Category Archives: Gemaltes

Palaeotodus escampsiensis Mourer-Chauviré

Diese Art stammt aus dem oberen Eozän Europas und ist der älteste bislang bekannte Vertreter seiner Familie, die heute nur noch mit fünf Arten in der Karibik verbreitet ist.

Die eozäne Form erreichte eine Größe von nur etwa 10 cm und ähnelte somit wohl sehr den rezenten Todi-Arten. [1]

mit den Flügelfedern bin ich mal wieder unzufrieden, mal sehen, vielleicht mache ich da noch was dran …



[1] Gerald Mayr; Norbert Micklich: New specimens of the avian taxa Eurotrochilus (Trochilidae) and Palaeotodus (Todidae) from the early Oligocene of Germany. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 84: 387-395. 2010


bearbeitet: 04.03.2022

Black-headed Bulbul (Brachypodius melanocephalos)

The Black-headed Bulbul is a typical representative of the bulbuls; it comes from Southeast Asia, where it occurs with four subspecies from northeast India, Malaysia and Thailand to Borneo, Java, and Sumatra in Indonesia. 

The species reaches a size of about 17 cm. 

The picture shows the nominate form, which is widespread on the Southeast Asian mainland, there are three color morphs, in addition to the most common one shown here, there is one in which the yellow and green are completely replaced by gray and one with a gray basic coloration in which at least the wings are colored yellow. 


Incidentally, the original photo I used as a template was taken by Mike Rose (, who kindly gave me permission to use it.


edited: 20.07.2023

Der Harlequinkolibri – eine Art die nie existiert hat … oder doch?

Diese heute wohl kaum mehr bekannte ‘Art’ wurde im Jahr 1788 anhand eines einzelnen Exemplars sowie einer Beschreibung von John Latham [1] als Trochilus multicolor Gmelin beschrieben.

Der Harlequinkolibri erreichte laut Beschreibung eine Größe von insgesamt 12,7 cm, hatte einen relativ langen Schnabel und war recht auffällig gefärbt.

Es sind einige Abbildungen dieser ‘Art’ überliefert, im Ganzen existieren allerdings eigentlich nur zwei verschiedene Darstellungen, die wieder und wieder von verschiedenen Künstlern kopiert wurden. [2]

Wunderschön, aber ursprünglich wohl trotzdem eine aus verschiedenen Vögeln zusammengebaute Fälschung

Das einzige bekannte Harlequinkolibri-Exemplar wurde 1819 (?) als Fälschung erkannt und letzlich weggeworfen, so dass es nicht mehr für weitere Untersuchungen zur Verfügung steht. [2]



[1] John Latham: Supplement to the General synopsis of birds. London: printed for Leigh & Sotheby 1787
[2] Robert Prŷs-Jones; Rick Wright: Rise and fall of the Harlequin Hummingird ‘Trochilus multicolor’: a species that never was. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 139(3): 215-227. 2019


bearbeitet: 17.05.2020

A new species of bulbul – Creme-eyed Bulbul

This species has only just been described – Creme-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus pseudosimplex Shakya et al.); it is one of the many cryptic species that have been previously overlooked. 

The species appears to be more closely related to the Gray-fronted Bulbul (Pycnonotus cinereifrons(Tweeddale)) from the island of Palawan, Philippines than to the White-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplexLesson) with which it shares its habitat on the Indonesian island of Borneo and which it closely resembles. [1] 


Creme-eyed Bulbul



[1] Subir B. Shakya, Haw Chuan Lim, Robert G. Moyle, Mustafa Abdul Rahman, Maklarin Lakim, Frederick H. Sheldon: A cryptic new species of bulbul from Borneo. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 139(1): 46-55. 2019


bearbeitet: 20.07.2023

Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr

Pumiliornis means as much as “dwarf bird”, and with that, all has been said.


No, not so fast ….

The genus/species was described in 1999 and is, to my knowledge, so far known from three skeletal finds, of which one even contains the remains of its last meal, namely pollen.

All in all, Pumiliornis tessellatus resembled today’s sunbirds (Nectariniidae) or the sunbird-asitys (Eurylaimidae) in being very small and having an elongated beak. Its beak, however, was quite unlike those of the members of the beforementioned two families, it resembled the beak of a plover (Charadriidae), especially its narial opening (nose hole), which was rather slit-like and not round.

Pumiliornis was apparently a flower-visitor that fed on nectar and pollen (as is known from the content of the gut of one specimen), however, it may not have been specialized to that diet and may also have taken insects and other small invertebrates.

The bird was small, very small, in my reconstruction it reaches a length of only 7,5 cm, this size, however, is of course depending on the length of its tail feathers, which unfortunately are not preserved in any of the known specimens. I’ve reconstructed the bird with a rather short tail, which may some day turn out to be completely wrong, who knows.

The feet corresponded to the typical scheme of recent passerine birds, i.e. they have three toes pointed forward and one towards the back. However, the feet appear to have been facultative or semi-zygodactyl, which in turn means, in simple terms, the first toe usually pointed forwards, but could be held backward when needed.


The genus/species originally could not be assigned to any living bird family, not even an order, but is now known to belong to the extended Passeriformes-orbit, which in addition to the passerine birds also includes the falcons (Falconiformes) and the parrots (Psittaciformes). It is now known to have been a member of the extinct family Psittacopedidae Morsoravidae, that apparently also contains other unusual genera like MorsoravisPsittacopes and the recently described, very interesting Eofringillirostrum and probably others too.


Finally, it should be mentioned that this bird was not a dwarf spoonbill, as claimed by a certain person.   😉



[1] Gerald Mayr: Pumiliornis tessellatus n. gen. n. sp., a new enigmatic bird from the Middle Eocene of Grube Messel (Hessen, Germany). Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg. 216: 75-83. 1999
[2] Daniel T. Ksepka; Lance Grande; Gerald Mayr: Oldest finch-beaked birds reveal parallel ecological radiations in the earliest evolution of Passerines. Current Biology 29: 1-7. 2019


edited: 08.02.2019

Eleven steps to draw a bird

Hi there!

It’s coffee/tea time, whatever you prefer … and it’s dark outside, and thus it’s dark inside too.  


I have decided to make another >step by step<, or >how to do<, or whatever you may call it series, of how I draw a bird, this time it is another extinct one, yet only known from two of its bones, so the coloration is just imagined.  


1: a sketch is made

2: the sketch is fixed with the pencil 

3: the sketch is finished, the surroundings are included

4: the rubber color is put on the bird

5: the rubber color has dried, the background is created with water color and a sponge

6: the background has dried, the rubber color is rubbed away

7: the actual coloring begins, I use my loved watercolor pencils

8/9: the watercolor is blurred with a brush and with water

10: the water has dried, the details are now worked out using the watercolor pencils again

11: the most important step, probably; the last details are worked out with a pencil, and the white dot is placed inside the eye 

The end result is a drawing of a Cuban Tapaculo (Scytalopus sp.)  



[1] Storrs L. Olson; Evgeny N. Kurochkin: Fossil evidence of a tapaculo in the Quaternary of Cuba (Aves: Passeriformes: Scytalopodidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 100(2): 353-357. 1987


edited: 09.11.2017