Friday, April 10, 2015


The Snares penguin (Eudyptes robustus), also known as the Snares crested penguin and the Snares Islands penguin, is a penguinfrom New Zealand. The species breeds on The Snares, a group of islands off the southern coast of the South Island. This is a medium-small, yellow-crested penguin, at a size of 50–70 cm (20–28 in) and a weight of 2.5–4 kg (5.5-8.8 lbs). It has dark blue-black upperparts and white underparts. It has a bright yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye to form a drooping, bushy crest. It has bare pink skin at the base of its large red-brown bill.This penguin nests in small (10 nests) to large (1200 nests) colonies under forest cover or the open. The main colonies are located onNorth East Island, other colonies are established on Broughton Island as well as the rocky Western Chain. The Snares penguin's main prey is krill, supplemented by squid and small fish. The species is currently rated as vulnerable by the IUCN as its breeding range is restricted to one small island group. The current population is estimated at around 25,000 breeding pairs.

Snares penguins were originally collected in 1874 and named atrata by Frederick Wollaston Hutton.The Snares penguin is named after the place in which it breeds—the Snares Islands. The Snares Islands are a small group of islands off the coast of southern New Zealand. Although little is known of their range and migration outside of the breeding season, it is not thought that they migrate far in the winters. Occasional sitings have occurred on the coasts of Tasmania, southern Australia, the Chatham IslandsStewart Island, and the southern New Zealand mainland. There are approximately 25,000 living pairs of Snares penguins.Snares penguins nest in dense colonies under the tree cover of the Olearia forests or on coastal rocks.To build a nest, the penguins dig up shallow holes in the ground and layer the bottom with grass, leaves, twigs, peat, or pebbles.A small rim of mud is added to the rim of the nest to raise it above ground level. Vegetation at nesting sites dies dues to the dense nesting activities, and the colony moves to a new nesting site.Colonies nesting near streams may have some advantage, as the stream provides water for drinking and bathing. However, it is not essential that nesting colonies are located near a stream and many are far from any stream.

Although Snares penguins are not currently threatened, they are considered a vulnerable species. If a threat arose, it could quickly wipe out their population because their breeding grounds are confined to a small island group.The diet of Snares penguins usually consists of krill of the species Nyctiphanes australis, small fish, and cephalopods. One study found that about 60 percent of the mass of stomach contents from Snares penguins consisted of krill, 30 percent was fish, and about 10 percent was cephalopods.Predators of adult Snares penguins are sea lions and leopard seals. Their eggs and chicks are hunted by skuas and petrels.

Friday, February 13, 2015


The dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) is a dolphin found in coastal waters in the Southern Hemisphere. Its specific epithetis Latin for "dark" or "dim". It is very closely genetically related to the Pacific white-sided dolphin, but current scientific consensus holds they are distinct species. The dolphin's range is patchy, with major populations around South America, southwestern AfricaNew Zealand, and various oceanic islands, with some sightings around southern Australia and Tasmania. The dusky dolphin prefers cool currents and inshore waters, but can also be found offshore. It feeds on a variety of fish and squid species and has flexible hunting tactics. The dusky dolphin is known for its remarkable acrobatics, having a number of aerial behaviors. The status of the dolphin is unknown, but it has been commonly caught in gill nets.

he dusky dolphin and the Pacific white-sided dolphin are considered phylogenetically related species. Some researchers have suggested they are the same species, but morphological and life-history evidence shows otherwise. The two sister species diverged at around 1.9–3.0 million years ago.Dusky dolphins from Argentina and southwest Africa separated 2000 generations ago from an ancestral Atlantic are four subspecies classified; (Lagenorhynchus obscurus obscurus), (L. o. fitroyi), (L. o. posidonia) and (L. o. superciliosis).The dusky dolphin is best known for his striped like appearance and its incredible acrobatic character.Possible hybrids of dusky dolphins have been described with a long-beaked common dolphin and a southern right whale dolphin.The dusky dolphin is small to medium in length compared with other species in the family. There is significant variation in size among the different population areas. The largest dusky dolphins have been encountered off the coast of Peru, where they are up to 210 cm (6 feet) in length and 100 kg (210 pounds) in mass. The size for dusky dolphins in New Zealand have been recorded to be a length range of 167–178 cm and a weight range of 69–78 kg for females and a length range of 165–175 cm and a weigh range of 70–85 kg for males.

The males have have more curved dorsal fins with broader bases and greater surface areas.he back of the dolphin is dark grey or black, and the dorsal fin is distinctively two-toned; the leading edge matches the back in color, but the trailing edge is a much lighter greyish white. The dusky dolphins has a long, light-grey patch on its fore side leading to a short, dark-grey beak. The throat and belly are white, and the beak and lower jaw are dark grey. Two blazes of white color run back on the body from the dorsal fin to the tail. Right between the white areas remains a characteristic thorn-shaped patch of dark color, by which the species can easily be recognized. Aside from that, dusky dolphins may be confused with other members of their genus when observed at sea. It can be distinguished from the common dolphin, which has a more prominent and longer beak and yellow flank markings. The skull of a dusky dolphin has a longer and narrower rostrum than that of an hourglass dolphin or Peale's dolphin of similar age and size.

The dolphins can be found off the coasts of South America, southwestern Africa, southern Australia and Tasmania, New Zealand, and some oceanic islands.Dusky dolphins are found throughout New Zealand waters.Dusky dolphins prefer cool, upwelling waters, as well as cold currents. They largely live in inshore waters and can be found up to the outer continental shelf and in similar zones in offshore islands.They can move over great distances (around 780 km), but have no well-defined seasonal migrations. However, dolphins off Argentina and New Zealand make inshore and offshore seasonal and diurnal movements.They have been found around bottlenose dolphins, but apparently do not interact with them, and may share feeding areas with Risso's dolphins.

Dusky dolphins prey consume a variety of fish and squid species. Common fish species eaten include anchovieslantern fish,pilchardssculpinshakeshorse mackerelhoki and red cod. They are generally coordinated hunters. Their very flexible foraging strategies can change depending on the environment. In certain parts of New Zealand, where deep oceanic waters meet the shore, dusky dolphins forage in deep scattering layers at night. They arrive at the hunting site individually, but form groups when in the layer. The dolphins use their echolocation to detect and isolate an individual prey. Groups of foraging dolphins tend to increase when the layer is near the surface and decrease when it descends.The dolphins chase schools of fish or squid and herd them into stationary balls. They may control the school with light reflected from their white bellies.Dolphins herd prey against the surface, but also horizontally against the shore, a point of land, or the hull of a boat.During these times, dusky dolphins are believed to increase prey availability for other predators, including other dolphins, seabirds,sharks, and pinnipeds.
Dusky dolphins perform a number of aerial displays, including leaps, backslaps, headslaps, tailslaps, spins, and noseouts.They also perform head-over-tail leaps which have been called the most "acrobatic" of the displays. A headfirst re-entry is performed when a dolphin leaps entirely water and positions its back in a curve while it flips the tail to land back in the water head-first. "Humping" is similar, except the snout and tail remain in the water when the dolphin is the arch. Leaps, head-over-tail leaps, backslaps, headslaps, tailslaps, and spins are often done over and over again. Young dusky dolphins apparently are not born with the ability to perform the leaps and must learn to master each one Calves appear to learn the leaps in this order: noisy leaps, head first re-entries, coordinated leaps, and acrobatic leaps.Adults may perform different leaps in different contexts, and calves may independently learn how to perform leaps, but learn when to perform these when interacting others.


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, like the Cairn Terrier and Dachshund, is longer than it is tall. It is funny and interesting to look at. You can’t help but stop and stare at a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, or its cousin, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. They are almost as unique-looking as the Dachshund, if not more. The large, erect ears might have earned them prize of funniest-looking dog. In tandem with their shape, the ears make the dog unforgettable.Cardigan Welsh corgis can be extremely loyal family dogs. They are able to live in a variety of settings, from apartments to farms. For their size, however, they need a surprising amount of daily physical and mental stimulation. Cardigans are a very versatile breed and a wonderful family companion.

Even though this dog is small, it can drive cattle. You would never guess by looking at it, at least a layperson unfamiliar with dog breeds, that a dog breed like this could herd cattle. However, its short stature enabled it to duck under the hooves of cattle if they kicked at it. Can you imagine this longish, slender, and interesting-looking little creature herding cattle?.The Cardigan Corgi is one of the oldest herding dogs in existence, and its distinguished by its long, slender body, speckled coat, short stature, and long tail. The Cardigan is the older of the two related breeds, and this breed is believed to have existed in Wales as far back as three millennia ago. It was originally used to help drive cattle to the meat market. You wouldn’t guess it by its short stature, but this dog was an able and competent cattle herder and driver. This dog is sometimes referred to as the yard-long dog.

Cardigans are said to originate from the Teckel family of dogs, which also produced Dachshunds. They are among the oldest of all herding breeds, believed to have been in existence in Wales for over 3,000 years.The ancestors of the Corgis we know today are thought to have been brought to Wales more than 3,000 years ago by tribes who came to Wales from central Europe.Cardigans have never had the same popularity as Pembrokes, probably due to the influence of the Royal family. However they have found their own place in many parts of the world. Cardigan Welsh corgis can compete in dog sports also known as dog agility trials, obedienceshowmanshipflyballtracking, and herding events.

