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Field Guides Tour Report
Costa Rica 2015
Mar 7, 2015 to Mar 22, 2015
Jay VanderGaast & Ernesto Carman

It might be among the smallest of the 38 hummingbird species we saw, but this fantastic male Snowcap was one of the biggest hits of the tour! (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

The sheer abundance of Costa Rica's bird life never ceases to amaze me. On just this two-week tour of the country, we recorded more species than I have managed to muster up in a lifetime of birding in my home country! With so many species to choose from, narrowing them down to a few highlights is not an easy task, but anyway, here we go, in taxonomical order:

--a pair of furtive Spotted Wood-Quail rummaging through the leaf litter with their three tiny chicks at Savegre;

--a crisply marked Ornate Hawk-Eagle, scoped on a distant snag at Tapanti National Park;

--the crake-fest at Platanillo, where we had excellent views of Sora and White-throated and Paint-billed crakes feeding along a muddy creek;

--a pair of beautiful Chiriqui Quail-Doves scurrying through a clearing at Monteverde's Finca Ecologica;

--a wealth of fantastic owls both day and night, with amazing views of Striped, Spectacled, Crested, and Black-and-white among them;

--nearly 40 species of hummingbird, including jewels like the males of both Snowcap and Black-crested Coquette, plus the local endemic Mangrove Hummingbird;

--wonderful encounters for all with the very local and scarce Lattice-tailed Trogon, which had eluded us on recent tours;

--a shimmering male Resplendent Quetzal awaiting his turn to incubate the eggs in our "backyard" at Savegre;

--a group of showy Fiery-billed Aracaris bounding through the canopy in the early morning at Villa Lapas;

--a Streak-chested Antpitta hopping about on the forest floor at Carara, then emerging on a dead log on the trailside;

--a trio of woodcreepers (Olivaceous, Northern Barred-, and the uncommon Ruddy) among a cloud of birds following an army ant swarm at the Finca Ecologica;

--loads of fascinating flycatchers, with a sweep of the 5 regular Myiarchus one morning north of Carara and a surprise Rough-legged Tyrannulet at La Paz;

--the always incredible Three-wattled Bellbird bonking from his canopy perch at the Finca Ecologica;

--the entertaining antics of a "moon-walking" male Red-capped Manakin, trying valiantly to gain the attention of a female that sat preening after her afternoon bath;

--the ethereal chiming song of the Black-faced Solitaire emanating from the cloud forests at Tapanti;

--a great array of warblers including a curious Wrenthrush at Savegre and the rarity of the trip--a male Prairie Warbler at El Tigre Marsh;

--swarms of fantastic tanagers, in some of the most stunning color combinations imaginable: Black-and-yellow, Crimson-collared, Emerald, Speckled, Spangle-cheeked, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis...all simply gorgeous;

--a cooperative pair of Prevost's Ground-Sparrows perched quietly in the open after a concerted effort to find them in the Orosi Valley.

Wow, just writing this makes me want to head back down there right now! It really was a fabulous trip with so many wonderful sightings, and I haven't even mentioned the mammals, herps, butterflies, etc, that we ran across.

Many thanks to my excellent co-leader Ernesto for his insane spotting ability, affable nature, and in-depth info on coffee production in Costa Rica. It was a real pleasure working with him. Also thanks are due to our excellent driver Lenin, who got us everywhere we needed to go in a professional and safe manner, and always with a smile on his face.

Finally, thanks to all of you who joined us on this adventure. Because, without you fine folks choosing to travel with us, none of the amazing sightings I've mentioned above would ever have taken place! It was a pleasure meeting all of you, and I hope to see you back in the field, on another tour, sometime soon.


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) – Seen well at Carara, where we had a single bird coming down to the stream for a drink one afternoon, and a male with three small chicks for half the group the following morning. [N]

Large edible birds aren’t always so bold, but this female Great Curassow was much more interested in getting to a fruiting tree than she was in our presence! (Photo by participant Barb Wanless)

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]
SLATY-BREASTED TINAMOU (Crypturellus boucardi) [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A flock of 19 flew over the El Tigre marsh late one afternoon, and a large number were at a rapidly shrinking pool of water along the coast south of Jaco.
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – A lone male flew overhead on one of our pre-breakfast walks at Villa Lapas, and a couple of birds were along the stream in Carara later the same morning.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – About 10 birds among the many scaup on the Cachi Reservoir. [b]
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Anas clypeata) – A lone drake in breeding plumage dozing on the Cachi Reservoir was my first shoveler ever in Cost Rica! [b]
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – About 50+ birds were on the Cachi Reservoir. [b]
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – Only a couple were visiting the feeders at Rancho this trip, including one with an injured foot. Also seen at Monteverde's Finca Ecologica, and right outside Bob and Barb's bedroom.
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – These turkey-like birds were seen or heard regularly at La Selva and Rancho, then again at Villa Lapas. It is always a bit strange seeing such large, ungainly birds high up in the trees.
BLACK GUAN (Chamaepetes unicolor) – We finally picked up this Chiriqui specialty at Monteverde, where some folks had them at the Santa Elena Reserve or right outside our hotel. But I think we didn't clean up on this bird for everyone until we found a couple our last morning at the Finca Ecologica.
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra) – Great views of these huge birds both mornings at La Selva, where years of coexistence with researchers has led to them being quite tame here.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
BUFFY-CROWNED WOOD-PARTRIDGE (Dendrortyx leucophrys) [*]
BLACK-BREASTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus leucolaemus) – One group got lucky at the Finca Ecologica, running across this species twice on our morning there, and getting fantastic views as pairs scurried across the forest floor before crossing the trail in front of them.
SPOTTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus guttatus) – A final sweep of the patch of forest behind the cabins paid off when Ernesto located a secretive pair of these quails, quietly moving through the leaf litter with three tiny chicks in tow! Kevin especially enjoyed this little family, and chose them as his favorites of the trip. [N]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – Great looks at a couple of these during our Rio Tarcoles boat trip.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Though they regularly cross the country from one coast to the other, it's not often we see this bird anywhere but on the Pacific coast, so it was a big surprise to have not just one, but two sightings in the mountains! A female soaring across above the La Paz Waterfall gardens was our first, and a few days later we saw another flying among a group of vultures high above the Savegre valley!
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – A single at the Cachi Reservoir, and a few at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – All five of our birds were in a single tree near the river mouth during our boat trip.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – A few birds along the coast near the port at Caldera.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum) – Wonderful looks at one along the Rio San Jose, with memories of the similar Bare-throated Tiger-Heron still fresh in our minds from a couple we'd seen just an hour earlier.
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – A few sightings in the lowlands on both slopes, with one bird at Villa Lapas that appeared to fly out of a nest high above the cabins.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – Three or four birds along the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Fairly common in all suitable wetland areas.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Overall less numerous than the Great Egret, but present in small numbers in suitable wetlands.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Quite a few were seen on both slopes, including several white juveniles.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – One in the shrinking pond south of Jaco, and a few along the Rio Tarcoles.

This exquisite male Resplendent Quetzal sat patiently next to its nesting tree for a good long time before taking its turn at incubating the eggs, and this was right behind our cabins! (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Common throughout, except in the highlands.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – One flew over the cane fields near the crake spot at Platanillo, and a few were seen in the Pacific lowlands.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – One was roosting among the Boat-billed Herons along the Rio Tarcoles.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – A handful of these attractive herons were along the Rio Tarcoles.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – Great looks at these odd birds at a day roost along the Rio Tarcoles.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – Fairly numerous along the Rio Tarcoles, and there was a flock with the Muscovy Ducks along the Quebrada Bonita in Carara.
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – Aka the long-billed Black Vulture. We saw a handful of these at El Tigre Marsh.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Four or five along the Rio Tarcoles included a couple of nice bright pink adults.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Aka short-billed Green Ibis. Seen everywhere.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Missed one day in the Savegre Valley, but probably only because we didn't look hard enough.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Janie found the first as it tried to sneak behind us at El Tigre marsh. We also had one at 7200' in the Savegre Valley, where the stocked trout ponds have allowed them to winter, as well as several along the Rio Tarcoles. Mostly migratory, though a few non-breeders do hang around in the summer. [b]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – A couple were seen during our stop in Ujarras, and a few folks saw one at the Bougainvillea on our last day. The folks who were on the bus with me on the way back to the airport also saw a pair during the ride.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – Though a few are present year-round in the south, the majority of these graceful birds move further south of Costa Rica after breeding. We saw them on several days, starting with a group of 8 or more at Virgen del Socorro. [a]
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) [*]
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – While the rest of us were watching passing feeding flocks, Ernesto persisted in trying to spot a distant calling Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and he eventually found it, perched up on the opposite ridge line. Though far away, it showed up superbly through the scope and we all enjoyed multiple good views. We also found a juvenile bird the next day in the Savegre valley, perched even further away!
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – Recently arrived in Costa Rica from their South American wintering grounds, a pair of these kites circled over the mangroves during our boat trip. One eventually settled down on a perch, giving us great looks. [a]
TINY HAWK (Accipiter superciliosus) – A rarely seen small Accipiter. We were very lucky when one flew in as we birded along the La Selva entrance road, luckier still that it sat long enough for everyone to get a scope view of it!
BICOLORED HAWK (Accipiter bicolor) – Until the bird at Rancho started showing up on a regular early morning perch, this was a tough species to find. As it was, we had fine views of the Rancho bird, and Kevin and I also had a quick look at one in the forest at the Santa Elena reserve.
CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens) – A couple of birds flew over the highway as we were arriving at Carara for our first morning there, but our views were limited to what we could see from the bus windows. Next morning, the folks on the trail with me had great looks at a perched bird, just before the 100+ school kids tromped noisily past us!
COMMON BLACK HAWK (MANGROVE) (Buteogallus anthracinus subtilis) – A common bird of the Pacific coast mangroves, where we saw a bunch during the boat trip, including one that grabbed a fish from the water. To that point, I had only ever seen them eating crabs. There was also an occupied nest seen just down river from the dock. [N]
BARRED HAWK (Morphnarchus princeps) – These were pretty far away, soaring over the ridge at Tapanti, but those that tried to look through the scopes could make out the identifying features well enough.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Our only one was at Rancho, where we saw the same bird in the same spot (along the roadside, where else?) on two consecutive days.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – Sadly, our only sighting was of a perched bird sitting below eye level along the highway up to Braulio Carrillo, with no convenient place to turn around or stop, so only the folks that were looking in the right direction at the time got to see it.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Very common as a wintering bird, and abundant as a migrant, as we witnessed several times when large groups of migrants caught the thermals overhead as they began to head northwards. [b]
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – Lisa spotted our first one as we were about to get aboard the bus after our successful watch at El Tigre marsh. We saw a couple of others from then on, including a perched juvenile along the Cerro Lodge road.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – A few scattered records of this common Buteo, with both dark and light morphs seen well. Best was probably that low flying light morph bird above Ujarras.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – Most Swainson's Hawks winter well to the south of Costa Rica, and the majority of them pass through the country a little later than our tour, so the five we saw perched together in one tree near La Selva (including one dark morph bird) were likely among the vanguard of migrants that would soon be flooding through. [b]

