Ecuador Amazon – Achilles Blue Morpho Butterfly

Ecuador Amazon - Achilles Blue Morpho Butterfly

Ecuador Amazon – Achilles Blue Morpho Butterfly

The dazzling blue wings of Morpho butterflies are enormous relative to their body size, resulting in a very distinctive slow, bouncy flight pattern. The effect is that the brilliant blue upper side appears to flash like a beacon as it alternates in flight with the dark undersurface. This makes it difficult for a bird to follow the flight. If attacked when on the wing, the slow lazy flight pattern instantly changes into a wild swooping evasive maneuver, following which the butterfly dives into the forest where it instantly settles. A pursuing bird is still of course searching for a brilliant blue insect, but the Morpho snaps it’s wings shut, displaying the dark brown underside and foiling the bird’s search program. If the bird does manage to spot the settled butterfly it invariably aims its attack at the most prominent feature – in this case the ocelli, missing the body entirely and allowing the butterfly to escape.

Ecuador Amazons – Toucans

Ecuador Amazon - Toucans

Ecuador Amazon – Toucans

Toucans are brightly marked and have large, often colorful bills. The family includes five genera  and about forty different species. The name of this bird group is derived from the Tupi word tukana, via Portuguese.

This photo was taken from far away with a 300 mm zoom lens.

Ecuador Amazon – Double-toothed Kite

Ecuador Amazon - Double-toothed Kite

Ecuador Amazon – Double-toothed Kite

The double-toothed kite, a bird of prey, generally hunts from a perch above the rainforest floor. The kite dives quickly downward to catch lizards and insects, the principle staples of its diet. The double toothed kite is an opportunistic hunter, often perching near groups of monkeys in order to capture prey flushed by the large mammals

Ecuador Amazon – Yellow-rumped Cacique

Sacha Lodge offers a 940-foot (275-meter) long canopy walkway at approximately 94 feet (30 meters) above the ground and the rainforest offers an unbelievable opportunity to spot dozens of animals and birds seldom seen from the ground. They are quite far away,

Ecuador Amazon - Yellow-rumped Cacique Far Away

Ecuador Amazon – Yellow-rumped Cacique Far Away

but a zoom lens helps!

Ecuador Amazon - Yellow-rumped Cacique

Ecuador Amazon – Yellow-rumped Cacique

The Yellow-rumped Cacique is a bird associated with open woodland or cultivation with large trees. This gregarious bird eats large insects and fruit. The song of the male Yellow-rumped Cacique is a brilliant mixture of fluting notes with cackles, wheezes and sometimes mimicry. There are also many varied calls, and an active colony can be heard from a considerable distance.

Galapagos Tortoise in the Wild

Galapagos Tortoise in the Wild

Galapagos Tortoise in the Wild

The Galápagos tortoise or Galápagos giant tortoise is the largest living species of tortoise and 13th-heaviest living reptile, reaching weights of over 400 kg (880 lb.) and lengths of over 1.8 meters (5.9 ft). With life spans in the wild of over 100 years, it is one of the longest-lived vertebrates.

If you enlarge this image, the designs on the shell are interesting.

Galapagos Birds – Red-footed Booby with Brown Morph

Galapagos Birds - Red-footed Booby with Brown Morph

Galapagos Birds – Red-footed Booby with Brown Morph

The brown morph of the red-footed booby is overall brown. The white-tailed brown morph is similar, but has a white belly, rump, and tail. The white-headed and white-tailed brown morph has a mostly white body, tail and head, and brown wings and back.

Galapagos Birds – Red-footed Booby Portrait

Galapagos Birds - Red-footed Booby Portrait

Galapagos Birds – Red-footed Booby Portrait

Smallest of the boobies, the red-foot feeds at sea, nests on the ground, and perches in coastal trees. Red-footed boobies appear in a variety of color morphs but, of course, all have feet of the distinctive red color which gives them their name.

Galapagos Birds – Nazca Boobies

Galapagos Birds - Nazca Boobies

Galapagos Birds – Nazca Boobies

Galapagos Birds - Nazca Booby  Protecting her Egg

Galapagos Birds – Nazca Booby Protecting her Egg

Nazca Booby Birds are the largest of all the boobie birds on the Galapagos Islands.

Nazca Booby Birds lay two eggs, several days apart from which only one chick survives due to a practice called ‘obligatory sibling murdering’. In this process, one of the chicks displaces the other by taking most of the food, therefore growing faster. Once that has been achieved, the larger chick kicks the smallest and weakest chick out of the nest, leaving it to die of thirst or cold. The parent Nazca Booby Birds will not intervene and the younger chick will inevitably die.

It is believed that two eggs are laid so that one remains an insurance in case the other gets destroyed or eaten e.g. by gulls, or the chick dies soon after hatching.

2013 in Review with Sincere Appreciation

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 56,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.