Barred hawks harassed by Brown jays

Barred hawk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Barred hawk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


The Barred hawk (Leucopternis princeps) has been reported here in San Antonio several times by other, reliable observers.  The other day, for the first time and despite only getting a brief look at two birds in flight, I finally identified this species on home territory here on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano.  The former name for this species, the Black-chested hawk, is also pretty helpful.  No other Costa Rican raptor has the dark head and breast.  The actual location was down on Quebrada La Loca at don Martín’s wooded lot

The Brown jay (Psilorhinus morio) is impossible to miss in our area. It and the Montezuma oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma) are the prime candidates if you see a dark, biggish bird fly by. It’s hard to believe that it’s uncommon, even absent, in some parts of the country Its loud call has given it its local name of Piapia, which is also the name of a rustic bar with a great view just up the hill from us. The Brown jay has now been given its former Latin name because of the furcular sac, as it is called, which allows it to make a popping sound that introduces the call note and is easily heard at close quarters. The Brown jay is almost always in a small flock, and if they are making a great racket it’s a good idea to investigate to see if they are harassing a hawk or an owl.

The photo below was taken locally and shows a juvenile bird, distinguishable by the yellow eye-ring.

Juvenile Brown jay, courtesy of Karel Straatman

Juvenile Brown jay, courtesy of Karel Straatman



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