This website uses cookies to provide a rich user experience. Please consult our Cookie Policy to learn about what cookies this website uses, or to control the cookies you receive. You need do nothing if you are happy to receive cookies.
Look and Learn History Picture Library Image from the history picture library

Archive for February, 2011

All of these articles and images are available for licensing: click on an image to see further details and licensing options; contact us about licensing textual content.

Pintail: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

 

Pintail Duck. Illustration from British Game Birds and Wildfowl by Beverley R Morris

Pintail Duck. Illustration from British Game Birds and Wildfowl by Beverley R Morris

These slim, elegant ducks have long tail feathers – sometimes 20 cm long in the male – which prevent confusion with any other duck. Pintail feed on the surface of estuaries or inland waters, often up-ending, paddling with the feet and tilting the tail to keep a correct balance. The male guards the nest during incubation; and while the female tends the ducklings, both sexes feign injury to lure intruders from the site.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. Click on a picture to find out more about licensing images for commercial or personal/educational use. We are also able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

 

Red-backed shrike: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

 

Red-backed Shrike. Familiar Wild Birds by W Swaysland

Red-backed Shrike. Familiar Wild Birds by W Swaysland

The name “butcher bird” has been won by the red-backed shrike for its habits of impaling prey – bumble bees, beetles or even nestlings and small birds – on a thorn or branch. This makes a “larder” of surplus food, to be eaten later. A conspicuous, noisy bird, the red-backed shrike hunts and feeds like a small hawk, scanning the territory from a look-out post, or hovering and gliding before swooping on its victim. Breeding is on rough, open land, where there are bushes for hunting posts and nesting.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. Click on a picture to find out more about licensing images for commercial or personal/educational use. We are also able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

Raven: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

 

Raven. Familiar Wild Birds by W Swaysland

Raven. Familiar Wild Birds by W Swaysland

Largest of native crows, ravens are scavengers and eaters of carrion – often to be seen in groups around dying sheep or deer on the hills and sea cliffs in the west and north of Britain. Norse sagas tell of ravens awaiting good pickings during battles in Viking times. Yet in folklore these sinister birds are often seen as protectors. According to legend, Britain will be invaded if the tame ravens leave the Tower of London, and a raven’s head was said to have been buried on Tower Hill in the 13th century to guard Londoners against their enemies.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. Click on a picture to find out more about licensing images for commercial or personal/educational use. We are also able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

Honey buzzard: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

As its name implies, the honey buzzard preys on bees, wasps and their larvae, biting off the sting before swallowing the insect. Wasps’ nests attached to buildings are often torn off in flight, while on the ground the predator excavates the nest with its feet. During breeding, prey is carried in the adult’s crop and fed to the nestlings. These yellow-eyed birds are rare in Britain. A few nest in southern England; others occur as passage migrants.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. We are able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

Shelduck: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

Like many waders, shelduck feed on the tiny water snail “hydrobia”, but, unlike shore-feeding birds, these ducks can obtain them by up-ending in shallow water when the hydrobia emerge from the mud as the tide covers them. Both sexes of shelduck have the same boldly coloured plumage, although the adult male is distinguished by the large knob at the base of its bill. The nest is placed in a rabbit burrow or under rocks, providing the female with the protection it is not afforded by camouflage colouring.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. We are able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

 

Yellow wagtail: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

 

Dipper, Pied Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail (centre). The Royal Natural History, ed Richard Lydekker

Dipper, Pied Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail (centre). The Royal Natural History, ed Richard Lydekker

One of the most brightly coloured of British birds, this summer visitor has a yellow plumage which shows great variation in extent and brilliance. However, almost all birds found here are yellow-headed. At breeding time, any observer approaching even within 300 metres from the nest can scare away this wary little bird. During courtship, the male fluffs out its feathers while running around the female, or threatens rival cocks by stretching up its neck to show off its dazzling yellow plumage.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. Click on a picture to find out more about licensing images for commercial or personal/educational use. We are also able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

Lesser black-backed gull: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

 

Lesser Black backed Gull. A Hand-Book to the Birds of Great Britain by R. Bowdler Sharpe

Lesser Black backed Gull. A Hand-Book to the Birds of Great Britain by R. Bowdler Sharpe

In habits and behaviour this gull is so akin to the herring gull that the two are often considered to be extreme versions of a single variable species. The two often nest side by side, each breeding normally with its own kind. Interbreeding does occur, and if the eggs of each species are exchanged, the young may mate with the foster species, producing hybrids. The colour pattern of the lesser black-back is the same as in the great black-back, but the former’s back is usually greyer.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. Click on a picture to find out more about licensing images for commercial or personal/educational use. We are also able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

Sandwich tern: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

Named after the town in Kent where they once bred, these largest of British terns now form colonies scattered around the coast from Shetland to the south of England. Nests are often placed in the protective proximity of more aggressive birds such as common and arctic terns or black-headed gulls. This practice has its disadvantages, however, for the intended protectors often themselves attack the chicks.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. We are able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

Hobby: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

These handsome birds of prey are true masters of the air, flying so expertly on their scythe-shaped wings that they can fly down even a swift or swallow, capturing the prey without a moment’s check in flight. Small birds are usually carried to a plucking post to be eaten, but insects such as dragonflies are brought to the beak by the feet, to be devoured on the wing without pausing for a second. In courtship this skill is displayed to the full, the male “stooping” at the female, as if to attack her, then passing prey to her at full speed in the air.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. We are able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

Common tern: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Monday, 28 February 2011

 

Common Tern. The Royal Natural History, ed Richard Lydekker

Common Tern. The Royal Natural History, ed Richard Lydekker

During the breeding season, the male common tern flies around with a fish in its beak on the look-out for a mate. When it finds a suitable female, it presents the fish to the hen. After a few days in the nest, the chicks leave to hide in the vegetation nearby, leaving both parents free to hunt for fish for the young. In dense terneries other adult birds ruthlessly harry the successful hunter for its catch.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 909 published on 23 June 1979. Click on a picture to find out more about licensing images for commercial or personal/educational use. We are also able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.