Birds are some of the most intriguing creatures on the planet, and one aspect that makes them so unique is their beaks. From small, pointed beaks to long, curved ones, some various shapes and sizes embody the beauty of these animals. But what sets some birds apart from the rest are their vibrant, orange beaks.
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These colourful features are not only eye-catching, but they also come in handy during the breeding season. Plus, a bright-coloured beak can showcase a bird’s overall life quality and its dominance rank. So, let’s take a moment to admire some of the most fascinating orange-beaked birds in the world – they are truly a sight to behold.
List of Birds With Orange Beaks
Overview: The royal tern, a majestic seabird, boasts a sleek body with long wings, designed for graceful flight. With a prominent large head and an eye-catching crest, this bird measures around 17 to 19.5 inches (45-50 cm) in length and weighs approximately one pound (450 g). Its impressive wingspan spans 50 inches (127 cm).
Colouration and Identification: Adorned in a combination of white and grey plumage, the royal tern exhibits black stripes on its elongated tail. Its striking black eyes beautifully contrast with its vibrant orange beak. Supported by slender yet robust legs, these birds adeptly snatch food from rocks or the ocean’s surface.
Distribution and Habitat: Thriving in coastal regions, royal terns primarily inhabit areas near the ocean, bays, rivers, and estuaries. While they may venture further from the shoreline in the aftermath of storms or hurricanes, they promptly return to their preferred coastal habitats.
Diet: The royal tern sustains itself by preying on small fish like anchovies, sardines, and bluefish. On occasion, they indulge in blue crabs and other soft-shelled crab species. Additionally, terns may opportunistically feed on squid that emerge on the water’s surface during the nighttime.
Overview: Atlantic puffins, often referred to as sea parrots, bear a resemblance to parrots and captivate with their unique appearance. Unfortunately, these remarkable birds face the threat of extinction as their populations rapidly decline. Measuring around 11 inches (29 cm) in length and weighing approximately 1.2 lbs (550 g), they boast a wingspan of 20 inches (50 cm).
Colouration and Identification: The Atlantic puffin showcases a striking colour contrast, with a black upper body and a white underside. During the breeding season, their faces undergo a transformation from grey to white. These captivating birds sport a distinctive triangular-shaped bill adorned in shades of black, yellow, and orange. Interestingly, the beak sheds its yellow hue during the non-breeding season.
Distribution and Habitat: Found primarily in North America, Atlantic puffins inhabit coastal regions near the ocean. They can be observed perched on rocks adorned with a touch of vegetation, creating their preferred habitats.
Diet: Sea parrots primarily feed on fish that reside close to the water’s surface. They possess the remarkable ability to capture and carry multiple fish, allowing them to feed several times a day.
American White Pelicans
Description: The American white pelican is an impressive and colossal bird, ranking among the largest avian species in North America. It stands out with its substantial head and a proportionately large bill that bestows upon it a distinctive appearance. Weighing between 9 and 19 lbs (4.5 – 9 kgs) and boasting an impressive wingspan of approximately 100 inches (250 cm), this bird commands attention.
Colouration and Identification: The American white pelican showcases a predominantly white body with hints of greyish-black adorning the wingtips. Its legs exhibit a yellow-orange hue, complemented by an orange beak. Notably, there is a splash of yellow around the eyes that extends towards the base of the bill, enhancing its striking features.
Distribution and Habitat: Breeding populations of American white pelicans are primarily concentrated in Canada and the northern regions of the United States. Some individuals can be observed in proximity to the Texas coast, where they choose to breed near bodies of water and shallow wetlands that provide suitable habitats.
Diet: These fascinating birds predominantly subsist on fish, often capturing species that are not typically pursued by humans. Additionally, their diet includes salamanders and a selection of crayfish, showcasing their adaptability and diverse feeding habits.
Description: The American oystercatcher is a shoreline bird of moderate size, displaying a strong affinity for water and expansive sandy beaches. With its distinctive appearance, it stands out easily in its surroundings. Weighing between 1 and 1.5 lbs (500 – 700 g) and possessing a wingspan of approximately 35 inches (89 cm), this bird captures attention effortlessly.
