Full Text Available Abstract Background The family Accipitridae (hawks, eagles and Old World vultures represents a large radiation of predatory birds with an almost global distribution, although most species of this family occur in the Neotropics. Despite great morphological and ecological diversity, the evolutionary relationships in the family have been poorly explored at all taxonomic levels. Using sequences from four mitochondrial genes (12S, ATP8, ATP6, and ND6, we reconstructed the phylogeny of the Neotropical forest hawk genus Leucopternis and most of the allied genera of Neotropical buteonines. Our goals were to infer the evolutionary relationships among species of Leucopternis, estimate their relationships to other buteonine genera, evaluate the phylogenetic significance of the white and black plumage patterns common to most Leucopternis species, and assess general patterns of diversification of the group with respect to species' affiliations with Neotropical regions and habitats. Results Our molecular phylogeny for the genus Leucopternis and its allies disagrees sharply with traditional taxonomic arrangements for the group, and we present new hypotheses of relationships for a number of species. The mtDNA phylogenetic trees derived from analysis of the combined data posit a polyphyletic relationship among species of Leucopternis, Buteogallus and Buteo. Three highly supported clades containing Leucopternis species were recovered in our phylogenetic reconstructions. The first clade consisted of the sister pairs L. lacernulatus and Buteogallus meridionalis, and Buteogallus urubitinga and Harpyhaliaetus coronatus, in addition to L. schistaceus and L. plumbeus. The second clade included the sister pair Leucopternis albicollis and L. occidentalis as well as L. polionotus. The third lineage comprised the sister pair L. melanops and L. kuhli, in addition to L. semiplumbeus and Buteo buteo. According to our results, the white and black plumage patterns have evolved
El objetivo principal de esta tesis fue el de determinar patrones ecomorfológicos y funcionales en el complejo apendicular posterior (CAP) de aves rapaces diurnas (Falconidae y Accipitridae), a partir de información anatómica y biomecánica considerando los hábitos alimenticios predominantes y el contexto filogenético. Entre las rapaces diurnas los hábitos alimenticios y, por tanto, las estrategias de caza, son variados. Para la obtención del alimento, el miembro posterior, principalmente el t...
do Amaral, Fábio Raposo; Sheldon, Frederick H; Gamauf, Anita; Haring, Elisabeth; Riesing, Martin; Silveira, Luís F; Wajntal, Anita
Buteonine hawks represent one of the most diverse groups in the Accipitridae, with 58 species distributed in a variety of habitats on almost all continents. Variations in migratory behavior, remarkable dispersal capability, and unusual diversity in Central and South America make buteonine hawks an excellent model for studies in avian evolution. To evaluate the history of their global radiation, we used an integrative approach that coupled estimation of the phylogeny using a large sequence database (based on 6411 bp of mitochondrial markers and one nuclear intron from 54 species), divergence time estimates, and ancestral state reconstructions. Our findings suggest that Neotropical buteonines resulted from a long evolutionary process that began in the Miocene and extended to the Pleistocene. Colonization of the Nearctic, and eventually the Old World, occurred from South America, promoted by the evolution of seasonal movements and development of land bridges. Migratory behavior evolved several times and may have contributed not only to colonization of the Holarctic, but also derivation of insular species. In the Neotropics, diversification of the buteonines included four disjunction events across the Andes. Adaptation of monophyletic taxa to wet environments occurred more than once, and some relationships indicate an evolutionary connection among mangroves, coastal and várzea environments. On the other hand, groups occupying the same biome, forest, or open vegetation habitats are not monophyletic. Refuges or sea-level changes or a combination of both was responsible for recent speciation in Amazonian taxa. In view of the lack of concordance between phylogeny and classification, we propose numerous taxonomic changes.
Wiley, J.W.; Garrido, O.H.
We reevaluate the taxonomic status of the Cuban population of the Common Black-Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) based on our examination of additional specimens, nests, eggs, and voice data. Buteogallus a. gundlachii is smaller than mainland populations of anthracinus and differs from mainland birds in plumage coloration and pattern. The common (alarm) call of gundlachii is a series of three or four notes, differing from that of mainland anthracinus, whose call consists of 9-24 notes. In the Isla de Pinos, Cuba, we observed gundlachii eating two species of land crabs (71.4%), centipedes (7.1%), lizards (10.7%), mammals (7.1%), and a bird (3.6%). We consider Buteogallus gundlachii Cabanis 1854 (1855), the Cuban Black-Hawk, to be a full species, endemic to Cuba, Isla de Pinos, and many of the cays of the Cuban Archipelago. ?? 2005 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.
A new subspecies of Accipiter virgatus (Temminck) is described from Flores (Lesser Sunda Islands). In addition some notes are given on the distribution of A. virgatus in south-eastern Burma and adjacent parts of Thailand, supplementary to an earlier paper (Mees, 1981).
Dilian G. Georgiev
Full Text Available The material of pellets and food remains (as bone and shell fragments, hair, and feathers was collected after the breeding season from below and within one nest of Golden Eagles on rocks at Sarnena Sredna Gora Mts., north-east of Stara Zagora town. Our study was carried out during a three year period (1999, 2000 and 2002. Total 65 specimens from minimum 10 species of preys were identified among the food remains from which the reptiles dominated. Mostly preyed by the Golden Eagles couple were the tortoises (Testudo sp. with 55.4% from all registered individual preys. The most common prey from mammals was the hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus with 13.8%. Interesting fact was and the relatively high percentage of the cats with 7.7% (possibly most of them domestic ones.
