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Bird List for Caño Colorado

Updated on January 19, 2014

More Venezuela Birding Information

Caño Colorado: Just The List, Please...

While this is certainly not complete, and every trip yields more new species to the list, below is a list of the bird species I have been able to record at Caño Colorado State Forest near Maturín, Venezuela. For more specific information on the site, please see the detailed guide to Caño Colorado here.

Caño Colorado is an hour's drive from Maturín, the capital city of the state of Monagas. It can be easily reached by following the road past Maturín's airport, passing the town of La Pica. Follow this road straight for long enough, and pavement turns to a clay and dirt track that, after several kilometers, dead ends at Caño Colorado itself.

List of the Birds of Caño Colorado

Red-legged Tinamou
Green-rumped Parrotlet
Pied Water-Tyrant
Little Tinamou
Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet
Rusty-margined Flycatcher
Least Grebe
Blue-headed Parrot
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet
Pied-billed Grebe
Orange-winged Parrot
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Squirrel Cuckoo
Lesser Kiskadee
Neotropical Cormorant
Little Cuckoo
Cinnamon Attila
Whistling Heron
Greater Ani
Yellow Tyrannulet
Capped Heron
Smooth-billed Ani
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Cocoi Heron
Striped Cuckoo
Yellow-Olive Flatbill
Little Blue Heron
Barn Owl
White-headed Marsh-Tyrant
Snowy Egret
Tropical Screech-Owl
Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher
Cattle Egret
Mottled Owl
Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant
Striated Heron
Spectacled Owl
Streaked Flycatcher
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Burrowing Owl
Short-crested Flycatcher
Rufescent Tiger-Heron
Black-tailed Tityra
Zigzag Heron
White-tailed Nightjar
Black-crowned Tityra
Wood Stork
Short-tailed Swift
White-winged Becard
Maguari Stork
Fork-tailed Palm Swift
Cinereous Mourner
Green Ibis
Rufous-breasted Hermit
Short-tailed Pygmy-Flycatcher
Horned Screamer
Reddish Hermit
Guianan Schiffornis
White-faced Whistling-Duck
Green-breasted Mango
Grayish Mourner
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Black-throated Mango
Brown-chested Martin
Black Vulture
Blue-tailed Emerald
Gray-breasted Martin
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Goldenthroat
White-winged Swallow
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
Plain-bellied Emerald
Barn Swallow
King Vulture
Blue-chinned Sapphire
Rufous-and-White Wren
Pearl Kite
White-chested Emerald
Buff-breasted Wren
White-tailed Kite
Glittering-throated Emerald
House Wren
Snail Kite
Rufous-shafted Woodstar
Black-capped Donacobius
Plumbeous Kite
Green-backed Trogon
Tropical Mockingbird
Crane Hawk
Ringed Kingfisher
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Savannah Hawk
Amazon Kingfisher
Pale-breasted Thrush
Black-collared Hawk
Green Kingfisher
Bare-eyed Thrush
Grey-lined Hawk
Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher
Cocoa Thrush
Roadside Hawk
American Pygmy Kingfisher
White-necked Thrush
White-tailed Hawk
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Long-billed Gnatwren
Zone-tailed Hawk
White-necked Puffbird
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Northern Crested Caracara
Black-necked Aracari
Red-eyed Vireo
Yellow-headed Caracara
Channel-billed Toucan
Golden-fronted Greenlet
Laughing Falcon
White-throated (Red-billed) Toucan
Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Collared Forest-falcon
Scaled Piculet
Yellow Warbler
American Kestrel
Black-dotted Piculet
Northern Waterthrush
Aplomado Falcon
Red-rumped Woodpecker
White-shouldered Tanager
Bat Falcon
Golden-collared Woodpecker
White-lined Tanager
Rufous-vented Chachalaca
Spot-breasted Woodpecker
Silver-beaked Tanager
Crested Bobwhite
Ringed Woodpecker
Blue-gray Tanager
Lineated Woodpecker
Palm Tanager
Crimson-crested Woodpecker
Blue Dacnis
Gray-winged Trumpeter
Pale-breasted Spinetail
Purple Honeycreeper
Ash-throated Crake
Yellow-chinned Spinetail
Gray-necked Wood Rail
Plain Thornbird
Blue-black Grassquit
Purple Gallinule
Plain Xenops
Grey Seedeater
Common Gallinule
Point-tailed Palmcreeper
Lesson's Seedeater
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
Yellow-bellied Seedeater
Wattled Jacana
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater
Double-striped Thick-knee
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Lesser Seed-finch
Southern Lapwing
Straight-billed Woodcreeper
Saffron Finch
Greater Yellowlegs
Barred Antshrike
Grassland Yellow-Finch
Lesser Yellowlegs
Black-crested Antshrike
Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch
Solitary Sandpiper
Northern Slaty-Antshrike
Black-striped Sparrow
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Northern White-fringed Antwren
Streaked Saltator
Least Sandpiper
Jet Antbird
Grayish Saltator
Stilt Sandpiper
Black-chinned Antbird
Ultramarine Grosbeak
Pale-vented Pigeon
Silvered Antbird
Blue-Black Grosbeak
Ruddy Pigeon
White-bellied Antbird
Yellow-hooded Blackbird
Common Ground-Dove
Lance-tailed Manakin
Red-breasted Blackbird
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Crimson-hooded Manakin
Eastern Meadowlark
White-tipped Dove
Golden-crowned Manakin
Carib Grackle
Gray-fronted Dove
Tropical Kingbird
Shiny Cowbird
Ruddy Quail-Dove
Great Kiskadee
Giant Cowbird
Blue-and-Yellow Macaw
Variegated Flycatcher
Moriche Oriole
Red-and-Green Macaw
Cattle Tyrant
Yellow Oriole
Red-bellied Macaw
Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Orange-crowned Oriole
Red-shouldered Macaw
Swainson's Flycatcher
Yellow-rumped Cacique
White-eyed Parakeet
Social Flycatcher
Crested Oropendola
Brown-throated Parakeet
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Oriole Blackbird
Plain-crested Elaenia
Trinidad Euphonia
Spectacled Owl
Spectacled Owl | Source
American Pygmy Kingfisher
American Pygmy Kingfisher | Source
White-bellied Antbird
White-bellied Antbird | Source

