The black stork is a large bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae. Measuring on average 95 to 100 cm from beak tip to end of tail with a 145-to-155 cm wingspan, the adult black stork has black plumage, with white underparts, long red legs and a long pointed red beak. A widespread, but uncommon, species, it breeds in scattered locations across Europe, Asia to the Pacific Ocean, it is a long-distance migrant, with European populations wintering in tropical Sub-Saharan Africa, Asian populations in the Indian subcontinent. When migrating between Europe and Africa, it avoids crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detours via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west. An isolated, non-migratory, population occurs in Southern Africa. Unlike the related white stork, the black stork is a shy and wary species, it is seen singly or in pairs in marshy areas, rivers or inland waters. It feeds on amphibians, small fish and insects wading in shallow water stalking its prey.
Breeding pairs build nests in large forest trees—most deciduous but coniferous—which can be seen from long distances, as well as on large boulders, or under overhanging ledges in mountainous areas. The female lays two to five greyish-white eggs. Incubation takes 32 to 38 days, with both sexes sharing duties, fledging takes 60 to 71 days; the black stork is considered to be a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but its actual status is uncertain. Despite its large range, it is nowhere abundant, it appears to be declining in parts of its range, such as in India and parts of Western Europe, though increasing in others such as the Iberian Peninsula. Various conservation measures have been taken for the black stork, like the Conservation Action Plan for African black storks by Wetlands International, it is covered under the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. English naturalist Francis Willughby wrote about the black stork in the 17th century, having seen one in Frankfurt.
He named it Ciconia nigra, from the Latin words for "stork" and "black" respectively. It was one of the many species described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name of Ardea nigra, it was moved to the new genus Ciconia by French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson two years later. The word stork is derived from the Old English word storc, thought to be related to the Old High German storah, meaning "stork", the Old English stearc, meaning "stiff"; the black stork is a member of the genus Ciconia, or typical storks, a group of seven extant species, characterised by straight bills and black and white plumage. The black stork was long thought to be most related to the white stork. However, genetic analysis via DNA–DNA hybridization and mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA by Beth Slikas in 1997 found that it was basal in the genus Ciconia. Fossil remains have been recovered from Miocene beds on Rusinga and Maboko Islands in Kenya, which are indistinguishable from the white and black storks.
The black stork is a large bird, measuring between 95 and 100 cm in length with a 145-to-155 cm wingspan, weighing around 3 kg. Standing as tall as 102 cm, it has long red legs, a long neck and a long, pointed red beak, it bears some resemblance to Abdim's stork, which can be distinguished by its much smaller build, predominantly green bill and feet, white rump and lower back. The plumage is black with a purplish green sheen, except for the white lower breast, armpits and undertail coverts; the breast feathers are long and shaggy, forming a ruff, used in some courtship displays. The black stork has brown irises, bare red skin around its eyes; the sexes are identical in appearance. Moulting takes place in spring, with the iridescent sheen brighter in new plumage, it walks and on the ground and like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched. The juvenile resembles the adult in plumage, but the areas corresponding to the adult black feathers are browner and less glossy; the scapulars and upper tail coverts have pale tips.
The legs and bare skin around the eyes are greyish green. It could be confused with the juvenile yellow-billed stork, but the latter has paler wings and mantle, a longer bill and white under the wings. During the summer, the black stork is found from Eastern Asia west to Central Europe, reaching Estonia in the north, Lower Saxony and Bavaria in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Greece in the south, with an outlying population in the central-southwest region of the Iberian Peninsula, it is migratory, wintering in tropical Africa and Asia, although certain populations of black storks are sedentary or dispersive. An isolated population exists in Southern Africa, where the species is more numerous in the east, in eastern South Africa and Mozambique, is found in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and less Namibia. Most of the black storks that summer in Europe migrate to Africa, with those from western Germany and points west heading south via the Iberian Peninsula and the rest via Turkey and the Levant.
Those flying via Spain spend winter in t
Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which includes about 200 species of solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, feathers adapted for silent flight. Exceptions include the gregarious burrowing owl. Owls hunt small mammals and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish, they are found in all regions of the Earth except some remote islands. Owls are divided into two families: the true owl family and the barn-owl family, Tytonidae. Owls possess large, forward-facing eyes and ear-holes, a hawk-like beak, a flat face, a conspicuous circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye; the feathers making up this disc can be adjusted to focus sounds from varying distances onto the owls' asymmetrically placed ear cavities. Most birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their heads, but the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary for low-light hunting.
Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets—as are those of most other birds—so they must turn their entire heads to change views. As owls are farsighted, they are unable to see anything within a few centimeters of their eyes. Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of filoplumes—hairlike feathers on the beak and feet that act as "feelers", their far vision in low light, is exceptionally good. Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as 270°. Owls have 14 neck vertebrae compared to seven in humans, they have adaptations to their circulatory systems, permitting rotation without cutting off blood to the brain: the foramina in their vertebrae through which the vertebral arteries pass are about 10 times the diameter of the artery, instead of about the same size as the artery as in humans. Other anastomoses between the carotid and vertebral arteries support this effect; the smallest owl—weighing as little as 31 g and measuring some 13.5 cm —is the elf owl.
Around the same diminutive length, although heavier, are the lesser known long-whiskered owlet and Tamaulipas pygmy owl. The largest owls are two sized eagle owls; the largest females of these species are 71 cm long, have 54 cm long wings, weigh 4.2 kg. Different species of owls produce different sounds; as noted above, their facial discs help owls to funnel the sound of prey to their ears. In many species, these discs are placed asymmetrically, for better directional location. Owl plumage is cryptic, although several species have facial and head markings, including face masks, ear tufts, brightly coloured irises; these markings are more common in species inhabiting open habitats, are thought to be used in signaling with other owls in low-light conditions. Sexual dimorphism is a physical difference between females of a species. Reverse sexual dimorphism, when females are larger than males, has been observed across multiple owl species; the degree of size dimorphism varies across multiple populations and species, is measured through various traits, such as wing span and body mass.
Overall, female owls tend to be larger than males. The exact explanation for this development in owls is unknown. However, several theories explain the development of sexual dimorphism in owls. One theory suggests that selection has led males to be smaller because it allows them to be efficient foragers; the ability to obtain more food is advantageous during breeding season. In some species, female owls stay at their nest with their eggs while it is the responsibility of the male to bring back food to the nest. However, if food is scarce, the male first feeds himself before feeding the female. Small birds, which are agile, are an important source of food for owls. Male burrowing owls have been observed to have longer wing chords than females, despite being smaller than females. Furthermore, owls have been observed to be the same size as their prey; this has been observed in other predatory birds, which suggests that owls with smaller bodies and long wing chords have been selected for because of the increased agility and speed that allows them to catch their prey.
Another popular theory suggests that females have not been selected to be smaller like male owls because of their sexual roles. In many species, female owls may not leave the nest. Therefore, females may have a larger mass to allow them to go for a longer period of time without starving. For example, one hypothesized sexual role is that larger females are more capable of dismembering prey and feeding it to their young, hence female owls are larger than their male counterparts. A different theory suggests that the size difference between male and females is due to sexual selection: since large females can choose their mate and may violently reject a male's sexual advances, smaller male owls that have the ability to escape unreceptive females are more to have been selected. All owls are carnivorous bi
Ostrya carpinifolia, the European hop-hornbeam, is a tree in the family Betulaceae. It is the only species of the genus Ostrya, native to Europe; the specific epithet carpinifolia means "hornbeam-leaved", from carpinus, the Latin word for "hornbeam". Ostrya carpinifolia is found in Lebanon, France, Slovenia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Greece, southern Switzerland and Turkey, it is found in the medium elevations, in southern Italy and Sicily, in the South Apennine mixed montane forests ecoregion of the Mediterranean forests and scrub Biome. Ostrya carpinifolia is a broadleaf deciduous tree, it has a conical or irregular crown and a scaly, rough bark, alternate and double-toothed birch-like leaves 3–10 cm long. The flowers are produced with male catkins 5 -- 10 cm long and female catkins 2 -- 5 cm long; the fruit form in pendulous clusters 3–8 cm long with 6–20 seeds. The wood is heavy and hard, was used to fashion plane soles. Ostrya are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species.
GRIN database: Ostrya carpinifolia Scheda botanica: Ostrya carpinifolia Ostrya carpinifolia - information, genetic conservation units and related resources. European Forest Genetic Resources Programme
The white stork is a large bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. Its plumage is white, with black on its wings. Adults have long red legs and long pointed red beaks, measure on average 100–115 cm from beak tip to end of tail, with a 155–215 cm wingspan; the two subspecies, which differ in size, breed in Europe, northwestern Africa, southwestern Asia and southern Africa. The white stork is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent; when migrating between Europe and Africa, it avoids crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detours via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west, because the air thermals on which it depends for soaring do not form over water. A carnivore, the white stork eats a wide range of animal prey, including insects, amphibians, small mammals and small birds, it takes most of its food from the ground, among low vegetation, from shallow water. It does not pair for life.
