Birds / 26.09.2010

[caption id="attachment_1483" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Pale-billed Woodpecker Male. Photograph by Alan Dahl"][/caption] Of the eight woodpecker species that are found on the Osa Peninsula, the Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis) is the largest with a length of 35 cm (14 inches) rivaling only the superficially similar, and range overlapping Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus).  In fact, the Pale-billed Woodpecker is most closely related to the extremely elusive north temperate species the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, both belonging to the same genus, Campephilus.  This species ranges from southern Mexico to Western Panama. The Pale-billed is...

Birds / 19.09.2010

[caption id="attachment_1416" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Chestnut-backed Antbird. Photo by Alan Dahl "][/caption] Chestnut-backed Antbirds (Myrmeciza exsul) are common residents of the Osa Peninsula and one of the most abundant species found here.  It is difficult to walk outside here at Friends of the Osa's Osa Biodiversity Center and not hear two or three individuals counter-singing.  Often times when the rest of the forest has become fairly quiet you can always count on a Chestnut-backed Antbird to let you know that all is as it should be. The signature look of three...

Birds / 13.09.2010

[caption id="attachment_1341" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Riverside Wren nest by Cheryl Chip & Jim Tamarack"][/caption] For those of you who may remember, I posted a feature on the Riverside Wren (Thryothorus semibadius) back in April.  It was one of my first postings for the then new Friends of the Osa's blog The Osa Chronicles and a few of you commented on both the nature history and photography by Gianfranco Gomez. One of the species ecological behaviors I wrote about was of reproduction and nesting.  When I spoke about the nest of...

Birds / 05.09.2010

[caption id="attachment_1239" align="alignleft" width="240"] White-whiskered Puffbird by Gianfranco Gomez[/caption] Not only does the White-whiskered Puffbird (Malacoptila panamensis) rank pretty high on the cuteness scale, it is also an interesting species from an ecological perspective.  Puffbirds are most closely related to jacamars, toucans and woodpeckers.  They are primarily insect and arthropod eaters and are considered to be flycatching birds along with tyrant flycatchers, and nunbirds.  Even though they eat spiders, frogs and lizards taken from the ground they are known for sitting perfectly still in the forest understory until a...

Birds, Community Outreach / 30.08.2010

[caption id="attachment_1220" align="alignleft" width="300"] Karen Leavelle presenting the Yellow-billed Cotinga spatial distribution project[/caption] The Costa Rican Ornithological Union’s second annual conference was held July 28 – 30th 2010 in the school of biology at the University of Costa Rica in the capital of San Jose.  The conference was dedicated to Daniel Janzen and his pioneering work in the field of conservation and reforestation in Costa Rica over the last several decades.  Attendees present represented national and international organizations working hard at avian science and conservation throughout the country coming...

Birds / 10.08.2010

[caption id="attachment_1189" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Common Pauraque by Karen Leavelle"][/caption] Have you ever been out at night driving along a country road and been startled by red ember eyes darting across the hood of the car, and then to have it happen every few hundred meters or so?  If you are driving anywhere on roads, especially dirt roads, from South Texas on down to Argentina you are bound to see the Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis). Here on the Osa Peninsula on the road to the Osa Biodiversity Center it is...

Birds / 26.07.2010

[caption id="attachment_1122" align="alignleft" width="254" caption="Blue-crowned Motmot by Alan Dahl"][/caption] The Blue-crowned Motmots (Momotus momota) have been spending a lot of time around a Nance tree (Byrsonima crassifolia), a prolific fruit producing tree in the garden here at Friends of the Osa’s Osa Biodiversity Center.  Lately there have been quite a few hanging around giving their distinctive soft low pitch “moot moot” call at dawn which has sounded like a large choral group, each bird with its own perfectly timed solo, and the group never missing a beat.  With...

Birds / 12.07.2010

[caption id="attachment_1047" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Violaceous Trogon by Tyler Reynolds"][/caption] This week’s bird, the Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) jumped out at me (not literally) as I was having my morning coffee on my front porch here at Friends of the Osa’s Osa Biodiversity Center on Cerro Osa.   I was watching all the typical dawn action, mainly the Tropical Kingbirds and Gray-capped Flycatchers being overly vociferous when I saw another yellow bellied bird perched calmly on a Virola tree branch.  This particular belly though was accompanied by a violet head,...

Birds / 05.07.2010

[caption id="attachment_1011" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Dahl_Vermiculated Screech Owl Pair"][/caption] Owls may arguably be the most interesting family of birds.  There are actually two families of owls, but the Vermiculated Screech Owl (Otus guatemalae) belongs to the Strigidae family of typical owls.  Owls are unique to other birds in a multitude of ways.  They have specialized wing feathers allowing them to fly silently which enables them to hunt by sound and catch prey easier while avoiding detection.  They can actually hear sounds 10 times fainter than a human can and have...

Birds / 28.06.2010

[caption id="attachment_989" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Crested Guan by Kory Kramer"][/caption] Lately we have been seeing Crested Guans (Penelope purpurascens) along the road up in the trees heading up to Friends of the Osa's Osa Biodiversity Center at Cerro Osa.  I first noticed a family of 4 Guan individuals in one of our forest restoration plots a few weeks back as I was conducting bird counts.  The adult female of the group became fairly agitated as I walked right underneath her on my way to my next monitoring point.  I assumed...