The tufted capuchin, Sapajus apella, is a social little monkey living in the dry canyons of the Amazon river basin, in South America. This little primate is somewhat famous for its use of stones to break open hard nuts. It also eats a variety of fruits and small animals such as insects and even rats! You can watch a family of tufted capuchins survive and thrive throughout one whole year in the BBC Earth movie, Wild Brazil. Highly recommended viewing!
Most red-eyed vireos (Vireo olivaceus) breed in North America and overwinter in the Amazon basin of South America. During the breeding season, a single male may sing constantly, up to 10,000 times each day! Because of this and their canopy-feeding lifestyle, these little birds are often heard rather than seen, and their song is part of most forest soundtracks. If you can zoom in on an adult, you may be able to see its bright red eyes, but most commonly you will have to settle for its song and its olive green body with grey, black, and white head pattern for identification.
This is one of the greatest moments of nature film history: BBC and David Attenborough introducing one of the world’s best bird mimics, who can even immitate human sounds such as cameras and chainsaws: the superb lyre bird!
Best Bird Mimic
The Crucifix Toad, also called the Holy Cross Frog, Notaden bennettii, lives in the dry outback of eastern Australia. When it gets too dry, this little guy burrows deep underground and goes into a semi-hibernating state, like many of his neighbors. However, it is the substance secreted by this little amphibian that makes it special. When disturbed by insects or other threats, the Crucifix Toad secretes a sticky substance known to be one of the strongest natural adhesives in the world. It will even stick metal to metal! Even more valuable, it is being used inside human bodies for medical purposes, far exceeding the usefulness of limited protein-based and synthetic bonding agents currently being used. Check out the links below for more interesting tidbits!
Kaziranga National Park lies in the far northeastern portion of India, just south of the Himalayan Mountains. It is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of endangered one-horned rhinoceroses and has the highest density of tigers of all protected areas in the world. This area also protects Asian elephants, water buffaloes and swamp deer, along with thousands of birds. Check out the links below to learn more about this ecological hot spot!
The crown-tipped coral fungus is white to yellowish and about an inch or two tall with little spikey crown-shaped tops on its “branches”. It grows on long-dead wood in North America and is edible, with a peppery taste that tends to disappear when cooked. The video below describes where to find this fungus species, how to identify it, and how to harvest and cook it. The links below the video feature more pics and species information.
Crown Tipped Coral Fungus
The fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus, lives in the wetlands of India and southeast Asia, where its natural habitat is being replaced with homes and farmland. This endangered species of wild cat is about twice the size of most domestic house cats, about 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder and very stocky. Just like its name implies, this feline is an avid swimmer and hunts fish and other aquatic animals in rivers, streams, and swampy areas.
The Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis, has an AMAZING song! And if that wasn’t enough for this Australian songster, he also copies songs of other birds and even imitates human sounds!
Click play to hear this bird’s amazing song. You may enjoy this duet! 😀
I just love this name: the Spiny Cream Spider Flower! This shrub grows up to about 6 feet tall, in the outback of Western Australia. It usually flowers twice per year and its leaves are slightly prickly and finely divided. Straight white hairs line the branches and the fruit looks like wrinkly green bean seeds.
The Indonesian or Sunda Stink Badger, Mydaus javanensis, looks like a stocky, short-tailed skunk. It has a large white “cap” of fur on top of its head, with the warning coloration extending all the way down its back and onto its stubby little tail. These animals are related to skunks but have an even worse spray — dogs have been known to go blind and humans pass out from the force of the milky green liquid! Making this animal even more unique, it has a snout like a pig! Learn more using the links below.
Step inside a working ant production line when BBC films an entire colony of leaf-cutter ants from South America brought indoors in this remarkable project! This 89-minute documentary film is available for FREE on YouTube.
Great (or Northern) Crested Newts, Triturus cristatus, large for their type, are found across northern Europe from the UK to Western Russia. Females are larger than males and sport a bright yellow and black-spotted underbelly. Males have the bright belly plus two separate crests: a more scalloped or tufted version down their back and two smoother ones on the top and bottom of the tail. You may also be able to spot a silvery stripe running along the sides of the male’s tail. Watch the video below and check out the links to learn about this unique amphibian species!
Great Crested Newt
Jabiru are storks that live in Central and South America, especially in the wetlands of Brazil and Paraguay. They are the tallest flying bird in their range, with adult males sometimes reaching 5 feet in height — about as big as the flightless rhea! Jabiru means “swollen neck” and both males and females have their namesake. Males tend to be about 25% larger than females, however.