Animal Picture of the Day:
Squacco Heron

The squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides) is a small heron, of Old World origins, breeding in southern Europe and the Greater Middle East. The squacco heron is a migrant, wintering in Africa. This is a stocky species with a short neck, short thick bill, and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed in flight, when it looks very white due to the color of the wings.

Animal Picture of the Day:
Kiwi Bird

kiwi bird

Photo by Allie Caulfield

The kiwi, an endangered flightless bird, is a national symbol of its native New Zealand. About the size of a chicken — three to nine pounds — the kiwi’s feathers are hair like, its wings are useless, and it has whiskers. Also, unlike any other species of bird, its nostrils are at the end of its long slender beak and it can literally sniff out food. Despite its size and awkward appearance, the kiwi can outrun a human and has sharp claws for defense.

The kiwi is related to the ostrich of Africa, the emu of Australia, and the now-extinct moa of New Zealand. Females are larger than males, and with brown kiwi the male does most of the egg incubating. Kiwis live in pairs and mate for life, sometimes as long as 30 years. The kiwi’s body weight-to-egg ratio is the highest of any bird (except maybe hummingbirds), with the chicken-sized kiwi laying a nearly ostrich-sized egg!

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