With the butterflies mostly gone, winter belongs to the birds! The lush and green Costa Rica biome at Cleveland Botanical Garden provides ample opportunity to play “hide-n-seek” with three birds in particular. Be on the lookout for three in particular: the Ruddy Quail doves (Geotrygon montana), Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), and Ringed teal ducks (Callonetta leucophrys).
The Ruddy quail-doves are usually found on the ground along the floor in search of fallen fruits and seeds. The males possess a deep, reddish-brown color with a rust colored back while the females are brown. If you’re lucky, you may find a male gaining the attention of a female by wooing her with a “gift”: a stick in its beak and walking with a confident strut!
The Bananaquit is elusive, but so well worth finding or just catching a glimpse of it. Just look to the trees and you may find it foraging for fruits and small insects as it climbs the foliage. Sometimes, it hangs out near the feeder by the bridge. When you find it, note the yellow chest and belly, curved beak, and white eyebrows. It will take patience, but this bird that creeps among the trees is a jewel to the Costa Rica biome.
The Ring-teal ducks are often seen by the entrance that leads to the Madagascar biome, feeding on pellets placed in a bowl near the cacao tree by the ant log. You might also find the male and female (or both) hanging out in the stream near the waterfall. These ducks are cavity nesters, possessing webbed toes having long, sharp claws that allow them to perch high in tree branches.
These birds are waiting for you and your fellow guests to seek and find them. But watch out! You may flush them out of hiding as they take flight and find a new nook or cranny to hang out in. When that happens, congratulate yourself for a job well done at finding our feathered residents. Happy seeking!
Traci S. Williams
Animal & Plant Care Specialist
Traci S. Williams joined the staff of Holden Forests & Gardens in August of 2022. Knowing that she wanted to work with animals since elementary school, Traci pursued her interests through Girl Scouts, various internships, and volunteer opportunities. Earning her B.A. in Environmental Studies/Biology from Cleveland State University, Traci went on to become a Naturalist with World Bird Sanctuary and Cleveland Metroparks. In her free time, Traci enjoys arts-n-crafts (especially crochet), bowling, hiking, and sharing her love of nature with others.