What are mudflats and why are they important?
The tidal island of Le Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, in the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, constitutes the largest expanse of mudflats in France.
The Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, between Cancale and Granville, covers about 500 square kilometres. The vast mudflats accommodate a diverse range of birds and animals.
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The Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) is also called the Waldrapp Ibis. It is a non-wading bird.
The Northern Bald Ibis has glossy black feathers with an iridescent green and purple sheen. It has a red bald face and head, with a ruff of feathers on its neck. Its red beak is long and downward-curved. It has amber (orange-brown) eyes and pink legs.
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The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) is a large, water bird, living in wetlands.
The Australian Pelican is mostly white, with black wings. It has a white panel on the upper wing and a white V-shape on its back. It has a very large pale-pink beak with a pale-pink pouch. Its eye-ring is pale-yellow. Its eye-ring turns yellow-orange, and the beak changes colour to blue, pink, or red, in the breeding season. Its beak has a small hook at the tip. Its eyes are brown and yellow and its feet are blue-grey, with four webbed toes.
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Plovers are wetland or shorebirds, found on mudflats. Of 64 species worldwide, 27 species are native to Africa.
The Crowned Plover (Vanellus coronatus) has yellow eyes.
The Spur-Winged Plover (Vanellus spinosus) has red eyes.
The Long-Toed Plover (Vanellus charadrius crassirostris) has cherry-red eyes with black pupils.
The Crowned Plover has a black and white crown (top of head).
The Spur-Winged Plover has a black crown.
The Long-Toed Plover has a white crown.
Continue reading “What’s the difference between African Plovers: Crowned, Spur-Winged and Long-Toed?”
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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The Yellow-Billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) is a large wading 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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Pelicans are large white, water birds with long beaks and a large throat pouch.
The Dalmation Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) lives in the Northern Hemisphere, from south-eastern Europe to India and China. It has dirty-grey feathers, with curly feathers on its neck, a pale pink beak with a pale-yellow pouch, pale blue eyes with a white eye-ring, and grey legs. It is the largest pelican. It is 1.6-1.8 metres (4.6-5.7 feet) long with a wingspan of 2.7-3.2 metres (8.9-10.5 feet).
The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) lives in the Southern Hemisphere, in Australian and some surrounding islands, such as Fiji. It has neat features with distinctly black back feathers, a pink beak with a pink pouch, and black eyes with a yellow eye-ring. It is 1.6-1.9 metres (5.2-6.2 feet) long with a wingspan of 2.5-3.4 metres (8.2-11.2 feet).
Continue reading “What’s the Difference between Pelicans: Dalmatian, Australian, Great White, and Pink-Backed?”
The Striated Heron (Butorides striata) also known as the Green-Backed Heron, is a small hunched wetlands bird from the tropical regions of the world, mainly in the southern hemisphere, including west Africa, Japan, Australia, and South America.
The Striated Heron is greenish grey, with a white underbelly, a black cap, and short yellow legs. Its neck is short which makes it looked hunched over. It has a long beak, that has a black upper mandible and a yellow lower mandible.
It can grow to 40-48 centimetres (16-19 inches) tall.
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The Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) is a large wading bird in the Balaenicipitidae family with a beak that looks like a shoe. It is from tropical east Africa, in countries such as South Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia, especially in marshes and wetlands with papyrus plants.
The Shoebill has blue-grey feathers, grey legs with large feet, a short neck, a short grey crest, green-blue eyes, and a large pinkish-grey beak. It has the third longest beak of all birds, after the pelican and the stork.
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The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is a large African waterbird with chocolate-brown eye patches, living close to rivers, lakes, marshes, and estuaries. Alopochen means fox-goose because it has feathers that are the same colour as a fox.
Egyptian Geese have red to grey-brown feathers, with black lower back, rump and tail feathers
There is a narrow, dark reddish-brown collar around the base of their long necks. The wings have iridescent green patches. Their eyes are orange and their beak is pinkish, with a black tip, black nostrils and black edges. Their legs and feet are pinkish, turning redder when in breeding condition.
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What are wetlands?
Wetlands are the areas where water meets the land.
Wetlands include mangrove areas, peatlands, marshes, rivers, lakes, ponds, deltas, floodplains, flooded areas, rice fields, and coral reefs.
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The Black-Winged Stilt(Himantopus himantopus himantopus) is a bird in the Recurvirostridae family of waders. It is a long-legged wading bird. Stilts refer to the long legs, and himantopus means thong foot or strap foot. It is also called the Common Stilt or Pied Stilt.
The Black-Winged Stiltis black and white, with long pink legs and a long, thin black beak. The male has a black back. The female has brownish backs.
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The Crowned Plover (Vanellus coronatus), which is also called the Crowned Lapwing, is from the Red Sea coast of Somalia to southern and southwestern Africa. Coronatus means crown.
It is related to the Black-winged Plover (or Black-winged Lapwing).
The Crowned Plover is a wetland wading bird, with brown and white coloured feathers, and a black crown intersected by an annular white halo. It has a pink beak and pink legs.
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