Buff-rumped Warbler – long expected at Quebrada La Loca

It’s been 3 years to the exact day since I last found the Buff-rumped Warbler (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) here in San Antonio. This is a common resident warbler of stream beds, where it prefers a dark environment in which its bright rump shines almost like a beacon in the gloom. Despite suitable habitat in and near the village I have seen it only rarely close to my home.

Buff-rumped Warbler at Jicotea; photo by John Beer

The rump of birds on the Pacific side of the country is supposedly somewhat duller, but I have little experience with the species in that area. In the Turrialba area the Buff-rumped Warbler is easy to identify since the only other species with which it might remotely be confused is the Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (Myiobius sulphureipygius). The latter is termed ‘fairly common’ by the field guides but there are relatively few sightings in the immediate Turrialba area (only one eBird sighting at CATIE (Botanical Garden) in the last 10 years. It is seen regularly each year a little farther away at Rancho Naturalista near Tuis, but I have still never bumped into it.

The Buff-rumped Warbler is fairly easy to find in the Turrialba area. It wags its tail from side to side and has a loud, piercing call that often betrays its presence. Visitors should look for it near any suitable stream bed habitat. Here’s a close-up shot:

The bright rump is much in evidence in John Beer’s photograph taken at Esperanza, Rio Oro

My surprise find this Christmas week was on Quebrada La Loca, don Martin’s forest patch. Habitat here is ideal but I generally find only Sunbittern and Fasciated Tiger-Heron at this locality. I saw only a single bird under the recently fallen huge tree that now spans the stream there. Interestingly it was gathering nesting material, behaving rather secretly as it did so. This is good evidence that I will in future be able to find the species just 5 minutes’ walk from the house.

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