Sunday, January 22, 2012

New island breeders: Chilean Mockingbird

One of the most interesting thing about birdwatching, for me and most others, is finding important records, whether a rare stray, new breeder or simply abnormally large or abnormally small flocks. On Nov-28 of 2011, I found a pair of Chilean Mockingbirds at Caulin Bay, which was the second southernmost record that I could find - and south of their distribution in The Birds of Chile or Cornell's Neotropical Birds Online. The other record was from 1997 and reported to eBird, near the city of Quemchi - presumably a good find, as it merited addition many years later.

Total range of Chilean Mockingbird, per eBird - the most accurate resource. 

Southernmost region - North third of Chiloe on the bottom-left

Then on the morning of Jan 11th, I happened upon an adult at Senda Darwin, however, I was without a camera. Later that day I went to Caulin and came upon a family of four - two adults and two juveniles. Because the juveniles were following the parents around, it is pretty safe to assume that the breeding occurred  on Chiloe Island. Interestingly, this was not far (200m or so) from where I found the pair in November - presumably the same pair.

Fledgling, Caulin Bay, Jan 11, 2012

Overall, I don't know any population trends for the species, but it is worth noting that this breeding occurred. An ornithologist here said that she knew of one sighting two years ago, but that this was almost certainly the first documented breeding on the island.

Adult, from a LONG way away, Caulin Jan 11
Especially in underbirded areas, such as most of South America, any records you have are worth entering into eBird, thus that scientists and the interested public have access to them and they can be useful in documented range shifts, population fluctuations, habitat-use and migration timing/routes and more.

Images created via eBird.org, 22-Jan-2012

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