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322 Cherrie, List of Birds of San fose, Costa Rica. [October 

A PRELIMINARY LIST OF THE BIRDS OF SAN 
JOSE, COSTA RICA. 

BY GEORGE K. CHERRIE. 

{Concluded from p. 251.) 

94. Milvulus tirannus. — At a slightly lower altitude it nests abun- 
dantly. A nest with three fresh eggs taken by Don Anastasio Alfaro at 
Tambor, Alajuela, May 2, 1889, was placed in a small tree, about ten feet 
from the ground. The parent bird left the nest only very reluctantly and not 
until almost within the grasp of the collector. The nest is constructed of 
a mixture of small dry grass and weed stems and soft dry grass rather 
compactly woven together, with a lining of a few tine rootlets. It meas- 
ures outside 5 inches in diameter by 2! deep, inside 2 J in diameter by 2| 
deep. The eggs are white, sparsely spotted and blotched, chiefly about 
the larger end, with chestnut of slightly varying shades. In form the 
eggs are ovate, and they measure .66 X .88, .65 X 88. and .63 X .89 inch. 

95. Tityra personata. — From time to time found about San Jose, its 
presence or absence being due to the ripening of certain fruits. My ob- 
servations have been that the bird feeds chiefly on fruits. The species is 
found on both coasts, and in the interior up to an altitude of 6000 feet. 

Young males resemble the females. 

My observations are at variance with those of Mr. Salmon, in regard to 
the color of the egg being white, as given by Salvin and Godman in their 
'Biologia Centrali-Americana.' March 22, 1892, I found a nest of this 
species at Terraba (southwestern Costa Rica), containing one egg; the 
bird was shot and a second egg badly broken removed from the oviduct. 
In these the ground color is a dark pinkish buff; the ground color is 
almost completely hidden by irregular markings, lines, and blotches, of 
chestnutbrown, these blotches darkest and most abundant about the larger 
end. The eggs measure 1.16 X .83 inch. The nest was probably a de- 
serted Woodpecker hole, and was situated about six feet from the ground 
in an old stump. The bottom of the nest was about ten inches below the 
opening. It was without any lining whatever. However, I saw a second 
pair of birds carrying nesting material into a hole in another tree. 

96. Chiroxiphia linearis. — A rare straggler at San Jose\ Tolerably com- 
mon on the Pacific slope dear to the coast. Young birds resemble the 
adult female. 

97. Momotus lessoni. — Common resident. The nests are built in the 
ground, some bank, like the side of a stream, being selected. The entrance 
tunnel extends back horizontally sometimes for a distance of six feet. 
At about half its length there is a sharp bend upward for some six inches, 
then the course is again horizontal as far as the chamber occupied by the 
nest. The nest space is twelve or fourteen inches in diameter, being 
round, and about six inches high with level floor and ceiling. A few 



1892.] Cherrie, List of Birds of San Jose, Costa Rica. 323 

rather coarse dry twigs are strewn over the floor. The eggs I am not 
acquainted with. Mr. Jose C. Zeledon, to whom I am indebted for the 
above notes, also tells me that if one of these nests be opened at about the 
time the young are ready to leave the nest, it is found to be one of the 
dirtiest, foul smelling places that can well be imagined. The young 
birds occupy the centre of the nest, while all about them and especially at 
the sides of the opening are piles of the excrement mixed with the pellets, 
composed of the hard chitinous parts of beetles and other insects com- 
posing the chief food of the 'Bobos,' that are ejected from the mouth. 
This mass is reeking with maggots. 

At the time the young leave the nest they are able to fly pretty well. 
They have the same colors as the adults. But the bill is much shorter, 
more depressed, and the edges without the serration seen in the adults. 
The tail is shorter than the wings and nearly square. The eye is sepia 
brown, not chestnut as in the old bird. 

On the 8th of May, 1889, I bought four live young birds, the pin feathers 
not yet concealed and the eye light sepia brown. By the 25th of the same 
month the iris had changed to a decided chestnut shade, they were fully 
feathered and the tail of one of the birds measured 3.55 inches. On the 
28th the birds commenced imitating the notes of the adults; their eyes 
had become bright chestnut. With the first utterances of the notes of 
the adults the peculiar jerky motions of the tail commenced. It was most 
amusing to watch the four birds sitting in a row together, almost motion- 
less, only giving the tail first a jerk to this side, then to that, now up, and 
now down, to see it held for the space of a couple of minutes almost at 
right angles to the body, and then go with a whisk to the other side, the 
birds all the time uttering their peculiar cooing notes. 