The dog’s coat comes in many colors and patterns, including blue merle and black, brindle, and red. It is double-coated, with a thick topcoat and a short undercoat. They shed all the time, with periods of heavier shedding at least a couple of times per year. You will need to brush its coat on a regular basis to keep it under control. Daily brushing and warm baths may be required throughout the shedding season.The Cardigan is a long, low dog with upright ears and a fox brush tail. The old American Kennel Club standard called it an "Alsatian on short legs".The Cardigan's tail is long (unlike the Pembroke Welsh corgi, whose tail may be long,naturally bobbed or docked). Cardigans come in a variety of colors including any shade of red, sable, or brindle, as well as black, with or without tan, brindle or blue merle, with or without tan or brindle points. Other unofficial colors can occur, such as red merle, but these colors are not considered acceptable per the Cardigan standard. They usually have white on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle, underneath, tip of the tail and as a blaze on the head, known as the "Irish pattern."Other markings include ticking on the legs and muzzle, smutty muzzles and monk's hoods, especially on sables (a pattern of darker tipped hairs over a basic red coat color. An average Cardigan is around 10.5 to 13  inches (260 to 315 mm) tall at the withers and weighs from 30 to 38 lb. (13.6 to 17.2 kg) for the male and 25 to 34 lb. (11.3 to 15.4 kg) for the female.

This dog is lively, playful, and laidback. This breed is a loyal and entertaining companion. It is hardy, energetic, high-endurance, and high-stamina. It was bred to spend all day out on the field dodging cattle kicks, so it has a lot of energy to expend. It is a tireless dog, and it requires daily exercise. It is well-behaved at home, but it might bark sometimes. It will probably aloof around strangers and scrappy when it encounters strange dogs.This is a kind, sensitive, and affectionate dog. It likes to spend time with its loved ones, and it is a fun-loving, active playmate for young children. It is a good dog for a family with young children.It has a lifespan of 12 to 15 with proper home care.


The Australian Terrier is a small breed of dog of the terrier dog type. The breed was developed in Australia, although the ancestral types of dogs from which the breed descends were from Great Britain.The Australian Terrier is a small dog with short legs, weighing around 6.5 kilograms (14 lb) and standing about 25 centimetres (9.8 in) at the withers, with a medium length shaggy harsh double coat that is not normally trimmed. Fur is shorter on the muzzle, lower legs, and feet, and there is a ruff around the neck. The coat colours are shades of blue or red with a lighter coloured topknot, and with markings on face, ears, body and legs of a colour described in the breed standard as "tan, never sandy". The tail was traditionally docked
. As with most pet dog breeds, all proportions and aspects of the body and head as well as colors and markings are extensively described in the breed standard.

The Australian Terrier is descended from the rough coated type terriers brought from Great Britain to Australia in the early 19th century. The ancestral types of all of these breeds were kept to eradicate mice and rats. The Australian Terrier shares ancestors with the Cairn Terrier, ShorthairedSkye Terrier, and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier; Yorkshire Terriers and Irish Terriers were also crossed into the dog during the breed's development.Development of the breed began in Australia about 1820, and the dogs were at first called the Rough Coated Terrier. The breed was officially recognised in 1850, and later renamed as the Australian Terrier in 1892. The Australian Terrier was shown at a dog show for the first time in 1906 in Melbourne, and was also shown in Great Britain about the same time. The Kennel Club (UK) recognised the breed in 1933. The American Kennel Club recognised the Australian Terrier in 1960, and the United Kennel Club (US) in 1970. It is now recognised by all of the kennel clubs in the English speaking world, and also is listed by various minor kennel clubs and other clubs and registries.
The breed standard describes the ideal Australian Terrier temperament as spirited, alert, "with the natural aggressiveness of a ratter and hedge hunter". Aussies rank 34th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of above average "Working and Obedience" intelligence, indicating good trainability. As with other terriers, they can be dog-aggressive and somewhat bossy, and care must be taken when living in a multi-pet household. In general, adult male terriers do not get along well with other adult male dogs. Since the Australian Terrier was also bred for companionship, they tend to be very people friendly, and enjoy interacting with people.Both males and females are 9 to 11 inches in height, and between 9 to 14 pounds.Australian terriers are extremely hardy, healthy, and can live up to 15 years (sometimes longer)!.

