Rio Tausito

This post begins with a blurry but beautiful photograph of a Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum) in flight. This is a species that, like other motmots, spends a lot of time perched motionless. This allowed both John and Larry to obtain some excellent photos.For the most recent excursion, we travelled through sugar-cane fields, now being harvested, to the small town of Pejibaye and then on past El Copal on the dirt road to Tapantí National Park. We explored uphill as far as the Río Tausito, at around 1400 m, and had some memorable sightings of middle elevation species. The Broad-billed Motmot was our target bird, since John had found it on an earlier trip at that same location. This species looks like a miniature version of the Rufous Motmot, but it has a touch of blue under the chin, and the rufous on the breast ends much higher up.

Broad-billed Motmot, courtesy of Larry Waddell
The same individual, courtesy of John Beer

Prior to finding the motmot, we found another sit-and-wait specialist, a female Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) perched on a horizontal limb next to the path. The female differs from the male in having a buffy, rather than white, throat. Jacamars look like giant hummingbirds. They have a long bill, which they point upwards. The species we found seems to be fairly common in the Tapantí area. It has rufous underparts but strangely they showed up yellow in Larry’s photos, which show better the classic posture of both this jacamar and the much rarer Great Jacamar (Jacamerops aureus).

Rufous-tailed Jacamar, courtesy of John Beer
Rufous-tailed Jacamar: the same bird with a different look, courtesy of Larry Waddell

We had little luck with hummingbirds, the best of which was a male Black-bellied Hummingbird (Eupherusa nigriventris). This is not a bird that I find close to home but it seemed strange to see it again so soon after finding it earlier in the week at Bonilla Arriba.

Black-bellied Hummingbird at a favourite middle-elevation flower. Does anyone know the name? Photo courtesy of John Beer.

Finally, here’s first a pic of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris) (we believe).

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, we think. Does anyone demur? Photo courtesy of Larry Waddell

This migrant Empidonax is one of the few members of that family that can be fairly reliably identified. It is a migrant from the north but in this case the yellow belly was not apparent to us in the field. We assumed a Least Flycatcher or possibly Willow or Acadian Flycatcher at the time. It is possible, I suppose, that there were two separate birds, but Larry’s photo seems to show a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

Here’s John’s photo of what we initially thought was the same bird:

Empidonax flycatcher, notoriously difficult to identify. Same location at Rio Tausito. Any suggestions?

Checklists for the day can be found at:

The second list of perhaps more mundane species pertains to the area of the hamlet of Taus, where we picnicked at the confluence of the Rio Taus and the Rio Pejibaye.

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