Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Showing posts with label Birds of Crete. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Birds of Crete. Show all posts

Monday, 19 December 2016

SQUACCO HERON [Male] (Ardeola ralloides) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) is small heron of the family Ardeidae which is in the genus Ralloides. It is resident south of the Sahara Desert in western, eastern and south eastern Africa, including Madagascar. There is also a small population in Morocco and Algeria on the North West African coast. In addition, this heron occurs as a summer resident in central and southern Europe as well as in western central Asia. In the autumn, it migrates back to Africa to spend the winter months there. Its diet includes frogs, lizards, small fish and a wide variety of invertebrates. 

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Rawbirds.com

Saturday, 17 December 2016

CHUKAR PARTRIDGE (Alectoris chukar subspecies A. c. cypriotes) Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece

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The Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) or more commonly called Chukar is in the pheasant family Phasianidae which is in the genus Alectoris. It has a widespread distribution which stretches in a wide band from south eastern Europe to eastern China. There are many subspecies recognised including Alectoris chukar cypriotes which occurs on the islands of Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus as well as in parts of Bulgaria and Syria.This gamebird has been widely introduced, for hunting purposes, in many countries including the USA and New Zealand where feral populations have become established.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / rawbirds.com

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus) Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, Cuculiformes, which includes the roadrunners, the anis and the coucals. This species is a widespread summer migrant to Europe and Asia, and winters in Africa. It is a brood parasite, which means it lays eggs in the nests of other bird species, particularly of dunnocks, meadow pipits, and reed warblers. Although its eggs are larger than those of its hosts, the eggs in each type of host nest resemble the host's eggs. The adult too is a mimic, in its case of the sparrowhawk; since that species is a predator, the mimicry gives the female time to lay her eggs without being seen to do so.

Text reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_cuckoo

Saturday, 12 November 2016

RED FOOTED FALCON [Male] (Falco vespertinusi) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) is a small bird of prey in the family falconidae which is in the genus falco. It's breeding range extends from Eastern Europe eastward to Central Asia. In the autumn it migrates south to spend the winter in Southern Africa and in April/May the following year returns to its breeding grounds. Its scientific species name, vespertinus, is Latin for ‘of the evening’ and probably refers to the time of the day when it can be seen hunting.

Text reference: http://www.arkive.org/red-footed-falcon/falco-vespertinus/

Sunday, 30 October 2016

RED FOOTED FALCON [Female] (Falco vespertinusi) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) is a small bird of prey in the family falconidae which is in the genus falco. It breeding range extends from Eastern Europe eastward to Central Asia. In the autumn it migrates south to spend the winter in Southern Africa and in April/May the following year returns to its breeding grounds. Its scientific name, vespertinus, is Latin for ‘of the evening’ and may refer to the time of the day when it can be seen hunting.

Text reference: http://www.arkive.org/red-footed-falcon/falco-vespertinus/

Monday, 24 October 2016

ITALIAN SPARROW [Male] (Passer italiae) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Italian Sparrow (Passer italiae) or Cisalpine Sparrow is a small perching bird in the family Passeridae which is in the genus Passer. It is very closely related to and is intermediate in appearance between House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis). Some authorities treat it as a subspecies of House Sparrow but recent DNA research strongly supports its status as a full species. The Italian Sparrow occurs in Italy and small populations are also found in the adjoining countries of Austria, France, Slovenia and Switzerland. It is also resident on the Greek island of Crete and other Mediterranean islands including Corsica and Malta. 


Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Friday, 14 October 2016

WHINCHAT [Male] (Saxicola rubetra) Pelekaniotikos River, Koundoura, Crete, Greece



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The Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) is a small migratory passerine in the family Muscicapidae and is closely related to the Old World flycatchers. It is a summer breeding resident in Europe and in parts of Western Asia which winters in sub Saharan Africa. Small numbers also winter in north western Africa. The autumn migration south commences from late August. By early April the following year the first of the returning migrants begin to reappear in southern Europe. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small member of the heron family Ardeidae which also includes Bitterns and Herons. It is found in the temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa as well as Australia and New Zealand. Over the last 60 years or so this species has greatly expanded its range including recolonising its former breeding areas in Northern Europe. It first bred in the Caribbean in the mid 1990’s and is increasingly being recorded along the North American eastern seaboard.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Rawbirds.com

