Number 2 in this year’s bird monitoring – for the third time in a row – goes to the Orange-bellied Euphonia (Euphonia xanthogaster). 185 individuals were observed (167 heard; 18 seen). This is another omnipresent bird which is easily observed in our reserve between the lowest end and roughly 2.200m. It becomes somewhat rarer in the higher altitudes. Typically one male and one female are observed together and they join mixed flocks of Tanagers although they seem to be somewhat less tied to them.
It used to be grouped with the Tanagers (Thraupidae), but is now thought to be part of the Finch Family (Fringilidae). It has a confunsingly wide range of calls and songs. However – it is not very shy and easily observed feeding on fruits of trees and especially hanging upside down on the spadix’ of Anthurium sp. picking berries.
Even around the lodge you don’t have to wait for a very long time if you want to observe one. They are commonly seen in the bushes and trees there.
Although it might be a detection problem, but the data shows that in the early monitoring years this species was not in the very top positions of observed individuals. In 2010 and 2011 it wasn’t even in the Top 10 which MIGHT imply that it has become more common in Santa Lucía over the last years. It is the only Euphonia species that’s common in Santa Lucía.