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Field Guides Tour Report
Costa Rica: Birding the Edges Part II, the Far North 2014
Jan 18, 2014 to Jan 27, 2014
Jay VanderGaast

Arenal Volcano, one of the key landscape features on our itinerary. It's no longer active, but it makes a great backdrop for some of our birding! (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

I'm pleased to say that this second half of the two-part "Costa Rica: Birding the Edges" tour went just as smoothly on its inaugural run as did the first part. Once again, we had an awesome group, some great weather (save for that first morning up on Volcan Poas), and some incredible bird sightings, some expected, some unexpected, all adding up to an enjoyable week-plus in this wonderful country. It all worked so well that I'm already looking forward to next year's run!

We kicked things off with a bang, spotting a stunning male Resplendent Quetzal from the bus (thanks to our superb driver, Vernon) on our way up to Volcan Poas. And while the rain hindered us a bit at the top, it didn't stop us from adding some great highland birds such as Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Flame-throated Warbler (appropriate birds for a volcano, no?), and Yellow-thighed Finch, plus a couple of very cooperative Wrenthrushes that showed off to everyone's delight. Continuing on to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, we added a bunch more hummers (we finished the day with 16 species!) plus charismatic Prong-billed Barbets and an incredible look at a Sooty-faced Finch. We ended the day with a late afternoon near the hotel, picking up singles of both the ground-sparrows (White-eared and Prevost's) before dark.

Next day it was up for a brief but enjoyable stay at Bosque de Paz, where the highlights varied from a pair of Great Black-Hawks soaring over the valley, to the numerous Black Guans on the feeders, to the shy Scaled Antpitta on the trail. An army ant swarm with attendant Ruddy-capped and Slaty-backed nightingale-thrushes and a pair of scarce Black-banded Woodcreepers, plus a slew of skulking Furnariids -- Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Streak-breasted Treehunter -- not to mention the Pacas at the feeders after dark, all contributed to our enjoyment of this lovely site.

Up next, it was north to the Nicaraguan frontier and the vast wetlands of the Cano Negro region. Our first stop was at the recently discovered (by birders anyway) Medio Queso wetland, where, despite arriving in the heat of the day, we quickly spotted a couple of cryptic Pinnated Bitterns, and had excellent studies of Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, with some fat-billed Nicaraguan Seed-Finches not far away. The following day saw us enjoying two boat trips on the Rio Frio, where the water levels were quite high and the birds abundant. The morning trip gave us great looks at the very local Nicaraguan Grackle, a massive Jabiru in among a throng of egrets and wood storks, and a super view of an elusive Yellow-breasted Crake in a floating mat of aquatic vegetation, among roughly 100 other species. The afternoon trip was a bit quieter, but it did produce an incredible point blank encounter with a Sungrebe, a fly-over Snail Kite, and views of all 6 New World kingfisher species! Local specialty Gray-headed Doves and Spot-breasted Wrens played fairly nice, and a night drive netted us a lovely Striped Owl and a distant Great Potoo.

The bird-rich foothills of the Arenal Volcano region served as the grand finale, but before we got there we enjoyed one of the big surprises of the trip, a fruiting tree with no fewer than 11 Snowy Cotingas present, by far the largest group I'd ever seen! The birding at Arenal itself was awesome, with too many highlights to recount them all here, but a few that stood out were the distant but brilliant Lovely Cotinga, the very local Keel-billed Motmot, the gorgeous Black-and-white Owl calling loudly from above the road, stellar looks at Spotted, Dull-mantled, and Bare-crowned antbirds, and the easiest Thicket Antpitta I've ever met up with! A plethora of wrens -- Band-backed, Bay, Black-throated, Stripe-breasted, Nightingale, Song, etc -- and a fruiting tree full of the usually scarce Rufous-winged Tanager also deserve a special mention here. With all the great birds, the fact that the volcano is no longer active didn't seem to matter much (it is still a spectacular sight in any case!).

Thanks to all of you for making this first run of this tour such a joy to lead. I had a great time on this trip, and I'm pleased that you all seemed to really enjoy it as well. Thanks to to our indispensable driver, Vernon, who not only got us through the trip safely and efficiently, but spotted a number of great birds for us, too! I hope you all have a great spring (it's coming soon, really!), and I look forward to seeing you all on another trip sometime in the near future. Good birding!

