Monday, May 12, 2014

What Type of Bird is That?

Hello and welcome back!  Have you ever seen a bird and wondered what type it was?

There are almost 10,000 bird species in the world!  In this blog I would like to introduce you to one particular bird we have at the World Bird Sanctuary.
Chrys, our beautiful Long-crested Eagle (Photo by Gay Schroer)  
Meet Chrys, our Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis)!  Unfortunately, he was captured in the wild and was going to be sold on the black market pet trade in the United States in 1987.  The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) rescued him.  When they found him, they found that his beautiful crest had been cut off to try to disguise him as a different bird.  Fortunately, they transferred him to the World Bird Sanctuary in December 1987, and he has been with us ever since.  Chrys is a shy bird, but loves to vocalize when he sees someone he recognizes.

These awesome eagles get their name from the long feathers atop their head.  They are native to Sub-Saharan areas in Africa.  They can be found from Senegal to Ethiopia and Namibia to northern South Africa.  Their main diet is made up of rodents, but they’ll also eat smaller birds, fish, lizards, and arthropods.  Believe it or not, they have also been seen eating figs and mulberries!  This is very unusual since they are birds of prey, which are mainly carnivores (meat eaters).

As with most birds of prey, the females are larger than the males.  The males range from 912g to 1300g (2 lbs to 2.8 lbs) and females range from 1300g to 1500g (2.8 lbs to 3.3 lbs).  Both sexes look the same except the females have longer crests.  They stand from 1.7 to 2 ft tall and have a wingspan from 3.7 to 4.2 ft long.  These eagles are very small in comparison to the Bald Eagle which has a wingspan of 6 to 8 ft. and weighs from 6 lbs to 14 lbs.   Below notice Chrys showing off his wingspan after a rainstorm.
Chrys after a rainstorm (Photo by Lisbeth Hodges)

Long-crested Eagles will build large stick nests in tall leafy green trees near edges of forests.  One to two brown/gray spotted eggs are laid and incubated by the female while the male hunts and stays nearby.  The chicks hatch after 42 days and will fledge (leave the nest) 53-58 days after that. For approximately fourteen days following the fledging, the chicks continue to be fed by the parents before leaving on their own. 

The lifespan for this species in the wild is unknown.  Chrys was an adult when he was rescued so he is at least 27 years old this year.  He looks pretty good to me!  Below you can see a picture of adorable Chrys resting on his perch in his stall.

Photo by Lisbeth Hodges

Chrys is available for adoption in our Adopt a Bird program.  To find out more information, call 636-861-3225.  All adoption donations are tax deductible. 

Chrys can be seen at the Environmental Education Center at the World Bird Sanctuary, which is open daily from 8am-5pm.  Chrys is a very handsome bird.  You should stop on by and visit him! 

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

No comments: