Tuesday 1 November 2016

Bills of the Coto Brus

Wendy and I have recently returned from six days ringing at three standard banding sites in the far south of Costa Rica, near San Vito and the Panama border. Each site has been studied for over 10 years and covered different habitats. For example one site was redundant coffee plantation and dairy pasture now developing into secondary forest. We did  band 24 species that we have never captured before, in the total species of 53 captured.

Now for some of the species......and their bills..

Fiery-billed Aracari, the endemic Aracari of Costa Rica, this bird an adult with a vicious serrated bill.

This is one of Costa Rica's 82 species of Flycatcher, an Eye-ringed Flatbill with an incredibly flat wide bill.

As a proportion of head and bill....the bill of a Thick-billed Finch is impressive.

As is characteristic of most of the Brush-Finches, the young develop the colour of their mandibles in the first few months. This a young Costa Rican Brush-Finch, a recent split and now a new endemic.

This is a close related species, the Orange-billed Sparrow, an adult with a fully developed bill colour.

Another mainly orange bill, on the common Catharus Thrush of the area, the Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush.

Blue-crowned Motmot....a short but a very powerful and strongly serrated bill on one of the larger birds that we study. This Motmot was ringed in 2009, seven years ago..!

A super long bill on this Green Hermit. The most common of the Hermit Hummingbirds we found here.

This tiny White-throated Spadebill. again a member of the Flycatcher family.

These mid-elevation forests are full of insects too. Costa Rica currently has 22 species of Wren. This is a  Rufous-breasted Wren with typical insectivorous bill.

Sharp-shinned Hawk, an uncommon migrant to the area, this a nice adult female.

The star bird of the Coto Brus..a Ruddy Foliage-gleaner ! This species has a tiny distribution in Costa Rica, basically just the Coto Brus Valley. One of the requirements of this bill....to dig a 2m tunnel nest chamber in a bank..!

Costa Rica has 9 species of Manakins. A couple of new ones for us at this elevation. This an adult male Orange-collared Manakin.

.... This is an adult male White-ruffed Manakin. Both species with a small bill for their mainly fruit and seed diet.

San Vito at 1000m nestled in the stunning valley....the Coto Brus. Our banding sites were at c1200m on the surrounding hillsides.

On day 4 we held a ringing demonstration for the local school, organised by the San Vito Bird Club.

Under a superb banding shelter....much needed in this wet climate. Even wetter than West Wales...

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