Thursday, June 4, 2015

"Off-season" Visit to Selva Negra Yields Interesting Species

Managua birder Howard Youth visited Selva Negra May 20 and 21, followed by Managua birders Cal and Jessie Stuebner on May 30. Having seen a recent eBird report of Chestnut-headed Oropendola (Psarocolius wagleri) at Selva Negra, Youth was on the lookout for this bird. It turns out, the oropendola was hard to miss. Six long pendulous nests hung from a tree next to the lakeside pagoda. The birds called their low "bo-a-co" calls and flew back and forth between forest and nests, often transiting over the lake. One of the guides said he believed this the first time Chestnut-headed Oropendolas nested at this site. He thought the prolonged warm, dry spell enticed them there.

Chestnut-headed Oropendola

A tree next to the oropendola colony and by the "Karen" cabin must have been fruiting, or held fruiting epiphytes such as mistletoe. Youth saw 20 species in the two trees alone, including Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus), Rufous-winged Tanager (Tangara lavinia), and, on both days, Yellow-crowned Euphonia (Euphonia luteicapilla), a lowland bird that is scarce in the central highlands. More typical of higher elevations in the north, a male Elegant Euphonia (Euphonia elegantissima) sang in trees near the restaurant. The Stuebners heard, then saw, a Black-and-white Owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata). An abundance of flowers meant regular hummingbird sightings, with Green-breasted Mountain-gem (Lampornis sybillae), a species found only in Honduras and north-central Nicaragua, among the more common species seen.

Green-breasted Mountain-gem

--submitted by Howard Youth