06 June 2009

Onto the Antpittas…(Paz de las Aves, NW Ecuador): May 30, 2009

I would be a travesty not to mention Angel’s star birds too, the antpittas. Today we picked up two species from this star entourage – beginning with “Shakira”, an Ochre-breasted Antpitta (see photo). These birds customarily wiggle from side-to-side when sitting on a branch, and it was this wiggling motion, (that conjures images of the famous pint-sized Colombian pop star), that led Angel to name this bird Shakira! (Ridiculous but true). “She” performed with aplomb, coming in close to the worms that Angel tossed “her” way (males and female look the same, so who knows which sex it is).

The star-studded cast of Antpittas is topped by Giant Antpitta, several of which are found within Angel’s cloudforest reserve. “Old Faithful” is “Maria” that has been coming regularly since he opened this reserve some 4 years ago. However, that particular antpitta was a no show on the day, just when we were losing faith though in any of them rocking up, a raggedy looking individual Giant Antpitta (see photo) emerged gingerly onto the path, a bird Angel refers to as “Corino” (a Spanish term of endearment meaning “honey”). Phew, that was a close call. However, try as we might a calling Yellow-breasted Antpitta would not play the game and stuck steadfastly to its hill hideout well upslope. Two antpittas in a morning though is nothing to grumble about at any other place, although of course Angel’s place is not quite like any other place!

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