Birds of Special Interest

Within Caño Colorado's environs, there are several species that are particular targets, specialties of the location, or species that can be much more difficult to locate elsewhere. These species are not the kind of species birders typically just "bump into", but often require a concentrated effort and some helpful tips to locate. Patience and persistence help too, of course...

Little Tinamou: Common in Caño Colorado, and constantly making their presence known with their eerie songs. These birds are incredibly shy and stealthy, so seeing them depends on not by them. They won't come onto an open trail willingly, so start by taking a step or two off the trail. Get situated in an area that covers your presence, but you can see out of easily. Playing a recording of their call will often lure them closer, but any quick movements from you will send them creeping back into the shadows.

Zigzag Heron: Shy, solitary, and silent. Your best strategy is to visit in late April, and search as quietly and stealthily as you can along forest rivers and back channels. They are the most likely to be seeing where there is a combination of concentrated fish populations with thick cover nearby.

Agami Heron: Similar habits to Zigzag Heron. They will rarely venture into the open, preferring to hunt underneath overhanging branches in shallow water.

Gray-winged Trumpeter: Trumpeters travel in family groups over the forest floor, and can be found in the várzea forests of Caño Colorado. They are much more wary where they are regularly hunted, so your best bet is to try to find them when they are the most active. Very early morning, just as it is becoming light enough to see, is the best. Listen for scratching noises in the leaf litter as the group moves through the forest.

Ash-throated Crake: These marsh birds skulk in thick waterside vegetation. Playing recordings can sometimes draw them out, and again early morning is the best chance.

Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet: Not particularly shy or retiring, but very local and seasonal. Caño Colorado is one of the few places where they reliably can be seen, generally from late May to June. Be on the lookout for noisy flocks flying overhead or groups foraging quietly in treetops.

Spectacled Owl: Hard to find, but only because they are active at night. Arrive a few hours before dawn to have a chance to hear their "giant bouncing ball" calls. They will be in mid to high levels in tall, mature forests.

Green-and-rufous Kingfisher: This species likes to perch quietly for long periods of time in dense vegetation over water. Your best bet in Caño Colorado is to walk along the banks of sloughs, channels, and forest pools, pausing for a few minutes and carefully searching thick overhanging vegetation.

American Pygmy Kingfisher: Very similar to Green-and-rufous Kingfisher. Stand still along river banks, and search carefully in dense vegetation. Your best chance is when the bird shifts position or changes perches.

Black-dotted Piculet: Easily spotted in the right area, but a localized regional endemic, and one of the more sought-after birds in Caño Colorado. They have a liking for pines and will generally be found in the midstory. Look for a small bird that looks more like a North American nuthatch than a woodpecker, often clinging and hanging upside-down to branches.

Point-tailed Palmcreeper: This is an extreme specialist in Moriche palms. You'll only find them in Morichales, and they can be extremely local. Luckily they are extremely vocal, and pairs are very territorial, so playing a recording or even whistling a basic imitation can illicit a very lively response. Look for them calling loudly from among the leaves of the palms.

White-bellied Antbird: This species is not likely to be seen far from Army Ants. They follow ant swarms to pick off prey animals fleeing from the ants, and will hang back in thicker vegetation around the edge of the swarm. First step is to locate an ant swarm, which fortunately is not hard to detect. Actually locating the swarm is the hard part, since they rove around through the forest unpredictably. Watch the forest floor for swarms of ants, and for more obvious ant followers, such as Plain-brown Woodcreeper.

Crimson-hooded Manakin: Not particularly difficult to spot, but a highly localized Caño Colorado specialty. The males are completely unmistakable, as there is no other flame-red, small bird likely to be found in the lower levels of the forest here. They will be most easily found in forested areas with a well-developed understory, so focus your efforts along trails, treefalls, and clearings, where there is enough light for understory plants to grow.

Black-chested Tyrant: The status of this enigma in Caño Colorado is not fully known. Specimens show that they do occur here, and some groups have been successful in locating them. The best locations will be quiet side tracks in várzea forest, preferably near water. Black-chested Tyrants can be difficult to locate, not because they are particularly shy, but because they will sit nearly motionless and silent for extended periods. Learn their calls, often mistaken for frog calls, to show you where they may be sitting.

Moriche Oriole: This mostly-black oriole is strongly tied to Moriche palms, as the name suggests. Finding a good patch of palms can be the hard part, but once located, search for the birds among the palm fronds. They will call from exposed perches early in the morning, so look for dead or bare trees near Moriches and be there around dawn for your best shot.

Recommended Resources

Venezuela can be an intimidating place to plan a vacation, especially for birders. Approximately 1,400 species call Venezuela home, with more species being discovered all the time.

The books below are absolutely indispensable for anyone birding and traveling in Venezuela. Whether you are a seasoned tropical birder, a veteran South American traveler, or a first-timer for both, I have found the books below to be worth their weight in gold, time and time again. Don't plan your trip without these books in your library, and don't leave home without them either!


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