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Russet-winged Schiffornis (Schiffornis stenorhyncha)

Russet-winged Schiffornis is one of five species that formerly were united under the name Thrush-like Schiffornis (Schiffornis turdina); the other members of this group are Northern Schiffornis (S. veraepacis), Olivaceous Schiffornis (S. olivacea), Foothill Schiffornis (S. aenea), and Brown-winged Schiffornis (S. turdina). 

Russet-winged Schiffornis is a representative of this group that occurs from central Panama east across northern Colombia to western and northern Venezuela. All species in this group have similar, dull plumages, being primarily brown or olive brown, with paler underparts, and prominent large dark eyes. Although all members of the group also are poorly known, Russet-winged Schiffornis probably is one of the least studied members of the complex. This is a relatively low density species that occupies the understory of terra firme forests, most often foraging within 1-2 m of the ground, and typically is solitary. The clear whistled song is heard far more often than th…

El Valle - the best place for Panama Birds & Wildlife Photos of 2017 (pt. 1) - Featured species: Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)

As a tradition on this blog we select the most special place of the year for us to make pictures. Last year we selected Paraíso, Chiriquí, and still in 2017 we continued visiting such a magnificent place, a lot. But now the time to choose this year’s place has come, and after a short revision of the material made this year we had to choose El Valle de Antón (Anton's Valley), in Coclé Province. Usually simply known as "El Valle” (The Valley), although is not the only valley in Panamá.

El Valle de Antón location

El Valle is a town located in the flat wide caldera of a 6 km wide volcano that is inactive for about 300,000 years, and about 25 km off the Interamerican Highway from San Carlos District, and belongs to the Anton District, Coclé Province. Because of its elevation (600 m / 1,970 ft), it is cooler than the Panamanian lowlands. Of course, the town itself is not the best place to do wildlife observation or photos. Instead, we spent some time in trails in protected areas and private reserves. 


We didn’t make too much tours to this place in 2017 as we wished, but we did enough to get an excellent selection of species. Like the one featured on this first episode. The Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata).

Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)

The spectacled owl is a large tropical owl, resident in forests from southern Mexico through Central America, south to southern Brazil, Paraguay and northwestern Argentina, and Trinidad. It is primarily a bird of tropical rain forests, being found mostly in areas where dense, old-growth forest is profuse. However, it may enter secondary habitats, such as forest edges, especially while hunting. On occasion, they have been found in dry forests, treed savanna plains, plantations and semi-open areas with trees. In certain areas, they may inhabit subtropical montane forests of up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft), although they are generally associated with lowland forests. Due to its reclusive and nocturnal habits it is seldom seen, but we were lucky enough to find a roosting area in El Valle to make this photos during the morning.

Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)

This owl can range from 41 to 52.3 cm (16.1 to 20.6 in) in length. It is unmistakable in most of its range with blackish brown upperparts, head and upper breast, white facial markings and whitish to yellowish-ochre underparts. The eyes are yellow, and the beak is pale. The head is typically darker than the back and mantle but the shade of this area besides the composition of the breast band is the main distinguishing external feature of the subspecies.

Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)

As most large neotropical owls, this species is largely nocturnal, starting activity right around dusk, foraging and feeding primarily on vertebrates up to the size of opossums, rabbits, and skunks, and usually being back on their roosts for the day around first light. It is a solitary, unsocial bird, usually roosting singly each day and only peaceable associating with others of their own species for reproductive purposes. As explained above, the spectacled owl occurs over a very large range and is still a resident in much of its range. Due to this, it is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, being a large, slow-maturing bird of prey with a strong sense of territoriality, it as a rule occurs at low densities. In areas where prey populations are hunted by people and habitats are destroyed or compromised, they may decrease. This is the likely source of extinction for an entire race on Trinidad (P. p. trinitatis). In Panama it is uncommon on both slopes up to 1,200 m (4,000 ft).


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