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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15 March 2015 | Birder's Guide to Travel is much harder. Bearded Wood-Partridges have been introduced in Macuiltépetl Eco- logical Park in Xalapa; however, this is an urban park, and the birds are even more secretive than typical. Above Xalapa, the town of Coatepec is the classic site for this species, although it seems increasingly rare there these days. Perhaps the best place to see one is in nearby Zapotal, which hosts a large amount of cloudforest and a healthy population of Bearded Wood-Partridge. Zapotal has a fedgling ecotourism pro- gram with very rustic lodging, amazing homemade food, and trail guides to help you look for the chivizcoyo, as the species is called locally. Arrangements to visit Za- potal can be made via an agency called SENDAS AC. It has a website (sendas99. and an email address ( Note that only Spanish was spoken when we made our arrangements. Gray-headed Piprites (Piprites gri- seiceps) is probably the most challeng- ing regularly-occurring species to fnd in Central America, and it would be a good contender for the most challeng- ing in all of North America were it not for a certain swift in Mexico, but more on that later. The three species of piprites (pipp-RYE-teez) are vaguely manakin-like birds whose taxonomic affnities are un- resolved. Gray-headed Piprites is thought to occur from eastern Guatemala to west- ern Panama in intact lowland or foothill rainforest on the Caribbean slope. While still found in very remote areas of Hondu- ras, Nicaragua, and Panama, most recent Gray-headed Piprites records come from Costa Rica. This probably refects the combination of more intact habitat, better access to it, and more birders, rather than the number of birds. There is no slam- dunk strategy for fnding this bird. Learn its call, which is a little series of trilling pips, and spend a lot of time in good habi- tat. Then you have a shot…maybe. I have heard this species twice in Costa Rica: once near Rara Avis and once in the Vereh Valley. Still, after about two months bird- ing in healthy forest in its range, I have not yet laid eyes on it! Chocó Tinamou (Crypturellus kerriae) barely makes it into Panama but is per- haps more readily found in a few spots in the Panamanian Darién than in the rest of its range in Colombia. In Panama, Chocó Tinamou occurs in wet ravines in the foothills of the Serranía de Pirre (the ridgeline topped by Cerro Pirre). Most notably, it is readily heard from the Ran- cho Plástico campsite on the trek up to Cerro Pirre. If you want to actually see one, be prepared for some extremely steep off-trail terrain and perhaps plan an extra day to have a fair shot. We heard this species several times but did not see it in several hours' effort. Maps © Rad Smith

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