Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bulletin 268 - Ecuador 2106 - Barbets and Toucans

I have been asked to provide the location where the birds were found. I will try to provide proximity information, at least to the lodge where we stayed, when we saw the bird.

Shiripuno Lodge in Amazon  (SH)
Archidona a town on the east slope  (AR)
San Isidro Lodge at a higher elevation on east slope (SI)
Guango Lodge even higher on east slope (GU)
Puembo - a suburb of Quito at a B&B for birders (PU)
Antisana reserve on the paramo    (AN)
Yanacocha reserve   (YA)
Mindo area on west slope has several close reserves that we visited (MI)

At the end of each bird description, I will give the 2 letter code where the photo was taken.

There are 15 species of New World barbets. They are small colorful fruit eating birds with heavy bills. They are closely related to the toucans. The 6" male Red-headed Barbet (Eubucco bourcierii) has a bright red head, green back, yellow belly and a yellow bill. I had photographed him before, but this was a better photo.    MI


Red-headed Barbet - male
The 7" male Scarlet-crowned Barbet (Capito aurovirens) has a red cap, orange breast and brown back.  AR


Scarlet-crowned Barbet - male
There is an even smaller family of just 2 species called the Toucan Barbets. I had photographed one in Costa Rica at Easter, the Prong-billed Barbet. The other is found in Columbia and Ecuador. The  9" Toucan Barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus) is an amazing multicolored bird with a very heavy bill. The sexes are similar, but the female is duller.  MI


Toucan Barbet
And another photo of this amazing bird.


Toucan Barbet
Even larger birds are the well known toucans. We found and photographed 8 species, 7 of which were new species to photo and most of these were life birds. The smallest of the toucans are the toucanets. The 13" White-throated Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus albivitta) has a green body, white throat, and brown bill with yellow along the top.   SI 


White-throated Toucanet
The 14" Crimson-rumped Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus) is also green but has a red rump, and some turquoise on the chest and a brown bill. Notice this bird has his bill broken.   MI


Crimson-rumped Toucanet
Aracaris are mid-sized toucans with thinner pointed bills. They tend to have black back, with yellow underparts with some horizontal stripes. The 14" Ivory-billed Aaracari (Pteroglossus azara) has a wide red and black stripes above the yellow. The bill is almost all white.   SH


Ivory-billed Aracari
The 17" Many-banded Aracari (Pteroglossus pluricinctus) has a narrow black and red stripes and a brown and yellow bill.    SH


Many-banded Aracari
The 16" Pale-mandibled Aracari (Pteroglossus erythropygius) has a mostly yellow bill and just a single black stripe on his belly.    MI


Pale-mandibled Aracari
The toucans are mostly black with a colored throat and wide colorful bill. The 18" Choco Toucan (Ramphastos brevis) has a 2 tone bill and yellow throat. has has green skin around the eye.   MI


Choco Toucan
The huge 22" White-throated Toucan (Ramphastos tucanus) has a white throat, brown mandible with yellow and blue at the base and blue skin around the eye.     SH


White-throated Toucan
Another interesting group of toucans are the 4 mountain toucans. They have brown backs and pale blue underparts. I saw my first one ever on this trip, the 17" Plate-billed Mountain Toucan (Andigena laminorostris).    MI


Plate-billed Mountain Toucan
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

dkmmdpa@gmail.com

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe.

Bulletin 267 - Ecuador 2106 - Tanagers

I just got back from a 12 day tour to birding spots in northern Ecuador. I used the same guide as last year, Pablo Andrade. We started in the Amazon and visited several locations on both slopes of the Andes as well as way up on the paramo (tundra) at 15,000 feet elevation.

It was a huge success with 137 new species of birds, (23 hummers, 21 tanagers, 5 antpittas, condor) and 11 mammals, and a caiman and anaconda. Thanks Pablo for an amazing trip.

I have been asked to provide the location where the birds were found. I will try to provide proximity information at least to the lodge where we stayed when we saw the bird.

