The only other reptile that's ever begged from me was Naraht, the box turtle with a broken shell who lived around our house for several years. This one reminded me of Naraht. The intelligence in his eyes: palpable. And, I'd add, quite birdlike. Do not assume that because he drags his belly on the ground, he is also dull and insensate.
After getting to our lodge, Villa Lapas, we took a quick walk in Carara National Park, hoping for lowland humid forest birds manakins and antbirds. We were not disappointed. A white-winged dove did a very nice display while hooting, "Who cooks for you?"
We were headed for Quebrada Bonita, a stream where, in the late afternoon, small birds like red-capped manakins come to bathe. We watched one do just that. A little bird, a white-hot coal in the stream, unquenched.
Luckily, I have a modest library of better images amassed over two prior trips to Costa Rica. A great curassow is a turkey-sized bird with a marcelled 'do and a fabulous yellow gumball on his nares.
As sometimes happens to the truly lucky, we came across an army ant swarm moving through the forest, with avian attendants. Many species of Neotropical birds make their living by following ants wherever they go. The voracious, carnivorous ants basically eat anything they can subdue, so their battalions stir everything, vertebrate and invertebrate, out of hiding. And the birds make hay with the collateral damage. It's an elegant system.
You'd think it's not a very tanagery thing to do, to hop around on the ground grabbing insects, but it works for this species.
As far as I could tell, the bicolored antbird is a still hunter, who perches quietly looking over the leaf litter with enormous, light-gathering eyes, and hops down to nab prey when it stumbles into view.
It was a little gift from Carara to the slowpokes among us.