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  • Flamingoes to Stilts | Birds of Malta

    Flamingoes, Spoonbills, Ibises, Grebes, O'Catchers, Avocets & Stilts Flamingo Greater Flamingo Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in large flocks, in small groups and also individually. ​ Unmistakable, a great sized bird, with pink plumage and a pink bill with black tip and yellow eyes in adults. They also have long, lean, curved necks and black-tipped bills with a distinctive downward bend. Their bent bills allow them to feed on small organisms—plankton, tiny fish, fly larvae, and the like. ​ Immature birds first brown with white belly. Later dirty white with coverts tipped black. ​ ​ Diet Flamingos eat larva, small insects, blue-green and red algae, molluscs, crustaceans and small fish, according to Sea World. Their tendency to eat both vegetation and meat makes them omnivores. ​ Longevity record 27 years (Ring read in the field in France, FA 5233) Fjamingu Phoenicopterus roseus Phoenicopteriformes Phoenicopteridae Scarce ​ Usually seen in August - November ​ Occasionally seen in all the other months ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Ad. Pink body and bill with black tip. Rosy-red upperwings with black primaries and secondaries. Yellow iris. Juvenile to immature Note all brown plumage in juveniles. Bill is grey with less contrasting tip. Dark iris. 1/31 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 125 - 145 140 - 170 1.8 - 3.6 Back to Glossary Great white pelican Great White Pelican Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence Info* The Great White pelican that lives in the shallow swamps in Africa is one of the largest flying birds in the world. It has the abilities of multiple birds, such as long flights and swimming. Its unique characteristic is the “gular pouch” inside its beak. Its legs are short and strong with fully webbed toes that allow it to propel itself in water and to take off from the surface of the water. They are powerful fliers and often travel in flocks in a V-formation to reduce drag for the group. Diet Great White pelicans are carnivores (piscivores), they eat fish and also small invertebrates. Longevity record 51 years Pellikan Pelecanus onocrotalus Pelecaniformes Pelicanidae Vagrant Usually seen in - Occasionally seen in September - November Click on the image to open slideshow 1/2 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 140 - 175 245 - 295 6.9 - 11.5 Back to Glossary Eurasian Spoonbill Eurasian Spoonbill Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. Occasionally in flocks. ​ Largely unmistakable, but might be mistaken for an egret when at a distance. Differs from these in bill-shape and in neck held straight (not retracted) in flight. Plumage white with yellowish half collar and neck tuft in breeding season. Bill and legs dark. Immature birds with black tips to primaries and pinkish bill. Characteristic feeding behavior with sweeping bill-motions from side to side. Wing-beats slower than Glossy Ibis, and flocks generally fly in single file. ​ ​ Diet Water bugs adults and larvae, dragonflies, caddisflies, locusts, flies and other insect species. It also takes crustaceans, molluscs, worms, leeches, frogs, tadpoles and small fish, and occasionally some algae. ​ Longevity record 25-30 years Paletta Platalea leucorodia Pelecaniformes Threskiornithidae Very scarce Usually seen in February - May, September - October ​ Occasionally seen in June - August, November - January ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/18 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 80 - 93 120 - 135 1.2 - 1.7 Back to Glossary Bald Ibis Northern Bald Ibis Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Seen singly on the 15th October 2017. From the ring details it was known that it was part of a reintroduction program in Fagnana, Udine in the North of Italy. ​ A largely unmistakable, even at a distance when bald head is not apparent. Note short legs and short, thick neck without bulbous head. In flight note that the legs are not protruding behind tail, and that the wings usually show 3-4 "fingers". Frequent soaring flight, as opposed to Glossy Ibis. This ibis is listed as 'Endangered' under IUCN's list and several programs are being implemented for its reintroduction. ​ ​ Diet Northern bald ibis eat a wide variety of foods, especially grasshoppers, locusts, mole-crickets, crickets, beetles and small reptiles. They will also eat most other invertebrates and small vertebrates they can find, including scorpions, snails, worms, frogs and fish. ​ Longevity record 24-32 years Velleran Qargħi / Velleran Eremita Geronticus eremita Pelecaniformes Threskiornithidae Vagrant Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in One single record on 15th Oct 2017 ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Immature Pink bill and still have face feathers. Iris still darker than in adults. Immature Pink bill and still have face feathers. Iris still darker than in adults. Adult Red bill. Elongated nape feathers. Yellow to orange iris. Immature Pink bill and still have face feathers. Iris still darker than in adults. 