Back to Neotropical Trip Reports
3 – 11 JANUARY 2019
By Eduardo Ormaeche
Resplendent Quetzal (photo Tracy Marr)
This Costa Rica Escape 2019 trip was our first tour of the year, starting only three days after the arrival of the New Year. It was an incredible trip, which allowed us to see the best of the country in just a week. Costa Rica is perhaps the easiest country to bird in the tropical Americas, and most of the Neotropical families are well represented.
With great roads and tourist and service facilities infrastructure the country, and this trip in particular, is the best choice for those who come to the tropics for the first time.
Our adventure started in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, and we managed to explore different habitats and ecosystems, ranging from the Caribbean foothills to the cloudforest mountains of Savegre in central Costa Rica to end at the Pacific slope at Carara National Park and the Río Tárcoles. Of the 934 species of birds that occur in Costa Rica we managed to record more than a third in a week only! We recorded 320 species as well as an additional three species that were heard only.
Our trip list included sightings of amazing species such as Resplendent Quetzal, Boat-billed Heron, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Violet Sabrewing, Black Guan, Spotted Wood Quail, Streak-chested Antpitta, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Great Potoo, Spectacled and Crested Owls, Flame-throated Warbler, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Fiery-billed Aracari, Spot-fronted Swift, Prong-billed Barbet, American Dipper, White-crested Coquette, Black-crested Coquette, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, and White-eared Ground Sparrow. In addition we managed to see two country endemics that occur on the mainland, Coopery-headed Emerald and Mangrove Hummingbird, and we saw 41 birds that are shared only by Costa Rica and Panama. A nice selection of North American migratory warblers was also found, such as Chestnut-sided, Black-and-white, Golden-winged, Bay-breasted, Prothonotary, Black-throated Green, and Wilson Warblers, and 35 species of hummingbirds.
It was a memorable trip, with some participants visiting the tropics for the first time, a nice group of clients, great weather, excellent food, amazing wildlife, and friendly people all over the country. We hope that you can join us on our Costa Rica Escape 2020 tour.
Day 1, 3rd January 2019. Arrival
We arrived at Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela, a town located 20 kilometers from San José city, and then transferred to our hotel.
Day 2, 4th January 2019. Freddo Fresas, La Paz Waterfall, Cinchona, Virgen del Socorro
We had arranged to leave the hotel at 7:00 a.m. after breakfast, but since we were excited and full of adrenaline we met before breakfast already and spent a few hours exploring the hotel grounds, looking for new birds. We met just after dawn to find our first species, including Great-tailed Grackle, Rufous-backed Wren, Clay-colored Thrush, Inca Dove, Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Spot-breasted Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Melodious Blackbird, American Yellow Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Greyish Saltator. There is nothing better than traveling with birders who set foot for the first time in the Neotropics and everything turns out to be new, even Rufous-collared Sparrow. The group was happy and excited, and things could not have turned out any better when the owner of the hotel pointed out a Ferruginous Pygmy Owl in the hotel gardens, which posed well for everybody. Then we had a tasty breakfast and left the hotel to start our trip.
We climbed to an elevation of 1200 meters (3900 feet) to the Freddo Fresas restaurant feeders. As soon as we arrived the group was completely amazed to see the impressive Violet Sabrewing coming to the feeders. Other species here included Mountain Elaenia, Clay-colored Thrush, Blue-grey Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, Bananaquit, Slaty Flowerpiercer, and a glimpse of the elusive White-eared Ground Sparrow.
Later we continued to the La Paz Waterfall center, where the feeders where brimming with Violet Sabrewing, Black-bellied Hummingbird, Purple-throated Mountaingem, and the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald. It was nice to study males versus females, learn the differences, and get used to them. The forest trails leading to the waterfall were very birdy, allowing us views of Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Northern Tufted Flycatcher, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Ochraceous Wren, Slate-throated Whitestart, Tennessee Warbler, Prong-billed Barbet, and Sooty-faced Finch.
We had a nice lunch and then decided to walk the trail all the way down to the base of the waterfall, hoping for American Dipper, which sadly we could not find here. But on the way we had good views of Torrent Tyrannulet, Slaty Antwren, Spotted Barbtail, and Red-faced Spinetail. The trail-and-steps system that leads down to the waterfall was very productive and allowed good views of the waterfall, but perhaps weekends should be avoided since the place can be crowded. Some participants managed to get views of Purple-crowned Fairy when we were leaving the restaurant area.
Then we hit the road again toward the Cinchona and Virgen del Socorro areas. On the way we stopped the vehicle to get scope views of White-crowned Parrots and a nice Bat Falcon. We also were excited about the first flocks of oropendolas, since we did not know yet how much closer we would come to them over the next two days.
At the Cinchona feeders we had great views of Silver-throated Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, and Buff-throated Saltator, when suddenly a Black Guan showed fabulously for the enjoyment of our group.
Daylight was vanishing, but we still wanted to visit one more place, the Virgen del Socorro bridge, only to get thrilled there with views of two American Dippers. Other birds here included our first Chestnut-sided Warbler, Bay Wren, and Zeledon’s Antbird. We also were lucky enough to spot a single White-nosed Coati before we got back to the vehicle.
We continued our drive to our comfortable accommodation at Quinta Sarapiquí, where we arrived before dinner and had a rest in anticipation of the big day that was about to come, visiting the famous La Selva Biological Station. Indeed, this had been a great day!
Black Guan (photo Deborah Hurlbert)
Day 3, 5th January 2019. La Selva Biological Station
La Selva Biological Station is one of tropical America’s most important ecological research facilities. It is also one of Costa Rica’s most renowned birding destinations. Since its creation in 1968 more than 3,100 scientific papers have been published based on research conducted within the forests of La Selva Biological Station. The station is located on 4,050 acres of lowland forest bordering Braulio Carrillo National Park, and it creates an important corridor from the lowlands to the high mountain peaks.
We arrived at La Selva at first light. Just at the entrance by the parking lot we had good views of Great Antshrike, Fasciated Antshrike, Scaled Pigeon, Short-billed Pigeon, Brown-hooded Parrot, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Montezuma Oropendola, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Red-lored Amazon, Stripe-throated Hermit, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Grey-breasted Martin, and Keel-billed Toucan. We also had scope views of a female Snowy Cotinga.
