Birds by Bertrando Campos


Savanna Hawk (Heterospizias meridionalis)

The Savanna Hawk is widespread raptor of open country habitats throughout the lowlands of tropical and subtropical South America. The Savanna Hawk has a broad diet, and consumes a wide range of prey including small mammals, birds, crabs, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes and large insects. Its foraging strategy is equally diverse, and it will capture prey on the wing, from perches, or even by stalking on foot. Savanna Hawks can often be found walking through burning fields, a few feet behind the flames, searching for toasted prey. The plumage of the Savanna Hawk is a crisp cinnamon overall, with considerable gray patterning overlaying a rufous body.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

The Burrowing Owl is a unique, terrestrial owl widespread in open habitats in the Neotropics. It has a distinctive, rectangular shape, small head, and long legs. Birds are conspicuous and, although mostly crepuscular, are often active all day. They are often observed perched on a fence or standing on open ground, generally near a burrow. The owls roost and nest in these burrows, which are usually abandoned mammal holes. They are found in grassland, savanna, desert, agricultural land and at airports, along road edges, and in residential developments. They occur throughout the Neotropics, but are absent from heavily-forested portions of the Amazon basin and Central America. Mexican populations are augmented in winter by migrants from the United States and Canada.

Aplomado Falcon

Falcão-de-coleira (Falco femoralis). Female left, Male right. The term aplomado is Spanish and means “lead colored” referring to the dark blue-gray of the back of this handsome falcon. Below it is strongly patterned with a full dark vest contrasting with a paler breast and belly. The belly and vent is cinnamon in all forms, but the breast is whitish in North America – Central America, and cinnamon farther south in South America. All forms show a highly contrasting face with a bold pale supercilium, often whitish in front and cinnamon at back, a dark face stripe and moustache and pale cheeks. The Aplomado is a slim falcon with a long and strongly banded tail. It is a falcon of savanna, and grassland adjacent to shrubbery, in the north of the range including grassland adjacent to desert scrub. This is an incredibly broadly distributed raptor in the New World, found from the Southwest of the United States south to Tierra del Fuego, although it is absent from moist tropical forest, it is not found in the Amazon Basin for example. In the far north of its range it had suffered historical population declines and there is an active and successful program to bring it back to the United States southwest.

Young Aplomado Falcon

Falcão-de-coleira (Falco femoralis). The term aplomado is Spanish and means “lead colored” referring to the dark blue-gray of the back of this handsome falcon. Below it is strongly patterned with a full dark vest contrasting with a paler breast and belly. The belly and vent is cinnamon in all forms, but the breast is whitish in North America – Central America, and cinnamon farther south in South America. All forms show a highly contrasting face with a bold pale supercilium, often whitish in front and cinnamon at back, a dark face stripe and moustache and pale cheeks. The Aplomado is a slim falcon with a long and strongly banded tail. It is a falcon of savanna, and grassland adjacent to shrubbery, in the north of the range including grassland adjacent to desert scrub. This is an incredibly broadly distributed raptor in the New World, found from the Southwest of the United States south to Tierra del Fuego, although it is absent from moist tropical forest, it is not found in the Amazon Basin for example. In the far north of its range it had suffered historical population declines and there is an active and successful program to bring it back to the United States southwest.

Juvenile Savanna Hawk (Heterospizias meridionalis)

The Savanna Hawk is widespread raptor of open country habitats throughout the lowlands of tropical and subtropical South America. Like other members of the genus Buteogallus, the Savanna Hawk has a broad diet, and consumes a wide range of prey including small mammals, birds, crabs, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes and large insects. Its foraging strategy is equally diverse, and it will capture prey on the wing, from perches, or even by stalking on foot. Savanna Hawks can often be found walking through burning fields, a few feet behind the flames, searching for toasted prey. It is also the most distinctive member of Buteogallus: the plumage of other species predominately is black, but the plumage of the Savanna Hawk is a crisp cinnamon overall, with considerable gray patterning overlaying a rufous body.

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum)

The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is one of the most widespread birds of the lowlands of the Neotropics; the distribution of the species extends from the southern United States south to central Argentina. This species occurs in a wide variety of habitats. It does not occur in closed-canopy forest, although it is found at forest edge, but otherwise is found in almost any wooded habitat including arid scrub, dry forest, evergreen forests, coffee plantations, and towns. Most Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are generally rufous ("ferruginous") in color, especially east of the Andes, but the plumage also may be a duller brown or gray-brown. This species shares the common pygmy-owl plumage pattern, with two large black marks ("false eyes") on the back of the neck, and white underparts with coarse streaks. It can be difficult to distinguish from other species of Glaucidium strictly by sight; the adult of the Ferruginous has short white streaks on the crown, however, but most of other species have spotted crowns. The song, a long series of short whistles, is a familiar sound; pygmy-owls often respond aggressively to imitations of this song, approaching the source in a rapid, direct flight. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls sometimes are active by day, although they primarily are crepuscular. They prey on large insects and small vertebrates, including small birds that may be almost as large as the owl. [Source: http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=212056].

Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima)

The Yellow-headed Caracara is a small, pale caracara of open habitats in lowlands from Costa Rica south to northern Argentina and Uruguay. It is mostly buffy-yellow, with a narrow dark eye line, dark brown upperparts, and dark brown banding on the tail. It inhabits agricultural land, grassland, savanna, marshes, and, particularly in Amazonia, successional growth along river courses. It feeds on an assortment of items including carrion, arthropods, amphibians, and fruit, frequently freeding on the ground along or in small groups. The stick nest is constructed high in a tree, or on the ground where trees are unavailable. [Source: http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/identification?p_p_spp=132276].

Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) Juvenile

The Broad-winged Hawk is a small, brown hawk breeding primarily in the Nearctic. Breeders from the United States and Canada (subspecies platypterus) winter in southern Mexico, Central America, and northwestern South America south to western Ecuador, Bolivia, and northwestern Brazil. Spectacular numbers of migrants can be observed at sites in Mexico and Central America. Several additional subspecies are resident on Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Lesser Antilles. All subspecies are dark brown above, have a black tail with two white subterminal bands, have a brown face with a dark moustachial stripe, and are white below with heavy reddish-brown mottling. The Caribbean subspecies are generally whiter below with scattered brown speckling. On the breeding grounds, the northern subspecies of the Broad-winged Hawk feeds on rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and some arthropods by sitting-and-waiting from forest edge. The diet of these hawks in the Neotropics is poorly known, but wintering birds in South America may rely more on arthropods than they do during the breeding season. The nest is made of sticks and placed in a crotch of a tree.

King Vulture

All my birds photos are taken in their natural world. However, this picture is of a captive one, but I didn't hesitate to photograph it to show how impressive are the details of his head.The King Vulture is a large, striking bird of undisturbed lowland forests. Its body is largely white, with contrasting black remiges and a blackish neck ruff. The head and neck are bare and covered in protruding skin folds and intricate patterns of purple, orange, and yellow. Young birds are entirely dark, and attain the white plumage and colorful head and neck of adults gradually over the course of their first four years. Like other vultures, the King is a scavenger. It apparently lacks a developed sense of smell, so it must depend on other vultures to lead it to food. Its large size and powerful bill then allow it to dominate at a carcass, ripping into areas that the smaller vultures cannot reach. It nests on the ground or in tree stumps, and lays a single egg per nesting attempt.

White-tailed Hawk

The White-tailed Hawk is a large Buteo that is resident throughout much of the neotropics, from Texas in the United States and northern Mexico south to northern Patagonia. The White-tailed Hawk shuns more forested habitats, preferring semi-arid open country where it forages by soaring flight or hovering. They hunt for a broad range of prey items including many small to medium-sized mammals, reptiles (including snakes), and even large earthworms. Though formerly unrecorded from the central and southern Andes, recent exploration of semi-arid and arid habitat patches in rainshadow valleys, especially in Peru, have turned up previously unknown populations.

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

Caburé (Glaucidium brasilianum). The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is one of the most widespread birds of the lowlands of the Neotropics; the distribution of the species extends from the southern United States south to central Argentina. This species occurs in a wide variety of habitats. It does not occur in closed-canopy forest, although it is found at forest edge, but otherwise is found in almost any wooded habitat including arid scrub, dry forest, evergreen forests, coffee plantations, and towns. Most Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are generally rufous ("ferruginous") in color, especially east of the Andes, but the plumage also may be a duller brown or gray-brown. This species shares the common pygmy-owl plumage pattern, with two large black marks ("false eyes") on the back of the neck, and white underparts with coarse streaks. It can be difficult to distinguish from other species of Glaucidium strictly by sight; the adult of the Ferruginous has short white streaks on the crown, however, but most of other species have spotted crowns. The song, a long series of short whistles, is a familiar sound; pygmy-owls often respond aggressively to imitations of this song, approaching the source in a rapid, direct flight. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls sometimes are active by day, although they primarily are crepuscular. They prey on large insects and small vertebrates, including small birds that may be almost as large as the owl.

Tawny-browed Owl (Pulsatrix koeniswaldiana)

This Atlantic Forest endemic is found in humid tropical forest from sea level to at least 1500 m, in southeast Brazil to extreme northeast Argentina, and easternmost Paraguay. Generally similar in plumage to the much more widespread Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata), the head and upperparts are largely dark brown, contrasting markedly with the broad buffish-white facial markings, and buffy-orange underparts. The Tawny-browed Owl, like its congenerics, is usually found in pairs, which frequently duet, giving low, descending calls that accelerate towards their end. This owl feeds on birds and large insects, as well as small mammals, and is primarily nocturnal, although they may be active by late afternoon. However, very little is known concerning this species’ breeding behavior.

Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens)

The Crane Hawk is a gangly raptor found in a wide variety of habitats. Gray overall, adults have a distinctive white crescent on the undersides of their primaries, and a black-and-white banded tail. Their long, orange, "double-jointed" legs are used to reach into crevices and cavities to obtain snakes, nestling birds, bats, and other food items. This species soars infrequently, and usually is spotted flying low overhead or perching in a tree inside forest or at the forest border. Uncommon in most areas, the Crane Hawk occurs from northern Mexico south to northwestern Peru, and east of the Andes south to northern Argentina and Uruguay.