Female Cherrie’s Tanagers showing the traits that led to this species’ separation from the similar Passerini’s Tanager, namely the red chest patch and rump. (Photo by participant Barb Wanless)

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – A rather uncommon species that can be easy to overlook due to its resemblance to the ubiquitous Turkey Vultures that are always flying about. We had excellent looks at one flying low next to the bus as we left the town of San Miguel on our way to La Quinta, and another over the mangroves during our boat trip.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – I think only Ernesto and Deb G saw a pair of these through the scope, flying around some great distance from us as we walked down from the oak forest above Savegre Lodge. The birds here are of the race B. j. costaricensis, which is endemic to the mountains of CR and Panama.
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) – Sharp-eyed Lisa picked one out as we drove alongside the Rio San Jose. We all then piled off the bus for some awesome views of this incredible bird, which showed off beautifully as it repeatedly returned to a small rocky islet to gather beaks full of moss, then flew up to its well-hidden nest, showing its spectacular wing pattern over and over again! Lisa, Ellie, and Barbara all picked this as their favorite bird of the trip. [N]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) – Kathy spotted one crossing a recently cut pasture just below Rancho when she, Ellie, and I stayed close to the lodge our first morning there. Later the same day, we all had several views as we did a crake watch at the Platanillo trapiche. Ironically, though this was the most numerous of the three crake species at the site, it was also the one we had the poorest views of.
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – A couple were calling loudly when we arrived at the Finca Ecologica early in the morning, and a couple of folks at the front of the line got to see one dashing away across a clearing, but that was all we got out of the birds.
SORA (Porzana carolina) – It's been a long time since I've seen a Sora in CR, so it was nice to see one again, and we had some great looks at a single bird during our trapiche crake watch. [b]
PAINT-BILLED CRAKE (Neocrex erythrops) – Once thought to be an accidental visitor to the country, it now seems that this species is a scarce but regular breeding bird here. This was the main target of our crake watch, and Ellie picked this bird up first as it cautiously worked its way through the low vegetation along the edge of the muddy creek bed. Eventually, and after several appearances, the bird was seen pretty well by all. This was only my third record of the species in CR, my first two being back in the 90's when there were only a handful of sightings.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus bistriatus) – A lone bird fed in the open next to a horse (which made a convenient landmark!) in a pasture along the Cerro Lodge road.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A quartet of these elegant waders were along the edge of the roadside pond south of Jaco, another 4 along the Rio Tarcoles during our boat trip.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Since first appearing in the country in 1997, these birds have expanded rapidly and are now reasonably common in suitable habitat, so it's a bit surprising that we only saw one, ably spotted by Jill as we scanned for Red-breasted Blackbirds near Rancho Naturalista.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – A lone bird on the mudflats near the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles was all we saw, though there were undoubtedly others tucked away out of sight. [b]
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) – One flew past as we scanned the El Tigre marsh for seed-finches. [b]
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa) – A common wetland bird, seen several times in the Pacific lowlands.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – A few along various streams in the lowlands on both slopes. A common wintering species, though mostly seen in the unspotted, nonbreeding plumage. [b]
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – A lone bird among the stilts at the roadside pond south of Jaco. [b]
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – A few birds on the mudflats along the Rio Tarcoles. Generally the birds wintering in this area are all of the western subspecies, T. s. inornatus. [b]
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – A handful of birds along the Pacific coast. [b]
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – usually the most common of the peeps. We saw fair numbers on the Rio Tarcoles mudflats. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – The default gull in the country. A big group of these birds was loafing on the beach at Caldera. [b]
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – The most common tern in the region. We saw a few among the gulls at Caldera.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Only around towns and cities. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Quite a few seen perching on wires in the Caribbean and south Pacific lowlands, but there were never any around during our birding stops, so we finally had to make a dedicated stop north of Dominical to get good views before we got too far north for them.
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – The common large pigeon in the lower montane regions, with plenty of them seen throughout the trip.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – A pretty common highland species, and more likely to occur in large flocks than most other CR pigeons. We saw them at Tapanti, Savegre, and Monteverde.
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) – A highland species, replacing Short-billed above about 1200m in elevation. We saw them at Tapanti and Savegre.
SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris) – The lowland counterpart of Ruddy Pigeon. Though they mostly are allopatric, there is some range overlap, such as at Rancho, where we heard both species. We finally caught up with this one when we got scope views of one along the Sendero Meandrico at Carara.
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – Numerous in the dry northwest lowlands, and some may have seen them around the Bougainvillea, to where they have recently expanded their range in the central valley.

Lush streamside forest (Photo by participant Lisa Francis)

RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – A few in the Caribbean lowlands, then plenty in the Carara region, though overall there seemed to be fewer than usual about.
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana) – Excellent looks at this shy bird, including through the scope, as one came down to a stream to drink in the late afternoon.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – The default terrestrial dove in this group, and we saw them regularly at several sites.
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassinii) – One group had excellent views of this species at Carara, with a White-tipped Dove nearby for comparison. This species is much darker overall, and shows a conspicuous rusty nape than White-tipped. The subspecies here, L. c. rufinucha, (which also occurs in western Panama) has sometimes been treated as a separate species, Rufous-naped Dove.
BUFF-FRONTED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon costaricensis) – The folks with me at the Santa Elena reserve got lucky when one of these strolled across the path nearby as we were trying to spot some Azure-hooded Jays that were calling.
CHIRIQUI QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon chiriquensis) – Our early morning visit to the Finca Ecologica paid off in several ways, including with some pretty nice views of a pair of these rusty doves. Both this species and the Buff-fronted Quail-Dove are found only in CR and Panama.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – This species has expanded greatly across Costa Rica in the past decade or so. Formerly found mostly in the dry northwest, they are now a common site much further south along the Pacific coast as well as across the central valley east to Turrialba.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – Quite common, and they do look pretty squirrel-like as they scamper around in the canopy. We saw them at several sites, including La Selva, Tapanti, and Carara.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – An obviously territorial one along the Cerro Lodge road flew in from quite a distance in response to playback, then put on a nice show, singing a whisper song for several minutes in full view, crest alternately raised and lowered, before it finally grew bolder and began singing loudly again. A great bird, but they are tough to find when not calling.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – A drive by group of anis in San Isidro were this species, which replaces the widespread Groove-billed Ani in the south.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Common and seen regularly at lower elevation sites on both slopes.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – Ernesto's stake out in Cartago gave us great views of a sleepy looking bird in a hollow of a large palm trunk, where it had several noisy Crimson-fronted Parakeets for its next door neighbors.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – Another Cartago stake out of Ernesto's, which we only needed to visit as the birds our first night were so atypically flighty!
VERMICULATED SCREECH-OWL (GUATEMALAN) (Megascops guatemalae vermiculatus) [*]
BARE-SHANKED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops clarkii) – We were imagining a long battle with this species in the Savegre valley, a battle we may not have won, but instead, we spotted one on a roadside power line and had great views without any effort! We even got to watch it plunge into the roadside vegetation in pursuit of dinner, though it sadly came up empty.
CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata) – A little bit of good luck is always a good thing; in this case, a pair of these fine owls were located on an old day roost the morning we arrived at La Selva, and we went out and had excellent looks that afternoon. Next day, other groups looking for them came up empty.
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) – Very vocal at La Quinta this year, where we had super scope views of a pair of adults calling in the predawn gloom our first morning, then fantastic views of their full-grown juvenile that evening, and again the next morning. If all that wasn't enough, we also saw this huge owl at Villa Lapas, where one was stuffed into its nest at the top of a broken off tree trunk, evidently incubating its clutch. The nest was a first for both guides! [N]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – The first of 9 owl species seen on the tour; this little guy showed up quickly in the hotel gardens on our first night, and we saw another during the day time along the Cerro Lodge road.
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) – And this, our final owl, was seen in our hotel grounds at Monteverde, where we found it between the restaurant and the rooms as we left dinner our first night there.
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – A tip from another guide led us to a day roost near Carara where a pair of these gorgeous owls glared at us from their shady perch below the canopy of huge mimosa tree. This was a much-wanted species for Jill (and her choice for top bird of the trip) and the look on her face when she looked through the scope and realized what the surprise was was absolutely priceless!
STRIPED OWL (Pseudoscops clamator) – One of my all-time favorite owls, not just because it's so striking, but also as it is one of the most reliable owls out there! We've got a real good success rate with this species, and that continued on this trip, when we didn't even make it to our usual spots before we found one on a roadside wire!
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – A bunch of these began flying over the Tarcoles mangroves at dusk.
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis semitorquatus) – One at dusk at La Selva made just a single pass overhead before continuing on its way. Still, we did see it.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) [*]
DUSKY NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus saturatus) – Wonderful close views of a couple of different birds (one of which I almost stepped on as I looked for it!) in the upper parts of the Savegre valley.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The most commonly seen swift of the tour. Impressive was the big migrational movement at La Selva involving several hundred birds.
VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi) – Generally the only small Chaetura swift likely in the highlands. We saw these several times at Virgen del Socorro, the Tapanti region, and Monteverde.

