Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bulletin 257 - Costa Rica #2 - Thrushes, Blackbirds, Silky-flycatcher

I photographed 2 species of thrush on this trip. The first was the 6" Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii). This brown backed thrush has a ruddy crown. I had photographed him on the previous trip, but this time he was on a feeder and the photos were better.

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush
 His cousin the 6" Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus aurantiirostris) is very similar coloration but has an orange bill and orange eye ring and legs. I was pleased to get this photo as this bird is really secretive. I had spent about an hour each in my first Costa Rica trip and again in Guatemala and never saw the bird, only the bushes moving so never even got any photo. At one of the lodges, the bird comes to the bird bath every night at 5:30 and sure enough he showed up. It is so easy in the right location. Here he is on the lip of the bird bath. Interestingly, the northern birds have a brownish crown and the southern birds like this one have a gray crown.

Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush
I also got the last 2 orioles I was missing for Costa Rica. The first is the 8" Black-cowled Oriole (Icterus prosthemelas). It is a yellow oriole with black head, back, tail and chest.

Black-cowled Oriole
The other was the 8" Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pectoralis). This is an orange oriole with orange back streaked with black. This species showed up one time in the Houston area about a decade ago.

Streak-backed Oriole
I also got better photos of the huge Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma). The males are 20" long and the females 16". The birds have brown bodies, yellow tails, black heads with colorful bare spots on the face.

Montezuma Oropendola
The 10" all black Melodius Blackbird (Dives dives) is a recent colonizer of Coast Rica having expanded south from Nicaragua. It was first reported in Costa Rica in 1987 and is now found throughout the country.

Melodius Blackbird
The 8" Black-and-Yellow Silky-flycatcher (Phainoptila melanoxantha) is the last member of this small (4 species) family of birds that I needed to photograph. The male shown here has a black head, the female is duller with a gray head

Black-and-Yellow Silky-flycatcher - male
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

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