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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Red-Legged Thrush plus Adelaide's and Elfin-Woods Warblers

[Puerto Rico. Nov 2013]

Species profiled in this post include:
  1. Adelaide's Warbler
  2. Elfin-woods Warbler
  3. Puerto Rican Vireo
  4. Puerto Rican Tanager
  5. Puerto Rican Tody
  6. Red-legged thrush
  7. Puerto Rican Bullfinch
First the thrush: Red-Legged Thrush the is most widespread thrush of the Caribbean. Indeed, in Puerto Rico, this is the only resident thrush. 

Red-legged Thrush seen at Maricao State Forest

A medium sized songbird, the Red-legged is a striking thrush plumed in clean shades of grey. The throat is white and heavily streaked. The bill, eye-ring and legs are bright red.

Red-legged Thrush. Seen at Maricao State Forest.

Next is our most recently discovered warbler -- the endemic Elfin-woods Warbler.

Elfin-woods Warbler seen at Maricao State Forest

Discovered accidentally by scientists studying the endemic avifauna of Puerto Rico, this Vulnerable-classified species is uncommonly found on the island.

This spectacular warbler is said to "slither" up and down tree branches in fast-paced movements, making it impossible to photograph. Lacking the Yellow that is the commonest warbler color, the Elfin-woods is plumed in a subdued charcoal-and-white combination. It can be carefully discerned from the Black-and-White (see below) by its two white eye-crescents, lack of white striping on the head, and lack of white supercilium.

Black-and-White Warbler seen at Corkscrew in January

The next warbler is also an endemic -- Adelaide's Warbler and, awash in yellow, it looks like a typical warbler.

Adelaide's Warbler seen at Cabo Rojo

Found in lowland, drier habitat than the Elfin-woods, the Adelaide's is classified as Least Concern.

Visually, it is similar to another warbler named after a woman: Grace's Warbler. Unlike the confusion that may result in seeing both the Elfin-woods and the Black-and-White (when over-wintering) co-located in the woods of Puerto Rico, Grace's Warbler is not found anywhere even remotely close to Puerto Rico -- Grace's is found in the Southwestern US.

Grace's Warbler seen in Mt. Lemmon, SE Arizona in April

As can been seen from the above, while there are several similarities between Adelaide's and Graces, closer inspection will reveal sufficient differences as well: leg color, undersides, etc.

Other endemics observed included Puerto Rican Tanager:

.. Puerto Rican Bullfinch:

Puerto Rican Bullfinch

... and Puerto Rican Vireo:

Puerto Rican Vireo seen at Maricao State Forest

In ending, no bird evokes the Caribbean tropics better than the Tody:

A spectacular collection of endemic and specialty birds may be found in the unique habitats of the"Enchanted Island" that is Puerto Rico.

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