the most commonly kept doves in the world. Ringed Turtle-Doves also known as Barbary or Laughing Doves are not particularly hardy and do not survive well in the wild. Birds have been know to breed with the Eurasian Collared-Dove causing even more confusion in trying to distinguish these extremely similar species.
Meadow Pipit Identification In most parts of northern Europe this is the commonest pipit. Indeed, in many areas of open country it will be the most numerous bird of all. It can be told from a Tree Pipit by its duller darker head in which there seems to be more of a pale ring around the eye rather than a stripe running through it. More convincingly though, notice how the thick black streaks continue all the way down to the flanks almost to the undertail.
Habitat Breeds on open moorland and rough grassland. Winters on marshes, in stubble fields and rough grassland. Behaviour- Performs a relatively boring song flight in which it rises up, usually silently, then sings as it drops almost vertically downwards. Migration Most European Meadow Pipits winter in Iberia but some remain further north in Europe, as far north as Scotland
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