A Visit To The Anangu Community Near Napo Wildlife Center

One of the best things about the Napo Wildlife Center is that the whole project is run by the local community and all the profits are retained in the local area.  This is the best outcome for eco-tourism as it provides a good income for people who might otherwise be tempted by the wild bird trade.  The village where these people live is right near the parrot clay licks and we had a nice visit there for lunch and a quick visit around the village and the craft market.

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Restaurant where traditional food was served.  My husband had fish and I had the vegetarian option as I don’t eat fish.  The carved tables and chairs are gorgeous!DSCN2052 DSCN2054 DSCN2055 DSCN2056 DSCN2057

The craft shop was awesome!  The carved birds were of excellent quality and very realistic.  Once I found out I could charge my purchases to my room and pay by credit card, I went nuts!  DSCN2058 DSCN2059 DSCN2060

You have to see them in person to appreciate them.  The birds range in price around $10-20 depending on size and detail so were well worth it!DSCN2060a DSCN2061

Of course one of these cute Cobalt-winged parakeets came home with me!DSCN2061a DSCN2062 DSCN2063 DSCN2064

I also bought a Paradise Tanager, Hoatzin, White-throated Toucan, Dusky-headed Parakeet & Black-headed Parrot which are all decorating my bedroom wall.DSCN2065

T-shirts were on the small side.DSCN2066

After being dragged out of the craft shop, we saw some pretty cool birds!  Here’s a Spot-breasted Woodpecker.DSCN2069

My blurry photo doesn’t do justice to this beautiful Violaceous Jay.DSCN2070a DSCN2071

Our guide Vladimir and 2 of his kids.DSCN2072

I think this village also has accommodation so it’s a good option that would be cheaper than staying at Napo Wildlife Center but still a sister property and you could spend more time learning about the culture.


Napo Wildlife Center’s Canopy Tower

Along with the parrot clay licks, a visit to the canopy tower will be a highlight of your trip to Napo Wildlife Center.  Our visit which was pretty typical involved the usual 5am wake up call (I set my alarm for 4am otherwise I couldn’t eat breakfast so early), a breakfast buffet, then off in the paddleboat across the lake.  From there it’s about half a kilometer to the canopy tower through thick rainforest habitat.  It’s really exciting to get our first glimpse of the tower!

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It’s a long slog up the stairs to the top.DSCN1790 DSCN1796

The view is awesome!  We were lucky our guide had a scope as many of the birds were at quite a distance.  I struggled to find them with my own camera even after the guide had them in the scope.DSCN1733 DSCN1714

Let’s start with some mammals, here’s a Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth who was there for our whole visit.DSCN1726 DSCN1721a DSCN1756a DSCN1858a

Howler MonkeysIMG_3928a DSCN1735a

Plumbeous PigeonDSCN1718a

Slate-coloured HawkDSCN1731a

White-thoated ToucanDSCN1737a DSCN1739a IMG_3942a

Many-banded AracariIMG_4085a DSCN1748a DSCN1752a DSCN1833a DSCN1835a DSCN1837a

Russet-backed OropendulaDSCN1803a

Crimson-crested WoodpeckerDSCN1767a IMG_3975a

Those tiny specs are Cobalt-winged Parakeets.  I told them to come to the clay lick tomorrow and bring all their friends!IMG_3967

Scarlet MacawsIMG_3995a IMG_4000a

White HawkIMG_4055a IMG_3945 IMG_3943a DSCN1820

Orange-winged Amazon ParrotsIMG_3947a

Look closely, what could that tiny blue speck be?


Maybe a Plum-throated Cotinga?



Or a Spangled Cotinga?DSCN1802

I called this the “Cotinga Tree” because we had both Spangled Cotingas and Plum-throated Cotingas showing up there.IMG_4025a IMG_3992a IMG_4070a IMG_4066a IMG_4064a IMG_4060a DSCN1809a DSCN1804a DSCN1843 DSCN1843a

This White Hawk was pretty far away and a good spot by our guide.DSCN1846a

This Squirrel Cuckoo was pretty close.IMG_4088a

And this shows why you need a really good guide with a really good scope.  Do you see anything in this unedited photo?IMG_4033

What if I zoom in and crop out the cute little Black-headed Parrot (Caique)?IMG_4033a IMG_4040a IMG_4050a DSCN1840 DSCN1840a DSCN1868

I practically had to be dragged off the tower kicking and screaming as the birding was so awesome!  Back down on the ground, we had a leisurely walk back to the paddleboat.DSCN1877

Tiny frogDSCN1878

Cool looking tree, forgot what it’s called.IMG_4094

Poor tired husband!IMG_4104

This little Wire-tailed Manakin led me on a merry chase as he wouldn’t stand still for a photo!IMG_4101a DSCN1875 DSCN1876a

Hah, gotcha!  And with that, we went back to the lodge for lunch!


Black-headed Woodpecker (Picus erythropygius)

The Black-headed Woodpecker (Picus erythropygius) is a species of bird in the Picidae family.  This was as close as I could get when we were in Mae Ping.  There are much better shots on the links below.

IMG_0249 IMG_0251 IMG_0252 IMG_0257They are found in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Thailand is by far the easiest place to visit logistically and Mae Ping NP (blue dot) has a good population.






Some nice close-ups to make up for my shots being so far away!




My Top Twenty-Five Bird Sightings Of 2013

Following on from last year’s post in which I highlighted only parrot sightings, this year I have expanded to all bird species.  There were just so many birds who made a major impression on me!  I have also increased the number to 25 since we did 3 birding trips this year.  I didn’t always get good shots so I will put my own photo when I got one.  Some of them were pretty quick!  They are being presented in chronological order.

1.  Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) – seen at Nimbokrang & Waigeo, Indonesia; March 2013

Palm Cockatoo2.  Lesser Bird-of-paradise, (Paradisaea minor) – seen at Nimbokrang, Indonesia; March 2013

I couldn’t get a photo as he stayed in the trees so here’s one taken in Jurong Bird park, Singapore.



3.  Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) – seen at Nimbokrang, Indonesia; March 2013

Victoria Crowned Pigeons, Nimbokrang

Victoria Crowned Pigeons, Nimbokrang

4.  Western or Arfak Parotia (Parotia sefilata) – seen at Siyoubring, Indonesia, March 2013  I’ll never forget this feathered Lord of the Dance trying so hard to woo 3 aloof females!

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves.  There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves. There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

5.  Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis inornata) – seen at Siyoubring, Indonesia, March 2013

OK lady Bowerbirds, come and check out my awesome bower!

OK lady Bowerbirds, come and check out my awesome bower!

6.  Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) – seen near Nimbokrang and on Waigeo Island, Indonesia, March 2013

IMG_78677.  Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, (Cicinnurus respublica) – seen on Waigeo Island, Indonesia in March 2013.   This little guy played hard-to-get with the camera.
Wilson's Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

8.  Red Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rubra) – seen on Waigeo Island, Indonesia , March 2013.

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), Waigeo- dancing in the trees

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), Waigeo- dancing in the trees

9.  Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis) – seen at Crooked Tree, Belize, Tikal, Laguna del Lagarto, Carara, Soberania, August 2013.  This was the first parrot we saw after arriving in Central America so I chose him to represent all the Amazon species seen all over Central America.

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

10.  Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – seen at Crooked Tree, Belize, Tikal, Selva Verde, Laguna del Lagarto, Soberania, August 2013


11.  Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) – seen at Selva Verde & Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013

IMG_951112. Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013.


13.  Brown-hooded Parrot (Pyrilia haematotis)  – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013.


14.  Collared Araçari (Pteroglossus torquatus) – seen at Selva Verde, Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, Soberania.  August 2013.

IMG_982415.  Hummingbirds (all of them) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Monteverde, Savegre, Soberania.  There is no way I can single out one species, they are all spectacular!


IMG_1486 IMG_1483 IMG_149616.  Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker (Celeus castaneus) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013

IMG_969917.  Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) – seen at Monteverde (Curi Cancha) & Savegre.  I will never forget both sightings of this stunning bird!  The first one because I found him by myself and the 2nd one because there were several of them and they hung around a while so I could watch them.


IMG_1092a18.  Sulphur-winged Parakeet (Pyrrhura hoffmanni) – seen at Savegre, Costa Rica, August 2013


I haven’t started the India & Sri Lanka series yet, we only got back a few weeks ago and I have been playing catch-up.  These birds will be covered first thing in the New Year.  The photos are a sneak-peek!

19. Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides) – seen in Coorg, India; Nov. 2013.  This time there were only fleeting glimpses of a flock flying overhead so the photo is one I took in 2011 in Kerala.

Malabar Parakeet A20.  White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) – seen at Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.


21.  Layard’s Parakeet (Psittacula calthropae) – seen at Kithulgala & Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  They were swift flyers and refused to perch & pose.


22.  Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus) – seen at Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  At least he posed, albeit with the sun behind him!



