'/> Amazing Animals: September 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The World's 10 Most Unusual Flightless Birds

These birds have wings but won't fly! Surprised -- then go scroll down the listto know more interesting facts about the world's 10 most unusual flightless bird.

Titicaca grebe

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The Titicaca flightless grebe or short-winged grebe (Rollandia microptera), is a grebe found primarily in Lake Titicaca which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia. Though it can't fly, it is an excellent diver. The upperparts of this flightless grebe are a black-brown colour. The chin, throat and foreneck are white. The nape is chestnut to dark sooty brown.


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The Takahē or South Island takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand. The species was believed to be extinct by the end of the nineteenth century, but was rediscovered by Geoffrey Orbell in Fiordland in 1948. The takahē is still considered critically endangered with fewer than 300 individuals. This stocky bird with reduced wings is the largest living member of the Rallidae family. An adult measures 63 cm (25 in) and weighs about 2.7 kg (6.0 lb). It is generally purple-blue in colour, with a greenish back and inner wings. It has a red-based pink bill and pink legs.


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The kiwi is any of five species of the non-flying family of birds called ratites native to New Zealand. Two of the species are vulnerable, one is endangered, and one is critically endangered. They can be found in different types of habitats: farmland, pine forest, scrubland, swamps, and vegetated gullies. The species is characterized by its round little body, brown fluffy feathers and its modest whiskered face. Its wings are only about 1 inch (3 cm) long and are useless, completely hidden under the feathers. Kiwis grow to about the size of a chicken and weigh between three and nine pounds.


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The cassowary is a large, flightless bird distributed throughout Northern Australia, New Guinea, and surrounding islands. It is the heaviest bird in Australia and the second heaviest in the world after its cousin, the ostrich. There are three species of cassowary — the southern cassowary, the northern cassowary and the dwarf cassowary. All three cassowary species have a casque that starts to develop on top of their head at one to two years of age. Adults stand between 1.5-2 metres in height. Adults are striking with their jet black plumage and bright blue neck with touches of red.

Guam rail

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The Guam rail (Gallirallus owstoni) is a flightless bird, endemic to the United States territory of Guam. The last individual in the wild of this species died in 1987 following catastrophic declines owing to predation by the introduced brown tree-snake. A captive population survives and is now being bred in captivity on Guam and at some mainland U.S. zoos. The species remains classified as Extinct in the Wild until an introduced population becomes firmly established.

It is a medium-sized rail about 28 cm in total length. The upperparts are chocolate-brown. The underparts are barred black and white. The head and back are brown. It has grey eyebrow, brown iris and a dark blackish breast with white barring. The legs and beak are dark brown.

Galapagos Flightless cormorant

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The Galapagos Flightless Cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi) is one of the rarest birds in the world because it is the only cormorant that has lost the ability to fly. This cormorant is native only to the Galapagos Islands.

The unusual bird measures between 89–100 cm (35–40 in) in length and weighing 2.5–5.0 kg (5.5-11 lbs). The upper body plumage is blackish and the underparts are brown. It has elongated body, long neck, long, hooked bill, and short set-back legs with large, webbed feet.

Tasmanian nativehen

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The Tasmanian nativehen (Tribonyx mortierii) is a stocky flightless bird found only in Tasmania. Although many flightless birds have a history of extinction with the arrival of humans, the Tasmanian nativehen has actually benefited from the introduction of European style agricultural practices that provide easy food for grazing. Although they cannot fly, they are good swimmers and very fast runners. They have been clocked at up to 30 miles per hour.

It stands between 43 and 51 centimetres (17 and 20 in) in length. The upper body is olive brown with a white patch on the flank. The underparts are darker with a bluish grey tinge. The bill is a greenish yellow colour. The short tail and abdomen are black.

Campbell teal

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The Campbell teal (Anas nesiotis) is a small, flightless, nocturnal species of dabbling duck endemic to the Campbell Island group of New Zealand. Both sexes are sexually dimorphic in plumage and size. Females are a uniformly dark brown with a paler abdomen, while males have a green, iridescent head and back, with a chestnut coloured breast. Both sexes have dark brown eyes, prominent white eye-patch, dark-grey bill, legs and feet. The Campbell teal is listed as Endangered because it has an extremely small population.


