Wednesday, March 24, 2010

White-throated Magpie-Jay

White-throated Magpie-Jay, Calocitta formosa, Guatemala. The specific epithet of the scientific name, formosa, means "beautiful". Very apropos.

One of the craziest, eye-catching, surefire crowd-pleasers that we saw on our recent foray into Guatemala were the magpie-jays. Our group saw quite a few, and every one of them elicited shouts and raised binoculars. These are truly spectacular animals: big, brash, loud, massively tailed and insanely crested.

One can almost see the influence this species had on Mayan art. Mayans were - and are - keen observers of nature, and impressively showy birds such as this one made an impact on them.

We saw or heard about 315 bird species on this trip, including five other species of jay, but the raucous magpie-jays may have been my favorite.


Rebecca said...

This is definitely one of the birds I was saddest about missing when I went to Costa Rica a year ago. Alas, I have only seen them in a zoo.

Just discovered your blog as a result of browsing the Nature Blog Network - as a fellow (though much less experienced) Ohio naturalist and nature blogger, it immediately got added to my subscription list! Looking forward to reading more.

Jim McCormac said...

Glad you like the blog, Rebecca, and sorry you missed the WTMJ! Think of it as an experience still to be savored!