Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pearly-breasted Cuckoo update

After our quick trip to the Peñón de San José, some of us (Rafael, Beny and me) decided to look after another potential lifer... the pair Pearly-breasted Cuckoos that was found nesting in eastern Panama province, specifically at the Rio Mono bridge.  In the way, we stopped near Chepo before lunch to try for the Whistling Heron reported elsewhere; however, it was raining and dark... and we didn't find the heron.  This Pearl Kite (taking advantage of the rain to took a bath) was a nice consolation prize.
Pearl Kite
After having lunch at the Coquira port under a heavy rain, we departed to Rio Mono.  It was dark by the time we reached the bridge, not good for photos.  As expected, a Pearly-breasted Cuckoo was at its nest.  We digiscoped it from the far side of the road to not disturb it.  Remember, the light was awful for photos.
Pearly-breasted Cuckoo
After a couple of minutes we decided to bird around the bridge, because the cuckoo was not moving.  We saw/heard some species not found farther west, like Rufous-winged Antwren and White-eared Conebill.  A group of three Collared Aracaris feeding in some Cecropia fruits allowed some photos.
Collared Aracari
Then, we heard the cuckoo calling.  I was able to see the second Pearly-breasted Cuckoo approaching through the shrubs into the nest.  This time, I noticed the lack of any rufous in the primaries (just in case).  While one of the parents was perched aside the nest (showing perfectly its undertail pattern and white underparts), the other fed two hungry chicks!  Yes, now they are four (4) cuckoos in Bayano!  These are good news!  
Remember, if you are going to see this rarity, try not to disturb the family (do not play recorded calls nor approach to closely).  Happy birding!


  1. Helo, i am a amateur birdwatcher and i wanted to ask you where is the rio mono bridge. I went on a trip to the bayano dam the same day as you so i wanted to know if the bridge is much further ahead of the entrance to the dam. Thanks, also it would be good to know any advice in getting to jun hombron beach, do you think a hyundai could make it to the beach?

  2. Hello David, Rio Mono bridge is just 5 minutes after Bayano bridge (not Bayano dam)... but of them 10 to 15 minutes east of Cañita town. About Juan Hombron, the dirt road is in good condition... I make it with a Kia Picanto! If you need more details write me an e-mail to