Shiripuno Lodge in Amazon  (SH)
Archidona a town on the east slope  (AR)
San Isidro Lodge at a higher elevation on east slope (SI)
Guango Lodge even higher on east slope (GU)
Puembo - a suburb of Quito at a B&B for birders (PU)
Antisana reserve on the paramo    (AN)
Yanacocha reserve   (YA)
Mindo area on west slope has several close reserves that we visited (MI)

At the end of each bird description, I will give the 2 letter code where the photo was taken.

So here are some of the tanagers. The tangara genus is considered to be the most beautiful tanagers. The plainest of them on the trip is the 5.5" Scrub Tanager (Tangara vitriolina). It is pale green with a rufous cap and dark mask. PU


Scrub Tanager
The  5" Black-capped Tanager (Tangara heinei) is blue with light blue throat and black cap.  SI


Black-capped Tanager
Another blue and black one is the 5.25" Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara nigroviridis). Is is several shades of blue.  SI


Beryl-spangled Tanager
And a third one is the 5" Blue-necked Tanager (Tangara cyanicollis). This one has a splash of yellow on the shoulder.  MI

Blue-necked Tanager
A real stunner is the 5.25" Saffron-crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala). We got several good views of this bird from a rooftop deck at San Isidro lodge.

Saffron-crowned Tanager

The 5" Golden-naped Tanager (Tangara ruficervix) is another black and blue one, but he has a yellow patch on the back of his head.   MI


Golden-naped Tanager
The 5.5" Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) is a bright orange-gold with black markings on wings and a spot on the cheek.  MI

Golden Tanager
The 4.75" Rufous-throated Tanager (Tangara rifigula) has a black head, spotted breast, scaly back and rufous throat.   MI


Rufous-throated Tanager
The last of the these is the 5.5" Flame-faced Tanager (Tangara parzudakii). It is black and blue with a red and orange face.  MI
Flame-faced Tanager

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

dkmmdpa@gmail.com

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bulletin 266 - Costa Rica 2016 #10 - woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys

This is the last of the Costa Rica series from my 2016 trip. Thanks again to my wonderful guideJohan Fernandez who showed me many amazing birds and also taught me some photography tricks.

Trogons are 9-14" colorful birds that usually sit quietly and are fairly easy to photograph. That makes them popular with me!

The 11" male Black-headed Trogon (Trogon malanocephalus) has a black head, yellow belly and a blue eye ring.


Black-headed Trogon - male
The 9" male Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus) has a gren head with black throat anfd yellow belly and bill.


Black-throated Trogon - male
The 12" Lattice-tailed Trogon (Trogon clathratus) is endemic to Costa Rica and Panama. I only saw the female. She has a gray head, red belly and finely barred tail.


Lattice-tailed Trogon - female
There were 2 melanerpes woodpeckers seen. The 7" Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) has a red head and belly along with the streaked back typical of this genus. I though it was neat to photo him on a banana flower that matched his head.


Red-crowned Woodpecker - male on banana flower
A new species to photo was the 7" Hoffmann's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii). The male just has a red cap on top of his head. It is found from southern Honduras to northern Costa Rica. The female has no red at all.


Hoffmann's Woodpecker - male
I got closer photos of a 13" Pale-billed Woodpecker (Camppophilus guatemalensis). The male has an all red head with a white eye. This is one of the 2 largest woodpeckers in Costa Rica


Pale-billed Woodpecker - male
The smallest woodpecker was also a new one for me. The 4" Olivaceous Piculet (Picumnus olivaceus). This bird was also in the Alexander Skutch preserve. The guides there knew where the nest hole was and the male was there with his head out. He is olive with a red forehead and spotted crown


Olivaceous Piculet - male in nest hole
A real treat was getting 2 new monkey species photos. The 42" Central American Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) has a brown body and darker head and limbs. We saw a troop one day and I got several photos.


Central American Spider Monkey
I did not see it while I was taking the photos, but one had a baby on her back.