Gómez Ahumada, María Fernanda
Se analizaron representantes de subfamilias deaccipítidos neotropicales disponibles en los zoológicos colombianos, incluyendo en su gran mayoría especies pertenecientes al grupo de los "buteoninos" y los "sub-buteos" (especies que no pertenecen al género Buteo) con ocho marcadores microsatélites heterólogos y se documentaron características de la evolución de dichos marcadores, con el fin de proveer entendimiento sobre sus tasas de mutación, posibles constricciones o sesgos y modelos evolutiv...
Pseudolynchia canariensis (Diptera: Hippoboscidae em Buteogallus aequinoctialis (Ciconiiformes: Accipitridae no estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Pseudolynchia canariensis (Diptera:Hippoboscidae on Buteogallus aequinoctialis (Ciconiiformes: Accipitridae in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Full Text Available Registro de Pseudolynchia canariensis em dois gaviões caranguejeiros de vida livre atendidos no Hospital Veterinário da Fundação RioZoo. Os dezenoves exemplares coletados foram identificados no Laboratório de Diptera da Fundação Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. O encontro de P. canariensis fora do hospedeiro natural (Columba livia, representa uma contribuição aos estudos da família Hippoboscidae, visto que não há registros sobre aves nativas do continente americano parasitadas por P. canariensis.The record of Pseudolynchia canariensis on two Rufous Crab-Hawk in situ taken care of the Hospital Veterinarian of the RioZoo Foundation. The nineteen collected specimens had been identified in the Laboratory of Diptera, Fundação Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. The findings of P canariensis out natural hosty (Columba livia it represents a contribution to the studies of the family Hippoboscidae considering that it does not have records about native birds of the american continent parasitized by P canariensis.
Biología reproductiva del águila Geranoaetus melanoleucus (Aves: Accipitridae en Chile central Breeding biology of the black-chested eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus (Aves: Accipitridae in central Chile
EDUARDO F. PAVEZ
Full Text Available Durante dos años (julio 1987enero 1989 se estudió la biología reproductiva del águila (Geranoaetus melanoleucus en San Carlos de Apoquindo, en Chile central. El inicio del período reproductivo se evidenció por un aumento del número de vuelos en pareja. Los cortejos incluyeron vuelos sincronizados de la pareja, capturas, transporte de material al nido y cópulas. Los traspasos de presas ocurrieron durante todo el año, aunque fuera del período reproductivo fueron escasos y forzados por la hembra. Se localizaron 4,7 nidos pareja-1, lo que está en el límite superior documentado para grandes águilas. Fuera del período reproductivo las águilas visitaron ocasionalmente los nidos. Antes de la postura el macho visitó el nido con mayor frecuencia y por menos tiempo que la hembra. En las tres parejas estudiadas se observó visitas a nidos alternativos, con aporte de material y presas. Se promedió 2,3 huevos postura-1 (DE = 0,5, n = 6, incubando macho y hembra, y eclosionando el 100 %. A los 25 días de edad comenzaron a emerger las plumas de vuelo de los pollos, a los 35 días comían solos las presas aportadas al nido y a los 59 días abandonaron el nido. Durante la crianza la hembra permaneció más tiempo en el nido que el macho, con una tendencia de los adultos a disminuir el tiempo de permanencia en el nido. El 79 % de los pollos sobrevivió a la crianza, lo que se puede considerar un éxito reproductivo elevado, y que se explicaría por la elevada disponibilidad de presas en el sitio de estudio, particularmente de conejos. Los pollos permanecieron en el territorio paterno 10 meses, lo que coincidió con la siguiente postura de huevos, disminuyendo gradualmente su presencia en el área y aumentando la intolerancia de los adultos hacia sus hijos. Los resultados presentados se corresponden con el patrón descrito en la literatura para otras águilasThe breeding biology of the black-chested eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus was studied during a 2-year period (July 1987January 1989 in San Carlos de Apoquindo, central Chile. The beginning of the reproductive period was evident by the increased number of couple-flights. Courting behavior included synchronized flights, cooperative capture of prey and transport of nest material, as well as copulation. Prey exchanges between adults occurred throughout the year, although outside the breeding season they were uncommon and forced by the female. There were 4.7 nests/couple, a value that is in the upper limit of what has been reported for large eagles. During the non-breeding season, nests were only occasionally visited by the eagles. Before laying, males visited the nest more frequently than females, but for shorter periods of time. Visits to alternative nests carrying prey and nest material were observed in all three couples. The average clutch size was 2.3 eggs (SD = 0.5, n = 6, with both males and females incubating, and hatching success was 100 %. Twenty five days after hatching, flight feathers started to appear in the wings and tail of chicks; after 35 days, chicks started eating by themselves prey items brought to the nest, and after 59 days they left the nest. While tending, females spent more time in the nest than males, although with a tendency of adults to diminish the time spent in the nest over time. Seventy nine percent of the chicks survived, which can be considered a high reproductive success, explained by the high availability of prey in the study site, mainly European rabbits. The chicks remained in the adult's territory for 10 months and gradually started to reduce their presence in the area. This was coincident with the occurrence of the next laying period and an increased adult intolerance. These data concur with the pattern described in the literature for other eagles
Mayr, Sylvia L; Maier, Kristina; Müller, Jana; Enderlein, Dirk; Gruber, Achim D; Lierz, Michael
Sarcocystis is a large genus of protozoan parasites with complex heteroxenous life cycles. For many species, either the intermediate or the definitive host is still unknown. In this study, 116 Accipiter hawks (Eurasian sparrowhawks and northern goshawks) were investigated for the presence of Sarcocystis spp. in their intestinal tract or their faeces. To gain a wide distribution, samples were collected throughout Germany within 2 years. It was possible to detect Sarcocystis-like oocysts in 65 samples. Sequencing of the ITS region or species-specific PCR identified 33 samples as Sarcocystis turdusi/Sarcocystis sp. ex A. nisus (18), Sarcocystis calchasi (6), Sarcocystis columbae (3), Sarcocystis cornixi (3) and Sarcocystis sp. ex Phalacrocorax carbo (3). Besides the known infestation with S. columbae, S. sp. ex A. nisus and S. calchasi the Accipiter hawks were thereby confirmed as definitive host of S. turdusi, S. cornixi and S. sp. ex Phalacrocorax carbo for the first time.
