Birder's Guide

OCT 2017

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.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/880901

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11 October 2017 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy By 6 a.m., the Amazonian avian cho- rus was deafening. It is possible for 100 species to be heard by an observer stand - ing in the right spot for 15 minutes. My mind was struggling to keep up with identifying the diversity of species reso - nating throughout the forest. It was dif- ficult to tune out the louder species, such as a nearby group of common Purple- throated Fruitcrows (which sound like many muffled voices caroling "bow-ow"), in order to focus on the inconspicuously voiced Fiery-capped Manakin (easily mis - taken for the tinking of an insect). At 6:15 a.m., I sauntered deep into the spiny bamboo. Almost all the bam- boo specialists were singing right on cue, including the endemic Peruvian Recurvebill, Long-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, and Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant. Three species of flatbills serenaded, an unex - pected White-browed/Black-faced Hawk whistled, and a trio of Lettered Araçaris bounced among some nearby branches. In a large gap, I was treated to a group of rare and nomadic White-thighed Swallows, a species I had seen only once in the previous three months. At 7 a.m., I descended onto the lower terrace, where many ripe, low-hanging avian fruits waited for me to pluck them n A Great Potoo belches its "explosive, fearsome growl, fit for a large mammal" (Schulenberg et al. 2010), reaching attentive ears many hundreds of meters away. Photo © Sean Williams n Blue-throated Piping-Guans smack their wings together mid-flight at night to create a unique accelerating-decelerating rattle. Photo © Sean Williams from the bushes. Cocha Seca, an area consisting of dense thickets in stand- ing water, held many more niched spe- cies, such as the Blackish Antbird and Black Bushbird. The Black Bushbird and aforementioned Black-faced Hawk have puzzling range distributions. They were once thought to occur only north of the Amazon River but more recently have been found in previously overlooked, scattered patches south of the Amazon, including the forest at Los Amigos (Schulenberg et al. 2010). To this day, there is no satisfactory explanation for these anomalous distributions, adding to the long list of unsolved mysteries in the vast Amazon basin. Unfortunately, neither the Dot-backed nor the Spot-backed antbird along Cocha Seca was cooperating. Farther into the forest, I passed through the territory of a particular mixed-species flock that I study in my research. Due to the strong predictability of this flock's location and its species composition, I knew it would be worth the time to pry out two for- midable foliage-gleaners—Rufous-tailed and Cinnamon-rumped foliage-glean - ers. Cocha Lobo, an oxbow lake, and the Los Amigos River held many more lake and river specialists, including the

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