'/> Amazing Animals: August 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fascinating Birds: The Attractive and Colorful Turacos of Africa

The only birds that own true red and green color and mobile outer toes, capable of rotating forward or backward! Meet the attractive and colorful Turacos of Africa.

Meet another set of fascinating birds – the attractive and colorful turacos of Africa. They are the only birds that own true red and green color! Aside from their distinctive “g'way” call, Turacos proud themselves by having beautiful crests, red feathers on the underside of their wings and mobile outer toes, capable of rotating forward or backward. Isn’t these birds fascinating? Read on to learn more about them.

The White-cheeked Turaco

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The White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis) distribution range covers South East Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. It prefers humid evergreen forests at elevations from 2200 to 3200 meters. Citing have also been observed below 850 meters. A medium-sized bird, it measures 43 cm (17 in) long, with a tail reaching 19 cm (7.5 in) in length and weighs 200–315 g (7.1–11.1 oz).

Known for its dynamic behavior and colorful appearance, White-cheek Turaco sports a striking, blue-green crested head, with white patches in front of the eye and side of neck. Overall plumage is green, with deep greenish-blue wings and tail. It has red eye rings and a bright orange-red beak. Its diet includes fruits, berries, insects and occasionally small lizards.

The Ruspoli’s Turaco

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The Ruspoli’s Turaco (Tauraco ruspolii), also called as Prince Ruspoli’s, is another very attractive species of Turaco widespread in subtropical or tropical dry forests of southern Ethiopia. One of the world’s rarest birds, the species exhibit a colorful plumage. The head, neck, and breast are moss-green in color. It has a distinctive grayish-white crest, crimson-colored bill, and a prominent long tail. Furthermore, the chin and throat are grayish-green; dark bluish-gray wings and tail; yellowish-green cheeks and ear covers; and blackish belly and thighs.

The Knysna Turaco

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The Knysna Turaco (Tauraco corythaix), also called Knysna Lourie in South Africa, is a large turaco, endemic to South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland. The species prefers mature evergreen forests from sea level to 1800m. Adults measure between 40–42 cm long, from beak to tail and weigh between 260-380g. Generally, this unmistakable bird comes with mainly green plumage. Its distinctive feature is the white tip on its rounded green crest. Eyes are brown in color with deep-red eye-ring. It has a short, sharply curved orange-red beak. A colorful and attractive bird, it feeds on earthworms, insects and fruits.

The Livingstone’s Turaco

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The Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) is found in the subtropical lowlands and humid forests of southeastern Africa. Similar in appearance with the Knysna Turaco and Schalow’s Turaco, this attractive bird can be distinguished from both birds by its distinctive loud calls. On average, the species is about 45cm long including the tail and weighs about 262-380 grams. A dominant feature of the Livingstone’s Turaco is its white-tip, raised crest measuring around 65-75mm long. This species feeds mainly on available fruits.

The White-crested Turaco

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The White-crested Turaco (Tauraco leucolophus) are near-passerine birds endemic to eastern Nigeria and western Kenya. They prefer open woodland and riverine forests. The species is easily recognized by its striking white crest, chin, neck and nape. Overall body plumage is dark blue mark with lime green feathers on its breast. It feeds mainly on fruits, but also eats flowers, buds, insects and snails.

The Red-crested Turaco

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The Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) is a medium-sized passerine bird endemic to western Angola. On average, it measures between 47.5-50 cm (19-20 in) from beak to tip of tail and weighs 210-325 g. The species has green body plumage, characteristic tall, red crest, red eyes, yellowish-green beak and long tail. Its diet includes: fruits, seeds, leaves, flowers and occasionally snails.

The Purple-crested Turaco

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The Purple-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus) is widespread from Uganda through Tanzania inhabiting evergreen forests and moist woodland. This bird sports a purple-colored body plumage with red flight feathers. The green head is adorned with a purple-colored crest. The throat and neck are green and brown. It has black eyes with red rings, orange beak, long blue tail, and black legs. On average, the Purple-crested Turaco measures 45 centimeters and weighs around 300 grams. It feeds mainly on fruits.

The Violet Turaco

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The Violet Turaco (Musophaga violacea) is a large species of Turaco, endemic to the forests of tropical West Africa. The species is usually “seen” among the tree foliage foraging for fruits, berries, buds, and leaves. It measures around 45-50 cm long, including a long tail and weighs up to 360 g. Adults have an overall blue-black plumage, yellow forehead, crimson crown, dark-brown eyes, and red bull.

The White-bellied Go-away-bird

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The White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster)is a medium to large species of Turaco native to Central and South Africa. It inhabits evergreen forests, well-wooded areas and dry acacia savannas. This attractive bird measures 51 cm (20 inches) long including the tail and weighs around 170-200 grams. The overall plumage is gray with characteristic white breast and white-patched, black tail. It has a small head, short bill, and medium-sized neck. The males sport black bill while females have a green one. A very noisy bird, it feeds mainly on fruits.

The Great Blue Turaco

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The largest member of the Turaco family. the Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata), lives in sub-Saharan Africa. An arboreal species, it prefers rain forests and gallery forests. Generally, it measures 70–76 cm (28–30 in) long and weighs 800 –1,231 g (1.8 –2.71 lbs.) It has an overall bright-blue body plumage mark with blue and yellow tail feathers. It has a sturdy body, short wings and a long tail. This colorful and attractive Turaco feeds mostly on fruit.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet My Dog Magnum: A Fearless Blue Merle

Yes, you read me right… I am a proud owner of a fearless guard dog which I named Magnum (from the popular Magnum Ice Cream). It’s a five-month old Blue Merle. He is no ordinary puppy -- this ‘poker face’ warrior exudes a lot of confidence, intelligence, robust muscles and excellent hunting skills.