-- Jay

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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A flock of about 70 at Medio Queso, and many more in the Monicos Lagoon at Cano Negro.
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – Scarce, just single flyover birds on two consecutive days at CN.

Prong-billed Barbet: the voices of pairs duetting are a characteristic sound of Costa Rica's highlands. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – One among the whistling-ducks at Medio Queso, and about 10-20 in the Monicos Lagoon. [b]
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – Small numbers were seen primarily on the drives at several different spots, including a couple of birds in the superb fruiting tree near the Hanging Bridges.
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – Great looks at 2 or 3 in the fruiting tree en route to the Hanging Bridges, where they dwarfed their chachalaca cousins.
BLACK GUAN (Chamaepetes unicolor) – Up to half a dozen of these attractive Chiriqui specialties were regulars at the BP feeders.
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra) – Several in the Arenal region, including a gorgeous pair at the feeders right below the viewing deck, and a lone male on the trail at the Hanging Bridges.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – This massive bird is very hit and miss at CN, as it is quite scarce in the region. But luck was with us, and we picked out one among a huge feeding frenzy of egrets, ibis, and Wood Storks in the Monicos Lagoon. The bird's plumage was quite dirty, looking very rusty as opposed to their usual white. This was Mike E.'s pick for bird of the trip.
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – About 30 at Medio Queso, with many more during our boat rides on the Rio Frio.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Surprisingly few along the Rio Frio.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – This seemed to be one of the most numerous species along the Rio Frio, with dozens seen on each boat trip.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PINNATED BITTERN (Botaurus pinnatus) – This difficult to find species was seen from the bus immediately as we pulled up to the marsh at Medio Queso, and gave fantastic views before it vanished into the reeds. A couple of folks also spotted a second one down the road.
FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum) – Mike W. spotted a juvenile so close to the road that it was hidden by the road edge for most of us, at a stream crossing near our Arenal lodge. On subsequent crossings we saw an adult at this same site.
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – One at Medio Queso, then a few more during our boat trips.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – Small numbers along the Rio Frio, and a single on the shores of Lake Arenal.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Pretty common throughout.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Quite a few in the Cano Negro region, including one impersonating a Cattle Egret by standing atop a cow's back at Medio Queso.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Mainly along the Rio Frio, with a few scattered sightings elsewhere through the trip.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – A single bird was present at the mouth of the Monicos Lagoon along the Rio Frio.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Lots throughout.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – Small numbers in the CN region.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – About 4 or 5 were seen during the Rio Frio boat trips.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – A handful of these strange herons were found roosting in dense vegetation along the Rio Frio.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – The most numerous ibis at Cano Negro.
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – A single bird (and maybe a second) was among the other ibises at the mouth of the Monicos Lagoon.
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – About 5 of these stumpy, shaggy-headed ibises were at the mouth of the Monicos Lagoon.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Just a couple at Medio Queso, and a handful in the lagoon at Cano Negro.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Abundant.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Abundant.
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – Great looks at a couple, including a perched bird, at Medio Queso, and a single during the morning boat ride on the Rio Frio. This is a very local species in the country, and this is perhaps the best place to see them in CR.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – A lone bird flying over at Cano Negro.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – A couple of these lovely kites were seen en route to Cano Negro.
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis) – A single adult flew along up river as we were heading downstream on our afternoon boat ride.

