Costa Rica - March 2007

Published by Mark Gurney (mgobc AT

Participants: Mark Gurney, Steve Blain


My Photos from the trip are in my album at Steve's photos are on his website at


24 Feb: Arrive. Taxi to Hotel Bougainvillea. Night at Hotel Bougainvillea.
25 Feb: Hotel Bougainvillea gardens, drive to Quetzals Paradise (1.5 hours). Night at Quetzals Paradise.
26 Feb: Quetzals Paradise. Night at Quetzals Paradise.
27 Feb: Cerro de la Muerte, Savegre valley. Night at Quetzals Paradise.
28 Feb: Quetzals Paradise. Drive to Kiri (1.5 hours). Night near Turrialba.
01 Mar: Rancho Naturalista. Drive to La Selva (3 hours). La Selva. Night at La Selva.
02 Mar: La Selva. Night at La Selva.
03 Mar: La Selva. Night at La Selva.
04 Mar: La Selva. Drive to Cinchona (1 hour). Cinchona restaurants. Night at Lo Que Tú Quieres.
05 Mar: Virgen del Socorro, Cinchona restaurants. Drive to Tárcoles via Orotina (3.5 hours). Tárcoles river. Night at Hotel Carara.
06 Mar: Tárcoles river, Carara, boat trip. Night at Hotel Carara.
07 Mar: Carara. Drive to Palo Verde (3.5 hours). Palo Verde. Night at Palo Verde research station.
08 Mar: Palo Verde. Drive to Monteverde (3 hours). Hummingbird Gallery. Night at Manakin Lodge.
09 Mar: Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve. Drive to Hotel Bougainvillea (5 hours). Night at Hotel Bougainvillea.
10 Mar: Braulio Carrillo, Hotel Bougainvillea. Night at Hotel Bougainvillea.
11 Mar: [Steve leaves.] Hotel Bougainvillea. Taxi to San José (15 mins), bus to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí (1.5 hours). La Selva. Night at La Selva.
12 Mar: La Selva. Night at La Selva.
13 Mar: La Selva. Night at La Selva.
14 Mar: La Selva. Bus to San José (1.5 hours), then to Alajuela (25 mins). Night at Hotel Pacandé.
15 Mar: Taxi to airport. Leave.


Steve and I spent two weeks visiting sites in the highlands, the Caribbean slope, and the Pacific slope of Costa Rica. After Steve left, I had four more days on my own, during which I went back to La Selva on the bus. We did not spend a lot of time chasing birds we were familiar with from Ecuador, but we managed to record over 430 species in 18 days. If I did the trip again, I would spend one less day in the Cerro de la Muerte area, miss out Rancho Naturalista and Kiri (which are good, but a long way out of the way, and most of their species can be found without difficulty elsewhere), and spend the extra days at Carara, Braulio Carrillo, Virgen del Socorro and Volcán Poás, or the dry forest near Palo Verde. This would have given us more chance to find some of the Pacific and Caribbean slope species that we missed, but still left us time to see the highland birds.

We arrived at night at San José airport, and used the official airport taxi office to get transport. The office is outside the customs area, and you order and pay for your journey at the booth. It accepts US dollars and colones. In the immigration area there were lots of notices advising visitors to leave their passports in the hotel safe: it is now acceptable to carry a photocopy of the personal details page and the page with your entry stamp on it, so you can leave your documents in a safe place when you go out, although you may feel that the safest place for your documents is on your person. I speak fluent Spanish, but all the hotels we stayed at had staff who spoke some English, and it would probably be possible to get by with English. Some Spanish is useful for asking directions: in the cities and away from the main roads, signs are erratic, and sometimes contradictory. We used the Rough Guide map, which had most of the small tracks on it, but it was still not good enough in some places.

Most of the places we stayed at accepted payment in US dollars or colones, or by credit card. Our hire car was a Daihatsu Terios, booked through Adobe ( and paid for by credit card ($946 for two weeks, including zero-deductible insurance, and a second named driver). They delivered the car and picked it up from the Hotel Bougainvillea at no extra cost. A four-wheel drive with high clearance was needed to get up the road from Las Juntas to Monteverde, and along the track to Cerro de la Muerte. I would not have liked to drive the entrance road to Palo Verde without high clearance. We drove to the places we were staying at and left our belongings there before heading out to go birding so that we never left the car unattended with anything, and I mean anything, in it.

Walking boots were fine for all the trails we went on, many of which were concrete. It was very cold at night at Quetzals Paradise, but at the other sites we were warm. Palo Verde was very hot, and did not really cool down even at night. It was warm in the humid lowlands. We had rain on the afternoon as we drove from Rancho Naturalista to La Selva, and for an hour one morning at La Selva, and most of one afternoon. The rest of the time it was dry with sun or high cloud. Mosquitoes were a slight nuisance on a couple of days at La Selva and Carara, but never so bad that I had to wear repellent.

The total cost, excluding our international flights, was about $1500 (£790) each ($500 for the hire car and $1000 for food, accommodation, and extras), and I paid an extra $258 (£135) for my three nights at La Selva.

Thanks to Andy Walker, Nick Athanas, and Richard Garrigues for their help with site details, and to Mary and John at La Selva for great company.


Hotel Bougainvillea

This hotel is about twenty minutes from the airport and close to the San José – Guápiles road. The gardens here are a well-known location for White-eared and Prevost's Ground-Sparrows. Both species frequented the piles of kitchen waste near the eastern wall of the garden, and could be seen easily from the observation tower. Blue-crowned Motmots ate fruit from the bird tables, and a pair of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls were seen early in the morning.

The rooms were large and comfortable, the staff were very helpful, and the buffet breakfast was very good. A double room cost ¢54095, breakfast was an extrs ¢4735 per person. The printed directions they provided were invaluable for avoiding San José. Credit cards, travellers' cheques, US dollars, and colones were accepted as payment, and you could change up to $200 cash.

A taxi from the airport cost $18. The hotel is in Santo Tomás, and if you are arriving by car, it is best to ask the staff for directions. See for more details and to make a reservation.

