Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bulletin 192 - Panama #3 - Waders and shorebirds

Lisa and I had the pleasure of 7 days birding in central Panama in early February. We hired a guide to show us around and find the birds. The guide was Gonzalo Horna, whom we found on the Birding Pal web site. Gonzalo knew his birds and where to find them. You can contact him by his email.

We saw several of the same herons and egrets that we have in Texas, but also there were 4 new ones.
The first is the smallish (19") elusive Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) This bird appears similar to the Black-crowned Night-Heron, but has a huge bill. As it is nocturnal primarily, it is difficult to find unless you know where they roost. Even roosting, they tend to be deep in the foliage. Our guide knew of a roost and we saw perhaps a dozen birds. I have only seen a single bird before in 4 previous birding trips to the tropics. The range of this bird in Mexico to Argentina.

Boat-billed Heron - adult

The juvenile is brownish.

Boat-billed Heron - juvenile

The next new bird was the beautiful Capped Heron (Pilherodius pileatus). It is IDed by the black cap, yellowish neck and blue bill and facial skin. The range of this bird is from the Canal Zone in Panama south to Brazil.

Capped Heron

The Cocoi Heron (Ardea cocoi) is a tall (40") heron similar in size and color to the Great Blue Heron. However, the neck is white rather than gray. It replaces the Great Blue Heron in South America. We had to take a boat trip to find this bird.

Cocoi Heron

The last of the new herons was the Rufescent Tiger-Heron  (Tigrisoma lineatum). This bird is 27" tall and has a rufous neck.

Rufescent Tiger-Heron

The Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is a dark ibis that occurs in eastern USA and throughout much of the world. It is a rare visitor to Texas, and is listed as uncommon in Panama, but we found a flock in some rice fields. In breeding, it is rufous on the body.
Glossy Ibis - breeding
This bird shows the distinctive facial markings of light lines on a dark face.

Glossy Ibis

n unusual and unknown shorebird (at least to non birders) is a jacana. There are 8 species world wide of this unique bird. They have very elongated toes enabling the bird to walk on lily pads and other floating vegetation. 2 species occur in tropical Americas. The Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) ranges from Panama to South America. The birds have yellow wing linings which can be seen in flight. The bird is IDed by black body, red face and yellow tip of bill.

Wattled Jacana - adult

Here is one in flight showing the yellow wing linings.

Wattled Jacana - adult
The juvenile has a striped neck, and is brown and white. Notice the long toes.

Wattled Jacana - juvenile
We also saw a downy chick.

Wattled Jacana - chick
And another photo with his foot up, showing he is all toes.

Wattled Jacana - chick

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2014 David McDonald

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