Campephelius principalis, the ivory billed woodpecker. controversially 'extinct', though, for me, personifies the need for hardy optimism in the field of conservation, and especially in the face of the sixth largest extinction this earth has ever seen, this one, man-made. don't stop believing. . (read more about the ivory bill in 'Grail Bird' by Tim Gallagher. an excellent read, and a pretty thorough account of the desecration of bottom-land old growth swamp habitat in the mississippi delta area by human encroachment and poor resource management. for a quick downer, check this out.)
soooo. . onto a bit lighter fare, i present Sula nebouxii, the blue footed booby. one of my all-time favorite birds. this is a female.
. . and her suitor. the only visual difference is the dark ring of pigment on the inner edge of the female's iris, giving the appearance of a larger pupil. the bfb's have a pretty complex series of courtship rituals, with head tosses, calling, wing displaying, and quick leaps in the air, displaying the feet. a recent study found that the males with the bluest feet were most likely to find mates, though they couldn't figure out why. turns out that the blue is deepest when a certain metabolic process works the most efficiently, so that the birds with the bluest feet would be selected most often and therefore, pass on the better genetics. pretty neat. unfortunately, at the moment, this is the only photo of this piece i have, and it was bought at the show. .