Costa Rica 2020 - Birds
   
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Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

 

In terms of birds, I managed to see many of my "wanted species" during my trip to Costa Rica in March 2020. The total number of observed species was nevertheless lower than expected based on the rich avifauna in this tropical country (with about 950 species in total). I saw (or heard with guides) four species of toucans, four species of trogans (including the Resplendent Quetzal) and 18 species of hummingbirds (see own page for the hummers), in addition to the near threatened Great Green Macaw and the Scarlet Macaw. I also found and managed to get photos of two sought-after heron species, one type of tiger-heron (Bare-throated Tiger-heron) and the Boat-billed Heron. And of course I was happy to observe three of the colorful honeycreeper species (the Green, Red-legged and Shiny honeycreeper).

May be a bit surprising for me, the trip was not particularly good for raptors. I saw the King Vulture at two locations, in the Turtoguero region and in Boca Tapada. To get good photos of the King Vulture, I had to go the a bird hide with carcases in the latter location. Even if it was raining heavily, this tour was well worth the extra money. The Turkey and Black vultures were common. Also the Common Black Hawk was relatively common, as were the Crested and Yellow-headed Caracara (on the Pacific coast). I also saw Osprey, Roadside Hawk, and Swainson's Hawk. Otherwise, When in transit, I saw many small falcon-like raptors perching on wires in the Caribbean lowland, but I am not sure about the ID of these birds. Reading online, I see I am not the first to question "Where are the raptors when birding Costa Rica?" Although the high biodiversity and high number of species, any of them are rare, and their populations are low. To find many of the rarer forest-dwelling species, you have to plan ahead and search for them specifically.

But all in all, I was happy with seing many of the "sought-after" species, and getting decent photos of some of them. A list of the birds seen can be seen here.

 

Collared Aracari, Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Collared Aracari in the early morning rainforest, Tortuguero

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Tirimbina Lodge

Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), La Paz

 

Keel-billed Toucan, La Paz. Also seen and heard at Maquenque Ecolodge

A sleeping Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus). This is how you see them at night, just a curled-up feather ball. Monteverde night walk

 

This is how the Emerald Toucanet really looks like, La Paz (caged bird)

The Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), Monteverde Cloud Forest. Not easy to get good photo of as it was hidden in the treetops in the dense rainforest. But very happy to see one at all!

 

The Resplendent Quetzal (a trogon) is one of the most-sought after birds in Costa Rica. Maybe not strange, given its spectacular beauty. I had to hire my own bird guide to find this species in Monteverde. Walked around for three hours on the trails in the cloud forest, and then found one just at the end!

Partly hidden Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena), Tortuguero

 

Slaty-tailed Trogon, Tirimbina Nature Reserve

Black-throated Trogon - female (Trogon rufus), Selva Verde Nature Reserve

 

Black-throated Trogon - male, Selva Verde Nature Reserve

Blue-crowned Motmot, also called Blue-capped Motmot (Momotus coeruliceps), Monteverde night walk

 

Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio), Monteverde night walk

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa), Cerro Lodge

 

Turquoise-browed Motmot, near Cerro Lodge

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), Cerro Lodge

 

A Scarlet Macaw at Cerro Lodge

Scarlet Macaw drinking and eating the fruit from the Cashew Tree (Anacardium occidentale), Cerro Lodge

 

Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), Maquenque Ecolodge

Brown-hooded Parrot (Pyrilia haematotis), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Brown-hooded Parrot, Maquenque Ecolodge

Orange-fronted Parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis), Cerro Lodge Entrance Road

 

Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata), Cerro Lodge

Olive-throated Parakeet (Eupsittula nana), Tortuguero

 

Mealy Parrot (Amazona farinosa), Tortuguero

Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Orange-chinned Parakeet, Maquenque Ecolodge

Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Montezuma Oropendola, Maquenque Ecolodge

Great Curassow - male (Crax rubra), Tortuguero

 

Great Curassow - female, La Fortuna

Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor), Monteverde Cloud Forest

 

Grey-necked Wood-rail (Aramides cajaneus), Frio River in Caño Negro

Grey-headed Chachalaca (Ortalis cinereiceps), Tirimbina Lodge

 

Grey-headed Chachalaca, Tirimbina Lodge

Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana), Cerro Lodge

 

