Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bulletin 298 - Guatemala 2017 #4 - Cardinals and other songbirds

I went for a second visit to Guatemala at the end of May. Once again, I used the wonderful local guide Knut Eisermann of Cayaya Birding. On this visit, we concentrated on the western highlands and Pacific lowlands along the Mexican border, as several Mexican species just make it into Guatemala here. 

A highlight for this trip was the 10" Blue-and-white Mockingbird (Melanotis hypoleucus). This bird is a resident from southern Mexico to El Salvador. It is one of 2 species in the genus and different from the mimus genus, gray mockingbirds we are all familiar with. It is a snazzy looking bird, blue above and white below with a black mask. We saw one in a tree and he pretty much stayed hidden, but while we were at lunch one flew and landed on the lawn outside where we were eating and fortunately I saw it and got some nice photos.

Blue-and-white Mockingbird
A short time later he flew to a fence post. What a cool looking bird! He was a lifer.

Blue-and-white Mockingbird

Another blue lifer was the 10" Black-throated Jay (Cyanolyca pumilo). He is blue with a black throat. His range is southern Mexico to Honduras.

Black-throated Jay
The 10" Mexican Cacique (Cassiculus melanicterus) is black with yellow shoulders and yellow  tail. It is also known as Yellow-winged Cacique. It is resident in western Mexico to El Salvador and was a lifer. I think this is a male with the crest. The female is duller.

Mexican Cacique
A surprise was to find the 4" Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) so far south. They are breed in the mountains in Guatemala above 7,500 ft elevation.

Golden-crowned Kinglet
We saw several members of the cardinal family. The 9" male Yellow Grosbeak (Pheucticus chrysopeplus) is bright yellow with black wings and white bars. It is a resident of Mexico and Guatemala. This was another life bird for me.

Yellow Grosbeak - male
The female is duller.

Yellow Grosbeak - female
A beautiful bird was the 6" male Red-breasted Chat (Granatella venustus). He is gray backed, red below, and a black and white patterned head. He also has a long tail. He was a lifer as well. It is listed as a Mexican endemic, but it just barely crosses the border into Guatemala. So it was a treat to find it.

Red-breasted Chat - male
The third cardinal was the 5.5" Varied Bunting (Passerina versicolor). This bird is bluish with purple-red on head. It is a resident from western USA to Guatemala. This was only the second time I have seen this species.

Varied Bunting - male
I have put the different bird families in single folders for easy viewing.

I have photos of 14 of the 34 mockingbirds and thrashers.

And I have photos of 28 of the 130 crows and jays

And I have photos of 44 of the 130 blackbirds and orioles.

And I have photos of 2 of the 6 kinglets.

And I have photos of 34 of the 65 cardinals and grosbeaks.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2017 David McDonald

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

No comments: