Nocturnal feel-good artist

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Chonchorogai - midnight artist

These melodious sounds are made by the Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), locally known on Curacao as the Chonchorogai. It is the only local bird that will perform its musical magic during the night. Although this species is relatively common in subtropical and temperate Central and South America, Curacao and Aruba are the only places where the birds occur in a lowland arid tropical environment. On these Islands they sing in a distinct ‘dialect’. On Bonaire the species might have been introduced by man. The breeding pairs of this species are very territorial. Sometimes what must be presumed to be males can be observed for quite some time while they attempt to fight their reflections in car mirrors or windows. The birds are mainly seed eaters and they will hop around on the ground in search of tasty morsels. Next time you hear the pleasant and cheerful tsee-tssee-terrrrr during a moonlit evening, you’ll know which stylish artist is responsible.

Leon Pors

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