Long-billed gnatwren

Long-billed gnatwren strikes a pose

Long-billed gnatwren banded at CATIE

I was up at dawn to scout for the hawk-eagle at the back of the Espino Blanco Reserve, but it did not reappear. As luck would have it, however, I found a Long-billed gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus) on Sue’s path leading down to her mirador. I have now added both this species and the Ornate hawk-eagle to the Espino Blanco Checklist. Last year I sent the Reserve an updated version of their list that included one or two species (e.g. Peregrine falcon) that I had personally observed there.

The Long-billed gnatwren is well-named. Its long, needle-like bill renders it pretty much unmistakable since the only other gnatwren in Costa Rica, the Tawny-faced gnatwren has a much-shorter bill. This morning’s bird was singing with a distinctive trilling sound and was poking around in some low bushes. It seemed to be alone. At almost 1300 m elevation, we are at the very top end of the range for this species. The file photo above was taken during a banding session (Monitoreo de Aves) down at CATIE.

I’m disappointed at missing the Ornate hawk-eagle but I’m very pleased to still be able to add a new species for My Patch.

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