Fauna Of Mexico Part 9
By Robert Nickel
You might know about the amazing jaguar or golden eagle of Mexico. But there are hundreds of other bird species that call the country home. If you’re on vacation with a bird-watcher, you’ll have lots to explore and look for! Don’t forget your binoculars as you look for these avian gems.
This lovely bird is the smallest icterid blackbird in North America, measuring only 6.3 inches long. It’s a very attractive species; its breeding range is from eastern coast of Mexico to the forests of Baja California Sur and Sinaloa. They enjoy shaded trees that grow near lakes and streams. Orchard Oriole males have chestnut-colored chests and rumps, with black plumage on their heads and wingtips. Females and juveniles are olive-green and yellow, with pointed bills are white wing bars. During breeding season, the Orchard Orioles feed on insects and spiders; at other times, they prefer fruit, nectar, and seeds as well. Bird-watchers are particularly fond of these orioles, as their mating dances are fairly unique; the displays include seesawing motions, ‘begging’, and bowing.
Barred Forest Falcon
Think that falcons and eagles are only seen in the cooler parts of North America? Think again. The Barred Forest Falcon is an excellent example of the many tropical falcon species; it inhabits the upland forests from Central America all the way down into Brazil. This bird of prey is dark slate gray as an adult, with white tail tips and pale gray throats. Small birds, rodents, marsupials, and squamates are the main prey of the Barred Forest Falcon. They will lure birds by imitating their calls and will also chase them on foot, but generally they usually wait for their prey to wander into range. The Barred Falcon does not build a nest; it lays eggs in tree cavities, and will often occupy the same territory for many years. Furthermore, mating pairs will often stay together almost entirely exclusively, though the Barred Forest Falcon is not as strictly monogamous as other bird species.
What does ‘Flammulated’ mean? It seems like a nonsense word, but it refers to the cinnamon-reddish markings on this little bird’s wings, derived from the Latin flammula, meaning ‘little flame’. The Flammulated Flycatcher is endemic to the Pacific woodlands and thorn forests of Mexico, where it normally skulks beneath the underbrush looking for insects. This little bird is about 6 inches long, with gray-brown or olive plumage on its upper parts and pale gray chests. The wings are brown, and edged with red. One of the few endemic species in Mexico that is not endangered is the Flammulated Flycatcher; their range is large and their population is abundant. The Flycatchers breed around June each year, nesting in shallow tree cavities close to the ground. Their cup-shaped nests are made out of vegetation and shredded park, and the female lays three eggs each time.
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