Red-throated ant-tanager male

Male red-throated ant-tanager looking dejected; squawking was in vain

After previously seeing only female Red-throated ant-tanagers (Habia fuscicaudia) (mostly olive-brown in colour), I was lucky to be present with Ale, Ivan and ….. when a fine male was banded on Wednesday, August 11th at CATIE in the café and poró section.   Unfortunately, this section will be lost to the bird-banding programme very soon when its land will be given over to commercial tree planting.  We’ll miss the birds but perhaps not the hordes of mosquitoes. 

The ant-tanager did plenty of squawking throughout the processing.  Here he is after Ale had tamed him.

Ale holds up the ant-tanager

The expected slow August day gave up several really nice species in addition to the ant-tanager.  The highlight, perhaps, was a female Olive-backed euphonia (Euphonia gouldi), because I hadn’t seen this species in this area before.  Several other beauties were caught, however, including a Northern bentbill (Oncostoma cinereigulare) with his slightly bemused look, a big-headed juvenile Bright-rumped attila (Attila spadiceus),

Attila shows his rump

 a Plain xenops (Xenops minutus), with its white moustache and pretty wing pattern,

Plain xenops, plain beautiful

 and a lovely Bay wren (Thryothorus nigricapillus).

Bay wren – a beautiful singer

It is a wonderful thing to see these birds up close and personal.  None of them ever gives me a good view in the field, and the Bay wren in particular has repeatedly sung loudly in my ear from close up while remaining maddeningly invisible in thick shrubbery.

Another female White-collared manakin (Manacus candei) fell into the nets.  It’s a neat little bird with its olive-yellow tones, and I wish my legs were as colourful.  We still would have preferred the striking male.  This is, so far, the only manakin I have seen in the Turrialba area, and not even this species has appeared to date in San Antonio.  I have heard the wing-popping of the males in a location near San Diego about two kilometers distant, but that’s the closest encounter to home to date.  

Juvenile White-collared manakin

Wednesday’s haul was complemented by several Ochre-bellied flycatchers (Mionectes oleagineus), a very common species at this location, and a noisy Clay-coloured robin (Turdus grayi) Costa Rica’s national bird.


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