Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bulletin 222 - Costa Rica #4 - Warblers, vireos, manakins and others

I saw several species of North American warblers in Costa Rica. These were Wilson's, Chestnut-sided, Tennessee and Prothonotary. However, I did see 5 of the tropical species. I have now photographed 57 of the 120 species of warblers. So I still have a lot to do, as this is one of my favorite families of birds.

The 4" Tropical Parula (Setophaga pitiayumi) does occasionally show up in south Texas. It is similar to the Northern Parula of the USA, but the face is darker and it does not have the white eye arcs.

Tropical Parula
The 5" Flame-throated Warbler (Oreothlypis gutturalis) is an endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama. It is gray above with a white belly and bright orange throat and breast.

Flame-throated Warbler
The 5" Black-cheeked Warbler (Basileuterus melanogenys) is olive gray above, whitish below with a black cheek. The top of the head has a rufous central stripe bordered by white stripes.

Black-cheeked Warbler

The last 2 are cousins. The 5" Collared Redstart (Myioborus torquatusis an endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama. It is gray above, yellow below and has a yellow face. There is a black collar across the breast. The crown is reddish.

Collared Redstart

The 5" Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus) has gray upper parts, face and throat. The breast and belly are yellow and it also has the reddish crown. 

Slate-throated Redstart
2 vireo species that don't occur in the USA were found. The Yellow-winged Vireo (Vireo carmioli) has yellow wing bars and yellow underparts. It is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama.

Yellow-winged Vireo

The Brown-capped Vireo (Vireo leucophrys) has a white eye line and throat and distinctly brown cap. There are no wing bars.

Brown-capped Vireo

Manakins are a small (52 species) New World family of colorful birds notable for the elaborate dance routine the males perform to attract a mate. Usually it consists of several related males who dance and jump over each other on a branch. In general. the males are brightly colored and the female are dull, inconspicuous olive or green. I saw 2 species on this trip.

The White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei) is a 4" bird. The male has a black cap, wings and lower back and tail. He is white on upper back and breast. The belly is yellow and his legs are bright orange. The female is dull olive and I didn't see her.

White-collared Manakin - male
The Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) is another 4" bird. The adult male is all black except for a red head. He also has a white iris. The female is dull olive. I only saw a juvenile male. He is starting to molt from his olive as you can see some red feathers on his head. He also has the white iris.

Red-capped Manakin - juvenile male
I saw one new swallow, the Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca). This 4" distinctive swallow is blue on upperparts and white below. The undertail is black. Its range is higher elevation from 1600 - 10,000 feet, so it is the only one to find in the mountains where I photographed this one. The sexes are similar.

Blue-and-white Swallow
Lastly is a member of a small New World family (4 species) the silky flycatchers. There is one member in the southwest USA, the Phainopepla. Here is the 9" male Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus). The male is gray with a yellow head and crest and long spiky tail. The female is duller olive. Despite their name, they eat primarily fruit. It is a montane bird and will be found above 5200 feet. It is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama.

Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher - male

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2015 David McDonald

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