Laguna Blanca Rarity Reports

Straneck’s Tyrannulet (Serpophaga griseocapilla)

The Arroyito trail runs from the back of the base and starts as a small area of Transitional Forest then opens up to reveal a dried river bed which has scattered bushes and open sandy areas. This area was always worth investigating as there were several falls of birds in this area over the period of my stay.

On March 19th at 1125hrs I was observing small groups of birds moving around the area of the dried river basin when I noticed a small bird moving around in the lower branches of open bushes. I did not recognize this species and photographed it taking a shot of the side profile of the bird. The bird was observed in clear sunlight for approximately a minute from 8 to 10 metres away. I was using Zeiss Victory PL 8x42 binoculars and the bird was photographed using a Nikon D90 with a 70 – 300 Nikon Zoom lense.
A noted the bird was small in size had a short pointed black bill with a grey head with a white supercilliam with a thin black stripe running through the centre of the eye which was surrounded by a white eye ring. The breast was white to a light yellow heading down the belly. The legs were short and black. The mantle was grey green with darker wings with two distinct wingbars. The tail was proportionate to the body length and was dark.

I was unable to identify the bird I had photographed and sent the pictures to Paul Smith (Zoologist and Fauna Paraguay) who formally identified the bird as a Straneck’s Tyrannulet.

This species was the first record for Laguna Blanca.


Black Faced Tanager (Schistochlamys melanopis)

On April 11th I was sitting at the picnic table at the base. Sjouke Scholten walked down to the lagoon and scanned the small group of trees by the reedbed. He joined me at the table describing a Tanager sized bird with a black face. Sjouke got his bird book and showed me a Black Faced Tanager which matched his description of the bird.

I took my Nikon D90 with a 70 – 300 Nikon Zoom lens with me and scanned the same area with Sjouke looking for the bird. Sjouke saw the bird in one of the small trees as I raised my camera it flew across into a single small tree.

I took a couple of shots of the bird before I realized that it was being pursued by two Pale-breasted Thrush. I had seen this behavior from the thrushes before as a reaction to migrants that had sought a resting place on the Lagoon edges.

The bird was a tanager medium sized with a thick grayish bill with a black head. The black continued down into the bib. The back of the head was blue grey with slightly darker wings. The legs were dark.

Sjouke and I looked at the photographs to confirm the identity of the bird as a Black-faced Tanager. Paul Smith (Fauna Paraguay) was contacted and confirmation of this record as the third for Paraguay and first record for Laguna Blanca.

Grey-headed Gull (Larus cirrocephalus)

It was the 26th of March 2013 as I decided to walk onto the Arroyito track at the back of PLT. The decision to walk to the right instead of following the trail wasn't a bad choice. Heavy (windy) storms in the days before were good for a lot of birds to come down in the bushes and show themselves pretty good.

A scream out of the air (clear blue sky) was heard quite soon after I passed some bushes, it was really noisy noise in a quiet area. Not knowing what was heard, it sounded somewhat familiar (on family level). While I was scanning the air I found a white bird high up in the air, which looked white with long wings.

Once the bird was in my bino's I understood it was a gull, because I'm familiar with the so called 'jizz' of gulls in the Netherlands it was quite obvious.
With the sunlight from the side, the light part of the gull came out pretty nice. The white band in the neck and the white wing and tail parts were seen very clear. Also the darker head and wingtips were seen pretty good.

It was an adult bird, because the lack of brownish colours in the neck and brown tail band were missing, which fits on an immature bird.

Report by Sjouke Scholten

Grey-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis)

On March 27th I was walking along the main track with Sjouke Scholten towards the North Atlantic Forest. A broad winged raptor flew across the track. I took some pictures with my Nikkon D90 with a 70 – 300 Nikon Zoom lens.

The raptor was a medium to large sized with grey head and round white body with black and white barring through the tail. The wings were broad with six fingers. There were visible black shoulder patches with white and black and white barring throughout the wing to the black tips of the primaries. There was a secondary feather missing from the left wing as you look at the picture.

On March 31st I was walking through the Transitional forest with Sjouke Scholten when I saw a broad winged raptor that I recognized as a Grey-headed kite fly over a clearing in the forest.

The raptor was a medium to large sized with grey head and round white body with black and white barring through the tail. The wings were broad with six fingers. There were visible black shoulder patches with white and black and white barring throughout the wing to the black tips of the primaries. This bird did not have any missing wing feathers.

These records were the first for Laguna Blanca.


Collared Forest Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus)
A camera trap was set up at a salt lick in the North Atlantic Forest by Victoria Pinion. On April 15th and 16th two large raptors one an adult visited the salt lick. 

The adult was a large falcon with a black head with a visible broad yellow eye patch surrounding a dark eye. A yellow with grey tipped hooked bill. There was a distinctive white collar around the neck. The backs of the wings were black down to the very long black tail with white banding down to the tip of the tail. The thick long legs were yellow.

There are pictures of these birds which will be added to this report when they have been retrieved.

These falcons were identified as Collared Forest Falcon a first for Laguna Blanca.

Spot-billed Toucanet (Selenidera maculirostris)

On March 23rd I was walking the Arroyito trail during the afternoon. I was walking towards the stream when I noticed on the mound to my right I saw a medium sized Toucan moving in a tree. The bird was partially concealed in the foliage of the tree. I took photographs using a Nikon D90 with a 70 – 300 Nikon Zoom lens. I identified the bird as a Spot-billed Toucanet.
 On March 28th I was walking the Arroyito trail with Sean Gee we moved along the path towards the stream and as we approached the mound I saw the Spot-billed Toucanet perched in the tree. The bird remained still long enough for me to photograph it using my Nikon D90.


On both occasions I noted the large bill was white with three black patches towards the tip. The patch before the tip extended to the lower mandible. The head was thick set with a dark eye with fluorescent green broad eye patch. The top of the head was black with a yellow patch at the base of the neck. The breast was brown down towards the belly which was grey to yellow towards the vent. The vent was red with a black tail with brown tip. The wings were black and the feet grey.

Having compared the photographs taken on both days it is likely to be the same bird. These records were the first of this species at Laguna Blanca.


Pearly-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila pileata)

On April 25th I was walking a cleared trail in the Cerrado carrying out a McMillan and Timed Species Count with Sjouke Scholten. I noticed a seedeater perch up on a low lying bush. I took pictures with my Nikkon D90 with a 70 – 300 Nikon Zoom lens.

I viewed the bird through my Zeiss Victory PL 8x42 binoculars noted that the cap on the head was black with white cheeks. The bill was thick and black in colour. The breast and belly was white, the legs were dark. The bird sat motionless for a couple of minutes before dropping out of sight.

The photograph was sent to Paul Smith (Fauna Paraguay) for identification and was confirmed as a Pearly-breasted Seedeater which has been split from Capped Seedeater (Sporophila bouvreuil).

This was the first record for Laguna Blanca.


Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)

On March 31st at dawn Sjouke Scholten and I were walking the sandy track from the base along the E edge of the lagoon. As the track reached another at a small clearing I noticed a cuckoo sat tight in a small tree by the lagoons edge. The light was not good enough to attempt to take pictures so I looked at the bird through my Zeiss Victory PL 8x42 binoculars.

Sjouke confirmed the bird was a cuckoo he commented on the yellowish lower mandible on the bill. The bird was then chased out of the tree by two Pale-breasted Thrush and flew low up and over the trees towards the Mbopi trail.

I noted darker wings and head in contrast to the pale white underbody. As the bird flew upwards I saw a rufous edge to the primary feathers (ruling out Pearly-breasted Cuckoo) and the dark and light banding on the tail feathers. The bill was notably yellow through the lower mandible (Ruling out Dark-billed Cuckoo).

Despite our efforts the bird was not re-located.


Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys)

On March 7th At dawn I was walking towards the N Atlantic forest with Becca Smith. I saw two ducks (a pair) were on the S beach area of the Lagoon. I looked at the birds through my Zeiss Victory PL 8x42 binoculars. I took three pictures of the ducks that were almost side by side but the pictures were too blurred to define the species.

The male bird was more brightly coloured with a blue grey bill with a dark eye. The centre of the head was black the stripe running the base of the neck. The cheeks and face were an off brown to grey. The chest was light pink and had small black spots. The belly and flanks were blue grey with a green patch. The rump was patched black and white. The wings were a brown through to a rufous colour returning brown in the outer feathering.

The female was brown grey on the head with a thick white patch above the dark eye. The bill was duller grey. The chest and belly was a dirty grey with black speckling / spots. A green patch was more visible with black and white at the rump. The wings were more uniformly brown.

As the light improved both birds flew off SE. The white and green wing patches were visible in flight. I concluded that both birds were Ringed Teal.

This was the first record of this species at Laguna Blanca.                      


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