Full Text Available The Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus is, Critically Endangered with few known breeding sites in peninsular India. We present a previously undocumented Long-billed Vulture breeding site in Bejjur Reserve Forest, Adilabad District, northern Telangana.
McAllister, Chris T; Duszynski, Donald W; McKown, Richard D
Between March 1989 and February 1994, 4 bald eagles ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) from various localities in Kansas were examined for coccidia. One (25%) of the bald eagles was found to be passing an undescribed species of Caryospora in its feces. Oocysts of Caryospora hanebrinki n. sp. are ellipsoidal to ovoidal with a bilayered wall and measure 48.1 × 42.1 μm with a shape index of 1.2. A micropyle, oocyst residuum, and polar granule were absent. Sporocysts are spheroidal, 24.8 μm wide. Stieda, substieda, and parastieda bodies were absent; a spheroidal sporocyst residuum is present; it measures 17.5 μm and is composed of many intact homogenous globules with a few dispersed in a loose spiral around the sporocysts. This is the first caryosporan documented from the bald eagle and is the largest known Caryospora from raptors.
Bolette, David P
Oligacanthorhynchus nickoli n. sp. (Acanthocephala: Oligacanthorhynchidae) is described from the great-horned owl, Bubo virginianus (Gmelin, 1788) (type host), and red-tailed hawk, Buteojamaicensis (Gmelin, 1788), collected in central Arizona. The new species is most similar to Oligacanthorhynchus iheringi and Oligacanthorhynchus minor, but it differs from all congeners primarily by trunk length, proboscis size and armature, egg size, geographical range, and host species. It is distinguished from the 9 Oligacanthorhynchus species occurring in avian hosts from both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Descriptions of juvenile forms of O. nickoli from the intestine of B. jamaicensis are provided from recently ingested cystacanths with everted proboscides.
Bed'Hom, Bertrand; Coullin, Philippe; Guillier-Gencik, Zuzana; Moulin, Sibyle; Bernheim, Alain; Volobouev, Vitaly
The karyotype of the black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus), a small diurnal raptor living in Africa, Asia and southern Europe, was studied with classical (G-, C-, R-banding, and Ag-NOR staining) and molecular cytogenetic methods, including primed in-situ labelling (PRINS) and fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) with telomeric (TTAGGG) and centromeric DNA repeats. The study revealed that the genome size, measured by flow cytometry (3.1 pg), is in the normal avian range. However, the black-winged kite karyotype is particularly unusual among birds in having a moderate diploid number of 68 chromosomes, and containing only one pair of dot-shaped microchromosomes. Moreover, the macrochromosomes are medium-sized, with the Z and W gonosomes being clearly the largest in the set. C-banding shows that constitutive heterochromatin is located at the centromeric regions of all chromosomes, and that two pairs of small acrocentrics and the pair of microchromosomes are almost entirely heterochromatic and G-band negative. The distribution pattern of a centromeric repeated DNA sequence, as demonstrated by PRINS, follows that of C-heterochromatin. The localization of telomeric sequences by FISH and PRINS reveals many strong telomeric signals but no extratelomeric signal was observed. The atypical organization of the karyotype of the black-winged kite is considered in the context of the modes of karyotypic evolution in birds.
Zmudzinski, Mateusz; Unsoeld, Markus; Knee, Wayne; Skoracki, Maciej
Four accipitriform bird species of the family Accipitridae are reported as new hosts for quill mites (Acari: Cheyletoidea: Syringophilidae): Megasyringophilus aquilus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Hieraaetus pennatus Gmelin, 1788 in France and Spain, and Buteo jamaicensis Gmelin, 1788 in Canada; Peristerophila accipitridicus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Circaetus gallicus Gmelin, 1788 in France, and Buteo lagopus Pontoppidan, 1763 in Germany.