A Bare-throated Tiger-Heron stalking prey along the Rio Tarcolito in the Pacific lowlands (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

COSTA RICAN SWIFT (Chaetura fumosa) – Fair numbers in the Pacific lowlands at Carara, though they didn't give us any good opportunities to see the narrow white rump bands.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – The common small swift in the Caribbean lowlands, with plenty each day around La Selva.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – Unlike the other small swifts, this species is rarely found in flocks, but rather in singles or pairs. We had pretty good views of a pair at La Selva, then some folks saw one flying low over the Rio Tarcoles just before our boat trip. That bird actually dropped right down to the water and skimmed the surface, something I've never seen this species do before (though Costa Rican Swifts do this regularly here).
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Away from Rancho's feeders, where they are the dominant hummingbird, we saw only single males at Virgen, La Selva, and Carara.
BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri) – An active nest at La Selva remained empty while we watched, though a couple of people at the back of the line saw a bird come in after the rest of us had moved on. Later we had another feeding on Heliconia flowers on the hotel grounds at Villa Lapas. [N]
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – Common in middle elevation forests, and we had fine views at the feeders at both La Paz and Rancho.
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris) – Hermits can be tough, as they generally move fast and don't stick around in any one place for long. Still, we had several good sightings of this large hermit at both La Selva and Carara.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – Scarce this trip, and we had only very brief views of singles at Rancho, where it fed briefly at the verbena hedge before a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird chased it off, and Carara.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – A single noisy bird occupied the same song perch at Rancho on two consecutive days, and we got pretty good scope views from the balcony, despite the backlighting.
GREEN VIOLETEAR (Colibri thalassinus) – Numerous and noisy in the highlands.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – A couple of birds in the Caribbean lowlands. Seen best was the female perched in a dead tree above the hummer-infested verbena hedges at the old butterfly farm near Braulio Carrillo NP.
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii) – Very common at the feeders at Rancho. Some of us also saw a male at a flowering tree at Villa Lapas.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – Great views of this dainty little hummer at the feeders at both La Paz and Rancho.
BLACK-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis helenae) – Cracking views of a fancy male at the old butterfly garden near Braulio Carrillo, and a female that fed regularly at the verbena hedge below Rancho's balcony.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula) – Numerous in middle elevation forests, and among the most common hummingbirds at the feeders at Cinchona, La Paz, and Monteverde.
MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – One of the dominant species at the Savegre Lodge feeders.
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis) – Quite common at high elevations in the Cerro de la Muerte region, though the bad weather made it a bit tough to see them well. Luckily a couple of birds were visiting the feeders at La Georgina, and they gave us wonderful views of their brilliant fiery throats!
WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis hemileucus) – At least one male and one female made sporadic visits to the La Paz feeders, and we also found a couple at Tapanti.
PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis calolaemus) – Just a couple at the La Paz feeders, where they can be common at certain times of the year. Many more were at the feeders at Monteverde's Hummingbird Gallery.
WHITE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (GRAY-TAILED) (Lampornis castaneoventris cinereicauda) – This species mainly occurs at higher elevations than the other two (though they can all overlap at places like Tapanti at certain times of year). We saw a few at the Savegre feeders and a male at Tolomuco.
MAGENTA-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox bryantae) – A couple of lovely males and a single female showed up a few times at the Hummingbird Gallery feeders.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) – A couple of these long-distance migrants were spending the winter around Ernesto's friend's restaurant at Ujarras. [b]
VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula) – As the name suggests, this bird is most numerous high in the mountains, and we saw plenty of them at Savegre, with a couple of birds also at Tolomuco, which must be right at the lower end of their elevational range.
SCINTILLANT HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus scintilla) – A bit smaller than the very similar Volcano Hummingbird, and usually occurs at lower elevations, but there is plenty of overlap at places like Savegre, where we had both species. This one shows more rufous on the flanks and tail, and the male has a red gorget (dusty purple in the local race of Volcano Hummer) and his wings make a distinctive buzzing sound.
CANIVET'S EMERALD (Chlorostilbon canivetii) – Ernesto's group saw the only one at some flowers near the parking lot at the Finca Ecologica, the final of 38 hummingbird species we recorded on the tour!
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti) – A couple of birds showed well as they fed at the verbena at the old butterfly garden, the only ones we saw on the tour.
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – Brief views of one perched on a power line as we walked along the Rio San Jose, and a couple of others at Carara. Overall a pretty dull large hummer, with the big white tail corners being its best field mark.

Males of White-necked Jacobin and Crowned Woodnymph vying for space at the porch feeders at Rancho Naturalista (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – A spectacular, large purple hummingbird, easily seen at the feeders at La Paz, Rancho, and Monteverde. We also came across these birds at Carara, where they occur only seasonally (though a friend claims to have found one nesting there once!)
BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia) – I will probably never get used to using this name for this species, preferring the alternate name Red-footed Plumeleteer which seems so much more fitting to me, especially since the CR race doesn't really have a bronzy tail! We saw these birds and their red feet several times at Rancho, La Selva, and the old butterfly garden.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – These little beauties were especially common at the feeders at Rancho.
STRIPE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa eximia) – Up until a few years ago, this species was rarely, if ever recorded at Savegre, but it is now a regular there, helped no doubt, by ornamental flowers planted along roadsides and in gardens. We also had one each at the feeders at Tolomuco and Monteverde.
BLACK-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa nigriventris) – In January there were quite a few at the La Paz feeders, but they had mostly moved on (to higher elevations) by our visit, so we were lucky to get great views of a single male there. Especially since we also missed this bird at Tapanti, where it was also common in January!
COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD (Elvira cupreiceps) – A couple of these tiny endemics were at the La Paz feeders, and several at the Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery. [E]
SNOWCAP (Microchera albocoronata) – Had the female at the old butterfly garden been our only one, I'm sure some would have been disappointed, so it was a relief to find a flashy little male feeding regularly below the balcony at Rancho.
BLUE-CHESTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia amabilis) – A rather unspectacular hummingbird; we saw a male on a song perch along the La Selva entrance road.
MANGROVE HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia boucardi) – Found only in the mangroves along Costa Rica's Pacific coast, where it feeds mainly on the flowers of the Tea Mangrove. We had great looks at a female perched in some mangroves near the port of Caldera. [E]
STEELY-VENTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia saucerrottei) – Just a couple of birds in the Carara area, with the most cooperative being one at the straggly verbena hedges next to the ranger station just after we arrived at the park.
SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia edward) – A southern specialty, and our only shot at this bird was at Tolomuco, where we had excellent looks at one feeding and perching in the verbena hedge just outside the main building.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – The most common hummingbird at lower elevations on both slopes.
CINNAMON HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia rutila) – Nice views of one feeding at some roadside hibiscus flowers along the road to Cerro Lodge.
BLUE-THROATED GOLDENTAIL (Hylocharis eliciae) – I think Deborah S. and I were the only ones to get a quick look at one of these birds at Carara. The thick red bill of this species is pretty distinctive, and looks like it is made of plastic.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno) – A great start to our first day in the Savegre valley was finding both the male and female of this species perched out in the open near their nest tree, just behind our cabins! We ogled the gorgeous male from all angles and I think everyone got their fill of this gorgeous bird. The status of the nest was a bit unclear, as a squirrel had been seen entering the nest hole a couple of times. Hopefully they are still successful in raising a brood. Not too surprising that the quetzal won the vote for top trip bird, with Janie and Kathy both choosing it as their favorite. [N]
LATTICE-TAILED TROGON (Trogon clathratus) – This species had been tough to find on recent visits to Braulio Carrillo, so I was happy to hear one calling shortly after we entered the trails there, happier still that both groups had excellent views of them. A very local species that is restricted to Panama and CR.
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – Pretty common in lowlands on both slopes, and we had good sightings at both La Selva and Carara. This is the species I mentioned as nesting in arboreal termitaries.
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus) – The "Patagonia rest stop" effect was at work when we stopped for a Collared Forest-Falcon north of Carara and wound up seeing a bunch of great birds, including this lovely trogon, a pair of which flew in to some trees next to us, along with a pair of Gartered Trogons.
BAIRD'S TROGON (Trogon bairdii) – One of several species restricted to the Pacific lowland forests of SW Costa Rica and western Panama. We had a couple of nice encounters with beautiful trogon at Carara.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – One of the most widespread and commonly seen of the trogons. We had several sightings at a few different locations on both slopes. Best was arguably that male at La Selva that dropped onto the ground in front of us, snatching a large green katydid out of the grass.
BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) – Our first trogon sighting was a male of this smallish species, near the cafeteria at La Selva. My group also saw a male with the Lattice-tailed Trogon at Braulio Carrillo, and we heard this species at Carara.
ORANGE-BELLIED TROGON (Trogon aurantiiventris) – This one may someday prove to be just a color morph of Collared Trogon (an opinion both your guides share) but for now it is considered a good species. We finally found a pair near the bellbird spot at the Finca Ecologica.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – Pretty common in montane forest where it occurs at higher elevations than any other trogon (not including the quetzal), though we saw only one pair at Tapanti.
Momotidae (Motmots)
BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT (LESSON'S) (Momotus coeruliceps lessonii) – Folks were pretty excited when we finally tracked down our first one in an orchard at Ujarras, but then those easy to see ones at Monteverde made us all wonder why we bothered to work so hard for it;-)
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – Excellent looks at a pair of these large motmots as they sat quietly below the end of the suspension bridge at La Selva.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) – Smaller and duller than the preceding species. We saw several, all on one day at La Selva, with Henry finding us our first one along the track behind the soccer field.
TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (Eumomota superciliosa) – One of the specialties of the dry northwest, this elegant motmot is even more stunning than the other members of its family. We had several fantastic looks at these birds along the Cerro Lodge road, and both Stephen and Henry chose it as their top bird of the trip pushing it into a tie for 4th place with bellbird in the voting.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Our only one was one spotted from the bus as we headed north along the coast from Dominical. Strangely there were few kingfishers seen during our boat trip, and none at all of these giants.

Participant Barb Wanless caught this lovely Sooty-faced Finch sneaking around at the edge of the vegetation next to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens restaurant.

