Three-wattled Bellbird and Stub-tailed Spadebill

Two of the most interesting species of birds that inhabit Tranquilo Bay´s trails, have been very active lately, during the past month almost every time I go to the trail, I got to see them or, at least, I heard them calling. I am talking about the Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculata) and the Stub-tailed Spadebill (Platyrinchus cancrominus).

Birding Panama

The unmistakable sound of the Three-wattled Bellbird surrounding you, almost “hitting” you, happens only part of the year because during the breeding season (March- mid August) they are on higher ground (2300 -7000 feet). L.S. Crandall gives this explanation of the calling behavior, which I consider very precise (Zoologica, 1948, pp.113-114,pl.1) “The mouth is open widely, until the lower mandible approximates a right angle to the upper … the body is then pumped rapidly up and down for about five seconds. This movement then ceases and with the body, legs and wings rigid, as violent convulsion of the throat and neck is followed by the sharp metallic bell.”

Three-wattled Bellbird Once you hear the sound, it is unforgettable, and the first thought is always the same … How does it make it? followed by .. Where is it? Because they like to be in open perches in the canopy so they are normally under cover of leaves if you look up from the bottom of the trees. Now it is a very good time to get delighted by their call and their beauty.

Panama Birdwatching In the case of the Stub-tailed Spadebill, it is a year round neighbor in the forested islands of Bocas del Toro Archipelago, and only here … because this species is subplanted by the Golden-crowned Spadebill in Bocas del Toro mainland.

Even living here within the Tranquilo Bay forest all year-long, he is a very secretive bird, you can hear them but the call doesn’t always repeat, it is not the case now because they are very active, calling and playing around. You can see these “little balls” hopping around one after the other, providing also a great opportunity to make some good photographic shots.

Birding at Tranquilo Bay

Morning Birding Session

Birdwatching Panama

A few weeks ago I went for a short morning walk around Tranquilo Bay’s gardens, to check on some of the plants I had planted recently.  In the end, I had one of the most amazing birding days I have experienced on site. I had the good fortune to be outside when things started to get active.  So I had two wonderful hours of great bird watching.

Panama Birding

Some of the highlights were two Broad-winged Hawks, a young one attacking an adult one, in front of my eyes, three young Three-wattle Bellbirds, practicing their calls, and a Stub-tailed Spadebill, playing with me while I tried to capture its picture.   On the trail during my wonderful walk, I spotted a Green Iguana, climbing to the canopy of the forest, just to make my morning even better.

Wildlife Panama

Here is the list of what I saw and heard (H):

Magnificent Frigatebird
Cattle Egret
Little Blue Heron
Green Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Double-toothed Kite
Gray-necked Wood-rail H
White-throated Crake H
Short-billed Pigeon
Pale-vented Pigeon
Red-lored Parrot
Blue-headed Parrot
Stripe-throated hermit
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Violet-crowned Woodnymph
Band-tailed Barbthroat
Blue-chested Hummingbird
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Lineated Wookpecker
Western Slaty-Antshrike
Chestnut-backed Antbird
Dot-winged Antwren
White-flanked Antwren
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Dusky-caped Flycatcher
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Stub-tailed Spadebill
Three-wattled Bellbird
Red-capped Manakin
Golden-collared Manakin
Masked Tityra
Lesser Greenlet
Barn Swallow
Bay Wren H
House Wren
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Long-billed Gnatwren H
Gray Catbird H
Northern Waterthrush
Yellow Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Bananaquit
Blue-gray Tanager
Tawny-crested Tanager
Passerini´s Tanager
Green Honeycreeper
Plain-colored Tanager
Buff-throated Saltator
Variable Seedeater
Summer Tanager
Red-throated Ant Tanager
Blue-black Grosbeak
Montezuma Oropendola
White-vented Euphonia