Farina, Oscar; Carvalho, Cristiano; Pedro, Wagner Andre [UNESP
The predation on vertebrates by birds, including bats, is very common in some families (Accipitridae, Falconidae, Tytonidae, Strigidae), constituting their main diet. For other families (except those that feed strictly on fish), it is occasional and sometimes a matter of opportunity. Here we recorded the predation on a bat (Platyrrhinus lineatus) by the neotropical bird plush-crested jay (Cyanocorax chrysops). on July 26, 2009, around 11:00 am, we recorded an individual of C. chrysops taking ...
Full Text Available The family Accipitridae is one of the largest groups of non-passerine birds, including 68 genera and 243 species globally distributed. In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial sequences of two species of accipitrid, namely Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus, and conducted a comparative mitogenome analysis across the family. The mitogenome length of A. fasciata and B. lagopus are 18,513 and 18,559 bp with an A + T content of 54.2% and 55.0%, respectively. For both the two accipitrid birds mtDNAs, obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew biases were detected for all 12 PCGs encoded by the H strand, whereas the reverse was found in MT-ND6 encoded by the L strand. One extra nucleotide'C'is present at the position 174 of MT-ND3 gene of A. fasciata, which is not observed at that of B. lagopus. Six conserved sequence boxes in the Domain II, named boxes F, E, D, C, CSBa, and CSBb, respectively, were recognized in the CRs of A. fasciata and B. lagopus. Rates and patterns of mitochondrial gene evolution within Accipitridae were also estimated. The highest dN/dS was detected for the MT-ATP8 gene (0.32493 among Accipitridae, while the lowest for the MT-CO1 gene (0.01415. Mitophylogenetic analysis supported the robust monophyly of Accipitriformes, and Cathartidae was basal to the balance of the order. Moreover, we performed phylogenetic analyses using two other data sets (two mitochondrial loci, and combined nuclear and mitochondrial loci. Our results indicate that the subfamily Aquilinae and all currently polytypic genera of this subfamily are monophyletic. These two novel mtDNA data will be useful in refining the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary processes of Accipitriformes.
Jiang, Lan; Chen, Juan; Wang, Ping; Ren, Qiongqiong; Yuan, Jian; Qian, Chaoju; Hua, Xinghong; Guo, Zhichun; Zhang, Lei; Yang, Jianke; Wang, Ying; Zhang, Qin; Ding, Hengwu; Bi, De; Zhang, Zongmeng; Wang, Qingqing; Chen, Dongsheng; Kan, Xianzhao
The family Accipitridae is one of the largest groups of non-passerine birds, including 68 genera and 243 species globally distributed. In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial sequences of two species of accipitrid, namely Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus, and conducted a comparative mitogenome analysis across the family. The mitogenome length of A. fasciata and B. lagopus are 18,513 and 18,559 bp with an A + T content of 54.2% and 55.0%, respectively. For both the two accipitrid birds mtDNAs, obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew biases were detected for all 12 PCGs encoded by the H strand, whereas the reverse was found in MT-ND6 encoded by the L strand. One extra nucleotide'C'is present at the position 174 of MT-ND3 gene of A. fasciata, which is not observed at that of B. lagopus. Six conserved sequence boxes in the Domain II, named boxes F, E, D, C, CSBa, and CSBb, respectively, were recognized in the CRs of A. fasciata and B. lagopus. Rates and patterns of mitochondrial gene evolution within Accipitridae were also estimated. The highest dN/dS was detected for the MT-ATP8 gene (0.32493) among Accipitridae, while the lowest for the MT-CO1 gene (0.01415). Mitophylogenetic analysis supported the robust monophyly of Accipitriformes, and Cathartidae was basal to the balance of the order. Moreover, we performed phylogenetic analyses using two other data sets (two mitochondrial loci, and combined nuclear and mitochondrial loci). Our results indicate that the subfamily Aquilinae and all currently polytypic genera of this subfamily are monophyletic. These two novel mtDNA data will be useful in refining the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary processes of Accipitriformes.
The family Accipitridae is one of the largest groups of non-passerine birds, including 68 genera and 243 species globally distributed. In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial sequences of two species of accipitrid, namely Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus, and conducted a comparative mitogenome analysis across the family. The mitogenome length of A. fasciata and B. lagopus are 18,513 and 18,559 bp with an A + T content of 54.2% and 55.0%, respectively. For both the two ...
Mahmood, Muhammad Tariq; McLenachan, Patricia A; Gibb, Gillian C; Penny, David
We report three new avian mitochondrial genomes, two from widely separated groups of owls and a falcon relative (the Secretarybird). We then report additional progress in resolving Neoavian relationships in that the two groups of owls do come together (it is not just long-branch attraction), and the Secretarybird is the deepest divergence on the Accipitridae lineage. This is now agreed between mitochondrial and nuclear sequences. There is no evidence for the monophyly of the combined three groups of raptors (owls, eagles, and falcons), and again this is agreed by nuclear and mitochondrial sequences. All three groups (owls, accipitrids [eagles], and falcons) do appear to be members of the "higher land birds," and though there may not yet be full "consilience" between mitochondrial and nuclear sequences for the precise order of divergences of the eagles, falcons, and the owls, there is good progress on their relationships.
