Thursday, October 8, 2015

A trip to the American Museum of Natural History: Part 2. Birds

I've been in the suboscine section of the bird collection several times and it never gets old. This isn't the largest section but it does contain several of my favorite birds: the flycatchers (not looked at), manakins (not looked at), treecreepers (not looked at), antbirds, contingas, and Old World pitas. So I'd like to get back again and check out many more specimens. I'm just taking pictures but these collections are invaluable to science and there are many many publications out there demonstrating this. What is wonderful for me is to simply be in their presence and to look at them. I have used collections though to see if blue jays have easily recognizable characters that would indicate their geographic origin - they don't. If they did, then I would be able to observe jays in the winter and tell if they're migrants or not. Without a collection, I would never know either way. I also wanted to know if relative eye size varied by habitat in South American antbirds - I was scooped a month after I collected data. Again, you couldn't answer these questions without a collection. 

Batara cinerea - I didn't know this bird was so kick ass. Most thamnophilid-type antbirds are sparrow-sized. I could see this thing quickly and painfully removing the flesh from an ornithologist's hand. Putting this on my bucket list. 

Cephalopterus ornatus - greatest doo ever

Umbrellabirds are large cotingas and not related to crows 

Continga cayana - I'm in love. 

Cotinga cotinga

Cymbalaimus lineatus - I love critters that are striped like this

Cephalopterus penduliger. This species doesn't just have a great doo - check out the feathers coming from the breast. Remarkable! 
Formicarius colma - I have several papers on this bird. You're basic bird but so damn interesting

Two Grallaria species: G. excelsa in the front and giganta in the back. Antpittas are not so exciting as specimens but in the field they are really cool birds.

G. varia - a species I worked with in the Amazon and one of the most elusive, despite their abundance. They sing before sunrise and are able to move in the forest in almost complete darkness. 

Crimson Fruitcrow - another continga and this one restricted to the Manaus area. Love them. I a recording of one them giving a "BOCK" call

Hypocnemis cantator - a small antbird and there showing three subspecies (that are probably different species)

Myrmothera campanisona - an antpitta species I worked with in the Amazon.
This is most certainly a large canopy gap specialist.

Pithys albifrons - one of the showiest antbirds. Commonly caught and rarely seen. A specialist of army ant swarms. 

Pitta erythrogaster - Old World pitta. 

Pitta maxima - any questions??

Pitta sordida

Procnias averano - another amazing cotinga 

Procnias tricarunculta - a continga on my must see see before I die list. You can listen to them here

Pyroderus  scutatus - another amazing cotinga

Rupicola peruvian - Andean Cock-of-the-rock. Gorgeous.

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