Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yellow-eared Toucanet at Cerro Musún

Inspired by Liliana Chavarría and Georges Duriaux's January 2011 mist nest capture of a rare Wing-banded Antbird (Myrmornis torquata) at Cerro Musún, Rob Batchelder and Klemens Steiof joined Lili, Georges, and Moises Siles on a return visit to Musún the weekend of March 25-28, 2011. The difficult 5-hour hike up the steep mountain trail, with camping gear and supplies in tow, paid off quickly when a female Wing-banded Antbird was captured within 20 minutes of putting up nets in the same location where Georges and Lili had captured this species (a male) on their last visit.  We continued to encounter this species over the next few days, at altitudes between 850 and 1150 meters, including several males that appeared to be defending territories.  Our informal census would seem to indicate that there is a healthy breeding population of Wing-banded Antbirds at Cerro Musun.

"El Motivo de la Expedicion"

Over the course of four days, Klemens and Rob saw nearly 70 other species of birds on Cerro Musún. For both birders, the unquestionable highlight was a very confiding female Yellow-eared Toucanet (Selenidera spectabilis) which sat silently on an exposed branch just above the trail for nearly 15 minutes, allowing Klemens to take a number of photos.

Yellow-eared Toucanet

Other noteworthy birds recorded during the expedition included Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias), Pheasant Cuckoo (Dromococcyx phasianellus), Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti), Snowcap (Microchera albocoronata), White-ruffed Manakin (Corapipo altera), Mountain Elaenia (Elaenia frantzii), Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus coronatus), Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus), Mountain (Turdus plebejus) and White-throated Thrushes (Turdus assimilis), Carmiol's (a.k.a. "Olive") Tanager (Chlorothraupis carmioli), Rufous-winged Tanager (Tangara lavinia), and Green (Chlorophanes spiza) and Shining Honeycreepers (Cyanerpes lucidus).

Mountain Elaenia
Royal Flycatcher
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush

While Rob and Klemens were off birding in the forest on Saturday afternoon, Georges, Lili, and Moises captured a female hummingbird which has yet to be definitively identified. Efforts to recapture the bird the following day, in order to take feather samples for lab analysis, proved unsuccessful. For now, the bird's identity remains uncertain, but below are pictures that Georges took of the mystery bird before it was released back into the wild...


  1. Definitivamente una gira que valio la pena, que buen reporte el de Selenidera

  2. Any news on this unidentified hummer?? Thin brown supercilum and those longer post-ocular feathers kinda sugest to a type of coquette, I know there´s no rump band and many other coquette features...I´m just saying what is my impression.
    Saludos, Pomares

  3. hello all,
    Just checking old files in this blogspot (VERY INTERESTING BY THE WAY!) and found this unidentified hummer… I don’t know if you already identified it before but for me it is an immature Snowcap. Coppery central rectrices and rump, the size and tail pattern are some diagnostic field marks… the brown color around the face and crown is quite confusing but normal in very young hummingbirds. I've seen young Snowcaps in Costa Rica with that buffy scaly crown before…
    I know it's late to leave a comment but I hope someone find it useful...

    J. Diego Vargas.

  4. I think is a Snow cap.