Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bulletin 258 - Costa Rica #3 - Boat trip in mangroves

The mangroves on the coasts provide protection from erosion of beaches and shorelines. They also provide a unique ecosystem and habitat. There are several Costa Rica birds that use the mangrove habitat and many of them are named for it.

One morning the guide and I took a boat trip on a river on the Pacific coast to look for some of these species.

I had previously photographed the 5" Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albalinea) at quite a distance. This time a pair landed on the roof of the boat, so I was 12 feet from the bird! It is a beautiful swallow with snow white underparts, and a blue back. It has a distinctive white rump. Notice the small white line above the eye which gives the bird its scientific name.

Mangrove Swallow
Next is the 5" Mangrove Warbler (Setophaga petechia) has been split from Yellow Warbler by the IOU but the AOU still considers it a subspecies. However, the song is different and the rufous head is really neat. The male has the red streaks on the underparts.

Mangrove Warbler - male
The 4" Mangrove Hummingbird (Amazilia boucardi) is endemic to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. I only saw the female. the male would have a green throat.

Mangrove Hummingbird - female

Of course we saw some Kingfishers along the river as well. The 16" Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) is the largest of the kingfishers in the Americas. It has a blue back and head with a bushy crest. The male has rufous underparts.

Ringed Kingfisher - male
The female has a blue chest band.

Ringed Kingfisher - female

The 5" American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chlorceryle aenea) is the smallest kingfisher in the Americas. It is green with rufous underparts. The female here has a green chest band. The male would be all rufous underneath. The white belly is another field mark of this tiny kingfisher.

American Pygmy Kingfisher - female

The 9" Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) is brown bodied with a black head and neck and yellow bill and a yellow cap. It has long legs and long toes for walking on aquatic vegetation on the waters surface.

Northern Jacana
The Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) is dark with a white wing patch. The male is huge at 33" while the female is 25" long. They have that red knobly beak

Muscovy Duck
The last bird is the 30" Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum). The adult is gray bodied with a striped neck and a yellow throat.

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron - adult
The juvenile has a brown body and wings.

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron - juvenile
Lastly is the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). It certainly needs no description to ID it.

American Crocodile
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

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