Quetzals Paradise

This lodge is about an hour and a half from San José, and is also known as Cabinas Jorge Serrano. It is adjacent to the better-known Mirador de Quetzales, and is run by the same family. We spent three nights here, allowing us a day and a half on the trails, and a day trip to Savegre and Cerro de la Muerte. The lodge is at 2650 m and has most of the temperate forest highland species. Resplendent Quetzals were easy to see, and Wrenthrush and Silvery-fronted Tapaculo were found without difficulty on the Zeledonia trail. Dusky Nightjars were heard calling every night, and could usually be found on the fence posts under the lights around the restaurant. Feeders attracted Magnificent, Volcano,and Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, and Grey-tailed Mountain-Gem. Other birds usually present around the cabins included Mountain Elaenia, Yellow-thighed Finch, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, Black-and-yellow and Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Large-footed Finch, and the ubiquitous Mountain and Sooty Thrushes. The forest trails yielded Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Ruddy Treerunner, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Barred Becard, Ochraceous Pewee, Black-capped Flycatcher, Flame-throated Warbler, Yellow-winged Vireo, Collared Whitestart, Black-cheeked Warbler, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Black-thighed Grosbeak, and a superb Silvery-throated Jay. The quantity of species was not great, but the quality was high: of the 51 birds we recorded, 25 were Costa Rica–Panama highlands endemics.

The lodge is at KM 70 along the Pan-American Highway (Careterra Interamericana Sur, Ruta 2), and is well signed. A double room cost $45 per person, including breakfast and dinner, and a guided walk to search for quetzals. Jorge also took us out at night to look for owls and nightjars. Lunch was ¢2500 per person. The cabins have warm showers, and hot water bottles were provided at night. I booked and paid for the rooms in advance through Selvamar on the website at, but the lodge has his own site at

Cerro de la Muerte

The páramo is easily accessed along the road to the radio masts, which leaves the Pan-American Highway at KM 90 (yellow posts on the roadside mark the distance). A vehicle with high clearance is needed to reach the masts. The vegetation here is dominated by a strange dwarf bamboo, and Volcano Junco is easy to find. Others have seen Timberline Wren and Peg-billed Finch along this track, but we failed to find them. We did not explore the trails at Restaurante La Georgina at KM 95, but while we had breakfast there, there was a Fiery-throated Hummingbird at every feeder.

Hotel de Montaña Savegre

The road down to San Gerardo de Dota and the Savegre Valley leaves the Pan-American Highway at KM 80, and winds steeply down through some good forest where we saw Black Guan and Black-faced Solitaire. Restaurante Los Lagos, just before the main village, had lots of flowering bushes with hummingbirds visiting. Access to the Hotel de Montaña is across a bridge over the river in the village. I asked at the reception if we could have lunch there and use the trails. Lunch cost $18.50 per person, which was very expensive, but as entrance to the trails was included it did not seem unreasonable. (And the buffet sweet selection alone was almost worth the price.) The hummingbird feeders had plenty of Scintillant Hummingbirds, Grey-tailed Mountain-Gems, Volcano Hummingbirds, Green Violet-ears, and Magnificent Hummingbirds, and attending photographers. A pair of Violet Sabrewings visited occasionally. Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush frequented the paths by the car park, where the trees were popular with Acorn Woodpeckers, and the orchards had Sulphur-winged Parakeets. The trails start off along a vehicle track, but smaller paths lead off into the forest. Black-faced Solitaire was singing all day long here, and many of the species from Quetzals Paradise were seen, such as Flame-throated Warbler, Collared Whitestart, Yellow-thighed Finch, and Yellow-winged Vireo.


We had intended to spend a night at Kiri Lodge and visit Parque Nacional Tapantí, but changed our plans and went on a day visit to Rancho Naturalista instead. We went to Kiri Lodge for lunch, but were told the trails were closed because they had been washed away by storms. There was no sign of Black-bellied Hummingbird at the verbenas, but we did not spend long here.

To get to Tapantí from Cartago, follow the signs for Turrialba. At the green church, turn right and follow the road straight ahead till you reach the Basilica de los Angeles (the large domed church). Turn right here (signed to Lankaster Gardens), and at the t-junction, turn left to Paraíso. In Paraíso, follow the road straight, keeping to the left of the cemetery, till the third traffic light. Turn right at the light, signed Orosi, and carry on, following the signs to Tapantí and Kiri.

Rancho Naturalista

We had a morning on the trails at Rancho Naturalista. Tawny-chested Flycatcher was the main species here, and it was easy to find at the start of the trail system. Apart from that, we did not see a lot here that we did not find elsewhere, but we did get good views of birds coming to the fruit and the hummingbird feeders. Grey-headed Chachalaca, Passerini's Tanager, Montezuma Oropendola, and Crimson-collared Tanager were the main species coming to the fruit, and the garden feeders attracted Green-crowned Brilliant, Green Hermit, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Green-breasted Mango, and Violet-crowned Woodnymph. We saw male and female Snowcap and a male Black-crested Coquetteat the verbenas. The forest feeders had a couple of male Snowcaps coming in every fifteen minutes or so, and Violet Sabrewing, and Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, as well as the species found at the garden feeders. Along the trails, we found a couple of mixed flocks containing Black-throated Wren, Plain Antvireo, Tawny-capped Euphonia, Golden-crowned Warbler, Russet Antshrike, White-crowned Manakin, and Immaculate Antbird.

The lodge is near Tuis, about half an hour from Turrialba. See for more details. We paid $25 to use the trails, but the owners said they were going to change the policy on day visits, so if you are planning a visit you should ask in advance (see the website for contact details) to find out the current situation. The drive from here to La Selva, via Siquirres took three hours.

Estación Biológica La Selva

We had three nights here, and I returned for another three at the end of the trip after Steve had gone home. This was one of my favourite places, and although the forest birding was very slow, there were always plenty of birds to see at the edge and in the secondary growth. On my last full day here, I recorded 122 species, and in one rather wet afternoon I found 60 species just between the dining room and the bridge over the river. I also liked the friendly atmosphere, which was rather like a university campus, and very relaxed. A double room cost $80 per person per night, including all meals. Staying at the station gives you the freedom to walk wherever you want along the extensive trail system without having to hire a guide. For our first three nights we were in the new Arriera cabin, which was very nice, with a private bathroom, coffee maker, a safe box, and a walk-in wardrobe, but it was a kilometre walk (through secondary forest) to the dining room and the main buildings complex. This was a bit annoying at times, but we did see some good birds along the walk in to get our meals, and we saw Great Green Macaws from the cabin on two occasions: we would almost certainly have missed these had we been in the main buildings area. When I returned on my own I was in Cabina Tortuga, a rather older dormitory block, with shared bathrooms, in the main buildings area, but I had a room with six beds all to myself, and it was clean. This cost $86 a night, including meals. The meals were canteen style, and involved a lot of beans and rice, but the cooks did some very tasty things with them, and the food was good. Breakfast was served between 0600 and 0700, lunch from 1130 to 1300, and dinner from 1800 to 1900. Packed lunches were available on request. There was a free laundry, with washing machines and driers, which was very useful. You have to use biodegradable detergent, which is available for ¢665 at the station shop. The shop also sells snacks, t-shirts, books, and postcards.

