BACKYARD BIRDING IN MERIDA, YUCATAN AND BEYOND – ABOUT FACE: A STUDY OF FACIAL FEATURES

Green Jay profile

This column is a wee bit different. I suggest you slow down to look at the colors and feather details of bird species that occur both in the Yucatan and in the US. We often give a quick check to identify the bird and move on to the next. But this time enjoy some whimsical poses plus comparisons of similar species or an adult to a juvenile.

For example, have you ever seen the feather fringe around the facial shield of a Common Gallinule? On the other hand, its cousin, the Purple Gallinule looks as if it is in shock.

Common Gallinule
Purple Gallinule

Speaking of shock, how about surprised looks from a Great Blue Heron chick then a Sandhill Crane. (In 1949 a single Sandhill Crane adult was first recorded in Quintana Roo, Yucatan and finally another adult in Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve in 2006. Barbara MacKinnon informed me they do migrate to Tamaulipis in winter.)

Great Blue Heron chick next to adult
Sandhill Crane, two have been recorded in the Yucatan, one in 1949 and the other in 2006.

Let’s compare the Cindy Crawford black beauty mark and the Amy Winehouse blue-lined eyes of the White-winged Dove face with the partial black collar of the much larger, non-native Eurasian Collared-Dove. Plus the White-winged Dove sports a blush of yellow-gold behind that black cheek spot. Males usually have more color there and their head and neck than females.

White-winged Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove

Now enjoy a few more as you appreciate the diversity of their faces.

One of the many beautiful birds of the Yucatan, the Green Jay. Its range also includes South Texas.
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Limpkin with snail
Northern Cardinal
Juvenile Crested Caracara
Crested Caracara adult
Great Egret with shrimp
Great Horned Owl
Roseate Spoonbill

LIST OF SPECIES:

Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata, Gallineta Frente Roja (Spanish)

Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica, Gallineta Morada (Spanish)

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, Garza Morena (Spanish)

Sandhill Crane, Antigone canadensis,

White-winged Dove, Zenaida asiatica, Paloma Alas Blancas (Spanish), Saak pakal (Mayan)

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, Paloma de Collar Turca (Spanish)

Green Jay, Cyanocorax yncas, Chara verde (Spanish), Ses ib (Mayan)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis, Pijije Alas Blancas (Spanish), Pijiiji (Mayan)

Limpkin, Aramus guarauna, Carrao (Spanish), Korrea (Mayan)

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, Cardenal Rojo (Spanish), Chakts’iits’ib (Mayan)

Crested Caracara, Caracara cheriway, Caracara Quebrabtahuesos (Spanish)

Great Egret, Ardea alba, Garza Blanca (Spanish)

Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus, Búho Cornudo (Spanish), Tunkuruchu (Mayan)

Roseate Spoonbill, Platalea ajaja,Espátula Rosada o Chocolatera (Spanish)

DISCLAIMER: REFERENCES DO NOT ALWAYS AGREE ON INFORMATION:

Barbara MacKinnon email communication, Sal a Pajarear Yucatán, Bird & Reserves of the Yucatan Peninsula, A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and North Central America, The Sibley Guide to Birds,

North American Birds  Vol 65 #3 (2011)  Birds of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

Cherie Pittillo, “nature inspired,” photographer and author, explores nature everywhere she goes. She’s identified 56 bird species in her Merida, Yucatan backyard view. Her monthly column features anecdotes about birding in Merida, Yucatan and also wildlife beyond the Yucatan.

Contact: all4birdies@gmail.com  All rights reserved, ©Cherie Pittillo



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