Colouration and Identification: American oystercatchers feature a combination of black and grey plumage on their bodies and heads, with a contrasting white underbelly. Their eyes and beaks are adorned with a vibrant orange hue, adding to their eye-catching appearance.
Distribution and Habitat: Distributed across select regions of North and South America, including the Caribbean Islands and Central America, American oystercatchers predominantly inhabit beaches and shellfish reefs. These coastal environments serve as their favoured habitats.
Diet: The American oystercatcher employs a foraging strategy in shallow waters, seeking out small fish that swim near the water’s surface. Additionally, it includes mussels and oysters in its diet, showcasing its specialized feeding habits.
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Description: The Inca tern is a highly distinctive bird that stands out for its unique appearance, found in various regions across the globe. As a water bird, it primarily resides near the shoreline. With a weight of around 0.4 lbs (210 g) and an impressive wingspan of 31 inches (80 cm), it captivates observers effortlessly.
Colouration and Identification: Inca terns boast a greyish-black plumage, complemented by a vibrant orange beak and claws. One of their most striking features is the white moustache adorning their faces, accompanied by a small strip of yellow just below it. Their dark black eyes complete their distinctive look.
Distribution and Habitat: Inca terns inhabit the Pacific Coast regions of Peru and Chile, making it their primary habitat. They also engage in breeding activities in North America while spending their winters in South America. Notably, these birds display a preference for marshy environments, often found near lakes rather than the open oceans.
Diet: Inca terns are carnivorous creatures, with their diet primarily consisting of meat such as anchoveta (a type of fish) and crustaceans. They also supplement their diet with small insects.
Fun Fact: The health of an Inca tern can be gauged by the length of its moustache – the longer the moustache, the healthier the bird is. (source)
Description: The black-breasted thrush is a small avian species that display varying colours depending on the season and gender. However, its distinctive black breast sets it apart and gives it its name. This thrush is primarily found deep within forested areas, making it a challenging sight to behold. With a weight of around 0.2 lbs (100 g) and a wingspan of 15 inches (38 cm), it showcases its compact size.
Colouration and Identification: The black-breasted thrush features a black head, breast, and nape, serving as its prominent physical characteristics. The upper body of this species is typically grey, while the lower belly exhibits hints of orange and white. Notably, the eyes of these thrushes are encircled by an orange ring, adding to their distinctive appearance.
Distribution and Habitat: Black-breasted thrushes are primarily observed in elevated regions of tropical and subtropical areas. They prefer breeding in damp woodlands, where they can find suitable shelter and resources.
Diet: These birds have an omnivorous diet, often descending to the ground to forage for insects and slugs. Additionally, they occasionally consume fruits such as berries, broadening their nutritional intake.
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Description: The intermediate egret is a unique avian species recognized for its elongated neck and legs. Similar to many other birds, it undergoes colour and appearance changes during various breeding seasons. With a weight of approximately 0.5 lbs (500 g) and a wingspan of 45 inches (115 cm), it displays a graceful presence.
Colouration and Identification: The intermediate egret boasts a pristine white plumage, occasionally resembling the appearance of a flamingo. Its legs are black, complementing the dark eyes, while the beak exhibits shades of orange and yellow. Though relatively short in proportion to its body size, the beak remains an essential feature.
Distribution and Habitat: These white birds inhabit regions across Australia, Africa, and Asia. They exhibit a preference for freshwater swamps and damp grasslands, seeking abundant vegetation suitable for nest construction.
Diet: The intermediate egret sustains itself by consuming various creatures found within wetland environments. Its diet primarily comprises fish and small frogs, while also occasionally capturing insects with its adept beak.
Description: The American goldfinch is a petite avian species that display a range of colours throughout its life stages. It is known for its distinctive calls, each serving specific purposes. With a mere size of about 5 inches (13 cm) and a weight of approximately 0.7 ounces (20 g), it possesses a modest wingspan of around 8 inches (22 cm).
Colouration and Identification: During the breeding season, male goldfinches showcase vibrant yellow and black plumage, complemented by an orange bill. They exhibit a distinguishable black forehead and possess a short tail adorned with black and white hues. In contrast, female goldfinches exhibit a more subdued yellow colouration.
