'/> Amazing Animals: May 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wacky Bird Beaks

Have it crossed your mind, why some birds have such wacky beaks and how they manage to eat? Read on to learn more about these birds with oddly-shaped beaks.

Bearded Barbet

photo link

A member of the woodpecker family, the bearded barbet is a resident breeder in tropical west Africa. This African bird is about 26 cm in length and weighs between 80 to 110 g. It has large head, with a short neck, and a short tail. A remarkable feature of this bird is the tuft of bristles under its beak that gives it the beard-like appearance hence its name. Themassive bill is use to feed on insects and fruit, as well as to pound holes in dead trees.

Common Crossbill

photo link

A member of the finch family, Common crossbill is a common resident breeder in the dapper forests of North America, Europe as well as Asia. It is a small passerine bird noted for its large head and bill that overlap each other or crossed like an “X”. Nature intended it to be used in getting seed from tree cones. Take note that the bills of young ones are not crossed at hatching, but cross as they grow.

Rhinoceros Hornbill

photo link

Inhabiting the rainforest of Southeast Asia, particularly in Sumatra, Borneo, and Java, rhinoceros hornbill is a large arboreal bird with long, heavy bills. A black bird with a white belly, adults can grow up between 110- 127 cm and can weigh up to three kg. Like most other hornbills, the male has orange or red eyes, and the female has whitish eyes. One of the distinctive characteristic of this bird is the presence of the “casque”, a structure on top of the bill. Rhinoceros hornbills are born with white beak and casque, but as they grow older the beak takes a red-orange appearance. The beak is primarily use to knock down fruits.

Sword-billed Hummingbird

photo link

Sword-billed Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird found in Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela. It is very aptly named, for it has a bill that is longer than its body. The bill can grow up to four inches long as compared to its body that is only about 15 cm long. The long, pointed, probing beak of the sword-billed hummingbird comes in handy in sipping the nectar on flowers with long corollas. However, since the Sword-billed Hummingbird's beak is very long, it grooms itself with its feet.

Brown Pelican

photo link

The smallest of the eight species of pelican, the brown pelican measures 106–137 cm in length, weighs from 2.75 to 5.5 kg, with a wingspan from 1.83 to 2.5 m. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia. Brown pelican is a large dark bird with a white head, a light brown crown, and a long pouched bill. The bill and the flexible lower pouch is use like a net. A known a plunge diver, it drops from the air with its wings partly folded and dives into the water to catch its prey. It scoops up fish and water, drains the water from its pouch, and tips back its head to swallow the fish.

Shoebill Stork

photo link

Shoebill stork is a large, grey, long-legged solitary African bird found inhabiting swamps. The shoebill measures about 110–140 cm tall. It has broad wings and with large, unwebbed feet. The spoon-bill owns a very specialized form of beak adapted for efficiently scooping prey from mud. It is flattened throughout its length, but ends in a broad, spoon-like expansion which it uses for scooping insects, worms, frogs, fish, mollusks, reptiles, and carrion out of the mud.


photo link

Spoonbills are medium-sized wading and terrestrial birds that live on forests, wetlands, grassland, arid or semi-arid areas of temperate and tropic regions. They have long neck and legs, a short tail and a long, straight bill. Most species are white, sometimes rose-tinged. Adult males grow between 48–110 cm in height and weighs 0.5–2.5 kg. Most species nest in trees, often with ibises or herons. A striking feature of spoonbills is its prominent, large, flat, and spatulate bills which allows them to feed by touch in murky water..


photo link

Toucans are passerine birds found in tropical and subtropical forests in South America. They are brightly marked and have large, colorful bills. Its oversized, colorful bill has made it one of the world's most popular birds. The bill has serrated edges which help tear off pieces of larger fruits. The toucan's large bill enables it to perch inside the crown of a tree, and to reach deep into tree holes to access food unavailable to other birds.

Wattled Curassow

photo link

The Wattled Curassow is a large bird found in remote rainforests in the southwestern Amazon River basin. It is about 82–89 cm long, and weighs around 2,500 g. Their plumage is mostly black; legs, feet and bill are blackish. Its most prominent feature is a well-developed curly crest of head feathers. Males sport round bill knobs and elaborate wattles (think hood ornament) at the base of the bill.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The World’s Most Strange Sea Creatures

From an alien-looking fish, to a leafy sea dragon, down to leaping fish that can live on lands, these sea creatures are not only amazing, but are truly strange-looking! Below is a list showing the World's 10 most strange sea creatures.

