Archiv der Kategorie: anything else

Visit at the ‚Tiere im Turm‘ exhibition on the Friedenstein castle in Gotha

This exhibition is a small part of what once was the ‚Naturkundemuseum Gotha‘, it is now placed in a single floor of one tower the Friedenstein castle and consists of a hand full of stuffed animals including some birds.

One thing that is immediately noticeable is the darkness in all the rooms, almost as if this exhibition was planned by – or for vampires, that’s stupid!

In one of the first showcases are some animals that are alternately illuminated one after the other, among them is this plastic model of a Chinstrap Penguin that seems to drift around in the nothingness of space and time ….:

Space Penguin Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica)

Another room shows some animals from Antarctica, all with the German names only, scientific names are not used, and the whole exhibition seems to be made especially for children, which is actually a thing that many museums think they need to do for what reasons ever ….

This is probably the only room that is not pitch black, by the way.:

some Antarctic (or rather subantarctic) birds in two showcases
Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea)
Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus), one of my favorite birds … somewhat

Another room is dedicated to the biodiversity of the tropics, and here we find, well, maybe about twenty birds (this time with their scientific names attached), some five mammals, a hand full of insects without any names and … animal sounds from speakers, that are extremely annoying because they are way too loud!

… and this room again is as dark as – I don’t know – a rainforest at night maybe.:

an example for the lighting concept of the exhibition
Short-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon portmani)
Brassy-breasted Tanager (Tangara desmaresti)

The last room of the exhibition is dedicated to European native nocturnal animals, so there’s basically no light at all … which is a lot of fun if you want to take some photographs of something ….:

Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus)
Little Owl (Athene noctua)

In the museum shop I found this cheap book about the bird specimens that still are hidden in the depots of the former ‚Naturkundemuseum‘; it must be nearly a thousand specimens or more which once were all shown to the public, as I can well remember from my childhood days.:

The current exhibition exists since 2010 and nothing was changed or added despite plans to relocate all of the specimens from the former museum into the castle where they are supposed to get more space, that’s a great shame because at least the bird collection is indeed one of the largest in Europe and contains some extremely valuable specimens!


edited: 31.10.2021

Birds of Polynesia – lesser-known depictions: William Bligh

These four watercolor paintings date from 1792 and were made by the infamous Captain William Bligh himself, the captain of the HMS Providence, who had come to Tahiti on a mission to transport breadfruit trees and other botanical material from the Pacific to the West Indies.

These pictures were made on the island of Tahiti; three of the depicted species are now no longer found on that island and the Black-fronted Parakeet is even extinct completely.


The Erropai or large Pidgeon of Otaheite / Polynesian Imperial Pigeon (Ducula aurora)
Oo-oopah or Otaheite Doves / Grey-green Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus purpuratus)
The green Paraques of Otaheite, called from the noise they make Ah Ah or Ahah / Black-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus zealandicus)
The small blue Paroquet of Otaheite called Aiwinnee / Blue Lorikeet (Vini peruvianus)

Depictions from: ‘Watercolours of William Bligh, Commander in Her Majesty’s Navy (1791-93)’

(public domain)


edited: 20.10.2021

Birds of Polynesia – lesser-known depictions: John Webber

This artwork was made by John Webber (1751 – 1793), an English artist of Swiss origin who accompanied Captain James Cook on his third voyage from 1776 to 1780; the painting was apparently made in Tahiti based on a living bird.


Parroquet of Tahaite / Blue Lorikeet (Vini peruviana)

Depiction by John Webber; 1777

The Trustees of the British Museum

(under creative commons license (4.0)


edited: 19.10.2021

Birds of Polynesia – lesser-known depictions: Sarah Stone

This depiction with its vivid blue colors was made in about 1785 by Sarah Stone (ca. 1760 – 1844), an almost unknown artist who apparently lived in London and produced many watercolor depictions of birds using stuffed specimens.


Parokets of Oteheate / Blue Lorikeet (Vini peruviana)

Depiction from: ‘George Raper: Birds of Australia and South Seas. Original drawings 1788-90. from E. Cane’

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

(You can copy this item for personal use, share it, and post it on a blog or website. It cannot be used commercially without permission, please ask us for advice. If reproducing this item, please maintain the integrity of the image)


edited: 19.10.2021

Vögel Polynesiens – weniger bekannte Darstellungen: Roland Green

Die beiden folgenden Darstellungen stammen von Roland Green (1890-1972), einem englischen Maler, der sich offenbar auf Säuger- und vor allem Vogelbilder spezialisiert hatte und dessen Abbildungen sehr lebensecht wirken.