We started walking and exploring the trails, including the ones located at the other side of a suspended bridge over the Puerto Viejo River. We also had perfect weather and were excited with sightings of species such as Black-throated Trogon, White-ringed Flycatcher, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Collared Aracari, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Yellow-throated Toucan, Green Kingfisher, Grey-headed Chachalaca, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Masked Tityra, Black-crowned Tityra, Golden-hooded Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, Red-throated Ant Tanager, White-whiskered Puffbird, White-fronted Nunbird, and Black-cowled Oriole.
One of the greatest moments of the tour came when we decided to look for a potential roosting tree for Vermiculated Screech Owl. Kevin and I walked into the forest, tracking down the owl’s call, while the group remained behind on the main trail. Suddenly before we localized the owl the very bird and a pair of Great Tinamous walked in front of the group. When we noticed them and turned back to tell the group they had already observed this shy species, but they did not tell us because we had asked them to remain quiet while we were trying for the owl. This was an incredible moment and quite funny for the whole group. However, we continued looking for the owl, just to find not only the Vermiculated Screech Owl but also a Crested Owl, both roosting at daytime in the same area. Incredible!
Another truly nice moment was watching a pair of Great Green Macaws flying low above the canopy forest, but only a few members of the group managed to see them perched. Another top moment was getting full views of Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, one of our main targets at La Selva.
Crested Owl (photo Eduardo Ormaeche)
After a good morning and before we left the research station during the midday heat we had a cup of coffee in the main dining room of the research station, where surprisingly we found a Grey-chested Dove that was imprisoned in the dining room. After we had watched it well we set it free. Then we went back to our hotel to enjoy a good lunch, and in the afternoon we returned to La Selva. The activity was slower than it had been in the morning, but we had incredible views of Rufous and Broad-billed Motmots, Black-throated Trogon, Crested Guan, Blue-chested Hummingbird, and Buff-rumped Warbler. Later we tried to see a Slaty-breasted Tinamou calling very close, but it did not come for us, and then we had strong rain. La Selva also provided good views of Collared Peccaries and Mantled Howler Monkeys. But it was getting late, so we returned to the lodge.
Day 4, 6th January 2019. San José River, Cope Wildlife, El Tapir, transfer to Savegre
Probably one of the longest days of the trip started by visiting the Río San José. Here early in the morning we had good views of Fasciated Tiger Heron and the uncommon Spot-fronted Swift flying among a flock of Grey-rumped Swifts. We also had probably one of our best sightings of Cinnamon Woodpecker here.
Then we drove to the Cope Wildlife Reserve, which is a local private home of a family involved with ecotourism, and they have excellent feeder settings. During the next hour or so we were delighted with enjoying close-up views of Montezuma Oropendola and Chestnut-headed Oropendola on the feeders, Green Honeycreepers, dozens of Red-legged Honeycreepers, Silver-throated Tanager, Crimson-collared Tanager, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Baltimore Oriole, and Melodious Blackbird. We saw a fascinating Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth with his offspring, and after that we took a drive to explore the vicinity of this private reserve, during which, with the help of a local guide, we managed to find another Crested Owl roosting. In addition we found a pair of Spectacled Owls and a Great Potoo, all roosting at daytime, and a Pale-billed Woodpecker in its nest.
Great Potoo (photo Eduardo Ormaeche)
Pale-billed Woodpecker (photo Eduardo Ormaeche)
After great birding in the Cope Wildlife Reserve we visited the well-known hummingbird hotspot El Tapir (old butterfly garden). Here we enjoyed Black-crested Coquette, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Crowned Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, and Wire-crested Thorntail, but despite all our efforts we could not find the Snowcap, which apparently is scarce and shy close to the very aggressive Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. We also saw Black-and-yellow Tanager and had a brief view of a juvenile male Three-wattled Bellbird.
Then we hit the road and headed to San Gerardo de Dota in the Cordillera de Talamanca. Two full days of birding in pristine cloudforest were about to come our way, and we could not have been more excited. We arrived at Savegre Lodge at dusk just in time to drop our luggage and enjoy a delicious dinner.
Day 5, 7th January 2019. Savegre Lodge
Today we left the hotel before dawn and enjoyed an incredible night sky. We went to look for Resplendent Quetzal, probably one of the most-wanted species in the tropical Americas. We arrived to a place where we knew that it was showing regularly, but we had to wait for some time. In the meantime we had views of several Black Guans and of our first Mountain Thrush. There were quite a few people from other lodges who gathered in this specific spot, when suddenly a full adult male made an appearance and perched not far from the road on its favorite tree. We spent a good time enjoying it; it was amazing!
We returned to the lodge to have breakfast and enjoyed some of the birds that occur around the garden, such as Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Flame-colored Tanager, Talamanca Hummingbird, and Acorn Woodpecker, and we had a glimpse of Western Osprey. Some people may ask why there is an osprey in the mountains. Well, the local people who live in the Central Valley near Savegre have built several trout farms, and that is probably why our friend was flying around. By 8:30 a.m. we took one of the hotel’s old jeeps, which transported us above the Savegre Lodge. The great forest above the lodge is good for birding and holds a few excellent species, so we started with nothing less than a family covey of Spotted Wood Quail followed by Ruddy Pigeon, Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Flame-throated Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Collared Whitestart, Philadelphia Vireo, Ruddy Treerunner, Black-capped Flycatcher, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Black-and-white Warbler, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, and the skulking Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, which was the first tapaculo for almost the whole group (however, just wait and come to northern Ecuador or northern Peru with us!). Some of the participants also managed to get good views of the elusive Black-faced Solitaire. It was a great hike, and we managed to walk all the way back to the main road near the lodge.
We had a break after lunch and then headed back to the road to visit Miriam’s feeders above Savegre. The feeders were brimming with activity, and we did extremely well with species such as White-throated Mountaingem, Talamanca Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, and even Fiery-throated Hummingbird. The fruit feeders attracted Acorn Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Flame-colored Tanager, Large-footed Finch, and Yellow-thighed Finch. Just before the end of our visit here a Blue-throated Toucanet materialized to fill Tracy’s heart with joy!
