I am sorry for my lack of images lately. I have been down in Ecuador leading tours for the past 5 weeks. I will have some goodies to post from the time I spent in that amazing country in the next few weeks. I just had to start wit this one though...
To give some context for this photo you have to understand that this bird is one of the hardest to see in South America. You have to get INCREDIBLY lucky if you are going to see one in a natural setting.
When these birds are seen it is usually at army ant swarms. Like many species of Antbirds these Cuckoos will follow the army ants as they raid out through the forest and hope to capture an easy arthropod meal as insects flee the advancing swarm of furious and relentless ants.
Late last year in Ecuador a woman at a research station noticed that a Banded Ground-Cuckoo was regularly attending a swarm on the property. She began trying to feed it grasshoppers so that it would stick around. To everyone's astonishment it actually worked and this site is now the only place that is reasonably reliable for this fascinating bird. In addition to being a joy for birders and photographers this has also provided an opportunity to learn a lot more about the biology of this species.
In between my two workshops I decided to travel to the station and give it a go. Lets just say I was all smiles that morning :-)
All the best!
Camera Model: Canon EOS 7D
Shutter speed: 1/30 sec
Exposure compensation: -1/3
Lens: EF500mm f/4L IS USM