Distribution and Habitat: These yellow-hued birds can be easily observed along the forest edges in North America. They show a preference for areas abundant in shrubs and vegetation. American goldfinches can often be spotted around residential backyards with feeders as well as in parks.
Diet: The primary diet of American goldfinches consists of various seeds, including sunflower, elm, and thistle. This dietary preference makes it possible to attract these charming birds to your yard by providing suitable feed and water sources.
Description: The wattled curassow is a sizable bird, weighing around 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) and boasting a wingspan of 36 inches (91 cm). However, this magnificent creature faces the threat of extinction, as its population continues to decline each year. Consequently, encountering wattled curassow in the wild is a rare occurrence that requires venturing deep into its habitat.
Colouration and Identification: The wattled curassow showcases an entirely black body, accompanied by a beak adorned with a combination of black and orange hues. Notably, the males display unique ornamentation on their bills, distinguishing them from their female counterparts.
Distribution and Habitat: These birds primarily inhabit the rainforests of South America, particularly in regions encompassing Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Sadly, the populations in these areas are dwindling, with fewer than 500 individuals remaining in each country.
Diet: Wattled curassows sustain themselves by consuming a diet consisting mainly of insects and fruits. Additionally, they occasionally indulge in fish, crustaceans found near the coastline, and other small aquatic creatures.
Description: The mute swan is a magnificent and easily recognizable bird that stands out among other swan species. As they mature, these birds undergo notable physical transformations. Weighing around 30 lbs (14 kgs) and boasting an impressive wingspan of approximately 90 inches (230 cm), they are true giants of the avian world.
Colouration and Identification: The mature mute swan is renowned for its majestic presence, adorned with pristine white feathers. Its striking features include a vibrant orange bill, accompanied by black skin encircling the face and beak. Additionally, their legs are also adorned in elegant black plumage.
Distribution and Habitat: Mute swans can be found in various parts of the world, spanning from the British Isles and central Europe to North Africa and central Asia. They exhibit a versatile habitat preference, thriving in diverse environments such as rivers, lakes, ponds, and both salt and freshwater bodies.
Diet: Being omnivorous creatures, mute swans maintain a varied diet. They primarily feed on aquatic plants, supplementing their nutritional needs with insects, fish, and occasionally frogs. The elongated necks of mute swans serve as a useful tool for submerging and foraging underwater.
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Description: The crested auklet is a robust waterbird that stands out with its distinctive appearance and fascinating behaviours. It is commonly observed in different regions of the world, particularly islands and seas. Weighing approximately 0.7 lbs (330 g) and boasting a wingspan of around 20 inches (50 cm), it possesses a compact yet formidable presence.
Colouration and Identification: The crested auklet displays a compact physique, adorned with a dark grey plumage on its upper body and brownish hues on its lower regions. Notably, it showcases ornamental tail feathers and unique crests, setting it apart from other avian species.
Distribution and Habitat: This remarkable bird can be found in diverse habitats across the Americas, Eastern Siberia, and the Bering Sea. It thrives in offshore environments, frequently occupying remote islands and breeding in rock crevices and rocky cliffs.
Diet: The crested auklet sustains itself by preying on fish and crustaceans, which it readily finds in offshore waters. Additionally, it opportunistically consumes fish and occasional squid when available.
Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers
Description: Among the various species of kingfisher birds inhabiting the wild, the oriental dwarf kingfisher stands out for its captivating array of colours. Its vibrant plumage makes it a conspicuous sight for those fortunate enough to be in the right location. Weighing a mere 0.5 ounces (16 g) and boasting a modest wingspan of approximately 8 inches (20 cm), this small bird packs a visual punch.
Colouration and Identification: The oriental dwarf kingfisher exhibits a predominantly black body adorned with stunning blue, brown, and orange accents. Its distinctive features include a purple tail, black eyes, and an eye-catching combination of an orange beak and legs.
Distribution and Habitat: This captivating avian species can be found across various regions of Southeast Asia, including China, Cambodia, Brunei, India, and Singapore. It is often encountered in densely shaded forests and frequent areas surrounding streams and rivers.
