New species in my garden – Barred Antshrike and White-winged Becard

After a too lengthy absence from Turrialba I returned this week to note two species that I have previously not found here. Actually it’s no great shock since neither species is rare, but the first, early in the morning, was a Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus), a species that is not often found at these elevations.

Male Barred Antshrike with crest lowered; photo courtesy of John Beer

All 22 species of antbird found in Costa Rica tend to hide out in thick undergrowth. The Barred Antshrike is perhaps the easiest antbird for a visiting birder to find and identify. The male can be confused only with the male Fasciated Antshrike (Cymbilaimus lineatus), a slightly larger and less common species that is restricted to the Caribbean slope. The female Barred Antshrike, shown here below, looks very different in its cinnamon plumage, and if you see the head clearly the stripes on the face separate it from all other similarly coloured birds.

Female Barred Antshrike, crest raised, at Angostura; photo by John Beer

While I have not previously seen the Barred Antshrike anywhere near our village of San Antonio, the White-winged Becard (Pachyramphus polychopterus) was the subject of an earlier post of mine. In May of 2017 I discovered a nesting pair nearby within a distance of 2 km but a little bit lower down below the village of El Carmen. I’m now hopeful that the species will nest here in my own garden, since a lone male was present for several hours today in the zorrillo and guayabo trees. The pair at El Carmen had selected a guayabo for their nest site in 2017. I can also find this species a mere 1 km away down at the cabins at San Diego.

The white in the wing of the male White-winged Becard is not always as easy to spot. Here in John Beer’s photo it is a clear field mark.

Although today I found only a male, I end this post with a nice pic of a female White-winged Becard, also taken by John Beer at El Carmen:

Female White-winged Becard; very different from the male. The incomplete eye-ring is a good field mark not always mentioned in the field guides.

Migration is over but all I had to do upon returning to Costa Rica was take a look around my garden and look what turned up! The country has a wealth of birding adventure at all seasons and I can now look forward to some new forays into the countryside. Watch out for my next post.

3 thoughts on “New species in my garden – Barred Antshrike and White-winged Becard

  1. Lucky you. I still have not gotten a good picture of a White-winged Becard. I’ve seen them plenty of times, but they aren’t good posers. I have a lot of good butt shots or blurry black and white streaked photos.


    • Hi Larry. Yep, the White-winged is relatively easy to find in our area. So is the Cinnamon Becard but usually well below 900 m elevation. I’ve just posted notification of my first Cinnamon Becard here at the house in 11 years. Thanks for your earlier photos of that one, especially the one with the artistic touches!


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