23.  Alexandrine Parakeet – (Psittacula eupatria) – seen at Kithulgala & Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.


24.  Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) – seen at Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  He only let me get one shot before turning his back.


25.  Sri Lanka Blue Magpie or Ceylon Magpie (Urocissa ornata) – seen at Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.

I didn’t get a photo of them since they stayed in the trees so here’s one from Wikipedia.




Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker (Celeus castaneus)

The Chestnut-colored Woodpecker is one of the fanciest of the woodpeckers in Central America. It is a member of the genus Celeus, which is composed of numerous “chestnut” colored woodpeckers, all of which also have a characteristic “hammer-head” crest. The Chestnut-colored occurs farther north than any of its congeners, ranging from southern Mexico south to extreme northwestern Panama. Overall the bird is bright chestnut-brown. The crest is a paler light rufous-brown, the underparts and back have extensive black chevron-shaped scaling, it has a red “mustache” stripe, and the bill is light yellow.

IMG_9699 IMG_0042 IMG_0048It is found in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama, so you will need a Central American award to get within their range.  My best sightings were at Laguna del Lagarto Lodge in Costa Rica.





Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Foraging and “woodpecking” for food.


Part 3: Birding At Savegre, Costa Rica – Hotel Grounds

In this final chapter of my series about birding in Savegre, I would like to point out the delights of birding around the grounds of the Savegre Hotel.  In most places, there is a definite siesta time during which birds are inactive around mid-day and the best time to see them is in the early morning and late afternoon.  Hummingbirds, however need to feed every 15 minutes so you can spend many happy hours just watching them fly around the grounds and sipping nectar from the feeders.  There are also lots of flowers for them to feed on.  Not only can you see the Hummingbirds, there are also various Woodpeckers, Tanagers, Warblers and many other birds.  A complete bird list is here.  These photos were taken over 2 days just in the grounds of the Savegre Hotel.

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Birds Of Laguna Del Lagarto: Tanagers, Woodpeckers, Other Birds

Since there are so many photos, I am breaking this up into separate posts.  There are other posts for  information on how to get to Costa Rica & Laguna del Lagarto.

Bird List of Laguna del Lagarto

This is the final post in the Laguna del Lagarto series.   Unfortunately I lost the checklist I made with the help of the guides at Laguna del Lagarto so this is from memory as to which birds I saw.  If I find the checklist, I will come back to this post and update it.  I do remember some of the Tanagers but not all of those tiny but gorgeous birds are Tanagers.  The Woodpeckers are especially cute!  Enjoy the photos and if you can help me identify any of these birds please do so in the comments!


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IMG_9979 IMG_9984a IMG_9988 IMG_9989 IMG_9992 IMG_9999 IMG_0033a IMG_0159



IMG_9699 IMG_9858 IMG_0042 IMG_0048 IMG_0126OTHER BIRDS

If I can find my notes, I would be able to identify more of these.  Some of the little green birds are the females and they look very similar.

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IMG_0063 IMG_0120a


IMG_0128 IMG_0130 IMG_0131 IMG_0132 IMG_0134

I think this is a

IMG_0157 IMG_0163

I love this little guy’s red feet!

IMG_0168a IMG_0173 IMG_0194 IMG_0195a IMG_0202 IMG_0293 IMG_0299 IMG_0300 IMG_0366 IMG_0368 IMG_0486 IMG_0488 IMG_0490 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Targeting Central American Parrot Species

Central America has some of the best birding in the world.  There are so many bird species, it would be impossible to see all of them or even visit all the national parks and regions where birds are easily seen.  It is better to make a list of your priority species, find out where they can be seen and cross-reference the different regions to maximize possible species.  Since I am obsessed with Parrots, I gave them priority when I decided which regions and national parks I would visit.  I knew that many other fascinating bird species would also be seen such as the Resplendent Quetzal, various Toucans and Aracaris, many gorgeous little Tanagers and Woodpeckers and lots of other birds.

After using several resources such as the bird lists found on national park websites, the book Parrots of the World by Joseph Forshaw and recommendations from friends, I came up with the following spreadsheet.  A black X indicates the bird has been seen in that area.  A green X indicates the birds I actually saw when I was there.  The “captive” Yellow-naped Amazon seen near Montverde was originally a wild parrot whose wings have been clipped so he can’t fly and is forced to hang around a certain restaurant/gift shop.  There will be more details on future blogs.  The bright yellow shading indicated parrots I was successful in seeing, the white rows are the 3 species I didn’t find-the Barred Parakeet and the 2 Parrotlets.

Parrots of Central America