Diet: Unlike its fish-eating counterparts, the oriental dwarf kingfisher has a varied diet. It primarily consumes small insects, frogs, and lizards. Utilizing a raised perch as a vantage point, it executes swift swoops to capture its prey with precision.
Description: Among herons, breeding cattle egrets are the most prevalent and easily recognizable, even from a considerable distance. Despite being classified as herons, they belong to the smaller end of the size spectrum within their avian class. Weighing approximately a pound (450 g) and boasting a wingspan of around 35 inches (90 cm), they exhibit a compact stature.
Colouration and Identification: The cattle egret’s predominantly white body is accentuated by hints of golden hues on its head, chest, and back. Their yellow-orange bill and legs further contribute to their distinctive appearance.
Distribution and Habitat: Native to Africa, South America, and the United States, cattle egrets boast the highest population among all heron species, steadily increasing in numbers. They thrive in relatively warm wetlands, where they can be commonly found.
Diet: Cattle egrets primarily subsist on insects, particularly in regions with abundant wild animals, such as Africa. In North America, their diet expands to include crickets, spiders, and grasshoppers.
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Description: The common blackbird is renowned for its melodious voice, which sets it apart from other birds. Males and females exhibit slight differences in appearance, making them easily distinguishable. With a weight of approximately 4.4 ounces (125 g) and a wingspan of 14 inches (37 cm), common blackbirds possess a moderate size.
Colouration and Identification: The male common blackbird lives up to its name, sporting a sleek black plumage complemented by an orange beak and yellow hues around its eyes. Females, on the other hand, showcase a dark brown hue, occasionally featuring a reddish breast with patches of pale colouration on the body.
Distribution and Habitat: Common blackbirds can be found in various regions across Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe. To catch a glimpse of these birds, one can explore woodlands, parks, and forest edges where they tend to reside.
Diet: As omnivores, common blackbirds have a diverse diet. They consume a variety of fruits, including berries, apples, and grapes, while also foraging on insects, worms, spiders, and seeds.
Description: The black oystercatcher is a large bird with a conspicuous presence, characterized by its black plumage and notably long, thick orange bill. This species is comfortable in the presence of humans, making it easy to observe in residential areas. It weighs approximately a pound (450 g) and boasts a wingspan of around 35 inches (88 cm).
Colouration and Identification: Adult black oystercatchers exhibit a distinct appearance, featuring a black body with vibrant yellow-orange eyes and a prominent, sharp orange bill. Additionally, they possess slender grey legs.
Distribution and Habitat: Black oystercatchers primarily inhabit regions such as Alaska, Baja, and the Southern California coast. They display a preference for sandy shorelines, while rocky areas are less favoured unless they serve as nesting sites.
Diet: During low tide, black oystercatchers engage in foraging activities. Their diet primarily consists of partially open mussels and crustaceans, supplemented by the occasional capture of fish and insects along the shore.
Description: The bank myna, also known as the starling, is a bird commonly found in various regions of the East, where it thrives in significant numbers. It weighs between 2.2 and 2.8 ounces (65 and 80 g) and possesses a wingspan of approximately 7 inches (23 cm).
Colouration and Identification: Resembling the common myna, the bank myna exhibits a similar appearance but in a smaller size. Its body is adorned with grey and black feathers, accompanied by an orange beak encircling the black eyes. Additionally, it boasts yellow-orange legs.
Distribution and Habitat: The bank Myna predominantly populates South and Northern Asia, encompassing areas such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Chennai. It can be observed near rivers and rocky patches. Notably, this sociable bird exhibits a tolerance for human presence and can often be found in proximity to tea plantations and markets.
Diet: Bank mynas primarily sustain themselves on a diet comprising grains, insects, and fruits. They can pose a threat to crops such as sorghum and millet when they occur in large numbers. Additionally, they opportunistically consume tree larvae when available.
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Description: Despite its name, the zebra finch does not exhibit zebra-like stripes across its body. Nonetheless, it is a charming and colourful bird. This species boasts the highest population among finches, although many individuals are kept in captivity. Zebra finches weigh approximately 0.5 ounces (16 g) and possess a wingspan of 8 inches (25 cm).
