Birder's Guide

MAR 2015

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Avian Unicorns of Middle America 12 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2015 and seasonal movement. If you look at sat- ellite maps of Costa Rica and Panama, you will see that very little intact forest remains stretching from 1,000m (3281 ft.) to sea level. Sadly, this severely endangered spe- cies is certainly still declining, and it is in- creasingly diffcult to connect with. From time to time, umbrellabirds are found near Parque Nacional El Copé in Panama, in the Volcán Arenal area of Costa Rica, and from some of the aerial trams in Costa Rica. Hands down, though, the best site at which to see Bare-necked Umbrellabird is the San Gerardo Biological Station in Male (r) and female (l) Ocellated Quail. Photo © John van Dort Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. Photo © Francesca Albini the Children's Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica. It is rainy and muddy, but the feld station is comfortable, the hosts are very kind, and this is the only known lekking site (March and April) for the species. It is also a fantastic location for some other great birds: Highland Tinamou, Buff-front- ed, Chiriquí, and Purplish-backed quail- doves, Ochre-breasted and Scaled antpit- tas, Three-wattled Bellbird… And we even saw a Solitary Eagle from the station! Ocellated Quail (Cyrtonyx ocellatus) is a secretive and decidedly rare relative of Montezuma Quail with a range, as best we know, from the Isthmus of Tehuante- pec to Honduras. There are a handful of sites where they have been seen in the past 10 years, but most records are in the Alta Verapaz department of Guatemala and the highlands of central Honduras. Throughout its range, it occurs in middle elevations, in areas where pasture, grass- land, or fallow agricultural felds adjoin or blend into open pine or oak forest. In Guatemala, near the city of Cobán, John Cahill (, or his parents' conservation organization, Community Cloud Forest Conservation (, are good places to start if you seek Ocellated Quail. In Honduras, it occurs in the grassland and pine savannah areas near La Unión and Parque Nacional La Muralla. Contact Robert Gallardo ( for information and local guiding. Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (Aego- lius ridgwayi) is certainly the most diffcult owl to fnd in Middle America and prob - ably all of North America. Ranging from Chiapas to western Panama, this species occurs at many sites but is never common

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