Brown-capped Vireo

There are only two resident vireos in Costa Rica and both are birds of higher elevations: the Yellow-winged Vireo and the subject of this post, the Brown-capped Vireo (Vireo leucophrys). The greatest difficulty with their identification is distinguishing them from other vireo species during migration, several of which are quite common here. The Yellow-winged is fairly easy to find higher up the volcano slope, but I see from eBird that Jim Zook found one here in San Antonio last year when he came to see the rare White-eyed Vireo that had made its home in our garden.

brown-capped-vireo-calle-vargas
Brown-capped Vireo at Calle Vargas

However, the Brown-capped Vireo is not so easily found in our area and this week’s sighting was only my second in all these years. Larry Waddell accompanied me on the jaunt up to Calle Vargas at the Las Virtudes junction and took the nice photo above.

The vireo was among a small mixed flock of common highland birds, but the Olive-striped Flycatcher (Mionectes olivaceus), pictured below, was a first at this particular location. This species is common much lower down at the Guayabo National Monument, but I have had only one other sighting of the species at higher elevations, at Coliblanco on the road to Pacayas. Small flycatchers present numerous identification problems in all areas of the country, but the Olive-striped has a white spot behind the eye and a streaked breast that render it pretty much unmistakable.

olive-striped-flycatcher-calle-vargas

Olive-striped Flycatcher, not a common bird at this location; photo courtesy of Larry Waddell

Larry’s best photo of the day came from the same mixed flock. The Prong-billed Barbet (Semnoris frantzii ) is a common highland bird but one that had escaped me in my first years here  on the Turrialba Volcano slope.

Prong-billed Barbet

Prong-billed Barbet at Calle Vargas,courtesy of Larry Waddell

The day’s full list is available at the following link:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33698396

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