Flame-colored Tanager on the Cerro de la Muerte highway

A brief roadside stop in the car on the Pan-American Highway outside Cartago, but well before Cerro de la Muerte, allowed excellent views of a pair of Flame-colored Tanagers (Piranga bidentata). This is  a highland species that seems to be rare in the Turrialba Volcano area, since I have never been able to find it here.  The male is a very handsome bird with its striking orange-red head and breast plus double white wing-bars. The female has the same wing bars but is basically dull yellow. The male was resplendent in the bright morning sunshine. The image below is by kind courtesy of Karel Straatman.

Male Flame-colored Tanager, streaked back not in view here.

Male Flame-colored Tanager, streaked back barely in view here.

Neighbour Fabio Orlando Zúñiga and I were on our way to Bahía Drake (Drake Bay) on the Osa Peninsula (report to follow in a subsequent post). This first roadside stop after the drive to Cartago goes to show that you can lift your binoculars almost anywhere in Costa Rica and something of both interest and beauty inevitably appears.

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