Beide Bilder wurden wohl direkt für die dazugehörigen Artikel im ‚Avicultural Magazine‘ angefertigt und stammen demzufolge aus den 1930ern.


Saphirlori (Vini peruviana)

Darstellung aus: ‚J. Delacour: The Tahiti Blue Lory (Coriphilus peruvianus). The Avicultural Magazine Ser. 5, Vol. 1(3): 65-66. 1936‘

(public domain)
Rubinlori (Vini kuhlii)

Darstellung aus: ‚J. Delacour: The Ruby Lori (Vini kuhli). The Avicultural Magazine Ser.5, Vol. 1(5): 127-128. 1936‘

(public domain)


bearbeitet: 08.10.2021

Bullshit from David Peters‘ Website – Eofringillirostrum – a tiny Eocene crake, not a finch

posted on February 11, 2019

Ksepka, Grande and Mayr 2019 describe two Early Eocene congeneric bird species. Eofringillirostrum parvulum (Fig. 1) is from Germany, 47mya. Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi from Wyoming, 52mya.

Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi, E. parvulum (Ksepka, Grande and Mayr 2019; IRSNB Av 128a+b; FMNH PA 793; early Eocene; < 10cm long with feathers) was originally considered a finch and a relative of Pumiliornis, a wren-sized Middle Eocene spoonbill. Here Eofringillirostrum nests as a phylogenetically miniaturized corn crake (below). The rail, Crex, is ancestral to chickens, sparrows, moas and parrots, so Eofringillirostrum probably had a Cretaceous origin. A distinctly long fourth toe  was considered capable of being reversed, but no sister taxa with a similar long toe ever reverse it for perching until, many nodes later, parrots appear.

No, if Mr. Peters would just once actually read the papers he is talking about he would have noticed that no one ever considered these two birds to be finches!

No, again, Pumiliornis is not a spoonbill, no matter how hard Mr. Peters wishes!

The genus Crex is not the ancestor of the abovementioned bird genera! 

Corn crake are not ‘perching birds’.  As we learned earlier, taxa formerly considered members of Passeriformes are a much smaller list in the LRT. Birds capable of perching arise in several clades by convergence.
The corn crake is omnivorous but mainly feeds on invertebrates, the occasional small frog or mammal, and plant material including grass seed and cereal grain. It is not a perching bird, but prefers grasslands

I don’t think that Mr. Peters understands the concept of convergence, however, here he is using it right (more or less), maybe by chance ….

According to the LRT, Eofringillirostrum is not a finch, not a seed eater and not a ‘perching bird’ (in the classic sense, but likely evolved perching by convergence) according to phylogenetic analysis and phylogenetic bracketing.)

Right, it is not a finch – but: no one ever said that except for Mr. Peters …. 

It may very well have been a seed eater – just take a look at its beak, it’s a typical seed-eater beak ….

Why is it not a perching bird in the classic sense? The term >perching bird< is not a strictly scientific one, it just refers to birds that are able to sit on a twig by grabbing it with their toes, so …?


edited: 02.08.2021

More bullshit from David Peters‘ Website – The jabiru: a long-legged kingfisher, not a stork

This abomination was created by David Peters on October 24, 2017 and I have no words to describe how much it hurts reading that stuff!

The jabiru: a long-legged kingfisher, not a stork

Or maybe kingfishers (genus: Megaceryle, Fig. 1) are just neotonous [sic] (juvenile-like) jabirus (genus: Jabiru, Figs. 2, 3). Certainly the jabiru, with its solid beak, ventrally convex jawline and high small naris, are not like other storks.

Well, has he ever looked at other storks?

Megaceryle alcyon (Linneaus [sic] 1758), the extant belted kingfisher, had an enlarged beak on an enlarged skull with a shorter neck. As in parrots, by convergence, the nares have migrated back to the orbit.

Since this species is still extant it did not had, it has …, and all kingfishers have enlarged beaks on enlarged skulls and shorter necks ….

Jabiru mycteria (Lichtenstein 1819) was a stork-like kingfisher nesting between the stilt/hummingbird clade and the murre/penguin clade (what variety!) Note the high small naris on the ventrally convex rostrum, as in the belted kingfisher.

That is the part that really hurts, the Jabiru is a perfect stork, and the photo DP has chosen to show on his website shows one that has his legs covered in its own feces – something that all storks do to cool down their body temperature, kingfishers, however, don’t … and a stilt/hummingbird- or a murre/penguin clade does not exist ….

