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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Page 19 of 67

18 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2015 Avian Unicorns of Middle America unidentifed. The only males we could make a positive ID on were all adult male Scintillants. It's a very diffcult species to ID with certainty, and the nearly constant gale-force winds in the area don't help. It is theorized that this species's occurrence on Cerro Santiago is seasonal, with spring (April) perhaps being best. In addition to these highly coveted and hard-to-fnd avian delights, several other species are worth mentioning. Some are nomadic and can be very hit-or-miss, such as Aztec Thrush, Black-capped Siskin, Thick-billed Parrot, and Red- fronted Parrotlet. Some have tiny ranges, such as Sierra Madre Sparrow, Worthen's Sparrow, Viridian Dacnis, Costa Rican Brush-fnch, and Tuxtla Quail-Dove (the last is now much easier to fnd near Ruiz Cortines than at the "traditional" site near Bastonal). To be honest, though, these species are pretty easy ticks compared to Gray-headed Piprites or White-fronted Swift! Tacarcuna Wood-Quail and Tacarcuna Tapaculo are also worth a men- tion; aside from a couple of Panamanian guides from the Darién, no birders or or- nithologists are known to have dared the political unrest of the area and summitted Cerro Tacarcuna since 1964. These two species are, thus, logistically inaccessible. And if the Black-banded Woodcreepers that occur (in extremely small numbers) in North America are ever split from the Black-banded Woodcreepers in the Amazon basin, that "new" species will earn an instant spot on this list. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Have you tried to see any of the uni- corns listed above? Did you succeed? Did you fail? Do you have tips of your own for how, where, and when to look? Are there other species you believe are deserving of the title? Please share your own stories and thoughts with us at Central America refers to the continental landmass between Mexico and Colombia; it does not include Mexico. Middle America is a term widely used to refer to the continental landmass between the U.S. and Colombia (that is, Mexico plus Central America); the West Indies are also sometimes included in this defnition. North America is the continental landmass north of the Panama–Colombia border (and some- times its associated islands, such as Greenland, Cuba, and Haida Gwaii). Thus, Central America is part of Middle America, and Middle America is part of North America. The ABA Area is essentially North America and its associated islands north of the U.S.–Mexican border. It is not synonomous with "North America". White-fronted Swift. Photo © Brian Gibbons Adult male Glow-throated Hummingbird. Gouache painting © Michael L. P. Retter Continued from page 16

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