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – A few scattered individuals on both slopes, but our best views were probably of the single one we saw during the boat trip.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – A single bird flew along the Rio San Jose in the Caribbean lowlands, and a few were seen along the Rio Tarcoles.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – This tiny kingfisher is evidently pretty accustomed to being ogled by birders, as it allowed us to pull the boat right up beside it in the Rio Tarcoles mangroves, and seemed completely unfazed by our being there.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) – We only ever saw one of these fierce looking puffbirds, perched high in the branches of a trailside tree at La Selva, though we did hear them a couple of times at Carara, too.
WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis) – Both groups independently found this quiet and easily overlooked species along the Quebrada Bonita trail at Carara, with Henry spotting my group's bird, a female, sitting calmly about 15 feet off the ground.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – After teasing us several times along the La Selva entrance road by practically flying right through the group, jacamars finally gave themselves up, with three or four of them perching our in the open for long periods.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii) – Stephen spotted a pair over the Tolomuco parking lot as we watched the hedges for hummers. I picked them up immediately afterward, but they flew off a long way just as I was starting to call out directions to them and I'm not sure anyone else got to see them.
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
PRONG-BILLED BARBET (Semnornis frantzii) – One of only two species in its family (the other being Toucan Barbet of Ecuador and Colombia), this bird has got one of the coolest calls of the highland forests. We had nice views of a pair at Tapanti, and some folks also caught up with them at the Santa Elena reserve.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis) – Though widespread in montane forests, this small toucan eluded us until we got to Monteverde. There we saw them several times, including a pair attending our grand finale army ant swarm at the Finca Ecologica.
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – Pretty common in the Caribbean lowlands, and we saw quite a number of them at La Selva.
FIERY-BILLED ARACARI (Pteroglossus frantzii) – Another Pacific lowland specialty of SW Costa Rica and western Panama. A group of 4 of these fancy toucans showed beautifully on the grounds of Villa Lapas on one of our early morning walks.
BLACK-MANDIBLED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Our first toucan species, with a pair in beautiful early morning sunlight calling and displaying in a bare tree at Virgen del Socorro. We saw quite a few more at La Selva, and also at Carara.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – Heard and seen often on the Caribbean slope, with great views of these beauties at La Selva and Rancho. Much less common on the Pacific slope, though we did encounter them at the Finca Ecologica as well. This was Deborah S.'s favorite bird of the trip.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – Common and conspicuous in the beautiful oak forests of the Savegre valley. Especially good views of those tame birds at Miriam's feeders.
GOLDEN-NAPED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes chrysauchen) – One called and drummed as we were watching manakins bathing at Carara, so we had a quick look at a couple of dead tree trunks in a nearby clearing. Deb G. quickly found the drumming male, but only a couple of other folks were in place to see him before he flew off.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani) – The most common and readily seen woodpecker in the Caribbean lowlands where we saw them daily.
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – What appeared to be a pure female was seen during a roadside stop just north of Dominical. Further north, most of the birds appeared to be hybrids between this and the next species.
HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii) – Pure Hoffmann's were seen up in the central valley around our hotel, as well as at Ujarras, but many of the birds in the Carara region, including a couple along the Cerro Lodge road, looked to be hybrids, with orange-gold napes and belly patches. Looks like the hybrid zone has expanded northward in recent years.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) – Though we heard this species at several sites, our only view was of a cooperative male near the hummingbird feeders at La Paz.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – Only a single bird was seen along the road in the Savegre valley, though we did get a good enough look to see how much they differ from NA birds. The Costa Rican "Dirty Hairy" is smaller (Downy sized) and much darker below than the northern races.
RUFOUS-WINGED WOODPECKER (Piculus simplex) – Fine scope views of a male of this uncommon species along the La Selva entrance road.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – Inexplicably scarce this trip, and we saw just one, Ernesto's back yard bird at his family's coffee plantation.
CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus) – Excellent looks at a showy male early on our first morning at La Selva.
CHESTNUT-COLORED WOODPECKER (Celeus castaneus) – A pair of these floppy-crested woodies showed wonderfully on both of our mornings at La Selva.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – A single bird in the Caribbean lowlands and a female feeding an adult-sized youngster along the Cerro Lodge road were the only ones we saw this year.
PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis) – A close relative of the legendary Ivory-billed Woodpecker. We saw one far out along the concrete trail at La Selva, then added some fine views of them at Carara.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) – It was an unexpected thrill when one of these shy birds flew across in front of the bus just north of the Rio Tarcoles early one morning, and even more of a thrill when we made a quick u-turn and managed to find it perched near the roadside for fantastic scope views! This is not an everyday occurrence, I assure you!

It took some time to track one down, but we eventually nearly stepped on this Dusky Nightjar as it sat quietly on the ground in our path in the upper Savegre valley. (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – A single bird in the Caribbean lowlands, then quite a few along the Pacific slope.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – One of the tour's first birds was a bit of a surprise as it flew over the Bougainvillea our first morning! This was my first one in this part of the central valley, though it wasn't totally unexpected as these birds have expanded rapidly across the country in recent years.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) [*]
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – Great looks at a male perched along the road as we departed Tapanti. [b]
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – Appropriately, we watched one devouring a bat in the early morning near La Selva. They obviously come by that name honestly!
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – A good trip for this migrant, as we saw three different birds. First we had one fly over the pineapple fields as we drove back to La Quinta for lunch, then Stephen spotted one zipping overhead at Ujarras, and finally we spotted one perched in the mangroves during our boat trip. [b]
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – The smallest of the parakeets we saw, this species was seen regularly in the lowlands on both sides of the country.
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – We did get reasonable scope views of a couple buried in the foliage of a tree next to the lodge at Rancho, but otherwise our encounters were mainly of two or three of these parrots screaming by overhead, which is fairly typical of this species.
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – The common small parrot through much of the country, and we saw them regularly starting with our first day out to La Paz.
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – The most numerous of the large Amazona parrots, and we saw lots on both slopes, though they were seemingly most numerous around La Selva.
YELLOW-NAPED PARROT (Amazona auropalliata) – Our only encounter with these bright green parrots was with several birds perched in the mangroves and flying about in the late afternoon during our boat trip.
WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons) – The smallest of the country's Amazona parrots, and the only one to show sexual dimorphism. We had our first pair fly by at the dock on the Rio Tarcoles just before our boat trip, but we saw them better at Monteverde, especially the perched bird we scoped just across the road from the Hummingbird Gallery.
MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa) – The largest of the Amazona parrots. They seemed scarce this trip, and though we did hear them several times, the only ones we saw were some distant perched birds we scoped near La Selva.
SULPHUR-WINGED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura hoffmanni) – This lovely parakeet is a Chiriqui specialty, and we had a couple of nice views, first with a group of 5 or 6 in a fruiting tree along the road at Silencio, then again in the highlands at Savegre, where they regularly flew past.
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (AZTEC) (Eupsittula nana astec) – Restricted to the Caribbean lowlands, where we head them perched several times in flowering trees at La Selva.
ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEET (Eupsittula canicularis) – Only in the dry northwest lowlands, and we saw quite a few of them along the road to Cerro Lodge.
GREAT GREEN MACAW (Ara ambiguus) – We saw a bird quietly leave the nest tree near La Selva a couple of times, flying off without a squawk and making a beeline for the distant line of tall almendra trees. It would have been nice to have a longer, more satisfying view, but at least we could see the colors well enough as it flew away. [N]
SCARLET MACAW (Ara macao) – Numerous and conspicuous now in the Carara area, where conservation programs and nest box placement has helped bring the numbers up to respectable levels. We had numerous wonderful encounters with these showy birds.
CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET (Psittacara finschi) – Seen well our first day perched in an African Tulip tree right out front of the Bougainvillea. That was probably our best view, though we saw them pretty much daily for the first week of the trip.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus) – A cagey male played hard to get at La Selva, but most of us wound up with pretty good looks in the end.
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – A couple of these were hanging around at the same time as the Fasciated Antshrike, but, though vocal, they proved to be even cagier, and only a couple of folks got a look at the female.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Excellent looks at a rusty female at Carara, but that was the only one we encountered on the whole trip.
BLACK-HOODED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bridgesi) – Common and seen often, including a few quite low and close, in the transitional forest at Carara. Another of the shared CR/Panama Pacific lowland endemics.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus) – A few sightings with mixed canopy flocks at Braulio Carrillo, and a single bird for one group with another mixed flock at Carara.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – A couple of birds showed up for an insect feast at the moth cloth early one morning at Rancho.
STREAK-CROWNED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus striaticeps) – Ernesto's group encountered this local specialty with a mixed flock at Braulio.
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) – Seen by some folks at Braulio, where it is often in the same flocks as the preceding species.

The friendly nature of the dapper Collared Redstart has given it the local name “amigo de hombre.” Participant Barb Wanless shows here that it is also “amigo de mujer!”

SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – Both groups had a sighting of this plain species at Carara; my group's was a young male in transitional plumage that initially had us stumped. Later at Santa Elena Reserve, my group had another female with a nice mixed flock.
DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis) – We had several sightings of this attractive antwren with mixed flocks at Carara. Though they were a bit tricky to see as they often stayed hidden in dense vine tangles, we eventually got good views for everyone.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra tyrannina) – This species occurs in the lowlands of both slopes, but it is easier to see in the more open forests at Carara, where we ran into them several times.
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza exsul) – Seen by some at Braulio Carrillo NP, then by all at Carara, where they are often poking around on or near the ground in quite open situations.
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza laemosticta) – This species loves damp, dark ravines, and that's where Ernesto's group found one at Braulio Carrillo.
ZELEDON'S ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza zeledoni) [*]
BICOLORED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys bicolor bicolor) – This and the next two species are avid army ant followers, and all three species were present at the ant swarm Ernesto's group stumbled upon shortly after we passed each other on the Braulio Carrillo loop. I think this species was the least cooperative of the three, and was only glimpsed by a couple of folks.
SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides) – Decent looks for some at this lovely little antbird, which is a fixture at Caribbean slope army ant swarms.
OCELLATED ANTBIRD (Phaenostictus mcleannani) – Only a couple of folks were lucky enough to get on this spectacular large antbird. If more had seen it well, I would have expected it to get a few votes for bird of the trip.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
STREAK-CHESTED ANTPITTA (Hylopezus perspicillatus) – Most species of antpitta are pretty elusive and tricky to see; this one is generally the best behaved of the CR antpittas. We had fantastic looks at one that hopped up onto a log beside the trail before crossing to the other side, as we were on our way to watch the manakins bathing at Carara.
THICKET ANTPITTA (Hylopezus dives) [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus argentifrons) [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – One paid a visit to the stream as we watched the manakin pools at Carara. It came down quite a ways upstream where it walked around in the leaf litter for a while, looking a lot like a small bantam hen.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
TAWNY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus mexicanus) [*]
GRAY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus albigularis) – A responsive bird that showed well was one of the highlights for Ernesto's group at Santa Elena. By the time my group passed, we couldn't get any response out of it.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – Nice views of a pair of these small woodcreepers at our grand finale army ant swarm at the Finca Ecologica. Watch for this species to be split up into several someday, as there are some very different birds currently making up this species.
RUDDY WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla homochroa) – One of the final new birds of the tour. This uncommon bird was one of three woodcreeper species that turned up at the army ant swarm our last morning.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – Fantastic looks at a bold pair gleaning insects from around the moth cloth at Rancho.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – A common and widespread species, though we had only a few sightings this trip. Our first at the Rio San Jose was probably our best, but we also saw them well at Tapanti, where they can look shockingly similar, and seem to like the same trees favored by pygmy-squirrels!
NORTHERN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) – Acceptable views of this large species at La Selva and Carara were far surpassed by the awesome close views we had at the Finca Ecologica army ant swarm! It's not often the case that they're close enough and/or in good enough light to make out the barring.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – One of the most common forest woodcreepers in the lowlands of both slopes.
BLACK-STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) [*]
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius) – One of the most common forest woodcreepers in middle elevation forests. We had them at several sites, but perhaps best seen were the ones at Rancho's moth cloth.
BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus pusillus) – One at Virgen del Socorro gave us the slip, but we found another at Tapanti and even managed to get most everyone a scope view of it! That long decurved bill is used to probe deep inside cracks and crevices for invertebrates.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – The most likely woodcreeper in disturbed regions of the lowlands. We saw them most regularly in the La Selva region.
SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis) – Replaces the similar Streak-headed Woodcreeper at elevations above about 5000'. We had excellent looks at one as it fed around a streetlight near the quetzal nest at Savegre.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – Best seen at Carara, where one fed at eye level just a couple of yards away.