If this turns out to be a case of convergence, and it might… that will come with the addition of more taxa. We’ll see…

This is the only time DP mentions convergence, a concept that he usually doesn’t seem to understand … yep, if two species share a similar way of life they may have more or less identical adaptions to that lifestyle (for example: everything that’s living in the water has some fins or flukes of some kind …).

So, in fact, DP says that the Jabiru must be a kingfisher because – and only because – of its beak! He doesn’t think about the hundreds of other features that this species doesn’t have in common with kingfishers but firmly clings to this one – a beak adapted to catch wiggly prey. Wow!

Like already said before, having outlandish ideas is okay, promoting them as being the one and only truth is insane!


To show you what we talk about here, here are some photographs of the bird species mentioned in the post.:

Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria (Lichtenstein))

Photo: Bernard Dupont

(under creative commons license (2.0))
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon (L.))

Photo: Andy Morffew

(under creative commons license (2.0))


BTW: There is even a so-called Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis (L.)), a species that DP probably never has heard of, otherwise he probably would have chosen this one for his “strange suggestions”.

Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis (L.))

Photo: Lip Kee

(under creative commons license (2.0))


edited: 31.07.2021 

Just some bullshit found on David Peters‘ website ….

This was posted on David Peters’ website on June 6, 2018.:

Pumiliornis tesellatus [sic] is a wren-sized (shown larger than actual size) Messel pit bird that was originally (Mayr 1999) considered an enigma and later (Mayr 2008) allied with cuckoos. In the large reptile tree (LRT, 1225 taxa) tiny Pumiliornis nests with Platalea, the spoonbill (Fig. 2) as a phylogenetic miniature, close to, but not quite related to the parallel, short-legged genesis of ducks and geese.

I’m not quite sure what this “short-legged genesis” is supposed to be, but the length of the legs does not indicate any relationships between birds but has much more to do with their way of life!

Presbyornis, currently at the base of ducks, still has long legs and a long neck. More derived taxa in the duck branch lose their long legs, although some, like the swan and goose, retain a long neck.

What does that have to do with the genus Pumiliornis or with spoonbills?

Pumiliornis tessellatus (Mayr 1999, 2008; 6cm long; middle Eocene). This wren-sized relative to spoonbills and ancestor to ducks has a spatulate beak tip. This is a neotonous [sic] form of the long-legged spoonbill with juvenile size and proporitons [sic] representing the genesis of a new clade. This fossil contains fossil grains in the cloacal area (white box). Note that no webbing is preserved between the toes. Spoonbills also lack webbed toes.


No, it is not a relative of the spoonbills, and it is not at all an ancestor to ducks, which by the way already existed anyway back then, which again would make it even harder to be their ancestor ….

No, its beak tip isn’t spathulate ….

Yep, Pumiliornis was a very small bird – that doesn’t make it neotenous, at least not more so than any other Passeriform bird, which are indeed thought of as being somewhat neotenous compared to non-passeriform birds.

No, its proportions are not those of a juvenile spoonbill ….

Yep, the fossil contains fossil grains – pollen grains, since it obviously was a nectar-feeding bird with an elongated beak as is typical for nectar-feeding birds …. 

No, Spoonbills do not lack webbing on their toes, they actually have small webs along the bases of their toes ….


To think that a small nectar-feeding perching bird is the ancestor of ducks and a relative of spoonbills is, well, funny. To promote that bullshit as if it would be the absolute truth, however, is just insane! 


I’ll probably take some of my precious time to try to debunk more of David Peter’s nonsense in the future, we’ll see.


Why the world really should ignore David Peters


edited: 30.07.2021

„Debunking“ DP’s Asteriornis post from March 19, 2020

Asteriornis maastrichtensis Field, Benito, Chen, Jagt & Ksepka, described in 2020, is the oldest known member of the clade Pangalloanserae, that is a clade that contains the Anseriformes (ducks, geese etc.) as well as the Galliformes (chickens and allies) as well as some now completely extinct forms. [1]

In the disturbing world of DP however, this species is a part of a funny radiation that contains the Horned Screamer, one sandgrouse genus, two rail genera, an extinct passeriform genus, one genus of Palaeognathae, and last but not least, Helornis, a synonym of the extinct flamingo genus Elornis (however, this is just a spelling error and actually meant to be the Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica). 

I can break DP’s whole ‚article‘ down to one single sentence: 

Oddly, the tip of the premaxilla is slightly hooked on one side, not hooked on the other (Fig.1).

