Tweet of the Day

Tweet of the Day

Discover birds through their songs and calls. Each Tweet of the Day begins with a different call or song, followed by a story of fascinating ornithology inspired by the sound. Tweet of the Day is narrated by a host of wildlife presenters including Sir David Attenborough and Michael Palin.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • Eastern Orphean Warbler

    Fri, 19 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the eastern orphean warbler in an olive grove near Athens. Until recently there used to be just a single species of orphean warbler; a handsome bird much like a large blackcap with a white throat and greyish-brown back. But across the wide breeding range which stretches from Portugal to Pakistan some orphean warblers look and sound different. Those east of Italy tend to be subtly greyer above and paler beneath. And the songs of birds from Greece eastwards are longer and richer, often including the richness of nightingale like notes. These slight differences have persuaded many ornithologists that the Eastern orphean warbler is a different species to the Western orphean warbler. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

    Thu, 18 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the greater racket-tailed drongo of South-East Asia. Across a clearing in a Malaysian forest flies a dark bird, seemingly chased by two equally dark butterflies. Those butterflies in hot pursuit aren't insects at all; they are the webbed tips of the greater racket-tailed drongo's excessively long wiry outer-tail feathers, which from a distance look like separate creatures as it flies. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Saddleback

    Wed, 17 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the formerly widespread saddleback of New Zealand. It's loud, piping and whistling calls once resounded throughout New Zealand's forests, but now the saddleback is heard only on smaller offshore islands. This is a bird in exile. About the size of a European blackbird, saddlebacks are predominantly black with a rust-coloured saddle-shaped patch on their backs. As well as this chestnut saddle, the bird has two bright red wattles at the base of its beak which it can dilate when it displays. It also has an extensive vocabulary and one of its calls has earned it the Maori name –"Ti-e-ke". Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Blue Manakin

    Tue, 16 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the advancing, leaping and queuing male blue manakin of Brazil. Male blue manakins are small, blue and black birds with scarlet caps. They live in the forests of south-east Brazil and neighbouring areas of Argentina and Paraguay. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Hawaiian Goose (Nene)

    Mon, 15 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the Nene, or the endemic and rare Hawaiian goose. Visit a Wildfowl and Wetland Trust centre in the UK and it is likely you'll be mobbed by the nasal calls of one of the world's rarest birds, the Hawaiian Goose or "Ne-Ne". In the late 18th century there were around 25,000 of these neat attractive geese, with ochre cheeks and black-heads, on the Hawaiian Islands. But by the early 1950s, due to development and introduced predators, a mere 30 or so remained. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Morepork

    Fri, 12 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the morepork or Ru-Ru, New Zealand's only surviving native owl. Strange double notes in the forests of New Zealand were once thought to be cries from the Underworld. But these calls are most likely to be that of a morepork calling. Its familiar call earned it the alternative Maori name of "ruru". Largely nocturnal, it has brown, streaky feathers and large bright yellow eyes which are well adapted for almost silent night hunting forays for large insects, spiders, small birds and mammals. In Maori mythology, moreporks, or "ruru" are spiritual birds, and can represent the ancestral spirit of a family, taking the form of a woman known as "Hine-Ruru" or "owl woman" who acts as a guardian, protecting and advising the family members. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Marabou Stork

    Thu, 11 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the gaunt undertaker looking marabou stalk in Africa. It is not very scientific to describe a bird as ugly, but the marabou stalk would not win any prizes for beauty or elegance. This bulky stork, with a funereal air, has a fleshy inflatable sac under its throat which conspicuously wobbles as it probes African rubbish dumps for carrion. Seemingly more at home amongst the melee of vultures and jackals squabbling over a carcass, it is known in some areas as the undertaker bird. It has one of the largest wingspans of any bird, up to 3 metres across. Marabou storks are doing well, thanks to our throwaway society and they've learned to connect people with rubbish – a salutary association one might say. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Northern Jacana

    Wed, 10 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the northern jacana at home in Central American wetlands. A cross between a coot and a plover, northern Jacanas are found in swamps in Central America and Mexico. They're long legged birds with a black head and neck, and a chestnut body with yellow highlights. And, northern jacanas are polyandrous; the females have more than one partner. Males build platforms of floating vegetation and attract females by calling or posturing. If a female mates with a male, he may use his platform as a nest for her eggs. The female doesn't care for the eggs, but goes in search of up to three other mates. The result is that a single female may have several males raising different clutches of eggs for her and each clutch may contain the eggs of more than one male! Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Black-chinned Hummingbird

    Tue, 9 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the North American black-chinned hummingbird. What seems to be a large green beetle is flying erratically across a Los Angeles garden: suddenly, it hovers in mid-air to probe a flower bloom; this is a black-chinned hummingbird. The male's black throat is bordered with a flash of metallic purple, which catches the sun. Black-chinned "hummers" are minute, weighing in at just over 3 grams. But they are pugnacious featherweights seeing off rival males during intimidation flights with shrill squeals, whilst remarkably beating their wings around 80 times a second. They'll also readily come to artificial sugar-feeders put out by householders to attract these flying jewels to their gardens. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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  • Red-crowned Crane

    Mon, 8 Dec 14

    Duration:
    2 mins

    Liz Bonnin presents the red-crowned crane from Japan and Asia. Backlit by a Japanese winter sun, huge black and white birds dance for an audience. Their plumage mirrors the dazzling snow and dark tree-trunks. The only spots of colour are crimson - the caps of these red-crowned cranes. Red-crowned cranes breed only in far-eastern Russia. Tall, majestic and very vocal, red-crowned cranes gather in groups to reinforce pair-bonds, by leaping into the air and fluttering their 2.5 metre wings, sometimes holding sticks or twigs in their long bills. Produced by Andrew Dawes.

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