May 30, I measured the tail of one of the birds and found it to be 4.25 
inches, an increase of .70 inch in five days. I fed the birds on raw meat, 
and about this time they began to fight vigorously for their shares. If two 
happened to get hold of the same piece, neither was willing to let go and 
each would close its eyes and hang on for dear life, both squealing as 
hard as they could. June 3, the serration of the bill began to show. 
June 16, the tails were apparently fully grown, and the birds began to tear 
at the webs at the points of the middle pair of feathers. By the 1st of July 
the tail-feathers were fully trimmed. My Bobos are often restless at night. 
Frequently, when at work in the museum until eleven or twelve at night, 
I have heard them jumping about in their cage and answering to each 
other's notes. 

On one occasion I found the stomach of a bird I had shot filled with 
snails of a species having a delicate, easily crushed shell. The birds I 
have in confinement greedily eat earth worms. And one day when I had 
placed a small live Warbler in the cage, I returned in about half an hour's 
time and found the feet and tail of my Warbler protruding from the mouth 
of one of the Bobos ! 

98. Ceryle cabanisi. — Tolerably common resident. The Costaricans call 
them ' Correo de Agua.' I have not succeeded in finding the nest. 



324. Cherrie, List of Birds of San Jose, Costa Rica. [October 

Young birds differ but slightly from the adults ; in young males the brown 
band across the chest is but ill defined. The species is found on both 
coasts and to an altitude of 8000 feet. 

99. Chordeiles texensis. — I have never met with the species myself. 
There are, however, two examples in the collection of the Museo Nacional. 
Both were collected at San Jose by Sr. Don Anastasio Alfaro, the first 
(a male) Nov. 6, and the second (a female) Nov. 7, 1S88. 

100. Nyctidromus albicollis. — Abundant resident, found from an 
altitude of about 8000 feet down to both coasts. Known here by the name 
' Cuyeo.' 

There are many superstitions, current among the country people, re- 
garding the Cuyeo. For example, it is a very bad omen to have the 
Cuyeo cross your path in the evening. And foolish indeed would be he 
rash enough to shoot at this agent for working untold evil ; fortunate 
might he consider himself did he escape with no greater mishap than the 
breaking or twisting of his gun barrel ! Yet in spite of all evils attributed 
to the bird, if one can be secured its happy posessor is overjoyed with the 
consciousness of holding the wherewithal to work a charm infallible — to 
bind, with cords as true as steel, heart the most fickle, change coldest disre- 
gard into fond caressing. To work this miracle the heart is removed and 
dried over a slow fire until it may be crushed into a powder. The body of 
the bird is buried for a time sufficiently long for the soft parts to decay. 
Then the bones are carefully collected together, washed, dried, tied into a 
bundle, and carried in the pocket. All is now ready. The object of the 
lover's fancy is invited to a drink. A little of the powdered heart is secretly 
sprinkled in the liquor. Once drunk, the fires of love begin to burn ! 

The heart of the Cuyeo, dried, and bones of the Lechusa (Owl), carried 
in the pocket give one success in love affairs. But the philter that "is 
absolutely certain " in its working is composed of a powder made from 
the dried hearts of the Cuyeo, Lechusa, and Gorrion (Hummingbird). 

101. Chaetura brunneitorques. — Resident about San Jose, but not 
common. 

102. Cypseloides niger. — There is a single specimen in the Museo 
Nacional collection, taken at San Jose" by Mr. J. C. Zeledon. There is a 
note on the back of the label stating that the bird was breeding. 

103. Campylopterus hemileucurus. — Rare visitant about San Jose. 
Tolerably common at a little lower altitude. 

104. Floricola longirostris. — I took a single specimen Sept. 16, 1891. 

105. Floricola constanti? — A rather common resident. In the ten ex- 
amples before me all have the chin blackish and the throat metallic 
crimson with the feathers tipped with gray. This character, according to 
Elliot's 'Synopsis,' belongs to J 1 ', leocadice, and not to constanti, the form 
supposed to be found in Costa Rica. 

106. Trochilus colubris. — Very rare visitant at San Jose. 

107. Lophornis adorabilis. Mr. J. C. Zeledon took a single example 
at San Jose. The bird is tolerably common in the open prairie country 
about Boruca in southwest Costa Rica. 



