Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Panama: other cool birds

A few more shots from the Panama trip. The picture above is of a Common Potoo with chick, in Parque Nacional Metropolitano. This park is an excellent patch of primary tropical rain forest, within the city limits of Panama City. At just a ten minute, three dollar taxi ride from the hostel, we found this place worthy of a repeat visit. This particular bird, although not uncommon, is not frequently seen. A park ranger found it almost a month ago, and has been directing visiting birders to this spot.

Potoos are nocturnal birds found in the neotropics, and in shape and coloration resemble nightjars. They differ from nightjars in their larger size and upright stance. In the daytime, they roost by pretending to be an extension of a broken off branch of a tree. This bird, presumably because it has the chick, has altered its position somewhat, making it more conspicuous than it normally is while roosting.

In this same park we found a Streaked Flycatcher, I guess a common bird in Panama but for us a lifer. It looks a lot like the (for us) more familiar Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, except its belly is whiter, and the chin is whitish, not dusky.

We found lots of cool birds in the park, but lighting conditions were such that most of the photos I shot came out as failures. To name a few: Keel-billed Toucan, Crimson-backed and Palm Tanagers, Black-bellied and Rufous-breasted Wrens (beautiful songs both) , Blue Dacnis, Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Yellow-headed Caracara, White-vented Plumeleteer, Dusky Antbird, and White-fronted Tyrannulet were some of the highlights.

Here's a view of the city, seen form the park. This skyline is quite unusual among Central American cities, and more reminiscent of a US or South American city.

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