Black Guan, photographed by guide Jay VanderGaast

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus) – One bird flew over the road in the Arenal region. [b]
GREAT BLACK-HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – Tommy spotted a pair of these magnificent large hawks soaring over in the early morning at BP.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Small numbers in the Cano Negro region.
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – Elizabeth and Tommy saw a hawk that fit this species shortly after we left La Fortuna for the return to the city, then a few minutes later we all had nice views of another one flying over the fields.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – Vernon spotted a perched bird on our way out from BP, but a much closer bird along the side road at Arenal showed extremely well, though it did chase off the Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher we were trying to see when it came in for a landing. This was Sandy's pick as bird of the trip.
SEMIPLUMBEOUS HAWK (Leucopternis semiplumbeus) – Suellen found a perched raptor a long way away at the overlook below our lodge at Arenal. I got the scope on it just in time to see it fly off, and to identify it as this species. In other words, this was a BVD.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Seen in small numbers almost daily. [b]
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – One landed in a treetop overhead as we watched the feeding frenzy in the fruit tree near the Hanging Bridges, but most of us only saw it as it took off again.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – A single light morph bird circling overhead above the Hanging Bridges fruiting tree, at about the same time as the preceding species.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – A lone bird glided over us as we birded the road above BP. Though we didn't see it well enough to be certain, this was likely a bird of the resident subspecies.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) – A somewhat responsive bird was seen by a couple of folks at Medio Queso. A couple of days later we had much better luck with a couple of birds at a roadside marsh near Cano Negro. These two showed well several times, and gave the whole group nice views, though they always did keep close to cover.
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – Fairly common along the Rio Frio, and seen regularly on the boat trips. The most memorable one was the one that hunkered down in a small boat along the shoreline, peeking over the edge at us as we drifted by.
YELLOW-BREASTED CRAKE (Porzana flaviventer) – A star bird of the morning boat trip on the Rio Frio. Vernon first spotted this bird when it flushed and flew a few feet before plunking back down and disappearing as we approached a mass of floating vegetation in the Monicos Lagoon. The bird flushed a couple more times without most of seeing it before it finally landed in a small patch of vegetation only a couple of feet across. Then we sat back and watched, and before long, the bird poked out its head, had a good look around, and finally flew off to a larger mass of plants, giving us all a great look. This was one of two lifers for me on the trip, and was my favorite bird of the tour.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – A few around the Cano Negro region wetlands.
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica) – After missing it on the morning boat trip, our boatman took us way downriver to a reliable site for this bird, and we nailed it! As we approached the time to turn around and head back, I spotted a male making for the overhanging vegetation ahead, and our boatman maneuvered us into position next to the bird as it floated unconcernedly a few feet away. Amazing views of this big target, which was the favorite for both Suellen and Ian.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – Three on the Rio Frio on the boat trips and one in front of the hotel the next morning.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A small flock of these was at the mouth of the Monicos Lagoon.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Two of these recent additions to CR's avifauna were at the lagoon mouth.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa) – Fair numbers in the wetland areas, including some very young chicks.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – A few along the Rio Frio, and one near Arenal. [b]
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – A single bird at the lagoon mouth. [b]
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – A small flock among the other shorebirds at the lagoon mouth. [b]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Pretty numerous along the Rio Frio, especially during the afternoon boat trip.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – Nice scope views of these attractive pigeons on on our final morning's walk at Cano Negro.
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – Especially common in the hillier regions, such as at Arenal.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – A couple of big flocks (roughly 50 birds) were seen distantly at Arenal.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – Common in the Central Valley region.
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – Small numbers in the Central Valley.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – The most numerous small dove on the tour, especially so in the Cano Negro region.

