Thursday, June 29, 2023

Tanager Finch

My prior three posts have been on birds that my guide from Montezuma Rainforest Lodge was very excited about seeing on the road up Montezuma Mountain in Tatama NNP. This post is on the tanager finch, another bird he was very excited about seeing and for this one I was not as sure why? 

The tanager finch is not a tanager or a finch, it is a New World sparrow. As I look at the entry on Wikipedia there is only a paragraph and no description. On Birds of the World, a subscription website put out by the Cornell Ornithology Lab, there is much less information on it than usual. There are only 1,403 observations, 423 photos and 38 recordings. By comparison, for the: (a) chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer there are 1,223, 444 and 23; (b) Munchique wood-wren there are 1,751, 355 and 81; (c) gold-ringed tanager there are 2,345, 690 and 11; (d) chestnut-headed oropendola there are 51,102, 3,135 and 157; (e) red-headed barbet there are 44,151, 5,317 and 81; and (f): crimson-backed tanager there are 99,498, 5,218 and 92. For comparative purposes, the numbers for the last three birds compared to the numbers of the first three birds illustrate that the first three birds are much more rare and difficult to see. In the comparison of the tanager finch with the other three birds that are rare with limited ranges, only the chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer has fewer observations, only the Munchique wood-wren has fewer photos and the gold-ringed tanager and chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer have fewer recordings. So I guess that is the answer to why my guide was so excited. It is not seen very often. And I think he told me that. While I watched my guide made a recording of it singing. 
It pretty much sang the entire time we watched it.

The tanager finch has a black head, a white stripe going down the crown (which only one or two of my photos only hint at), a white stripe above the eye that goes back to the neck, upperparts that are tawny, upper wings and tail are gray-black with tawny edgings, the underparts are a brighter tawny and a grayish belly patch. 

Birds of the World notes that it is found "patchily" on the Pacific slope of the Western Andes in Colombia and northwest Ecuador. It indicates that its stronghold is the Munchique NP in Colombia and that its "apparent rarity may in part result from the inaccessibility of its very wet, often steep-sloped environment, and the fact that its thin calls are easily overlooked."
Tanager finch range from Wikipedia.

1 comment:

  1. I love that it was singing while you watched. Another rarity in birding.