I just returned to Heredia after 10 rather windy days in Talamancan cloud forest 2500m above sea level. I think my favorite bird that we captured since I've spoken with you last is this incredible (/incredibly bad-ass) Streak-breasted Treehunter, a member of the family, Furnariidae, which includes ovenbirds (subfamily: furnariinae), miners and leaf-tossers (Sclerurinae), and woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae).
|A closer (above) and even closer (below) look at this remarkable species. Too much? Sorry but it's awesome.|
Interestingly enough, 97% of the species-level and 100% of the genus-level diversity (currently recognized of course) is found in South America. That means that the vast majority of this giant 33 million-year-old radiation of Sub-oscine Passeriformes birds took place in South America, only spreading north into Central America after the closing of the isthmus of panama 2.5-4 mya (or one newer study indicates as early as 15mya!)
Maybe it's my lack of very much old-world exposure, but the new world is, well, mejor, as they say down here in the CR. Point not arguable. Don't try. Or do, I won't care.
Brumfield, Robb T. Inferring the Origins of Lowland Neotropical Birds (2012) The Auk, 129(3): 367-376
Derryberry, Elizabeth P. et al. Lineage Diversification and Morphological Evolution in a Large-scale Continental Radiation: The Neotropical Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers (Aves: Furnariidae) (2011) Evolution 65:2973-2986