There are many trails through the forest, and most of them are signed every 50 m with the name of the trail and the distance from its start, so it is easy to find your way around. The Sendero Tres Ríos (STR), which goes through secondary forest to old regrowth on former pastures, was one of the best. We saw Three-wattled Bellbird along this trail by the 2900 m marker, and heard another by the junction with Sendero Jaguar (SJ) and Sendero Atajo (SAT) at 2750 m. They have been seen here in previous years, so this may be a traditional dry season spot for them. Several Thicket Antpittas were calling from the regrowth at the end of the STR, after the 5200 m marker. I also saw a couple of mixed flocks along the trail. Aside from the forest trails, birding was excellent around the buildings. Toucans were conspicuous around the laboratories, and the trees around the reception buildings, the football pitch, and the east end of the bridge were good for small mixed flocks, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Band-backed Wren, and Fasciated Antshrike. White-collared Manakins had several leks along the trails, and one by Cabina Tortuga. A Violet-headed Hummingbird often visited the verbenas outside the dining room, and the fallen fruits from the guava trees on the lawn attracted Great Curassows and Crested Guans. A Vermiculated Screech-Owl had a roost behind the Researchers' Lounge, and Crested Owl roosted in a palm tree near the start of the boardwalk through the swamp by the River Station. The entrance road was quite good for more open country species.

I took the bus from Terminal del Caribe at 1000 and arrived in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí at 1130. The fare was ¢1300. Be aware that there is a tourist resort called Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, on the Caribbean coast, and the bus operators will assume you want to go that one if you just ask for Puerto Viejo, so make sure you specify that you are heading for Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. A taxi from Puerto Viejo bus terminal to La Selva (known as la OET)cost ¢1500, but the bus passes the entrance road to the station before it reaches the town, and you could get off there and walk the kilometre or so to the station itself. Arriving by car was easy: the station is signed at the turnoff along the San José–Guápiles road, and about half an hour after turning off that road you will see the sign to La Selva, and the entrance track on the left. There is a guard post here. I booked the accommodation in advance using credit card: see for details.


In January 2009, Cinchona was destroyed by an earthquake. I have left this section in for imformation, but the two restaurants and their proprietors are sadly are no longer there. Perhaps one day another family from the area will be able to welcome birders are warmly we were received on our visit.

The two restaurants by the roadside at Cinchona have been given various names in other trip reports, including 'Mirador Catarata San Fernando', 'Mirador de Catarata', and 'Cinchona restaurant'. They are a few kilometres above the road to Virgen del Socorro. Both the restaurants have hummingbird feeders and fruit, but the one on the left seemed to be much better for hummingbirds, while the one on the right attracted more fruit-eating species, but this might have been because a large fig tree was in fruit in the garden there. Both ask for a $1 donation per person, and both have an orange-kneed tarantula in a glass tank. The feeders in the left hand restaurant were very busy on the drizzly afternoon when we arrived, with at least one Coppery-headed Emerald, Green-crowned Brilliant, Violet Sabrewing, and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird always present. Brown Violet-ear, Green Thorntail, and White-bellied Mountain-gem came in often, and a gorgeous male Black-bellied Hummingbird put in a few appearances. Up to eight Silver-throated Tanagers came to the fruit, and we saw two Black Guans in the trees below the garden. When we returned for lunch the next day the feeders were less busy, but there were a lot of birds in the fruiting tree in the garden of the right hand restaurant, including two Emerlad Toucanets, four Scarlet-thighed Dacnises, Bay-headed Tanager, and Golden-browed Chlorophonia. Crimson-collared Tanager and a Prong-billed Barbet came to the fruit on the bird tables, and there were eleven Cedar Waxwings in the trees next door.

The restaurants are easy to find. They are on the side of the road from Vara Blanca to San Miguel, between La Paz waterfall and the turn off to Virgen del Socorro.

Virgen del Socorro

I do not know how this site has been affected by the January 2009 earthquake - it could have been devastated.

The road to this settlement is a good location for Caribbean slope species. It leaves the Vara Blanca–San Miguel highway and takes you down the side of the valley. A bridge crosses the river and the road continues up the other side, where the forest soon finishes. We found a few mixed flocks here, and a fig tree that attracted Emerald Toucanet, Pale-vented Thrush, and several tanagers. The mixed flocks contained Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Red-faced Spinetail, Russet Antshrike, Slate-coloured Grosbeak, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Speckled Tanager, Tawny-crowned Euphonia, and lots of Common Bush-Tanagers. A Golden-bellied Flycatcher was calling nosily by the roadside when we first arrived, and there were three Collared Trogons by the bridge. A trail from the bridge (on the right hand side before you cross it coming down from the main road) leads short way into the forest, and we found two Tawny-throated Leaftossers, Northern Nightingale-Wren, and White-ruffed Manakin here. Others have seen Lanceolated Monklet along this trail. It was a sunny morning when we visited, and Barred Hawks were soaring overhead. Two American Dippers were on rocks in the river.

The turn to Virgen del Socorro is signed on a very sharp bend along the Vara Blanca–San Miguel highway (Ruta 9). It is on the right if you are heading down to San Miguel, the turn is on the right, and if you reach Cariblanco you have gone too far. Heading up towards Vara Blanca, it is on the left, and if you reach the Cinchona restaurants you have gone too far. The road is in good condition as far as the bridge, but it becomes very rough a short way up the other side (but the forest does not continue much further anyway). We stayed in the cabins at Lo Que Tú Quieres, about 40 minutes drive away. The room cost ¢9000, was fine for one night, and stayed remarkably warm. The cabins are along the road to Volcán Poás, 10 km from the turn off at Vara Blanca. Dinner was ¢2500 per person.


The famous Black-and-white Owls were roosting in a tree in the south-west corner of the town square, near the bandstand. Orotina is signed off the main road to the coast (Ruta 3), and the square is opposite the church.


We used this small town as a base for visiting Carara, and stayed two nights at the Hotel Carara. As we were checking in, a couple of Scarlet Macaws flew over, and throughout our time in the area, scarcely half an hour passed without us seeing or hearing them again. A double room was $65, including breakfast, which we never took because we were always out birding as soon as it got light. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and had air conditioning. Despite its proximity to the town, the hotel was quiet at night, but it may a different story at weekends. The road through the town continues north to Playa Azul and Tárcol Lodge, which was deserted and looked like a boarded up summer house. The river next to the lodge had a few herons and waders, and the mangroves held many Prothonotary Warblers. The small pool just before the village sometimes hosted a Roseate Spoonbill, and in the trees around here we saw Rufous-naped Wren, White-fronted Amazon, Black-headed Trogon, and White-throated Magpie-Jay. The Tárcoles bridge, on the main highway a few kilometres before the turn to the town, was popular with people looking at the crocodiles, and the Resaurante Ecológico Los Cocodrilos at the far end of the bridge did very good food (lunch and drinks cost ¢3350 per person). The roadside at the police hut end was littered with broken glass from smashed car windows, and we did not feel safe enough to leave the car here and walk along the river trail.

