Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Very Special Bird

Banded Ground-Cuckoo
The Banded Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus), a truly spectacular and stunning bird! This rare and endangered species is known from only a few reserves in Northwestern Ecuador and Southwestern Colombia. Not much is known about their ecology, and their conservation and the conservation of their restricted Choco ecosystem is of utmost importance.

Banded Ground-Cuckoo
Like some antbirds, Banded Ground-Cuckoos are known to follow large swarms of army ants, as well as groups of peccaries and monkeys, to snatch up whatever insects, lizards, amphibians and other food these groups disturb up off the forest floor. In the morning, we ventured out onto the trail at Un Poco del Choco Reserve with Nicole and Wilo, the property owners. They have had regular sightings for the past month and Nicole has had some success in feeding an individual as well. When we found the ants (not even 5 minutes after being on the trail), the cuckoo was there! Not long after we had our first looks of this incredible bird, a second individual came along, and a THIRD! This was the first time Nicole had seen THREE birds together on the reserve, very exciting! 

Banded Ground-Cuckoo
Nicole was attempting to feed one of the birds but it was not overly responsive and timid, unlike her previous feeding experiences. We waited for a while as it scurried off and would occasionally come into the vicinity. We were just about to head up to the cabins when a cuckoo approached closely to us, not timid at all. Nicole was sure this was the cuckoo she had been feeding in the previous weeks and proceeded to offer food, and the cuckoo was very responsive!
The cuckoo was rather bold this morning, and at one point it approached Nicole's hand, in which she immediately dropped the grasshopper out of surprise! On the next feeding attempt the cuckoo actually took the grasshopper from Nicole's hand for the first time ever! She is the first to attempt ever feeding a Banded Ground-Cuckoo, and the results have been incredible! So happy to have this experience!

Banded Ground-Cuckoo
A truly memorable experience with a spectacular bird!  Now, Edison Buenano and Diego Andrade will be offering special tour extensions to see this beautiful bird. Check out Sword Billed Expeditions or ask me for more information!

~ Jenn  

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