Reader Robert Lang sends a passel of bird photos taken in Costa Rica. His notes are indented:
We spent a lot of time on Costa Rican rivers (on the Pacific side) and canals (on the Caribbean), and so saw quite a few wading birds and other aquatic denizens.The Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) is also called the Snake Bird because of the way it coils and strikes its prey. It is a diving bird without waterproof feathers, so they spend a fair amount of time with their wings out drying, as this male is doing.
The Anhinga is similar to the Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus): also dark, with a long (but not quite as snaky) neck.
I shot two photos of the same Green Heron (Butorides virescens), which has many colors on it, none of them particularly greenish; most of the time they look like a little round ball with a beak on stilts, but this one decided to roust itself briefly and pretend it was a kingfisher.
There are Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias), which are blue with a lighter underside and distinctive markings on the head.
But I find far more beautiful the Little Blue Herons (Egretta caerulea), which are the most gorgeous uniform blue color.
Also among herons, we found a Boat-Billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius), hiding in the bushes:
The Bare-throated Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum) has a gorgeous pattern of fine stripes on its body. This one had just caught something unidentifiable:
The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea), like many other birds, has very different coloration between juvenile and adult forms:
The adult Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) is striking with a chocolate brown body, black head, and yellow bill:
The juveniles of the Northern Jacana are much more ordinary-looking. Like many water birds that feed in floating mats of vegetation, they have huge feet that let them walk on the floating plants without punching through.
There are three big white egrets to be seen. The most common are the Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis), which are medium-sized with yellow bills and legs. Despite their ubiquity, I didn’t get any good pictures.I got the others, though; the Royal (or Great) Egret (Ardea alba) is the largest. It can be identified from its yellow bill and black legs and feet (though the latter are often not visible).
The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) has a black bill, black legs, and yellow feet; it looks like it’s wearing yellow slippers.