Several companies offer boat trips along the river. We had not booked one, but we turned up at the Jungle Crocodile Safari quay one afternoon and were told that there was a tour leaving at 4 pm. This cost $25 per person and lasted two hours. It was not a specific bird tour, and we shared the boat with five others, but our guide, Wilky, was very good. The first part of the trip was along the river, where we saw a tree full of roosting Boat-billed Herons, a family party of Double-striped Thick-knees, a Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, lots of Band-rumped Swifts, and a superb Turquoise-browed Motmot. The crocodiles were fed chicken, some of which was taken by Yellow-headed Caracaras, and we headed into the mangroves. Prothonotary and Mangrove Warblers were common enough, but we did not find Mangrove Vireo or Mangrove Hummingbird. There were several Mangrove Black-Hawks in the trees, and as the sun began to set at least twenty Scarlet Macaws came in to roost and the Lesser Nighthawks began to emerge. We disembarked at the quay to find eight Scarlet Macaws eating from the almond trees in the car park before they too flew out to the mangroves to roost.

Coming from the north, the turn to Tárcoles is signed a few kilometres after the bridge. There is a crossroads here, and the right turn leads to Tárcoles. The left turn takes you up the road to Villa Lapas and Bijagual, from where there are spectacular views of the coast. To get to the Hotel Carara, take the road into Tárcoles. At the t-junction turn right and continue through the town. The hotel is on the left, opposite the church. Dinner at the hotel cost ¢3000 per person (the restaurant does not have a licence to sell alcohol because of its proximity to the church!). Jungle Crocodile Safari and The Crocodile Man boat tours both have offices in the town. At Tárcol Lodge there was a sign advertising Mangrove Birdwatching Tours, but these had to be booked in advance.

Parque Nacional Carara

This was one of the best places we visited. The birds here remained active for most of the day, and there were not many bird-free lulls. We walked the trails by the visitor centre, where we could leave the car relatively secure. The only down side to these trails is that they are close to the road, and for about half the time you are struggling to hear the birds over the traffic noise, but once you get on to the Sendero Quebrada Bonita the sound of the trucks fades away. The park is officially open from 0700–1600, but I asked if we could come in at 0600 and pay on our way out, and the guard said that would be no problem. Early in the morning we heard Great Tinamous and Streak-chested Antpittas calling along the Sendero Acceso Universal, and we saw an antpitta singing from the undergrowth near the path. An antswarm later in the day in this area was attended by Bicoloured Antbird, Dusky Antbird, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Black-hooded Antshrike, and Chestnut-backed Antbird. The antshrike was easy to find, and we came across at least eight individuals during the morning. Slaty-tailed, Black-throated, Northern Violaceous, and Baird's Trogons were rather vocal, and easily found. We found a few mixed flocks in the understorey, containing Long-billed Gnatwren, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Golden-crowned and Stub-tailed Spadebills, Northern Bentbill, Dot-winged Antwren, Orange-collared Manakin, and Blue-black Grosbeak, and these were sometimes accompanied by noisy groups of Riverside Wrens. The flowering bushes by the forest toilet block were popular with Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, and a Charming Hummingbird came in to these. The trees in the car park were popular with Blue-throated Goldentails, and a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Other highlights at Carara were a Black-faced Antthrush, Rufous-and-white and Rufous-breasted Wrens, Slate-throated Tody-Flycatcher, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Greenish Elaenia, Magnolia Warbler, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Rufous Piha, Yellow-throated Euphonia, and White-whiskered Puffbird.

The visitor centre is on the side of the main road, about 2 km south of the Tárcoles bridge. The drive from Vara Blanca took 3.5 hours, but this included stops for lunch and for the Black-and-white Owls at Orotina.

Parque Nacional Palo Verde

We had just one night at the research station at Palo Verde. This is run by the same organisation as La Selva, and it has a similarly relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I phoned (524 0628) at lunchtime from Tárcoles to make a reservation for that evening. We had a clean dormitory room, with mosquito nets and a fan, to ourselves. Excellent food was served canteen style in the dining room. A double room, including all meals, cost $62 per person. The station administrator, Mario, was very helpful and took us on a guided walk in the forest in the morning, where we found Black-headed Trogon, Long-tailed Manakin, Mangrove Cuckoo, and White-throated Magpie-Jay. Walking along the entrance track before breakfast, we encountered two Thicket Tinamous, several Turquoise-browed Motmots, a Cinnamon Hummingbird, and a couple of Olive Sparrows. The wetlands below the station were packed with thousands of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks and Blue-winged Teal, as well as many herons, Limpkins, Northern Jacanas, a few Muscovy Ducks, Glossy and White Ibises, Wood Storks, and Roseate Spoonbills. Two Jabirus were on view occasionally. White-lored Gnatcatcher, Yellow-naped Amazon, Streak-backed Oriole, and Canivet's Emerald were around the station buildings, and Great Curassows came in to the area behind the dining room on several occasions. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were frequent in the fields along the track, and we saw White-tailed Hawk, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Red-winged Blackbird, Mangrove Cuckoo, and Plain-breasted Ground-Dove here too. We had planned to spend two nights in the dry forests of the north-west, but we decided to go to Monteverde for one night instead.

The journey from Tárcoles took almost 3.5 hours. It was almost 2.5 hours along the main roads to Bagaces, and another forty minutes or so from there. The turn to the National Park is opposite the petrol station, and is signed. It is 20 km along a rough, boulder-strewn track to the park entrance, and another 8 km from there to the research station. There are several junctions along the way, but the park is signed.


I hated Monteverde when we first arrived: it was 4 pm and I was told that the forests were closed because they were getting ready for the guided night walks. With nowhere else to go, we went to the hummingbird gallery, where we could at least see Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Coppery-headed Emerald, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Magenta-throated Woodstar, Violet Sabrewing, and Green-crowned Brilliant. The next morning we had to wait outside the entrance to the Monteverde reserve (whilst wood-quail called tantalisingly from not far along the trails inside) and join the queue for tickets once the centre opened at 0700. But while we were waiting we did see six Resplendent Quetzals, a Black Guan, two White-throated Thrushes, and a Prong-billed Barbet in the fruiting tree in the car park, and a Streak-breasted Treehunter, two Emerald Toucanets, and another two Black Guans in the forest by the side of the entrance road. Once we were inside the reserve, we were able to get away from the tourist inconveniences and we did find some good birds. The Sendero Bosque Nuboso was rather birdless, but Sendero El Camino and Sendero El Río were good. Mixed flocks contained Collared Whitestart, Slaty Antwren, Common Bush-Tanager, Golden-crowned and Three-striped Warblers, Spotted Barbtail, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Olive-striped Flycatcher, Red-faced Spinetail, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Ochraceous Wren, and Ruddy Treerunner. Black-faced Solitaire was common, and we found a Prong-billed Barbet and a Black-and-yellow Silky Flycatcher in the higher forest at the end of the Sendero Bosque Nuboso. A Grey-throated Leaftosser appeared to be making a nest in the bank above the trail at the junction of Sendero El Río and Sendero Tosi, and it may have been making a nest here. A pair of Orange-bellied Trogons was around the visitor centre. A well-visited hole in the bank, with many footprints below it, near the start of the Sendero El Camino is obviously where most visitors are shown orange-kneed tarantula, and the spider was at home when we looked in with a light.

