Birder's Guide

MAR 2018

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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22 Birder's Guide to Travel | April 2018 Top 10 Birds in Colombia stood agape, glowing, as these scarce, stunning birds paraded about us. #7 • Black-and-white Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata When participants pick their Top 10 species of the tour, they tend to go for the rare or range-restricted. Yet Black-and-white Owl is very widespread. It occurs throughout the Neotropics, from Mexico to Peru. It is not particularly uncommon where it occurs, and it is usually cooperative when found. It is also an impressively handsome bird. We enjoyed great looks at a day-roosting pair right above the roadway, and they got prob - ably even better looks at us. It was another intimate, very sat- isfying encounter with a beautiful species. #8 • Black Solitaire Entomodestes coracinus Some species of solitaires are relatively common, widespread, or, at the very least, numerous in appropriate habitats. Most have well-known ranges, habitat preferences, food prefer- ences, and general biology. Although I have seen more than a dozen Black Solitaires in one day (a most extraordinary day!), most encounters with Black Solitaire are with a solitary indi- vidual. Often, those encounters are unsatisfyingly brief. This denizen of the wettest montane forests in the western Andes is among the most-anticipated species for any birder visiting the region, for it is as emblematic of the lush Chocó bioregion as it is surprisingly graceful and lovely to behold. Seeing one is far from a guarantee, and so we were all delighted when we found one perched low, right next to our deep forest trail, after it flushed off a nest! Amazing views were had of this dap- per bird, right down to its incongruous, staring red eye. #9 • Crested Ant-Tanager Habia cristata This species requires far less explanation. It's red, with a radi- ant neon pinky-red crest that glows amidst the brown-and- green mossy montane forests it inhabits. It goes in flocks, usually family groups of four or more, and makes incessant squeaks, chirrups, creaks, and buzzes as it makes its way through the middle- and lower-story growth. We had not one but two magnificent run-ins with groups of this dynamic, Colombian-endemic species, and in both instances we en- joyed fabulous, lengthy views. # 9 Photo © Arley Vargas

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