Secretary Bird on the EDGE by Alison Nicholls

Secretary Bird, acrylic 10x8" by Alison Nicholls © 2012

Secretary Bird, acrylic 10×8″ by Alison Nicholls © 2012

100 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) birds were recently listed in a paper in Current Biology. The lead author, Prof Walter Jetz, states that “by identifying these top 100 species, we can now focus our efforts on targeted conservation action and better monitoring to help ensure that they are still here for future generations to come”.

I don’t paint many birds (Alison speaking now, not Professor Jetz!). Generally this is because so many of them are identified by their distinctive coloring. If I were to follow my usual independent choice of colors and paint a white-fronted bee-eater using only purples, you might find it tough to identify the species. So if I do paint birds it tends to be only those with identifiable profiles, like the Secretary Bird above (which, to disprove my theory, I have painted using its natural colors!).

The Secretary Bird is striking and often seen parading in pairs across the grasslands of Africa. Or, as their number 28 position on the EDGE list demonstrates, not seen as often as they should be, parading across the grasslands of Africa. As I’m writing this I’m thinking that more Secretary Birds should stride across my canvas in the future. Maybe I should consider some of those other distinctive African birds too…

So while you wait for my bird art to materialize, take a look at the List of EDGE Birds. And if you are an artist, why not paint one of them and donate some of your sale proceeds to their conservation?

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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