Miriam’s feeders (photo Eduardo Ormaeche)
Acorn Woodpecker (photo Eduardo Ormaeche)
Blue-throated Toucanet (photo Eduardo Ormaeche)
After enjoying the feeders we climbed up to higher elevations, where just at sunset we found another one of our targets, the range-restricted Black-cheeked Warbler. We then waited until dusk to look for Dusky Nightjar, which was very responsive after dusk, but we could not see it until we started driving back to Savegre Lodge. But when we arrived at the lodge we had splendid views of one individual hawking for moths at a street light.
Day 6, 8th January 2019. Los Quetzales National Park, Bosque de Tolomuco, Villa Lapas
The next day we left the lodge toward Los Quetzales National Park, the highest elevation of the tour at 3000 meters (9840 feet). Along the drive we managed to see Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush. We reached the top and were amazed by the remains of paramo and the pristine habitat; it was stunning scenery. As soon as we arrived we started to look for our two main targets, the range-restricted Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren. Fortunately it did not take long to have great views of both targets; so with no other target birds to look for we started our drive to the Pacific slope.
We kept driving along the main road until we reached Bosque de Tolomuco and a nice B&B property, which provided great hummingbird and tanager feeders. We had a good start with our first White-tailed Emerald and Snowy-bellied Hummingbird; however, our main target was the stunning White-crested Coquette, which can be seen at this property. It did not take long to admire our first White-crested Coquette females, but there was no trace of the male yet. We also had time to check the tanager feeders, where we saw more Silver-throated Tanagers, Blue-grey Tanager, Palm Tanager, and Golden-hooded Tanager. We also found Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, Elegant Euphonia, and Red-crowned Woodpecker. Fortunately the group was together when the spectacular male White- crested Coquette showed up for a minute only, not to come back again.
Sunset at Savegre (photo Eduardo Ormaeche)
White-crested Coquette (photo Deborah Hurlbert)
When we continued our drive toward Villa Lapas we found a nice birding stop at the coast, with several Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egret, and Tricolored Heron, and our first view of the splendid Scarlet Macaw flying along the shore was a real treat. We also saw Northern Crested Caracara and Yellow-headed Caracara, a nice Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and Grey-crowned Yellowthroat. At our comfortable hotel we still had time to get ready before dinner. Central American Agouti was seen around the garden, and Pauraque showed well for everybody after dinner.
Day 7, 9th January 2019. Carara National Park
We started the day with getting incredible views of the localized Fiery-billed Aracari in the hotel grounds and then drove to Carara National Park, where we spent the whole morning birding and exploring the main trails. Carara National Park is one of the most famous birding destinations in Costa Rica. The park is located at the northernmost site of the South Pacific Slope on the southern bank of the Río Tárcoles, the river that forms the boundary between the North- and South-Pacific regions. Since it is situated in the transition zone between tropical dry forest and tropical wet forest, Carara offers a unique and extremely diverse ecosystem, protecting 11,600 acres of land.
Here we found species such as Long-billed Gnatwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Black-hooded Antshrike, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Riverside Wren, Black-faced Antthrush, and Rufous Piha, and we had fantastic views of Streak-chested Antpitta. We tried hard for Orange-collared Manakin, but only a few participants managed to see the only elusive individual we found. In the parking lot a group of Central American Spider Monkeys and King Vulture where photographed by Debbie while she was waiting for the group.
We came back to the park in the afternoon and managed to see a nice selection of birds taking a bath in a forest stream, with super views of a single male Blue-crowned Manakin, at least five different Red-capped Manakins and one female as well, Northern Schiffornis, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-shouldered Tanager, and Blue-throated Sapphire. Toward evening we returned to the hotel for a nice dinner, another satisfying checklist session, and a few free drinks that were very welcome after a long and hot day.
Day 8, 10th January 2019. Tárcoles River and transfer to San José
Our last day of the trip started with crossing the famous crocodile bridge on foot, from where we saw several American Crocodiles and also Black-necked Stilt, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Neotropic Cormorant, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and Cabanis’s Wren and had a wonderful view of Turquoise-browed Motmot.
We drove to the dock to get our boat to explore the mangroves of the Tárcoles River. We had a great time, enjoying Magnificent Frigatebirds, American White Ibis, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Northern Jacana, Green Kingfisher, the elusive American Pygmy Kingfisher, Panamanian Flycatcher, Northern Scrub Flycatcher, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, and good views of the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird. We also had good views of Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Mangrove Swallow, and Crab-eating Raccoon. Along the river we saw more American Crocodiles, Common Basilisk, and Common Spiny-tailed Iguanas but also Whimbrel, Spotted Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper. We had scope views of a large group of Brown Pelicans, Royal Tern, and juvenile Laughing Gulls.
After this great boat trip we returned to the Villa Lapas hotel to collect our luggage and get lunch and then started the drive back to Alajuela.
During the drive back we made a couple of selective stops while passing through some deciduous habitats, where we had nice views of Black-headed Trogon, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Tropical Gnatcatcher, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Lesser Greenlet, Scrub Euphonia, and Stripe-headed Sparrow. We went back to the hotel to have our last meal together and share laughs and a couple of drinks to celebrate a very good birding week in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Pura Vida!
Day 9. Departure
Our international flights left today from Juan Santamaría International Airport.
SYSTEMATIC BIRD LIST
Bird taxonomy based on IOC (International Ornithology Committee) Version 9.1 https://www.worldbirdnames.org/
Great Tinamou Tinamus major Great views of two individuals at La Selva. Here the subspecies castaneiceps. Tinamous are generally shy and can be scarce as a result of hundreds of years of hunting by man. Tinamous are endemic to the Neotropics and are among the oldest families in the New World and among the most primitive of birds, as they conserve certain reptilian features, such as their blood proteins and the shape of the palate, which is similar to that found in the dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. The species is classified as Near-threatened.
Slaty-breasted Tinamou (H) Crypturellus boucardi This species was heard only at La Selva Biological Station. Here the subspecies costaricensis
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis Two birds were seen at the crocodile bridge near Villa Lapas. Here the subspecies fulgens, which occurs from SE Texas to Panama
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata Seen at the crocodile bridge near Villa Lapas
Grey-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens Two birds were spotted by Debbie during our afternoon at La Selva Biological Station.
