Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bulletin 283 - Colombia #6 - Hawks, Parrots, Toucan

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.

One of the stranger things I have noticed in the tropics is the scarcity of raptors (except vultures). In Texas we have hawks everywhere and in winter, it is not uncommon to see a dozen or more in a mornings outing. I did get 3 hawk photos on this trip, but no falcons.

The first is the 15" adult Double-toothed Kite (Harpagus bidentatus). I had previously photographed an immature of this species. The black vertical stripe in center of throat is diagnostic for this species.

Double-toothed Kite - adult
The 24" Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis) is beige overall.

Savanna Hawk
And the last was a treat. I have looked for this bird for years and finally found it. It is the 19" Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens). It is named for the very long legs. It is gray with a red eye and red legs. It was a lifer for me.

Crane Hawk
I also saw several new parrots on this trip and the highlight was the 18" Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhyncus icterotis). This bird was thought to be extinct, but a small population of 81 birds was discovered in April 1999. The area was set aside as a reserve. The problem with this bird is that it only nests in wax palm trees. These palms themselves are endangered due to logging and use of the fronds in Palm Sunday celebrations. But a national education program was developed and land owners encouraged to preserve the trees. Also, nest boxes were provided to supplement nest cavities. The population has since climbed to over 1,000 birds and it has been downgraded from critically endangered to endangered. It is bright green with a long tail and yellow cheek patch and yellow underparts.

This bird is number 3 on the top 30 list mentioned above. The guide said that most visiting birders normally only see these birds flying high on the way to or from their night roost. In the morning it was foggy and I could just see that they were parrots. However we went back in the late afternoon and it was clear and several pairs were seen a long way off on the palms. A pair did fly closer and I got this photo.

Yellow-eared Parrot
And then they landed in a bare tree not too far away.

Yellow-eared Parrot

Yellow-eared Parrot

The 16" Scarlet-fronted Parakeet (Psittacara wagleri) is a resident of Venezuela to Peru. I had seen and photographed this species in Miami where many parrots have been released or escaped. But this was my first occasion to see the bird in the wild. It is green with a scarlet forehead.
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet
The 7" Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis) is a small green parakeet with a white eye ring and hard to see orange chin patch.

Orange-chinned Parakeet
The 11" Bronze-winged Parrot (Pionus chalcopterus) is blue with bronzy wings.

Bronze-winged Parrot
Lastly is the 5" Spectacled Parrotlet (Forpus conspicillatus). It is green with blue around the eye.

Spectacled Parrotlet
The only new toucan was a far off 18" Black-billed Mountain Toucan (Andigena nigrirostris). It is blue and white underneath with a solid black bill/

Black-billed Mountain Toucan
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2017 David McDonald

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