A studio for bird study

Tag: illustration

Original watercolor painting available for purchase – Short-tailed Shearwaters (Ardenna tenuirostris)

by Bryce W. Robinson

I have made another original painting available for purchase – this 18×24″ watercolor painting of three Short-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna tenuirostris).

I painted this in 2018 for a paper I wrote, Unusual foraging observations associated with seabird die-offs in Alaska. Robinson et al. 2018 in Marine Ornithology. This painting also currently sits as the banner logo on the Ornithologi website.

If you love seabirds or shearwaters and are interested in this painting, you can purchase it in the shop.

Published in Western Birds: “Further Information on the Avifauna of St. Matthew and Hall Islands, Bering Sea, Alaska”

by Bryce W. Robinson

The feature article in the latest issue of Western Birds, “Further Information on the Avifauna of St. Matthew and Hall Islands, Bering Sea, Alaska” is an update to the bird list of the remote Bering Sea island group, St. Matthew and Hall Islands, written by myself and a great group of folks from USGS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Alaska Museum, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Even more, the cover for this issue features an ‘umbrina’ Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis umbrina) painted by myself, which might be the first time an illustration has been featured on the cover. It is certainly an honor.

To see the full list of notable findings during our month long stay on this incredible and remote Bering Sea island, click below and read the open access paper.

I also worked with my coauthors to publish a supplement that details a full, annotated bird list for our month long stay on the island. To see the full list of species we catalogued, click on the photo below.

Published in the Journal of Raptor Research: Defining Raptors and Birds of Prey

by Bryce W. Robinson

 

Raptor Cladogram

Figure 1 from McClure et al. 2019, ‘Defining raptors and birds of prey’ in the Journal of Raptor Research. Raptors, under our new definition, include all orders encompassed by the gray box in this figure. 

In the latest issue of the Journal of Raptor Research, colleagues and I, led by Chris McClure, published a commentary proposing a definition for the terms raptor and bird of prey. 

The definition is essentially all orders of core land birds (Telluraves) in which the majority of the members have maintained an ancestral raptorial condition. In other words, raptors or birds of prey belong to a group of birds that descended from an ancestor that had a raptorial lifestyle and morphology. The species that evolved from this common ancestor and maintained raptorial characteristics are thus considered raptors. This places the orders Accipitriformes, Cathartiformes, Falconiformes, and Strigiformes together as raptors, a grouping that is largely consistent with tradition. The big change is that this group also includes the order Cariamiformes, an order containing the two species of Seriemas from South America. This is the first time that Seriemas have been included as raptors (apart from a suggestion in Jarvis et al. 2014), but as we outline in the paper the natural history of the species along with its placement in the evolutionary grade cause it to fall under our current definition of raptor and bird of prey. So, welcome Seriemas to the Raptors!

As I stated above, the orders Accipitriformes, Cathartiformes, Falconiformes, and Strigiformes have all traditionally been considered raptors and birds of prey. But, there has also been considerable disagreement about the inclusion of some of these, such as Cathartiformes (New World vultures) and Strigiformes (owls). There has also long been discussion about the inclusion of shrikes (Lanidae) and ravens (Corvidae) because they either share some raptorial morphology and life history characteristics, or fulfill a similar ecological niche. This disagreement has caused many discussions in my life alone. I recall multiple discussions about whether or not Turkey Vultures are raptors, which stirred much of the conversation that led to my involvement in the publication of this paper.

Now, we don’t have to argue, Turkey Vultures are raptors. Since this definition is backed by much of the raptor research community, and is solidly outlined, defensible, and now published in the Journal of Raptor Research, I believe this new definition properly orients us to what is and is not a Raptor or Bird of Prey. We can now move forward and focus on the important work of conserving much of the members of this group.

Read “Defining raptors and birds of prey” open access here.