H892-] Cherrib, List of Birds of San Jose, Costa Rica. 5 2C 

108. Amazilia fuscicaudata. — The most abundant species about San 
Jose, and indeed the most abundant species found on either coast and up 
to an altitude of about 6000 feet. I believe that this species is nesting in 
■every month in the year. Nests are usually placed about fifteen feet from 
the ground in either orange or lemon trees. A nest before me is con- 
structed of some soft fibre much resembling hemp tow. There are a few 
•lichens covering the outside, and an inner lining of a little native cotton. 
The nest, somewhat eliptical in form, measured ij inches deep, by 2 
inches long, and ij wide. Inside li by J, by 4 deep. The two eggs, 
white in color and eliptical ovate in form, measure .53 X .37 inch. 

109. Amazilia sophiae. — Tolerably common resident, 
no. Chlorostilbon salvini. — Tolerably common resident, 
in. Chlorostilbon angustipennis. — Resident. Not common. 

112. Crotophaga sulcirostris. — The 'Tijo' of the Costaricans is one of 
the most abundant birds found in the country, ranging, as it does, from 
both coasts to an altitude of about 7000 feet. 

Mr. Alfaro has kindly given me his manuscript notes on the nesting of 
this species, which I have translated from the Spanish and present below. 

"The Zopilotillo [so-pee-lo-te'e-yo], also known as 'Tijo, tijo' [te'e-ho] 
in imitation of its peculiar notes which seem to repeat the word tijo over 
and over again, is very abundant in the fields near Tambor (a little 
town about twenty miles northwest of San Jos£) where along the hedge- 
rows and in the scrubby timber, as well as on the skin of the cattle they 
find those insects which constitute their food. The woodticks, or garro- 
patos, from the legs and about the head and neck of the cattle are 
esteemed above all else a favorite morsel. In this locality I have col- 
lected three nests during the month of May, the first with nine eggs, 
the second with eleven, and the last with thirteen. Some years ago I 
remember seeing a nest, situated in the branches of a mango tree, that 
contained fourteen eggs. 

"The nests that I have collected agree with the observations made by 
Zeledon. The structure is voluminous, composed chiefly of coarse dead 
twigs, but presents one peculiarity not observed in any other bird, name- 
ly the nest being lined with fresh green leaves. My three specimens were 
all placed in low trees, and neither was found at a greater height than 
three metres. One had been built above an old nest of one of the larger 
Tyrannidae. 

"It will not be without interest, I think, to insert my observations rela- 
tive to one of these nests. On the 20th of May I noticed a Zopilotillo 
with a dry stick in its bill, which was immediately carried to a point in 
the hedgerow where it was deposited with three others. After assuring 
myself that the bird was building its nest there, I retired, with the inten- 
tion of returning at a more opportune moment. And when one week 
later I returned to the same spot, what was my surprise to see not only 
the nest completed and containing six eggs, but more than this: in the 
thorns and leaves about it were scattered seven more egg\ As a conse- 
quence, if that collection was not the work of the Zopilotillos collectively, 



T. 2 6 Cherrie, List of Birds of San 7<7se, Costa Rica. [October 

the poor owner, would have had to deposit three eggs daily ! In the find- 
ing of some of the eggs scattered in the leaves was revealed one of the 
architect's peculiarities. A hole had been left in the centre of the nest 
and only recently filled with leaves whose fresh green color testified that 
they had been cut and placed there later than the others forming the car- 
peting to the bottom of this common incubator. 

"The eggs were all fresh, the six occupying the nest having the charac- 
teristic rough white calcacerous surface perfectly clean and without the 
slightest variation in color. Not so with the eggs found about the outside 
of the nest. Those found in contact with the leaves had taken on a dirty 
yellowish tinge. Those held suspended among the leaves and thorns 
showed various spots and lines of the lustrous blue color forming the 
base for the chalky external coat. The scratches had been caused by a 
too close contact with the thorns. In form the eggs vary from an oval 
to an eliptical oval; while the following dimensions taken from various 
eggs of the set will serve to give an approximate idea of the great variation 
in size : 35 X 25, 32 X 26, 32 X 23, 30 X 25, and 29 X 23 mm." 

113. Diplopterus naevius. — A rare straggler at San Jose\ Tolerably 
common at lower altitudes and as far as the coast on the Pacific side. 
Young birds do not differ from the adults, young males resembling adult 
males, and young females resembling adult females. 

114. Piaya cayana mehleri. — An abundant species, found on both 
coasts and in the interior to an altitude of about 6500 feet. 

Young birds resemble the adults. 