There are several approaches to Monteverde, but they all involve at least 30 km of rough track. As we were coming from Palo Verde to the north, we turned off the Pan-American Highway at Las Juntas, about an hour south of Bagaces. The road from Las Juntas becomes extremely steep after San Juan Grande, and is covered in loose stones. It is suitable only for 4WD vehicles, and takes about an hour. We took the more southerly road out on the way back, joining the Pan-American Highway at Rancho Grande after an hour on the rough track. The drive back to San José was slow because we got stuck behind lorries on the road up through the mountains, and then we hit Friday evening rush-hour traffic trying to get round the capital. It took almost five hours from leaving Monteverde to reach the Hotel Bougainvillea. We stayed at Manakin Lodge in Monetverde. This was clean and comfortable, and cost $30 for a double room. We bought superb sandwiches and cake at Stella's Bakery the next day. Monteverde has a petrol station, and there is a bank in Santa Elena where you can change money.

Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo

The trails at the Quebrada Gonzalez ranger station give access to some good forest. The trail behind the station was good for mixed flocks, with Olive Tanager leading the understorey flocks, and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager, Shining Honeycreeper, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Rufous Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Tawny-capped Euphonia, Speckled Tanager, Lesser Greenlet, and Emerlad Tanager in groups higher in the canopy. Several Dull-mantled Antbirds were calling near the river, but we had to go to the trails over the road to see this species. Lattice-tailed Trogon was another highlight.

A kilometre or so further along the road towards Guápiles is the butterfly garden, known as El Mariposario, or El tapir butterfly garden. The verbenas here are a good spot for Snowcap and Black-crested Coquette, and we saw males of both species a couple of times during a twenty minute visit.

The Quebrada Gonzalez station is about 45 minutes from San José along the road to Guápiles (Ruta 32). It is open from 0800 to 1600, but we arrived at 0615 and were able to walk around the trails before buying our entrance tickets ($6 per person) at 0800. The butterfly garden is on the right side of the road a kilometre or so below this. You will see a white house and some net shade houses on the right and a snack stall on the left. We parked at the snack stall and the owner showed us across the road. He said we could pay him whatever we wanted, so I gave him ¢5000 (about $5 for each of us).

Daily accounts

25 Feb

Almost the first bird we found was a Wood Thrush on the path in the garden at Hotel Bougainvillea. Shortly afterwards we heard Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls calling, and two of them flew in to a large tree, where they were mobbed by Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds and a male Canivet's Emerlad. While we were waiting up the tower for the ground-sparrows to appear, we found Blue-crowned Motmots, Plain Wren, and the first of many Hoffmann's Woodpeckers. A White-tailed Kite was a nice distraction, and the first Prevost's Ground-Sparrow appeared just before breakfast. After seeing White-eared Ground-Sparrow, we set off at about 10 am in our hire car.

The hotel had provided us with directions for Cartago, but I foolishly ignored them and started following the road signs instead when these directed along a different road to that suggested by the hotel staff. The signs soon disappeared and we had to trace our way back and pick up where we left the recommended route. This proved very easy to follow, and we reached Cartago in about an hour, passing the odd House Sparrow in the towns along the way.

The road up to the highlands was winding, but we did not get stuck behind any traffic, and we arrived at Quetzals Paradise at lunchtime. As we walked to our cabin we saw our first Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, and a Volcano Hummingbird visited the flowers outside our door. The feeders outside the restaurant were guarded by Magnificent Hummingbirds but Volcano Hummingbirds and Green Violet-ears visited regularly, and a female Grey-tailed Mountain-gem appeared several times. An afternoon walk along the Zeledonia trail produced a resident Flame-throated Warbler, and several migrant Black-throated Green and Wilson's Warblers, and a Hairy Woodpecker of the distinctively dark local race. Some mixed flocks gave us more highland specialties such as Ruddy Treerunner, Black-cheeked Warbler, and Collared Whitestart.

A pair of Resplendent Quetzals appeared through the fog by the restaurant late in the afternoon, and Dusky Nightjars began calling at dusk. After dinner we found one of the nightjars on a post under the lights outside the restaurant. We were awoken in the night by a minor earthquake, but nothing was damaged.

26 Feb

At dawn we set off along the Zeledonia Trail, and had only just reached the edge of the forest below the restaurant when we found an eponymous Wrenthrush singing from low in the undergrowth. It was joined by another, and they antagonised each other stealthily along the stream trail, but I am not sure whether they were a pair, or rival birds marking their territories. At 0700, Jorge took us on a walk along the Mirador de Quetzales trails, after we had watched a pair of Golden-browed Chlorophonias apparently scraping out a nest on the roadside bank by the cabins. A male Resplendent Quetzal looked a lot more resplendent in the morning sunshine than it had done in the clouded gloom of yesterday evening, and Jorge whistled in a Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, which was mobbed by several Fiery-throated Hummingbirds.

After breakfast we explored the trails by ourselves and found one very good mixed flock. This included our only Black-thighed Grosbeak, and our first Buffy Tuftedcheek, Yellow-winged Vireo, and Ochraceous Wren, as well as some species familiar from yesterday: Ruddy Treerunner, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Ochraceous Pewee, Collared Whitestart, Black-cheeked Warbler, and Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager. Highlight of the day was the loud Silvery-throated Jay that began calling just as the flock was moving on.

A short afternoon walk along the entrance road added a low-flying flock of Barred Parakeets, still a bird that I have never seen perched, and more Large-footed Finches.

27 Feb

We left at 0530 to get to Cerro de la Muerte by 0600. It was very windy, and the birds responded by staying low in the bamboo. Volcano Juncos were hopping around on the sides of the track, but we only heard Timberline Wren, and could not find Peg-billed Finch. By 0800 we gave up on the páramo and headed to La Georgina for breakfast, where the feeders were crammed with Fiery-throated Hummingbirds. Winding down the road into the Savegre valley we heard a Black-faced Solitaire and as we were looking for it we found a confiding Black Guan.

A Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush greeted us as we got out the car at the Hotel de Montaña Savegre, and several Acorn Woodpeckers were using the trees around the cabins. Sulphur-winged Parakeets flew noisily around the orchard at the start of the trails, and a couple of close Flame-throated Warblers appeared as we made our way up the track into the forest, where Black-faced Solitaires were singing loudly. The narrow trails gave us good views of a Yellowish Flycatcher, looking very bright for an Empidonax, a Rufous-browed Peppershrike, and a small group of northern migrants, including Philadelphia Vireo, and Tennessee and Golden-winged Warblers. The hummingbird feeders allowed us to compare Volcano and Scintillant Hummingbirds, but we saw only one full male Scintillant, in the forest, and I suspect that most of them were in eclipse plumage. After seeing only females at Quetzals Paradise, it was good to find male White-throated Mountain-Gems here, and a gorgeous Violet Sabrewing. We spent most of the afternoon photographing hummers, then headed back up to Quetzals Paradise.

28 Feb

Another early morning visit to the Zeledonia Trail, and another couple of Wrenthrushes, and two Silvery-fronted Tapaculos. After a morning with the now familiar Collared Whitestarts, Spangle-cheeked Tanagers, Ruddy Treerunners and other species, we left Quetzals Paradise and drove to Cartago. After getting lost in the city we managed to find the road to Paraíso and Orosi. We were clearly lower down now, and the birds had changed. Over a hundred screaming Crimson-fronted Parakeets were feeding in the large orange-flowered trees around Orosi, and Passerini's Tanager was common in the roadside scrub. A rather disappointing stop at Kiri did give us our only Elegant Euphonia, but we soon moved on towards Turrialba, stopping at the dam near Cachí and a small reservoir at Santiago. There were a about a dozen Killdeers and a few Blue-winged Teal at the latter, whilst the dam was host to three Green Herons, a Northern Jacana, and a couple of American Coots.

01 Mar

Driving up the entrance track to Rancho Naturalista we flushed a couple of Pauraques, and we were out on the balcony before most of the guests had risen. The hummingbird feeders were already occupied by Green-breasted Mangos, Green-crowned Brilliants, and Violet-crowned Woodnymphs, and the first Grey-headed Chachalacas were gathering around the garden. Our first Snowcap was a female, but a male appeared a few minutes later and fed at the verbenas for a short while. After an hour or so the birds began to come in to the fruit, led by Montezuma Oropendolas and the Chachalacas. Passerini's Tanagers and Northern Orioles were next, and brief visits were paid by Hoffmann's, Black-cheeked, and Golden-olive Woodpeckers, a Cromson-collared Tanager, and a Black-striped Sparrow. After breakfast we watched the verbenas by the car park, which were visited by a male Black-crested Coquette, then walked along the trails, stopping at the light near cabins where there was a huge xx moth, an obliging Tawny-chested Flycatcher, and a Bright-rumped Attila. The forest feeders attracted most of the garden species, plus Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Band-tailed Barbthroat, and Violet Sabrewing, and a couple of male Snowcaps visited occasionally. Not far from the feeders a small understorey flock seemed to be gathering, consisting of Plain Antvireo, Dusky Antbird, Black-throated Wren, Long-billed Gnatwren, and White-collared Manakin. Further along, we found Collared Trogon, Plain Xenops, Russet Antshrike, White-crowned Manakin, and Golden-crowned Warbler. We returned to the forest feeders to photograph Snowcap, and found a Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush on the ground.

Anticipating a long drive to La Selva, we left at 1300 and headed off to the lowlands. It took us only three hours to reach our destination, and after checking in at reception we drove back down the entrance track to our cabins. The cecropia tree outside was popular with Chestnut-mandibled Toucans and Crested Guans, and stunning Golden-hooded Tanagers visited the smaller fruiting bushes.

02 Mar

On the walk to the dining room for breakfast we found nesting Fasciated Antshrike and Rufous-tailed Jacamars, and there were plenty of birds to keep us occupied around the buildings, including Band-backed Wren, Pain-coloured Tanager, Black-cowled Oriole, Olive-backed Euphonia, and the unfortunately named Paltry Tyrannulet. All guests at La Selva get a guided walk on their first morning, and on ours we found a nice Semiplumbeous Hawk, lekking Long-billed Hermits, a troop of Mantled Howler Monkeys Alouatta palliata, and plenty of Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs Dendrobates pumilio, thanks, no doubt, to yesterday afternoon's heavy rain showers.

We emerged from the dining room after lunch to find a male Great Curassow eating fallen fruit under the guava trees on the lawn. This was the first of many encounters with this species at La Selva, where it is quite unafraid of people. Later, we walked some of the trails in the primary forest, but saw few birds apart from the ubiquitous Ochre-bellied Flycatchers (if you learn only one Costa Rican bird call, make it this one), but an Olive-backed Quail-Dove made it worthwhile. Our fifth wren species of the day was Stripe-breasted Wren, in the swamp near the river station, and as we were walking back to our cabin, a Muscovy Duck flew over.

Mary and John, a couple who had been coming to La Selva for several years, invited us over for drinks in their cabin after dinner, and told us of a traditional location for Three-wattled Bellbird along Sendero Tres Ríos. So we knew exactly where we would be going the next day.

03 Mar

We started the day with a very approachable Great Tinamou along the track as we walked to breakfast. As soon as we had eaten we set off along Sendero Tres Ríos to where Mary had heard the bellbird the previous day. We passed a couple of Great Currasows on the way, and we found several new birds in a small clearing, just before a brief heavy shower, including Northern Bentbill and Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker. We could not hear anything at Mary's spot, but we carried on a few hundred metres and the loud call of a Three-wattled Bellbird stopped us. The bird took some finding, but we eventually located it in the sub-canopy, a short way off the trail. We were worried that we would be too early to see this species in its breeding grounds in the highlands, so it was great to see it here.

Thinking that nothing could beat the bellbird, we headed back to the buildings and ate lunch in the dining room before retiring to our cabin. As I was sitting on the covered balcony, writing up the morning's notes, I heard a loud raucous call overhead. Knowing it could mean only one thing, I ran through the cabin, shouting at Steve to wake up from his sietsa and get out. As we stepped out the front door into the open sky, we looked up and saw the two Great Green Macaws that had been responsible for the noise and Steve's rude awkening. Fantastic.

But the day was not over yet, and we managed another good bird in the form of a roosting Crested Owl that Mary and John showed us in the swamp.

