• Issue: April 1963
  • Designer: M. Karoly
  • Plate no.: 88 - 90
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Sinai Rose Finch (Erythrina Sinoica)

This beautiful little resident of Israel is rare, living only in the southern Negev. Nests have been found between the rocks, and the birds run around on the stony ground, picking up seeds. The female has far less color than the male, being brown almost all over. The cock sings beautifully, like most finches, many species of which can be found in Israel. The Sinai Rose Finch is the only one endemic to Israel (and Jordan).

Smyrna Kingfisher (Halcyon Smyrnensis)

This spectacular bird is a resident of the northern and central parts of Israel. It is a joy to the eye as it sits still and watches for a mole cricket to show itself, when it will pounce, or as it hovers above a fish pond in preparation to grab a small carp or frog. Although it also eats fish, the kingfisher does more good than evil to man, being a tireless pursuer of noxious insects, grubs, and field mice. It has two different calls: when sitting still it trills melodiously and loudly; when it flies it utters a chuckling kek-kek-kek. Its nesting habits are unusual, digging a horizontal gallery into loamy banks, at the end of which the female bird deposits her eggs.

Mourning Chat (Oenanthe Lugens)

This bird derived its name from its striking white and black coloring, which makes it conspicuous among the stones and rocks of Judea and the Negev, where it makes its nest in rock-clefts. The chat is closely related to the thrush, and the Mourning Chat sings beautifully although somewhat low for such a large bird. The bird is rather tame and can be seen up close, sitting above the road on a rock or a stunted tree. It feeds exclusively on insects.

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Air Mail - Birds Of Israel (II)