Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Male Black-faced Dacnis, Dacnis lineata lineata.
Photo taken on the banks of the Corentyne River, which forms the Guyana-Suriname border (see map, below).
Photo courtesy of Tony Henneberg.
(Click image for larger view in its own window)

The black-faced Dacnis, Dacnis lineata lineata [Family Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)], also known as the yellow-tufted Dacnis, is comprised of three disjunct populations, any or all of which might actually might be distinct species. One population is distributed throughout most of the Amazon Basin and the Guianas (the nominate lineata), while the another population occurs in central Colombia (the subspecies egregia), and the third population is found in western Ecuador (the subspecies aequatorialis). These birds are canopy dwellers and are commonly found along the borders of humid forests or around clearings when attracted by fruiting trees.

Both male and female Black-faced Dacnis have a yellow iris. The male, seen in this photo (above), is a lovely turquoise blue with black lores, mask, wings and tail. The center of the belly and crissum are white, as are the underwing coverts, which you can see just barely see peeking through at the wrist of the wing. In those populations located west of the Andes, the belly, crissum and wing tufts are yellow and the blue plumage has a deeper greenish hue.

The female (not pictured) is much less colorful, being largely brown-olive above and pale grey or white below (in the populations occurring west of Andes, the females have yellow in the center of the belly).

Figure 1: Map of northern and central South America, describing forest cover in the areas where these birds live.

Note: This lovely photo is an advance peek at coming attractions. It was sent by my friend, the talented artist Tony Henneberg, who just returned from his trip to the wilds of Suriname. I am already planning to publish his stories about his adventures here.

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the Best of Bird-related Blog Writing.


  1. #1 Carl Buell(OGeorge)
    February 24, 2006

    I’m so glad that’s a photograph. If I painted a bird that color and pattern, nobody would believe me. I’m looking forward to living yet another adventure vicariously.

  2. #2 Rexroth's Daughter
    February 24, 2006

    I agree with Carl, there are colors in nature that nobody would believe. This bird is electrifying like a fantastic hallucination. What a sight. Thanks for posting it, grrlscientist.

  3. #3 John
    February 25, 2006

    That must have been a great trip. I am looking forward to reading about it.

  4. #4 Torris
    February 25, 2006

    Great photo! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. #5 GrrlScientist
    February 25, 2006

    i also can hardly wait to hear Tony’s stories and to share them with you, along with more of his pictures (he might be sending me several CDs of his photos!!!).

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