Longmire, J L; Lewis, A K; Brown, N C; Buckingham, J M; Clark, L M; Jones, M D; Meincke, L J; Meyne, J; Ratliff, R L; Ray, F A
An abundant tandem repeat has been cloned from genomic DNA of the merlin (Falco columbarius). The cloned sequence is 174 bp in length, and maps by in situ hybridization to the centromeric regions of several of the large chromosomes within the merlin karyotype. Complementary sequences have been identified within a variety of falcon species; these sequences are either absent or in very low copy number in the family Accipitridae. The cloned merlin repeat reveals highly polymorphic restriction patterns in the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). These polymorphisms, which have been shown to be stably inherited within a family of captive peregrines, can be used to differentiate the Greenland and Argentina populations of this endangered raptor species.
Rajiv S. Kalsi
Full Text Available Birds were surveyed in the Yamuna Nagar District, Haryana, India and the threat categories of the species observed were determined with the IUCN Red List. A total of 185 species belonging to 46 families were observed. Families Accipitridae, Passeridae, Corvidae and Scolopacidae dominated the list. There were 13 species with various IUCN Red List categories. One Critically Endangered species, the Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus, and two Endangered species Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda and Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus were observed. A prerequisite for all the measures focussed on management and conservation of species is that the status and population trends of the target species must be known, and future work should be in this direction.
Roy, Claudie; Grolleau, Gérard; Chamoulaud, Serge; Rivière, Jean-Louis
B-esterases are serine hydrolases composed of cholinesterases, including acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), and carboxylesterase (CbE). These esterases, found in blood plasma, are inhibited by organophosphorus (OP) and carbamate (CB) insecticides and can be used as nondestructive biomarkers of exposure to anticholinesterase insecticides. Furthermore, B-esterases are involved in detoxification of these insecticides. In order to establish the level of these enzymes and to have reference values for their normal activities, total plasma cholinesterase (ChE), AChE and BChE activities, and plasma CbE activity were determined in 729 European raptors representing 20 species, four families, and two orders. The diurnal families of the Falconiforme order were represented by Accipitridae and Falconidae and the nocturnal families of the Strigiforme order by Tytonidae and Strigidae. Intraspecies differences in cholinesterase activities according to sex and/or age were investigated in buzzards (Buteo buteo), sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), barn owls (Tyto alba), and tawny owls (Strix aluco). Sex-related differences affecting ChE and AChE activities were observed in young kestrels (2-3-mo-old) and age-related differences in kestrels (ChE and AChE), sparrowhawks (AChE), and tawny owls (ChE, AChE, and BChE). The interspecies analysis yielded a negative correlation between ChE activity and body mass taking into account the relative contribution of AChE and BChE to ChE activity, with the exception of the honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus). The lowest ChE activities were found in the two largest species, Bonelli's eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) and Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) belonging to the Accipitridae family. The highest ChE activities were found in the relatively small species belonging to the Tytonidae and Strigidae families and in honey buzzard of the Accipitridae family. Species of the Accipitridae, Tytonidae, and
Fowler, Denver W; Freedman, Elizabeth A; Scannella, John B
Despite the ubiquity of raptors in terrestrial ecosystems, many aspects of their predatory behaviour remain poorly understood. Surprisingly little is known about the morphology of raptor talons and how they are employed during feeding behaviour. Talon size variation among digits can be used to distinguish families of raptors and is related to different techniques of prey restraint and immobilisation. The hypertrophied talons on digits (D) I and II in Accipitridae have evolved primarily to restrain large struggling prey while they are immobilised by dismemberment. Falconidae have only modest talons on each digit and only slightly enlarged D-I and II. For immobilisation, Falconini rely more strongly on strike impact and breaking the necks of their prey, having evolved a 'tooth' on the beak to aid in doing so. Pandionidae have enlarged, highly recurved talons on each digit, an adaptation for piscivory, convergently seen to a lesser extent in fishing eagles. Strigiformes bear enlarged talons with comparatively low curvature on each digit, part of a suite of adaptations to increase constriction efficiency by maximising grip strength, indicative of specialisation on small prey. Restraint and immobilisation strategy change as prey increase in size. Small prey are restrained by containment within the foot and immobilised by constriction and beak attacks. Large prey are restrained by pinning under the bodyweight of the raptor, maintaining grip with the talons, and immobilised by dismemberment (Accipitridae), or severing the spinal cord (Falconini). Within all raptors, physical attributes of the feet trade off against each other to attain great strength, but it is the variable means by which this is achieved that distinguishes them ecologically. Our findings show that interdigital talon morphology varies consistently among raptor families, and that this is directly correlative with variation in their typical prey capture and restraint strategy.
Denver W Fowler
Full Text Available Despite the ubiquity of raptors in terrestrial ecosystems, many aspects of their predatory behaviour remain poorly understood. Surprisingly little is known about the morphology of raptor talons and how they are employed during feeding behaviour. Talon size variation among digits can be used to distinguish families of raptors and is related to different techniques of prey restraint and immobilisation. The hypertrophied talons on digits (D I and II in Accipitridae have evolved primarily to restrain large struggling prey while they are immobilised by dismemberment. Falconidae have only modest talons on each digit and only slightly enlarged D-I and II. For immobilisation, Falconini rely more strongly on strike impact and breaking the necks of their prey, having evolved a 'tooth' on the beak to aid in doing so. Pandionidae have enlarged, highly recurved talons on each digit, an adaptation for piscivory, convergently seen to a lesser extent in fishing eagles. Strigiformes bear enlarged talons with comparatively low curvature on each digit, part of a suite of adaptations to increase constriction efficiency by maximising grip strength, indicative of specialisation on small prey. Restraint and immobilisation strategy change as prey increase in size. Small prey are restrained by containment within the foot and immobilised by constriction and beak attacks. Large prey are restrained by pinning under the bodyweight of the raptor, maintaining grip with the talons, and immobilised by dismemberment (Accipitridae, or severing the spinal cord (Falconini. Within all raptors, physical attributes of the feet trade off against each other to attain great strength, but it is the variable means by which this is achieved that distinguishes them ecologically. Our findings show that interdigital talon morphology varies consistently among raptor families, and that this is directly correlative with variation in their typical prey capture and restraint strategy.
