Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bulletin 159 - AZ birds #2

One of my favorite birds of the southwest USA is the Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens). This 7.5" bird is the only USA member of the Silky-Flycatcher family. Despite the name, this bird eats mostly berries. The male is glossy black with a bushy crest and red eye. The female is gray.

Phainopepla - male
We saw several members of the flycatcher family. The Ash-throated Flycactcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) is a dull colored medium sized (7.5") myarchius. This genus are brown backed with gray breasts and yellow bellies. Sometimes they also have rufous in the wings or tail feathers.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
The Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) is a small (6.25") gray brown flycatcher that has wing bars but lacks an eye-ring.

Western Wood-Pewee
The Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is a medium sized woodpecker of the western USA. It has a black and white face, black back and breast and white belly. The male shown here has an extensive red cap.

Acorn Woodpecker - male
As their name implies, acorns are their main food. They store acorns in caches by drilling holes in trees or wooden buildings and forcing the acorns into the holes. I have never seen such a cache before, but finally saw one on this trip. Here is the side of a cabin at Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon. There are numerous holes, but no acorns yet.

Holes for Acorn Woodpecker to cache acorns
The Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) is a bird of the southwest and west coast of the USA. It is a typical brown wren with a white eye stripe. The underparts are gray. This one caught a large caterpillar and proceeded to smash it against the stump it was sitting on beforte devouring it.

Bewick's Wren
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2012 David McDonald

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