Pygmy Kingfisher, King Vulture, and more Kites!

Anna FasoliBird Sightings, Birding, Trip ReportsLeave a Comment

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Today was another great day of birding in Cattle Landing, Belize. The morning started out great with four new species for me. Early in the AM, I found a Red-legged Honeycreeper near my house sitting in the top of a tree. Soon after on a trek down a new road, a single Olive-backed Euphonia was foraging near a Greenish Elaenia, and an American Pygmy Kinfisher was sitting over a puddle! Nearby, a Dot-winged Antwren made a brief appearance after making a ton of noise in the forest. It only showed itself for a split second but a co-worker snapped a picture that allowed us to later confirm the ID.

American Pygmy Kingfisher (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

American Pygmy Kingfisher (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Olive-backed Euphonia (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Olive-backed Euphonia (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Greenish Elaenia (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Greenish Elaenia (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

King Vulture - adult (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

King Vulture – adult (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

After the morning bird walk, we all headed to the Cattle Landing Soccer field for another day of hawk counting for Belize Raptor Research Institute. Ryan Phillips, execute director of Belize Raptor Research Institute, arrived last night, and joined us for the day at the site along with birder Tom Bennet. The morning was once again great for close Hook-billed Kites, and a handful of Broad-winged Hawks and Mississippi Kites moved through as well. By days end we tallied 114 Hook-billed Kites, with the biggest kettle consisting of 32 individuals! Other highlighters were a light juvenile Swainson’s Hawk, and three King Vultures that perched within site of the soccer field as a small weather system moved in. I finally got a look at a Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, a raptor I had been missing over the last few days!

Swainson's Hawk crusing overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Light type immature Swainson’s Hawk crusing overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Masked Tityra flyover (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Masked Tityra flyover (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

White-collared Swift (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

White-collared Swift (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Sandwich Tern (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Sandwich Tern (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Hook-billed Kites overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Hook-billed Kites overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Hook-billed Kites overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Hook-billed Kites overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Hook-billed Kites overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Hook-billed Kites overhead (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

The afternoon was much slower with very little movement. A small group of Hook-billed Kites landed nearby late in the day, so after work we tried to get to the forest to find them on roost. The water was too deep to get in, though, so we instead drove around towards Belcampo and the Rio Grande to see if we could spot any other raptors. Highlights were an unidentified vireo-like flycatcher with an eyering, rufous in the primaries, and a yellow underbelly (No idea what this bird was; thoughts?), and a handful of other species that I had been hearing but not yet been able to identify. The road ended at the Rio Grande, which will be a great area for kayaking to find more kingfishers!