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor Great views at the Cinchona feeders and then common at Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
Spotted Wood Quail Odontophorus guttatus Great views of a family covey above Savegre
Wood Stork Mycteria americana Seen along the Pacific shores on the way to Villa Lapas and during the boat trip along the Tárcoles River
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis Seen flying above La Selva Biological Station
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja Seen along the Pacific shores on the way to Villa Lapas and during the boat trip along the Tárcoles River
American White Ibis Eudocimus albus Seen at Villa Lapas and Río Tárcoles
Bare-throated Tiger Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum Great views near La Selva Biological Station and along the Tárcoles River
Fasciated Tiger Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum Great views on the river at the Cope Wildlife Reserve. Here the subspecies salmoni
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius Great views along the Tárcoles River. Here the subspecies panamensis. A strictly nocturnal heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea Several sightings along the Tárcoles River
Green Heron Butorides virescens Seen along the Tárcoles River. Green and Striated Herons are bait-fishing herons that attract fish by placing bait – insects, flowers, seeds, twigs, bread, even popcorn – on the water’s surface.
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Several sightings
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Nice views along the Tárcoles River
Great Egret Ardea alba A few sightings on the trip
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor Nice views along the Tárcoles River
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea Quite of few sightings on the trip
Snowy Egret Egretta thula Several sightings on the trip
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Great views along the Pacific Ocean
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Several sightings throughout the trip
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens Great views during the boat trip along the Tárcoles River
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga A single sighting along the Tárcoles River
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Common throughout the trip
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Common throughout the trip
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa This awesome species was seen only at Carara National Park.
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus Seen at Savegre and quite a few at the Pacific and along the Tárcoles River
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus Seen hovering in the Pacific lowlands
Grey-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis Good views at La Selva Biological Station
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus Nice views on the Caribbean slope
Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus A glimpse of one individual flying by and calling above La Paz Waterfall. B.V.D (better views desired)
Common Black Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus One was seen at the crocodile bridge near Villa Lapas and then a few along the Tárcoles River. Here the subspecies bangsi
Semiplumbeous Hawk Leucopternis semiplumbeus Great views at La Selva Biological Station
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus Close-up views of one individual perched and two soaring at Carara National Park
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Several sightings
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus Good views of one individual flying high above the dry Pacific slope on the way back to San José
Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus One seen on the Pacific slope. Zone-tailed Hawks soar with their wings held in a dihedral position (pointing slightly upwards), rocking from side to side, a flight style that parallels that of turkey vultures. Some ornithologists believe that this mimicry tricks potential prey animals into not being alarmed when a Zone-tailed Hawk flies overhead (Clark 2004).
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis One sighting before breakfast at Savegre Lodge. Here the subspecies costaricensis
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Seen at the crocodile bridge near Villa Lapas
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis Two seen on the tour. Here the subspecies cayennensis
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus Seen at the river banks of the Tárcoles River
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa Seen along the Tárcoles River
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Seen along the Tárcoles River
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Seen along the Tárcoles River
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla Seen along the Tárcoles River
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius Seen along the Tárcoles River
Willet Tringa semipalmata Seen along the Tárcoles River
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger Seen along the Pacific Ocean at Tárcoles
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla Seen along the Pacific Ocean at Tárcoles
Franking’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan Seen along the Pacific Ocean at Tárcoles
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus Seen along the Pacific Ocean at Tárcoles
Rock Dove Columba livia Common
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata Seen at Savegre Lodge. Here the subspecies crissalis
Red-billed Pigeon Patagioenas flavirostris Several sightings throughout the trip. Here the nominate subspecies
Scaled Pigeon Patagioenas speciosa Great scope views at La Selva Lodge
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis Quite a few sightings on the trip. Here the subspecies pallidicrissa
Short-billed Pigeon Patagioenas nigrirostris Nice views at La Selva Biological Station
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea Nice views above Savegre Lodge, where it was feeding on the ground. Here the nominate subspecies
Inca Dove Columbina inca Nice views at our hotel in San José
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina Brief flying-by views during our drive to the Pacific slope
Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti Common at several locations
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi Only one seen near La Selva Biological Station
Grey-chested Dove Leptotila cassinii One managed to get caught in the dining room of La Selva Biological Station. We managed to get good views before we set it free.
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica Common in San José and many places
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris Several sightings throughout the trip
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana One was seen at our hotel in San José and later we saw it at the La Paz Waterfall.
Vermiculated Screech Owl Megascops vermiculatus Great views of two birds at La Selva Biological Station. We saw both the grey and brown morphs. M. vermiculatus is split from M. guatemalae (Meyer de Schauensee 1970, Sibley & Monroe 1990, König et. al.1999, H&M3) cf SACC 12, H&M4
Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata Two magical encounters at daytime, the first individual roosting next to the Vermiculated Screech Owl. Magic! A most-wanted species and hard to see at night. Here the subspecies stricklandi
Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata Amazing daytime roosting sightings of two birds at the Cope Wildlife Reserve
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Glaucidium brasilianum Nice views during our first morning at the Hotel Robledal. One of the very first birds we saw on the trip. Here the subspecies ridgwayi
Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis Great views of one individual roosting at daytime at the Cope Wildlife Reserve
Dusky Nightjar Antrostomus saturatus Incredible views of one individual in the cloudforest above Savegre Lodge. Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis Seen by most of the group at Villa Lapas
Short-tailed Nighthawk Lurocalis semitorquatus Seen near our hotel at Sarapiquí after dusk
Spot-fronted Swift Cypseloides cherriei One sighting on the tour near Río San José. A poorly-know species
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Several sightings on the tour
Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris A couple of sightings on the tour. The smallest swift we saw on the tour
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis Nice views of one individual near the Cope Wildlife Reserve
Long-billed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris A couple of sightings
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy Good views at the La Paz Waterfall feeders
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird Phaeochroa cuvierii Brief views at Río Tárcoles
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus Great views at Freddo Fresas, the Virgen del Socorro feeders, and the Cinchona feeders. A striking species
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Seen at the Cope Wildlife Reserve
Lesser Violetear Colibri cyanotus Seen at Savegre Lodge
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti Several seen at the old butterfly garden during our search for the Snowcap
Black-crested Coquette Lophornis helenae Excellent views at the old butterfly garden
White-crested Coquette Lophornis adorabilis Incredible but short views of this beautiful bird at Tolomuco. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii Nice views of male and female at the La Paz Waterfall feeders
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis Amazing views at Miriam’s feeders above Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
White-tailed Emerald Elvira chionura Nice views at Tolomuco. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps Great views at the La Paz Waterfall feeders and the Cinchona feeders. A Costa Rica endemic
Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa eximia Seen near Savegre
Black-bellied Hummingbird Eupherusa nigriventris Seen at the La Paz Waterfall feeders. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica Seen at the El Tapir feeders
Blue-throated Sapphire Hylocharis eliciae Nice views of one individual taking a bath with the Red-capped Manakin in the Carara National Park
Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila Great views along the Pacific slope on the drive from Villa Lapas to San José. Here the subspecies corallirostris
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Several sightings throughout the trip. Here the nominate subspecies
Blue-chested Hummingbird Amazilia amabilis Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Mangrove Hummingbird Amazilia boucardi One bird was seen during the boat trip in the mangroves of the Tárcoles. A Costa Rica endemic. The species is classified as Endangered.