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The Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), also called owl or night parrot, is a very unusual bird found only in New Zealand. It is the world's rarest, heaviest, and the only flightless nocturnal parrot. The species is known for its beautiful mossy green plumage mottled with brown and yellow. It has very soft feathers and an owl-shaped face. It has short legs, large grey beak, wings and feet. The tail is relatively short. An adult can measure from 58 to 64 cm (23 to 25 in) in length, and weight can vary from 0.95 to 4 kg (2 to 9 lbs). The Kakapo is critically endangered with only 126 known surviving birds as of March 2014.

Inaccessible Island rail

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The Inaccessible Island rail (Atlantisia rogersi) is probably the coolest bird one should ever see - cool in a sense that it lives on an island that is literally inaccessible. This species, the smallest extant flightless bird in the world, is found only on Inaccessible Island in the Tristan Archipelago. Unlike many other islands, Inaccessible Island has remained free from introduced predators, allowing this species to flourish without threats.

The species is characterized by its short black bill, red eyes and greyish legs. It has dark rusty-brown plumage on its upper body and dark grey on underparts. It has an average length of 17 cm (6.7 in) and weight of 30 g (1.1 oz).

Monday, September 7, 2015

17 Adorable Penguin Species

Do you know that there are 17 extant species of penguin. Each species unique from the others. But they share a common thing -- All of the species live in the Southern hemisphere. Majority of these adorable penguin species are found in Antarctica. While a few species are found on the coasts of Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands and South America.

Adelie Penguin

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The Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is the smallest and one of the most common of all Antarctic penguin species. They can be found forming colonies on islands, beaches and shores all around the Antarctic coast. On average, these medium-sized penguins measure 72.2 cm (30 in) and weigh 5.4 kg (11.02 lbs.) The species is easily recognized by the white ring around its eyes and a tail that is longer than that of other species. It also has a red beak, but the tip of it is black. Population: 2.5 million pairs.

African Penguin

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The African or Blackfooted Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) mainly live and breed on islands off the coasts of Southern Africa. African penguins have a black upside down U-shape of their neck with a black chin and face patch separated from the crown by a broad white band. They have black speckles on their chest. Adults measure 62 cm (2.4 ft) in length and weigh about 3.40 kg (7.5 pounds.) The species is currently recognized as 'vulnerable' with an estimated world population of around 70,000 breeding pairs.

Chinstrap Penguin

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The Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) is arguably the most beautiful of penguins. They often live on large icebergs on the open ocean in the Antarctic region. These medium-sized penguins are easily recognised by their white faces and the fine black line running under the lower part of the chin. Adults measure These medium-sized penguins measure about 2 feet tall (61 cm) and weigh about 4.5 kg (10 pounds.) Chinstrap penguins are the most common penguins with a population of about 13 million.

Emperor Penguin

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The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is found on the Antarctic peninsula and southern islands. Breeds during the Antarctic winter from March to December. The species is bigger than any other living penguin, standing up to 1.1 m (27 inches) tall and weighs about 36.5 kg (80.5 pounds.) It is distinguished by its size and the orange "glow" on its cheeks. Population: 7 million pairs.

Erect-crested Penguin

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The Erect-crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) is a fairly known penguin species found only in the New Zealand Subantarctic region. These adorable penguins can be identified by the upright yellow feather plumes of their crests. One of the largest of the crested penguins, it stands about 50 cm (1.64 ft) tall and weighs up to 4 kg (8.8 lbs.) World Population: 170,000 breeding pairs.

Fiordland Penguin

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The Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) is the most timid of the crested penguins. The species is endemic to New Zealand. It is easily distinguished by its sulphur-yellow crest running above the eye and ending in a dropping plume. The head, throat and upperparts are black, and underparts are white. The species measures about 55 cm (1.8 ft) and weighs about 4 kg (8.8 lbs.) World Population: 3,000 breeding pairs.

