Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Yellow-billed Cotinga at Pedregal, Chiriquí. A report by Guido Berguido.

Last July 26 I went on a boat trip out of the Port of Pedregal near David, Chiriqui to check-out the mangroves in search of the Yellow-billed Cotinga. We saw Mangrove Black-hawk, kingfishers, and other usual suspects. Worth noting were a troop of about 20 Squirrel Monkeys nearby the port of Pedregal.
We stoped by the house of a gentleman in one of the "islands" formed by the meandering river on the eastern side of the eastuary near the mouth of the river. We were surprised to see Keel-billed toucans, Chachalacas, Crimson-backed tanager, Lance-tailed Manakin.. we inquired the fellow living there for the Cotinga, and he replied that yes, they have seen "puerqueras" (the local name for Tityras, because of their calls). He went on to say that yes, there was one kind with a red face and one with a yellow "face". Those were of course encouraging news. He also said that there is a "zigua" tree in front of his house where both these birds come to feed. Unfortunately the tree was not fruiting at the time and we had not luck.
Later we went on exploring the shore from our boat. Suddenly, our captain spotted a white bird flying into a tree on the shore. At first I was a little skeptical, and thought it was just a tityra. We went closer to the shore and were happily surprised to see that this Tityra was completely white with no facial pattern: a Yellow-billed Cotinga. I looked at it momentarily with my Swarovski binos, and followed it in flight. The birds was all white. We followed the Cotinga for a while, since it wouldn't sit still for too long. Unfortunately the bird was quite shy and we couldn't take any pictures.
The site of our observation is about 12kms south-east of the port of Pedregal. These islands seem to have quite a bit of forest in addition to the mangrove shore; it would certainly be worth protecting, and the presence of the cotinga is a good reason for it.

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