The Monthly Species – October

The Monthly Species

I thought it was high time to include another bird on this years Monthly Species list. Today I wanted to introduce you to a very small owl species and it is very aptly name. This month’s monthly species is the Little Owl!

Image result for Athene noctua

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Athene
Species: A. noctua

Size: The little owl is usually 22 centimetres (8.7 in) in length with a wingspan of 56 centimetres (22 in) for both sexes, and weighs about 180 grams (6.3 oz).

Diet: They can eat small mammals (like mice), beetles and worms.

Life Expectancy: Sixteen years

Mochuelo Común ( Athene noctua )(1).jpgReproduction: Pairs will breed annually with a clutch of usually 3 to 5 eggs. Males will bring food to female birds who incubate the eggs. The young leave the nest at about seven weeks, and can fly a week or two later. Usually there is a single brood but when food is abundant, there may be two. Pairs can bond for many years and even until one of the pair die. The pairs will often remain together all year round.

Conservation: Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that Little owl numbers are declining, with the UK population estimated to be down by 24 per cent between 1995 and 2008. They are currently listed as a Least Concern species on the IUCN red list.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species: The little owl is closely associated with the Greek goddess Athena and the Roman goddess Minerva, and hence represents wisdom and knowledge.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!





Top 10 UK Birds

Top 10s

Hello! Today I want to introduce you to some of my favourite bird species. Birds are just the most fascinating things to watch and ever since my parents put a bird feeder in their garden I’ve learnt a lot about the different bird species. So without further a do here are 10 of my favourites!

  1. Barn Owl (Tyto alba) – Barn Owls are my favourite owl, aside from being the most beautiful owl they are also impressive hunters with incredible hearing. This hearing means they can catch prey with sound alone! Barn owl hovering
  2. Robin (Erithacus rubecula) –  Male robins can actually be quite an aggressive and territorial bird with other birds which can lead to fatalities. Over winter each robin will have a territory of approximately half a hectare. Robin on flower pot
  3. Buzzard (Buteo buteo) – These birds are one of the most widespread in the UK and can live up to 12 years old. They are an amazing bird of prey and if ever you get a chance to see them hunting its well worth a watch!Buzzard in flight head on
  4. Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) – These little pond dwelling birds hold a special place in my heart because the lake at Bath Spa University had loads of them. They were the first bird species I could properly identify. I mean it also helps that they are adorable! Image result for moorhen
  5. Swan (Cygnus olor) – I feel like this list wouldn’t be complete without Swans. Again there was a resident pair at Bath Spa Uni that had signets ever year. They were very protective of their nests as swans are and I once had to run defence for my friend who was working on the lake and distract the swan!Mute swan swimming
  6. Crow (Corvus corone) – I have had my issues with crows in the past but they still are incredibly intelligent animals! They can recognise faces and even hold grudges! Image result for carrion crow
  7. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) – Sparrow populations have declined by up to 62% in the last 25 years and now they are on the IUCN red list. House sparrow (female)
  8. Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) – These are undeniably one of the most stunning bird species on this list and can be seen almost everywhere in the UK apart from the very north and west of Scotland.Image result
  9. White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)- This is the largest UK bird species and went extinct in the 20th century from hunting and egg-collecting but has since been reintroduced. They are truly fantastic birds of prey and stunning to watch. Image result for white tailed eagle uk
  10. Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) – Another beautiful little bird that are a delight to sit and watch. In the winter they have family flocks that can be up to 20 birds in size!

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into the avian world! What’s your favourite bird let me know in the comments!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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The Monthly Species: January

The Monthly Species

Hello! Welcome to this brand new series! Its the Monthly Species. That’s right every month I’ll be giving you a profile for a new species! Alternating predominantly between the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom! This month it’s….

Southern Royal Albatross


Scientific Classification:

Scientific Name : Diomedea epomophora

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Procellariiformes

Family: Diomedeidae

Genus: Diomedea

Size: Albatross are huge. Gigantic in fact! They have an average length of 112 cm and an average weight of 8.5 kg. Males are slightly heavier than females. There wingspan is around 3 metres! Thats around 10ft.

Diet: Just like many sea dwelling birds, these birds have a diet based around squid, fish and other crustaceans. They eat within a 1250km radius of their breeding site.

Life Expectancy: They can live into their 40s!

royal-albatross3-223Reproduction: Pairs of albatross nest on grasslands and then both parents will incubate the egg. They breed in New Zealand and raise a chick every other year. The chick hatches in February to March and will then take flight for the first time in October to early December. The fledgling process is helped by the strong winds New Zealand experiences at that time.

Conservation: Currently these birds are classed as vulnerable according to the IUCN red list. This is because the population is still recovering after it was predated on heavily by humans in the 1930s. Other threats to these birds include farming on breeding grounds and animals like pigs and cats taking their eggs. Another threat to the albatross is being caught as bycatch in fisheries which could amount to the death of thousands of birds every year. However the population is currently stable and there are efforts to protect their breeding grounds.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species: The albatross are migratory birds and some have been reported to cover 190,000km a year! One migration of a bird was calculated to cover 13,000km in just two weeks!

I guess to summarise these birds are big and beautiful. They deserve protecting and are an important part of terrestrial and marine ecology. Thats why they had to be the species of the month!


ThatBiologist Everywhere!



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Becoming A Master – Help!


Week 10

This week I’ve been writing a really tricky assignment. As with all of my assignments this tern I’ve had a lot of information to cram into an incredibly tight deadline. I was confused about what to include and what to chuck out. So I did the intelligent thing and went and asked for help. My tutorial with my lecturer really helped sort things out and now I’m well on my way with the assignment.

Help can be tricky to admit that you need but its all over the natural world. In a naturally competitive world there are a few examples I’d like to point out where one species helps out another.

The Hermit Crab and The Sea Anemone

An unlikely paring in the natural world but it works! The anemone gets a ride on the crabs shell and gets to feed on any extra scraps the crab finds. The crab then gets the protection of the sea anemone particularly from octopi.


The Crocodile and The Bird

So if you were a bird where would you think the best place to go for some grub is? Well the Plover Bird heads straight for the crocodiles mouth! It gets the bits of food that get stuck in the crocs teeth. Now the crocodile doesn’t eat the bird for the simple reason that this practice keeps their teeth sparkly and free from infection.

Crocodile Plover 1

There are several more examples but the message is never be afraid to ask for help!

Have a great week all!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!