Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Distinguished Visitor

Costa Rica has a lot of birds. The country is the size of West Virginia, but has more different bird species (894) than the United States and Canada combined.

There are pelicans and boobies, cormorants and frigatebirds, toucans and macaws, herons, egrets, storks, motmots, ducks, vultures, kites, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, partridge, quail, quetzals, plovers, curlew, sandpipers, gulls, terns, doves, parrots, parakeets, cuckoos, owls, nightjars, swifts, hummingbirds (lots of hummingbirds), kingfishers, sapsuckers, woodcreepers, flycatchers, spoonbills, swallows (primarily unladen), martins, wrens, nightingales, thrushes, jays, warblers, tanagers, finches, sparrows, orioles, buntings, and dozens and dozens of others that you've never even heard of.

So what's the national bird?

Guatemala has the elusive and resplendent quetzal. Nicaragua the motmot, with its intriguing pendulous tail. Belize, the toucan. Honduras picked a parrot and El Salvador...well, also the motmot.

Costa Rica, though, was having none of these exotic and tropical birds for its national symbol, oh no.

The national bird of Costa Rica is the Clay-Colored Robin. The scientific name, no joke, is Turdus grayi.

(Photo from the Wiki)

And one of these noble, if utterly unremarkable, creatures has chosen a pathetically slender young tree outside our stairwell as the site for her nest. I knew there was a reason we put a big window on the stairs.


Anonymous April 20, 2008 9:11 PM  

That poor little bird and it's ugly name. At least she's got a safe place to nest!

Robin April 21, 2008 2:55 AM  

Consider this: your daughter shares the national bird's name. Does that make it a smidgen cooler? (I admit, it is a very ordinary looking bird, but hey, it is a Robin!)

The Cunning Runt April 21, 2008 7:52 AM  

Around here we have turdus browneye. I wonder if they're related?

That is a lovely bird, and a great shot of it!

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