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Trogon or Cuckoo from Samara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica


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I saw a trogon-sized brown bird in February in Samara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. I thought at the moment that it was a female coppery-tailed elegant trogon, but it seems like the more popular similar bird in that area is a squirrel cuckoo. I got a picture behind a bunch of branches as it moved away. Any thoughts on what bird this is?image.thumb.jpeg.38f61ccde47baf8ab7c0c51af76ef06b.jpeg

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Looks like a Squirrel Cuckoo to me (that was my immediate impression, before I read the message).

(What was its movement like? Squirrel Cuckoos tend to make a lot of big motions, while Trogons tend to be a bit more stealthy. The name comes from their kind of large, wavy movements, reminiscent of a squirrel jumping along a branch.)

Edited by aveschapinas
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  • 2 weeks later...

It just sort of flew from one tree to the tree right next to it. Nothing remarkable. It just slowly made its way further back into the canopy until it was difficult to see.

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OK. I'm not familiar with the coppery-tailed Elegants, so I looked at some pics. I don't see any white near the eye, which I think should be visible even in this shot. And it's hard to say for sure but I'm seeing the tail as reaching to past the clump of pink blossoms, which would be long for a Trogon but just right for a Squirrel Cuckoo. Did you get a good enough look to judge the length of the tail? Did you see the thin white line on the breast (for the Trogon)? Was the underside reddish (Tfogon) or buff/cream-colored (Squirrel)? It appears that the upper chest is off-white, which fits for Squirrel Cuckoo but not Trogon. The bill also looks a bit too long and thin for a Trogon. This really looks like a squirrel cuckoo to me. The behavior seems to fit too; I've more often seen Trogons sit perched for long periods of time, then fly away; Squirrel Cuckoos definitely often move about in short distances like you described. 

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Looking at some featured photos in eBird, I see that the Coppery-Tailed variety pics all come from Arizona, and the ones from Costa Rica are the normal Elegants (along with one from Guatemala). Is Coppery-Tailed even in range for Costa Rica? 

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