1/4 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 70 - 80 120 - 135 1.0 - 1.3 Back to Glossary Picture taken abroad Glossy Ibis Glossy Ibis Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. Occasionally in larger groups >10 individuals. ​ Resembles a big, black Curlew, but can only be confused with Bald Ibis. Differs from this by longer, slender neck, rounded and feathered head, long legs (trailing in flight) and heavier bill. Bare parts greyish, not red. Adults with glossy green wings. Immatures and birds in winter plumage with white-speckled head and neck. Head and legs droops slightly below horizontal plane in flight, leaving a "hunched" impression. Wing beats faster than herons of same size. May glide longer distances, but does not soar like Bald Ibis. Flight formation loose, diagonal or in single file with undulating movements. ​ ​ Diet Insects, small fish and aquatic invertebrates, including molluscs and crabs. It uses its long bill to probe through mud and shallow water to find prey. ​ Longevity record 9 years (Shot in Hungary, 27530) Velleran / Veneral Plegadis falcinellus Pelecaniformes Threskiornithidae Very scarce Usually seen in March - April ​ Occasionally seen in May-June, August - November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/13 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 55 - 65 88 - 105 530 - 768 Back to Glossary Little Grebe Little Grebe Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in pairs. ​ Small, dark grebe with bright yellow gape, short neck and bill. Winter plumage paler than summer, with chestnut flanks, neck and cheeks, giving less contrast between upper- and underparts. Fluffy, pale stern. No crest or tufts/tippets and no white markings on wings. ​ ​ Diet Insects, small fish, molluscs, crustaceans and amphibians. ​ Longevity record 17 years (Switzerland, 929838) Blonġun Żgħir Tachybaptus ruficollis Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Very scarce Back to Glossary Usually seen in September - February ​ Occasionally seen in March, July - August, all other months for resident individuals at Simar ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Juvenile Bright yellow bill, gape still not formed, broader white in chin and white side feathers indicating a juvenile. Adult summer Distinctive yellow gape, chestnut cheeks and foreneck in spring adults. Black bill with paler yellowish end tip. Juvenile Bright yellow bill, gape still not formed, broader white in chin and white side feathers indicating a juvenile. Juvenile Bright yellow bill, gape still not formed, broader white in chin and white side feathers indicating a juvenile. 1/15 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 23 - 29 40 - 45 140 - 193 Great Crested Grebe Great Crested Grebe Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but occasionally in groups. ​ Unmistakable in summer plumage with black crest, and black and chestnut tippets. Paler coloured (pinkish) bill than other grebes (also in winter). Gives a slender and more elegant impression. Swims with body low and a stretched slender neck, or with head rested on back. Winter; very pale. Pale, pinkish bill. White area above lores. Front of neck white. Shows white lesser- and median coverts in flight together with white wing-bar. ​ ​ Diet The great crested grebe feeds mainly on fish, but also small crustaceans, insects small frogs and newts. ​ Longevity record 19 years (Shot in Russia, C 111277) Blonġun Prim Podiceps cristatus Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Scarce Usually seen in October - March ​ Occasionally seen in April, August - September ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult summer Long head plumes, chestnut face feathers and a darker back and sides in summer plumage. Adult summer Long head plumes, chestnut face feathers and a darker back and sides in summer plumage. Adult summer Long head plumes, chestnut face feathers and a darker back and sides in summer plumage. Adult summer Long head plumes, chestnut face feathers and a darker back and sides in summer plumage. 1/12 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 46 - 51 59 - 73 0.8 - 2.0 Back to Glossary Black-necked Grebe Black-necked Grebe Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. ​ Small and dark grebe, with squarish head and thin, uptilted bill. Adult breeding plumage distinct, with unique combination of black head and neck, and a spray of golden, fan-like feathers from eye to nape. Head profile distinct, with its steep forehead. In winter plumage highest point is above the eye. Much more contrasting plumage than Little Grebe. Avoids to take wing if possible. ​ ​ Diet This grebe eats mostly insects, of both adult and larval stages, as well as crustaceans, molluscs, tadpoles, and small frogs and fish. When moulting at lakes with high salinity, although, this bird feeds mostly on brine shrimp. ​ Longevity record 13 years (Shot in the Czech Republic, D 43196) Blonġun Sekond Podiceps nigricollis Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Fairly common Usually seen in October - December ​ Occasionally seen in January - April, August - September ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult moulting to summer plumage Adult moulting to summer plumage Adult summer Bright red iris, black head, neck and back. Peak on head. Chestnut side feathers. Yellow ear-tufts. Adult moulting to summer plumage 1/22 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 28 - 34 56 - 60 250 - 350 Back to Glossary Oystercatcher Eurasian Oystercatcher Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups but can be seen individually. ​ Unmistakable shorebird. Large wader with black and white plumage, striking orange-red, straight bill and red orbital ring. Legs pinkish in adults and grey in juveniles. Broad white wing-bars. Stocky build, with fairly short legs and broad chest. Flight pattern straight and level. Winter plumage with white half-collar on chin. Juveniles with browner tone to upperparts than adults, and black tip of bill. ​ ​ Diet In muddy coasts, worms are the most important part of the diet, whereas rocky shore oystercatchers prey upon limpets, mussels, gastropods, and chitons. ​ Longevity record 43 years (Killed by a bird of prey in Germany, 5022926) Gallina tal-Baħar Haematopus ostralegus Charadriiformes Haematopodidae Very scarce Usually seen in August ​ ​ Occasionally seen in March - July, September - December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult summer Red bill showing an adult. Lack of white collar indicating a summer plumage. 