The Barred Antshrike

Last weekend, a former minister of the environment for Costa Rica was staying at Xandari with his wife. Avid birders with life lists, they noticed a binder on the lobby’s coffee table with the cover image pictured above. The binder was the product of work James and I did last summer, highlighting forty interesting species of resident birds on Xandari’s property. After the table of contents, the first featured bird — the Barred Antshrike — was a surprise to the visiting couple. They’d been birding the Central Valley for years, but they’d never seen the species, and they simply didn’t believe that it could be found in such an accessible location.

Politely, the couple smiled at the binder-creators’ mistake and set out for their morning walk around the Xandari property. During that hike, they added a species to their life list that even after the earlier incident they could barely believe: the antshrike, of course! It’s always a pleasure to learn that a guest at Xandari has been able to build up their bird checklist as a result of their time at the resort, but it’s also nice to be vindicated so quickly.

I’ve been lucky enough to get half-decent shots of both male and female Barred Antshrikes, and once, when Xandari’s old bird guide stopped by to give me and James some tips, he also showed us that you can mimic the bird’s call by whistling and get a rapid response. You can watch a very short recording of that interaction below!

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