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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Costa Rica. Woodcreeper and cowbird (1 Viewer)

testoduro

Well-known member
This summer. Can you help me sort these two friends?

1, A Streak-Headed Woodcreeper? Its bill is curved, but it is not pink. Could it not be a Cocoa Woodcreeper?
2. Same bird as 1. This picture clarifies nothing, does it?
3. Giant Cowbirds? I'm confused about the GC's eye colour. My guidebook depicts it reddish, but in most pictures of it I see on the net the eyerings are whitish. Is this a juvenile? Hence its black eye?
Thank you!
 

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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Giant cowbird in south america has a yellow eye. Juveniles start with grey eye and pale bill, but bill is black by winter according to my Mexico field guide.
Niels
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
Giant cowbird in south america has a yellow eye. Juveniles start with grey eye and pale bill, but bill is black by winter according to my Mexico field guide.
Niels
Not melodious blackbird? (Not a species I'm familiar with). Don't get a giant cowbird vibe here: suggest bill wrong
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
This summer. Can you help me sort these two friends?

1, A Streak-Headed Woodcreeper? Its bill is curved, but it is not pink. Could it not be a Cocoa Woodcreeper?
2. Same bird as 1. This picture clarifies nothing, does it?
3. Giant Cowbirds? I'm confused about the GC's eye colour. My guidebook depicts it reddish, but in most pictures of it I see on the net the eyerings are whitish. Is this a juvenile? Hence its black eye?
Thank you!
Probably streak-headed; good to know where these were taken, Inc rough altitude
 

testoduro

Well-known member
Not melodious blackbird? (Not a species I'm familiar with). Don't get a giant cowbird vibe here: suggest bill wrong
Thanks, Niels and the Fern!
A couple more pics of the black bird.
 

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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Not melodious blackbird? (Not a species I'm familiar with). Don't get a giant cowbird vibe here: suggest bill wrong
I don't think it is melodious. These images shows some bulk to the long undertail coverts which seems to fit well for the cowbird and not for the melodious blackbird according to those images I looked at.

Niels
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
I don't think it is melodious. These images shows some bulk to the long undertail coverts which seems to fit well for the cowbird and not for the melodious blackbird according to those images I looked at.

Niels
Had a look on a big screen and I'll stick with melodious. There's no hint of any red [or white or any colour other than black] in the eye, these birds don't have giant cowbird's large billed, small headed appearance. They also lack the "pigeon-chested" look of that species—this is usually very apparent, even from a distance.
 

testoduro

Well-known member
Had a look on a big screen and I'll stick with melodious. There's no hint of any red [or white or any colour other than black] in the eye, these birds don't have giant cowbird's large billed, small headed appearance. They also lack the "pigeon-chested" look of that species—this is usually very apparent, even from a distance.
Thank you, Niels and The Fern!


I've throughly checked out reports of sightings of both Melodious and Giant in neighboring resorts in the area and the result is: Melodious is a far more frequent occurrence, with many not listing the Giant at all. So, I might as well go for Melodious and yes, Streak-Headed Woodcreeper.

And Merlin does not help. It says Melodious one picture and Giant the other:).
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Agree w/ Streak-headed Woodcreeper and Melodious Blackbird.

For what it's worth, Streak-headed is by far the easiest Woodcreeper to see and photograph in Central America as it is basically the only species that you will find in parking lots, campgrounds, town parks, agricultural areas, etc. The other species are all forest birds or otherwise specialized to certain habitats.

Giant Cowbird has a different structure - not sure if I know the birds well enough to really give a master class but it has a more rounded head, longer beak, longer body with a bit more of a bull neck. Also you don't see it frequently, and I don't think I've ever seen one on the ground (though it must happen). And while you typically see Giant Cowbirds as single birds or occasionally duos in flight or hanging around Oropendola colonies, I once had a group (8 or 10) in a tree at forest edge at dusk. I literally thought I was crazy and spent a long time with the scope examining them all individually and they were all undoubtedly Giant Cowbirds. So anything is possible. I also once had nearly 20 Keel-billed Toucans in one bare tree in the Yucatan which I also cannot explain. I didn't do such a detailed examination there, though - was pretty confident on the ID :)
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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