1st summer birds have a dark tip on the end of the bill. Interesting to note that all photos taken are all of adult birds. 1/27 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 39 - 44 72 - 83 380 - 520 Back to Glossary Pied Avocet Pied Avocet Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups but can be seen individually and in large flocks. ​ An elegant, long-legged, black and white wader with a long, upcurved bill. Plumage mainly white, with black wing-tips, coverts, crown and hind-neck. Pretty unmistakable. Confusion with Juvenile Shelduck possible at very long range. Flight pattern even and mostly without glides. ​ Females have a shorter but more sharply curved bills than males. ​ ​ Diet Pied Avocets mostly feed on crustaceans and insects. They typically forage in shallow brackish water or on mud flats, often moving their bills from side to side in water as they search for food. Pied Avocets breed near shallow lakes with brackish water and exposed bare mud. ​ Longevity record 27 years (Ring read in the field in the Netherlands, 3047434) Xifa Recurvirostra avosetta Recurvirostridae Charadriiformes Very scarce Usually seen in March - April, August - September ​ Occasionally seen in May, October - December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult female Shorter and more sharply curved bill indicative of a female. 1/16 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 42 - 46 67 - 77 225 - 400 Back to Glossary Black-Winged Stilt Black-winged Stilt Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups but can be seen individually and in large flocks. ​ Unmistakable due to the extremely long, red legs. High contrast plumage with pointed, black wings (both upper and under-side) and white underparts. Tail white, with white wedge extending up back. Back of adult male sooty black, while brownish black in female and immature. Head all white or with black markings independent of sex (males more often have black markings than females though). Immature with faint, pale fringes to coverts, and white trailing edge to secondaries visible in flight. ​ ​ Diet Black-winged Stilts feed mainly on aquatic insects, but will also take molluscs and crustaceans. They rarely swim for food, preferring instead to wade in shallow water, and seize prey on or near the surface. Occasionally, birds plunge their heads below the surface to catch sub-aquatic prey. ​ Longevity record 10 years (Ring read in the field in Spain, 4037768) Fra Servjent / Passarvjent Himantopus himantopus Recurvirostridae Charadriiformes Fairly common Usually seen in March - May, July - August ​ Occasionally seen in February, June, September - October ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adults Males - dark black backs Females - brown tinged backs Black on head patterns varies between males and females but males tend to have more black on the head. Adults Males - dark black backs Females - brown tinged backs Black on head patterns varies between males and females but males tend to have more black on the head. 1/38 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 33 - 36 71 - 83 150 - 210 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Flycatchers | Birds of Malta

    Flycatchers Rufous tailed scrub robin Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. Adult male and female Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin look alike and measure about 15 cm long with relatively long legs and a large rounded tail. The upper parts are a rich brownish chestnut, with the rump and uppertail coverts rather more rufous. There is a distinct curved, creamy-white broad streak from the nostrils to behind the eye and a dark brown line through the eye. The under-eye area is whitish and the ear coverts pale brown. The eye and the beak are both brown but the lower mandible of the beak has a greyish base. The underparts are buffish white, with the chin, central belly and undertail coverts paler than the other parts. The feathers of the wing are dark brown, fringed on the leading edge with buff and on the trailing edge with pale chestnut-brown and with the secondaries tipped with white. The central pair of feathers on the tail are bright rufous-chestnut with narrow black tips and the rest a similar colour with white tips and adjacent broad black bands. The legs and feet are pale brown. Juveniles are similar in appearance but generally a paler sandy-brown colour. ​ ​ Diet It feeds mainly on the ground on insects such as beetles, grasshoppers and the larvae of butterflies and moths, and on earthworms, turning over the leaf litter to find its prey. ​ Longevity record 7 years Rożinjol tax-Xagħri Cercotrichas galactotes Passeriformes Muscicapidae Rare ​ Usually seen in April - May ​ Occasionally seen in October - December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Weight (g): 15 - 17 20 - 27 Back to Glossary European Robin European Robin Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen fighting for territory. Rufous red face, throat and chest, framed in slate grey in adults of both sexes. Olive brown to grey upperparts and dull white underparts. Head rather large, and body rather stocky when plumage puffed, despite thin bill and slender legs. Juveniles lack the red front and are heavily spotted in buff on a dark brown body with barred chest. Adults pretty unmistakable when seen well. Flight usually low and darting, with quick changes of directions before disappearing in thick bushes. Posture usually erect with frequent flicking of tail and wings. ​ ​ Diet European robins are insectivorous and eat a wide range of insects, including spiders. Worms are also part of their diet, and in autumn and winter, these birds will eat more fruit and berries when insects are difficult to find. ​ Longevity record 19 years 4 months (Found dead in the Chech Republic, Z 364896) Pitirross Erithacus rubecula