Blas, Julio; López, Lidia; Tanferna, Alessandro; Sergio, Fabrizio; Hiraldo, Fernando
The last decades have witnessed a surge of studies analyzing the role of sex hormones on the behavior and ecology of wild bird populations, allowing a more integrated view of the evolution of avian physiology and life histories. Despite a marked progress, field studies show a considerable bias towards research on specific phylogenetic groups, neglecting a significant fraction of the class Aves. Here we analysed changes in the circulating levels of sex steroids in relation to reproductive behaviour in wild black kites (Milvus migrans), a long-lived and socially monogamous Accipitridae raptor. Males and females displayed a single seasonal peak of circulating testosterone (males) and estradiol (females) during pre-laying and laying. Absolute male testosterone levels were low even at the seasonal maximum and remained below detection limits in females. The latter results supports the idea that avian species establishing long-term pair bonds require lower amounts of circulating androgens for reproduction. Circulating progesterone showed a single seasonal peak in females and males, but their timing (during Incubation and Post-brooding respectively) did not overlap. The fact that females black kites perform the majority of incubation and males provide the majority of care to fledglings suggests that progesterone is involved in the expression of parental behaviors.
Naidoo, Vinny; Wolter, Kerri
Vulture (Accipitridae) poisonings are a concern in South Africa, with hundreds of birds dying annually. Although some of these poisonings are accidental, there has been an increase in the number of intentional baiting of poached rhinoceros (Rhinocerotidae) and elephant (Elephantidae) carcasses to kill vultures that alert officials to poaching sites by circling overhead. The primary chemicals implicated are the organophosphorous and carbamate compounds. Although most poisoning events can be identified by dead vultures surrounding the scavenged carcass, weak birds are occasionally found and brought to rehabilitation centers for treatment. The treating veterinarian needs to make an informed decision on the cause of illness or poisoning prior to treatment. We established the reference interval for serum and plasma cholinesterase activity in the Cape Griffon Vulture ( Gyps coprotheres ) as 591.58-1,528.26 U/L, providing a clinical assay for determining potential exposure to cholinesterase-depressing pesticides. Both manual and automated samplers were used with the butyrylthiocholine method. Species reference intervals for both serum and plasma cholinesterase showed good correlation and manual and automated measurements yielded similar results.
Stenkat, Julia; Krautwald-Junghanns, M-E; Schmidt, Volker
Free-living birds are often presented to veterinarians at rehabilitation centers as well as in private practice. Information about disease processes and causes of death of indigenous free-living birds can aid the clinician in establishing proper treatment and in the assessment of potential zoonotic risks. For the present study, pathogens as causes of morbidity and mortality were determined by performing a complete necropsy on free-living birds presented to the Clinic for Birds and Reptiles of the University of Leipzig (Germany) that died shortly after admission or were euthanized due to an unfavorable prognosis. Over a 2-year period, 251 birds representing 13 families (Accipitridae, Apodidae, Columbidae, Corvidae, Falconidae, Fringillidae, Hirundinidae, Paridae, Passeridae, Picidae, Strigidae, Sturnidae and Turdidae) were examined. Trauma (62%), including several bite injuries inducing bacterial septicemia caused by Pasteurella multocida, was the most common cause of morbidity. Parasitic disease (18%) was mainly caused by Trichomonas gallinae, Eucoleus dispar and Syngamus trachea. Metabolic disease (13%), including fibrous osteodystrophy, was almost exclusively limited to juvenile specimens. Different Enterobacteriaceae including E. coli, Salmonella Typhimurium DT040 as well as Mycobacterium avium ssp. avium were identified as causal agents of primary bacterial disease (5%). Primary bacterial infection as cause of death or disease was of major importance in nestlings. Viral infections, mycoses and intoxication had minor significance as causes of morbidity.
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Old World vultures are likely polyphyletic, representing two subfamilies, the Aegypiinae and Gypaetinae, and some genera of the latter may be of independent origin. Evidence concerning the origin, as well as the timing of the divergence of each subfamily and even genera of the Gypaetinae has been elusive. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Compared with the Old World, the New World has an unexpectedly diverse and rich fossil component of Old World vultures. Here we describe a new accipitriform bird, Anchigyps voorhiesi gen. et sp. nov., from the Ash Hollow Formation (Upper Clarendonian, Late Miocene of Nebraska. It represents a form close in morphology to the Old World vultures. Characteristics of its wing bones suggest it was less specialized for soaring than modern vultures. It was likely an opportunistic predator or scavenger having a grasping foot and a mandible morphologically similar to modern carrion-feeding birds. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The new fossil reported here is intermediate in morphology between the bulk of accipitrids and the Old World gypaetine vultures, representing a basal lineage of Accipitridae trending towards the vulturine habit, and of its Late Miocene age suggests the divergence of true gypaetine vultures, may have occurred during or slightly before the Miocene.
