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Ocellated Crake (Micropygia schomburgkii)
First photo and video record in Costa Rica since 1967

Ocellated Crake
(Micropygia schomburgkii)


Ocellated Crake

Ocellated Crake




The following is the video we have posted on Youtube:




First photographic and video record of the species in Costa Rica. Only one dead individual had been collected in the same area in 1967. December 23, 2012 In the Savannas of Ujarras up in Buenos Aires (road to Durika) we were able to find the Ocellated Crake, we had been searching for it with Paul Murgatroyd a few days ago (Dec 11, 2012) and got very close to it, so we felt we had to go a try to find it again.
Carlos Ureña, Jose Acuña, Warner Venegas, and I went up to the Savannas on December 23rd (2012) and started looking for it. We had the crake came very close to us in many occassions but never came out. It always used very dense grass and totally avoided the little very narrow lines we prepared to hopefully see it going acrross. Almost defeated at 2:50 p.m. and getting ready to come back, I told the guys that we couldn´t go back without it, specially after having it so close to us so many times. So I tried again and we had a very aggresive response of the crake, at a point it even touched my right knee as I was on my knees in the grasses. Then it moved a couple meters to my right. We moved there and inspected a little window into a dark spot in the grasses, it started getting closer and closer and finally we saw it, an inmature bird was the first individual we saw; very pale in color, a lot of buff, very small, very light blueish bill.
A few seconds later another showed up, an adult, Carlos got a unfocused photo and we were happy that at least we had a picture of the individual for CR records. I decided to move a few meters up and try again and managed to have the crake walked right in front of my camera, an adult, I took about 8 photos. You can see two of the photos on your left here.

Another good report we had was a Violet Green Swallow - one single individual flying exactly over the same area were we found the crake, this is a casual winter resident. A few days ago with Paul we had also seen the White-tailed Nightjar and a couple of Western Kingbirds not too far from this point. An of course, after 8 hours in the same spot here in the Sabanas de Ujarras we had to see Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch - 1 adult and 1 juvenile.

As we were driving up to reach the Ocellated Crake site on December 23, we also had a record of Crested Oropendola.......which keeps showing how they are moving North.
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December 28, 2012 I decided to go back and keep working on the Ocellated Crake, a fascinating species! Carlos my brother, and Luis Sanchez went with me this time. We move along 6.71 km of road and inspected 8 locations, 7 of which yielded positive results, and we found / heard several individuals in each (3 to 5 in each site). We were using recordings I had made on Dec 11, 2012. and we were getting great responses, they seemed to be very territorial. At about 10 am I managed to hide one of the cameras in the grasses and was able to capture an individual moving through, we also produced more recordings of its vocalizations. The three of us got to have wonderful looks of the crake. Dr. Skutch mentioned in his book ¨A guide to the Birds of Costa Rica¨ about the Ocellated Crake: ¨Possibly more common and widespread but overlooked in Térraba Region¨ . With our recent observations we have confirmed that the species is really more abundant than we thought, we will continue to look for more sites for the crake in the Southern Pacific portion of Costa Rica and hopefully provide more information to understand the species, habitats it uses, and distribution.
Noel A. Ureña



Ocellated Crake Distrubution map

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