Passeriformes Muscicapidae Common ​ Usually seen in September - March ​ Occasionally seen in all other months ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/14 Length (cm): Weight (g): 12.5 - 14 13 - 21 Back to Glossary Comon Nightingale Common Nightingale Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Anonymous, indistinct plumage and secretive behaviour makes it an easily overlooked bird (except when singing). Tail rufous brown, upperparts warm brown. Underparts buff and white. Throat without streaking. Tail more rufous, and contrasts less with the warm brown back, than in Thrush Nightingale. Overall a more smooth and clean appearance. Behaviour with jumping gait, erect posture, raised tail and drooping wings. ​ ​ Diet Nightingales feed mainly on insects, mainly through foraging on the ground, and in particular are partial to ants and beetles. ​ Longevity record 10 years 11 months (Spain, 2498771) Rożinjol Luscinia megarhynchos Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in March - May, August - October ​ Occasionally seen in June, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 22-04-20 14-04-20 22-04-20 1/6 Length (cm): Weight (g): 15 - 16.5 18 - 27 Back to Glossary Bluethroat Bluethroat Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Male unmistakable. Blue throat with rufous red or white center (both sub-species occur in Malta), white supercilium and rufous base of outer tail feathers. Female lacking, or having just a partially blue throat. Female and juveniles could be confused with Redstart because of the rufous tail, but note its dark, bold trailing edge and center. An elegant and fairly long-legged chat that often flicks its wings and cocks its tail. ​ The Bluethroat with a white chest spot is usually seen only in Spring, whereas the Red-spotted Bluethroat can be seen in both Autumn and Spring. ​ ​ Diet Primarily invertebrates, mainly insects, with some seeds and fruit. ​ Longevity record 11 years 5 months (Spain, N 0074112) Rożinjol Ikħal Luscinia svecica Passeriformes Muscicapidae Rare Usually seen in March - April, October - November ​ Occasionally seen in January, February, May, September ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1st winter plumage Svecica (N. Europe) sub-species due to the rusty patch just being seen on the top part of the blue throat. Eventually once the birds moults into its full plumage, the rusty spot will be in the middle of its blueish throat. 1st winter plumage Svecica (N. Europe) sub-species due to the rusty patch just being seen on the top part of the blue throat. Eventually once the birds moults into its full plumage, the rusty spot will be in the middle of its blueish throat. 1st winter plumage Svecica (N. Europe) sub-species due to the rusty patch just being seen on the top part of the blue throat. Eventually once the birds moults into its full plumage, the rusty spot will be in the middle of its blueish throat. 1/15 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13 - 14 15 - 21 Back to Glossary Western Black Redstart Western Black Redstart Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or multiple individuals fighting over territory or within the same area. ​ Male: Charcoal to black plumage, with rufous red tail, pale belly and pale wing-panel (south-eastern subspecies with rufous belly and no wing-panel). Female: Grey brown overall, except rufous tail. Lacks the orange tinge to breast and belly of female Common Redstart. Juveniles resembles the adult female, and lacks the buff speckles of congeners. May jump around on the ground like Common Redstart, but are more prone to run. Also shows a more erect posture. ​ ​ Diet Black Redstart feeds mainly on invertebrates such as grasshoppers, bugs, lepidopteran insects, flies, ants, bees, wasps, beetles, spiders, small molluscs and earth worms. It also feeds on berries, fruits and seeds. ​ Longevity record 10 years 2 months (Killed in the Netherlands, S 128312) Kudirross Iswed / Fjammu Iswed / Ta' Denbu Aħmar Phoenicurus ochruros gibraltariensis Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common Usually seen in October - March ​ Occasionally seen in April ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 29-10-17 1/11 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13 - 14.5 12 - 20 Back to Glossary Redstart Common Redstart Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or multiple individuals fighting over territory or within the same area. ​ Rufous tail with dark brown center in all plumages. Most noticeable in flight when tail is spread. Male unmistakable with black face and throat, white band across forehead, orange-red breast and grey back. Female relatively featureless, except for the characteristic rufous tail. Other characters are brown-grey upperparts, pale eye-ring, and orange tinge to breast. Erect posture with frequent tail flicking. ​ Diet The Common Redstart feeds mainly on invertebrates such as grasshoppers, bugs, lepidopteran insects, flies, ants, bees, wasps, beetles, spiders, small molluscs and earth worms. It also feeds on berries, fruits and seeds. ​ Longevity record 10 years 3 months (Killed in Denmark, 9H 40474) Kudirross / Fjammu / Ta' Denbu Aħmar Phoenicurus phoenicurus Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common Usually seen in March - May, August - November ​ Occasionally seen in June, December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 06-04-19 22-04-20 02-05-20 06-04-19 1/14 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13 - 14.5 12 - 18 Back to Glossary Moussier's Redstart Moussier's Redstart Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ ​ It is an endemic resident breeder in the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa . Its habitat is open woodland in rocky areas from sea level up to 3000 m altitude in the mountains. ​ The male has a black head with a broad