Spangle-cheeked Tanager, endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama

There are four  tanager species that are endemic to Costa Rica and Panama but I have so far found only one of them in our area. Its name alone, the Spangle-cheeked Tanager, already makes you curious.


Spangle-cheeked Tanager, a highland species

I spent the second part of Cornell Lab’s Global Big Day over at nearby Guayabo National Monument and was fortunate to find at least one individual there on the road outside the Monument. That location is actually a little low in elevation for this predominantly highland species, but my numerous mountain excursions have only once before brought me a sighting, on Calle Vargas, the dirt road that leads up one side of the Turrialba Volcano. It is a small bird, about the size of our more common Golden-hooded Tanager, but strikingly patterned and easy to identify. I was happy to have nice views of a bird foraging low for several minutes. The photo above is by kind courtesy of Richard Garrigues, co-author of The Birds of Costa Rica, but I have no idea where he saw that individual.

My bird list for that afternoon can be found at

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