Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bulletin 280 - Colombia #3 - Marsh Birds, Cracids, Night Birds

Pablo Florez, the main guide, has co-written a book where to bird in Colombia. In it, he has a list of the Top 30 Most Sought-after Birds by a group of 40 birders visiting Colombia. I saw 12 of them on the trip and got photos of 10. When I show one of these birds,  I will mention its placement on the list.

So the next of these most sought after birds is the 35"  Northern Screamer (Chauna chavaria). Screamers are a small family of just 3 species in South America. They are closely related to ducks and geese. We saw 2 pairs way out in a field. But they responded to the tape and flew closer. This bird is only found in Colombia and Venezuela. With the current political situation in Venezuela, Colombia is only place this species can be seen.They have a black body, white throat and red face with a wispy crest. It is #22 out of 30 on the above list.

Northern Screamer
Here is a bird in the air. Notice the spur on the leading edge of the wing.

Northern Screamer

We found a couple of waders. The 21" Bare-faced Ibis (Phimosus infuscatus) is a dark bodied ibis with a bare red face.

Bare-faced Ibis

The 49" Cocoi Heron (Ardea cocoi) is similar to our Great Blue Heron. He is paler and lacks the rusty thighs of the Great Blue Heron

Cocoi Heron
The last of the marsh birds was a treat to see, a rail. The are usually so secretive, but this 12" Blackish Rail (Pardirallus nigricans) walked out of the reeds for his photo. He is brown above, black below with a long yellow bill.

Blackish Rail
The cracids are a new world family of large turkey like game birds with 55 species in 3 broad categories - chachalacas, guans and curassows. The curassows are the largest, most threatened and rarest. I have photos of only 1 curassow so far.

The 20" Colombian Chachalaca (Ortalis columbiana) is brown with a pale belly. It is endemic to Colombia.

Colombian Chachalaca
The 23" Sickle-winged Guan (Chamapetes goudotii) is brown above and rufous below.

Sickle-winged Guan
The 25" Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax) is another Colombian endemic. It is listed as endangered. It is brown with speckling underneath and a red throat wattle.

Cauca Guan
The 2 nocturnal birds were both spectacular, despite the fact I did not get any owl photos, but not from lack of trying. The owls would just not respond to the tape. 

So here is the 16" Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus). Potoos are a small family of 7 species of birds in Latin America and the Caribbean, closely related to nightjars. What makes them unique is that they perch on top of a broken snag or tree and sit motionless all day sleeping, so as to become almost invisible. Here is a photo of a roosting bird I took in Panama 2 years ago.

So what  was so special about the Common Potoo here. Well, as well as roosting on the broken off tree, they lay their single egg in a depression on top of the snag as well. No nest is built.  We found a Common Potoo with the fluffy white baby both on top of a snag and sitting absolutely motionless. My guide had never seen a baby before, so this was a very rare find. I had to climb up about 100 feet on a 45 degree slope to get these photos.

Common Potoo with baby
Here is a close up of the baby. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Common Potoo - baby

The other nocturnal bird was a lifer, the 18" Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis). Oilbirds are a separate family themselves, but are also related to nightjars and potoos. However, the big difference is that they are fruit eaters. Also, they are unique in that they roost during the day in caves like bats. They also use echolocation similar to bats.. This was the first time in all my travels to be at an oilbird cave. Here is a bird on a ledge on the wall of the cave.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2016 David McDonald

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

No comments: