After a long day on the Kabalebo River we went back downstream to the lodge.While the boats man and his assistant were trying to pass the strong currents, we also caught something spectacular passing by. It was a small bird flying low over the Kabalebo River and was first hiding behind the vine tangles hanging over the river.
At first glance we thought it was the Spangled Cotinga (same turquoise bright blue), but as it was much smaller in size, we had a better look and there it was sitting on an exposed branch above the river. It was the Swallow Tanager.
The Swallow Tanager (Tersine Viridis) is actually one of a kind in the Tanagers' family. Apparently it is a seasonal bird, as it is usually seen in the period June - February.
It is one that you can also find in other Latin- American countries (from Panama all the way to Argentina), but in the Guiana's it is one bird that you seldom see out in the open.
One of the reasons why, is that the Swallow Tanager is a canopy bird. Meaning it likes to perch high up in the trees. And second, due to its small size (14 - 15 cm) you can easily miss it while you are on a boat trip.
The Swallow Tanager makes a swift or swallow like flight and just like the regular tanagers it also devours invertebrates (insects), fruits and berries.
Right before the boat went around the corner we saw that the male tanager was not alone. He was with a female Swallow Tanager.
Usually female birds are less colorful compared to their partner, but not with the Swallow Tanager. Swallow Tanagers nests in burrows in River or Dirt banks.
This was the first time we spotted the Swallow Tanager in Kabalebo. So whenever you are on a boat trip, keep your eyes and ears open as maybe you may also see a newbie.
This newsletter was written by Armida Madngisa.