Both members of the pair build a large stick nest. Each year the female can lay one clutch of four eggs, which hatch asynchronously 33–34 days after being laid. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and both feed the young; the young leave the nest 58–64 days after hatching, continue to be fed by the parents for a further 7–20 days. The white stork has been rated as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, it benefited from human activities during the Middle Ages as woodland was cleared, but changes in farming methods and industrialisation saw it decline and disappear from parts of Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Conservation and reintroduction programs across Europe have resulted in the white stork resuming breeding in the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, it may harbour several types of parasite. This conspicuous species has given rise to many legends across its range, of which the best-known is the story of babies being brought by storks. English naturalist Francis Willughby wrote about the white stork in the 17th century, having seen a drawing sent to him by his friend and natural history enthusiast Sir Thomas Brown of Norwich.
He named it Ciconia alba. They noted, it was one of the many bird species described by Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name of Ardea ciconia. It was reclassified to the new genus Ciconia by French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760. Both the genus and specific epithet, cǐcōnia, are the Latin word for "stork" recorded in the works of Horace and Ovid; the Latin word survives in most Romance languages. The word stork is derived from the Old English word storc, appeared in the 10th-century works the Erfurt Glossary, where the word is equated with Ciconia, Aelfric's Homilies; the word is related to the Old High German storah, "stork", similar words in many other European languages, all of which are descended from the Germanic sturko-z. There are two subspecies: C. c. ciconia, the nominate subspecies described by Linnaeus in 1758, breeds from Europe to northwest Africa and westernmost Asia, in southern Africa, winters in Africa south of the Sahara Desert, though some birds winter in India.
C. c. asiatica, described by Russian naturalist Nikolai Severtzov in 1873, breeds in Turkestan and winters from Iran to India. It is larger than the nominate subspecies; the stork family contains six genera in three broad groups: the open-billed and wood storks, the giant storks, the "typical" storks, Ciconia. The typical storks include the white stork and six other extant species, which are characterised by straight pointed beaks and black and white plumage, its closest relatives are the larger, black-billed Oriental stork of East Asia, classified as a subspecies of the white stork, the maguari stork of South America. Close evolutionary relationships within Ciconia are suggested by behavioural similarities and, through analysis of both mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences and DNA-DNA hybridization. A Ciconia fossil representing the distal end of a right humerus has been recovered from Miocene beds of Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya; the 24–6 million year old fossil could have originated from either a white stork or a black stork, which are species of about the same size with similar bone structures.
The Middle Miocene beds of Maboko Island have yielded further remains. The white stork is a large bird, it has a length of 100–115 cm, a standing height of 100–125 cm. The wingspan is 155–215 cm and its weight is 2.3–4.5 kg. Like all storks, it has a long neck and a long straight pointed beak; the sexes are identical in appearance. The plumage is white with black flight feathers and wing coverts; the breast feathers are long and shaggy forming a ruff, used in some courtship displays. The irises are dull brown or grey, the peri-orbital skin is black; the adult has a bright red beak and red legs, the colouration of, derived from carotenoids in t
Pinus nigra, the Austrian pine or black pine, is a moderately variable species of pine, occurring across southern Mediterranean Europe from Spain to the eastern Mediterranean on Anatolian peninsula of Turkey and on Corsica/Cyprus, including Crimea, in the high mountains of the Maghreb in North Africa. Pinus nigra is a tree of the Mediterranean forests and scrub biome; the majority of the range is in Turkey. It is found in the higher elevations of the South Apennine mixed montane forests ecoregion in southern Italy and the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic sclerophyllous and mixed forests ecoregion in Sicily. There are remnant populations in the Mediterranean conifer and mixed forests ecoregion, in the higher Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria, it is found at elevations ranging from sea level to 2,000 metres, most from 250–1,600 metres. Several of the varieties have distinct English names, it has naturalized in parts of the midwestern states of the U. S south of the normal native ranges of native pines. Pinus nigra is a large coniferous evergreen tree, growing to 20–55 metres high at maturity and spreading to 20 to 40 feet wide.
