Archiv der Kategorie: alles mögliche

„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 to 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