Colouration and Identification: The zebra finch showcases a predominantly grey body with hints of brown. Its sides feature brown hues adorned with white spots. The face is relatively small, adorned with a combination of brown, white, and black. However, the most striking feature is its bright orange beak.
Distribution and Habitat: Zebra finches are native to central Australia, where they are plentiful. They can also be found in smaller numbers in regions such as East Timor and Indonesia.
Diet: In the wild, zebra finches are seed foragers, consuming a variety of seeds, berries, and plants. As pets, they can be fed a seed mix, supplemented with vegetables and occasional servings of berries.
Description: Renowned for its vibrant colours, the Eclectus parrot is a visually stunning and captivating species. They are cherished as pets due to their affectionate nature and ability to form bonds with humans and other pets. These birds weigh approximately half a pound (225 g) and boast a wingspan of around 8 inches (20 cm).
Colouration and Identification: The male and female Eclectus parrots exhibit distinct colouring. Males display a dazzling green plumage with a striking orange beak, accompanied by flashes of red and blue beneath their wings. In contrast, females showcase a vibrant red hue and possess black beaks.
Distribution and Habitat: Eclectus parrots primarily inhabit the rainforests of northeastern Australia, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and Indonesia. There are several subspecies of Eclectus parrots, with the Solomon Islands variety being the most prevalent.
Diet: These parrots predominantly consume fruits such as figs, pomegranates, and papayas in their natural habitat. They also supplement their diet with flowers, seeds, and tree buds. As pets, they can be provided with a varied diet consisting of a seed mix, fruits, and vegetables.
Description: The rhinoceros hornbill is an extraordinary tropical bird found in select regions of the world. Its unique appearance sets it apart from other hornbill species, making it a captivating sight. Weighing approximately 7 lbs (3.1 kgs) and boasting an impressive wingspan of 59 inches (150 cm), this bird is truly remarkable.
Colouration and Identification: Rhinoceros hornbills exhibit striking black plumage with whitetails and legs. They possess a prominent bill and casque that are orange-yellowish in colour. Male hornbills sport a black body with red markings around their eyes, while females display a combination of white and red colours.
Distribution and Habitat: Large populations of rhinoceros hornbills can be found in Southeast Asia, specifically in Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. They thrive in lush rainforests and areas near rivers and lakes.
Diet: These tropical birds primarily subsist on a diet of fruits, including figs and berries. On occasion, they may consume insects, small birds and reptiles, and even rodents.
Description: The northern cardinal, a widely recognized bird, exhibits distinct colour variations based on gender. It is renowned for its beautiful song, which fills the air during the morning hours and mating season. Weighing approximately 1.2 ounces (45 g) and possessing a wingspan of about 12 inches (30 cm), this bird is a delight to observe.
Colouration and Identification: Male northern cardinals display vibrant red plumage with black accents around the face and throat. They feature a long tail, a red crest, and an orange bill. In contrast, females showcase a pale brown hue with subtle hints of red on the wings and tail. They also possess a red crest and an orange beak.
Distribution and Habitat: Northern cardinals are commonly found in the United States and Canada. They can be spotted in regions such as Texas, Florida, Maine, and parts of Mexico. These birds typically inhabit the borders of forests, parks, and residential backyards.
Diet: As omnivorous creatures, northern cardinals consume a variety of food, including fruits, tree sap, nuts, insects, and cracked corn. Attracting them to your yard can be accomplished by providing nuts and a water source.
Description: The bateleur, a small eagle native to Africa, possesses distinctive characteristics that make it easily noticeable. Its captivating appearance has made it a popular choice among bird enthusiasts as a pet. Weighing up to 5 lb (2.2 kg) and boasting an impressive wingspan of 66 inches (167 cm), this species is a remarkable sight to behold.
Colouration and Identification: The bateleur’s sleek body is predominantly adorned in glossy black feathers, complemented by a vibrant red face and an orange beak. Its legs exhibit a striking shade of red, while the wings and tail display hints of tan.
