Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bulletin 273 - Ecuador 2016 #7 - Antbirds and Woodpeckers

These are the places visited. At the end of each bird description, I will give the 2 letter code where the photo was taken.

Shiripuno Lodge in Amazon  (SH)
Archidona a town on the east slope  (AR)
San Isidro Lodge at a higher elevation on east slope (SI)
Guango Lodge even higher on east slope (GU)
Antisana reserve on the paramo    (AN)
Mindo area on west slope has several close reserves that we visited (MI)

I think the most amazing development in neotropical birding in the past 20 years was the ability to attract antpittas to feeders. When I went on several trips in the 90s, antpittas were shy retiring birds that might come close with a played tape, but they always were skittish when they saw people, and I never saw a single one. 

Well progress occurred when someone discovered that they could be attracted with earthworms and a lot of patience. Now many locations have an antpitta that will come to a location each morning when called and chopped worms are provided. The fortunate birders just have to stand quietly and watch and photo them. But they are in the wide open and close (20 feet away). However, it is a labor of love to train the antpitta. At San Isidro lodge, they said it took 8 months before the bird came reliably every morning.

I got photos of 5 species on this trip, 4 of them were at feeders. The absolute highlight is the 9.5" Giant Antpitta (Grallaria gigantea). Antpittas are long-legged almost tailless birds. This one is dark brown with black streaking on the breast. The guide book lists this bird as rare. The man whose place we visited calls the bird Maria and it took about 20 minutes of him calling before the bird showed up.  MI

Giant Antpitta
The same man also showed us the 6.75" Yellow-breasted Antpitta (Grallaria flavotincta). In fact, he had 2 birds trained in 2 different locations and we saw them both. This is even more rare as it has only a single dot on the Ecuador map where it is found.   MI

Yellow-breasted Antpitta

At San Isidro Lodge, the local bird is the 6.75" White-bellied Antpitta (Grallaria hypoleuca). 

White-bellied Antpitta
Guango Lodge also had a trained bird, the 7.25" Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (Grallaria ruficapilla). This one is quite attractive with the rufous head, cream throat and streaked breast.

Chestnut-crowned Antpitta
The final one was in the open at the treeline above Guango Lodge. The 6.5" Tawny Antpitta (Grallaria quitensis) is listed as common and easy to see. He was right beside the gravel road we were on.
Tawny Antpitta

The only antbird for the trip was the 3.75" male Amazonian Streaked-Antwren (Myrmotherula multostriata). Like most antbirds, the males are black and the female is brown.  SH

Amazonian Streaked-Antwren - male
Several cool looking woodpeckers were found on the trip as well. The 10" Crimson-mantled Woodpecker (Colaptes rivolii) is mostly has mostly red upperparts and yellow underparts. The is a female with the black crown.  GU

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker - female

The 8" Spot-breasted Woodpecker (Colaptes punctigula) is brown above with a spotted yellowish breast. This is also a female with the black crown.  AN

Spot-breasted Woodpecker - female
The 8" Cinnamon Woodpecker (Celeus loricatus) had been photographed before but this one was much closer. This is a male with the red patch on the throat.   MI

Cinnamon Woodpecker - male
The campephilus genus are the largest woodpeckers. There was only one in North America, the extinct Ivory-billed woodpecker. I got 2 new species on this trip. The 13.5" male Guayquil Woodpecker (Campephilus guayaquilensis) has a red head and large crest.  MI

Guayaquil Woodpecker - male
The female 14" Powerful Woodpecker (Campephilus pollens) has a black crest. The male would have a red crest.  SI

Powerful Woodpecker - female
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

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