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September 20, 2021

Return of Bird of the Week: Speckled Chachalaca

Another “cha-cha” bird, this time a smaller member of the Chachalacas, the Speckled Chachalaca. Like a lot of the Cracids, it has consistently denied WC a clear photo opportunity.
Speckled Chachalaca, Eastern Ecuador
This species has a fairly wide distribution, from Columbia to Bolivia, along the eastern slopes of the Andes. It’s an easy bird to identify, with the characteristic speckles along the throat, expanding to scalloping on the chest. It has a strong, curved bill and a small dewlap in comparison to its cogeneors.
Speckled Chachalaca, Eastern Ecuador
It forages in groups of as many as six birds (possibly families?), eating fruits, flower buds and leaves. The nominate subspecies, shown here, also has bright cinnamon outer tail feathers. Suprisingly little is known about the Speckled Chachalaca. Birds of the World (paywalled) describes it as “poorly known,” which is ornithology-speak for mostly unknown. Like most Chachalaca species, this is a noisy bird, with considerable variation in vocalizations by region. There are at least three subspecies with one, remota, critically endangered in the Brazil portions of its range. The species as a whole, however, is regarded as not globally threatened (Least Concern). It seems to tolerate human disturbance reasonably well. For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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