Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bulletin 191 - Panama #2 - Motmots and Woodpeckers

I am sure you are all wondering where are the 'beautiful' colored tropical birds after the first Panama bulletin. Well here are the motmots. I put one on the blog as the header photo.

Motmots are a small new world family of colorful birds. There are only 14 species and they occur from Mexico to northen South America and Trinidad. Most have peculiar racket tails. They often sit motionless for long periods and may wag their tails from side to side like a pendulum. We saw 4 species on this trip. The sexes are similar in all species.

The Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii) at 18" is the largest of the 4. It has a green back, blue wing edges, and rufous head and underparts. Also, it has a black mask and black breast spot. The racket tail on the long central tail feathers is visible.

Rufous Motmot
The Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum) is similar, but at 13", considerably smaller. The differences include a green chin, and the rufous doesn't extend as far down the belly. He also has a racket tail.

Broad-billed Motmot
The Whooping Motmot (Momotus subrufescens ) occurs from about the Canal Zone in Panama to northern South America. It is mostly green, with a rufous underparts, black face and bright blue crown. Here are a couple of photos.

Whooping Motmot

The Blue-diademed Motmot (Momotus lessonii) is similar, but differs mainly by voice. Its range is Mexico to central Panama.
Blue-diademed Motmot
Woodpeckers are familiar to most people, as they are a large family with 230 species worldwide. They can be found on all continents except Australia. We managed to photograph 5 species on the trip.

The Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) is almost identical to our Red-bellied Woodpecker in eastern USA, but the ranges don't overlap and the birds are non-migratory, It is very common, and we saw it every day of the trip. Here is a male on a feeder eating banana.

Red-crowned Woodpecker - male

The Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani) is another 7" woodpecker. He differs from the bird above by the black on the face and barring on the breast. Although this is a common bird, we saw only this single individual. The male has red completely over the head. The female has the red patch only on the nape.

Black-cheeked Woodpecker - male

The Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) is a large (12.5") woodpecker of the same genus and very similar to the familiar Pileated Woodpecker of North America. Notice that the white line through the head and neck is narrower in this bird than the Pileated. The crest appears much bushier as well.
Lineated Woodpecker - male
The Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos) at 13.5" long, is the largest woodpecker in Panama. The male has an all red head with white spot below the ear. Also notice the barred underside, better seen on the female below.

Crimson-crested Woodpecker - male
The female has a smaller amount of red with a few black feathers on the front of the crest.

Crimson-crested Woodpecker - female

Lastly is the beautiful 8" Cinnamon Woodpecker (Celeus loricatus). The sexes are similar except the male has red on the chin.

Cinnamon Woodpecker - male
Here is his partner. They were travelling together.

Cinnamon Woodpecker - female
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2014 David McDonald

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