Harris’s Hawk

It took me a few visits to Angostura before I finally managed close-up views of the adult Harris’s Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) that has delighted bird-watchers in our area for some months now. This is an uncommon species in Costa Rica, being found normally only in the northern Pacific region or, on the Caribbean side, at Caño Negro. There are very few records for the Turrialba area. In flight the white rump and white tail edging are very noticeable.

In flight it’s also easy to see why this beautiful raptor was formerly called the Bay-winged Hawk; photo by John Beer

At rest you can see not only the rufous shoulders but also the rufous thighs.

Harris’s Hawk at rest, with a Groove-billed Ani for company; photo by John Beer

Its favorite spot seems to be close to where the Río Reventazón empties into the dam. Coincidentally, I was treated to views of a Merlin (Falco columbarius) on consecutive days. This small but powerful falcon was hunting in the same area as the Harris’s Hawk.

To judge by the plumage this particular Merlin seems to be a migrant from the North American prairies (see The Sibley Guide to Birds); photo by John Beer.

This was my third visit to Angostura in less than a week, accompanied on this occasion by Dutch visitors Marten and Lucas One of Angostura’s reliable signature species, the Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), was strangely absent, though we spotted two Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) and the usual Roadside Hawks (Rupornis magnirostris).

Three more beautiful raptor species were to be found close by at Florencia. The first was a Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus) perched in the tallest tree in the tiny village. This tree is actually a favorite haunt of a pair of Bat Falcons (Falco rufigularis) and, sure enough, one of them appeared a few minutes later in a nearby tall eucalyptus. No photos were taken so the pics below are from John Beer’s files:

Gray Hawk at Peralta; photo by John Beer
This particular Bat Falcon can regularly be found together with its mate at Cascada La Muralla close to my home in San Antonio de Santa Cruz de Turrialba. Photo by John Beer.

The final raptor sighting of the day at Angostura/Florencia was of a White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) perched not far from the Bat Falcon. John’s photo is from Angostura in March 2016:

Snowy white and perched nicely: White-tailed Kite. Photo by John Beer

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