Monday, November 1, 2010

Bird of the month: Collared Whitestart

The Collared Whitestart (Myioborus torquatus) is a smart, little warbler endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama. Is a common resident of forest edges and second growths where it conspicuously forages at low and middle levels. It has a very attractive pattern which is similar to that of the more widespread Slate-throated Whitestart (Myioborus miniatus), except for the contrasting yellow face and throat, and the black breast band. Like all the other Myioborus whitestarts, it usually is very active and agile when looking for insects, frequently making short sallies and fanning its tail, showing the flashing white feathers. More commonly is seeing in pairs, sometimes accompanying mixed flocks of other highlands denizens, like bush-tanagers and other warblers. About the name whitestart, it is a personal choice, of course, since both committees on bird names classifications (the AOU's North and South America Committees) accept the name redstart for all the Myioborus. There is an ongoing debate about this topic, with heavy arguments in favor to both sides... but by the end it is all about personal preferences. Other thing about this little friend is its curiousity... allowing great shots and beautiful pictures. For these and many other reasons is why we choose the Collared Whitestart as our bird of the month!
Literature consulted:
1. Ridgely RS, Gwynne JA. A guide to the birds of Panama. First spanish edition. 1993.
2. Garrigues R, Dean R. The birds of Costa Rica. First edition. 2007.

5 comments:

  1. Striking species. Awesome how nature can produce these colours.
    Nice pick for the month. Thanks for details.

    Cheers, Szimi

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  2. Man, those pictures are incredible! I have trouble digiscoping these guys because thet don't stay still long enough for me to capture them.

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  3. What a nice warbler...maybe the nicest i have seen! Great images Jan !

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  4. Thank you guys... it is my favorite whitestart!

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  5. I write a birdblog in Pittsburgh, PA & just learned about flock "badges" -- the phenomenon in which birds with similar color patterns form mixed flocks together. Interesting that you mention this bird's similar flockmate, the Slate-throated Whitestart. Flock badges are so interesting that I blogged about them today & linked to your blog so people can see this bird & read about it.
    Kate St. John, www.wqed.org/birdblog/

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