Category Archives: example: birds

Falcons and hawks, pearls and pygmies: parallels among the smallest

A previous post already described how falcons and hawks evolved independently of each other about 80 million years ago, the former in South America, the latter in Africa. In addition to the many similarities between the two distinct groups of … Continue reading

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Of Falcons and Hawks: Rules for Birds of Prey

Birders are well-aware of the recent change in their checklists, which annoyingly relocates the falcons away from hawks, eagles, and other diurnal birds of prey, and puts them deep among the little birds– just before flycatchers. Here is the dramatic … Continue reading

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Of Mousebirds and Bushtits: Rules for Gregarious Gray Family Groups

This is one of those easy comparisons that any birder with experience in western North America and sub-Saharan Africa can make. Growing up in California, I was quite familiar with Bushtits. Little gray birds with long tails and stubby bills, … Continue reading

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Of Hummingbirds and Sunbirds: Rules for Jewels

Early European explorers were amazed by the hummingbirds of the Americas, with their dazzling colors and ability to hover and even fly backwards.  Across Africa, Asia, and Australia, however, hummingbirds have a near-equal.  While not quite able to maneuver as … Continue reading

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Of Bobolinks and Bishops: Rules for Conspicuous Grassland and Wetland Birds

Low Open Grasslands In the simplest terms, our story begins over 50 million years ago with a single species of bird.  This bird looked nothing like a meadowlark or a longclaw; those were still millions of years in the future.  … Continue reading

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