Squirrel Cuckoo, Cerro Lodge

Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), Sarapiquí River

 

Green Ibis, Sarapiquí River

White Ibis - immature (Eudocimus albus), Frio River in Caño Negro

 

White Ibis, Frio River in Caño Negro

Bare-throated Tiger-heron - immature (Tigrisoma mexicanum), Tortuguero

 

Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Tarcoles River

A really strange fella, the Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius), La Fortuna

 

Boat-billed Heron, Frio River in Caño Negro

Green Heron (Butorides virescens), Tarcoles River

 

Green Heron, Boca Tapada

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Tortuguero

 

Snowy Egret, Sarapiqui River

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Sarapiqui River

 

Great Blue Heron, Tortuguero

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), Tortuguero

 

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Tarcoles River

Little Blue Heron, white morph (Egretta caerulea), Tortuguero

 

Little Blue Heron, blue morph (Egretta caerulea), Sarapiqui River

Yellow-crowned Night-heron (Nyctanassa violacea), Tortuguero

 

Yellow-crowned Night-heron (Nyctanassa violacea), Tortuguero

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), Tarcoles River

 

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna), Frio River in Caño Negro

Anhinga - male (Anhinga anhinga), Tortuguero

 

Catch of the day. Anhinga - female, Frio River in Caño Negro

Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus), Frio River in Caño Negro

 

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), with a Great Egret (Ardea alba), near Caño Negro

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus), Tortuguero

 

Purple Gallinule - immature, Maquenque Ecolodge

Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa), Tortuguero

 

Northern Jacana - immature, Maquenque Ecolodge

Black-bellied Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis). Sitting outside an aviary at La Paz, saying hello to its locked-in friends

 

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), Tortuguero

Sanderling (Calidris alba), Tortuguero

 

Sanderling, Tortuguero

Spotted Sandpiper - nonbreeding (Actitis macularius), Sarapiqui River

 

Spotted Sandpiper with spots, Maquenque Ecolodge

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus), Tortuguero

 

Shorebirds near the outlet of Tarcoles River. These are Willet, Dowitcher (presumely Short-Billed based on location), Greater Yellowlegs, and a small Sandpiper behind the Willet to the left (could be Least Sandpiper)

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Tortuguero

 

Hudsonian Whimbrel (Numenius hudsonicus), Tarcoles River

Magnificent Frigatebird (Himantopus mexicanus), Tarcoles River

 

Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis) at dusk, Cerro Lodge

Sungrebe - male or nonbreeding female (Heliornis fulica), Tortuguero

 

Sungrebe - breeding female, Tortuguero

Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias), Monteverde Cloud Forest

 

Sunbittern with catch of the day, a freshwater crab, Monteverde Cloud Forest

Red-legged Honeycreeper - male (Cyanerpes cyaneus), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Red-legged Honeycreeper - female, Maquenque Ecolodge

Green Honeycreeper - male (Chlorophanes spiza), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Green Honeycreeper - female, Maquenque Ecolodge

Shining Honeycreeper - male (Cyanerpes lucidus), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Shining Honeycreeper - female, Maquenque Ecolodge

Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Golden-hooded Tanager, Boca Tapada

Scarlet-rumped Tanager - male (Ramphocelus passerinii), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Scarlet-rumped Tanager - female (Ramphocelus passerinii), La Fortuna

Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Palm Tanager, Maquenque Ecolodge

Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Blue-gray Tanager, Maquenque Ecolodge

Red-throated Ant-tanager (Habia fuscicauda), La Fortuna

 

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), Cerro Lodge

Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus), Cerro Lodge

 

Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis), seen from the tree-house at Maquenque Ecologde

Hoffman's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii), Hotel Bougainvillea, San Jose

 

Hybrid between Hoffman's Woodpecker and Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus), Cerro Lodge

Red-crowned x Hoffmann's Woodpecker (hybrid) Melanerpes sp., near Cerro Lodge

 

Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani), La Fortuna

Rufous-winged Woodpecker (Piculus simplex), Maquenque Ecologde

 

Smoky-brown Woodpecker (Picoides fumigatus), Monteverde Cloud Forest

Ringed Kingfisher - female (Megaceryle torquata), Sarapiqui River

 

Ringed Kingfisher - male, Tortuguero

Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana), Tarcoles River

 

