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Many places have a Thrush species that has become adapted to living around people. In much of North America, American Robins are as synonymous with front lawns as sprinklers.  Europeans have the Blackbird; immortalized in song by the Beatles and in prose by Shakespeare. In Costa Rica, Ticos chose the Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi) for their national bird. Opting for familiarity over splendor, it trumped spectacular species such as Resplendant Quetzal and Scarlet Macaw as well as undeniably cool birds like the Harpy Eagle. Clay Coloreds are THE garden bird of Costa Rica. Found from lowlands to cloud forest (where it gets replaced by the Mountain Robin), they sing a lot like their northern counterparts but are shyer; their presence usually revealed by their querelous, meow-like call. As their name suggests, Clay-colored Robins are also less colorful. My wife even goes as far as to call them downright ugly. These Yiguirros were at the Cinchona feeders. I think they look OK; judge for yourselves if you agree with my wife.

 

Monster Clay Colored Robin

 

Note the yellowish bill- field mark to separate it from Mountain and Pale-vented Robins.

 

More pics of the same bird; a juvenile molting in its head feathers.

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5 Responses to “Yiguirro: The national bird of Costa Rica”

  1. Sup, Whats the chance of getting indexed in Google? They never approve!!!BTW, Nice blog, but I do not like how free blogs work. They deleted mine….~BOB

  2. Yiguirro, Sinsonte, American Robin, Chuuiii Chuiii They have the same Simphony of sounds.We have them at home Westminster California and Hunington Beach. We will take some pictures of them ….and You decide.

  3. @Jerry- Yes, several Turdus species thrushes have very similar and familiar songs. Now that July is upon us, the Yiguirros have toned down their singing in Costa Rica and are caring for young and finishing up breeding (at least the first clutch).

  4. The clay coloured robin was chosen to represent Costa Rica not because it is so ubiquitous but because it sings so beautifully and begins to do so around the most important religious occasion of this Catholic country, Santa Semana (Easter)

  5. @Caroline- While I do agree that the beauty of its song and time of singing must have been big factors in choosing the Yiguirro for the national bird, since the bird is also impossible to notice in Central Valley gardens, I can’t help but surmise that extreme familiarity also played a role. There are also several other species that sing pleasant songs during March and April but none are as prevalent in gardens and as landscapes as the Clay-colored Thrush.

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