Full Text Available The current altitudinal distribution and breeding observations on birds of lower Palni Hills, Western Ghats were documented by conducting road transects, opportunistic surveys including trail walks and mist netting. A total of 196 species belonging to 63 families were recorded during the study. The Accipitridae family was foremost in species richness, followed by Cuculidae and Muscicapidae, Picidae, Timaliidae and other families. Altitudinal distribution of birds was higher between 600 and 900 m. The general patterns of the decreasing species richness with increasing altitude were observed in mid and upper Palnis. This could be probably because the lower Palnis have more deciduous and scrub forest which can support high food availability. Resident and migrant species made up to 87.76% and 12.24% of the community, respectively. We recorded a species that was threatened, three nearly threatened, and five endemic to the Western Ghats. Most of the endemics were confined to the higher altitudes due to the presence of moist evergreen and high altitude montane forests and grasslands. In total, 51 breeding bird observations were recorded. Interestingly, the variation in the breeding season of some birds was noticed with respect to earlier studies. Overall, our study illustrated useful information on bird community in this region which serves as a baseline for future monitoring programs.
Full Text Available Bone composition and bone mineral density (BMD of long bones of two raptor and one owl species were assessed. Right humerus and tibiotarsus of 40 common buzzards, 13 white-tailed sea eagles and 9 barn owls were analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed for influence of species, age, gender and nutritional status. The BMD ranged from 1.8 g/cm3 (common buzzards to 2.0 g/cm3 (white-tailed sea eagles. Dry matter was 87.0% (buzzards to 89.5% (sea eagles. Percentage of bone ash was lower in sea eagles than in buzzards and owls. Content of crude fat was lower than 2% of the dry matter in all bones. In humeri lower calcium values (220 g/kg fat free dry matter were detected in sea eagles than in barn owls (246 g/kg, in tibiotarsi no species differences were observed. Phosphorus levels were lowest in sea eagles (humeri 104 g/kg fat free dry matter, tibiotarsi 102 g/kg and highest in barn owls. Calcium-phosphorus ratio was about 2:1 in all species. Magnesium content was lower in sea eagles (humeri 2590 mg/kg fat free dry matter, tibiotarsi 2510 mg/kg than in buzzards and owls. Bones of barn owls contained more copper (humeri 8.7 mg/kg fat free dry matter, tibiotarsi 12.7 mg/kg than in the Accipitridae. Zinc content was highest in sea eagles (humeri 278 mg/kg fat free dry matter, tibiotarsi 273 mg/kg and lowest in barn owls (humeri 185 mg/kg, tibiotarsi 199 mg/kg. The present study shows that bone characteristics can be considered as species specific in raptors.
Colleen T O'Rourke
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Different strategies to search and detect prey may place specific demands on sensory modalities. We studied visual field configuration, degree of eye movement, and orbit orientation in three diurnal raptors belonging to the Accipitridae and Falconidae families. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used an ophthalmoscopic reflex technique and an integrated 3D digitizer system. We found inter-specific variation in visual field configuration and degree of eye movement, but not in orbit orientation. Red-tailed Hawks have relatively small binocular areas (∼33° and wide blind areas (∼82°, but intermediate degree of eye movement (∼5°, which underscores the importance of lateral vision rather than binocular vision to scan for distant prey in open areas. Cooper's Hawks' have relatively wide binocular fields (∼36°, small blind areas (∼60°, and high degree of eye movement (∼8°, which may increase visual coverage and enhance prey detection in closed habitats. Additionally, we found that Cooper's Hawks can visually inspect the items held in the tip of the bill, which may facilitate food handling. American Kestrels have intermediate-sized binocular and lateral areas that may be used in prey detection at different distances through stereopsis and motion parallax; whereas the low degree eye movement (∼1° may help stabilize the image when hovering above prey before an attack. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that: (a there are between-species differences in visual field configuration in these diurnal raptors; (b these differences are consistent with prey searching strategies and degree of visual obstruction in the environment (e.g., open and closed habitats; (c variations in the degree of eye movement between species appear associated with foraging strategies; and (d the size of the binocular and blind areas in hawks can vary substantially due to eye movements. Inter-specific variation in visual fields and eye movements can influence
Centeno-Cuadros, A; Abbasi, I; Nathan, R
PCR-based methods are the most common technique for sex determination of birds. Although these methods are fast, easy and accurate, they still require special facilities that preclude their application outdoors. Consequently, there is a time lag between sampling and obtaining results that impedes researchers to take decisions in situ and in real time considering individuals' sex. We present an outdoor technique for sex determination of birds based on the amplification of the duplicated sex-chromosome-specific gene Chromo-Helicase-DNA binding protein using a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). We tested our method on Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and Black Kite (Milvus migrans) (family Accipitridae). We introduce the first fieldwork procedure for sex determination of animals in the wild, successfully applied to raptor species of three different subfamilies using the same specific LAMP primers. This molecular technique can be deployed directly in sampling areas because it only needs a voltage inverter to adapt a thermo-block to a car lighter and results can be obtained by the unaided eye based on colour change within the reaction tubes. Primers and reagents are prepared in advance to facilitate their storage at room temperature. We provide detailed guidelines how to implement this procedure, which is simpler (no electrophoresis required), cheaper and faster (results in c. 90 min) than PCR-based laboratory methods. Our successful cross-species application across three different raptor subfamilies posits our set of markers as a promising tool for molecular sexing of other raptor families and our field protocol extensible to all bird species.