Once in awhile, he would ‘whisper’ to tell me he wanted to play. But most of the time, he is in a ‘serious mode’, barking at anything that gets near our gate. At a young age, Magnum has shown that he will someday be a dependable guard dog that will protect me, my family and what belongs to me. Cheers Magnum!

Magnum & Sarsi

BTW, are you wondering what is a Blue Merle? Here is a short description of the dog coat called Merle.

Merle is a pattern or a distinguishing marking in a dog's coat, particularly the Australian Shepherd. This incompletely dominant gene can also appear in Collie breeds, Old English Sheepdog, Shetland Sheepdog, the Pyrenean Shepherd, Catahoula Leopard Dog as well as Dachshund.

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If a dog with a Merle gene is mated on otherwise black dog will produces Blue Merle same through with sable (brown) dog produces a Sable Merle. The Merle gene also affects the dog’s eye, nose and paw pads coloring. This modification can result to changing dark eyes to blue and the nose and paw pads may be mottled pink and black.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ten Astonishing Facts About Ocean Animals, You Probably Don’t Know

Do you want to know what ocean animal has blue-colored blood or a sea creature that has no heart, lungs, and brain and yet it lives. To find the answers, just sit down, relax and enjoy reading the rest of the article.

Blue, blue our Earth is blue.. Yes, since 75% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. The ocean alone is home to more than 200,000 known species. Perhaps, thousands more sea marine animals are there to be discovered since only 5% of the Earth’s oceans have been explored. Below are 10 astonishing facts about ocean animals that you probably don’t know.


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Turtles are reptiles characterized by their bony shell. These cold-blooded animals are one of the oldest reptilian where earliest known species have lived about 200 million years ago.


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Jellyfish comprised the phylum Cnidaria where most species inhabit sea water, but a few species prefers fresh water. Fossils suggest that these gentle creatures have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years.


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Shrimps are crustaceans characterized by their long antennae and long, narrow muscular abdomens. Shrimps are widespread, with most marine species living at depths of up to 5,000 meters. there are a few fresh water shrimps found near rivers and lakes.


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Electric Eel

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Sea Sponges

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Blue Whales

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Let’s Play an Exciting Combo Animal Names Quiz

Can you name the animals whose names are made of two combined animal names?

Let’s freshen our knowledge about animals. Below are specific descriptions and clues for each animal whose name is a combination of two animal names. Let’s play and hope you get them all right.

1. Identification: A popular arachnid plus an intelligent long-tailed primate
* Clue: This animal prefer the warm tropical forests of South and Central America. Adults of this animal can reach two feet tall and can sports fur color can be black, tan, golden, brown, or red fur color. Its diet includes leaves, flowers as well as insects.

2. Identification: Slow moving shelled reptile plus an offering bird
* Clue: Its Latin name is Streptopelia turtur. A European and North African bird which is much smaller than its domesticated cousin. Adult of this one measures 28 cm long. It is slim-bodied, reddish brown body plumage, blue-gray head, and a grayish tail with a white tip.

3. Identification: Thanksgiving bird and a scavenging raptor
* Clue: A bird-of-prey found mostly in America. A large bird that measures 64–81 cm on length, 0.85–2.26 kg in weight and with a wingspan of 170–183 cm . It has dark brown to black plumage, a bald reddish head, and an ivory-colored beak.

4. Description: Wild canine and an arachnid
* Clue: A common household pest that range from 1cm to 4 cm in length. A hairy animal but has excellent eyesight. Females have the distinctive trait of carrying their egg sacs stuck at the back of their abdomen.

5. Description: Australian marsupial and an urban rodent
* Clue: a small rodent endemic to North America inhabiting arif areas particularly sandy or soft soils. This animal is characterized by its relatively large head, short front legs and large hind legs. Adults can reach 23-41 cm long (including the very long tail). It feeds mostly on seeds.

6. Description: Colony dwelling insect and the king of the jungle
* Clue: The larvae stages of this insect is known for making funnel-shaped to trap ants.

The adult sports two pairs of long, tapered wings and a long, slender abdomen. In North America, the animal’s larva is often called “doodlebug” because of the peculiar winding, trails it leaves in the sand while searching for a perfect site to build its trap.

7. Description: A mythological fire breather and a household pest
* Clue: This animal is characterized by an elongated body, two sets of strong transparent wings and large multifaceted eyes. It has a life span The life span from about 6 months to over 7 years, adult lives for only a few weeks. It is also one fastest insects in the world, with some species attaining a maximum speed of 10–15 meters per second.

8. Identification: Male bovine plus an amphibian
* Clue: The largest frog in North America that average about 9–15 cm in body length. It is typically green to greenish-brown in color. Male eardrum is larger than its eyes. Tadpoles can live up to two years before turning into frogs.

9. Description: A large African mammal plus tough insect
* Clue: It is one of the largest in their family that can reach 60 millimeters in length. Male owns 2 horns used in digging and fighting rivals during mating season. This animal is found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia and South America. It feeds on dead wood, fruits, leaves and grasses.

10. Description: Urban rodent and legless reptile
* Clue: Adults can reach 91-152 cm long. They come in variety of colors including black, gray, yellow, red, and brown. They are found in a wide variety of habitats including forests, swamps, rocky hills, barns and abandoned buildings. Adults feed on mice, squirrels, birds, as well as bird eggs.

Here are the answers to each questions. did you get it all right?

1. Spider monkey

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2. Turtledove

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3. Turkey vulture

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4. Wolf spider

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5. Kangaroo rat

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6. Antlion

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7. Dragonfly

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8. Bullfrog

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9. Rhinoceros Beetle

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10. Rat snake

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