This citation says so much more about DP than anything anyone could write about him. Fossils can be slightly deformed or even be completely squished; DP, however, apparently sees this as their original state, so of course this bird must have had a beak with a tip slightly hooked only on one side … makes totally sense.


In the comment section there is also a comment clearly coming from a spam bot – of course DP is commenting also on this comment, just as he always does ….



[1] Daniel J. Field; Juan Benito; Albert Chen; John W. M. Jagt; Daniel T. Ksepka: Late Cretaceous neornithine from Europe illuminates the origins of crown birds. Nature 579: 397–401. 2020


edited: 04.01.2021 


Ich habe mir mal eine Farbkarte gebastelt um mal meine ganzen Aquarellstifte auszuprobieren, das ist das Ergebnis.:

Die Farben sind ‚live‘ viel kräftiger als hier, einige tun regelrecht in den Augen weh.

Pinterest …

I have to confess: I do not fully understand what this Pinterest is supposed to be, apparently you can ‚make‘ a page there where you can post stuff like photos and other pictures that is yours and some that is not …

So, sooner or later you might find ‚things‘ there that you know are actually yours but that you did not have posted there, like in this case.:

the article and the bird were made by me, the rest not

I have to confess another thing: I hate Pinterest, whenever I try to find depictions of something some Pinterest page pops up, but as long as you aren’t a member you cannot open anything to look further, so it is quite useless for non-members.

… and now this – NERD ….

Visit at the ‚Vogelmuseum‘ Halberstadt (Museum Heineanum)

There are over 10000 bird species worldwide, unfortunately this museum only shows a microscopic section of this overwhelming diversity in two rooms, which again are distributed on two levels.

Here a view inside the ‚birds of the world‘ showcase.:

birds from all over the world, most of them well over hundred years old and accordingly faded

I was particularly impressed by the really beautiful reconstruction of a life-sized ‚Urvogel‘.:

Urvogel (Archaeopteryx lithographica), the feathers appear to come from a night heron, I did not ask, however

Besides the old and – sorry! – ugly preparations, the museum still houses an incredible number of bellows, which are of course kept from the public, as well as some newer preparations that are often used to show the interesting behavior of some bird species.

These newer specimens are beautiful throughout.:

Great Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) feeds a young Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) … with small pieces of wire, which apparently are supposed to represent caterpillars
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) at a so-called ‚Drosselschmiede‘, apparently called ‚thrush anvill‘ in English (?)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) inside his/her brood cavern
Eurasian Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) searching for food inside an anthill

On the lower floor, native birds are exhibited, which are housed in small dioramas that are modeled on their respective habitat.:

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) in front of a house wall  
Eurasian Linnet (Linaria cannabina) among heath shrubs  
Twites (Linaria flavirostris) in a barren mountain landscape 

Inside of a tiny, strangely yellowish illuminated showcase are some ancient and really ugly hummingbird specimens as well as three kingfishers, of which one, the one in the middle, aroused my interest. 

The label says „Halcyon tuta (Gesellschaftsinseln)“, a second label again says „Tonga“, so, which species is this then?   

Tongan Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris ssp. sacer) or Chattering Kingfisher (Todiramphus tutus)?


edited: 04.01.2020


Vögel besitzen eine erstaunliche Vielfalt an verschiedensten Fußformen, von denen ich hier die sechs häufigsten vorstellen möchte.

Der Hallux (1. Zeh) besitzt zwei Phalangen, von denen die hintere jedoch meist reduziert und oft mit dem eigentlichen Fußknochen verschmolzen ist. Die restlichen Zehen besitzen jeweils eine ihrer Anordnung am Fuß entsprechende Anzahl an Phalangen, d.h. der 2. Zeh besitzt zwei, der 3. Zeh drei und der 4. Zeh vier Phalangen. 


Die folgenden Skizzen zeigen jeweils einen rechten Fuß von oben betrachtet.

Anisodactylie – die weitaus häufigste Zehenstellung, mit einem rückwärts gerichteten Hallux und vorwärts gerichtetem ersten, zweiten und dritten Zeh
Tridactylie – Hallux zurückgebildet; z.B. bei den Casuariiformes (Emus/Kasuare) und einigen Arten der Ordnung Charadriiformes (Regenpfeiferartige)
Didactylie – Hallux und zweiter Zeh zurückgebildet; findet sich heutzutage ausschließlich bei den Struthioniformes (Strauße)
Zygodactylie – Hallux und vierter Zeh rückwärts gerichtet; z.B. bei den Piciformes (Spechtvögel) Psittaciformes (Papageien)
Heterodactylie – Hallux und zweiter Zeh rückwärts gerichtet; findet sich (soweit bisher bekannt) nur bei den Trogoniformes (Trogone)
Pamprodactylie – alle Zehen mehr oder weniger vorwärts gerichtet; findet sich bei heutigen Vögeln nur bei den Apodidae/Apodiformes (Segler) und Coliiformes (Mausvögel) und bei diesen beiden Gruppen auch nur fakultativ

