Chachalacas at My Breakfast Table

Immature Gray-headed Chachalaca
Flying out of a Yellow-bell Tree in my gardens, Atenas, Costa Rica
Two Immature Gray-headed Chachalacas
Sitting in a Yellow-bell Tree in my gardens, Atenas, Costa Rica

Identification Explanations for the Birders Who Read This

When I first saw them I thought “Black Guan” which can be in this part of the country, but on closer examination, they do not have the red eyes and legs that all black guans have, nor the blue facial skin. I knew we had Chachalacas in Roca Verde, so I resigned myself to darker than usual Chachalacas and thought maybe Plain rather than Gray-headed, BUT, the book says Plain don’t live in this part of the country, only in Guanacaste. And my earlier photo of one in my garden (note how much lighter) fit the Gray-headed description and they live in the Central Valley. Plus some online investigation shows some juvenile Gray-headed Chachalacas to be very dark or black. Also the white tips on the tail feathers are only seen in the Gray-headed Chachalaca. Here’s another one at Rancho Naturalista  which is darker but not black. 
Whew! Identification can be a challenge sometimes and every species seem to have some exceptions!
See my photo gallery of BIRDS

Read about Gray-headed Chachalacas on NeotropicalBirds by Cornell University
Or a different kind of article on Wikipedia

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