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Mango ID by habitat?

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Old Sunday 10th April 2005, 23:09   #1
Jacamar
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Mango ID by habitat?

Today I saw a hummingbird that I am not able to firmly ID. I have narrowed it down to either the Black-throated Mango or the Green-throated Mango. Unfortunately, I did not see it long enough to notice the features that help seperate the two. Also unfortunately, I did not have a camera with me.

Anyhow, I am wondering if it is possible to ID it by habitat. I know it's not the best way, but I don't know what else to do.
I saw it in a housing development that is actually a large area of grass with low and medium height bushes and a few scattered trees. It is now the rainy season so much of the ground away from the road is under a few inches of water. There are many houses there, but there is still much of this scrubby, bushy, grassy habitat left. The hummingbird was sitting on the top of a leafless tree which was approximately 12 feet high. The closest forest of any kind is approximately half a mile away, with the exception of a narrow strip of trees and bamboo bordering a sugar cane field that was about 100 yards away. All the areas surrounding the housing development are either sugar cane fields or densely populated villages. Some of the other birds I saw there were-Yellow Oriole, Tropical Kingbird, Snail Kite, Lesser Kiskadee, White-tipped Dove, Tropical Mockingbird, Striated Heron, Shiny Cowbird, and a flock of over 100 Red-breasted Blackbirds.
There's my long description of the area. Is it possible to determine what bird it was by the habitat? If so, please help me.
Thanks.
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Old Monday 11th April 2005, 00:04   #2
Rasmus Boegh
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It's a great description of the habitat and the birding sound nice, but sadly - in this case - habitat doesn't help you. Both the Green-throated and the Black-throated would be happy to use that habitat. The good thing is that these species often are fairly sedentary and there's a good chance it will hang around in the area for some time, perhaps giving you a second chance.

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Old Monday 11th April 2005, 00:43   #3
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Thanks Rasmus. I really wanted to identify this bird without having to find it again because I have had a "bad" experience with a possible Rufous-breasted Hermit that I saw once. I was not able to identify it the first time I saw it, and even though I went back to the same area several times, I could not find it again.
I am definitely still learning, and I hope to soon be able to identify difficult birds without having to see them twice. I guess I need to get better at noticing more details in less time.
My bird book is kind of sketchy when it comes to the differences between the Green-throated and the Black-throated Mangos. What should I look for if I see it again?
Thanks.

Edit: Also, where do these Mangos prefer to spend their time? Where should I look for them? In trees, around flowers, in the bushes?
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Old Monday 11th April 2005, 01:22   #4
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I just realized something. My bird book says that the Black-throated Mango has a more or less concealed white patch on its flanks. The description of the Green-throated Mango doesn't mention any flank patch. Is this a distinguishing feature? The bird that I saw had a white flank patch.
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Old Monday 11th April 2005, 02:37   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacamar
I just realized something. My bird book says that the Black-throated Mango has a more or less concealed white patch on its flanks. The description of the Green-throated Mango doesn't mention any flank patch. Is this a distinguishing feature? The bird that I saw had a white flank patch.
According the the Birds of Venezuela, sides of body are shining green in green-throated mango. Difficult to know if it is the same form you have in Guyana (edit: according to Clements check-list, both species are monotypic, not divided into races; there still could be geographic variation). In Trinidad, the GTM is more or less limited to swampy areas, again don't know how that compare to your area. Neither of the guides for T&T or Venezuela mentions the white flank area in the male of either species.

HTH
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Old Monday 11th April 2005, 15:36   #6
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Both species prefer fairly open areas with scattered trees or bushes. Green-throated prefer relatively moist areas (incl. mangroves), while the Black-throated occur in both moist and rather dry ares. Neither have white flanks in the males, but females of both species have white flanks. Here's a good drawing of a male & female Green-throated Mango.

http://www.mnhn.lu/recherche/anthro/.../pic.asp?ID=11

For comparison, here's a series of photos showing a male Black-throated Mango:

http://www.warbler.phytoconsult.nl/braz/blthr_mango.htm

Note that the throat is black rather than green. Females of the two can be very hard to separate, but Green-throated usually has a reddish-copper tinge to the green upperparts. Female Black-throated never has this reddish-copper tinge.

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Old Monday 11th April 2005, 16:07   #7
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I'm afraid that I have been confused. The area on the bird that was white was not the flanks. Rather, as seems to be common in many hummingbird species, the feathers around the base of the legs were white. This area is what I wrongly referred to as the flanks.

Anyhow, I hope to go this afternoon to look for it, and if I see it, I will try to note what color its throat is. I have a feeling that it will eventually turn out to be the Black-throated, but you never know!
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Old Monday 11th April 2005, 22:24   #8
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I went back this afternoon to the same place. After looking for about 20 minutes, I found it in the exact same tree as yesterday! It was a Green-throated Mango.
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