This bird possesses a distinctive appearance with its lengthy and silky tail, accompanied by a noticeable crest, and an exceptional blend of colors.
Meet the charming long-tailed silky-flycatcher or Ptiliogonys caudatus! This little bird is approximately 24 cm in length and boasts a soft grey forehead. While it may be small, it’s mighty in weight, tipping the scales at around 37 grams – typical of its thrush-sized species. The crested head, neck, throat, and lower belly are a stunning yellow color, while the back, lower breast, and upper belly are a cool blue-grey. Its flight feathers and long, pointed tail are black, and the outer tail feathers have white spots.
The male bird of this species is larger than the female one. The female measures 21 centimeters in length and has a less vibrant appearance compared to the male. She has a darker grey forehead, olive body feathers, and a slightly shorter and less glossy black tail.
Young birds bear a striking resemblance to adult birds, but with one key difference – their tail feathers are not as long and the white spots on the outer tail are less noticeable.
The presence of these avian creatures is limited to the elevated regions of Costa Rica and western Panama. Their habitat ranges from an altitude of 1,850 meters to the timberline.
The Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher has a preference for visiting mountain forests, secondary forests, and pastures that are encircled by wooded ravines.
When these birds are not breeding, they search for food in groups. They fly out to catch insects or eat tiny fruits like mistletoe.
From April to June, the Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher breeds either alone or in small groups of up to five pairs. They construct a spacious, open cup-shaped nest primarily using lichen, which they reinforce with caterpillar silk or spider webs. Usually in the fork of a tree or on top of a tall tree or shrub, the nest is built amidst dense foliage. Although both birds participate in nest-building, the male primarily feeds the female during this period. The female then lays two eggs in the nest and incubates them for 16 to 17 days while still receiving food from her mate. After hatching, both parents feed the chicks until they leave the nest after approximately 24 to 25 days.
Although this bird is labeled as “common,” its population may actually be decreasing. This is likely due to the destruction of its natural habitat caused by activities such as burning, logging, and expanding agriculture.