Wildlife photos from Panama's tallest mountain, Pt. 4 - Featured species: Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus)

Finalizing our descent from Volcán Barú, which was held some months ago, we were able to spot a place where a small group of Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus) was very close and indiscreet; allowing us to make great shots, including portraits. Later we discovered why they were so territorial, there was a nest at about 3 meters (10 feet) above the ground on a horizontal branch on a tree, just above the road. They were using the cleared areas to catch flying insects to feed the young.

Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus) - male

The Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus), is a bird which occurs only in the mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama, usually from 1,850 m (6,000 ft) altitude to the timberline. They are related to waxwings, and like that group have soft silky plumage. The habitat of this bird is mountain forests, although it has a restricted range to the westernmost highlands in Panama, it’s of common occurrence within its range, and altitudinal migration is observed. It’s found in canopy of forest and adjacent clearings, often landing on high perches or berry-producing trees. Usually foraging in small flocks when not breeding.


Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus) - male

The nest was a cup made with the kind of lichen seen on the picture above. You can see the male  standing close to the nest with the bill filled with insects, about to feed the nestlings. Unfortunately the view to the nest was blocked by leaves so we could not get good pictures of it. Usually nests are built 2 to 18 m (6.5 to 59 feet) above ground in a tree, sometimes in loose colonies. The female lays two eggs, which are incubated by both adults. The young fledglings are fed by both parents, as we could observe. Evidence also suggested us they defend small areas around the nests. They can be monogamous; solitary or loosely colonial, and may nest in groups of 2–5 pairs. Although, we could not detect other nests in the area.

Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus) - male

The male long-tailed silky-flycatcher is 24 cm (9.5 in) long and has a pale grey forehead. The rest of the crested head, neck, throat and lower belly are yellow. The back, lower breast and upper belly are blue-grey, and the flight feathers and long pointed tail are black

Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus) - female

The female is 21 cm (8.3 in) long and generally duller than the male, with olive body plumage and a shorter, duller black tail. 


 Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus) - male


  Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus) - female

Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers are omnivorous, flycatching for insects (as seen above) or taking small fruits, especially mistletoe. They often perch prominently on high exposed twigs.




Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) - female
Besides the silky-flycatchers, we found a female Scintillant Hummingbird resting on a perch. While we were shooting she decided to stretch, and we were ready to capture the pose.


Collared Redstart (Myioborus torquatus)
By the end of our trip we found a Collared Redstar grooming but was very far, finally we returned to Boquete ending our first incursion to the highest point in our country after a long and productive day. Nevertheless, this report is not finished because some months after (on October 14th), we returned to the volcano in search of a specific target: the Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius ridgwayi), so stay tuned.

To be continued...