The latest newsletter of the Handbook of the Birds of the World has been released and it, as usual, is chock full of fascinating discoveries*, insightful synthesis, and stunning multi-media features.
*For example, I just learned that a flightless owl used to terrify the smaller animals on Cuba during the Pleistocene. This owl stood at least 1m tall! I also learned that this species exists, and I am better for it:
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill (Chalcostigma herrani): In addition to nectar feeding, “Takes prey in bill tip and tosses it into the air, then either flies at it with bill open or tilts head backwards with bill open to get prey into the rear of the gape.”
Included among the updates:
Currently more than 355 of the “new species” (resulting from splits) have multimedia links incorporated in their species accounts. See what we mean, for example, in the accounts of Australian Painted-snipe (Rostratula australis), Somali Courser (Cursorius somalensis), Arctic Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) or Australian Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon macrotarsa).
These forewords essays are outstanding and at times even emotionally charged. For example, I just found this in the essay on extinct birds.
Great Auk Pinguinus impennis – A Last Stand. Great Auks in the mist by Errol Fuller.
You should also totally watch the video clip of the Golden Bowerbird decorating his love shack.
Finally, David Winkler taught me almost everything I’ve ever known about the diversity of avian families, and now you can have your mind similarly blown by picking up your own copy of this spectacular new text:
You can find an archive of past newsletters here.