Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bulletin 242 - Ecuador #5 - parrots and woodpeckers

This was my first visit to Ecuador. The country was as amazing as I had heard from other birders. The people are friendly and there was no trouble finding people who spoke English, to get directions in the airport etc.

The country is a tourist destination for all things nature. They have done a remarkable job setting aside large areas for national parks and preserves. Also, several private organizations have stepped in to buy up critical habitat to protect endangered species. I was amazed at how clean the countryside was. There was almost no litter along the highways as we drove from place to place.

Parrots as a group have suffered major population declines both from loss of habitat, and also from trapping for the pet trade. One of the critically endangered birds is the El Oro Parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi). This rare parakeet was only discovered in 1980 and described and named by Robert Ridgely (coauthor of Birds of Ecuador) in 1988. It is named for El Oro province in southwest Ecuador. The Buenaventura Ecological Reserve, where we stayed, was established to protect this species. Apparently there were only 30 birds in 2003 when the reserve was established, but with protection from further deforestation and placing nest boxes, the population has climbed to 500+ according to my guide. It was a treat to see this rare endemic bird. If you look closely, you can see bands on both birds.

El Oro Parakeet
Buenaventura Reserve
Another parrot at Buenaventura is the 13" Red-masked Parakeet (Psittacara erthyrogenys). This bird was in a tree right outside the lodge. It is green with a mostly red head.

Red-masked Parakeet
A third at the same location is the 11" Bronze-winged Parrot (Pionus chalcopterus). It has unmistakable coloration with a dark blue body and bronze wings.

Bronze-winged Parrot

On the first day as we drove south along the Pacific coastal plain, we saw 2 more parrots. Both of them were at the preserve for the Horned Screamer. The first is the 8" Gray-cheeked Parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera). It is green with a gray face.

Gray-cheeked Parakeet
Parrotlets as the name suggests are small parrots the size of sparrows (4.5 - 6"). There are 15 species in 2 genera, touit and forpus. The 5" Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis) is just so cute. We saw a flock of perhaps 8 birds and I caught this one as he came in to land.

Pacific Parrotlet
The last photo I got was the White-eyed Parakeet (Psittacara leucophthalma). It is green with red spots on side of head and a white orbital ring. This was taken near Copalinga Lodge.

White-eyed Parakeet
Despite being in woods almost all the time, we only saw one woodpecker in the forest and I missed the photo, but it was one I already had. The 2 that I did get photos were in relatively open areas on the last day near Copalinga Lodge. The 7" Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus) is black with yellow above the eye. The male has a red crown

Yellow-tufted Woodpecker - male
The female lacks the red crown.

Yellow-tufted Woodpecker - female

Nearby, we also found a 6" female Little Woodpecker (Veniliornis passerinus). She is brown back with striped underparts.

Little Woodpecker - female

Bird Families...I have grouped my photos online by country and/or trip report. I now have a substantial number of photos of birds in several of the families and I know sometimes you would just like to see more of them in 1 place.

Click the link to take you to the gallery. Then you can hit ALL to see all the species or just click on the top left photo to  see the first photo and then click NEXT on the top or bottom right to scroll through.

Also, there is a SLIDE SHOW option that you can use that will scroll through all the photos automatically. This option is at the top right. You can select the interval of 1,3,5 or 10 seconds that each photo will be displayed, after you begin the slide show.

I have also put the scientific name and range of the bird below each photo. I will use the most colorful photo I have ...usually a male, but if I don't have that, then a female or juvenile.

Hummingbirds 72 species

Sandpipers 36 species

Plovers 10 species

New World Parrots 28 species

Woodpeckers 35 species

Tyrant Flycatchers 75 species

Thrushes 25 species

Tanagers 49 species

Cardinals 23 species

New World Warblers 64 species

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2015 David McDonald

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

No comments: