Guira Cuckoo

Guira Cuckoo

Here is another bird that, while it can fly like a kite, sometimes runs. It has two toes pointed forward and two pointed backward, which assist in running along the ground.

The Guira Cuckoo is a very social bird. And by social, I mean they’re loud and like to gossip. They live in flocks of 6 to 18 individuals, but will often have a single nest that is incubated by the community, and this is where things get a little sketchy: Guira Cuckoos will push other eggs out of the nest when no one is looking to decrease competition for their own chicks. Not super nice.

 

Least Concern

Spectacled Owl

Spectacled Owl

If you could have one super sense, what would it be?

Maybe you’d want super hearing so that you could hear what people are saying from the next room!  Maybe super taste so that you really, really, really enjoy those s’mores! Super touch, perhaps? I don’t know what this would be like… Maybe you would really, really enjoy petting a kitten!

Or… super sight! Which brings us to the owl. Most owls, like the Spectacled Owl, have retinas that are densely packed with rod cells. Rod cells help you see in low light. If you watch a movie in school and the teacher turns off the lights, your eye rods are like, “HEY! THIS IS MY TIME!!!” and in about 7 minutes they start activating. They take over the work of the cones: the other type of cell in the eye, the one that perceives color. But when your teacher switches the lights back on, your rods are still saturated and everything is bright, so it takes a few minutes for the cone cells to function again and for the rods to take a back seat until darkness returns.

Spectacled owls look like they wear “spectacles” or “glasses” with those white feathers ringing their eyes, but they certainly don’t need them–because they can see like a boss.

 

Least Concern

Elegant Crested Tinamou

Elegant Crested Tinamou

Birds that prefer running to flying are weird. I mean I’m sure there is a reason that Mother Nature planned it that way. But maybe it isn’t a matter of preference and it’s more of an evolutionary short stick. Afterall, you’re born with all these feathers, you look up and there are birds flying in the sky. You ask your dad Tinamou, “Daddy! Someday, I want to fly high and soar and feel the air in my feathers!” and Dad Tinamou says, “Yeaaaaa. Bad news kid. You’re a Tinamou and therefore a crappy flier.”

Tinamous can fly, but because of short wings, they only fly unsteadily for short distances.  They live in shrubby grasslands and sometimes have a difficult time clearing tall vegetation. Their scientific name is Eudromia elegans. Eu from the Greek meaning well or nicely and dromos meaning running escape. So Nice Running Escape. Pretty good Scientific name. I mean, there are some cool Scientific Names out there like a type of slime-mold beetle which is Gelae donut. Or a fly with a golden buttScaptia [Plinthina] beyonceae.

But if I was a bird who couldn’t fly well I’d at least want a nice running escape.

 

Least Concern

Patagonian Mara

PMara_flat

Patagonia is a cool place. Literally, it’s dry and cool. It’s located at the southern end of South America and is home to glorious mountains (the Andes) and surrounded by the ocean. A rugged beauty filled diverse flora and fauna.  Living in this unrelenting landscape are the Patagonian Mara.

Maras are beautiful rodents who are one of the few animals in the world that are known for stotting (hop, gallop, bounce on all four feet, think of a little lamb bouncing around). They look like a cross between a rabbit and a hamster and enjoy burrowing just as much. Patagonian Maras are one of the very few mammals who are strictly monogamous. STRICTLY MONOGAMOUS. They form a lifelong bond with their mate, which includes peeing on each other to mark their social territory. Imagine, if you will, instead of a diamond engagement ring, your suitor pees on your back.
How romantic.

 http://www.arkive.org/patagonian-mara/dolichotis-patagonum/video-00.html

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened