Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cutest Kite

West of Panamá City as we were driving toward the Chiriqui several weeks ago, we decided to keep a sharp eye out for Pearl Kites (Gampsonyx swainsonii). We had seen only 2 of them ever, first in Trinidad and then in Panamá on our 2008 visit. In A Guide to the Birds of Colombia by Hilty & Brown, they refer to the Pearl Kite as "Pygmy-sized" and that it is.

Deforestation in northern Colombia has permitted the species to range into Panamá during recent decades, where it has begun colonizing. Still, it's not a common species, and the cuteness factor makes seeing them a special treat for us. We saw three along the way. Marco shot some video of one perched on a cable right next to the Interamerican Highway. This individual does not have its rufous leggings yet, and the rectrices are still growing in. But it was out there hunting for its own meals.

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