From SeSor Alfaro's manuscript I take the following notes regarding this 
bird: "The Pajaro Ardilla [squirrel bird], like Crotophaga sulcirostris, 
according to Zeledon is insectivorous, and is found in all parts of the coun- 
try. It is so arrogant and confident in its habits as to have merited the not 
over flattering name of 'bobo' [fool]. Its cinnamon color and long tail, 
together with the habit it has at times of running along the branches, 
gives it a certain resemblance to a squirrel that justifies the application of 
the more common vernacular name. Like the Zopilotillo's the nest of 
this species is built in low trees, is very bulky, and has but little of the 
artistic about it. 

"On the 28th of May while searching about in some scraggy timber 
along the banks of the Rio de Poas I found a nest of this bird. When 
discovered, the female was on the nest, but she immediately deserted 
her post, not, however, going so far that she could not watch our move- 
ments, a precaution on her part that assisted in the collecting, in order to 
determine the sex, after assuring myself thatthe nest contained eggs. 

"The nest was placed about nine feet from the ground in the branches 
of a small tree, and was well concealed by the broad leaves of some climb- 
ing plant. In its construction there was employed nothing but half de- 
cayed leaves, making its removal and preservation impossible. The two 
eggs, which were fresh, are an opaque white, without markings, eliptical 
oval in form, and measure 35 X 24 and 33 X 24 mm." 

115. Coccyzus minor. — Very rare about San Jose\ Found on both 



1S92.] Cherrie, List of Birds of San Jose, Costa Rica. 3~7 

coasts. Birds from the Atlantic coast seem to be decidedly the darkest 
(rather a dark buff below), those from the Pacific coast considerably 
paler, while specimens from the interior are palest. 

116. Coccyzus americanus. — I have taken three examples at San Jose\ 
all females, on Sept. 10, Sept. 28, and Oct. 20, 1890. 

117. Coccyzus erythrophthalmus. — I took a specimen in San Jose", Oct. 
1, 1890. It is found, as well, on both coasts, but is very rare. 

118. Campephilus guatemalensis. — Accidental at San Jose", but com- 
mon on both the Atlantic and Pacific slopes down to the coast line. 

119. Dryobates jardinii. — I include this bird in the list with some doubts. 
In the collection of the Museo Nacional there is a series of forty-six speci- 
mens, all, with the exception of four examples labeled as from San Jose*, 
coming from a much higher altitude. 

120. Centurus hoffmanni. — Tolerably common resident. Found on both 
coasts, and in the interior to an altitude of 6,500 feet. 

May 12, 1889, I found a nest of this species about 25 feet from the 
ground in an old rotten snag. This nest contained two fresh eggs. May 
26, 1889, I found a second nest containing three fresh eggs. This nest was 
only about three feet above the ground, in an old stump. It was one foot 
deep and the entrance opening was two inches in diameter. There was no 
lining. The male was on the nest when found, and was shot, but the female 
was not seen. The eggs are eliptical ovate in form, glossy white, and 
measure 1.02 X .70, 1.03 X .70, and 1.04 X .71 inch. 

121. Conurus petzii. — Irregular visitant about San Josfi. Most com- 
monly met with during the months of May and August. 

122. Conurus finschi. — Rare straggler about San Jos6. 

123. Strix pratincola guatemalae. — Tolerably common resident. 

124. Syrnium virgatum. — Tolerably common resident. Nesting prob- 
ably begins in the latter part of April, as young birds are found by the 
first of June. 

125. Megascops brasilianus. — Tolerably common resident. 

126. Megascops nudipes. — Very rare. Usually found at a higher alti- 
tude. 

127. Lophostrix stricklandi. — Rather rare resident. 

128. Glaucidium phalaenoides. — Tolerably common resident. This 
species seems to be as much awake as any other bird during the daylight. 
Frequently in the middle of the day I have found individuals perched in 
the branches of some dead tree, in the full glare of the sun, and at such 
times v they are very alert. As soon as one appears in sight they com- 
mence their peculiar jerky motion of the tail, and usually fly before one is 
within range. Not infrequently I have noticed this species perched very 
much after the manner of a Woodpecker. Ordinarily the food consists 
of insects, but I shot one specimen having the stomach full of the remains 
of some small bird. 

129. Falco albigularis. — A straggler at San Jos£, and, as far as I am 
aware, found only on the Pacific slope. August 10, 1890, I took a young 
male at San Jose. There were the remains of a bird in the stomach. 



72o Cherrie, List of Birds of San Jose, Costa Rica. [October 

130, Falco columbarius. — Dec. 4, 1890, Sr. Don Manuel Carranza* 
brought a fine example to the museum. This is the only specimen I have 
seen in Costa Rica. 

