Guans on the Trails

One of the largest and most seen birds on my morning walks on the trails of Arenal Observatory Lodge was the Crested Guan, Penelope purpurascens (eBird link) for more info on this large turkey-sized Central American bird found from parts of Mexico to parts of northern South America and all over every Central American country. For more of my photos, see my Crested Guan Gallery. The male & female look alike and are difficult to differentiate with both being either all black or sometimes brownish. 🙂

Yes, you can see some of these at the Observatory feeder by the restaurant deck, but I prefer to find them in the wild and did on almost every one of the Arenal Observatory trails where all of these photos were made. Unlike the other large bird at Arenal, the Great Curassow, they fly a lot and spend as much time in trees as on the ground, foraging for food of fruit, berries, seeds, insects and small invertebrates. While the Curassow spends most of his time on the ground and doesn’t seem to be able to fly as well. I’ll try to do a post on the Curassow tomorrow since I’m a long way from finishing my Arenal ’24 Birds Gallery! 🙂 And I’m no longer doing blog posts a week ahead, but day by day! 🙂 Below this introductory photo is a gallery of 6 more Crested Guans I photographed in the rainforest on Arenal Observatory Trails.

Crested Guan, Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails, Costa Rica
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Crested Guan

The Crested Guan (eBird link) is a fairly common large tropical bird in Central and northern South America, that flies more than the Curassow, that I shared earlier, who mostly stays on the ground and seems to be less able to fly while this guan soars high in the sky. See more of my shots of this bird in my Crested Guan GALLERY. It is fun to be in tropical forests like this and see so many colorful and interesting birds and other animals and plants! Here he joined me for breakfast, eating his palm berry. 🙂

Crested Guan eating a palm berry for breakfast, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica.
Crested Guan, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica.

¡Pura Vida!

The 5 BIG BIRDS this trip

Yes, you can sometimes see a hawk at Arenal Observatory, but I did not this time nor the two larger toucans, Keel-billed and Yellow-throated, which I have every other visit. But these 5 are still impressive birds and there’s six photos because the male and female of the Great Curassow are so different. I debated about putting the Collared Aracari here, since he’s the smaller toucan, but he seemed too big for the “medium birds” post that’s next.  🙂  And despite their bad reputations, both vultures are beautiful (when flying) and so important to the ecology of our lands!

As usual, one photo for the emailed notice with the others in the online post . . .

Crested Guan, Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Continue reading “The 5 BIG BIRDS this trip”

Pale-billed Woodpecker & Crested Guan

Pale-billed Woodpecker
Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiquí, Chilamate, Costa Rica
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiquí, Chilamate, Costa Rica

Crested Guan
Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiquí, Chilamate, Costa Rica

Crested Guan
Above the Sarapiquí River, Chilamate, Costa Rica

Though I have photographed both of these birds before, these are my best photos of them so far and one goal of all birding trips to keep making better photos of each bird found. Fun!

These are also special because they were both found on the little “self-guided trail” behind my cabin or within 40 meters of my room. Nice! Helping to put Selva Verde Lodge on my “preferred” list! Now do note that the flying guan was shot from the boat down-river from the lodge, but they took me to the boat and provided a guide to help find the guan. Great service at Selva Verde!

I’m still sorting and organizing photos and will be for several days, but will try to use some logic in presenting the photos from the lodge and other venues nearby. A lot of photos of a lot of birds!

“I don’t feed the birds because they need me; 
I feed the birds because I need them.”