The bark is grey to yellow-brown, is split by flaking fissures into scaly plates, becoming fissured with age. The leaves are more flexible in western populations; the ovulate and pollen cones appear from May to June. The mature seed cones are 5–10 cm long, with rounded scales; the seeds are 6 -- 8 mm long, with a yellow-buff wing 20 -- 25 mm long. Maturity is reached at 15–40 years. Pinus nigra is moderately fast growing, at about 30–70 centimetres per year, it has a rounded conic form, that becomes irregular with age. The tree can be long-lived, with some trees over 500 years old, it needs full sun to grow well, is intolerant of shade, is resistant to snow and ice damage. The species is divided into each further subdivided into three varieties; some authorities treat several of the varieties at subspecific rank, but this reflects tradition rather than sound taxonomy, as the distinctions between the taxa are small. SubspeciesP. Nigra subsp. Nigra in the east of the range, from Austria and central Italy, east to the Crimea and Turkey.
Needles stout, rigid, 1.5–2 mm diameter, with 3–6 layers of thick-walled hypodermal cells. P. nigra subsp. Nigra var. nigra: Austria, Balkans. P. nigra subsp. Nigra var. caramanica: Turkey, southern Greece. P. nigra subsp. Nigra var. italica: central Italy P. nigra subsp. Nigra var. pallasiana: Crimea, Cyprus. P. nigra subsp. Salzmannii in the west of the range, from southern Italy to southern France and North Africa. Needles slender, more flexible, 0.8–1.5 mm diameter, with 1–2 layers of thin-walled hypodermal cells. P. nigra subsp. Salzmannii var. salzmannii: Pyrenees, Southern France, Northern Spain. P. nigra subsp. Salzmannii var. corsicana: Corsica, Southern Italy. P. nigra subsp. Laricio Koekelare P. nigra subsp. Salzmannii var. mauretanica: Morocco, Algeria. In Mediterranean Europe and the Anatolian Peninsula, trees associated with this species include Scots pine, Serbian spruce, Bosnian pine, Norway spruce, Taurus cedar, European silver fir and related firs. Several species of juniper, various broadleaf trees are associates.
Climate and provenancePinus nigra is a light-demanding species, intolerant of shade but resistant to wind and drought. The eastern P. nigra subsp. Nigra exhibits greater winter frost hardiness than the western P. nigra subsp. Salzmannii. Different provenances or varieties are adapted to different soil types: Austrian and Pyrenees origins grow well on a wide range of soil types, Corsican origins grows poorly on limestone, while Turkish and Crimean origins grow well on limestone. Most provenances show good growth on podzolic soils; the timber of European black pine is similar to that of Scots pine and red pine, being moderately hard and straight-grained. It does however tend to be rougher and not as strong, due to its faster growth, it is used for general construction, in paper manufacture. In the United Kingdom, Pinus nigra is important both in plantations. However, serious problems have occurred with red band needle blight disease, caused by the fungus Dothistroma septosporum, resulting in a major recent decline in forestry planting there.
In the United States it is of low importance as a timber species. In regard to Austrian pine, the fungus Dothistroma septosporum is widespread and spreading out of control throughout the United States. All now growing Austrian pine are expected to be killed by this disease, it is out of control and not recommended for landscaping in groups or rows. In Turkey, this pine was and is used in various ways, both topically and internally, as well a
Smoketree or smoke bush is a genus of two species of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae related to the sumacs. They are small trees, native to the warm temperate northern hemisphere; the leaves are deciduous, simple oval shape, 3–13 cm long. The flowers are clustered in a large open terminal panicles 15–30 cm long with a fluffy grayish-buff appearance resembling a cloud of smoke over the plant, from which the name derives; the fruit is a small drupe with a single seed. Classified in Rhus in the past, they are distinguished by the leaves being simple and the'smoke-like' fluffy flower heads; the American smoketree is native to the southeastern United States, from Tennessee south to Alabama and west to Oklahoma and eastern Texas. It is a larger plant becoming a small tree between 3 and 5 meters tall, with a trunk from 20 to 35 centimeters in diameter; the leaves are larger, 6–13 cm long. The foliage is described to be a red wine-like, the shrub has deep pink flowers in the summer; the flower heads are sparser than in C. coggygria.
