Saturday, 5 May 2012

Common birds in Bucaramanga

As we've still not got our own car, most of my birding has been in Bucaramanga. I've seen plenty of species just from the balcony, but with access to only a small fieldguide from ProAves, it's not always easy to identify what I see. When you first start out in a new country, it can be useful to know what birds are common. Here's what I see often.
A Black Vulture or "Chulo" (Coragyps atratus). Look up in the sky at almost anytime and you'll see a few chulos circling in the thermals. They're fairly large and they also like to hang around the local market. Sometimes you nearly get close enough to trip over them.
A Ruddy Ground Dove or "Abuelita", which means little grand-mother! (Columbina talpacoti). These small doves are everywhere in Bucaramanga and something of a pest in some-places.
This is a Black-faced Grassquit or "Semillero Pechinegro" (Tiaris bicolor). They are very common like house sparrows around houses, though not in big flocks. It appears like a sparrow, but now they classify it more closely to the Tanagers and Darwin's Finches. The Proaves fieldguide comes up a little short with this bird, I couldn't recognise it at all for a while.
This one's a Thick-billed Euphonia (Euphonia laniirostris). Plenty around, very colorful with a distinctive call. They seem happy to land on the balcony.
Lastly the Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis). There are small flocks of them around the city, and they're very noisy. Other birds that I see very often: Turkey Vulture, Great Kiskadee (or Bien-te-veo). A large noisy yellow flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Blue-Grey Tanager - light blue with a call like a squeeky children's toy. Palm Tanager, Bananaquit, Bi-coloured Wren - large brown & white wren often in family groups with loud "cúchica" call. Black-billed Thrush, Shiny Cowbird, Blue & White Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow. Of course, out of the city there's plenty of other species, but now I've got my eye (and my ear) in to some of the commoner ones, I hope I'll recognize more.

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