04 Mar

Another tinamou on the way to breakfast, this time a Little Tinamou, and a few good flocks along the entrance road and around the buildings started the day off well. After lunch, we left La Selva and drove up into the mountains to the roadside restaurants at Cinchona. It was a wet afternoon, and the hummingbird feeders were very busy. Coppery-headed Emeralds were common, and they were joined by a White-bellied Mountain-gem every now and again, but we had to wait some time before the star Black-bellied Hummingbird appeared. It came in several times, even perching on the wire that was suspending the light bulb from the ceiling inside the restaurant. Happy to have seen another of our main target birds, we left late in the afternoon and found accommodation in some cabins near Volcán Poás.

05 Mar

A forty-minute drive back down the mountain took us to the road to Virgen del Socorro. One of our first birds here was a very welcome Golden-bellied Flycatcher, and several mixed flocks kept us occupied and provided us with a nice Rufous-browed Tyrannulet. The hoped-for American Dippers were on the rocks in the river, and whilst we were walking the trail near the bridge, we unexpectedly found a couple of Tawny-throated Leaftossers. As the morning warmed up, Short-tailed and Barred Hawks began soaring overhead, and we drove back up to the restaurants. The feeders were not so busy today, but as we had satisfied ourselves with the Black-bellied Hummingbird yesterday, this morning we were looking for Prong-billed Barbet. One of the restaurants had a fruiting tree in its garden, which attracted Emerald Toucanet, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, and Golden-browed Chlorophonia, but no Barbets. We were just about to leave disappointed, when one appeared on the fruit feeders, giving us a good photo opportunity and a lot of relief.

The drive down to the Pacific coast took most of the afternoon, with a couple of stops: one for lunch, the other for the famous Black-and-white Owls at Orotina. We were greeted by two Scarlet Macaws flying overhead as we were checking in to our hotel at Tárcoles, and we spent the late the afternoon down by the river at Playa Azul, watching herons and waders around the mangroves.

06 Mar

First light back at the mangroves found us amongst a lot of Prothonotary Warblers, and a few Mangrove Warblers. A male Black-throated Trogon and a couple of Rufous-naped Wrens indicated that we were in the dry north-west lowlands, but Parque Nacional Carara was still within the range of some of the south-eastern humid forest birds, so we entered the park as soon as it opened at 0700. Activity was good throughout the morning, with Black-hooded Antshrike, Stub-tailed Spadebill, and Bicoloured Antbird attending an antswarm along with several other species, a few groups of noisy Riverside Wrens, and a solitary Tawny-winged Woodcreeper. Back at the entrance I asked if we could come in early the next morning, and we headed off for lunch at the restaurant by the Tárcoles bridge.

Our impromptu boat ride in the afternoon was very enjoyable. The highlights were a tree of roosting Boat-billed Herons, a family group of Double-striped Thick-knees, a dazzling Turquoise-browed Motmot, and the party of eight Scarlet Macaws that were feeding in the trees by the quay as we docked.

07 Mar

Our early entrance into Parque Nacional Carara was rewarded by a singing Streak-chested Antpitta and a Great Tinamou, both seen close to the trail. We found several more Black-hooded Antshrikes, a couple of Fiery-billed Aracaris, and two superb male Baird's Trogons. A male Muscovy Duck on one of the forest streams gave us much better views than the fly-over at La Selva, and at the flowering trees in the car park we found a few Blue-throated Goldentails and a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

It was a long drive north to Palo Verde, but we reached the start of the entrance track at about 1630. We stopped a few times along the way, first to watch a White-tailed Hawk over the fields, a couple of times for Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and once for an Orange-fronted Parakeet. Four Great Curassows were behind the dining room when arrived at the research station, and there were thousands of waterbirds on the pools, mostly Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks and Blue-winged Teals.

08 Mar

It was still warm when we got up at 0530, and we knew we would not have long before the heat forced the birds, and us, to ground. So we were pleased to find a couple of Thicket Tinamous, two Olive Sparrows, a Cinnamon Hummingbird, and more superb Turquoise-browed Motmots before breakfast. Two Jabirus flew in while we were eating our corn flakes, literally standing out amongst the smaller Great White Egrets and Wood Storks. A drive along the tracks into the dry forest with Mario, the station manager, was interrupted by a fallen tree, but we continued on foot, and found a Mangrove Cuckoo, another Thicket Tinamou, and a party of White-throated Magpie-Jays. As the day got hotter we retreated to the shade and scanned the pools in front of the station, picking out a few Muscovy Ducks, Limpkins, and assorted herons and other wading birds. After lunch and another look at the male Great Curassow, we set off for Monteverde, driving up the very steep track from Las Juntas.

On arrival we were told that the forest reserves were closed till the morning, so we went to the Hummingbird Gallery, and at least found some new birds: Magenta-throated Woodstar, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, and Stripe-tailed Hummingbird.

09 Mar

Whilst waiting for the forest to open at 0700, we walked around the car park and entrance road, and were treated to at least six Resplendcent Quetzals, two Black Guans, a Prong-billed Barbet, a couple of Emerlad Toucanets, and several White-throated Thrushes in fruiting trees. A pair of Orange-bellied Trogons awaited us once the forest was open, and along the trails we found some good flocks, and a Grey-throated Leaftosser. It was good to see some of the highland birds again, and we got several new species, including Streak-breasted Treehunter, Spotted Barbtail, Three-striped Warbler, and Lineated Foliage-gleaner.

The drive back to San José was a long one, especially as we coincided with the Friday evening rush-hour, but we got back to the Hotel Bougainvillea just before dark.

10 Mar

For the morning we went on a trip to Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo to try to find some of the Caribbean species that had eluded us so far. We managed to pick up Dull-mantled Antbird, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Olive Tanager, Shining Honeycreeper, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Tawny-crested Tanager, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Emerald Bush-Tanager, and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager, as well some good views of other birds we had seen already. As the rain set in we sheltered at the hummingbird garden down the road, where we saw two favourites, Snowcap and Black-crested Coquette, and a very nice Violet-headed Humingbird.

Afternoon in the Hotel Bougainvillea grounds brought us another encounter with the ground-sparrows, and some photographic opportunities with other common birds.

11 Mar

Steve left before dawn, and I had another morning in the hotel grounds photographing motmots and others before I caught the bus to La Selva. I arrived early, and as they were preparing my room I birded around the buildings. I did not move very far, and there were quite a few heavy downpours, but I still saw over fifty species, including a spectacular male Snowy Cotinga, an impressive passage of Turkey Vultures and Broad-winged Hawks, and the now-to-be-expected Great Curassow.