Colleen T O'Rourke
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Relatively little is known about the degree of inter-specific variability in visual scanning strategies in species with laterally placed eyes (e.g., birds. This is relevant because many species detect prey while perching; therefore, head movement behavior may be an indicator of prey detection rate, a central parameter in foraging models. We studied head movement strategies in three diurnal raptors belonging to the Accipitridae and Falconidae families. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used behavioral recording of individuals under field and captive conditions to calculate the rate of two types of head movements and the interval between consecutive head movements. Cooper's Hawks had the highest rate of regular head movements, which can facilitate tracking prey items in the visually cluttered environment they inhabit (e.g., forested habitats. On the other hand, Red-tailed Hawks showed long intervals between consecutive head movements, which is consistent with prey searching in less visually obstructed environments (e.g., open habitats and with detecting prey movement from a distance with their central foveae. Finally, American Kestrels have the highest rates of translational head movements (vertical or frontal displacements of the head keeping the bill in the same direction, which have been associated with depth perception through motion parallax. Higher translational head movement rates may be a strategy to compensate for the reduced degree of eye movement of this species. CONCLUSIONS: Cooper's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and American Kestrels use both regular and translational head movements, but to different extents. We conclude that these diurnal raptors have species-specific strategies to gather visual information while perching. These strategies may optimize prey search and detection with different visual systems in habitat types with different degrees of visual obstruction.
Vivienne L Williams
Full Text Available Few regional or continent-wide assessments of bird use for traditional medicine have been attempted anywhere in the world. Africa has the highest known diversity of bird species used for this purpose. This study assesses the vulnerability of 354 bird species used for traditional medicine in 25 African countries, from 205 genera, 70 families, and 25 orders. The orders most represented were Passeriformes (107 species, Falconiformes (45 species, and Coraciiformes (24 species, and the families Accipitridae (37 species, Ardeidae (15 species, and Bucerotidae (12 species. The Barn owl (Tyto alba was the most widely sold species (seven countries. The similarity of avifaunal orders traded is high (analogous to "morphospecies", and using Sørensen's index, which suggests opportunities for a common understanding of cultural factors driving demand. The highest similarity was between bird orders sold in markets of Benin vs. Burkina Faso (90%, but even bird orders sold in two geographically separated countries (Benin vs. South Africa and Nigeria vs. South Africa were 87% and 81% similar, respectively. Rabinowitz's "7 forms of rarity" model, used to group species according to commonness or rarity, indicated that 24% of traded bird species are very common, locally abundant in several habitats, and occur over a large geographical area, but 10% are rare, occur in low numbers in specific habitats, and over a small geographical area. The order with the highest proportion of rare species was the Musophagiformes. An analysis of species mass (as a proxy for size indicated that large and/or conspicuous species tend to be targeted by harvesters for the traditional medicine trade. Furthermore, based on cluster analyses for species groups of similar risk, vultures, hornbills, and other large avifauna, such as bustards, are most threatened by selective harvesting and should be prioritised for conservation action.
Reuter, Anne; Müller, Kerstin; Arndt, Gisela; Eule, Johanna Corinna
Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured with the TonoVet rebound tonometer in 10 raptor species, and possible factors affecting IOP were investigated. A complete ophthalmic examination was performed, and IOP was assessed in 2 positions, upright and dorsal recumbency, in 237 birds belonging to the families Accipitridae, Falconidae, Strigidae, and Tytonidae. Mean IOP values of healthy eyes were calculated for each species, and differences between families, species, age, sex, left and right eye, as well as the 2 body positions were evaluated. Physiologic fluctuations of IOP were assessed by measuring IOP serially for 5 days at the same time of day in 15 birds of 3 species. Results showed IOP values varied by family and species, with the following mean IOP values (mm Hg +/- SD) determined: white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), 26.9 +/- 5.8; red kite (Milvus milvus), 13.0 +/- 5.5; northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), 18.3 +/- 3.8; Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), 15.5 +/- 2.5; common buzzard (Buteo buteo), 26.9 +/- 7.0; common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), 9.8 +/- 2.5; peregrine falcon, (Falco peregrinus), 12.7 +/- 5.8; tawny owl (Strix aluco), 9.4 +/- 4.1; long-eared owl (Asio otus), 7.8 +/- 3.2; and barn owl (Tyto alba), 10.8 +/- 3.8. No significant differences were found between sexes or between left and right eyes. In goshawks, common buzzards, and common kestrels, mean IOP was significantly lower in juvenile birds than it was in adult birds. Mean IOP differed significantly by body position in tawny owls (P = .01) and common buzzards (P = .04). By measuring IOP over several days, mean physiologic variations of +/- 2 mm Hg were detected. Differences in IOP between species and age groups should be considered when interpreting tonometric results. Physiologic fluctuations of IOP may occur and should not be misinterpreted. These results show that rebound tonometry is a useful diagnostic tool in measuring IOP in birds of prey because it provides rapid