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Buffy Tuftedcheek

Pseudocolaptes lawrencii

The Buffy Tuftedcheek, or Lawrence's Tuftedcheek (Pseudocolaptes lawrencii), presents a charming display of pale golden tawny tufts on the sides of its neck. This passerine bird, part of the Furnariidae family, measures a modest 20 to 21 cm in length and tips the scales at approximately 35 to 50 grams. Both sexes share similar plumage, though the female boasts a notably longer bill.

Identification Tips

Adult Buffy Tuftedcheeks are adorned with a buff-whitish supercilium and possess blackish-brown lores and ear coverts. Their crown features blackish-brown with buff streaks, transitioning to wider streaks on the hindcrown. The back is rufescent-brown with a subtle blackish scallop pattern, while the rump, uppertail coverts, and tail exhibit a bright chestnut rufous. When the wings are closed, pale rufous and ochraceous buff tips on the coverts form distinct bars. The throat is a whitish golden-tawny, and the underparts display a mix of dull brown and pale buff streaks, with the belly and flanks taking on a dull tawny-buff and rufescent brown respectively.

Habitat

This species thrives in humid montane evergreen forests, preferring open areas, forest edges, and clearings with scattered trees. It can be found at elevations ranging from 1,550 meters to the timberline, around 3,000 meters.

Distribution

The Buffy Tuftedcheek graces the central highlands of Costa Rica and extends its range into western Panama, reaching as far as Veraguas Province.

Behaviour

A year-round resident, the Buffy Tuftedcheek is often seen foraging alone or in pairs and is known to join mixed-species feeding flocks. It exhibits a preference for foraging in epiphytes, particularly bromeliads, as well as in mosses and dead leaf clusters.

Song & Calls

During the breeding season, the Buffy Tuftedcheek's song consists of staccato notes followed by a liquid gurgling trill, often repeated several times. Its call, a loud metallic "peek!" or "spik!", is used for maintaining contact with its mate and is heard throughout the year, typically in the mornings.

Breeding

Believed to be monogamous, the Buffy Tuftedcheek nests in tree cavities, either natural or excavated by small woodpeckers, and lines them with plant matter. The breeding season spans from January to May in Costa Rica, with the nestling period lasting at least 29 days.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Buffy Tuftedcheek is predominantly arthropods, supplemented with small amphibians. It forages from the forest's mid-level to the canopy, with a particular fondness for bromeliads, mosses, and dead leaves.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Buffy Tuftedcheek as Least Concern. Despite its limited range and unknown population size, the species is believed to be stable with no immediate threats. It is considered uncommon to fairly common in Costa Rica and rare in Panama, with occurrences in several protected areas.

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