Bright-rumped Attila

Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus): Atila lomiamarilla; Attila à croupion jaune; Gelbbürzel-Attilatyrann

The Bright-rumped Attila is a large and fairly common tyrant flycatcher whose loud and immediately recognisable call can be heard from a great distance. In recent months it has regularly been one of the first birds I hear just after dawn as I stumble into the garden to feed the koi in my ponds.

To actually see the bird is quite another matter because it inevitably prefers to call from a hidden perch. John’s recent encounter with the species at Tausito near Pejibaye gives me the opportunity to take another look at it. At Tausito he was able to photograph the individual below as it captured and then devoured a small lizard.

Attila, showing a glimpse of his bright rump! Photo by John Beer

Attilas are aggressively predatory, hence the name, which alludes to Attila the Hun. Having spotted his next meal, our Bright-rumped Attila pounces, seizing a hapless small lizard:

Here’s my lunch!

This is a big-headed, red-eyed flycatcher measuring fully 8″ in length and thus almost the size of the Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus). The kiskadee, pictured below, is a very common and highly visible species found in almost every Costa Rican garden, including both mine and John’s:

Great Kiskadee, named ‘Cristo fue‘ (it was Christ) in many parts of Central America, because of its most typical and frequently heard call.

The Bright-rumped Attila is equally loud but often remains inconspicuous since it does not usually call when in flight. It is one of several Attila species mostly distributed in South America, but our Costa Rican bird ranges from north-western Mexico to south-eastern Brazil. The bright-yellow rump is seen to particularly good advantage in this next shot:

Bright-rumped Attila at Tausito; photo by John Beer

After a small adjustment of the lizard’s position……

…… the reptile has almost disappeared down Attila’s throat:

And finally:

What’s for dessert?

All photographs courtesy of John Beer

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