white stripe running above each eye and down the side of the neck. The upperparts are black other than a white wing patch, and the rich chestnut tail, from which it and other redstarts get their names ('start' is an old word for 'tail'). The underparts are a rich orange-red. The female has a pale brown head and upperparts, and the underparts are a paler orange than the male, although generally redder than the underparts of the similar but larger female Common Redstart ​ ​ Diet This Redstart feeds mainly on invertebrates such as grasshoppers, bugs, lepidopteran insects, flies, ants, bees, wasps, beetles, spiders, small molluscs and earth worms. It also feeds on berries, fruits and seeds. ​ Longevity record - Kudirross Aħmar Phoenicurus moussieri Passeriformes Muscicapidae Rare ​ Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in February - April, October - December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/16 Length (cm): Weight (g): 12 - 13 12 - 15 Back to Glossary Whinchat Whinchat Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but multiple birds can be seen in the same area. ​ An erect posture and large head. Distinct white or buff supercilium in all plumages. Base of primaries shiny white in adults, especially adult male. Coarsely spotted buff rump. Base of tail with white triangular patches. Juveniles with white speckles on upperparts and whitish throat. Lacks the white base of primaries, but supercilium bold. ​ ​ Diet Whinchats are insectivorous, feeding largely (about 80–90%) on insects, but also consume a wide range of other invertebrates including spiders, small snails and worms. They also eat small amounts of fruit such as blackberries, primarily in autumn. ​ Longevity record 6 years 11 months (Czech Republic, T 389922) Buċaqq tas-Silla / Buċaqċaq Saxicola rubetra Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common Usually seen in March - May, August - October ​ Occasionally seen in February, November - December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 20-04-18 26-04-19 20-04-18 1/12 Length (cm): Weight (g): 12 - 14 14 - 18 Back to Glossary European Stonechat European Stonechat Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but multiple birds can be seen in the same area. ​ Quite similar to Whinchat all plumages lack the strong pale supercilium. Male easily identified by its mainly black and white plumage, black throat and white half-collar. Other plumages seem much more evenly coloured than the Whinchat's, with its more pronounced streaking. Adult females also with diffuse black throat, but this becomes paler as the plumage is worn. All plumages show white patch at base of wing in flight. Rump usually streaked, but sometimes has a white center, or can even be completely white. Juveniles like female, but with streaked underparts. Always restlessly on the move with frequent dipping of tail. ​ ​ Diet Almost entirely invertebrates, mainly small or medium-sized insects and their larvae; occasionally small vertebrates, seeds and fruit. ​ Longevity record 8 years 10 months (Germany, 9X 36806) Buċaqq tax-Xitwa / Buċaqċaq Saxicola rubicola Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common Usually seen in September - April ​ Occasionally seen in - ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 30-10-20 1/8 Length (cm): Weight (g): 11.5 - 13 13 - 17 Back to Glossary Northern Wheatear Northern Wheatear Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but multiple birds can be seen in the same area. ​ Epitome of wheatears. Male with grey back, white supercilium, black mask and dark wings. Females have less contrast, are more brownish than grey, the supercilium is fainter and the black mask is missing. Rump white and tail white with black "T" in all plumages. The black in the middle tail-feathers is always at least as long as the width of the black terminal tail-band. Pale individuals can be mistaken for Isabelline Wheatear, but note that the supercilium is buff between eye and base of bill. ​ ​ Diet It feeds on adults and larvae of numerous insects' species, large insects, spiders, small snails and earthworms. In autumn, it feeds on berries from several plant species. The Northern Wheatear has similar diet on the wintering grounds where it is often attracted by burnt areas with ants and termites. ​ Longevity record 10 years 1 months (Sweden, 1EE42448) Kuda Oenanthe oenanthe Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common Usually seen in March - May, August - November ​ Occasionally seen in February, June ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 15-04-17 24-04-20 15-04-17 15-04-17 1/12 Length (cm): Weight (g): 14 - 16.5 19 - 29 Back to Glossary Isabelline Wheatear Isabelline Wheatear Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Male and female isabelline wheatear are similar in appearance. The upper-parts are a pale sandy brown with an isabelline tinge (isabelline is a pale grey-yellow, fawn, cream-brown or parchment colour). The lower back is isabelline and the rump and upper tail-coverts are white. The tail feathers are brownish-black with a narrow edge and tip of buff and a large white base. In the outer tail feathers this occupies more than half the length of the feather but in the central feathers it is about one third. There is an over-eye streak of creamy white and the ear-coverts are pale brown. The chin is pale cream and the throat pale buff. The breast is sandy or isabelline buff and the belly creamy white. The under tail-coverts are pale buff and the under wing-coverts and axilliaries white with dark bases. The wing feathers are brownish-black, tipped and edged with creamy buff. The beak, legs and feet are black and the irises are brown. ​ ​ Diet Its diet includes ants, grasshoppers, moths, flies, mites, spiders and insect larvae, and it sometimes eats seeds as well. Isabelline Wheatears are solitary