Monday, 3 October 2016

LESSER KESTREL [Female] (Falco naumanni) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small migratory bird of prey of the family Falconidae which is in the genus Falco. It is a summer resident which occurs across a narrow band that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards as far as Mongolia and north western China. This colonial breeder has a patchy distribution in southern Europe.
It arrives back from its wintering areas in sub Saharan Africa and Pakistan during April and early May. In addition, there are small non migratory populations mainly in southwest Spain and northwest Africa. Prey items include small birds, invertebrates, reptiles, mice, shrews and voles. It remains in the breeding areas until late August and early September when the return migration south begins. 
 Where their ranges overlaps, it can be easily confused with the closely related Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) especially the females as they are very similar in appearance. The European population is in serious decline probably as a result of overuse of pesticides and rodenticides.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Monday, 12 September 2016

YELLOW LEGGED GULL (Larus michahellis) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) is a large gull of the family Laridae which is in the genus Larus. It breeds mainly in the southern half of Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. There is a post breeding dispersal of part of the European population to winter in Northwest Europe. It was formerly considered a subspecies of Herring Gull (L. argentatus). The genus name is from Latin Larus meaning gull or other large seabird and the species name honours the  zoologist Karl Michahelles.

Two subspecies are generally recognised.
  • Larus michahellis michahellis - western and southern Europe, northwest Africa and the Mediterranean Basin.  
  • Larus michahellis atlantis - Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. This subspecies is also known as Atlantic Gull and is potentially a full species. Birds breeding on the Atlantic coasts of Morocco, Portugal and Galicia in Spain (and spreading north from there) are usually also included here but are sometimes considered to be a third subspecies Larus michahellis lusitanius.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow-legged_gull

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

RED RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece


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The Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) is a migratory member of the family Hirundinidae which is in the genus Cecropis. World wide, there are 74 species of Hirundines (Swallows and Martins). In addition, the only known record of the Red Sea Cliff Swallow (Hirundo perdita) was of one found dead at Sanganeb Lighthouse, Sudan in May 1984. 
 It is mainly a summer resident in the temperate regions of southern Europe, Morocco in northwest Africa as well as parts of western, central and eastern Asia. Its range extends from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards to Japan. There are also non migratory populations resident in tropical Africa and in South East Asia. This insectivorous species feeds exclusively on small flying insects, mainly flies and midges. Outside of the breeding season, it is a very rare but annual overshooting spring and autumn migrant to northern Europe. 
  The European, Moroccan and northern Asian populations migrate south in the autumn to spend the winter in sub Saharan Africa, the India sub-continent and northern Australia. 

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Saturday, 13 August 2016

LESSER KESTREL [Male] (Falco naumanni) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small migratory bird of prey of the family Falconidae which is in the genus Falco. It is a summer resident which occurs across a narrow band that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards as far as Mongolia and north western China. This colonial breeder has a patchy distribution in southern Europe.
It arrives back from its wintering areas in sub Saharan Africa and Pakistan during April and early May. In addition, there are small non migratory populations mainly in southwest Spain and northwest Africa. Prey items include small birds, invertebrates, reptiles, mice, shrews and voles. It remains in the breeding areas until late August and early September when the return migration south begins. 
 Where their ranges overlaps, it can be easily confused with the closely related Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) especially the females as they are very similar in appearance. The European population is in serious decline probably as a result of overuse of pesticides and rodenticides.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Saturday, 30 July 2016

COMMON LINNET (Linaria cannabina subspecies L. c. mediterranea) male, Moni Gouvernetou Monastery, Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina) is a small perching bird of the finch family Fringillidae which is in the genus Linaria. It derives its scientific name from its fondness for hemp and its English name from its liking for seeds of flax, from which linen is made. It is found in Europe but is absent from Iceland and the northern parts of Scandinavia. It also occurs in Western Asia and has a limited distribution in North West Africa and the Middle East. 

There are seven subspecies generally recognised:
  • Linaria cannabina autochthona - occurs in Scotland     
  • Linaria cannabina cannabina - occurs in northern Europe, eastwards to central Siberia. It is a partial migrant, wintering in north Africa and southwest Asia
  • Linaria cannabinabella - occurs in Middle East, eastwards to Mongolia and northwestern China
  • Linaria cannabina mediterranea - occurs on the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Greece, northwest Africa and on the Mediterranean islands
  • Linaria cannabina guentheri - occurs on Madeira Island
  • Linaria cannabina meadewaldoi - occurs on the Western Canary Islands (El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria)
  • Linaria cannabina harterti - occurs on the Eastern Canary Islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura)
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_linnet

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) is a medium sized shorebird or wader of the family Scolopacidae which is in the genus Tringa. It is a summer resident which breeds across a wide band that stretches from the uplands of Scotland, where 10 to 25 pairs breed annually, to Scandinavia eastward to the Pacific coast of Asia. This long distant migrant spends the winter in sub Saharan Africa, southern Asia and parts of Australia. During spring and autumn, it is irregularly encountered outside its normal range as a scarce or rare overshooting migrant. 

