Reader Bruce Lyon sent some photographs of “non-colorful tropical birds” to complement his previous batch of colorful honeycreepers. Here are four of of the “drab” ones, which are actually beautiful:
I found a Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus) acting like it had a nest in a Costa Rica pasture. Nesting birds sometimes give off subtle cues that they have a nest and this one was acting in this sheepish manner. I hid behind some vegetation to let the bird settle down and when I emerged and scanned the field, sure enough, there was the thick-knee sitting on its nest—or so I thought. I was certain I had found the nest because the bird let me get within 15 feet before flushing from the nest, but there was no nest. The bird moved to several other spots and repeatedly engaged in more fake nest-sitting behavior—I had been completely fooled by its ‘distraction display’. I eventually found the real nest about 200 feet away from my putative nest.
. . . the bird posed in a perfect location where I could get the setting sun as a backdrop:
Another charastmatic uncolorful species, the Bare-throated Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum) a common species throughout Central America. This one is perched near a waterhole in the woods:
This is a Northern Barred Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) in the ovenbird family (no relation to the wood warbler called the ovenbird). Woodcreepers climb up trunks like woodpeckers but they do no not peck wood. Barred Woodcreepers poke around dead hanging leaves for food and I believe also spend a fair amount of time attending army ant swarms where they capture arthropods and small lizards flushed up by the ants:
And finally, this offering from the antbird family, a Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus). Subdued, yet striking, in its zebra stripes:
12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs”
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What nice looking birds. They have the most serene facial expressions for birds (who usually looked peeved or regal :))
Sweet, Bruce! I particularly like the Barred Antshrike because I’ve never seen one this far out in the open.
You hit gold with the Burhinus bistriatus photo, Bruce. The fire in the sky melds beautifully the tranquil green eyes 🙂 The other photos are lovely too!
Terrific stuff, thanks for sharing the photos! The sunset one is amazing. 🙂
This all makes me wish I was in Costa Rica. Hey, Bruce: need a field assistant?
It looks as though the Barred Woodcreeper has modified its tail feathers to act as a brace – you can see how the distal tips curve downwards and contact the tree trunk.
I’ve heard that these species which follow army ant columns and feed upon what gets stirred up by the ants also have enlarged thigh muscles (compared to similar-sized birds which don’t follow ant columns) because they spend a lot of time perching on low twigs just ahead of the ant column’s advancing front.
The modified tail feathers are also a woodpecker thing, iirc.
That bird looks like a bizarre three-way hybrid of woodpecker, kingfisher and hoopoe.
Beautiful photos, of beautiful birds, no matter if they aren’t colorful.
Lovely, fascinating, most satisfying!
I actually prefer drabber birds.
Lovely pictures, Bruce–thank you!