birds in their winter quarters and may associate with other Oenanthe species during migration. ​ Longevity record - Kuda Iżabellina Oenanthe isabellina Passeriformes Muscicapidae Scarce ​ Usually seen in March - April ​ Occasionally seen in May, October - November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 30-03-18 30-03-18 30-03-18 1/9 Length (cm): Weight (g): 15 - 16.5 25 - 35 Back to Glossary Desert Wheatear Desert Wheatear Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ The head and nape of the adult male Desert Wheatear are a pale sandy-grey colour with the feathers tipped grey. The mantle, scapulars and back are a similar but rather richer colour. The rump and upper tail-coverts are pale buff. The basal third of the tail feathers are white and the rest black with a pale buff tip. A curved stripe over the eye is pale buff and extends backwards. The feathers of the chin, throat, lores and ear-coverts are black tipped with white. The breast and flanks are sandy-buff and the belly and under tail-coverts are creamy-white tinged with buff. The axillaries and under wing-coverts are black tipped with white. The primaries have black outer webs, tipped and edged with white and inner webs pale brown edged with white. The secondaries are similar but have broader white edges to both webs. ​ The female has similar plumage but the rump and upper tail-coverts are more sandy brown, the lores, chin and throat pale buff and the dark parts of the tail brownish-black. ​ ​ Diet Its diet includes ants, grasshoppers, moths, flies, mites, spiders and insect larvae, and it sometimes eats seeds as well. ​ Longevity record - Kuda tad-Deżert Oenanthe deserti Passeriformes Muscicapidae Vagrant ​ Usually seen in March, October - November ​ Occasionally seen in April, December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Weight (g): 14.5 - 15.5 21 - 27 Back to Glossary Western Black-eared Wheatear Western Black-eared Wheatear Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ The breeding male has the forehead and crown white or nearly white, the mantle buff, and the wings blacker than those of the Northern Wheatear . The underparts are white tinged with buff. The back, upper tail coverts and most of the tail are white. A black mask extends from the ear coverts to the bill. The throat can be either black (black-throated) or white (pale-throated). In autumn and winter the head and mantle are distinctly buff, as are the underparts (including the throat in pale-throated individuals), but the buff varies in intensity. Except for the central pair, the tail feathers are much whiter than in the Northern Wheatear, the white on the inner web often extending to the tip. ​ The female is a browner bird, but has the characteristic white lower back, and her seasonal changes are less marked. ​ The male Western Black-eared Wheatear can be distinguished from the male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear by its more buff-tinged upperparts, giving it a less distinctly black-and-white appearance than the latter species, as well as having the black of the mask stopping at the base of the bill rather than extending slightly above. Also the black mask of the Eastern type goes above the eye whilst that of the Western does not or is very slightly surpassed. Black-throated individuals of this species have less black on the throat and face than on the eastern birds, and the black generally terminates less abruptly. Females of this species differ from their eastern counterparts in being warmer brown overall. ​ ​ Diet Its diet includes ants, grasshoppers, moths, flies, mites, spiders and insect larvae, and it sometimes eats seeds as well. ​ Longevity record 10 years Kuda Dumnikana tal-Punent Oenanthe hispanica Passeriformes Muscicapidae Very rare ​ Usually seen in April ​ Occasionally seen in March, May ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 01-05-19 01-05-19 01-05-19 01-05-19 1/5 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13.5 - 15.5 15 - 22 Back to Glossary Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but multiple individuals can be seen within the same area. ​ The breeding male has the forehead, crown, and mantle white or nearly white with a buff tinge, and the wings blacker than those of the Northern Wheatear . The underparts are white tinged with buff. The back, upper tail coverts and most of the tail are white. A black mask extends from the ear coverts to the bill. The throat can be either black or white. The female is a more gray-brown bird, but has the characteristic white lower back, and her seasonal changes are less marked. ​ The male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear can be distinguished from the male Western Black-eared Wheatear by its whiter, less buff-tinted upperparts than the latter species, giving it a more distinctly black-and-white appearance, as well as by having the black of the mask reaching just above the base of the bill. Black-throated individuals of this species have a greater amount of black on the throat and face than on the western birds, and the black generally terminates more abruptly or in a straighter line. Females of this species differ from their western counterparts in being overall colder-colored and duller. ​ It is found breeding in the eastern Mediterranean , Southeast Europe to the Caspian Sea and Iran and migrates to winter quarters in the Sudan . ​ ​ Diet Its diet includes ants, grasshoppers, moths, flies, mites, spiders and insect larvae, and it sometimes eats seeds as well. ​ Longevity record 10 years Kuda Dumnikana Oenanthe melanoleuca Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common Usually seen in March - May ​ Occasionally seen in June, August - October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 31-03-20 1/32 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13.5 - 15.5 15 - 22 Back