Blue-vented Hummingbird Amazilia hoffmanni A few sightings on the Pacific slope including Carara National Park
Snowy-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia edward Great views at Tolomuco. Here the subspecies niveoventer. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Chalybura urochrysia Seen at the feeders at the Cope Wildlife Reserve. Here the subspecies melanorrhoa
White-bellied Mountaingem Lampornis hemileucus Seen at the La Paz Waterfall and Cinchona feeders
Purple-throated Mountaingem Lampornis calolaemus Seen at the La Paz Waterfall feeders
Grey-tailed Mountaingem Lampornis cinereicauda Seen at Savegre and Myriam’s feeders. A Costa Rica endemic. IOC has split Grey-tailed Mountaingem Lampornis cinereicauda from White-throated Mountaingem Lampornis castaneoventris, with Grey-tailed Mountaingem found in Costa Rica only and White-throated Mountaingem in Panama.
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula Seen at the La Paz Waterfall feeders and at Tolomuco. Here the subspecies henryi
Talamanca Hummingbird Eugenes spectabilis Great views at Savegre and at Miriam’s feeders. Found in Costa Rica and Panama. Named after the Talamanca mountains in Costa Rica. Talamanca [Admirable] Hummingbird E. spectabilis previously split from Rivoli’s/Magnificent Hummingbird E. fulgens (Ridgway 1911, Cory 1918; see also AOU 1983, Stiles & Skutch 1989, Powers 1999). Genetic studies support this split (Zamudio-Beltrán & Hernández-Baños 2015, NACC 2017-B-2). Change [8.1] provisional English name (Admirable) to NACC choice of Talamanca Hummingbird
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti Seen in the La Paz Waterfall gardens
Magenta-throated Woodstar Calliphlox bryantae Seen at the Laz Paz Waterfall feeders and the Cinchona feeders. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris Seen on the Pacific slope near Villa Lapas
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula Seen at Savegre and in Los Quetzales National Park. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla Seen at Miriam’s feeders. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno Amazing view of one male near Savegre. One of the most-wanted species in the Neotropics. The Resplendent Quetzal plays an important role in various types of Mesoamerican mythology. It is the national bird of Guatemala, and its image is found on the country’s flag and coat of arms. It also lends its name to the country’s currency, the Guatemalan quetzal. The Resplendent Quetzal was considered divine, associated with the “snake god”, Quetzalcoatl, by pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations. Its iridescent green tail feathers, symbols for spring plant growth, were venerated by the ancient Aztecs and Maya, who viewed the quetzal as the “god of the air” and as a symbol of goodness and light. The Maya also viewed the quetzal symbolizing freedom and wealth, due to their view of quetzals dying in captivity and the value of their feathers, respectively. Mesoamerican rulers and some nobility of other ranks wore headdresses made from quetzal feathers, symbolically connecting them to Quetzalcoatl. Since it was a crime to kill a quetzal, the bird was simply captured, its long tail feathers plucked, and was set free. In several Mesoamerican languages the term for quetzal can also mean precious, sacred, or erected. The species is classified as Near-threatened.
Gartered Trogon Trogon caligatus Seen at La Selva Biological Station. Here the subspecies sallaei
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus Seen at La Selva Biological Station. Here the subspecies tenellus
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus Great views along the Pacific slope on our way back to San José
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena Good views in Carara National Park
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea Seen nicely during the boat trip on the Tárcoles. Here the subspecies stictoptera
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona Seen on a couple of occasions
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana The most-frequently-encountered kingfisher on the tour
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii Great views of one bird at La Selva Biological Station. A favorite of many people in the group
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum Good views at La Selva Biological Station as well. Here the subspecies minus
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa Great views of this striking motmot near the crocodile bridge near Villa Lapas. The national bird of Nicaragua
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda Great views at La Selva Biological Station. Here the subspecies melanogenia. Jacamars are insectivores, taking a variety of insect prey (many specialize on butterflies and moths) by hawking in the air. Birds sit in favored perches and sally toward the prey when it is close enough.
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis Nice encounters with more than three individuals at Carara National Park
White-fronted Nunbird Monasa morphoeus Good views at La Selva Biological Station
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii Great views on the La Paz Waterfall trails. Found in Costa Rica and Panama. Prong-billed Barbet together with the Toucan Barbet from Colombia and Ecuador are the only members of the Semnornithidae family, which are different from the Capitonidae family, which comprises New World barbets.
Blue-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis Great views at Miriam’s feeders. One of the favorites for Tracy. Here the nominate subspecies
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus Common at La Selva Biological Station and the Cope Wildlife Reserve
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii Great views of a group at Villa Lapas. Found in Costa Rica and Colombia
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus Nice views at La Selva Biological Station. The national bird of Belize
Yellow-throated Toucan Ramphastos ambiguus Nice views on the Caribbean slope and at La Selva. Here the subspecies swainsonii. It used to be known as Black-mandibled Toucan and Chestnut-mandibled Toucan. Ramphastos swainsonii is an uncertain split from R. ambiguus (AOU 1998, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Dickinson 2003); SACC 440 and NACC 2010-B-13 lump). Yellow-throated Toucan is the appropriate English names for this species (SACC 663). The species is classified as Near-threatened.