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Sunday, 24 July 2016

CRESTED LARK (Galerida cristata) Akrotiri Peninsula, Chania, Crete, Greece


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The Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) is a small songbird and is one of 82 species of lark in the family Alaudidae which is in the genus Galerida. It is commonly found across most of the temperate regions of Europe and Asia but is absent from northwest and northern Europe as well as northern Asia. It also occurs in the northern half of  Africa as far south as Niger. It is sedentary by nature and is only a rare vagrant outside the normal range.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Thursday, 21 July 2016

EUROPEAN STONECHAT [Female] (Saxicola rubicola subspecies S. r. rubicola) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Crete, Greece


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The European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) is a small passerine in the family Muscicapidae which is in the genus Saxicola. It is closely related to the Old World flycatchers. Stonechats breed in a variety of open type habitats including coastal headlands, sand dunes and heath land. It is a partial migrant, in particular the northeastern part of the population which moves south to winter in southern Europe and north Africa.
There are two subspecies generally recognised.   
  •  Saxicola rubicola hibernans occurs in north-western Europe including Britain, Ireland, France and Norway.  
  •  Saxicola rubicola rubicola occurs in central, eastern and southern Europe as well as northern Morocco and south-eastern Turkey.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Sunday, 17 July 2016

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is a large wading bird of the family Threskiornithidae which is in the genus Plegadis. The scientific name derives from Ancient Greek plegados and Latin falcis, both meaning sickle and referring to the distinctive shape of the bill.
 This is the most widespread ibis species, breeding in scattered sites in the warm regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, as well as the Atlantic and Caribbean regions of the Americas. 
 This species is migratory, most European birds winter in Africa and in North America birds from north of the Carolinas winter farther south. Birds from other populations may disperse widely outside the breeding season.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossy_ibis

Saturday, 2 July 2016

COMMON CHAFFINCH [Female] (Fringilla coelebs subspecies F. c. schiebeli) Agia Marina, Crete, Greece


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The Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) or Eurasian Chaffinch is a small tree nesting finch in the family Fringillidae which is in the genus Fringilla. It is found throughout Europe but is absent from Iceland and also occurs in Western Asia as well as parts of North Africa. The northern populations are migratory and winter in the southern part of it's range. There are many subspecies recognised including Fringilla coelebs schiebeli which occurs on Crete and also in Southern Greece and Turkey. 

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) Pelekaniotikos River, Koundoura, Crete, Greece


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The Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) is a small Old World passerine in the family Muscicapidae which is in the genus Muscicapa. It is the commonest and the most widespread flycatcher found in Europe and western Asia. It is one of five species of migratory flycatcher which are summer breeding residents in Europe. In late spring, it returns from its wintering areas in southern Africa and southwestern Asia. Its preferred habit is open deciduous woodland. Main prey items include small flying invertebrates and caterpillars. By September with its food supply in decline, the return migration south begins.  

Text © www.rawbirds.com

Saturday, 18 June 2016

(EASTERN) SUBALPINE WARBLER (Sylvia cantillans subspecies S. c. albistriata) Moni Gouvernetou Monastery, Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans) is a migratory passerine in the family Sylviidae which is in the genus Sylvia. It breed in Northwest Africa, Southern Europe and Western Turkey. It feeds on small invertebrates as well as soft fruits. In the autumn, it migrates south to spend the winter in sub Saharan Africa. 
There are four subspecies which are divided into two groups: 
  •  The Western Subalpine Warbler includes both S. c. inornata which breeds in northwest Africa and S. c. iberiae which breeds on the Iberian Peninsula, in southeastern France and northwest Italy.
  • The Eastern Subalpine Warbler includes both S. c. cantillans which breeds in the southern half of Italy and S. c. albistriata which breeds in the Western Balkans, Greece (including the island of Crete) and Western Turkey. 
 The Moltoni's Warbler (Sylvia subalpina) which breeds in Mallorca, Corsica, Sardinia and parts of northern Italy is a closely related species that was previously treated as a fifth subspecies S. c. moltonii. In northern Italy there is zone of intergradation between Moltoni's Warbler and Eastern Subalpine Warbler. 

Text © rawbirds.com 

Map of the breeding ranges of all five former taxa of the Subalpine Warbler complex. The grey zone in the north of Italy is of the intergradation between subalpina and cantillans. The points are locations with proven cases of sympatry. The map constructed by Lars Svensson from Shirihai et al (2001), Brambilla et al (2006), and comments from M. Ullman (© Lars Svensson).

Source:
Svensson, L. (2013a): A taxonomic revision of the Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 133: 240-248.
Svensson, L. (2013b): Subalpine Warbler variation and taxonomy. British Birds106: 651-668.