When on our walk to town, Bill & I occasionally come across this Clay-colored Robin. If you weren't tuned into the birding world you might not even notice it. It's drab... it just escapes being a "LBJ" (Little Brown Jobby... the bane of all birders) because it's not small.... and perhaps because it hops around right in front of you.
We got to wondering why such a "Plain-Jane" would be awarded the honor of being the National Bird of Costa Rica. Below are some excerpts I got off the internet....
"The clay-colored thrush (Turdus grayi), known locally as the yigüirro, was also once known as the clay-colored robin, but scientists later changed its family from robin to thrush. The species is one of Costa Rica’s most common birds and it is found throughout almost every region. The clay-colored thrush was designated Costa Rica’s national bird in January 1977.
Clay-colored thrushes measure approximately nine inches tall, and both sexes exhibit yellow-brown plumage and a lightly striped neck, cream-colored stomach, and yellow-green bill. As do other robins and thrushes, these small birds hop instead of walk; upon landing, they often flick their tails back and forth.
So, why not one of these flashy birds?
I took the above photos of these very colorful birds when we lived in Costa Rica in 2012.
But it is the Clay-colored Robin (or Thrush) that gets the honors.
"The clay-colored thrush was chosen as the national bird for several reasons. Due to its wide range and tendency to live close to humans, it is well known and therefore mentioned in many of Costa Rica’s folk songs, short stories and novels. The males are also cherished for their exquisite song; during mating season, they serenade potential mates with an unmistakable tune. In Costa Rica, their mating season (usually April-June) coincides with the beginning of the green season, and therefore farmers have always taken the yigüirro’s song as the first sign of coming rains."