Great Jacamar (Jacamerops aureus): Jacamar grande; Riesenglanzvogel; Grand jacamar
The Great Jacamar measures some 12″ in length and is one of only two jacamar species found in Costa Rica. It ranges from eastern Honduras south all the way to northern Bolivia and Brazil´s Mato Grosso. It´s a medium-sized bird measuring about a foot in length but it’s an extremely rare species. You’re most unlikely to bump into it anywhere in Costa Rica, and certainly not in our province of Cartago. I myself haven’t had such good fortune yet. Almost all Costa Rican records of this beautiful bird come from the Caribbean lowlands, with just one verified sighting (2013) out of normal range, which was in Monteverde, at around 800 m elevation by top Costa Rican birder Pat O´Donnell.
The female pictured here below was a thrilling find for friend and guide Steven Aguilar when he visited the Veragua Rainforest Park in the lowlands of Limón province earlier this month:
Steven also made a video that clearly shows more clearly the pale rufous colour of this bird’s throat – Great Jacamar males have a pure white throat. No, I regret to say I have absolutely no access to a photo of a male! Still, here’s another shot of this female as she gulps down a large insect:
I will post Steven’s video later if my sadly feeble technical expertise with WordPress ever becomes equal to the task!
Jacamars are members of the Galbulidae family. North American birders who encounter a jacamar here in Costa Rica might at first think they’re looking at a kingfisher, while Europeans will almost certainly think of the bee-eaters that are a familiar sight in Mediterranean areas and which are similar both in appearance and behaviour. The Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) is by far the more likely to be encountered. The female below was photographed at nearby Angostura:
Here’s a white-throated male adopting the jacamar’s typical sit-and-wait pose. Tausito is near Pejibaye, also not too far from Turrialba:
The Rufous-tailed Jacamar is significantly smaller in length (9″) than the Great Jacamar and has been described as looking much like a giant hummingbird:
Jacamars are closely related to the puffbirds (Bucconidae) but are much more brightly coloured. If you come across one, have your camera handy because it will quite probably sit still so that you can get a great photo!