Collared Redstart – el amigo del hombre

Collared Redstart on the Turrialba Volcano Road; photo by Larry Waddell

As you climb to the higher elevations on the Turrialba Volcano slope you will find that starting from around 1500 m the Collared Redstart (Myioborus torquatus) gradually replaces the Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus) of the middle elevations. Both of these birds are common residents here, but torquatus has a very limited range and is confined to the mountains of only Costa Rica and western Panama.

The trip to the highlands is well worth it just to see this one species. You’re almost sure to find it because not only is it very common but it is also a very confiding species that will approach you quite readily. For this reason it is known here locally as el amigo del hombre (man’s friend).

Collared Redstart – front view; photo by Larry Waddell

Identification is not a problem. The black collar across the bright yellow throat and the beady black eye set in an equally bright yellow face are distinctive. Add the flashes of white in the fanned tail feathers (as in Larry’s first image) together with the rufous crown patch and you have a delightfully dainty little bird that often comes to within just a few yards to inspect the observer.

Here’s a final shot taken high up at El Tapojo:

Sexes of the Collared Redstart are similar in plumage; photo by Larry Waddell

If you’re visiting Costa Rica for the first time, the Collared Redstart is a species you won’t want to miss.

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