Friday, June 30, 2023

Purplish-Mantled Tanager

My prior posts on the chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer, Munchique wood-wren, gold-ringed tanager and tanager finch were birds my guide was very excited about. In my post on the tanager finch I compared the number of observations, photos and recordings for those birds as  compared to some other birds we saw in the same area. 

The purplish-mantled tanager was a sighting just on the outside of those previous four birds (not as spectacular, but close). On Birds of the World it has 5,126 observations, more than four times that of the chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer (1,223) and double that of the gold-ringed tanager (2,345), but less than 12% of the red-headed barbet  (44,151) and just more than 5% of the crimson-backed tanager (99,498). 

Wikipedia has only a one paragraph entry and so Birds of the World is my primary source. It is found in wet mossy forests on the west slope of the Western Andes, some small portions of the east slope of the Western Andes, a small portion of the western slope of the Central Andes and into northwestern Ecuador. Because of its small range and threats to habitat loss, it is rated as Near Threatened by the IUCN. 
Purplish-mantled tanager range from Wikipedia.
It is a gorgeous bird. It has a bright yellow throat, the crown, side of head and back are purple to purplish-blue (the mantle is the nape of the back of the head), undertail coverts are chestnut, the lower breast and belly are buff to yellowish, black in the wings, tail and forward and mask around the eyes, and purplish-bluish-greenish and whitish on other parts, like the sides.  

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.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Chestnut-Bellied Flowerpiercer

The chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer, like the gold-ringed tanager and Munchique wood-wren I've just posted on, was another bird my guide told me people came from all over the world to to see. We saw it on the top of Montezuma Mountain, within a stones throw of the military base that sits on top at about 8,200 feet in elevation. 
It is mostly black with a chestnut-rufous belly and blue-gray upper-wing coverts.  Its slender bill is used to pierce flowers at the base to obtain nectar and gives it its name. 

Wikipedia notes that it was first described in 1912 and Birds of the World notes that there were no records of the species from 1965 to 2003, probably because of gorilla activity in those areas during the Pablo Escobar years. It is found in only five discontiguous areas in the highlands of the Western Andes in Colombia. One of those, of course, is Montezuma Mountain in Tatama NNP. It is found at elevations of 9,842 feet to 12,467 feet, except on Montezuma Mountain where it is found as low as 7,847 feet. Birds of the World says it is endangered.  
Chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer range from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Munchique Wood-Wren

The Munchique wood-wren was another bird my guide was very excited about. We were on the road on Montezuma Mountain above the Montezuma Rainforest Lodge. My guide told me it is another bird that people from all over the world go there to see. 

It is found only on the Pacific slope of the Western Andes in Colombia in four areas. One of the areas, the Munchique Massif, gives it its name. It only inhabits very wet and stunted cloud forest that is almost continually in fog in elevations ranging from 7,380 to 8,660 feet. There are only an estimated 300 pairs alive. It is considered critically endangered because of the small population size, extremely restricted range, and threats from deforestation and climate change. 
Munchique wood-wren range from Wikipedia.
Wikipedia and Birds of the World, a subscription service put out by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, have some conflicting information. Birds of the World says it was not discovered until 2008. Wikipedia says it was first observed by Steven Hilty in the 1980s, then described in detailed studies in 2000 and described as "new to science" in 2003. 
Wikipedia describes it as having a "dark brown crown with blackish marks, a thin white supercilium, a dull black line from the lores through the eye, and blackish cheeks with whitish mottling. Its upperparts are a slightly brighter brown than the crown and its tail is brown with black bars. The throat is white, streaked with black at its lower edge. The breast is medium gray, the belly a lighter gray, and the flanks and vent area brown. The abdomen and flanks have dark gray to black bars."

Monday, June 26, 2023

Gold-Ringed Tanager

The gold-ringed tanager is an endangered bird that is found in only three areas of the world, all around Mount Tatama in Colombia, the tallest mountain in the Western Andes at 13,333 feet. Its Spanish name is "Tangara del Tatama," named for the region in Colombia where it is found. It is only found in a limited elevation range from 4,430 feet to 7,201 feet. However, in any specific area, it is only found within a range of 328 to 656 feet because it prefers the heavy humidity found within the cloud forest of that area.
Gold-ringed tanager range from Wikipedia.
Birds of the World, a subscription service, notes that it has "black, dark green, and yellow plumage. Its body is primarily olive or moss green, with yellow and blue accents. The head is black with a 'gold ring' that extends from the supercilium through the auriculars to the submoustachial stripe. The throat is black (green in subadults) and there is a yellow central breast patch." It is a medium-sized tanager and "chunky, thick-billed, short-tailed, and strong-legged."

