Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bulletin 266 - Costa Rica 2016 #10 - woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys

This is the last of the Costa Rica series from my 2016 trip. Thanks again to my wonderful guideJohan Fernandez who showed me many amazing birds and also taught me some photography tricks.

Trogons are 9-14" colorful birds that usually sit quietly and are fairly easy to photograph. That makes them popular with me!

The 11" male Black-headed Trogon (Trogon malanocephalus) has a black head, yellow belly and a blue eye ring.

Black-headed Trogon - male
The 9" male Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus) has a gren head with black throat anfd yellow belly and bill.

Black-throated Trogon - male
The 12" Lattice-tailed Trogon (Trogon clathratus) is endemic to Costa Rica and Panama. I only saw the female. She has a gray head, red belly and finely barred tail.

Lattice-tailed Trogon - female
There were 2 melanerpes woodpeckers seen. The 7" Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) has a red head and belly along with the streaked back typical of this genus. I though it was neat to photo him on a banana flower that matched his head.

Red-crowned Woodpecker - male on banana flower
A new species to photo was the 7" Hoffmann's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii). The male just has a red cap on top of his head. It is found from southern Honduras to northern Costa Rica. The female has no red at all.

Hoffmann's Woodpecker - male
I got closer photos of a 13" Pale-billed Woodpecker (Camppophilus guatemalensis). The male has an all red head with a white eye. This is one of the 2 largest woodpeckers in Costa Rica

Pale-billed Woodpecker - male
The smallest woodpecker was also a new one for me. The 4" Olivaceous Piculet (Picumnus olivaceus). This bird was also in the Alexander Skutch preserve. The guides there knew where the nest hole was and the male was there with his head out. He is olive with a red forehead and spotted crown

Olivaceous Piculet - male in nest hole
A real treat was getting 2 new monkey species photos. The 42" Central American Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) has a brown body and darker head and limbs. We saw a troop one day and I got several photos.

Central American Spider Monkey
I did not see it while I was taking the photos, but one had a baby on her back.

Central American Spider Monkey - with baby
The other monkey was a life mammal. The 36" White-faced Capuchin (Cebus capucinus). This distinctive monkey has a black body and cream chest and head with a bare pink face. There was a group of them and I had to walk through the bush to get a photo (always a scary thought to go off the trails). One stayed down almost at eye level, but the rest had climbed into the canopy. I got one photo and he too scrambled up the tree. I asked the guide, whether they were subject to skin cancer with the bare pink face. He didn't know. Well when I got home and developed the photo, he has the end of his nose gone. This could certainly be an injury from a fight, but it could also be typical of a skin cancer. I think he must have been the old man of the troop to stay down and assess the danger as I approached,. If so, then he certainly would be old enough to get skin cancer if they are susceptible to it. The life span is up to 50 years.

These are very intelligent monkeys and use tools frequently. They are the traditional monkey for the organ grinder and can be taught to assist paraplegics as helpers.

I was so close, this is the whole photo.

White-faced Capuchin with tip of nose missing
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

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