Central American Spider Monkey - with baby
The other monkey was a life mammal. The 36" White-faced Capuchin (Cebus capucinus). This distinctive monkey has a black body and cream chest and head with a bare pink face. There was a group of them and I had to walk through the bush to get a photo (always a scary thought to go off the trails). One stayed down almost at eye level, but the rest had climbed into the canopy. I got one photo and he too scrambled up the tree. I asked the guide, whether they were subject to skin cancer with the bare pink face. He didn't know. Well when I got home and developed the photo, he has the end of his nose gone. This could certainly be an injury from a fight, but it could also be typical of a skin cancer. I think he must have been the old man of the troop to stay down and assess the danger as I approached,. If so, then he certainly would be old enough to get skin cancer if they are susceptible to it. The life span is up to 50 years.

These are very intelligent monkeys and use tools frequently. They are the traditional monkey for the organ grinder and can be taught to assist paraplegics as helpers.

I was so close, this is the whole photo.


White-faced Capuchin with tip of nose missing
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

dkmmdpa@gmail.com

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bulletin 265 - Costa Rica 2016 #9 - wrens, flycatchers and others

The tropical wrens are unlike our North American wrens in our yards. Most are very secretive and generally heard rather than seen well, so it was a treat to get some photos of a few new species.And although they are essentially all brown and white, it is the joy of the pursuit and getting a good photo that makes them exciting for me. There are 22 species of wrens in Costa Rica vs only 9 in North America!

The 4" White-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucosticta) resides in the lower elevations from the coast to 5900" on the Pacific slope. It is IDed by the brown back, white eye stripe and white throat and breast.


White-breasted Wood-Wren
The 5" Riverside Wren (Cantorchilus semibadius) is endemic to SW Costa Rica and western Panama. It has a brown back and fine black and white barred underparts.


Riverside Wren
Flycatchers are the largest bird family with 431 species all in the New World, so one always sees several species on a trip. Here are a few of the more interesting ones. The 7" Nutting's Flycatcher (Myiarchus nuttingi) is an occasional vagrant to the USA. For those of you who read The Big Year or saw the movie, it starts out in Nogales AZ on New Years Day with several birders looking for a Nutting's Flycatcher.


Nutting's Flycatcher
I had an opportunity to visit the refuge that was the homestead of Alexander Skutch who authored the first 'Birds of Costa Rica" in 1989. The 5" Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus) was seen there. It is olive with an ochre belly.


Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
There are 7 species of Flycatchers of the genus Attila. The 8" Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus) is the only one in Central America, the rest being in South America. This was my second one of this genus to photograph. It is rather dull olive, but has a long hooked beak.


Bright-rumped Attila
The tiny 3" Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant (Myiornis atriacapillus) was good to get off the bucket list. These diminutive flycatchers can be devilish to photograph.


Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant
The stunning 7" male Turquoise Cotinga (Cotinga ridgwayi) was a treat to find high in a bare tree. He is turquoise with a purple throat and belly. It is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama.


Turquoise Cotinga - male
The 7" Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) is an occasional visitor to south Texas. Interestingly, the southern races of the birds here in Costa Rica do not have the rose throat. The female shown here is brown with a gray cap. This is the best photo I have had of this species.


Rose-throated Becard - female

The 4" Tawny-crowned Greenlet (Hylophilus ochraceiceps) is a member of the vireo family. 


Tawny-crowned Greenlet
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

dkmmdpa@gmail.com

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe.
 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bulletin 264 - Costa Rica 2016 #8 - hummingbirds

Of course I had to take some hummingbird photos as they are my favorites along with the owls. The 3" Coppery-headed Emerald (Elvira cupriceps) is a Costa Rica endemic. The male has the copper colored head and white lateral tail feathers.


Coppery-headed Emerald - male
The same genus is the 3" White-tailed Emerald (Elvira chionura). The female is green above and white below with green spots on breast. The male would have a solid green breast.


White-tailed Emerald - female
The 4" male Magenta-throated Woodstar (Calliphlox bryantae) has a magenta throat and distinctive white patches on the sides of his rump.