131. Falco sparverius. — In no part of the country is this Hawk resi- 
dent, although on the coasts it is not absent for more than four months of 
the year. At San Josd it is met with from the first of October until the 
last of February. The females predominate very greatly in num- 
bers. In the series of forty-one specimens belonging to the collection 
of the museum there are eight males and thirty-three females. The 
head of one of the males (Cartago, March, 1886) is without any sign 
of the rusty crown patch; the under parts are very pale, buffy, ochra- 
ceous; the spots, of a rounded form, cover the entire chest. The re- 
maining seven specimens all show the rusty crown patch more or less 
well defined. In all of these the spotting of the lower parts extends to the 
front of the chest, but in these the spots are linear, only varying very 
much in size and in number in the different specimens. 

132. Polyborus cheriway.— Rather rare about San Jose. When seen, 
usually in company with the Black Vultures. 

133. Circus hudsonius. — Tolerably common from the first of October 
until the end of February. 

134. Accipiter bicolor. — There are three specimens in the museum col- 
lection that were taken at San Jose. 

135. Accipiter velox. There is a single specimen in the museum collec- 
tion, taken at San Jose\ Jan. 8, 1884. 

136. Spizaetus ornatus. — Occasionally met with at San Jose. 

137. Thrasaetus harpyia. — A. von Frantzius in his list of birds of 
Costa Rica mentions a specimen taken near San Jose. 

138. Urubitinga anthracina. — A specimen was shot just north of San 
Jose on Nov. 29, 1890. 

139. Urubitinga urubitinga ridgwayi. — A rare straggler about San Jose. 

140. Rupornis ruficauda. — Not common at San Jose, but from a slightly 
lower altitude down to the Pacific coast very common. Not found on 
the Atlantic side. 

141. Parabuteo unicinctus harrisi. — There is one specimen belonging 
to the museum collection that was taken at San Jose. 

142. Buteo swainsoni. — Seen occasionally from the first of November 
until February 25. 

143. Buteo latissimus. — Noted from the last of November until the first 
of May. 

144. Buteo brachyurus. — Sept. 10, 1888, Senor Alfaro collected a fine 
male of this species at San Jose\ 

145. Catharista atrata. — Abundant resident, not only at San Jose, but 
in all parts of the country. 

146. Cathartes aura. — Not common, and only single individuals seen, 
always in company with the Black Vultures. 

147. Columba albilinea. — Rare about San Jose". At a slightly higher 
altitude abundant. Not uncommon at an altitude of 13,000 feet, at the 
very top of the volcano of Irazu. 



1S92.] Cherrie, List of Birds of San Josk, Costa Rica. 3^9 

148. Engyptila verreauxi. — Tolerably common resident. 

149. Peristera cinerea. — Tolerably common resident. 

150. Columbigallina passerina. — Common resident. 

151. Zenaidura macroura. — Seems to be resident, as specimens are 
taken every month in the year. Not having found either the nest or 
young birds, I do not know whether it breeds here or not. 

152. Colinus leylandi. — Common resident. 

153. Charadrius dominicus. — Never common at San Jose^, but a few 
are seen from October 20 until December 15. 

154. /Rgialitis vocifera. — Common at San Jose" from about Oct. 15 
until March 15. 

155. Gallinago delicata. — Not uncommon from the first of October until 
February 15. 

156. Totanus solitarius. — Tolerably common from the first of Septem- 
ber until the first of May, and I believe there are some individuals that 
remain all the year. 

157. Actitis macularia. — Common from about Sept. t until March 1. A 
few individuals remain all the year and breed. 

158. Bartramia longicauda. — Tolerably common from about Sept. 5 
until November 14. 

159. Tringa maculata. —Arrives and disappears with the Bartramian 
Sandpiper. 

160. Tryngites subruficollis. — Arrives and disappears in company with 
the two preceding species. 

161. Ardea egretta. — Sometimes seen about San Josi toward the end of 
the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season, that is between 
November and January inclusive. At a lower altitude it is resident. 

162. Ardea herodias. — As with the preceding species, seen occasionally 
from November to January. 

163. Ardea coerulea. — Not rare during December and January; how- 
ever, only birds of the year are met with at San Jose\ 

164. Ardea virescens. — Tolerably common resident at San Jose\ 

165. Nycticorax violaceus — Resident about San Jose\ Adult birds, 
however, are seldom seen. 

166. Porzana Carolina. — Mr. J. C. Zeledon secured an example at San 
Jose" in 1881. 

167. Anas discors. — I saw a Blue-winged Teal just south of San Jose 1 
on Oct. 27, 1889. 



33