Leafy Sea Dragon

photo link

Its name will perhaps chill one to death. However, its look will never scare anyone. A remarkably beautiful sea creature, having a number of long, leaf-like appendages, thus getting its name. A relative of seahorse and pipefish, the leafy sea dragon (Phycodurus equess) sports a long, pipe-like snout, and can reach 20–24 cm long. (8–10 in). that it uses to feed. It inhabit the coastal waters of Australia. The leafy sea dragon’s leaf-like appendages serves as camouflage, aiding this vulnerable sea creature to blend in with seaweed. It feeds on zooplankton, shrimps and larval fish. It can live from 5-10 years.


photo link

The ocean sunfish (Mola mola), s another very unique sea creature most likely many have never heard before. Considered the world's heaviest bony fish, adults average about 1,000 kg! This strange fish lives in tropical and temperate regions around the world feeding on various jellyfish, small fish, squid, crustaceans, and eel grass. It has a flattened shape, rough skin texture and silver-gray in color.


photo link

This unique, but disgusting-looking deep sea fish inhabits the coastal waters of Australia and Tasmania. The blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus), lives at depth of about 800 meters, where the pressure is about 80 times higher than at sea level. No wonder, it is rarely seen by human and the only way to catch one is by bottom trawling using nets. Having a gelatin-like flesh with a lighter density ratio than water, the blobfish floats just above the sea bed expending less energy on swimming.


photo link

This bizarre-looking fish absolutely fits its name. Its appearance resemble that of a cross between a frog and a fish. Found in almost all tropical and subtropical waters around the world, frogfish eat small fish, crustaceans, and even each other. They vary in sizes from as small as five cm to some larger species who grow up to 38 cm. These strange creatures vary in colors, from brown, black, yellow, red, orange, white, green, purple or blue. Their strange color, shape and skin textures aid them to escape predators as well as to lure potential meal. They hardly move that much, instead use their highly developed leg-like pelvic and pectoral to walk along the ocean floor in search for meal.


photo link>

Another unique sea creature, one may think have come from another planet. Barreleyes is a small deep-sea fish having a dome-shaped, transparent head, full of very transparent scales; and large, telescopic eyes that are generally gazed upwards to spot the presence of potential prey. Inhabiting tropical-to-temperate waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, barreleyes have small toothless mouth, a pointed snout, and small spineless fins. Barreleyes feed on small fish and jellyfish.

Leaping Blenny

photo link

The Leaping Blenny (Alticus saliens), is such a very energetic saltwater fish. These unusual sea creatures are found in the Pacific Ocean, particularly in Cook Islands and Society Islands. They are found mostly in damp shallow spots of pitted limestone. A remarkable feature of these fish is their ability to leap from place to place when disturbed and can survive outside of water. The Leaping Blenny averages about eight cm long. They have 14 – 15 soft, elongated dorsal fins, 26 – 27 anal soft rays, and two anal spines. They are oviparous, meaning they lay demersal eggs that hatch outside the body.


photo link

The Crocodilefish (Cymbacephalus beauport), also known as De Beaufort's flathead, is a non-migratory bottom-dwelling flathead species. It is found in the tropical waters in the western Pacific regions, the Red Sea, Palau, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Borneo, and the Philippines. They have elongated bodies marked with irregular green markings, nine or 10 dorsal spines, 11 anal soft rays, large pelvic fins, and no anal spines. They can measure up to 70 cm length. Crocodilefish are piscivore (fish eater) and a specialized predator feeding on other species and crustaceans.

JellyNose Fish

photo link

Another strange fish on the list, the jellynose fish or the tadpole fish, are small, bottom-dwelling, deep-water fish. These incredibly rare sea creatures are found in the Pacific coast of Central America, Caribbean Sea, and the Indo-pacific oceans. They have a long, gelatinous bodies that can reach two meters in length. They have large heads, a bulbous snout, small teeth, very long tails, and very small caudal fins. These unique fish are normally brown to black in color.


photo link

This is one sea creature you would avoid seeing on the waters, harmless or not, its fearsome appearance would make you froze. Viperfish (Chauliodus sloani), inhabits tropical waters of the major oceans living at depths between 457.2 to 2743.2 m. One of the fearsome predators of the deep, they can easily be distinguished by their hinged skull, large bulldog-like mouth and razor-sharp, fang-like teeth. These large teeth are used to immobilize its prey. Viperfish are about 15.0 to 25.0 cm long and can weigh up to 23 g. They are carnivorous feeding on crustaceans such as hermit crabs, shrimp, squid, and consume other little fish.

Hairy Angler

photo link

Our last entry on the list is an odd-looking fish that was accidentally discovered by BBC film crew while doing the documentary film The Blue Planet. Making its home at depth over 1,000 meters below the ocean's surface, they are found in the Indo-Pacific, western North Atlantic and eastern Atlantic oceans. They have small eyes, large dorsal fins, huge mouth, and a stretchable stomach capable of swallowing prey bigger than their size. Their bodies are covered with sensory spines and hairs which help in sensing water vibrations created by possible prey. Hairy-anglers eat fish and crustaceans.