Mystery Bird of December – SOLVED

16 Dec

Many thanks to Jay (at, for identifying our December Mystery Bird! This colorful bird is a Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys), native to Costa Rica and Panama. Here’s some more info on it…

Golden Browed Chlorophonia -

Golden Browed Chlorophonia –

The golden-browed chlorophonia is found from northern Costa Rica to western Panama, where they are restricted to subtropical or tropical montane forests (usually just below treeline altitudes). The species is typically uncommon and somewhat local, being found in the canopy of highland forests on both Pacific and Caribbean slopes, but only at relatively high elevations (above 3,000 ft). It may venture lower in the wet season when food is scarce in the mountains.

Males are striking and easily identified birds with bright grass green upperparts, throat and upper breast, while the rest of the underparts and broad supercilium are yellow. There is also a patch of bright green on the lower flanks, and the crown is blue. Females are somewhat less distinctive, but share the blue crown and nape, and have some yellow on the underparts, but are otherwise mainly green.

Mystery Bird of December

Mystery Bird of December

Golden Browed Chlorophonia - by Joel Delgado

Golden Browed Chlorophonia – by Joel Delgado

This little bird is 5 inches long and weighs about 25g. It’s diet consists of mistletoe fruits, berries of various epiphytes, and figs. Also eats insects and spiders, and hunts by leaning forward to peek under leaves and branches. Its voice is a series of clear but melancholy and disconnected whistles; sometimes sounding like squeeky hinges. The nests are holes in mosses and other epiphytes, found high up (35-100 ft) on trees in mountain forest clearings. At least three eggs per brood. Regurgitates food to feed young.

Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Beautiful Birds


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