to Glossary White-crowned Wheatear White-crowned Wheatear Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Large and powerful for a wheatear with glossy black plumage; found in rocky deserts. Only adults have a white cap. Sexes similar. In all plumages lacks a black terminal tail band; its mostly white tail separates it from other similar black wheatears. Inhabits rocky slopes and steep desert wadis. The male sings a clear series of whistles and trills; often given during a display flight. ​ ​ Diet Its diet includes ants, grasshoppers, moths, flies, mites, spiders and insect larvae, and it sometimes eats seeds as well. ​ Longevity record n/a Kuda Rasha Bajda Oenanthe leucopyga Passeriformes Muscicapidae Vagrant Back to Glossary Usually seen in --- ​ ​ Occasionally seen in March - April ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/11 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13.5 - 15.5 23 - 32 Red-breasted flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ A small and elegant flycatcher with deep chest, slender vent and fairly long tail. Head rounded and bill thin. Best field mark is the dark tail with white edges at the base (Wheatear-like) shown in all plumages. Often flirts tail, showing the diagnostic markings. Male recognized by Robin-like throat-patch and slate grey head. The red is restricted to the upper throat, and does not extend to the cheeks like in Robin. Very acrobatic flight when hunting. More pronounced flicking of tail than in other flycatchers, with tail sometimes even pointing forward over back, before being let down slowly. ​ Diet The Red-breasted Flycatcher feeds primarily on insects of several species, and also takes worms, snails and woodlice ​ Longevity record 10 years Żanżarell ta' Sidru Aħmar Ficedula parva Passeriformes Muscicapidae Very scarce ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in October ​ Occasionally seen in April - May, September, December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/3 Length (cm): Weight (g): 11 - 12 10 - 12 Spotted flycatcher Spotted Flycatcher Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but are seen in good quantities within the same area. Seen in pairs in Spring and Summer and some reside and breed. Easily overlooked bird with greyish brown upperparts and pale underparts. Crown and chest speckled. Bill and legs black. Slim white fringes to flight feathers and greater coverts. Body, wings and bill longer than in Pied Flycatcher, leaving a more elongated impression. Erect posture. Behaviour similar to congeners, with rapid darts and frequent hovering when hunting insects. Flicks tail and wings while perched. ​ ​ Diet The Spotted Flycatcher feeds primarily on flying insects of several species, and also spiders, snails and earthworms, and some small fruits and berries. It hunts by performing sallies from perch, at 1-2 metres above the ground. It catches the prey while flying, and returns to the perch to eat the insect. ​ Longevity record 11 years (Killed by a cat in Finland, J-978561) Żanżarell tat-Tikki Muscicapa striata Passeriformes Muscicapidae Common ​ Usually seen in March - May, August - November ​ Occasionally seen in all other months for resident birds ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 16-06-18 16-06-18 1/10 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13.5 - 15 13 - 19 Back to Glossary Semi-collared Flycatcher Semi-collared Flycatcher Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. The breeding male is mainly black above and white below, with a white half-collar, extending further back than in pied, large white wing patch, extensively white tail sides and a large white forehead patch. It has a pale grey rump. The bill is black and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores. It mainly takes insects in flight, rarely hunting caterpillars amongst the tree foliage like Pied Flycatcher. ​ Non-breeding male, females and juvenile semi-collared flycatchers have the black replaced by a pale brown, and may be very difficult to distinguish from other Ficedula flycatchers, particularly the Collared Flycatcher. A distinction is that Semi-collared may show a white second wing bar, but many individuals are not separable in the field. ​ ​ Diet t mainly takes insects in flight, rarely hunting caterpillars amongst the tree foliage like pied flycatcher ​ Longevity record 9 years Żanżarell tal-Lvant Ficedula semitorquata Passeriformes Muscicapidae Very rare ​ Usually seen in March - April ​ Occasionally seen in May, September Click on the image to open slideshow 1/1 Length (cm): Weight (g): 12 - 13.5 10 - 17 Back to Glossary Collared flycatcher Collared Flycatcher Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but are seen in multiple numbers within the same area. The breeding male is mainly black above and white below, with a white collar, large white wing patch, black tail (although some males have white tail sides) and a large white forehead patch. It has a pale rump. The bill is black and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles have the black replaced by a pale brown, and may be very difficult to distinguish from other Ficedula flycatchers, particularly the European Pied Flycatcher and the Semi-collared Flycatcher , with which this species hybridizes to a limited extent. ​ ​ Diet As well as taking insects in flight, this species hunts caterpillars amongst the foliage, and will take berries. ​ Longevity record 9 years 10 months (Hungary, T 06103) Żanżarell tal-Kullar / Għasfur tal-Gamiem Ficedula albicollis Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in April - May ​ Occasionally seen in March, June, August - October Click on the image to open slideshow 18/04/20 1/13 Length (cm): Weight (g): 12 - 13.5 10 - 17 Back to Glossary Pied flycatcher European Pied Flycatcher Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but