Friday, June 15, 2012

Bulletin #157 - other Big Island birds and animals

There were some other birds introduced into the Hawaiin islands as well. Many of these were game birds to stock the ranches for hunting, as there were no native game birds.
One of the non-game birds is the familiar Cattle Egret. There are 4 species of introduced pigeons and doves. Two are the familiar Rock Pigeon and our own Mourning Dove. However, the Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis) of Chinese origin, is a large brown dove with a patch of white and black spots on the back of the neck. This bird also occurs in the Los Angeles area as a result of escapes or releases.

Spotted Dove

The Gray Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) is a brown game bird in the partirdge family. It is native to the Indian subcontinent. It occurs at lower elevations than the next bird. This one was photographed on the grounds of our hotel.

Gray Francolin
The Erckel's Francolin (Francolinus erckelii) is a grayer colored cousin to the bird above. He has a bright rufous crown. It occurrs at higher elevation on the mountain sides. It is native to Ethiopia.

Erckel's Francolin
The popular game bird, the Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) was also introduced to Hawaii. The male is gray and brown with a very long tail, red on the face, and green head.

Ring-necked Pheasant - male
The female is a brown bird with a long tail.

Ring-necked Pheasant - female

As far as land mammals go, Hawaii had only 1 native, a bat. Many of course were introduced. Here is the Indian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus). As in all the other introductions of this species to control some other animal or reptile, it didn't work. They were brought to Hawaii to control rats in the sugar cane fields. However, the rodents are nocturnal and the mongoose in diurnal, thus their paths didn't cross and the mongoose ate bird eggs and other things rather than the intended prey. I saw several of these in broad daylight on the hotel grounds.

Indian Mongoose - detail
Our hotel had flood lights at night along a section of shoreline. These lights attracted plankton and the plankton attracted Manta Rays (Manta birostris). I saw 5-6 of these 5 foot rays at one time.

Manta Ray
Here is a close up of the peculiar wide mouth.

Manta Ray - detail

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2012 David McDonald

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1 comment:

Marilyn Kircus said...

Glad to see you had the courage to show Lisa's pictures. :) Very beautiful and informative post.