Morning Birding Around Wildsumaco Lodge

When booking with Wildsumaco, I had also booked a morning of birding with their local guide and requested packed breakfast so we could make an early start.  As of April 2016 the guide fee was  full day for $60 and  half day for $40. Half day schedule is from 06h00 AM to 12h00 (noon), and from 13h00 pm to 18h00 pm.  He knows the bird names in English but speaks Spanish only.  I think his name was Jonas but I am not sure on that.  He brought a friend along, not sure if it was for training or just for fun but we were only charged one guide fee so it was cool.

We drove down the road from the lodge and ended up at this small shack overlooking the valley.  I struggled to get decent photos, very few birds were close enough to focus on.  Some of the parrots zoomed by too quickly and I missed them:  Scaly-napped Parrot and Red-billed Parrots were overhead fly-bys.  We heard Barred Parakeets in the trees but they stayed well-concealed.  On the brighter side, I finally got some perching Maroon-tailed Parakeets and Chestnut-fronted Macaws!DSCN2168 DSCN2171

The scenery was beautiful and was constantly busy with birds going back and forth.DSCN2169 DSCN2170

We ended up with a pretty impressive bird list though I didn’t get photos of them all.

Crested Oropendola


Orange-bellied Euphonia

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Blue-grey Tanager


Silver-beaked Tanager DSCN2190a DSCN2196

Magpie Tanager

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White-lined Tanager


Ruddy Pigeon


Yellow-rumped Cacique

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Russet-backed Oropendola

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Black-billed Thrush

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Maroon-tailed Parakeet

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Lineated Woodpecker


Channel-billed Toucan



Black-mantled Tamarin DSCN2234 DSCN2233 DSCN2221a

Chestnut-fronted Macaw

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We stayed there for a couple hours as I was desperate to see Military Macaws but they never showed up.  So we stopped at a trail leading to some hummingbird feeders and watched them for a while, then went back to the lodge.  I grabbed some coffee and sat down to do the bird checklist (supplied by the lodge).  The Singaporean group had just come back with their guide.  Suddenly I heard a shout “MILITARY”!  I leaped up with my camera and we all rushed to the edge of the verandah just in time to see this.

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4 Military Macaws flying past the outlook!  I was snapping away, the Singaporeans didn’t even try.  The shots above were the best I could get but at least they were better than nothing!

Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)

The Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) is a medium-sized South American songbird of the Tanager family, Thraupidae. Its range is from Mexico south to northeast Bolivia and northern Brazil, all of the Amazon Basin, except the very south. It has been introduced to Lima (Peru). On Trinidad and Tobago, this bird is called Blue Jean.

IMG_9784 IMG_9854This delicately hued little beauty has a wide range throughout Central and South America (easily reached with airline miles) and can be easily seen in most of the national parks.  I saw them in Crooked Tree, Belize; Tikal, Laguna del Lagarto & Savegre, Costa Rica; and Soberania in Panama.


The breeding habitat is open woodland, cultivated areas and gardens. The Blue-grey Tanager lives mainly on fruit, but will also take some nectar and insects.  This is a common, restless, noisy and confiding species, usually found in pairs, but sometimes small groups. It thrives around human habitation, and will take some cultivated fruit like papayas (Carica papaya).  Many eco-lodges put bananas out to attract them closer.  I have no problem with this since bananas are part of their normal diet.  Breeding season is from March to July. During this time, the female lays one to three mottled eggs, which she incubates for 12 to 14 days. Once hatched, both parents feed their chicks.

Adult blue-gray tanagers are preyed upon by felines, snakes, birds of prey and crocodilians. Other predators, such as raccoons, eat young birds and eggs. Habitat destruction due to deforestation is the primary threat to this species.




Rainforest Alliance


This one is long but watch for a few minutes to see the bird’s feeding habits and sound.