A pair of White-whiskered Puffbirds (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

BUFFY TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes lawrencii) – This great bird generally stays high, and can often be seen digging around in and flinging stuff out of bromeliads. We had pretty good looks at a pair doing just that in the oak forest above Savegre.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) – Decent views of one that appeared to be delivering prey items to a nest in the Savegre oak forest. Later at Santa Elena, the group that were with me had superb views of a pair with a mixed flock. [N]
STREAK-BREASTED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes rufobrunneus) – Tough. The only one we met up with moved fast and stayed mainly out of sight at the quetzal viewing area at Savegre.
BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (HYPOPHAEUS) (Automolus ochrolaemus hypophaeus) – This shy bird showed well as it joined the early morning buffet at Rancho's moth cloth. The race found here on the Caribbean slope sounds incredibly different from the Pacific slope birds, and perhaps someone needs to investigate whether they aren't better treated as separate species.
STRIPED WOODHAUNTER (Automolus subulatus) [*]
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – Seen by both groups at Santa Elena reserve. My group had the unusual experience of getting scope views of one perched on a horizontal branch face on. As this species is normally seen hitching up tree trunks, those spotted underparts are rarely seen so well!
RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus) – A fairly common member of mixed species flocks in high elevation forests. We had superb views of a couple feeding quite low on the trunk of a large tree in the Savegre oak forest, and saw them again at Santa Elena Reserve.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops) – Seen at Virgen, Tapanti, and Santa Elena. The best views were arguably those first at Virgen, where we watched a pair make repeated visits to work on a nest next to the road. [N]
SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura) – Great looks at a pair of these skulking spinetails as we watched for crakes at the muddy stream near Platanillo.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
YELLOW-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Ornithion semiflavum) – The group with Ernesto had good views of one of these tiny canopy flycatchers along the Quebrada Bonita trail at Carara.
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum) – Seen well on the grounds of Villa Lapas hotel during one of our early morning walks.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – Much less cooperative than they usually are, but we still managed pretty decent looks at a trio of these birds that were chasing each other around a brushy clearing at Carara.
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata) – A widespread species in Latin America, though it seems there is considerable variation in the calls from place to place. Perhaps more than one species is involved? We saw these birds several times in the Carara region.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Surprisingly few of these common birds were seen. We only had a couple around La Paz and a few sightings in the Ujarras/Orosi area.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – Quite a few of these rather nondescript flycatchers were seen in the Savegre valley, and we also had a few sightings in the Monteverde region.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea) – One dropped into the crake spot near Platanillo a couple of times, and another was seen along the dipper-less stream near Tapanti.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – Good looks at one feeding in the large bougainvillea bush that held so many other birds at La Paz. Our only other one was a single bird at Tapanti.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – A regular member of interior forest feeding flocks, this is the flycatcher with the dark crescent behind its eye. We saw them at Virgen, Rancho, and Tapanti.
ROUGH-LEGGED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias burmeisteri) – Shortly after we arrived at La Paz, we heard one of these rare flycatchers call, surprising me as I haven't seen this poorly known species for a long time. Pretty soon we had spotted it and we went on to have my best ever views of this bird! Easily one of my favorite birds of the trip.
PALTRY TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus) – Pretty common and widespread, and seen many times at a number of sites.
NORTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus arenarum arenarum) – Excellent close views of this small-billed mangrove specialist in the same mangrove patch in which we found Mangrove Hummingbird near Caldera.
BLACK-CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis atricapillus) – One of the smallest Passerines in the world, this tiny bird played a bit hard to get at first, but once we finally found it, we managed to get great scope views.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – I've always loved this feisty little bird, so I was pleased that we had such a nice view of one at Tapanti.
NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare) – This would just be a normal, nondescript little flycatcher if it wasn't for that oddly crooked beak. It looks to me like its got a broken nose. We had a few along the Quebrada Bonita trail at Carara.
SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia) – Always a bit tricky to see well, but a pair at Carara played nice and gave us a reasonably good show.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – Pretty much everywhere but at the higher elevations. One at Tolomuco was in the act of constructing a nest in the gardens. [N]
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – A denizen of the canopy, this little tody-flycatcher can be tough to see well, but we had some pretty good looks at them, first at La Selva, then again at Rancho. Sadly, the new field guide still hasn't gotten the posture of this one right.

Of all the birds named for their thighs, the Yellow-thighed Finch is the one that shows its namesake off the best. (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

EYE-RINGED FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris) – One showed pretty well right after our Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher at La Selva, and then the group with me had some great views of another that was moving with a big mixed flock at Carara.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) – Fairly common in disturbed forests on both slopes, mainly at lower elevations. We had several along the way, and some folks found one building a nest at La Quinta during our afternoon break.
YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias assimilis) [*]
STUB-TAILED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus cancrominus) – One of these tiny interior forest flycatchers came in for a bath at the manakin pools at Carara, and most folks got a view through the scope as it preened afterwards. Janie was just a bit too late to the scope, but luckily we found another feeding near the forest floor the next morning and got great looks at that one.
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus coronatus) – Both groups caught up with this bird at Carara, where it coexists with the Stub-tailed Spadebill. Ours popped up right in front of us, no playback necessary.
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus) – It would have been nice had this one stuck around a little longer, but even if it had, the chance of our seeing its incredible red and blue crest were slim to none. That just rarely ever happens; I've seen it only once. We also heard one of these along the entrance road at La Selva.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) – This cute little flycatcher showed well a couple of times. First, we had a nice responsive bird along the main trail at La Selva, and then we ran into them a couple of times at Carara as well.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus) – A bird of the forest interior. Part of the group had one at Braulio Carrillo, while the rest of us caught up with it at Carara.
TAWNY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Aphanotriccus capitalis) – A pair of the Rancho specialties showed nicely in the early morning at the moth cloth buffet.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – Pretty common in highland forests, where we saw them at La Paz, Tapanti, Savegre, and Santa Elena.
DARK PEWEE (Contopus lugubris) – Our first one turned into a Black Phoebe when we stopped for closer inspection. Fortunately, we found a real one that showed nicely near the quetzal nest at Savegre.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – We saw a couple of silent wood-pewees that could not be identified to species, and could have been Eastern or Western. But we did identify one unseen Western by voice at Tolomuco. [b]
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – This resident species can be told from the migrant pewees by its (usually) paler lores and short primary projection. We saw these birds only along the road at Silencio.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) – A few records from several different locations. This is always the most regularly encountered migrant Empid on this tour. [b]
WHITE-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax albigularis) – Wonderful looks at this very local species as we watched for crakes at Platanillo.
YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens) – Pretty common in montane forest, and we saw several at Tapanti, Savegre, and Monteverde.
BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax atriceps) – A distinctive Empid, found only above about 7000' in elevation, but pretty common where it occurs.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – As some of you noted, the birds found here have far less white in their underparts than the birds seen in the US. We had them at several sites, always near water, including one bird that looked amazingly like a Dark Pewee as it sallied for insects from a high exposed perch.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – Wonderful views of these unique flycatchers in the Caribbean lowlands.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – Heard far more often than it was seen, and at a number of different sites, but we did managed couple of sightings, too. We had brief looks at one at La Selva, then much better views of them around the Villa Lapas hotel.
RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra) – Pairs of these lovely flycatchers were seen well at La Selva a couple of times as well as at Tapanti.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – The most widespread of the Myiarchus flycatchers, and we saw them regularly on both slopes.
PANAMA FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus panamensis) – Pretty much restricted to the Pacific coast mangroves in CR. We saw a couple during our boat trip, then had even better looks at one in the mangroves near Caldera, giving us our 5th Myiarchus of that morning!
NUTTING'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus nuttingi) – Here at the southernmost edge of their range, this species is uncommon in the dry tropical forests north of the Rio Tarcoles. We had excellent looks, including good comparisons with three other Myiarchus, along the road to Cerro Lodge.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – Fairly widespread in winter, and seen a few times in the lowlands on both slopes. [b]
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Fairly common in the dry northwest, where we had good views of several along the Cerro Lodge road.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common and widespread, and only missed in the Cerro de la Muerte highlands. [N]

This Stripe-tailed Hummingbird may not be showing its striped tail, but those rufous secondary coverts are pretty distinctive! (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Not usually as abundant as the kiskadee, but still pretty common and widespread.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis) – A common roadside bird, seen in good numbers most days, except in the highlands. [N]
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis) – A little less numerous than the Social Flycatcher, but still seen quite often, including pairs building nests on the grounds of the Villa Lapas. [N]
WHITE-RINGED FLYCATCHER (Conopias albovittatus) – Restricted to the Caribbean lowlands, where we had good views of a pair our first morning at La Selva.
GOLDEN-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes hemichrysus) – Though the color pattern of this bird resembles the above 5 species, they are more closely related to the next two. We had good scope views of this bird along the road at Tapanti.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus) – Seen daily in the Pacific lowlands, including one dispatching a large cicada in the forest at Carara.
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) – A couple of birds along the road at Silencio were the only ones we saw. Very similar to the Streaked Flycatcher, and they do overlap, but this bird always shows thick black malar stripes that meet under the bill as a chinstrap. Streaked has much thinner malar stripes that do not meet. [a]
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – Like the preceding species, an Austral migrant that winters in South America, coming up here to breed. We saw and heard these birds pretty regularly at lower elevation sites. Some other flycatchers were soon to be evicted from their nests by these nest pirates. [a]
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Abundant, and seen every day of the trip.
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – Several with tails of varying lengths at the little pond we stopped at north of Dominical. [b]
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
RUFOUS PIHA (Lipaugus unirufus) – Heard by all at Carara, and Ernesto's group managed to track one of these elusive canopy birds down for some nice views.
THREE-WATTLED BELLBIRD (Procnias tricarunculatus) – As usual, one of our big targets at Monteverde, where these birds are really just arriving at this time of year. One led us on a merry chase early in the morning at the Finca Ecologica, but we persisted and wound up with superb scope studies of this incredible bird. Later that morning we saw a female hanging around in a fruiting tree at the same spot. Bob's pick for top bird of the trip.
SNOWY COTINGA (Carpodectes nitidus) – The gray, rainy weather wasn't really ideal for finding this species sitting up in the canopy in the early mornings, and we consequently had to be content with a lone female on our second morning at La Selva.
Pipridae (Manakins)
LONG-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia linearis) – The Finca Ecologica is a great place for this species, and they were really getting busy displaying on their leks. We wound up seeing quite a few on our morning there, though we never really caught them in full display mode on any leks that we could see from the paths.
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera) – Though we heard them a few times in the Caribbean foothills, the only sighting was of a lone male seen by the folks who were with me on the trail at Braulio Carrillo.
BLUE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix coronata) – The manakin pools at Carara came through again with a couple of beautiful males dropping in for a late afternoon bath.
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – There wasn't a whole lot of activity at the leks this trip (weather related?), but we did see a couple of lovely males in fruiting trees at La Selva.
ORANGE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus aurantiacus) – Even less display activity was noted for this species, which may be partly due to the fact that a huge tree had fallen across a great trailside lek that was so busy last year at this time. In the end, only a few people got satisfying looks at this fine little bird.
WHITE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Dixiphia pipra) – Those that joined Ernesto on the longer hike at Rancho were rewarded with excellent looks at this manakin on a long-used lek (more than 20 years here!) near the upper boundary of the reserve.
RED-CAPPED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra mentalis) – Not only did we get many incredible views of these gorgeous birds as they came to bathe at the stream in Carara, but we also were treated to the antics of a male that was trying hard to impress a preening female that had just finished her bath. He performed his brilliant "moonwalk" display numerous times in full view of both the female and our group, though it appeared that we were far more impressed than she was. That little display brought him a few nods in bird of the trip voting, including a first place vote from Deb G.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – We had just a single pair of this tityra species, but they were seen well along the entrance road to La Selva.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – Always the more numerous of the tityras, and we recorded the "pajaro chancho" (pig bird, for its grunt-like calls) on about half the days of the trip.
NORTHERN SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis veraepacis) – An elusive bird of the forest interior. We were lucky when one showed up at the manakin pools and perched right in the open (above the tinamou!) for all to see. Formerly called Thrushlike Schiffornis, (or Mourner, or Manakin) but that species was recently split into several based on vocal and plumage differences.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor) – We finally caught up with this highland forest becard when we tracked down a male with a mixed flock just as we were about to leave the Santa Elena Reserve.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – These attractive becards were encountered several times at lower elevations on the Caribbean slope, where they are not uncommon in secondary and disturbed habitats.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – Brief looks at a male at La Selva, followed by far better studies (again of males) with mixed flocks along the Carara's Quebrada Bonita trail.
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae) – Pretty common in the dry northwest, where we had several sightings, but I was surprised to see a subadult male (molting into adult plumage) along the entrance road to La Selva. This was one of only a few records I've had on the Caribbean slope, where these birds are apparently part of a migrant population from points north. Neither of these CR races have any rose coloration in their throats at all.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens) – A lone bird was well seen during our mangrove boat trip on the Rio Tarcoles.

This glowering subadult Spectacled Owl called nightly, and incessantly, outside our rooms at La Quinta. (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – A common wintering bird, with records on about half the days of the trip. [b]
YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli) – One of the many Chiriqui endemics. Seen numerous times in the highland forests in the Savegre valley.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – Also seen a few times in the Savegre valley, though we never found them to be quite as cooperative as the Yellow-winged Vireos.
PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus) – A regularly occurring migrant, though generally more numerous on the Pacific slope, where we saw them pretty often. We did also have one on the Caribbean slope at Rancho Naturalista. [b]
YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis) – Quite numerous, especially by voice, in the Carara region, where they sing as incessantly as the Red-eyed Vireos do back home. [a]
TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Hylophilus ochraceiceps) – A typical little brown bird, fairly nondescript and a bit bland, really. It doesn't help that it is also tricky to see, though we did get some reasonably good looks at them at Carara.
LESSER GREENLET (Hylophilus decurtatus) – Widespread in lowlands and middle elevations, and heard regularly, at least. We got our first views of an obliging pair at Tapanti, then saw them a number of times at Carara, where they are probably most easily seen.
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) – A pretty cooperative pair showed nicely as we walked down from the oak forest at Savegre.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
AZURE-HOODED JAY (Cyanolyca cucullata) [*]
WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY (Calocitta formosa) – Lisa noted one following around a pair of Brown Jays at the Finca Ecologica (my first record for there) and we got excellent looks as it perched above the parking area, saving us a stop in the heat of the day on the dusty Monteverde road!
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio) – Pretty widespread, noisy, and common.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – The common swallow of most highland areas.
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – The two rough-wings are both resident in CR (though apparently some Northerns also migrate here from further north) and are often seen together too. We probably had more of this species this trip, and it appeared all of ours were residents, as they pretty much all seemed to be territorial pairs.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – Slightly less common this trip than the preceding species, though still seen a few times.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – I think as a group we only noted a single bird (!) along the Rio Tarcoles during the boat trip, though there were several seen in passing on roadside wires, too.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – Especially nice views of the ones following the boat during our river trip.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – A few birds over El Tigre marsh, then plenty more in the Pacific lowlands. Most, if not all, were still in pretty worn plumage. [b]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
SCALY-BREASTED WREN (WHISTLING) (Microcerculus marginatus luscinia) [*]
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Pretty much everywhere except in the Savegre valley.
OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus) – Seen a number of times in highland forests, with our first views coming at Tapanti.
TIMBERLINE WREN (Thryorchilus browni) – We had a hard time finding a responsive one, and the one we finally did find at around 11,000' on Cerro de la Muerte was far from cooperative, so that only a few folks claimed satisfying views.
BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus) [*]
RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) – Common and conspicuous in the Pacific lowlands, where we also saw several old nests in bullhorn acacia trees.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus) – Several wren species seemed far less vocal than usual for this time of year. This was one of them though we did end up with a few good sightings of birds with mixed flocks at Carara.
BLACK-THROATED WREN (Pheugopedius atrogularis) – Heard on several days on the Caribbean slope, and most got a pretty decent view of one in scrubby habitat at La Selva.
RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus) – One of the country's finest songsters. We enjoyed their vocal performances on a number of occasions, and got fine views too at Carara, as well as at the army ant swarm at the Finca Ecologica.
STRIPE-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus thoracicus) – Fabulous looks at this lovely wren were had along the La Selva entrance road, as well as subsequently at Rancho.

A male White-necked Jacobin enjoys a rain shower in between visits to the feeder. (Photo by participant Barb Wanless)

PLAIN WREN (Cantorchilus modestus) – Heard often at many sites, though we had to make an effort to finally see these birds around our lodging at Monteverde.
PLAIN WREN (CANEBRAKE) (Cantorchilus modestus zeledoni) – Though currently treated as a subspecies of Plain Wren, look for this one to be split sometime soon. A paper has already been submitted proposing a three-way split of Plain Wren (the third occurring along the south Pacific coast). Apparently this form and the the above do overlap at a couple of sites on the Caribbean slope, lending credence to the proposed split. We saw this one very well at El Tigre marsh.
RIVERSIDE WREN (Cantorchilus semibadius) – Both groups had some super views of these striking wrens along the Quebrada Bonita trail at Carara.
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) [*]
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – Most easily seen at Rancho, where a bold pair fed on insects at the moth cloth buffet, though we also had pretty good views of a couple with the army ant swarm at the Finca Ecologica.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – Generally replaces the preceding species in the highlands, where it can be extremely common. We had several good sightings starting with our first below the feeders at Cinchona our first morning.
SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus) – Ernesto's group had a nice encounter with these odd wrens along the trail at Braulio Carrillo.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TAWNY-FACED GNATWREN (Microbates cinereiventris) – Also seen by Ernesto's group at Braulio, though as usual, they were far from easy to get on.
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – This one loves thick vine tangles, where they can be tough to see, but see them we did, both at La Selva and Carara (where they are considerably easier).
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) – Surprisingly few this trip, as they are usually pretty common. Our few sightings were at La Selva, Rancho and Carara.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes melanops) – Another fine singer, and we got to hear them regularly in highland forests, where we also saw good numbers, including one on a nest in a bank along the track below the oak forest at Savegre. [N]
BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus gracilirostris) – A little tougher than usual, but we finally found a cooperative bird below the veranda at Miriam's feeders in the upper Savegre valley.
ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus aurantiirostris) – Though not uncommon, this species, to me, is usually the most difficult of the nightingale-thrushes to show to a group. We made several attempts before ultimately getting looks at a pretty cooperative one at the Finca Ecologica.
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus fuscater) – One showed beautifully just behind the hummingbird feeders at La Paz, and we encountered quite a few hopping about on the trails at the Santa Elena Reserve.
RUDDY-CAPPED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus frantzii) – Common and quite tame at Savegre; we had to be careful to avoid stepping on them here!
BLACK-HEADED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus mexicanus) – Now that they've disappeared from Rancho, Braulio is our only site for this lovely species, and both groups got excellent looks at them there.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – Seen in small numbers at several sites, including a couple at the army ant swarm at the Finca Ecologica. [b]
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens) – Numerous in open pasture land in the highlands.
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus) – Pretty common in the Savegre valley, the only place we ran into them on this trip.
PALE-VENTED THRUSH (Turdus obsoletus) – My group tracked down a distressed sounding bird at Braulio, but the only view we got was of it flying off, chasing a larger bird that I thought may have been a Yellow-eared Toucanet.
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Seen everyday and everywhere. It's not Costa Rica's national bird for nothing!
WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis) – A few sightings in the Monteverde region, including one attending the army ant swarm at Finca Ecologica.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) – An uncommon wintering species. We had just one pair, seen in the secondary scrub along the La Selva entrance road. [b]
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – They only appeared in CR 15-20 years ago, but mockingbirds are quite widespread now. We had a pair at the pond north of Dominical as well as a single bird perched on a wire as we passed through San Isidro.
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Phainoptila melanoxantha) – A pair joined us as we ate our picnic lunch at Tapanti NP, saving us from having to search for them on Cerro de la Muerte, where they are often quite tricky and never as obvious as the next species.
LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys caudatus) – Many fine views of these classy birds in the Savegre valley, where they are common and conspicuous, often perched in dead branches in the canopy.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – A couple were encountered at the Finca Ecologica, where they are fairly common winter visitors, attracted to the copious leaf litter on the open forest floor there. [b]

The very cool Green Basilisk (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – Prefers clear, fast-flowing water, and rarely found in mangroves or along brackish or heavily silted rivers and streams like Northern Waterthrush seems to prefer. We had good views of one near the quetzal nest at Savegre. [b]
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – A common migrant, particularly in the Carara region, where we saw a lot of them, including in the mangroves. [b]
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) – Though apparently losing ground to Blue-winged Warbler on the breeding grounds, this is still by far the more common of the two in Costa Rica. We had several sightings, mainly of males. [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Pretty widespread, with records from almost every site we visited. [b]
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – A couple of these gorgeous warblers gave a nice show in the mangroves along the canal off the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis) – Such a showy bird! We had several awesome encounters with these, including some at eye level, in the Savegre valley.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – One of the most numerous of the wintering warblers, and we saw good numbers at many sites, from lowlands right up to 8000' plus. [b]
GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala) – Great views of on at El Tigre, just after an Olive-crowned Yellowthroat had put in an appearance, giving us a good comparison of the two.
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – A number of these birds were hanging around the crake spot at Platanillo, including at least one adult male. [b]
KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) – Usually tough to see, but one that was feeding around Rancho's moth cloth has gotten pretty bold, and strolled around in the open for all to enjoy. [b]
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava) – A flighty one at Virgen del Socorro proved too skulky to see well, but we had a much more friendly one at El Tigre marsh.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – Pretty common in mid-elevation forests, where we had numerous sightings at several locations.
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea) – A real surprise along the La Selva entrance road. where we had a bird in nonbreeding plumage feeding in the top of a bare tree. Though a pretty common passage migrant, they are rare in winter here (the main wintering area seems to be in Panama, as they are numerous in the canal zone in winter). [b]
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Quite a few were recorded on the Caribbean slope, though there were far more females and juveniles than brilliant adult males. [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – A few on the Caribbean slope at El Tigre marsh and Ujarras, then plenty more along the Pacific coast, where they occur side by side with the resident "Mangrove" Yellow Warbler in the mangroves. [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (MANGROVE) (Setophaga petechia erithachorides) – The resident form with the chestnut head (in males) is fairly common in Pacific coast mangroves. We had fleeting views of a couple on the boat trip, then excellent looks at several in the mangroves near Caldera.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – By far one of the most common and widespread of the wintering warblers. We saw them most days, with a few males getting pretty close to being in full breeding dress already. [b]
PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor) – Probably the biggest surprise of the trip. Ernesto spotted a male in a hedgerow along a fence line across from El Tigre marsh, just as we were getting on the bus to leave. A rare species in CR, and this was just my first, and Ernesto's 3rd record for the country! [b]
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – Quite common in highland forests, though it seemed there were fewer than we usually see. [b]
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons) – Though we had a few sightings earlier in the trip, I think most people had their first satisfactory views of these birds at the Finca Ecologica on our final day.
BLACK-CHEEKED WARBLER (Basileuterus melanogenys) – Generally only above about 5000' in elevation, this Chiriqui endemic offered us a few good looks in the oak forests of the Savegre valley.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – Best seen were the ones that showed up at Rancho's moth sloth for a morning feast.
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – Numerous in the forests of the Santa Elena Reserve, where they often were seen feeding in the fronds of the large tree ferns there.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Quite common along rivers and streams at lower elevations on both slopes. I think I'll always remember Kevin's assessment of the first sighting at La Paz: "I saw the buff rump, but not the warbler!" Not an unusual experience, that.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – A common wintering warbler at higher elevations. [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – A regularly seen species of middle elevation forests on both slopes.
COLLARED REDSTART (Myioborus torquatus) – Mostly replaces the preceding species above about 5000' though they do overlap in places. We saw these charming little birds well in the Savegre valley as well as at Santa Elena (though did anyone notice that they were replaced by Slate-throated Redstarts as we walked downhill along the trails?)
WRENTHRUSH (Zeledonia coronata) – Often a tricky bird, as it loves to stay low in dense tangles of bamboo. But we found a cooperative one in the Savegre valley, which offered up incredible views as it came in close to investigate us.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata) – A quick sighting for some folks on one of our early morning walks as Villa Lapas.

The elegant Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher is a common sight in the Savegre Valley. (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – Seen by some at Braulio, then by all at Carara, where they are regular members of mixed feeding flocks.
TAWNY-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus delatrii) – A few big flocks of these showed well at Braulio Carrillo for both groups, and we also ran into another group of 15+ birds along the river at Silencio.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – The first one was a male in the pineapple plants (not on the pineapple truck!) along the road to La Quinta. We saw a few others elsewhere in scrubby areas on the Caribbean slope.
CRIMSON-COLLARED TANAGER (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus) – One of these gorgeous tanagers popped up into the big Bougainvillea at La Paz for some eye-popping views.
PASSERINI'S TANAGER (Ramphocelus passerinii) – Abundant at lower elevations on the Caribbean slope.
CHERRIE'S TANAGER (Ramphocelus costaricensis) – Replaces Passerini's (the two were until recently treated as a single species) on the south Pacific slope north to Carara. We saw these at Tolomuco where one pair were feeding young in a nest, then again at Carara.
BLUE-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Bangsia arcaei) – A pretty local bird of mid-elevation Caribbean slope forests. Several of us had views of this chunky tanager with a mixed canopy flock at Braulio, though the wet weather made it tough to get a good look.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Numerous pretty much everywhere.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Also numerous, though usually outnumbered by Blue-grays.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – Very common on the Caribbean slope, a little less so in the Carara region.
SPECKLED TANAGER (Tangara guttata) – A few decent looks in the Rancho area were bested by the ones that came to the feeders during lunch at Tolomuco.
SPANGLE-CHEEKED TANAGER (Tangara dowii) – These lovely highland tanagers showed beautifully several times, but were probably best viewed as they fed quite low near the quetzal site at Savegre.
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata) – Half a dozen of these dull tanagers showed quite well along the entrance road at La Selva.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Another beauty, this one was seen well mainly on the Caribbean slope, but we also had a few sightings at Carara.
EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida) – A couple of these rather scarce tanagers were nicely seen along the road at Silencio.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – Abundant in the highlands, with particularly good views at the feeders at La Paz and Cinchona.
SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta) – The male of this species is dazzling, even if the scarlet thighs are usually hidden. We had our first pair at Virgen del Socorro, then a few sightings around the Rancho region.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – A male popped into a dead tree along the La Selva entrance road a few times, but never stayed for more than a few seconds, so not everyone managed to get on him.
SHINING HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes lucidus) – Perhaps glimpsed by a couple of folks at La Selva, then Henry had one among some Red-legged Honeycreepers at Carara.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – Great views at the feeders at La Quinta, then seen regularly around Carara, where at least some of the males were still in their drab, nonbreeding plumage.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Seen daily on the Caribbean slope, and by one group also at Carara.
BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas) – A couple of females moved quickly past next to the bridge at Virgen del Socorro, but we fortunately caught up with some flashy males that showed wonderfully in a fruiting tree just over the road at Silencio.
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea) – Numerous in the Savegre valley, where many of the tubular flowers show tiny holes at their bases, courtesy of the hooked bill of these birds.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – A few in grassy areas of the lowlands on both slopes.
NICARAGUAN SEED-FINCH (Sporophila nuttingi) – The main target of our visit to El Tigre marsh, and it was great to see a couple of males, as well as a female, so well there, as there seems to be far less suitable habitat left there than there once was.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina) – The default seedeater through most of the tour, with both plumage types seen well.
WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila torqueola) – Just a couple in a weedy field at Ujarras, and a couple more during our stop at the pond near Dominical.

Black-cowled Orioles have been expanding their range in the country; this one was at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens at 5000’ in elevation, far higher than they normally range! (Photo by participant Henry Schaefer)

