This is a companion to my other Bird of the Day blog, which focuses on birds I have seen in Victoria, Canada.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Streak-backed Oriole

Icterus pustulatus 

Large oriole
Bright orange body
Black streaks on back
Deep orange-red head and breast
Black face and chin
Black wings with two bold white bars
Black tail with white corners

I saw their long, hanging nest a day or two before spotting the birds. It was attached to the tip of a branch overhanging the pool area of our condo. Apparently, the two birds had built the nest the week before we arrived. By the end of our week-long vacation, we could already hear the chirping of baby birds coming from within.  Ah... the miracle of life.

Learn more about the Streak-backed Oriole

Friday, May 12, 2017

Inca Dove

Columbina inca

Small, pale-brown dove
Feathers edged in dark brown creating a scaly pattern over entire body
Underparts and face are paler than back
Long, square-tipped tail with white outer features
Small head
Thin, slightly drooping bill
Pink legs and feet

The distinct scaly-pattern of the Inca Dove makes identification of this little fellow easy. I saw them daily foraging for food on the ground. They seemed to prefer the dusty, open areas around the buildings and parks while the rest of us enjoyed the sandy beaches.

Learn more about the Inca Dove.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

White-throated Magpie-jay

Calocitta formosa

Long blue, white-tipped tail
Curved crest of black feathers on head
Blue upperparts
White face and underparts
Black band around throat
Variable black patterning on the face

Having been forewarned that these birds were noisy pests around the pool area at the condo where I was staying in Guanacaste, I was rather surprised when none of them made an appearance during my stay there. I did have the good fortunate to spot one or two around the beach though.

Learn more about the White-throated Magpie-jay.

Green Heron

Butorides virescens

Small, stocky heron
Long, dagger-like, black bill
Glossy, greenish-black crown
Greenish back and wings
Chestnut neck with white line down front
Gray underparts
Yellow legs
   Pale streaking on neck
   Spots on wings and back
   Greenish-yellow legs and bill

In the past, I've always seen Green Herons hunched on the water's edge with their thick necks drawn up against their bodies. This one was much more cooperative, giving me a variety of poses including raising its dark cap into a crest.

Learn more about the Green Heron

Blue-gray Tanager

Thraupis episopus

Light bluish-gray head and underparts
Bright blue upperparts and tail
Short, thick, black bill

Our early morning walk along the beach in Playa del Coco turned up a number of new birds today, including this little one. Although the Blue-gray Tanager is very widespread and abundant from southeast Mexico to central South America, this was the only one I saw during my time in Costa Rica.
Learn more about the Blue-gray Tanager

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Oranged-chinned Parakeet

Brotogeris jugularis

Small parakeet
Green to yellow-green plumage
Brown patch on wings
Small orange patched under bill
Horn-coloured, hooked bill
White eye-ring
Brown eye

Though plentiful in number given the racket they made, I had difficulty locating these birds as they tended to perch high in the trees and blended in with the bright green foliage.

Learn more about the Orange-chinned Parakeet.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularia
Medium-small shorebird
Pale eyebrow and dark eye-line
White wedge up onto shoulder
Breeding plumage:  (pictured above)
    - Orange bill with black tip
    - Brown head, back and upper-wings with small black bars
    - White underparts with round, dark spots
Non-breeding plumage:
     - Dark bill with pale base
     - Pale brown head, back and upper-wings with dark and buff bars
     - White underparts, without dark spots
We saw this sandpiper on the muddy bank of the Tempisque River in Palo Verde National Park. He was very close to the water where crocodiles were in plain view. Our guide told us that crocodiles and sandpipers have a symbiotic relationship. The crocodiles supposedly allows the birds to enter their mouths to clean their teeth. Really?!? Although apparently the story has been around since the Greek historian Herodotus wrote about it in the fifth century BC, it sounds a bit far-fetched to me.
Learn more about the Spotted Sandpiper.