Bright-rumped Attila close to home

No rump in view

No rump in view

Bright-rumped attila from behind

Today I found a pair of Bright-rumped attilas (Attila spadiceus) by Quebrada La Loca.  It’s an unusual sighting because it’s the first close to home.  Jorge Fernández has reported it several times at his house lower down on the Rio Guayabito, and I heard it several times during my stay higher up at El Alto de Adán, but this time I had a good view of one of the pair from the bridge as it fluttered noisily, fairly low down above the trickle of water that still remains in the Quebrada. We have had an unusually dry verano here in the Santa Cruz area.  By verano, the locals mean a dry spell, while invierno means it’s raining rather heavily!  The lack of water must be affecting many species, but Flycatchers often present considerable identification problems, but the Attila is unmistakable with its big head and bright yellow rump.  The iris is red and the bill is heavily hooked, but its persistent, ringing call is usually the first indication of its presence.  Its appearance follows a great sighting of an Eye-billed flatbill (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris) a little more than a week ago at El Alto de Adán, which is still technically in San Antonio. Piratic flycatchers (Legatus leucophaius) are still here; I hear them calling everywhere it seems.  I never found this bird in my early years, but surely this was just because I was unfamiliar with the call note.  The bird itself looks like a small version of a Sulphur-bellied flycatcher (Myiodinastes luteiventris) but without the rufous tail.  A Sulphur-bellied showed up today at the same location as the Attilas and I was able to confirm the heavy malar stripe that distinguishes it from its look-alike, the Streaked flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus).  Fortunately, the Streaked is restricted mostly to the Pacific slope and so you’re pretty sure of the identification once you see the rufous tail.  Here are the Piratic and the Sulphur-bellied side-by-side:

Piratic, because it hijacks the nests of other species.

Piratic, because it hijacks the nests of other species.

Bigger and brighter, the Sulphur-bellied flycatcher

Bigger and brighter, the Sulphur-bellied flycatcher

 

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