Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Honeycreepers of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is the home of three passerine birds that are called honeycreepers.  Honeycreepers are members of the tanager family.  Two of the honeycreepers, Shining Honeycreeper and Red-legged Honeycreeper belong to the Cyanerpes genus and the other one, the Green Honeycreeper belongs to the Chlorophanes genus.
Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus,
Red-legged Honeycreeper with Plantains
The honeycreepers have iridescent plumage and put on a colorful show as they flit around looking for fruit and insects to eat.  They also will feed on nectar.  In Costa Rica, Eco-lodges, who set up feeders with ripe plantains, papaya and or orange slices to attract the birds..





Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus,
Red-legged Honeycreeper - male
Red-legged honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) :
    It is on the average 12.2 cm long, weighs up around 14 g and has a medium-long black, slightly decurved bill.  The male is extremely colorful, being violet-blue with black wings, tail and back and bright red legs.  Its crown is turquoise, and it's on the wing, which he usually can only see in flight or if it opens its wings is lemon yellow.  After the breeding season, the males molt into an eclipse plumage, which is mainly greenish with black wings.  The female and immature rig-legged honeycreepers mainly green, with paler, faintly streaked under parts and the legs are red-brown in the female and brown in the young birds.
    The red-legged honeycreeper is found from southern Mexico south to Peru, Bolivia and central Brazil, along with Trinidad and Tobago.
Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus,
Red-legged Honeycreeper - female
Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus,
Red-legged Honeycreeper - female
Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus,
Red-legged Honeycreeper - male showing its iridescent light blue cap
Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus,
Red-legged Honeycreeper - male with its yellow under-wing
Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus,
Red-legged Honeycreeper - male in eclipse plumage with its yellow under-wing











 Shining Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes lucidus,
Shining Honeycreeper - Male
Shining Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus):
    the shining honeycreeper is approximately 10 cm long and weighs 11 g and has a long black decurved bill.  The male color is purple-blue with black wings, tail and throat and extremely bright yellow legs.  The female honeycreeper up the parts of green with a greenish-blue head, buff throat and buff streak bluish on the parts.  The immature is similar to the female but is much greener on the head and breast.
    Its range is from southern Mexico to Panama and northwest Columbia.
 _D8C1575 July 16, 2012 NIKON D800
Shining Honeycreeper - female
 _D8C1617 July 16, 2012 NIKON D800
Shining Honeycreeper - female
 _D8C2082 July 16, 2012 NIKON D800
Shining Honeycreeper - male Note no yellow under-wing color



Green Honeycreeper - Chlorophanes spiza, horizonta
Green Honeycreeper - male
Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza):
  The green honeycreeper is approximately 13 to 40 cm in length and weighs on an average of 19 g.  It has a long the curved bill, which is mostly bright yellow.  The males color is mainly blue tinged green and a black head.  The female honeycreeper is more a grass-green and paler on the throat, and does not have iridescent or a black head.  The immature are also similar to the female.
    Its range is from southern Mexico south to Brazil and also on Trinidad.
Green Honeycreeper - Chlorophanes spiza
Green Honeycreeper - female
Green Honeycreeper - Chlorophanes spiza, horizonta
Green Honeycreeper - male on plantains