Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the February 4, 2008 Newsletter written in the community of 28 de Junio, in the Central Valley 8 kms east of Pujiltic, Chiapas, MÉXICO
about 800 meters in elevation, ± LAT. 16° 18'N, LONG. -92° 28'W
FIRST FIFTEEN CENTRAL DEPRESSION BIRDS

To give you a feeling for the common birds here, here's the list of the first ones I jot down as I randomly encounter them while exploring my new location, beginning with a good one:

The only migrant winter-resident in the list is the Western Kingbird.

The most uncommon species is the first one sighted, the White-tailed Kite, ELANUS LEUCURUS MAJUSCULUS which, though rare in most places, is extensively distributed from southern Texas (disjunctly in California) to Nicaragua. It specializes in open country with scattered trees, just likehere. In the big Cedro tree the mostly white kite with black wing- patches posed like a silent, unmoving king above the swarming, noisy Red-winged Blackbird hoards below him.

Definitely the most gorgeous bird in the list is the White-throated Magpie-Jay, whose Latin name CALOCITTA FORMOSA says that it's a beautiful bird twice, in the roots "calo" and "formosa." A magpie-jay is just a glorified jay. This species is up to 22 inches long (56 cm) and glides through hot morning air with breath-taking grace. The very long tail is one thing worth seeing, but the most spectacular feature is the long, upside-down teardrop of a feather crowning the head like a cocky French cavalier's ostrich plume. The species is distributed along the Pacific Coast and a bit inland in places from southern Mexico to Costa Rica. I can't browse to find you a picture to link to, but maybe you'll look up the name using a search engine.

You might enjoy reading my report, accompanied by a drawing, resulting from my encounter with a Black- throated Magpie-Jay, either a close species or a subspecies of our White-throated, in 1996, up north on the Pacific slope in the state of Chihuahua, at http://www.backyardnature.net/mexbirds/05temori.htm. Scroll to about the middle of the long page.