|Nightjar chick. |
Nightjar chick: Not just another blob of lichen, this huddled gray mass is really a nightjar chick. This bird has very weak legs, so instead of perching in a tree, the mother bird rests its chick in a bed of leaves at the roadside. We found its mother seated comfortably in a dip in the road nearby where she stayed all morning, flapping up to move a few feet only when she thought we were getting too close.
Nightjars are from the family Caprimulgidae, which consists of 84 different species. Their distribution is scattered worldwide with most species concentrated in the tropics. Nightjars are typically most active during the night when they fly with beak wide-open, consuming insects on the go. In South America, most male nightjar species are noted for having incredibly long and spectacular looking tails. But despite their magnificent plumage, nightjars are masters of camouflage – especially the blackish nightjar (Caprimulgus nigrescens). Some indigenous people in the Amazon region believe that the blackish nightjars represent ghosts, and killing one will lead to misfortune.
|Hummingbird at rest.|
Hummingbird in profile: Speaking of hard to see! I happened on this hummingbird in one of its rare moments of rest (you can see its profile in the center of the photo). This bird is usually on the go, frantically trying to supply its small body with plenty of sugar in the form of nectar.
There are 320 species of hummingbirds known to the scientific community and all are found only in the Americas. This group also includes the world's smallest bird (males are only 5.7 centimeters in length), the bird with the fewest feathers, and the bird with the highest wing beats per minute (80). Hummingbirds also have the most rapid metabolism of any bird, with its average heartbeat being about 1,260 beats per minute!
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