Friday, February 6, 2015


The Silken Windhound is a rare American breed of dog, a member of the sighthound family.
The Silken Windhound is a graceful, small to medium-sized sighthound with a moderately long silky coat. This breed owes its unique appearance, elegant build, and the athleticism of a true coursing dog to champion Borzoi and Whippet ancestors. The Silken Windhound can be any combination of coat colors and markings, from spotted to solid, black and tan, saddled, brindle and sable, pure white and reds to deep black and blues, and a rainbow of colors in between.Silken Windhounds are as comfortable in the sporting fields as they are on the couch at home with their humans. They are generally affectionate and playful, and make ideal family companions and good playmates for gentle children. They are unsuited as guard dogs due to their trusting and friendly nature. Like all sighthounds, Silkens excel in racing or lure coursing but have also proven to be intelligent and responsive enough to also enjoy less typical sighthound activities. They are successful in agility, therapy, flyball and obedience. They do well with smaller household pets indoors if socialized to them properly, but their sighthound nature means that any small, fast running animals in the field may be chased.

The Silken Windhound is a gentle, intelligent breed, they train easily and most effectively using reward and affection based training in short, positive sessions. Using positive training methods, Silkens will work eagerly and form strong relationships with their owners. Harsher training based on corrections do not work well with this breed, and will often create a fearful Silken rather than an obedient one. Like many in the sighthound family, most Silken Windhounds can slip out of a standard buckle collar, and the collar most often used with these hounds is a martingale dog collar, or a semi-slip other members of their group, they hunt by sight, and can course game in open areas at high speeds.

In addition to specialty shows held worldwide, in the US, the Silken Windhounds are registered with the United Kennel Club and are shown and participate in a variety of performance sports there. Silken Windhounds are also welcome to show in the rare breed show venues NAKC, IABCA, and NCA, competing as part of the Hound groups. In Slovenia, the Silken Windhound is an accepted part of the Slovenian Kennel Club, member of the FCI, and also participates in the Hound group. Silken Windhounds are also able to participate in sighthound performance sports, and in addition to competing alongside other sighthounds in Finnish lure coursing and straight racing events, the ISWS has established a straight racing program, and an oval track racing program that enable Silkens to compete and win points towards performance titles. In late 2009, Silken Windhounds were accepted as a Limited Stakes breed in ASFA American Sighthound Field Association. Over forty dogs competed in ASFA limited stakes in their first month of acceptance. In late 2010, Silken Windhounds were accepted as a breed in NOFCA, the National Open Field Coursing Association and can participate in open field events.


The Scottish Deerhound, or simply the Deerhound, is a large breed of hound (a sighthound), once bred to hunt the Red Deer by coursing.The Scottish Deerhound resembles a rough-coated Greyhound. It is however, larger in size and bone. Height of males from 30 to 32 inches (75–80 cm) or more, weight 85 to 110 pounds (40–50 kg); height of females from 28 inches (70 cm) upwards, weight from 75 to 95 pounds (35–43 kg). It is one of the tallest sighthounds, with a harsh 3-4 inch long coat and mane, somewhat softer beard and moustache, and softer hair on breast and belly. It has small, dark "rose" ears which are soft and folded back against the head unless held semi-erect in excitement. The harsh, wiry coat in modern dogs is only seen in self-coloured various shades of gray (blue-gray is preferred). Historically, Deerhounds also could be seen with true brindle, yellow, and red fawn coats, or combinations. 19th century Scottish paintings tend to indicate these colours were associated with a wire haired coat, but, with show breeders preferring a longer coat, these genes now appear to be lost. A white chest and toes are allowed, and a slight white tip to the tail; a white blaze on the head or a white collar are not accepted. The head is long, skull flat, with little stop and a tapering muzzle. The eyes are dark, dark brown or hazel in colour. The teeth should form a level, complete scissor bite. The long straight or curved tail, well covered with hair, should almost reach the ground.