Green Kingfisher, Frio River in Caño Negro

Amazon Kingfisher - male (Chloroceryle amazona), Sarapiqui River

 

Amazon Kingfisher - female, Sarapiqui River

American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea), Frio River in Caño Negro

 

American Pygmy Kingfisher, Frio River in Caño Negro

Could be Yellowish Flycatcher (Empidonax flavescens), Monteverde Cloud Forest

 

Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens), Cerro Lodge

Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus), Cerro Lodge

 

Maybe Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), Frio River in Caño Negro

Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer), La Fortuna

 

Long-tailed Tyrant (Colonia colonus), Maquenque Ecolodge

Scrub Euphonia (Euphonia affinis), near Cerro Lodge

 

Could be a female Yellow-crowned Euphonia (Euphonia luteicapilla), La Fortuna

Greenish Elaenia (Myiopagis viridicata), near Cerro Lodge

 

Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster), Tortuguero

Could be a female Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae), near Cerro Lodge

 

Rose-throated Becard near Cerro Lodge

Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus capistratus), San Jose

 

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), Maquenque Ecolodge

Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Cerro Lodge

Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus), San Jose

 

Struggling with the heat! A Great Kiskadee, San Jose

Gray-capped Flycatcher (Myiozetetes granadensis), Boca Tapada

 

Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis), Boca Tapada

Yellow-throated Euphonia (Euphonia hirundinacea), La Fortuna

 

Buff-throated Saltator (Saltator maximus), Maquenque Ecolodge

Black-crowned Tityra with a fat lunch (Tityra inquisitor), Cerro Lodge

 

Long-tailed Tyrant (Colonia colonus), with a pair of Black-crowned Tityra, Boca Tapada

Variable Seedeater - female (Sporophila corvina), Sarapiqui

 

Variable Seedeater - male, Tortuguero

Black-faced Solitaire (Myadestes melanops), Monteverde Cloud Forest

 

Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), La Paz

Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi). Of all the colorful birds they have, Costa Rica selected this one as their national bird!

 

It's song is beautiful, especially in the morning. So I can understand why the Clay-colored Thrush was selected as national bird after all

     

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris), Sarapiqui

 

Groove-billed Ani, Cerro Lodge

Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea), Sarapiqui River

 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis), La Fortuna

Merlin App suggests Cinnamon Becard (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus), Boca Tapada

 

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), La Paz

According to the guide, a Black-and-White Warbler (Mniotilta varia), Ecocentro Danaus, La Fortuna

 

Merlin App suggests Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana), Boca Tapada

Another one of the cryptic birds encountered on a night walk, the White-eared Ground-Sparrow (Melozone leucotis), Monteverde cloud forest

 

Saw the sleeping Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) on several night walks, here from Tirimbina Nature Reserve

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), La Fortuna

 

Stripe-headed Sparrow (Peucaea ruficauda), near Cerro Lodge

Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives), Maquenque Ecolodge

 

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus), San Jose

According to the guide, this was a Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis), Caño Negro. This species is endemic to Nicaragua and the Caño Negro region of Costa Rica, and a much-sought after bird to tick off for birders

 

Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus), Caño Negro

Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus), Cerro Lodge

 

Streak-backed Oriole, Cerro Lodge

Baltimore Oriole - female (Icterus galbula), Cerro Lodge

 

Baltimore Oriole - male, Cerro Lodge

Yellow Tyrannulet (Capsiempis flaveola), La Foruna

 

Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus), Maquenque Ecoloodge

Inca Dove (Columbina inca), Cerro Lodge

 

Pale-vented Pigeon (Patagioenas cayennensis), Maquenque Ecoloodge

White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi), Maquenque Ecoloodge

 

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica), San Jose

King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), Tortuguero

 

King Vulture, Boca Tapada

King Vulture, Boca Tapada

 

King Vulture - immature, Boca Tapada

The clean-up crew. Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) at a cow carcass along Tarcoles River

 

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), Turtoguero

 

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway), Cerro Lodge Entrance Road

Yellow-headed Caracara - immature (Milvago chimachima), Cerro Lodge

 

Yellow-headed Caracara, Tarcoles River

Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus), Tortuguero

 

Common Black Hawk, Tarcoles River

A migrating Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), near Cerro Lodge

 

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Tarcoles River

A distant Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), Boca Tapada

 

Common Black Hawk, Tarcoles River