We saw it on the dirt road on Montezuma Mountain above Montezuma Rainforest Lodge in Tatama NNP. Mount Tatama was across a deep valley from us. My guide was very excited when we saw it because he said it is one of the birds people come from all over the world to see. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Fulvous-Dotted Treerunner

The fulvous-dotted treerunner, also known as the star-chested treerunner, is a rare bird found in mid-level forests of the West and Central Andes in Colombia and Ecuador down to Pichincha. There are only 1,482 observations and 169 photos on Birds of the World. Comparatively, other rare birds I saw had the following number of observation and photos: (1) chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer, 1,223 and 444; (2) tanager finch, 1,403 and 423; (3) Munchique wood-wren, 1,751 and 355; and (4) gold-ringed tanager, 2,345 and 690. There are less than half the number of photos for the treerunner than there are for the Munchique wood-wren which has the least photos among the 4 I listed. I look at that list and feel fortunate to have the photos I have, no matter how poor. 
Fulvous-dotted treerunner range from Wikipedia.
It is mostly rufous with a white throat followed by white spots outlined in black that run down to the breast. It also has a pale supercilium (a line running above the eye). 

I saw one along the dirt road in Tatama NNP above Montezuma Rainforest Lodge. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

White-Shouldered Tanager

Per Birds of the World, the male white-shouldered tanager is black with white shoulders. The female has an olive-green back, yellow belly, gray head and whitish throat. 

I saw one white-shouldered tanager male while staying at Montezuma Rainforest Lodge in Colombia while hiking up the dirt road into Tatama NNP. 
The white shoulder patch is barely visible.

They are found from Honduras down to mid-South America, as far south as Ecuador and southern Brazil.
White-shouldered tanager range from Wikipedia.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Club-Winged Manakin

In the same area of Tatama NNP in Colombia where I saw the striolated manakin I also saw a female club-winged manakin. My guide identified it as such and I finally found a photo on All About Birds, a subscription service, that confirms it. 

The club-winged manakin's range is much more limited than the striolated manakin. It is only found on the western slopes of the Andes Mountains in Colombia and northwestern Ecuador.
Club-winged manakin range from Wikipedia.
Birds of the World indicates that females are mostly olive-green above with a "cinnamon tinge" on the face, a "whitish throat,  yellowish olive breast" and  "pale yellow belly." Without going into much detail, males are spectacularly colored with a red cap and forehead, an otherwise brownish-red head, neck and back and black wings with substantial white in them. 
This shows the mostly olive-green body with cinnamon on the face. 

This shows the whitish neck and the pale yellowish belly. 
The next two photos show the pale yellowish belly and olive-green back and head. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Striolated Manakin

While at Montezuma Rainforest Lodge in Colombia I walked with Judy, Savannah and our guide up the road into Tatama NNP. We entered an area where our guide said that we would see some manakins, apparently because there was some water nearby. Over the next half-hour or so I had one of the more frustrating experiences I've had trying to spot birds and then get photos of them. My eyesight was horrible because of cataracts in one eye and cloudiness in the sack that contains the lens in the other eye and these were small birds in a dark, dense forest. 
This is a photo of a striolated manakin from Wikipedia.
I got home and in working on my photos it is clear that I saw a striolated manakin, as my guide said, even though my photos are poor. 
This is my best photo and shows clearly the red and white streaks on the underparts. It also shows the white on the underneath tail feathers as seen on the Wikipedia photo.

This is my poorest photo, but gives the only photo with a good look at its back and the top of its head. 
Wikipedia states that the " olive green above with a red crown and nape. The underparts are streaked reddish and white. The throat is whitish. The female lacks the red crown."

They are found in the west and northwest of Amazonia, which is defined as the tropical rainforest that covers most of the Amazon Basin. 
Striolated manakin range from Wikipedia.