Puna Rhea in Parque Nacional Lauca, Chile

Alto Andino Nature Tours

                                                                    Giant Conebill, Mountain Caracara: northern Chile

Giant Conebill , Oreomanes fraseri in Reserva Las Vicuñas, in Chile

Giant Conebill: Oreomanes fraseri in the Reserva Nacional Las Vicuñas, Chile

The Polylepis-specialist Giant Conebill was first registered in Chile in the 1990s and recently has been discovered nesting in the Region of Arica y Parinacota (ex-Tarapaca) within a thick bosque of  Polylepis rugulosa.  The bird in this photo was one of a pair noisily foraging in our 2nd species of Polylepis, Polylepis tarapacana, at about 4,400 masl within the Reserva Nacional Las Vicuñas.  Note the cellophane-like layers of reddish bark which help insulate the tree against the frigid temperatures of the altiplano, and which harbor a quantity of insects for the conebill. The conebill uses the bark to line it's nest, placed in the thickest parts of the Polylepis copse.   

mountain caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus, in Lauca

Mountain Caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus  in Lauca Park

Just after this photo was taken, the Mountain Caracara ripped the lizard to bloody shreds, dropping the tidbits into the nest. In this area Phalcoboenus megalopterus makes stick nests warmly lined with camelid wool, usually placed on rock ledges overlooking a bofedal.  Both adults attend the nest.  Other raptors in the area from Arica to Lauca:  American Kestrel, Aplomado Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Variable Hawk, Andean Condor, Harris's Hawk, White-throated Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, Osprey, Cinereous Harrier, plus 5 species of owls and the ubiquitous Turkey Vulture.

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