Purple-throated Mountaingem was but one of 24 species of hummers recorded on the tour! (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – I think only Ian saw one of these fly past on our way in to Cano Negro.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – The most common of the three Leptotila doves, and quite tolerant of disturbed areas. We saw them regularly.
GRAY-HEADED DOVE (Leptotila plumbeiceps) – Pretty local and scarce in the country, with the Cano Negro region being among the best places to see them. We saw just one bird along the Rio Frio during our morning boat trip.
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassini) – Nice looks at a pair walking on the trail at the Hanging Bridges.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – Just a few of these were seen at several different sites.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Pretty common in scrubby habitat, especially in the Cano Negro region.
Strigidae (Owls)
PACIFIC SCREECH-OWL (Megascops cooperi) – Vernon hopped out of the boat to scratch on the trunk of a dead tree, and one of these owls popped its head out for a look. Cano Negro is one of the few Caribbean slope sites for this species.
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – The final bird of the tour, this one performed quickly and beautifully on our final night in country.
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) – Ian, Mike E., and I heard the calls of a young bird at Arenal. Calling adults had also been hear below the lodge that morning. [*]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – Nice looks at a calling bird just before the Tropical Screech-Owl showed up on the hotel grounds our last night.
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) – We heard this one distantly during our Cano Negro night drive. [*]
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – Superb views of this gorgeous owl as it called from a perch over the road, just below our hotel at Arenal.
STRIPED OWL (Pseudoscops clamator) – These beautiful owls are always a treat to see. We had one in the rice fields near Rio Frio on our night drive.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – Marianne spotted the only one we saw at the end of our afternoon boat trip.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Heard and/or seen almost nightly, with best views right around the town of Rio Frio where they were quite common.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) – The bird was a bit far away but with the scope you could just make out its shape, and of course those two huge glowing orbs that are its eyes.
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – Heard distantly at Cano Negro. [*]
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – The most commonly seen swift, and easily identifiable by its huge size and distinctive shape, even when the white collar wasn't visible.
VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi) – The only small swift we were able to positively identify, though there may have been other species seen, too. We had these around San Jose and at Arenal.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – We had one male which hovered briefly in front of us in the gardens at Arenal.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – Seen first at the feeders at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, then pretty much daily other than at Cano Negro.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – Singles of this quick little bird were seen several times, but the best views were of the bird that periodically visited the flowers below the viewing deck at Arenal.
GREEN VIOLETEAR (Colibri thalassinus) – This is a common highland hummer, so it was a surprise to see only one at some feeders en route to Poas Volcano.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – A single at La Paz, and a perched bird below the lodge at Arenal. We showed this bird to a photographer from Hong Kong, who was very appreciative, as he got a gorgeous shot when a second bird came in and hovered in front of the first.
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii) – Our only one was a male perched in a roadside tree on our way in to Cano Negro.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – Two males of these tiny birds were at the feeders at La Paz.
BLACK-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis helenae) – Two distant females were seen, one at a yellow flowering tree near the old station at Rio Frio, the other at another flowering tree along the Upala road on our way to Arenal.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula) – Among the most common hummers at the feeders at La Paz and Bosque.

Another hummingbird prize was the diminutive Coppery-headed Emerald. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – Common on Poas with a few at the Bosque feeders.
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis) – One of the most numerous hummingbirds on Poas.
WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis hemileucus) – Quite a local species in the country. We had one of each sex visit the feeders at La Paz.
PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis calolaemus) – Quite numerous at the feeders at La Paz and Bosque.
MAGENTA-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox bryantae) – This gorgeous little creature is never numerous anywhere. We had a single male make several visits to the La Paz feeders, and another that showed up at the Bosque feeders.
VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula) – Generally numerous at high elevations, but we just saw a couple up on Pas, perhaps because it was so cold and wet.
SCINTILLANT HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus scintilla) – A single male fed regularly on the flowers just outside the restaurant at Bosque. The high-pitched wing buzz is always a good sign that this bird is around.
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti) – Regular around the verbena flowers at Arenal.
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – A single bird seen from the viewing deck at Arenal on our first afternoon there.
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – This huge purple hummer was fairly common at the feeders at La Paz and Bosque.
BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia) – A male was seen well at the maintenance compound above the hotel at Arenal. I still prefer the old name, Red-footed Plumeleteer.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – Singles inside the forest on a couple of days at Arenal.
BLACK-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa nigriventris) – This snazzy little specialty was seen commonly at the La Paz feeders, where several gorgeous males were regulars, and a female dropped in at the Bosque feeders a couple of times.
COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD (Elvira cupreiceps) – Only at the feeders at La Paz, where this endemic is pretty common. [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – The most numerous hummingbird at lower elevations, and we only missed this bird on one day.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno) – Great spotting by Vernon to pick out a perched male in a fruiting tree next to the road on the way up to Poas. Luckily he also stayed put long enough for us all to get a great look!
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – Females were seen on two days in the Arenal region.
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus) – A couple of good-looking males were found around Cano Negro, the only Caribbean slope location for this species in CR.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – Seen daily around Arenal.
BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) – A female at the Hanging Bridges was our only one.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – A male in front of the lodge at Bosque de Paz was a bit of a surprise as I was expecting the very similar Orange-bellied Trogon here.
Momotidae (Motmots)
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – Great looks at a couple of these large motmots at the Hanging Bridges.
KEEL-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron carinatum) – A rarity in the country, and the Arenal region is one of the few places to find this species. We had good looks at one in company of a pair of Broad-billed Motmots near the lake.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) – Fairly common in the Arenal region.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – A few of these mega-kingfishers were seen along the Rio Frio.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – A lone bird near the end of our afternoon on the Rio Frio made it a sweep of the New World kingfishers for that boat trip! [b]
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – Easily the most numerous kingfisher along the Rio Frio.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – A few along the Rio Frio and one at Arenal.
GREEN-AND-RUFOUS KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle inda) – The toughest of the kingfishers to find in CR, but our boatman knew where to look and we got super views of a pair.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – We saw at least 4 of these cute little guys along the Rio Frio, then another next to the road on our way to Arenal.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – Good scope views of one along the road from Cano Negro to Arenal.