Galapagos Penguin

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The Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. The species is distinguished by its relatively large black bill and narrow white line around the face. Galapagos Penguins are the smallest of the South American penguins. Full grown ones measure about 50 cm (1.65 ft) and weigh about 2 kg (4.5 lbs.) World Population: less than 1,000 breeding pairs.

Gentoo Penguin

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The Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) live on many of the islands of the Antarctic region but the main colony is on the Falklands. They are characterised by a white patch around and behind the eye that joins on the crown. They have a reddish orange bill and orange feet. They are about 80 cm (31.5 in) and an average weight of 5 kg (11.01 lbs).

Humboldt Penguin

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The Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) is endemic to Northern Chile & Peru. Similar to Magellanic Penguins, but lacks the second dark breast band and has a wider white band around the head. The eyes are reddish brown, and the bill is slightly larger than that of Magellanic penguins. Adults average length of around 70 cm (27.5 in) in height and an average weight of 4 kg (8.8 lbs). The total world population currently stands at around 12,000 breeding pairs.

King Penguin

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The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest penguin and similar in appearance to Emperor penguin. Their population is restricted to the sub-Antarctic belt. They have orange spots near their ears and on the neck. Cheeks are dark orange. The belly is white and the throat is grey-white. Full grown average 12 - 14 kg (26.5 - 30.86 lbs), and an average length of 90 cm (35.4 in). World Population: 2,000,000 breeding pairs.

Little Penguin

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The Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as Little Blue, Blue and Fairy Penguin, is the world’s smallest penguin. The species is widely distributed in Australia and in New Zealand. Upper parts are pale blue to a dark grey-blue depending upon age, season and subspecies. Average length is 43 cm (16.9 in.) and an average weight of 1.2 kg (2.65 lbs.) World Population stands at around 500,000 breeding pairs.

Macaroni Penguin

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The Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) is probably the most abundant of all penguins in terms of total numbers. The distribution of Macaroni Penguin extends from the sub-Antarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula. The species was so named because the yellow and black feathers sticking out of the side of their heads looked like the English hairstyle. This species has orange, not yellow, feather plumes. They average 70 cm (27.5 in) tall and 5.5 kg (12.12 lbs) in weight. World Population: 9,000,000 breeding pairs.

Magellanic Penguin

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The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) was named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw the species in 1519 on his first voyage around the tip of South America. The largest of the warm weather penguins, Magellanic Penguins are only found around the Falkland Islands and South America. The head and upper parts are black apart from two broad white stripes beneath the throat; one running up behind the cheeks and above the eye to join the pinkish gape, the second running adjacent to the white underparts with which they merge above the legs. They are about 70 cm (27.5 in) tall and weigh 4.9 kg (10.8 lbs.) World Population: 1,800,000 breeding pairs.

Rockhopper Penguin

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The Rockhopper Penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) are distinguished from other crested penguins by their smaller size and the decorative yellow feather tufts on their heads. It has a reddish brown bill, distinctive red eyes, and the feet and legs are pink. Adults average 52 cm (20.5 in) an average weight of about 3kg (6.61 lbs.)

World Population:
Southern: 650,000 breeding pairs
Eastern: 800,000 breeding pairs
Northern: 350,000 breeding pairs

Royal Penguin

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The Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) breeds on Macquarie Island. This species is slightly larger than the other crested penguins. Unlike other crested penguins, the Royal Penguin has orange, not yellow, feather plumes. It has a white face. black crown and it has crests which join on the forehead. Adults average 5.2 kg (11.45 lbs.)

Snares Penguin

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The Snares Penguin (Eudyptes robustus) is endemic to the Snares Islands, New Zealand. The head, throat and upperparts are black, and underparts are white. It has a robust conical bill and distinctive red eyes. Adult ones average 50 cm (19.7 in) in length and weigh around 3 kg. (6.6 lbs.) World Population: 30,000 breeding pairs.

Yellow-eyed Penguin

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The Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is endemic to New Zealand. It is considered the rarest of all penguins. Adults have a band of yellow feathers going from the bill, circling the eyes and up around the head. Adults can reach 55 cm (21.65 in) in length and 5.7 kg (12.12 lbs.) There are only an estimated 1,500 breeding pairs of yellow-eyed penguins.