CREATURE FEATURE: Cockatiel

The Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) is an Australian cockatoo, living in the native bush but also a favourite pet. It is the smallest of the cockatoo family, the Cacatuidae.

The Cockatiel has grey feathers with white patches on the wings. The male has a yellow or white face, while the female has a grey face. Both males and females have a round orange patch on their ears, which looks like rosy cheeks. It has a crest that rises or lies flat. It has long tail feathers.

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Safari Ants

Safari Ants (Dorylus), found in central and eastern Africa, are also known as Driver Ants, Army Ants. They can grow up to 2 centimetres (1 inch) long.

Safari Ants are red or red-black with a head, an abdomen, and a thorax. The drones are larger than the soldier ants, and the queen ant is the largest ant in the colony. Soldier Safari Ants have a large head with mandibles (jaws) that look like crab pincers. All worker Safari Ants are blind and don’t have eyes. They communicate by touch and scent (called pheromones).

Safari Ants live in large colonies, which can contain over 20 million individuals. Colonies are nomadic. They travel in a long column that travels abut 20 metres (65.5 feet) an hour. The small ants move inside the column with the large soldier ants on the outside to protect them. Large numbers of ants can kill small animals.

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European Robin

The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula caucasicus) is also called Robin Redbreast or Red Robin. It is a small passerine bird in the chat family, found across Europe. The caucasicus sub-species is found in the Caucasus, such as the in the county Georgia.

The European Robin is grey-brown with an orange-red breast and face, with a white belly. Its legs and feet are brown. The beak and eyes are black. The male and female are similar.

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Great Tit

The Great Tit (Parus major) is a common and widespread passerine found throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa. It is not migratory.

The Great Tit has a distinctive black head and neck, large white cheeks, olive upperparts and yellow underparts. Its wings are green to blue-grey with white wing-bars. The tail is blue-grey with white tips.

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Spotted-Necked Otter

 

The Spotted-Necked Otter (Hydrictis maculicollis) is an African otter. It is found in freshwater lakes across Africa, particularly Lake Victoria.

The Spotted-Necked Otter has chocolate brown to reddish brown fur, with white spots on its chest, neck, and throat. It has a short nose, round ears, and a nose pad (like a dog). It has short legs with webbed feet for swimming, but also walks on land. This is called semi-aquatic. Their long, slender body is also streamlined for swimming.

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Bewick’s Tundra Swan

 

The Bewick’s Tundra Swan (Cygnus bewickii) is a smaller Eurasian waterfowl than the Mute Swan. It lives across Europe into southern Russia and China.

It is white with a yellow and black beak, a yellow eye-ring, and a rounded head. It has dark-grey legs.

The Bewick’s Tundra Swan can grow to 115-140 centimetres (45-55 inches) tall.

It is a migratory bird, flying to warmer climates in winer in a V-formation flock.

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Mute Swan

The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a Eurasian waterfowl that lives across Europe into southern Russia and China. It is called mute because it is not as vocal as other species of swans.

The Mute Swan is white with an orange or orange-yellow beak that is bordered with black. It has black legs.

Birds do not have teeth, but the swan has serrated edges that look like teeth. They are plates called lamellae. The lamellae are useful for sifting water for plants and algae, and also frogs, worms, snails and small fish.

It grows to 125-170 centimetres (49-67 inches) tall. It is the second largest waterfowl (the Trumpeter Swan is the largest), and it is one of the heaviest flying birds.

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Barbary Sheep

The Barbary Sheep (Ammotragus lervia) is a species of goat-antelope, called a caprid. It lives in the mountains of North Africa in countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Sudan, and Morocco.

Barbary Sheep are light-brown with a slightly lighter underbelly and a darker line across the back. As the sheep ages, its colour becomes darker. Its legs are reddish-brown or grey-brown. It has shaggy hair on its throat. Their smooth horns curve outward, backward, and then inward.

They are ungulates because they have hooves. They are very agile and can climb rocky hills. They can also jump.

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Yellow-Necked Spurfowl

The Yellow-Necked Spurfowl (Pternistis leucoscepus) is also called the Yellow-Necked Francolin. It is an East African bird, found in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The Yellow-Necked Spurfowl is a medium-sized terrestrial (ground) bird with dark-grey feathers, flecked with white. It has a grey head, a red mask around its eyes, and a yellow patch on its neck. It has a short, dark-grey beak and dark-grey legs.

Each of their legs has one short spur at the back. A spur is an outgrowth of bone, similar to a horn. Only spurfowl, turkeys, and guineafowl have spurs on the back of their legs. The spurs might be used in defense.

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Alligator Teeth, Crocodile Teeth

Alligator teeth and crocodile teeth are different.

An alligator has a large, fourth tooth in the lower jaw that fits into a socket in the upper jaw.

A crocodile does not have a fourth tooth in the lower jaw.

An alligator’s teeth are not visible when the mouth is closed.

A crocodile’s teeth are visible when the mouth is closed.

Both alligators and crocodiles have between 74 and 80 teeth. As they wear down, they are replaced. They can have 3,000 teeth in a lifetime. Continue reading “Alligator Teeth, Crocodile Teeth”

What’s the difference between Ostriches: Masai Ostrich and Somali Ostrich

The Masai Ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus) is also called the Pink-Necked Ostrich or the East African Ostrich.

The Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) is also called the Blue-Necked Ostrich.

The male Masai Ostrich has a featheless pink neck, pink thighs, and pink legs.

The male Somali Ostrich has a featherless blue neck, grey thighs, and grey legs.

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Somali Ostrich

The Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) is also called the Blue-Necked Ostrich. It is a ratite, related to emus, rheas, cassowaries, kiwi, and the Masai Ostrich. It is native to the Horn of Africa and Somalia.

It is a large, flightless black bird with white tail feathers, a featherless blue-grey neck and grey thighs. The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is grey. The male’s neck and thighs are blue-grey, and become brighter in mating season. Females and young males are brown.

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Masai Ostrich

The Masai Ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus) is also called the Pink-Necked Ostrich or the East African Ostrich. It is a ratite, related to emus, rheas, cassowaries, and kiwi.

The Masai Ostrich is the largest bird in the world, growing to 2-3 metres (7-9 feet) tall. Their wingspan is about 2 metres (6.5 feet).

It is a large, flightless black bird with white tail feathers, a featherless pink neck and pink thighs. The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is pinkish grey. The male’s neck and thighs are pink, and become brighter in mating season. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white.

They have the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. Their legs have no feathers. The Masai Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.

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Yellow-Billed Stork

The Yellow-Billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) is a large wading, or wetlands, bird from sub-Saharan Africa (mainly East Africa) and Madagascar. Although its scientific name is Mycteria ibis, it is not an ibis.

It is white with a short black tail and a deep yellow beak (bill), which is slightly decurved at the end. Its face and forehead has deep red skin and its legs are pink.

The Yellow-Billed Stork wades in shallow water with high-steps. It is a medium-sized wader, growing to 90–105 centimetres (35–41 inches) tall.

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