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, photographed by guide Jay VanderGaast

WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus) – It was a nice surprise to find a pair of these birds along the roadside at Arenal.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Nice views of a couple of birds at the cotinga viewpoint at Arenal.
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
PRONG-BILLED BARBET (Semnornis frantzii) – We spotted a trio of these birds during lunch at La Paz, feeding on the ornamental bananas right below where we sat. Later they were up and singing their great song, a performance that prompted Elizabeth to choose them as her favorite on the tour.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – An awesome fruiting fig tree on our way to Arenal gave us our only ones, along with several Keel-billed Toucans and Snowy Cotingas!
BLACK-MANDIBLED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – A few seen daily around Arenal.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – Our only ones were in the same fig tree as the aracaris, but there were a bunch of them and they gave great looks.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – Good views of our lone bird behind the old station at Cano Negro
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani) – Fairly common in the Arenal region.
HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii) – The most commonly seen woodpecker on the tour, though they don't seem to be very common around the Arenal area.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) – Good views of a pair from the mirador below the hotel at Arenal.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – Singles on Poas and at Bosque.
RUFOUS-WINGED WOODPECKER (Piculus simplex) – We had just one, along the road between Cano Negro and Arenal.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – One bird was seen on our final day around Arenal.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – A pretty common and widespread species, and we saw singles on several days.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BARRED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur ruficollis) – Heard at Arenal. [*]
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) – A distant bird calling in the forest at Bosque. [*]
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Pretty common up at Cano Negro.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – Singles on our way to Cano Negro and along the "evacuation route" road at Arenal.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – A couple of birds along the roadside between Los Chiles and Cano Negro. [b]
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – Sandy got to see one perched near the restaurant at Bosque, appropriately feasting on a bat. The rest of us caught up with a roadside bird the next day en route to Cano Negro.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET (Aratinga finschi) – Flocks of these noisy parakeets were a fairly common sight around San Jose and in the Cano Negro region.
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (Aratinga nana) – Small numbers around Cano Negro, including some great views of several feeding on some tall seeding grass stalks near the road on our way to Arenal.
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – Common and seen daily at Cano Negro and Arenal.
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – An often difficult bird to see well, as they tend to rocket overhead at supersonic speed, but we got some good scope views of a couple from the viewing deck at Arenal.
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – Generally the most numerous small parrot, and that was certainly the case around Arenal, where we saw them daily.
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – These large parrots were a fairly common sight through most of this tour.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus) – Super looks at a calling male at the casona viewpoint at Arenal.
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – Seen several times around Arenal, though many of them were elusive and seen by just one or two of us before they vanished. Still, I think everyone ended up with a good look.

