The Kiwikiu lives as long as 16 years, choosing a single mate and remaining loyal throughout its life. Reproducing slowly, usually producing only a single chick every year or two, the young birds mature slowly, too. Immature birds remain with their parents from five months to over a year.
The Kiwikiu uses its heavy, specialized bill to split branches and extract insect larvae, the bird’s primary prey.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Centronyx henslowii POPULATION: 390,000 TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Breeds in weedy grasslands with scattered scrubs; winters in coastal savanna or Longleaf Pine forest. Requires dense groundcover in all seasons.
Henslow’s Sparrow has a unique olive-green head and nape, it often goes unnoticed. The birds take flight only reluctantly, preferring to run through the grass when threats appear. The best way to find this bird is by listening for its very distinctive song, a quiet, abrupt “see-LICK” that sounds for all the world like an avian hiccup.
Although males establishing territories sit within binocular range while singing this odd song, they often remain unseen. Henslow’s Sparrows most often “hiccup” from deep within the brushy, grassy habitat the species favors. And they are very persistent singers: Males sometimes sing every few seconds, day and night, around the clock. Deep in the night on a quiet prairie, these brief songs and insect noises will often be the only sounds.
The Blue-billed Curassow is one of the birds closest toextinctionin the Americas. It belongs to a group of large, ground-dwelling tropical birds that are closely related to turkeys. Some say the birds are just as tasty as domestic turkeys, and unfortunately, harvesting the birds and eggs for food is an ongoing problem.
Blue-billed Curassow populations have also declined dramatically due tohabitat loss. Huge areas of lowland forest in the bird’s former range have been razed for livestock and crops, illegal coca farms, oil extraction, and mining. Although the species has been seen infrequently at other sites in Colombia, theAlliance for Zero Extinctionhas recognized a small portion of the Magdalena Valley as most critical for the curassow’s survival. This appears to be home to one of the last viable populations for the species.
Superb Lyrebird Might Be the Fanciest Bird in the World
The male Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) puts the many ways to be fancy together in dazzling fashion. On a carefully cleared patch of forest floor, he begins by fanning elaborate tail plumes over his head, then coordinates a precisely timed song-and-dance sequence.
He finishes off with a rapid-fire recital of borrowed songs. This makes him one of the few birds in the world that combine elaborate plumes, mimicked song, and formalized dance steps in courtship displays. Because the display is complex and takes a lot of practice to perfect, only the most accomplished males are chosen as mates. Lyrebirds are native to eastern Australia.