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Featured Species: Common Tody-Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum)

The Common Tody-Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum) is a very small passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family common and widespread species of secondary forest and forest edge; it is distributed from southern Mexico to south to northeastern Argentina, but is absent from much of the Amazon Basin.

Common Tody-Flycatchers have glossy black forecrowns, slate gray hindcrowns, olive upperparts, black wings and bright yellow underparts; the iris usually is yellow, and with a long, flattened, straight black bill.

Common Tody-Flycatchers forage in dense vegetation close to the ground or in the open mid-level canopy of trees. It's usually seen in pairs, making rapid dashing sallies or hovering to pick small arthropods off the vegetation.

El Valle - the best place for Panama Birds & Wildlife Photos of 2017 (pt. 6) - Featured Species: Central American Bushmaster (Lachesis stenophrys)

La Verrugosa or Central American Bushmaster (Lachesis stenophrys) is the longest and most robust venomous snake in Central America, and one of the largest members of the Crotalinae family of pit vipers. The species is endemic to Central America, been found from the Caribbean slope of Nicaragua to Panama, occurring in tropical rainforest and lower montane wet forest. In the drier areas of Nicaragua, it can be found in gallery forests as well as forests that are seasonally dry. Is hardly encountered outside of old growth forest. The specific name, stenophrys, is derived from the Greek words stenos, meaning "narrow", and ophrys, meaning "brow" or “eyebrow”, due to its narrow postorbital stripe.

Verrugosa or Central American Bushmaster (Lachesis stenophrys)

These large tan or brown snakes with black or dark brown rhombs are easily recognized due to the strongly keeled and very protuberant dorsal scales, hence the vernacular name in Spanish, “Verrugosa”, which means warty in English. Another vernacular name is "Bocarac√° de Jabillo" in reference to the jabillo or sandpaper tree (Hura crepitans), which has a coarse and thorny bark.  Adults commonly grow to more than 200 cm (6.6 feet) and may exceed 330 cm (10.8 feet) in total length. Its back is light brown or cream-colored, with dark rhomboidal designs with light centers. It’s white or light yellowish below, and the tail ends in a small pointy needle. It has a medium-sized broadly rounded head, well differentiated, and is characterized by a non-elevated round snout profile, and a dark postorbital stripe which continues onto the neck.

Verrugosa or Central American Bushmaster (Lachesis stenophrys)

The Bushmasters in general are terrestrial and primarily nocturnal. They hide during the day under fallen trees, in burrows or hollow logs. Their prey consist mainly of small and medium sized mammals like rats and marsupials, and sometimes birds. These are ambush predators that may spend several days (even weeks) quietly coiled amid leaf litter waiting for passing prey. 

With the largest fangs of any pit viper, enormous venom glands and a very potent poison, the Bushmasters are deadly snakes. The poisoning of human beings occurs with some frequency, and is often rapidly fatal. Symptoms of poisoning (including by young specimens) include immediate pain, rapid pulse, swelling that progresses rapidly, numbness, shock, vomiting, diarrhea, stabbing muscle aches, and shortness of breath. Despite this, they are usually not aggressive, and you will be safe if you just walk away from them. 

Currently, four (4) species of Bushmasters are recognized:
  • South American Bushmaster, L. muta (the most widespread), 
  • Chocoan Bushmaster, L. acrochorda (Panama and northeastern South America),
  • Black-headed Bushmaster, L. melanocephala (western Costa Rica)
  • Central American Bushmaster, L. stenophrys (Nicaragua through Panama).

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