When we went to the Belize Zoo on a day trip from Lower Dover Jungle Lodge, we got a lot of “cheap shots”, which is fine because wildlife photographers have been taking them at the Belize Zoo for years. Because of the zoo’s unique natural setting, National Geographic used to shoot jungle action videos from the cages of the Belize Zoo.
This time we didn’t have a cage, but this Plain Chacalaca decided to stop at a feed dish to eat some of the fruit left for one of the animals. These birds have it nice at the zoo with cut fruit! They have to pick it off the trees at Lower Dover, but that makes for a bunch of opportunites.for great bird pics.
While on our day tour to the Belize Zoo from Lower Dover Jungle Lodge we noticed something. There were just as many animals outside the cages as inside! The Belize Zoo is located in native habitat to many of these birds and other various small mammals, so it is not uncommon to get a few unexpected wildlife photographs on your trip.
In this case, we saw both the male and female Russet Antshrike. We found it difficult to identify this bird species. The red eyes helped. So did the bill. In the end we settled with Russet Antshrike given the similarities between sexes as noted by Birds of Belize, by H. Lee Jones.
Birding has been great at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge lately. The Wild Grape trees that line our jungle hotel grounds are prime habitat for all kinds of birds, especially when the trees are fruiting. Recently, two birds stopped by to eat it’s seeds while we were bird watching on the 100 jungle acres in Belize.
The olive and yellow bird is a female White-Collared Manakin. The other bird is one of two subspecies of Yellow-Throated Warblers found in Belize, Dendroica dominica. We know these birds in the picture are not the same species because of their different shaped bills.
H. Lee Jones describes the female White-Collared Manakin as olive with a yellowish body in his book, Birds of Belize. Jones helps birders differentiate the male Yellow Throated Warbler between subspecies by noting the yellow fore-half of the supercilium of the subspecies seen. The other subspecies, Dendroica albilora is without yellow on the supercilium (above the eye).
Click on the image above for a close up to see the yellow over the Warbler’s eye.
We caught a quick bird photo of this Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet while hiking along the medicinal plant trail at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge. Lower Dover has plenty of flycatchers to see, including the Great Kiskadee, our logo’s inspiration.
According to Birds of Belize, by H. Lee Jones, the Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet does not have the colorful markings common in flycatchers. Rather, it is the distinct, bright orange lower mandible, that identifies this jungle bird (click on the photo for a better look). Tropical birdwatchers will find the Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet sometimes hanging upside down while gleaning insects. Maybe you can get that bird photograph while visiting Lower Dover Jungle Lodge!