maandag 3 december 2012

Australian Shelduck + Gulls

Gulls are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to theterns (family Sternidae), auks andskimmers, and more distantly to thewaders. Most gulls belong to the large genus Larus. Apart from the kittiwakes, gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea.

Most gulls, particularly Larus species, are ground nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. The live food often includes crabs and small fish. Many species of gull have learned to co-exist successfully with man and have thrived in human habitats. Others rely on kleptoparasitism* to get their food (*form of feeding where one animal takes prey from another). [source: avianweb]

The Australian Shelduck is a large, brightly coloured duck with a small head and bill. The male head and neck are black, tinged green, with a white neck ring and occasionally a white ring around the base of the bill. The upper parts are mainly black, while the underparts are dark brown with a cinnamon breast. White upperwing coverts form a white shoulder patch. The wings are black and deep chestnut with a large green speculum (window in wing). The female has a white eye-ring and a chestnut breast. This species is also known as the Chestnut-breasted Shelduck, Mountain Duck and Sheldrake.

The Australian Shelduck can be found in south western and south eastern parts of Australia. It is a vagrant (only occasionally seen) north to the Kimberley region of Western Australia and in Central Australia. [source:]

Thank you very much Heather! Your cards are just simply the best :)

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