Neil is an author, scientist, and ornithologist based in Canberra. Each week, he rounds up some of the most recent news, stories, and insights on all things birds. In this new brand season of Weekly Bird Wrap, Neil talks about:
- A rediscovered pigeon species In Papua New Guinea
- How many birds are there on earth?
- Measuring aggression in birds
A Rediscovered Bird Species in New Guinea
The rare Pheasant-Pigeon is a rare but strikingly beautiful species of pigeon that all the while was known to be extinct. However, a recent rediscovery of the Pheasant-Pigeon on Ferguson Island, Papua New Guinea led by the American Bird Conservatory begs to differ.
It is indeed an exciting return of a type of pigeon that has not been spotted since 1863. New Guinea is known for its incredible biodiversity, with numerous bird species found only in this region. The re-emergence of a bird species that was thought to be extinct is a true testament to the incredible resilience of almost all bird species, as well as the importance of continued research and conservation efforts to protect and preserve these birds.
Perhaps some species we all thought were extinct may not be completely gone from the face of the earth, but have simply moved further off the beaten path to places untouched by human civilisation.
How Many Birds Are There On Earth, And What’s The Most Common Bird?
As an ornithologist, I am often asked about how many birds are there in the world. Of course, the numbers aren’t black and white as birds are literally everywhere – from the Arctic tundra to the tropical forests. And if you’ve learned anything from the first story, “extinct bird species” may actually still exist, which makes them even harder to quantify.
Birds play a critical role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, acting as pollinators, seed dispersers, and predators. However, it can be challenging to determine the exact number of bird species globally. Despite advances in technology and data collection, the number of bird species still remains uncertain, and the estimates range widely.
As for the most common bird in the world? It’s the domestic chicken, with a statistic of over 30 billion and counting.
Measuring Aggression in Birds
The final topic for this week’s bird wrap highlights the importance of measuring aggression in birds. Aggression is an important aspect of bird behavior that affects their relationships with other birds, and different factors in their environment.
While it comes as no surprise that city-dwelling birds tend to show more aggression than those who live in the countryside or off the beaten path, there are a lot of valid reasons for it. The most common one is protecting their nests from any kind of perceived threats such as predatory birds, cats, and even humans.
Playing noises or sounds is a great tool in quantifying to quantify and understanding bird aggression. Studies from Turkey and the UK have provided valuable insights into the social dynamics of bird populations, and how birds living in different environments differ in managing stress and showing aggression.
Australia is indeed a bird paradise. Visit our website to book a slot for our upcoming birdwatching walks and safaris around Canberra to different parts of Australia, as well as other stunning locations off the beaten path.
The Best Birdwatching Tours and Safaris in Australia | Neil Hermes: Author, Ornithologist, and Tour Guide
A scientist by background, and a keen author, researcher, tour guide, and ornithologist, Neil traveled to Australia and other parts of the world for decades. His expeditions are fuelled by his unwavering passion for birds, publishing his findings, planning birdwatching safaris, and participating in bird conservation efforts along the way. His passion for both birds and tourism gave him the much needed push to start Neil Hermes Safaris, touring aspiring birdwatchers and enthusiasts around Canberra, and all over Australia.