Tiger Herons (Tigrisoma) are little studied and generally characterized in the literature as being relatively uncommon birds of forested streams and wetlands. Contrary to these expectations, we found Bare-throated Tiger Herons (Tigrisoma lineatum) on the Pearl Islands of the Gulf of Panama to be birds of open, wave-exposed rocky seashores. We also found them to be common birds, inhabiting most shoreline coves. They fed over much of the tidal cycle along beaches and rocky shores, especially on and near surf-washed rocks. They caught crabs and fish by standing and walking slowly and methodically. Feeding efficiency was low, averaging about one prey item per hour. Plumage coloration is highly cryptic against shore rocks; but, in contrast, the bird becomes quite obvious when it expands its bare yellow throat, especially when accentuating a distinctive stretch display used to claim shore-line territory and for within-pair interactions. Tiger herons in the Pearls nested high in trees on ocean-facing cliffs. The habitat choice and behavior of this population of tiger herons that we report extend understanding of the biological scope of the subfamily of tiger herons.
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Vol. 30 • No. 2