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Let’s talk about the Yellow-Throated Toucan

Yellow throated toucanBy Paul Gerace

I can’t think of another bird that I was more excited to see during my first trip to Costa Rica than the Yellow-Throated Toucan.

It is one of 6 different types of toucan species found throughout Costa Rica and one of two that can be found in our area. The other is the Fiery-Billed Aracari.

The Yellow-Throated Toucan is the largest of the 6 and are they are easy to locate. Often you will hear them first with their high pitched calls. They are not graceful fliers and can be seen moving about the trees hopping from one branch to another.

You will often find them up above eating ripe papayas in papaya trees and the fruity growths in cecropia trees. Besides eating fruits I have seen them raid other bird’s nests and pick out the eggs and even the young chicks! Their long bills help them reach the fruit and they actually function as a thermoregulator. This action helps cool off the toucan’s body temperature as heat dissipates through it’s large bill.

Just another one of the colorful and amazing birds that can be found throughout Quepolandia. See more bird photos HERE


Let’s talk about the Lineated Woodpecker

Lineated WoodpeckerBy Paul Gerace

The Lineated Woodpecker is a large woodpecker with a very distinctive red crest.

It is found all throughout our area and it’s habitat ranges from Mexico down to South America. You can often hear it pecking away at old trees as it looks for ants and other insects. They also eat fruit and seeds from heliconias.

When I see them the crest reminds me of punk rockers with tall red hair. They can also be recognized by the white stripes running down their faces and sides of their necks. A streaked chin also helps to identify it.

Just another one of the many colorful birds that are found here in Quepolandia. See more bird photos HERE.


Let’s talk about the Red-Headed Barbet

Male and Female Red-Headed Barbet

Male and Female Red-Headed Barbet

The Red-Headed Barbet is a very colorful bird found in the humid mountainous forests of Costa Rica. It has a wide range that also includes Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

This is another one of those bird species that shows a very different color pattern between the male and female. The male is on the left and the female is on the right.

The face reminds me of the angry bird video games.

The Red-Headed Barbets’ diet consists of insects and fruits and will often come down to feeders if offered bananas and papayas.

If you see one you will usually see the other as they do travel in pairs. I photographed this pair just outside of San Isidro at Bosque del Tolomuco Lodge. They are one more example of the beautiful birds that can be found here in Costa Rica.


Let’s talk about the Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird

Rufous-tailed hummingbirdBy Paul Gerace

The Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird is one of the most common hummingbirds seen here in Costa Rica.

It is named after its very distinct rufous colored tail. It has a very pink bill and a bright green body that appears to glitter when the sunlight hits it just right.

The Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird is very territorial. When other hummingbirds try to feed on its area of flowers it will make an aggressive dive towards them which results in their retreat.

Their wings flap at an impressive 60 beats per second and they like to feed on nectar and small insects. They are typically found in gardens and particularly like the colorful flowers on the rabo leon bushes.

Even though they are very common I still look forward to photographing them to capture their beautiful colors in the right light.

You can see more of my images at www.photosofcostarica.com


Let’s talk about the Resplendent Quetzal

QuetzalBy Paul Gerace

One of the most colorful birds found here in Costa Rica is also a personal favorite of mine. The Resplendent Quetzal has iridescent feathers that can show colors of green, cobalt blue, lime, yellow, and ultramarine. It’s body can appear green, gold, or blue-violet also depending on the light. The chest is a bright red and it’s bill is a bright yellow. To watch it in flight is an eye opening experience that one never forgets.

Only the male has tail feathers that can extend over 2 feet long during mating season.

They are found from southern Mexico down into Panama. But the best place to see them is right here in Costa Rica in our protected forests.

Resplendent Quetzals will eat small insects and an assortment of fruits but their main food is wild avocados.

My favorite place to see them is either in San Gerardo de Dota or Santa Maria de Dota. They are in the Trogon family and their large eyes have helped them adapt to the low light of the cloud forests.

Resplendent Quetzals are classified as near-threatened due to the loss of habitat but are flourishing in the above mentioned areas, as well as in the Monteverde cloud forest.

You can see more of my images at www.photosofcostarica.com


Let’s talk about the Montezuma Oropendula

By Paul Gerace

One of the more interesting birds found in our area is the Montezuma Oropendola. When you hear its call there will be no doubt about what it is. The sound is a very strange kind of gurgling.

This class of bird is aptly named for the golden (oro) yellow color of its tail feathers and for the pendulum (pendola) type of movement that it makes when courting. It actually swings by its feet, dips down, and then back up again in repeated sequences.

It has chestnut colored body feathers and an orange cone shaped bill. I think that shaped bill gives it an aerodynamic advantage during flight which is evidenced by the smooth sound it makes when flying overhead.

They nest in colonies. The nests look like hanging baskets and hang delicately from very tall tress as protection from predators.

Montezuma Oropedula

The Montezuma Oropendolas are one of 3 types of Oropendolas found here in Costa Rica. The others are the Chestnut-Headed and the much less common Crested Oropendolas.

You can see more of my images at www.photosofcostarica.com


Red-Lored Parrot

Red Lored ParrotThe Red-Lored Parrot is one of 17 species of parrots and parakeets found in Costa Rica. They are commonly seen from eastern Mexico and down south through Central America to Ecuador.

Red-Lored Parrots are distinguished by the bright red color on the surface on each side of its head between the eye and the upper base of the beak, known as the “lore”. You will almost always hear them before seeing them as they are very loud.

From afar they appear to be mostly green but upon closer inspection you can see beautiful lilac blue colored feathers on top and on the back of their heads. Their wings show red, yellow, black, and white while their tail feathers have shades of yellow, blue, & green.

They are monogomous for life and can be seen traveling in pairs or as part of a large flock. Red-Lored Parrots, like other parrots, are considered to be highly intelligent and can also live up to 75 years!

I took this image in the Dominical area. You can see more of my images at www.photosofcostarica.com


Fiery-Billed Aracari

Fiery-Billed AracariFiery-Billed Aracaris are members of the Toucan family. I think of them as their smaller cousins. They are one of two types of Aracaris found here in Costa Rica. The other is the less colorful Collared Aracari.

Fiery-Billed Aracaris have a very limited range of habitation and are found in the rainforests on the Pacific side of southern Costa Rica
and in western Panama. This one was photographed in the Dominical area.

I find them to be mischievous, goofy, proud, prehistoric looking, and very social in their behavior. Their brilliantly colored beaks and
bright feathers are a stark contrast to the green of the rainforest. They are not graceful flyers and can often be seen hopping from one branch to another.

You will have a better chance of seeing them when they are most active. That’s when the weather is a bit misty and not too hot. They can often be seen feeding in papaya trees when the fruit is ripe and also in Cecropia trees.


Let’s Talk About Birds

Blue Crowned Mot MotThis month’s bird is not only colorful, but also uniquely interesting in appearance and behavior.

The Lesson’s Mot Mot, formerly known as the Blue-Crowned Mot Mot, features a long tail with racquet-tipped feathers. The tail feathers are sometimes seen swinging from side to side in a pendulum-type of motion. This happens when the Mot Mot feels threatened. This is its way of communicating to the prey that, “I see you so don’t waste your time and energy in trying to attack me”

The definitive light blue crown features feathers that appear to be iridescent and is quite striking when seen in the sunlight. However, they prefer to stay in the shadows and may come down to the ground to feed on insects and lizards.

I have seen and photographed them in several locations throughout the Southern Zone, including my hometown area of Dominical.

Just one of the many types of colorful birds that you can find when visiting our amazing area.

Paul Gerace, photosofcostarica.com

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