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus Great views at Savegre and Miriam’s feeders. Here the subspecies striatipectus
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani Great views at the feeders at the Cope Wildlife Reserve and La Selva Biological Station
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus One sighting at Tolomuco
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii Several views of this species throughout the trip. Named after Karl Hoffmann (7 December 1823 – 11 May 1859), a German physician and naturalist in Costa Rica. In 1853 he traveled to Costa Rica with Alexander von Frantzius to collect natural history specimens. With his wife, Emilia Hoffmann, he settled in San José, where he operated a consultation clinic and small pharmacy from his home. In order to supplement his income he sold wine and liquor. He served as a doctor in the Costa Rican army during the invasion of William Walker in 1856. He died of typhoid in Puntarenas. Hoffmann is commemorated in the names of a number of animals, including Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni), Hoffmann’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii), Sulphur-winged Parakeet (Pyrrhura hoffmanni), Hoffmann’s Antthrush (Formicarius hoffmanni), Hoffmann’s earth snake (Geophis hoffmanni), and a millipede Chondrodesmus hoffmanni (Peters, 1864).
Hairy Woodpecker Leuconotopicus villosus Good views at Miriam’s feeders. Here the subspecies extimus
Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex Great views at La Selva Biological Station
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus After several trials we managed to see one well near the Cope Wildlife Reserve.
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus Great views at La Selva. One of everybody’s favorites
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis Excellent views at La Selva. Here the nominate subspecies
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus Seen on the Pacific slope near Carara National Park
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway A couple of sightings
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima Nice views on the Pacific slope
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis Scope views on two different occasions. Bat Falcons perch conspicuously on high, open snags, from which they launch aerial attacks on their prey. They hunt bats, birds, and large insects such as dragonflies. The smaller male takes more insects and the female more birds and bats. The flight is direct and powerful. This falcon is partly crepuscular, as the bats in its diet suggest. It lays two or three brown eggs in an unlined treehole nest.
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis Best views at the Cope Wildlife Reserve feeders. Here the nominate subspecies
Brown-hooded Parrot Pyrilia haematotis Great views at La Selva Biological Station
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis A large flock was seen near the La Paz Waterfall.
Northern Mealy Amazon Amazona guatemalae Two seen flying by near Villa Lapas. Northern Mealy Amazon is split from [Southern] Mealy Amazon (Wenner et al. 2012, HBW Alive). Northern Mealy Amazon ranges from Mexico to W Panama, while Southern Mealy Amazon Amazona farinosa ranges from Panama to Bolivia. The species is classified as Near-threatened.
Red-lored Amazon Amazona autumnalis Great flying-by views on the Pacific slope
Olive-throated Parakeet Eupsittula nana Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Sulphur-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura hoffmanni Seen well at Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguus Seen flying by at La Selva Biological Station. Only a few of us had the opportunity to see them perch. The species is classified as Endangered.
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao It was magic indeed to see some of these beautiful and colorful birds flying by on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and above Villa Lapas as well.
Finsch’s Parakeet Psittacara finschi Flying-by views around San José city. Named after Herman Otto Finsch (1839-1917), German diplomat, administrator, ornithologist, collector and author
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops Great views along the waterfall trails. Here the subspecies rufigenis
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens Brief views along the waterfall trails. Here the subspecies brunneicauda
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus Seen well during our hike above Savegre Lodge. Here the nominate subspecies
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus One seen by some participants at La Selva Biological Station
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus Seen well at La Selva Biological Station and in Carara National Park. Here the subspecies sylvioides. Keep records of your sightings of this species because it could be split in the future into at least four different species.
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Northern Barred Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae Great views at La Selva Biological Station
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans A few sightings on the trip
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus Great views at Carara National Park
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis Seen at Carara National Park
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii Seen at Carara National Park
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis Seen at Carara National Park. Here the subspecies virgatus
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor Good views along the La Paz Waterfall trails
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi Good views of a pair at Carara National Park. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Black-crowned Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha Seen at La Selva Biological Station. Change English name of Western Slaty Antshrike to Black-crowned Antshrike (SACC 570)
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Great Antshrike Taraba major Great views at La Selva Biological Station. Here the subspecies obscurus
Dusky Antbird Cercomacroides tyrannina Seen at Carara National Park
Chestnut-backed Antbird Poliocrania exsul Seen at Carara National Park
Zeledon’s Antbird Hafferia zeledoni Brief views along the bridge track below Cinchona. Zeledon’s Antbird is split from Immaculate Antbird M. immaculata (Donegan 2012, SACC 541, 568). Moved from Myrmeciza to Hafferia (Isler et al. 2013).
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis Seen at Carara National Park
Streak-chested Antpitta Hylopezus perspicillatus Incredible views at Carara National Park
Silvery-fronted Tapaculo Scytalopus argentifrons A mouse in the understory. We got brief but good views of it above Savegre Lodge. Found only in Costa Rica and Panama
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii Seen at Freddo Fresas, La Paz Waterfall, and Savegre
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea Nice views along the river at La Paz Waterfall
Mistletoe Tyrannulet Zimmerius parvus Great views at a few locations. Zimmerius parvus is split from Paltry Tyrannulet (Z. vilissimus) (Rheindt et al. 2013).
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola Seen in the Caribbean foothills
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus Seen at the manakin pool in the Carara National Park
Northern Scrub Flycatcher Sublegatus arenarum One seen at Río Tárcoles
Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus One seen at La Paz Waterfall. Here the subspecies luteiventris
Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant (H) Myiornis atricapillus This species was heard near Cope Wildlife Reserve. Sadly, it did not play for us.
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum Seen on the Pacific slope
Yellow-olive Flatbill Tolmomyias sulphurescens Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans Seen at La Paz Waterfall and the Virgen del Socorro river
Northern Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus Seen at the La Paz Waterfall forest trails
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens Only one sighting on the trip
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps Great views at Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus Seen well at La Selva Biological Station
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Seen in the Caribbean foothills
Grey-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Common
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittatus Seen well at La Selva Biological Station
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus Seen on the way back to San José
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua Common at La Selva Biological Station
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Several sightings throughout the trip
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus Great views near Jaco Beach on the way to Villa Lapas
Panamanian Flycatcher Myiarchus panamensis Seen in the mangroves at Río Tárcoles
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus Only one sighting on the trip
Bright-rumped Attila (H) Attila spadiceus Heard at La Selva and Villa Lapas
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus A female was seen at La Selva Biological Station.