The smoke trees C. coggygria, are popular garden shrubs. Several bronze or purple-leaved cultivars of C. coggygria have been selected, with warm pink inflorescences set against purple-black foliage. When brought into cultivation together, the two species will form hybrids. Cultivation is best in dry, infertile soils, which keeps the growth habit more compact and improves the autumn colour. Both species can be coppiced in early spring, to produce first-year shoots up to 2 m tall with large handsome leaves, but no "smoke". Tree Guide - Smoke Tree Tree Topics - Smoke Tree Smoke Tree Cotinus obovatus images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu
Reptiles are tetrapod animals in the class Reptilia, comprising today's turtles, snakes, lizards and their extinct relatives. The study of these traditional reptile orders combined with that of modern amphibians, is called herpetology; because some reptiles are more related to birds than they are to other reptiles, the traditional groups of "reptiles" listed above do not together constitute a monophyletic grouping or clade. For this reason, many modern scientists prefer to consider the birds part of Reptilia as well, thereby making Reptilia a monophyletic class, including all living Diapsids; the earliest known proto-reptiles originated around 312 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptiliomorph tetrapods that became adapted to life on dry land. Some early examples include Casineria. In addition to the living reptiles, there are many diverse groups that are now extinct, in some cases due to mass extinction events. In particular, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event wiped out the pterosaurs, plesiosaurs and sauropods, as well as many species of theropods, including troodontids, dromaeosaurids and abelisaurids, along with many Crocodyliformes, squamates.
Modern non-avian reptiles inhabit all the continents except Antarctica, although some birds are found on the periphery of Antarctica. Several living subgroups are recognized: Testudines, 350 species. Reptiles are tetrapod vertebrates, creatures that either have four limbs or, like snakes, are descended from four-limbed ancestors. Unlike amphibians, reptiles do not have an aquatic larval stage. Most reptiles are oviparous, although several species of squamates are viviparous, as were some extinct aquatic clades – the fetus develops within the mother, contained in a placenta rather than an eggshell; as amniotes, reptile eggs are surrounded by membranes for protection and transport, which adapt them to reproduction on dry land. Many of the viviparous species feed their fetuses through various forms of placenta analogous to those of mammals, with some providing initial care for their hatchlings. Extant reptiles range in size from a tiny gecko, Sphaerodactylus ariasae, which can grow up to 17 mm to the saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, which can reach 6 m in length and weigh over 1,000 kg.
In the 13th century the category of reptile was recognized in Europe as consisting of a miscellany of egg-laying creatures, including "snakes, various fantastic monsters, assorted amphibians, worms", as recorded by Vincent of Beauvais in his Mirror of Nature. In the 18th century, the reptiles were, from the outset of classification, grouped with the amphibians. Linnaeus, working from species-poor Sweden, where the common adder and grass snake are found hunting in water, included all reptiles and amphibians in class "III – Amphibia" in his Systema Naturæ; the terms "reptile" and "amphibian" were interchangeable, "reptile" being preferred by the French. Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti was the first to formally use the term "Reptilia" for an expanded selection of reptiles and amphibians similar to that of Linnaeus. Today, the two groups are still treated under the same heading as herptiles, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that it became clear that reptiles and amphibians are, in fact, quite different animals, Pierre André Latreille erected the class Batracia for the latter, dividing the tetrapods into the four familiar classes of reptiles, amphibians and mammals.
The British anatomist Thomas Henry Huxley made Latreille's definition popular and, together with Richard Owen, expanded Reptilia to include the various fossil "antediluvian monsters", including dinosaurs and the mammal-like Dicynodon he helped describe. This was not the only possible classification scheme: In the Hunterian lectures delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1863, Huxley grouped the vertebrates into mammals and ichthyoids, he subsequently proposed the names of Ichthyopsida for the latter two groups. In 1866, Haeckel demonstrated that vertebrates could be divided based on their reproductive strategies, that reptiles and mammals were united by the amniotic egg; the terms "Sauropsida" and "Theropsida" were used again in 1916 by E. S. Goodrich to distinguish between lizards and their relatives on the one hand and mammals and their extinct relatives on the other. Goodrich supported this division by the nature of the hearts and blood vessels in each group, other features, such as the structure of the forebrain.
According to Goodrich, both lineages evolved from an earlier stem group, Protosauria in which he included some animals today considered reptile-like amphibians, as well as early reptiles. In 1956, D. M. S. Watson observed that the first two groups diverged early in reptilian history, so he divided Goodrich's Protosauria between them, he reinterpreted Sauropsida and Theropsida to exclude birds and mammals, respectively. Thus his Sauropsida included Procolophonia, Millerosauria, Squamata, Rhynchocephalia