Magenta-throated Woodstar - male
The lampornis genus are hummers called mountain-gems. There are 4 species in Costa Rica and I got 3 on this trip. They all have a vertical white stripe behind the eye.I had missed the 4" White-bellied Mountain-gem (Lampornis hemileucus) last year, but got it on a feeder this time. The male has a purple throat. It is listed as uncommon and is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama

White-bellied Mountain-gem - male
This 4" male Purple-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis calolaemus) had flown into a window as we were watching other birds. the guide picked it up and put it on a branch where he recovered and flew away.

Purple-throated Mountain-gem
The 4" male White-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis castaneoventris) is all green with a white throat and the white line behind the eye. This is probably a juvenile male as he doesn't have a completely white throat.

White-throated Mountain-gem - juvenile male
The 5" Scaly-breasted Hummingbird (Phaeochroa cuvierii) is a drab green and gray hummer with white tips on the tail.

Scaly-breasted Hummingbird
The last is another drab hummer, the 4" Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei). He has the typical red bill of an amazilia.

Steely-vented Hummingbird
After 2 trips, I have now photographed 40 of the 50 species of hummingbirds in the Costa Rica guide book. So I still have some work to do. :)

I was just updating my master list and discovered that the Magnificent Hummingbird has been split (IOC) as of July 2015. The birds from sw USA to Nicaragua are now called Rivoli's  Hummingbird, but the larger birds from Costa Rica to Panama are now Admirable Hummingbird (Eugenes spectabilis). Fortunately, I have photographs from each area. So let me introduce the newest hummingbird.

Admirable Hummingbird - male
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

dkmmdpa@gmail.com

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe.
 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bulletin 263 - Costa Rica 2016 #7 - tanagers, finches

I photographed several new tanagers on this trip. The 7" Carmiol's Tanager (Chlorothraupis carmioli) is a dull olive bird that has now been moved into the cardinal family.


Carmiol's Tanager
The 5" Rufous-winged Tanager (Tangara lavinia) is bright green with rufous on the head and wings. I only got the female in a photo, and her colors are subdued.


Rufous-winged Tanager - female
Another tangara genus that I got a better photo is the 5" Spangle-cheeked Tanager (Tangara dowii). It is hard to describe this multi-colored beauty.


Spangle-cheeked Tanager
However, the star of this group is the amazing 6" Blue-and-gold Tanager (Bangsia arcaei). The bangsia genus consists of just 5 species, all in the mountains from Costa Rica to Ecuador. I had really wanted to find this bird, but the guide told me we would not be in the right location, but we did find one! They have a rather short tail. It is dark blue above, gold below and he has a bright red eye.


Blue-and-gold Tanager
The female 4" Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana) is green with a blue head. The male would be all blue. They both have a red eye.


Blue Dacnis - female
The euphonias are fruit eating finches of the tropics. I was able to get photos of several species on the trip. The males of many of them are blue above and yellow below with a yellow crown. The 4" Scrub Euphonia (Euphonia affinis) resides in the dry northwest part of the country.


Scrub Euphonia - male
The 4" Spot-crowned Euphonia (Euphonia imitans) is similar but he has a few spots on top of his head. His range is the southwest part of the country. If you look closely, you can see a few faint dark spots in the yellow cap above his eye.


Spot-crowned Euphonia - male
The 4" male Olive-backed Euphonia (Euphonia gouldii) is olive with a yellow forehead and rufous belly.


Olive-backed Euphonia - male
However, the most stunning is the appropriately named 4" Elegant Euphonia (Euphonia elegantissima). The male has a baby blue nape, dark purple face and back and orange underparts and forehead. 


Elegant Euphonia - male
The female is also elegant.


Elegant Euphonia - female
The 5" Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) is a bright green finch. The male has a yellow stripe over the eye and yellow belly.


Golden-browed Chlorophonia - male
The female is similar but lacks the yellow stripe over the eye.



Golden-browed Chlorophonia - female
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

dkmmdpa@gmail.com

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe.