Birds Seen or Heard in Costa Rica

15-23 December 2005

This page last updated 12 January 2006

There are hundreds (more than 830) of bird species in Costa Rica, which provides tropical habitats from the Caribbean coast, humid swamps and wetlands, to the high, relatively cool cloud forests, to alpine habitats on the highest mountains, to the humid but relatively mild Central Valley, to the Pacific Coast.   Twenty-five percent of Costa Rica's natural habitats are preserved in national parks or biological preserves, and represented by each major habitat type.   This habitat preservation by the Costa Rican government and private conservation organizations and individuals has allowed the high species diversity and richness of this part of torrid Central America to retain much of its native bird species.   A little more than 850 bird species have been recorded as occurring in Costa Rica, including Cocos Island.   Of these, about 600 species are residents.   A considerable number are endemic species.   About 200 species are migrant species.

Armed with only a couple of relatively cheap digital cameras (a Canon Powershot A510 and an Olympus D550 - I didn't have the luxury of hauling my old Canon AT-1 or heavy F-1 and their bulky lenses, especially the 300 mm telephoto which would have allowed for good close-ups), I was able to obtain only mediocure to poor photographs of some of the over 70 species of birds I saw or heard during our Caravan tour of eight days, but at least they are "proof" that I saw, or heard, them.   The video clips were taken with the Canon.   Any misidentifications are mine, but I did the best I could with what I could see and distinguish with my bird guide book.   Let me know of any misidentifications, and I will correct them.

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All photos copyrighted by David L. Magney 2005, unless otherwise indicated.

Links to other Costa Rica photo pages

San Jose Area Photos
Poas Volcano Area Photos
Braulio Carrillo National Park Area Photos
Tortuguero National Park Area Photos
Tortuguero National Park Area Photos 2
Grecia Church and Sarchi Area Photos
Arenal Volcano Area Photos
Jaco Area Photos
Cloud Forest Photos
Manuel Antonio National Park Area Photos
Rio Frio-Los Chiles Area Photos
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Photos of Birds Seen in various parts of Costa Rica

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) in Tortuguero National Park on left and on the Rio Frio on the right.

A video clip of a male Yellow-tailed Oriole (Icterus mesomelas) singing along the Rio Frio near the Nicaraguan border.   This bird is rarely seen in Costa Rica. Right click on the picture to access "Play", to play it again.   You get to hear the complete song of this elusive bird. See Dev and Kal's website for some good still photos (link elsewhere on this page).

Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus) on the Rio Frio near the Nicaraguan border.

Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) in Tortuguero National Park

A Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl) sitting on her nest near Jaco on the Pacific coast.   This bird was defensive of her nest, located in this eye-level shrub planted at the office of the Chicklets Canopy Tour company about 6 km south of Jaco.   Photo on right is by Andres Quiros.

A pair of Olivaceous Cormorants (Phalacrocorax olivaceus) roosting along the Rio Frios.

A Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum) on a hot tin roof near Tortuguero.

A Fasciated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma fasciatum) near the Rio Frios at Los Chiles.

A Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) in Tortuguero

A Rufescent Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum) in Tortuguero

A Green-backed (Green) Heron (Butorides striatus virescens) in Tortuguero

A Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) in Tortuguero

A Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) in Tortuguero

Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja) and a Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) south of Tortuguero.

Royal Terns (Sterna maxima) south of Tortuguero very close to the Caribbean Ocean, also shown in photograph at the top of this page.

A video clip of Slaty-breasted Tinamou (Chyrpturellus boucardi) call.   It will play as soon as it is loaded.   Right click to access "Play", to hear/play it again.   Our tour guide on the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Adrian, tells Dana, and the other five of us to listen to its call, but we cannot see this ellusive ground bird.   The Slaty-breasted Tinamou reaches its southern limits in Costa Rica.   The loudest sound is actually the wheels of the aerial tram as it passes a support tower, to which Dana says, "That wasn't it".   Dana and her husband Dean were the avid birders of the tour group and helped all that were interested throughout our tour.

A female Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon), left, and right, a male Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona), both at Tortuguero National Park.

A Green-and-rufous Kingfisher (Chloroceryle inda) at Tortuguero.

A pair of Olive-throated Parakeets (Aratinga nana) on the Rio Frio.

A Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana) on the Rio Frio, you will have to trust me, but you can see the banding on the long tail.

A Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) at Tortuquero National Park.

Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) roosting in tall trees at Tortuguero National Park.

A pair of Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma) at La Selva Biological Reserve on the Caribbean slope.   The reserve is located just north of Braulio Carrillo National Park.

A pair of female German-American Birdwatcher's (Homo sapiens deutchensis ornithopteranus), individually named Waltraut and Heidy, from left to right) at La Selva Biological Reserve in their typical habitat and pose looking at the Montezuma Oropendolas.

Video clip and a still photo of the Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis) seen in the Braulio Carrillo National Park.   The video will play as soon as it is loaded.   Right click to access "Play", to play it again.   You get to hear it make its distinctive rapid, two raps on the tree trunk.   Listen carefully as the video plays three times automatically.

Additional photographs of some of the birds I saw on this trip can be seen at Dev and Kal's website, with some really good photographs of birds, and other places we all visited.   They have a good close-up of the Yellow-tailed Oriole to compliment my video of this bird's song.   Dev and Kal where fellow "tourists".

Female Purple-throated Mountain-gem hummingbirds (Lampornis calolaema) at a bird feeder at Santa Elena Preserve, Monteverde Cloud Forest, in April 2001.

A Green-fronted Lancebill hummingbird (Doryfera ludoviciae) at a bird feeder at Santa Elena Preserve, Monteverde Cloud Forest, in April 2001.

A Chestnut-mandibled (or Swainson's) Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii) near Arenal Volcano, in April 2001.

Below are some more photographs of birds, which where taken by Andres Quiros ( Andres' email), who is the professional photographer for the Chicklets Tree Canopy Tour company in Jaco.

A Roadside Hawk (Buteo magnirostris), and a Mealy Parrot (Amazona farinosa)

A pair of Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao)

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