One Year Ago, Amazon

March 12, 2007
This morning at ~6 am we loaded up on a small boat and went in search of birds. Immediately, i.e. at the dock, we saw three or four black vultures, but those were probably in the area of the lodge and village. Overhead, several pairs of blue headed and mealy parrots flew and the branches lining the tributary held scores of Smooth Billed Annis and Yellow Rumped Caciques. both are dark blackish birds and the caciques have a bright yellow “v” on their tail spread. Both species are common along the river.

Another species that we saw several of is the Amazon Kingfisher. The Amazon is the largest kingfisher here and it is dark blue to dark green with a white chest and black band around his eyes (I think…this is from memory). one pair flew together by the shore and swooped and dove towards the water but did not catch anything. Their call is like a rattle.

One distinct bird was a raptor, the Yellow-headed Caracara. It’s smallish-medium, has a white head (with yellow marks, I assume, but I couldn’t see them without binoculars), brown-rufus body, and a dark band on the tail spread. Their call is like a Peregrine Falcon–high and sharp–and we saw at least three or four in the hour we were on the river.

Greater Annis are all black (or black looking) and are large, perhaps one foot tall. Orependulas were extremely common (orioles), and I was able to see one male call, which is one of the thwat glump gloom calls.

Just as we were reaching the lodge again we spotted a Chestnut-eared Toucan, or Aracare, as the locals call them. It was smallish with a rufus head.

The habitats we saw the birds in were gallery forests where the dominant trees are Cecropias and Heliconias. We also floated through a floating meadow comprised of water hyacinth and water lettuce. Both species are native here, and are not invasive like they are in the U.S.


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