Distribution and Habitat: This eagle species thrives in various regions of Africa, including Senegal, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Nigeria. It prefers the expansive landscapes of open savannahs and woodlands found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Diet: Bateleurs are carnivorous birds with a penchant for scavenging. They target animals that hunt for flesh, and they are known to prey on smaller birds, reptiles, and mammals. Additionally, they consume eggs and insects as part of their diet.
Description: The greylag goose, with its historical significance dating back to around 1360 BC, is considered an ancestor of the common goose. While it may not resemble the typical goose in appearance, it shares many similarities. Weighing up to 8.8 lbs (4 kg) and boasting a wingspan of 70 inches (177 cm), this species is a substantial presence.
Colouration and Identification: As the name suggests, the greylag goose showcases a grey and white plumage. It features vibrant orange legs and a relatively short, orange beak. The small eyes of this species are encircled by an orange rim.
Distribution and Habitat: Greylag geese can be found in significant numbers across Africa, Asia, and Europe, inhabiting countries such as Austria, Bosnia, China, Denmark, and Algeria. Being water birds, they are commonly sighted near various water bodies.
Diet: Primarily herbivorous, greylag geese feed on a diet consisting of leaves, aquatic plants, berries, and cereals. When kept in captivity, they can be provided with barley, wheat, and peas as part of their feeding routine.
Description: The White-throated Kingfisher, also referred to as the white-breasted kingfisher, derives its name from the distinctive white patch along its neck. Unlike migratory birds, this species remains in its habitat throughout the year. With a weight of approximately 2.8 ounces (80 g) and a wingspan of 6 inches (15 cm), it exhibits a moderate size.
Colouration and Identification: Apart from the prominent white strip on its neck, the White-throated Kingfisher showcases a brown body adorned with blue markings around its wings and tail. It possesses a lengthy and pointed orange bill, which aids in its hunting prowess.
Distribution and Habitat: The White-throated Kingfisher is primarily found in Africa and Asia, spanning countries such as Egypt, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia. It tends to inhabit the fringes of forests and remains in proximity to water bodies.
Diet: This species sustains itself by consuming a variety of prey, including insects, crabs, lizards, and worms. When situated near a water source, it takes advantage of its fishing capabilities and includes fish in its diet. Additionally, small birds and frogs may also be on the menu when the opportunity arises.
Description: When compared to its Robin counterparts, this particular species boasts a slightly larger physique, characterized by a sleek body and elongated legs. Revered for their melodious songs, these birds fill the air with their cheerful chirps, particularly during the morning hours. The American robin weighs approximately 2.8 ounces (80 g) and displays a wingspan ranging from 12 to 15 inches (30 to 40 cm).
Colouration and Identification: American robins exhibit a grey upper body with vibrant orange underparts and distinguished grey legs. Their heads are adorned with a black hue, complemented by white accents around the eyes, while an orange bill completes their striking appearance.
Distribution and Habitat: Native to North America, these robins inhabit regions across Canada and the United States. They can be found in various habitats, including forest edges, lawns, parks, and areas near sources of nourishment.
Diet: American robins employ ground foraging techniques to procure sustenance, diligently seeking out grains, worms, and tree-dwelling larvae. It is common to observe them in flocks, actively searching for food and water resources.
Description: The violaceous plantain eater, also known as the violet turaco, is a notable member of the turaco family characterized by its distinctive head and striking orange beak. This sizable bird, weighing approximately half a pound (225 g) and possessing an 8-inch (20 cm) wingspan, captivates with its presence.
Colouration and Identification: Sporting a predominantly bluish-black plumage and dark legs, the violaceous plantain eater’s head steals the spotlight. Adorned with vibrant red and yellow markings, it is accompanied by a brilliant orange beak.
Distribution and Habitat: The violet turacos find their habitat in the lush forests of West Africa, encompassing countries such as Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Benin, and Togo. With a penchant for trees, these birds feel at ease within the leafy foliage, their vivid colours harmonizing with the verdant surroundings.
Diet: Fruits are the primary sustenance for the violet turacos, which are abundantly available in the forest, with figs being a favoured delicacy. As a supplement, they occasionally consume seeds when such resources present themselves.
Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.