Three-wattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculatus Scope views of a young male near the Braulio Carrillo National Park during the search for the Snowcap. The species is classified as Vulnerable.
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus Seen at Carara National Park
Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus Hard to see, but some of us managed to get a view of this bird at Carara National Park.
Blue-crowned Manakin Lepidothrix coronata Fantastic view of a male during our visit to Carara National Park
Red-capped Manakin Ceratopipra mentalis Watching six males taking an evening bath in Carara National Park was very special.
Sulphur-rumped Myiobius Myiobius sulphureipygius Seen at Carara National Park. Here the subspecies aureatus
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Northern Schiffornis Schiffornis veraepacis One individual sharing a nice bath with the manakins at Carara National Park. Northern Schiffornis is split from Thrush-like Manakin S. turdina complex (Nyári 2007, Donegan et al. 2011, SACC 505, 543A). Thrush-like Schiffornis was split into six new species:
Guianan Schiffornis Schiffornis olivacea Venezuela, Guyana, NC Brazil
Northern Schiffornis Schiffornis veraepacis From S Mexico to W Colombia, W Ecuador and NW Peru
Foothill Schiffornis Schiffornis aenea C Ecuador to N Peru
Russet-winged Schiffornis Schiffornis stenorhyncha Panama to N Venezuela and N Colombia
Brown-winged Schiffornis Schiffornis turdina Venezuela, through Amazonia, W Brazil, SE Peru and Bolivia
Greenish Schiffornis Schiffornis virescens SE Brazil, Paraguay and NE Argentina
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus One was seen at Carara National Park.
Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae A female was seen in the deciduous habitat on the way back to San José.
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis Heard at Savegre, where it was also seen by some of us
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons Good views at Savegre
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus Only one bird was seen at Savegre
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps Brief views of one individual at Carara National Park
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus Good views of two individuals along the deciduous habitat on the way back to San José
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Ptiliogonys caudatus Great views at Savegre. Despite their common names silky-flycatchers are more closely related to waxwings and thrushes than to tyrant flycatchers, and they eat fruit more often than they eat insects. [Richard Garrigues The Birds of Costa Rica, pg.272]
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea Nice views at the Tárcoles River
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Common at Savegre
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Seen around San José
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis Good views on the way to Cope Wildlife Reserve
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Rufous-backed Wren Campylorhynchus capistratus The first sighting came from an individual in our hotel grounds in San José
Bay Wren Cantorchilus nigricapillus Brief views at Virgen del Socorro
Riverside Wren Cantorchilus semibadius Good views at Carara National Park. Found in Costa Rica and Panama only. One of Tim’s favorite birds
Black-bellied Wren Pheugopedius fasciatoventris Seen at Carara National Park
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus Nice views at the La Paz Waterfall forest trails. Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Only one sighting on the Pacific slope!
Cabanis’s Wren Cantorchilus modestus Brief views while standing at the crocodile bridge near Villa Lapas. Change English name of Plain Wren Cantorchilus modestus to Cabanis’s Wren with split of Canebrake Wren (NACC 2016-C-14). Includes roberti and vanrossemi. Treat as monotypic. Saucier et al. 2015.
Timberline Wren Thryorchilus browni Great views of one individual above Savegre in Los Quetzales National Park. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Grey-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucophrys One seen at La Paz Waterfall. Here the subspecies collina. Even though the species is widespread in the Neotropics the subspecies collina is found in Costa Rica and Panama only.
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris One seen well on the way back to San José. Here the subspecies albiloris
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea One seen well on the way back to San José
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops Seen by some participants during the hike above Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris Seen above Savegre during our drive to Los Quetzales National Park. Here the nominate subspecies.
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii Common around Savegre. Here the subspecies frantzii
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater Seen at the La Paz Waterfall forest trails. Here the subspecies hellmayri
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina Great views at the Cope Wildlife Reserve
Sooty Thrush Turdus nigrescens Good views at Savegre and Myriam’s feeders. Found in Costa Rica and Panama. The species is classified as Near-threatened.
Mountain Thrush Turdus plebejus Seen at Savegre
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi Several sightings. The national bird of Costa Rica
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus Two birds were seen nicely near Virgen del Socorro. This was a lifer for the leader.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus A couple of sightings in San José city
Yellow-bellied Siskin Spinus xanthogastrus Good views at Myriam’s feeders
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae Seen at the La Paz Waterfall forest trails
Elegant Euphonia Euphonia elegantissima Only one sighting at Tolomuco. Here the subspecies vincens
Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis Seen in the deciduous habitat on the way back to San José
White-vented Euphonia Euphonia minuta Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi Seen at Carara National Park
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Several sightings
Volcano Junco Junco vulcani Great views at Los Quetzales National Park. Found in Costa Rica and W Panama only
Stripe-headed Sparrow Peucaea ruficauda Seen in the deciduous habitat on the way back to San José. Here the nominate subspecies
White-eared Ground Sparrow Melozone leucotis Brief views of this shy species in the forested area in front of the Freddo Fresas restaurant
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus Seen in the deciduous area on the way back to San José
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris Several sightings. Common in the Carara National Park
Sooty-faced Finch Arremon crassirostris Seen in the La Paz Waterfall restaurant area. Incredible! Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis Seen at Savegre and Miriam’s feeders. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Large-footed Finch Pezopetes capitalis Seen at Miriam’s feeders. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Common Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavopectus Several sightings throughout the trip. Here the subspecies regionalis
Sooty-capped Bush Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus Seen at Miriam’s feeders and in the Savegre area. Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma Great views at La Selva Biological Station and at the Cope Wildlife Reserve feeders
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri Seen well at the Cope Wildlife Reserve feeders
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus microrhynchus Only one sighting on the trip
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus prosthemelas Good sightings
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula Quite a few sightings on the trip
Spot-breasted Oriole Icterus pectoralis Seen on the 1st day in the grounds of Hotel Robledal
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives Several sightings including at the Cope Wildlife Reserve feeders
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Seen on the Tárcoles River
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Common and widespread
Louisiana Waterthrush Parkesia motacilla One seen on the trip
Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis A few sightings including at Villa Lapas
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera Nice views at La Paz Waterfall and at Cinchona. The species is classified as Near-threatened.