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis) – Rarely seen on this trip, and the few birds in the sugar cane fields near Platanillo were one of the few records I've had in the Rancho area.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Pretty numerous in flowering trees and shrubs on the Caribbean slope. Our only Pacific slope birds were at the Hummingbird Gallery feeders at Monteverde.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – Fairly common at Silencio and Ujarras, as well as on the hotel grounds at Monteverde.
DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii) – This species has declined quite a bit at La Selva, and the big flocks of former days are down to groups of three or four birds. We had brief encounters with one such small group along the trail behind the soccer field.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – The most widespread of the saltators, with multiple sightings at multiple sites.
BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps) – A trio of these were found our first afternoon near the Bougainvillea, and we had a few more sightings in the Rancho region.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Recorded only on the grounds and in the environs of the Bougainvillea this trip, and for some one of the final new birds as they missed it that first afternoon.
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) [*]
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
YELLOW-THIGHED FINCH (Pselliophorus tibialis) – Of all the birds named for their thighs, this one is the most appropriate. Those yellow thighs look like pollen sacs on the hind legs of bees! We saw these a number of times in the highlands.
LARGE-FOOTED FINCH (Pezopetes capitalis) – Pretty common in the Savegre valley, with especially good looks at Miriam's feeders. The foot size is a bit of a letdown though, isn't it?
SOOTY-FACED FINCH (Arremon crassirostris) – A pair of very tame ones fed along the edge of the feeder clearing (and sometimes right inside the restaurant!) at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – A common bird, but quite sneaky and can be hard to see, but we had great views of a pair scratching around in the leaves as we made our way to breakfast after our quetzal experience.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – Seen almost daily on the Caribbean slope, where the ones that hopped along the sidewalks at La Quinta provided especially good experiences. Also seen along the trails at Carara.
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus) – One of the many northwest specialties we encountered during our forest-falcon stop along the highway north of Carara. A couple of you noted how much browner the heads of the birds found in Texas are than the ones found here at the southern end of their range.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris) – Unusually scarce this trip and our only ones were at Rancho, where we saw them especially well below the feeders.
WHITE-NAPED BRUSH-FINCH (YELLOW-THROATED) (Atlapetes albinucha gutturalis) – Great views of one of a trio of these birds that was foraging in a bunch of bananas by the feeders at Cinchona. Seen again on the grounds of our Monteverde hotel.
WHITE-EARED GROUND-SPARROW (Melozone leucotis) – A daily visitor to the feeders outside the restaurant of our Monteverde hotel.
PREVOST'S GROUND-SPARROW (CABANIS'S) (Melozone biarcuata cabanisi) – When someone goes ahead and does the DNA analysis on this species, don't be surprised to see it get split from other populations to the north, as it is very different looking than the northern Central American birds. This form is endemic to Costa Rica, and we had awesome views of a pair near the reservoir at Ujarras.
STRIPE-HEADED SPARROW (Peucaea ruficauda) – First seen along the beach at Playa Azul as we waited for dusk, then noted in good numbers along the Cerro Lodge road.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – Common in the mountains.
VOLCANO JUNCO (Junco vulcani) – Only occurs at very high elevations in the mountains of CR and Panama. Another bird we had to be careful not to trod on, as they hopped around at our feet on Cerro de la Muerte.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus) – One of the most common birds in the middle elevation cloud forests at La Paz, Tapanti, and Monteverde.
SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus) – Replaces the preceding species at higher elevations, and likewise abundant in those upper elevation forests such as in the Savegre valley.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – A pair showed well at Virgen del Socorro, one of the few records I've had of this species here.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – A common migrant in CR, seen almost daily, in all manner of plumages. [b]
FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata) – Numerous and easy to see in the Savegre valley.
WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera) – The female of a pair at Tapanti was kind, and sat out where we could enjoy scope views, but her mate took off quickly and, though he called continually from somewhere nearby, he just wouldn't show himself again.
RED-CROWNED ANT-TANAGER (Habia rubica) – The folks with Ernesto at the Finca Ecologica had one of these birds on their morning walk.
RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda) – A couple at the La Quinta feeders, and a female building a nest along the walkway showed pretty well, but the ones at Rancho's moth cloth were real showboats.
CARMIOL'S TANAGER (Chlorothraupis carmioli) – Formerly Olive Tanager. This noisy species occurs in large monotypic flocks at Braulio, and we had a few close encounters with them there.
BLACK-FACED GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes poliogaster) – Great views at La Selva, where one perched on a power line right over my head. We also had several good-sized flocks at Braulio.
BLACK-THIGHED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus tibialis) [*]
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – Only four were seen all trip, with single females on three days, and our lone male among the other seed eating birds at Ujarras. [b]
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) – Nice views of a male singing its sweet, melancholic song at La Selva. Jill also saw a female at Carara.
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea) – A couple in the northwest, including a singing male at our forest-falcon stop. These birds were undoubtedly part of the resident population, though apparently migrants from North American breeding populations also winter in CR.
PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris) – A couple of female plumaged birds were noted in the Carara area. [b]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – A few birds flew over El Tigre marsh, and we also had a few in the mangroves during our boat tour. Costa Rican populations are resident.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – One was seen in the sugar cane fields at Platanillo and a couple along the highway as we returned to San Jose. Again, the birds here are residents rather than migrants.
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives) – Has become widespread since first being recorded in CR in 1989. We had some at pretty much all sites visited including high up in the Savegre valley.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Abundant throughout save the Savegre region.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – A female near La Selva was the only one we saw, though this species has exploded in numbers since the first CR record in 2004.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – Just a few birds around La Selva one day.
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – A pair near the feeders at La Paz has been present there for at least a year now, though it's unusually high for them there. Also seen regularly around La Selva.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – A very common wintering species pretty much throughout. [b]
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) – The folks lagging behind as we headed back to the bus after our Platanillo crake watch saw one of these skulking birds at the edge of a cane field.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SCARLET-RUMPED) (Cacicus uropygialis microrhynchus) – Pairs were seen daily around La Selva, and some folks watched a pair visit the feeders at Rancho one afternoon.
CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius wagleri) – Daily around Rancho, with the best views coming at Silencio where there were a couple of big nesting colonies starting up. [N]
MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma) – Abundant on the Caribbean slope, with a couple of sightings also north of Carara. [N]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
SCRUB EUPHONIA (Euphonia affinis) – The default euphonia in the dry northwest, and we had some good sightings along the Cerro Lodge road.
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla) – A few birds in the La Selva region and seen again around Carara.
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea) – Seen on both slopes, with the best views coming at the feeders at our Monteverde hotel, where half a dozen or more males gathered each morning to feast on fruit.
ELEGANT EUPHONIA (Euphonia elegantissima) – Pretty good scope views of several in the mistletoe-laden tree in the gardens of Tolomuco Lodge, then seen again around our Monteverde hotel, though most our views were of females (which are still nice, but not as stunning as the males).
SPOT-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia imitans) – Deb G. spotted our lone one, a female (which is the more distinctive sex in this species) at Carara.
OLIVE-BACKED EUPHONIA (Euphonia gouldi) – Daily records around La Selva, where they were commonly in the fruiting fig trees around the lab compound.
TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia anneae) – Pretty common and seen daily in the middle elevation forests at Braulio, Rancho, and Tapanti.
GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys) – As usual, we saw more females than males, but most folks did eventually lay eyes on those gorgeous creatures at either Tapanti or Monteverde.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – A pair in a weedy field at Ujarras were a bit of a surprise, and not a species we usually get on this tour route. Costa Rican birds are of the black-backed variety.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus) – Just a few sightings in the Savegre valley, where they seemed sparse this year. Janie also had one at Tolomuco, and got the photographic evidence to back it up!
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – A few sightings around Puerto Viejo, though a few folks steadfastly refused to look at them! [I]

LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – A few were roosting on the main building at La Quinta, and others were on one of the cabins at Villa Lapas.
LESSER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx leptura) – Rodolfo showed us one on a tree off the suspension bridge at La Selva, and others were at Villa Lapas.
JAMAICAN FRUIT-EATING BAT (Artibeus jamaicensis) – A mist net at La Selva was full of these bats.
NORTHERN GHOST BAT (Diclidurus albus) – One of these gorgeous all-white bats was roosting under a banana leaf at Carara.
COMMON TENT-MAKING BAT (Uroderma bilobatum) – A long used roost at Villa Lapas had a few of these cute, stripe-faced bats.
MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – A few were seen at La Selva, and we heard them regularly at Carara
WHITE-THROATED CAPUCHIN (Cebus capucinus) – A troop of these monkeys moved close to the trail at Carara, at the same time as we ran into that huge group of noisy school kids. We also saw another troop at the Finca Ecologica.
CENTRAL AMERICAN SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles geoffroyi) – Ernesto's group found a pack of 8 of these gangly monkeys at Carara. When my group caught up, only two wee still visible, but we all had great views of them.
BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – Nice looks at one hanging in a roadside Cecropia tree as we drove from La Selva to Braulio Carrillo.
NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus) – We bumped into a couple during our night walk at La Selva.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides) – The common and widespread large squirrel.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – The common smaller squirrel which we saw at a number of sites.
ALFARO'S PYGMY SQUIRREL (Microsciurus alfari) – Almost immediately after I mentioned it had been a long time since I'd seen one of these tiny squirrels, we spotted one near the hummer feeders at La Paz. Within a few minutes we also found two more! I should have said the same about Lanceolated Monklet!
MEXICAN HAIRY PORCUPINE (Coendou mexicanus) – Great close views of one next to the suspension bridge during our La Selva night walk.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – Unusually just one at La Selva, but we also saw several at Carara and Monteverde.
GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) – Henry got photos of one one evening at our hotel in Monteverde.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – Single males were seen near Virgen del Socorro and at Tapanti, where we had to be vigilant during our picnic lunch, and Carara then had a pretty big troop near the bellbird spot at the Finca Ecologica.
JAGUARUNDI (Puma yagouaroundi) – I picked a bad time to take off my glasses to put sun screen on my face, as I was one of the only ones to miss seeing a rufous colored Jaguarundi run across in front of the bus in the Savegre valley. That's the second Jaguarundi I've missed on Costa Rica tours this year!
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – The usual bunch of nonplussed animals at La Selva.
GROUND ANOLE (Anolis humilis) – Seen at La Selva.
SLENDER ANOLE (Anolis limifrons) – Rancho Naturalista.
GREEN TREE ANOLE (Norops biporcatus) – The large green anole we saw during the La Selva night walk.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – Pretty common at La Selva, with a few along the Pacific coast as well.
BLACK SPINY-TAILED IGUANA (Ctenosaura similis) – Common in the Carara region.
COMMON BASILISK (Basiliscus basiliscus) – A few along the rivers in the Carara region.
GREEN BASILISK (Basiliscus plumifrons) – Some folks saw this impressive lizard during an afternoon break at La Quinta.
STRIPED BASILISK (Basiliscus vittatus) – Also seen by a couple of folks along the river at La Quinta.
TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia) – Common in the restaurant in the lowlands.
YELLOW-HEADED GECKO (Gonatodes albigularis) – I killed one (by accident, with my overhead fan) at La Quinta.
CENTRAL AMERICAN WHIPTAIL (Ameiva festiva) – Just a few along the trails at Carara.
GREEN SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus malachiticus) – A nice male was dead on the road at Monteverde, and my group had a small female or juvenile at the Finca Ecologica.
GREEN PARROT SNAKE (Leptophis ahaetulla) – A nice long one in the bathroom along the trail at Carara.
NORTHERN CAT-EYED SNAKE (Leptodeira septentrionalis) – This was the small snake seen on the La Selva night walk.
EYELASH VIPER (Bothriechis schlegelii) – Ernesto found a tiny gray one on a melastome leaf along the trail at Braulio.
AMERICAN CROCODILE (Crocodylus acutus) – Some biggies along the Rio Tarcoles.
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus) – Seen by some in the pond at La Quinta.
CANE TOAD (Bufo marinus) – Fairly common in the lowlands.
WET FOREST TOAD (Incilius melanochlorus) – The toad some folks saw in the forest at Rancho.
SMOOTH-SKINNED TOAD (Bufo haematicus) – Heard at the crake spot at Platanillo. [*]
STRAWBERRY POISON DART FROG (Dendrobates pumilio) – Quite a few were found at La Selva; the wet weather sure helped.
COMMON TINK FROG (Eleutherodactylus diastema) – Heard at night at La Quinta. [*]
PYGMY RAIN FROG (Eleutherodactylus ridens) – One of these tiny frogs was singing from a shrub just outside the lodge at Rancho one night.
RED-EYED LEAF FROG (Agalychnis callidryas) – We found one of these stunning frogs perched above the trail during our La Selva night walk.
MASKED TREE FROG (Smilisca phaeota) – Also found on the La Selva night walk.
PICADO'S TREE FROG (Isthmohyla picadoi) – Heard in the Savegre valley. [*]
BLACK RIVER TURTLE (Rhinoclemmys funereal) – One along the river at La Selva.


Totals for the tour: 495 bird taxa and 19 mammal taxa