A studio for bird study

Tag: research

Original gouache paintings for sale – Peregrine Falcon profile artwork for The Peregrine Fund’s Global Raptor Impact Network (GRIN)

by Bryce W. Robinson

I’ve been collaborating for some time now with The Peregrine Fund on a big data project they are launching – the Global Raptor Impact Network (GRIN). My role has been to illustrate species profile images for each of the world’s raptor species (raptors as defined in McClure et al. 2019, which comprises around 560-580 species, depending on the taxonomic list applied [see McClure et al. 2020] .

Now available are two original, 9×12″ gouache paintings on hardboard, or a limited edition (1 of 20) 11×14″ high quality, archival and signed giclee print of our very first design for this project, the iconic Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus).

This is an amazing way to help celebrate The Peregrine Fund’s 50th Anniversary as well as to help support the GRIN project.

Learn more about GRIN: https://globalraptors.org/grin/indexAlt.asp

Published in Ambio: Status and trends of circumpolar Peregrine Falcon and Gyrfalcon populations

by Bryce W. Robinson

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 12.25.11 PM

Image copyright Ambio 2019

 

I had the privilege of being included in a recent publication on the status and population trends of two Arctic breeding falcons, the Gyrfalcon and Peregrine Falcon. In this paper, we report population trends for 12 sites across the Arctic where monitoring programs have been in effect.

This work conducted by the Arctic Falcon Specialist Group is important since it combines the efforts of biologists worldwide to form an understanding of the status of the worlds Arctic breeding falcons. The take away is that for the most part, both species seem to be stable, and that continued monitoring is important because of their place as focal ecosystem components in the Arctic.

 

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.