Sunday, May 22, 2016

Birding the Yucatan Part III: Jardin Botanico featuring Black-headed Trogon, 3 Jays and White-fronted Parrot

[Jardin Botanico, Puerto Morelos. April 2016]

A little known fact is that Botanical Gardens are not only ideal for studying plants and shrubs but also great venues for encountering the local avifauna. This tip has proven beneficial to this blogger before -- the astute reader will recall the blogger's earlier trip to the Island of Hispaniola where an assortment of Caribbean specialties were successfully observed at the Jardin Botanico in Santo Domingo.

On the occasion of this blogger's trip to the Yucatan, this formula was repeated at the local botanical gardens in Puerto Morelos -- a mere 20 minutes by car from the Hacienda Tres Rios. The best birding at the Jardin Botanico can be had from the "torres" -- two (rather rickety) observation towers connected by a rope bridge. It was from here that the vast majority of the following species were observed:


  1. Altamira Oriole
  2. Buff-bellied Hummingbird
  3. Black-cowled Oriole
  4. Black-headed Trogon
  5. Brown Jay
  6. Couch's Kingbird
  7. Ferruginous Pygmy Owl 
  8. Inca Jay
  9. Melodious Blackbird
  10. Mangrove Vireo
  11. Northern Waterthrush
  12. Rufous-browed Pepper-shrike
  13. Roadside Hawk
  14. Summer Tanager
  15. Tropical Mockingbird
  16. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  17. White-fronted Parrot
  18. Yellow-backed Oriole
  19. Yucatan Jay
  20. Yucatan Vireo
We start with the Trogon:

Trogons are a group of 39 distinctive and colorful species found in the Neotropics, Africa and Asia. Black-headed Trogon is no exception -- both males and females have a bright yellow breast, black head, and pale turquoise eye-ring:





From the front, both the female and the male look alike. However, a view from the back and side, shows the male's brilliant blue-green back:






The female -- seen above -- has a plain black back; now look at the male's:





The sighting of a trogon is always a special event and the Black-headed Trogon's striking color combination of yellow, black and blue-green is truly a sight to behold.

The Jardin Botanico was not wanting in corvids -- indeed, all 3 expected Jay species were observed: Brown, Inca and Yucatan Jays.





Brown Jay is a large Jay and like other jays, is both gregarious and noisy. Somewhat plain looking -- it could easily be mistaken as the mascot for UPS -- it pales in comparison to our next Jay -- the Inca Jay:





The Inca Jay is a stunningly colorful and looks like a Green Jay with a yellow iris. While both the Brown Jay and the Inca Jay range beyond the Yucatan Peninsula -- the next Jay is endemic to the region:







The Yucatan Jay is another striking species with yellow legs, black body and a brilliant blue back and tail.

Similar to the wealth of Jays found in the region, the Yucatan is also rich in Icterids. Such as the Altamira Oriole:



And, the Black-cowled Oriole:



The very aptly named Melodious Blackbird:



Yellow-backed Oriole:



Over to the Raptors:







Finding the Ferrugionous Pygmy Owl at the Jardin Botanico was no surprise. Roadside Hawk, was seen in flight:






The Vireos were also well represented with Mangrove Vireo:



The endemic Yucatan Vireo:





And, the amazing Rufous-browed Peppershrike:



And now for the rest:
Buff-bellied Hummingbird:





Couch's Kingbird (this species is also found in S. Texas):



A familiar warbler, the Northern Waterthrush:



Summer Tanager:



Tropical Mockingbird:



Golden-fronted Woodpecker:



And the fabulous White-fronted Parrot:



Easily accessible and possessed with multiple avian delights, the Botanical Gardens in Puerto Morelos should be on every intrepid birder's itinerary in the Yucatan where fantastic species such as the Yucatan Jay, Black-headed Trogon and the White-fronted Parrot may be enjoyed in full measure.

1 comment:

  1. The sighting of the peppershrike had to be especially rewarding, Hemant.

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