12 Mar

A pre-breakfast walk along the entrance road was interrupted by a bit of rain, but a Field Guides group had found three Green Ibises and a Laughing Falcon, which I appreciated. Morning walks along the trails yielded a few good birds, including two new northern migrants: Kentucky Warbler and Worm-eating Warbler, but the highlight of day came in the afternoon, when I found two more Great Green Macaws feeding high up in one of their favourite white almond trees, and a dramatic Emerald Basilisk Basiliscus plumifrons. I returned the favour to the Field Guides group by showing them a female Great Curassow at dusk near the buildings, my sixth sighting of the species that day.

13 Mar

I had breakfast as early as possible and set off along the Sendero Tres Ríos at about 0615. I wanted to get to the former pastures, about five kilometres along the trail, before it got too late in the day. This change of habitat gave me seven new birds for the trip list, but before I got there I had found a pair of Snowy Cotingas, and, of course, six Great Curassows. My main target was Thicket Antpitta, and I eventually saw one of the three birds that I heard calling in the forest regrowth at the end of the trail. The other additions were Barred Antshrike, Yellow Tyrannulet, Mourning Warbler, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, and a soaring King Vulture and Grey Hawk. The new birds did not end there, and I ended the day with a roosting Vermiculated Screech-Owl, thanks to a tip from one of the resident guides.

14 Mar

The day began with another visit to the roosting Vermiculated Screech-Owl, which was still there, and by the time I had to leave after lunch, I had recorded 91 species, which was not bad for a morning's work. The last additions to the trip list were a Long-tailed Tyrant and a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, with a late entry by a Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth Bradypus variegatusbeing slothful in the large trees behind the laboratories.

Species Lists

Restricted range species are in bold. I have a spreadsheet with details of which species we saw where and when, so if you would like a copy, please e-mail me.

Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui
Thicket Tinamou Crypturellus cinnamomeus
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Jabiru Jabiru mycteria
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Barred Hawk Leucopternis princeps
Semiplumbeous Hawk Leucopternis semiplumbea
Gray Hawk Asturina nitida
Mangrove Black-Hawk Buteogallus subtilis
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni
White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus
Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor
Great Curassow Crax rubra
Black-breasted Wood-Quail Odontophorus leucolaemus
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica
American Coot Fulica americana
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Double-striped Thick-Knee Burhinus bistriatus
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove Columbina minuta
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassinii
Olive-backed Quail-Dove Geotrygon veraguensis
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
Sulfur-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura hoffmanni
Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis
Great Green Macaw Ara ambigua
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Barred Parakeet Bolborhynchus lineola
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Yellow-naped Parrot Amazona auropalliata
Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Vermiculated Screech-Owl Otus guatemalae
Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata
Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium costaricanum
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Black-and-white Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Dusky Nightjar Caprimulgus saturatus
Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Costa Rican Swift Chaetura fumosa
Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea
Band-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes ruckeri
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus
Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
Brown Violet-ear Colibri delphinae
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti
Black-crested Coquette Lophornis helenae
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii
Canivet's Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii
Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis
Blue-throated Goldentail Hylocharis eliciae
Blue-chested Hummingbird Amazilia amabilis
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila
Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa eximia
Black-bellied Hummingbird Eupherusa nigriventris
Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps
Snowcap Microchera albocoronata
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Chalybura urochrysia
White-bellied Mountain-gem Lampornis hemileucus
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema
White-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis castaneoventris
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
Magenta-throated Woodstar Calliphlox bryantae
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula
Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Orange-bellied Trogon Trogon aurantiiventris
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
Lattice-tailed Trogon Trogon clathratus
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus
Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus
Buffy Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes lawrencii
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
Streak-breasted Treehunter Thripadectes rufobrunneus
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Tawny-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus mexicanus
Gray-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus albigularis
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper Dendrocincla anabatina
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorhynchus spirurus
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Great Antshrike Taraba major
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi
Western-slaty Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha
Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul
Dull-mantled Antbird Myrmeciza laemosticta
Immaculate Antbird Myrmeciza immaculata
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
Streak-chested Antpitta Hylopezus perspicillatus
Thicket Antpitta Hylopezus dives
Silvery-fronted Tapaculo Scytalopus argentifrons
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Rufous-browed Tyrannulet Phylloscartes superciliaris
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus
Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis atricapillus
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
Northern Bentbill Oncostoma cinereigulare
Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus sylvia
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps
Eye-ringed Flatbill Rhynchocyclus brevirostris
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis
Stub-tailed Spadebill Platyrinchus cancrominus
Golden-crowned Spadebill Platyrinchus coronatus
Tawny-chested Flycatcher Aphanotriccus capitalis
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi
Ochraceous Pewee Contopus ochraceus
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata
Golden-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes hemichrysus
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
Three-wattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculata
White-collared Manakin Manacus candei
Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus
White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis
White-crowned Manakin Pipra pipra
Blue-crowned Manakin Pipra coronata
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis
White-throated Magpie-Jay Calocitta formosa
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
Silvery-throated Jay Cyanolyca argentigula
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Black-throated Wren Thryothorus atrogularis
Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus
Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius
Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus
Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Nightingale Wren Microcerculus philomela
Scaly-breasted Wren Microcerculus marginatus
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus
Tawny-faced Gnatwren Microbates cinereiventris
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris
Tropical Gnatcather Polioptila plumbea
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus mexicanus
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina
Sooty Robin Turdus nigrescens
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus
Pale-vented Robin Turdus obsoletus
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
White-throated Robin Turdus assimilis
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher Phainoptila melanoxantha
Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher Ptilogonys caudatus
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
Flame-throated Warbler Parula gutturalis
Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Mangrove Warbler Dendroica p. erithachorides
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca
Bay-breasted Warbler Dendroica castanea
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorus
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis semiflava
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus
Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
Black-cheeked Warbler Basileuterus melanogenys
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
Buff-rumped Warbler Phaeothlypis fulvicauda
Wrenthrush Zeledonia coronata
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus
Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus canigularis
Black-and-yellow Tanager Chrysothlypis chrysomelaena
Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii
Olive Tanager Chlorothraupis carmioli
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delattrii
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
Elegant Euphonia Euphonia elegantissima
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys
Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata
Emerald Tanager Tangara florida
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
Spangle-cheeked Tanager Tangara dowii
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Variable Seedeater Sporophila americana
White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus funereus
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis
Large-footed Finch Pezopetes capitalis
White-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes albinucha
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Buarremon brunneinucha
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Prevost's Ground-Sparrow Melozone biarcuatum
White-eared Ground-Sparrow Melozone leucotis
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Volcano Junco Junco vulcani
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps
Slate-colored Grosbeak Saltator grossus
Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster
Black-thighed Grosbeak Pheucticus tibialis
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus
Greater Antillean Oriole Icterus dominicensis
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius
Streak-backed Oriole Icterus pustulatus
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma
Yellow-bellied Siskin Carduelis xanthogastra