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Birdwatching at Summit Hotel

Some time ago our photographer Miguel “Siu” spent a weekend at Summit Hotel & Club Golf (http://www.summithotelgolfpanama.com), and of course, instead of spending time with clubs and balls, he took his tripod and camera and went searching birds on the trails and forested areas surrounding the facilities.
Suddenly, Siu heard a raptor whistle call that he immediately recognized as a Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus). He had heard it so many times while watching this bird soaring high, but to his surprise this time it was perched on a cecropia dead branch, just looking to the golf course. It only took seconds to draw this large bird’s attention and get a decent shot before it decided to soar to a farthest perch.

The Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus) is a large, black raptor of Neotropical forests. It has a prominent crest, is blackish with narrow white barring below, and broad gray bars on the tail. This hawk-eagle occurs in both open and dense forests. Individuals often soa…

Featured Species: Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys)




Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - male
The Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) is a species of small songbird in the Fringillidae family. It is found is confined to southern Central America, where it ranges from northern Costa Rica south to western Panama. It has a beautiful mix of yellow, green, blue, and purple. The bird has a yellow breast and supercilium which is absent in the female. It has a bluish violet-crown (which is bluer in the female), blue eyering and a line of blue down its mantle toward its breast. This species is very distinctive within its range, its bright green separates it from many species, and it's the only chlorophonia in its range. The species is typically uncommon and somewhat local, being found in the canopy of highland forests in subtropical or tropical moist montane forests above 750 m (2,460 ft) elevation. In Panama it’s uncommon in western foothills and highlands from Costa Rica border eastward to  Coclé.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - male
Males are striking and easily identified birds with bright grass green upperparts, throat and upper breast, while the rest of the underparts and broad supercilium are yellow; there is also a patch of bright green on the lower flanks, and the crown is violet-blue.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - female
Females are somewhat less distinctive, but share the blue crown and nape, and have some yellow on the underparts, but are otherwise mainly green

Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - female
It has a soft whistling call: wheeeeuuu. In Costa Rica, its local common name is the Rualdo, and there is a legend of how this bird used to have a wonderful singing voice, but offered that to the volcano Poás to prevent a young woman of having to be sacrificed, thus keeping the volcano from eruption.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - male

Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - female
The diet of the Golden-browed Chlorophonia largely consists of fruits. This bird feeds from trees. A study in Monteverde, Costa Rica reported them eating fruit from fourteen species of plants, including strangler figs (Ficus), melastomes (Conostegia) and mistletoes (Gaiadendron).

Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - male

Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) - female
This species, appears to be monogamous. We found a nesting couple in Boquete Tree Trek in Palo Alto, Boquete, Chiriquí. There the chlorophonias built a nest in a cave under a rock covered with liquen, on an open area and low level, close to the floor. They were not shy at all, and even perched on man-made elements like a zip line wire. This line was used to make the induction before the actual canopy tour. Other species we found on this short tour are found below:

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis (Dacnis venusta) - male

Silver-throated Tanager (Tangara icterocephala)

Spangle-cheeked Tanager (Tangara dowii)

Emerald Swift or Green Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus malachiticus)

White-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis castaneoventris) - male