The Scottish Deerhound is gentle and extremely friendly. The breed is famed for being docile and eager to please, with a bearing of gentle dignity. It is however a true sighthound which has been selected for generations to pursue game; consequently, most Deerhounds will be eager to chase. The Deerhound needs considerable exercise when young to develop properly and to maintain its health and condition. That does not mean it needs a large house to live in; however it should have regular access to free exercise in a fenced or otherwise "safe" area. Deerhounds should not be raised with access only to leash walking or a small yard, this would be detrimental to their health and development. City dwellers with conviction, however, can keep the dog both healthy and happy, as long as they are willing to take their Deerhounds to nearby parks for lengthy runs and rigorous fetching sessions within these wider running courses. Young Deerhounds can sometimes, depending on the individual, be quite destructive especially when they are not given sufficient exercise; however, the average adult Deerhound may want to spend most of the day stretched out on the floor or a couch sleeping. They do require a stimulus, preferably another Deerhound, and a large area to exercise properly and frequently. They are gentle and docile indoors and are generally good around company and children (however, due to their size, they require supervision with young children).
Scottish Deerhounds live an average of 8 1/2 to 9 years. The serious health issues in the breed include cardiomyopathyosteosarcoma; bloat; stomach or splenic torsion, called Gastric dilatation volvulus; and cystinuriaScottish Deerhounds compete throughout USA in conformation and lure coursing, in states where it is legal, they are used in hare coursingand for coyote hunting. Deerhounds can compete in obedience though few excel in it. Fewer still excel in dog agility or flyball because these competitions favor smaller dogs with lower body weight and a much shorter stride.At one point in history, no one of rank lower than an earl might possess a Scottish Deerhound; the breed almost became extinct because of these policies.


The Sind sparrow (Passer pyrrhonotus) is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found around the Indus valley region inSouth Asia. It is also known as the jungleSind jungle, or rufous-backed sparrow. Very similar to the related house sparrow, it is smaller and has distinguishing plumage features. As in the house sparrow, the male has brighter plumage than female and young birds, including black markings and a grey crown. Distinctively, the male has a chestnut stripe running down its head behind the eye, and the female has a darker head than other sparrow species do. Its main vocalisations are soft chirping calls that are extended into longer songs with other sounds interspersed by breeding males. Historically, this species was thought to be very closely related to the house sparrow, but its closest evolutionary affinities may lie elsewhere. Discovered around 1840, this species went undetected for several decades after its discovery.

The Sind sparrow is very similar to the house sparrow, and both sexes resemble their counterparts of that species, but it is slightly smaller and males and females each have features that distinguish them as Sind sparrows. The Sind sparrow is 13 cm (5.1 in) long, while the common South Asian subspecies of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus indicus, is about 15 cm (5.9 in) long. Wingspans range from 6.2 to 7.0 cm (2.4 to 2.8 in), tails from 4.7 to 5.7 cm (1.9 to 2.2 in), and tarsi measure 1.6–1.9 centimetres (0.63–0.75 in).The male has a short and narrow black bib and a broad chestnut eye stripe that does not meet the mantle. The male has a grey crown and nape and a rufous lower back and rump. The female has a darker and greyer crown and cheek than the female house sparrow and the shoulder is darker chestnut. The female Dead Sea sparrow of the subspecies Passer moabiticus yattii is also similar to the female Sind sparrow, but has yellow tinges on the underparts and sometimes on parts of the head. The bill is black on the breeding male and pale brown on the non-breeding male and female. With a culmen length of 1.1–1.3 centimetres (0.43–0.51 in), the Sind sparrow is slightly smaller-billed than the house sparrow.The Sind sparrow's chirping chup call is softer, less strident, and higher pitched than that of the house sparrow, and is easily distinguished. The song of males includes chirrups interspersed with grating t-r-r-rt notes and short warbles or whistles.
The Sind sparrow has a restricted distribution, primarily occurring within the Indus valley of Pakistan, and the lower parts of the tributaries of the Indus in the Punjab region. The Sind sparrow is somewhat common in its restricted breeding range,and no threats are known to the survival of the species, so it is assessed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.During winter, it often makes short distance movements.

It mostly breeds in acacia and tamarisk scrub and tall grass, invariably near rivers or other wetlands. The construction and expansion of irrigation canals has increased its habitat in Sindh, and helped it extend its range into the Yamuna floodplain and parts of Rajasthan, India. It may breed around rice paddies and other fields, or human habitations, provided that there is enough cover and suitable nesting sites. In winter, it moves away from its main riverine habitat, and into drier thickets characterised by Salvadora and Capparis bushes, but never moves too far from water.
The Sind sparrow is gregarious, generally forming small groups of four to six birds while feeding. It tends to breed in loose colonies of a few pairs, and non-breeding birds may gather to roost in acacias or tamarisks near water. During winter, the non-breeding season, it forms larger flocks of as many as 30 birds, and joins flocks with other seed-eating birds, such as house sparrows and red avadavats. The Sind sparrow feeds mainly on the seeds of grasses and other plants such as Polygonum plebeium. It may also forage for insects such as caterpillars, especially to feed nestlings. Flocks forage on flats alongside rivers, flying into nearby bushes and continuing to forage when disturbed.Nesting occurs during a period of several months between April to September, the timing depending on rainfall, during which two clutches are raised by most pairs. Sind sparrows build nests in the upper branches of thorny trees or the ends of thin branches hanging over water.