Willow’s World: Black-headed Saltator

Willow’s World: Today I placed Willow on the top branch of her Jungle Gym. It was a first for her. So high up above me and all that is normally more eye level for her. As usual, she spent some time preening while taking time out to look around and examine her new point of view. The branch had a dip and a rise. What to do? Best to stay in a short section is what she finally decided. There were moments where Willow fluttered her wings or bent forward a bit as if she thought that flight might be possible. But she seems to know that at best a flutter-fly merely takes her down and not always where she had intended to go. Thoughts of food got her to step up onto my finger, flutter to my shirt, and climb up to my shoulder from which she went into her cage. This parrot should be so nimble maneuvering around the branches of vegetation to forage is simply still unsure of what to do about getting around her new world. I often wonder what her 28 years of life were really like.

The Black-headed Saltator is a 9” tanager of central Mexico down to Panama that may have foraged for fruits or insects of the plantations or vegetated open habitats that Willow visited. The Saltator can be found in gardens, brushy pastures, near waterways, or cacao and coffee plantations. A lot of the natural history of this species is still not well-known. A predator is the beautiful Aplomado Falcon, a species I’ve had distant glimpses of in the wild but a good close-up of an ambassador.

Black-headed Saltators have not been recorded on e-bird beyond its typical range so seeing it is likely if you visit Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and south to Panama for some birding.

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