are seen in multiple numbers within the same area. ​ Male with shiny black upperparts and pure white underparts. Female grey-brown with pale underparts. Both sexes with broad white edges to tertials and greater coverts, forming a broad white patch (largest in males). Fairly compact body compared to Spotted Flycatcher, with shorter tail and bill. Easily confused with Collared and Semi-collared Flycatcher where these occur. Both sexes differs from Semi-collared in no white edges to end of tail and less white at base. Distinguished from Collared in white patch beneath alula being narrow and not reaching edge of wing (both sexes), white base of tail (black in Collared males) and no collar (males). ​ Diet As well as taking insects in flight, this species hunts caterpillars amongst the oak foliage, and will take berries ​ Longevity record 10 years 11 months (A shot bird in Finland, J-574662) Żanżarell Iswed / Għasfur tal-Gamiem Ficedula hypoleuca Passeriformes Muscicapidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in April - May ​ Occasionally seen in March, June, August - November Click on the image to open slideshow 25-04-18 25-04-18 1/8 Length (cm): Weight (g): 12 - 13.5 10 - 17 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Eagles & Vultures | Birds of Malta

    Eagles & Vultures Short toed Short-toed Snake Eagle Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* The Short-toed Eagle is one of the largest raptors that visit our islands. Although it is a very scarce visitor, sizeable flocks have been recorded since the early 90's. This eagle will take four years in order to moult to its adult plumage. Adults will have heavily barred flight feathers. Whitish underparts and dark hood and chest. Underparts variably barred with 2-3 tail-bands, but leaves an overall pale impression. Primaries have six distinctive fingers. Pale individuals may show pale throat and chest. Soars on flat or marginally raised wings, with hand stretched slightly forward. Tail slender with straight cut end and sharp corners. ​ Diet Its prey is mostly reptiles, mainly snakes , but also some lizards . Occasionally, they prey on small mammals up to the size of a rabbit, and rarely birds and large insects. ​ Longevity record 15 years Ajkla Bajda Circaetus gallicus Accipitriformes Accipitridae Very scarce ​ Usually seen in September - November Occasionally seen in April - June, December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/9 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 62 - 69 162 - 178 1.2 - 2.3 Back to Glossary Lesser Spotted Lesser Spotted Eagle Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* The Lesser Spotted Eagle is one of the largest raptors that visit our islands. It is a rare visitor which is usually seen individually. It has evenly broad wings and relatively short tail. Its flight-feathers are darker than the pale brown coverts, both on upper and underwing. Head and body distinctly paler than flight feathers. Conspicuous pale patch at base of inner primaries on upperwing. U-shaped white patch at base of tail. Immature birds with white tipped greater and median coverts, forming two narrow wing-bands. Primaries showing 6 protruded "fingers", with a 7th shorter finger. Sours and glides with wings held horizontally, but with characteristic drooping hand. ​ ​ Diet Mainly mammals (90%) and a little of fish and birds (10%) ​ ​ Longevity record 20-25 years Ajkla tat-Tikki Clanga pomarina Accipitriformes Accipitridae Rare ​ Usually seen in September - November Occasionally seen in March - April ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 2935-240920 2956-240920 2935-240920 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 55 - 65 143 - 168 1.0 - 2.2 Back to Glossary Booted Booted Eagle Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* The Booted Eagle is a very small eagle which is usually smaller than a normally sized Honey Buzzard. ​ It has a long tailed, slender build and have white ''indicator'' patches at base of wings. Occurs in pale and dark morph. Six ''6'' distinct ''fingers'' i.e. 6 feathers protruding from the primaries that are typical with eagles. ​ ​ Diet It hunts small mammals, reptiles and birds. ​ ​ Longevity record 12 years Ajkla tal-Kalzetti Hieraaetus pennatus Accipitriformes Accipitridae Very scarce ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in September - October Occasionally seen in November - May ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 20160834 1/17 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 42 - 51 110 - 135 630 - 1145 Egyptian Egyptian Vulture Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* A small vulture with a characteristic flight profile and distinct plumage with a white body, white coverts and black flight feathers (in adults). Long, wedge-shaped tail, but not longer than wings are broad. Wings square and broad, full hand. Small head with thin bill and a yellow face in adults. ​ Immature birds are dark brown with paler coverts. Despite the less distinct plumage, the silhouette is similar to adults. Noticeably more active wing flapping and quicker wing-beats than in the large vultures. ​ ​ Diet Egyptian vultures are carnivorous, feeding mostly on carrion, but they are also known to eat insects, small reptiles and mammals, crustaceans, snails, bird eggs, nestlings, and the dung of larger animals. ​ ​ Longevity record 17 years (Found dead, electrocuted in Spain, G 09545) Avultun Abjad Neophron percnopterus Accipitriformes Accipitridae Rare ​ Usually seen in September - October, March - April Occasionally seen in May - June, August ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/3 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 59 - 70 156 - 170 1.8 - 2.4 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • 404 | Birds of Malta

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