Es gibt noch weitere Fußformen, bei diesen handelt es sich aber Varianten der oben abgebildeten Formen (Tridactylie bei gleichzeitiger Zygodactylie bei einigen Spechtarten), so dass ich dieses Thema hier (zumindest momentan) erst einmal nicht weiter vertiefen werde.


bearbeitet: 22.12.2019

Some Micronesian beauties

A while ago I found this Japanese book about the birds of Micronesia online while searching for I don’t no what, it originally probably included more than these three plates, however, these are the only ones that I could find and I want to share them here because they are so exceedingly beautiful.:

Tokutaro Momiyama: Horyo Nanyo Shoto-san chorui. Tokyo: Nihon Chogakkai: Taisho 11. 1922
(public domain)


I will name the birds with their current names in the order in which they are depicted.


White-throated Ground Dove (Alopecoenas xanthonurus ), female and male 
Caroline Ground Dove (Alopecoenas kubaryi)
White-browed Crake (Amaurornis cinereus)
Pohnpei Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubiginosus)
Purple-capped Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus ponapensis)
Micronesian Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula oceanica ssp. monacha)
Kosrae Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus hernsheimi), juvenile
Truk Monarch (Monarcha rugensis), young male, adult male, and female
Yap Olive White-eye (Zosterops oleagineus)
Truk White-eye (Rukia ruki)


edited: 20.10.2019

Micronesia – the state of our knowledge of its native birds

Have you ever heard of Lamotrek, Ngulu, or Woleai? 


Neither did I ….

These are the names of some of the atolls that form a squadron-like swarm around the Yap Islands – you have also never heard of the Yap Islands?

Well, let me help you out here, the Yap Islands are a part of the Federated States of Micronesia, which again are a part of Micronesia which is a name for the region of small islands that lie east of the Philippines, north of New Guinea, the Solomons and Vanuatu, and west of Polynesia.


I asked for the name Woleai especially because I only recently found out that the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus (Pennant)) ‚recently‘ expanded its area of distribution from Southeast Asia to exactly this part of Micronesia. [1]

The photo below shows that species, the name of the photographer is just a coincidence, I swear.   🙂

I wrote ‚recently‘ in quotation marks because this bird apparently appeared here already in the 1970s, but no one took any notice of that until 2009, when some westerners cought one bird on the Woleai atoll.

This event is a very good exemplary for the whole state of the ornithological research in that region – we just do not know anything.



[1] Donald W. Buden; Stanley Retogral: Range expansion of the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) into Micronesia. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122(4): 784-788. 2010


Photo: Lip Kee Yap

(under creative commons license (2.0))


edited: 01.06.2019

Plastic pollution and birds

You probably have heard of plastic pollution before, and you may also have heard of the fact that some seabirds are highly threatened by it. But why is this so?

For millions of years seabirds like the albatrosses kept feeding from the ocean’s surface. It was an easy way to collect food, just flying along the ocean’s surface taking up all things floating about all they caught were little animals, and the worst things they could catch would have been little pieces of drifting wood or other plant material like algae.

And – that’s what these birds still do today.

Yet, the situation has changed dramatically. The surfaces of the oceans all over the world are covered with larger, as well as smaller to tiny bits of plastic debris, albatrosses just catch all of these little pieces and feed their chicks with them.

That is why perhaps all of them are containing plastic in their stomachs, and many of them, far to many of them, are dying from starvation despite having their stomachs full of „food“.


The movie „Albatross“ from 2017 [?] by Chris Jordan shows the fate of the Laysan Albatross colony on the Midway atoll in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands chain, it includes many graphic and heartbraking scenes of dead and dying albatross chicks, and it gives us an idea of the real situation of planet Earth’s oceans.

These are nightmarish scenes, yet there are still people [or rather the degenerated brain-less truth-deniers that we come along so many times these days] that state that all of this is fake!

The plastic pollution isn’t a fake, nor is it the devastating state of the populations of so many sea-dwelling animals including seabirds.


The following pictures show decayed albatross carcasses, all photographed on the northeastern Hawaiian Islands, and all containing plastic pieces inside.


All photos: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr


edited: 24.07.2018