Part of our mission here at NTS Seabirds is to seek out and find certain species of birds.
Whether these are endangered species that need to be catalogued or simply a particular breed that one of us has a soft spot for – each year we each set our targets and head forth into the world to find them.
All of us here at NTS Seabirds travel on small budgets, we have full-time occupations and spend our annual leave on expeditions to the disparate corners of the globe – in search of the birds that we long to see. These are the birds at the top of our list this year:
A true beauty and wonder of nature. Although this particular breed has been introduced to New Zealand and Hong Kong, it’s more commonly found in Australia, it’s native country. Easily recognisable by it’s vibrant technicolor plumage, one of us is going to have to make a long journey in order to find it in the coastal bush of Australia.
First spotted and named in 1909 by British zoologist Walter Rothschild, this bird, sometimes known as the African green broadbill, is something of a black sheep. Although Rothschild originally thought of it as a ‘pseudo’ broadbill, it is today regarded as a genuine member of the genus and one of just a handful of it’s kind that live in Africa.
Austen’s brown hornbill
Named after the famed topographer and mountaineer Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen, this large species of hornbill is found in the far flung forests of Asia. Northeastern India, Southern Vietnam and Northern Thailand are all viable destinations to find this species which is known for it’s varied diet that includes fruits, eggs and even bats or snakes.
Breeding in the swamps and marshes of the snow forests of Siberia, this critically endangered creature is recognised by it’s short small body, brown heart-shaped spots and long narrow bill. The Slender-billed curlew is growing more elusive with each passing day this is compounded by the fact that it is a migratory creature, calling no particular part of the world home. It can be spotted in Western Europe, Canada and even Japan.
Favouring the dry, arid habitats of desert and the Savannah, this grand bird of prey breeds in the cooler climates of Romania and Russia before heading to it’s preferred hotter climes. Mostly feeding on carrion, the Steppe eagles are also known to pick off small rodents and other birds. Although this species has now been given the conservation status of ‘threatened’, at the right time of year migrations can be witnessed in Nepal of as many as 15 birds per hour. We can only hope that we’ll get so lucky!