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia One seen above Savegre
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea Great views at the mangroves of Río Tárcoles
Flame-throated Warbler Oreothlypis gutturalis Nice views above Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Tennessee Warbler Leiothlypis peregrina Probably the most-frequently-encountered migratory warbler in Costa Rica during this time of year
Grey-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis poliocephala One was seen well near Jaco Beach on the way to Villa Lapas.
Mourning Warbler Geothlypis philadelphia One seen at La Selva Biological Station
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi One seen at Cinchona
Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea Only one seen at La Selva Biological Station
Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica Another migratory warbler found all over the country
Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens One seen at Savegre Lodge
Black-cheeked Warbler Basileuterus melanogenys One pair seen above Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Black-eared Warbler Basileuterus melanotis One pair only seen on the trip. Black-eared Warbler is split from Three-striped Warbler (Gutiérrez-Pinto et al. 2012, Donegan 2014); Includes chitrensis Griscom, 1927 as a junior synonym. Wetmore et al, 1984, Curson, 2010 (HBW 15). Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
Buff-rumped Warbler Myiothlypis fulvicauda Seen at La Selva Biological Station and Villa Lapas
Slate-throated Whitestart Myioborus miniatus Seen at La Paz Waterfall
Collared Whitestart Myioborus torquatus Nice views at Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata Seen at the Savegre feeders. Here the subspecies citrea, which is found in Costa Rica and Panama
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra A couple of sightings on the trip
Red-throated Ant Tanager Habia fuscicauda Seen at La Selva Biological Station and the Cope Wildlife Reserve. Here the nominate subspecies
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus Two individuals were taking a bath in the manakin stream.
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus Good views at the feeders of Quinta Sarapiquí and at the Cope Wildlife Reserve. Here the nominate subspecies
Scarlet-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii Seen at several locations on the trip. Change English name of R. passerinii from Passerini’s Tanager to Scarlet-rumped Tanager following lump of Cherrei’s Tanager R. p. cherreii.
Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus Several sightings. Here the subspecies cana without white on the wing
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum Seen at La Selva and other tanager feeders
Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala Seen at several fruit feeders including Cinchona and Tolomuco
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola Only one seen at Carara National Park
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata Seen at La Selva and Tolomuco
Spangle-cheeked Tanager Tangara dowii Great views at the La Paz Waterfall forest trails. Found in Costa Rica and Panama only
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus Common at the Cope Wildlife Reserve feeders
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza Seen at the Cope Wildlife Reserve feeders
Black-and-yellow Tanager Chrysothlypis chrysomelas Seen at the old butterfly garden near Braulio Carrillo National Park
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea Seen at Savegre. Found in Costa Rica and Panama
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps Seen well at La Selva Biological Station
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Greyish Saltator Saltator coerulescens Seen at the Hotel Robledal
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina Two seen on the Pacific slope near Tolomuco
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina Seen on pastures and in lodge gardens
Morelet’s Seedeater Sporophila morelleti A couple of sightings near Jaco Beach
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Several sightings
Mammal taxonomy based on Handbook of the Mammals of the World published by Lynx Edition in association with Conservation International and IUCN
Red-tailed Squirrel Sciurus granatensis Seen at the Cope Wildlife Reserve feeders
Variegates Squirrel Sciurus variegatoides Widespread and several sightings on the trip
Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata Seen at Villa Lapas
Proboscis Bat Rhynchonycteris naso Seen at La Selva Biological Station
Jamaican Fruitbat (Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat) Artibeus jamaicensis Nice views at Hotel Robledal
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Brown-throated Sloth) Bradypus variegatus Nice views of one individual with its offspring at the Cope Wildlife Reserve
Mantled Howler (Mantled Howler Monkey) Alouatta palliata Seen at La Selva Biological Station. The mantled howler is one of the largest Central American monkeys, and males can weigh up to 9.8 kg (22 lb.). It is the only Central American monkey that eats large quantities of leaves; it has several adaptations to this folivorous diet. Since leaves are difficult to digest and provide less energy than most foods, the mantled howler spends the majority of each day resting and sleeping. The male mantled howler has an enlarged hyoid bone, a hollow bone near the vocal cords, which amplifies the calls made by the male; this is the reason for the name “howler”. Howling allows the monkeys to locate each other without expending energy on moving or risking physical confrontation.
Central American Spider Monkey (Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey) Ateles geoffroyi One was photographed by Debbie in Carara National Park.
Collared Peccary Pecari tajacu A family group was seen at La Selva Biological Station.
White-nosed Coati Nasua narica Great views of one individual before dusk at Virgen del Socorro
Crab-eating Raccoon Procyon cancrivorus A glimpse of one individual at the mangroves of Río Tárcoles. It is found from Costa Rica south through most areas of South America east of the Andes down to northern Argentina and Uruguay. That it is called the crab-eating raccoon does not mean that only this species eats crabs, as the common raccoon also seeks and eats crabs where they are available. The crab-eating raccoon eats crab, lobster, crayfish and other crustaceans and shellfish, such as oysters and clams. It is an omnivore, and its diet includes, for example, small amphibians, turtle eggs, and fruits. It resembles its northern cousin, the common raccoon, in having a bushy ringed tail and “bandit mask” of fur around its eyes. Unlike the common raccoon, the hair on the nape of the neck points toward the head, rather than backward.
Common Green Iguana Iguana iguana Common at La Selva Biological Station
Common Spiny-tailed Iguana Ctenosaura similis Common at Villa Lapas and the Tárcoles River
Common Basilisk Basiliscus basiliscus Good sightings at La Selva and the Tárcoles River
Common House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus This is a species of house gecko native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is also currently found in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, where it has been inadvertently introduced by humans.
American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus Seen at the Tárcoles River and from the bridge near Villa Lapas. It inhabits waters such as mangrove swamps, river mouths, fresh waters, and salt lakes, and can even be found at sea, hence its wide distribution throughout the Caribbean islands, southern Florida, the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, Central America, and the South American countries of Colombia and Ecuador. American crocodiles in the United States coexist with the American alligator and are primarily found south of the latitude of Miami, in Everglades National Park, Florida Bay, Biscayne Bay, and the Florida Keys. Because of hide hunting, pollution, loss of habitat, and commercial farming, the American crocodile is endangered in parts of its range.