Appearing almost like a plastic toy, an Eyelash Viper gets everyone's attention! (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – A pair near the old station at Cano Negro, and a couple more on the road around Lake Arenal.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus) – Seen a couple of times with mixed canopy flocks around Arenal.
STREAK-CROWNED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus striaticeps) – Heard in the forest at Arenal. [*]
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) – Heard several times at Arenal, but we never laid eyes on one. [*]
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – Heard or seen most days apart from at Cano Negro.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra tyrannina) – A pair were regular early morning visitors to the streetlight below the lodge at Arenal.
BARE-CROWNED ANTBIRD (Gymnocichla nudiceps) – Super looks at a male at our last opportunity as we were on our way back to the city from Arenal.
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza laemosticta) – Great response from a pair near Arenal. We even got to see the normally concealed white triangle of feathers on the back, which these birds expose when they're excited.
ZELEDON'S ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza zeledoni) – Heard distantly at Bosque. This is the former Immaculate Antbird, which was recently split into 2 species. [*]
BICOLORED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys leucaspis bicolor) – We never found the army ant swarm, but we did get good views of one of these along the trails at Arenal.
SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides) – Gorgeous views of this little beauty several times at Arenal, where they were feeding regularly along the Waterfall Trail.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis) – A bird on the trail at Bosque in the late afternoon was pretty furtive, and only a few folks got reasonable looks at it.
THICKET ANTPITTA (Hylopezus dives) – This was hands down the easiest Thicket Antpitta I've ever seen! I hadn't even wanted to stop as I was afraid we'd waste a lot of valuable time trying in vain to see this usually elusive species. So I couldn't believe it when I looked into the dense tangle of vegetation to see it sitting right out in the open singing! Marianne got some great video footage, maybe part of the reason she chose it as her favorite bird.
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus argentifrons) – Heard at Poas and Bosque, but unresponsive. [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
TAWNY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus mexicanus) – Good response from two separate birds at Bosque, but neither settled down where we could all see it. Still, some folks managed, including Mike W., who picked this as the trip's top bird.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – One sighting of a single bird at Arenal.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – Heard regularly at Arenal, and we also saw a couple one day there.
NORTHERN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) – Pretty good looks at this big woodcreeper a couple of times in the Arenal region.
BLACK-BANDED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes picumnus) – This scarce and local species is a toughie to find in the country but Bosque is one of the best places for them, and we nailed them there, getting great looks at a couple near the army ant swarm we found.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – Though quite common and widespread, we only saw this woodcreeper once in the Cano Negro region.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius) – Common in montane forest; we saw this rather unspotted species (what a terrible name for this one!) several times.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – Several sightings of this widespread species around Cano Negro.
SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis) – The highland replacement of the previous species. Seen a few times at Bosque.

A Laughing Falcon keeps a sharp eye out for snakes and other potential meals. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – One sighting on our final day at Arenal, though we heard it a few times, too.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) – Great looks at a very responsive bird in some roadside forest on our way to Bosque.
BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (HYPOPHAEUS) (Automolus ochrolaemus hypophaeus) – Pretty decent views of this skulker during our afternoon visit to the Hanging Bridges. Note that this is the Caribbean slope subspecies, which has a very different voice from the subspecies found on the SW Pacific slope (the one seen on Part I).
STREAK-BREASTED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes rufobrunneus) – Another skulking Furnariid that can be tough to see, but we managed some good views a couple of times at Bosque. This was Tommy's pick for bird of the trip.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – Regular with mixed flocks at both La Paz and Bosque.
RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus) – Seen pretty well with a mixed flock on Poas.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops) – A few birds were seen well at Bosque.
SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura) – Good views of a pair in the dry scrub behind the old station at Cano Negro, then another bird at the casona viewpoint at Arenal.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Ornithion brunneicapillus) – Pretty high up and badly backlit, but we did see and hear a couple of these short-tailed tyrannulets near Lake Arenal.
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – At least three of these were seen at Cano Negro, including nice views of one during the boat trip.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – Nice looks at a lively pair behind the old station at Cano Negro. Also seen along the entrance road to Arenal.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Usually pretty numerous and visible but we had just a couple of sightings around Cano Negro.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – A commonly heard voice in the highlands, and we saw them regularly on the first three days of the trip.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea) – A pair of these cute little guys was right outside the restaurant at Bosque.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – A couple of birds were regular visitors to a fruiting tree just next to the restaurant at Bosque.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – A few with mixed flocks at Arenal.
PALTRY TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus) – Just a few sightings of this widespread little mistletoe specialist, but maybe we were just overlooking them after the first several.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – Heard more often than seen, but we did have a couple of sightings at these feisty little birds at Arenal.
SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia) – Tricky to see sometimes, but most folks managed reasonable looks at a pair at Cano Negro.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – They're common all right! We saw them daily at Cano Negro (where there were loads calling along the river) and Arenal.
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – This tiny bird generally stays high in the canopy, though it does favor a certain variety of tree which helps make tracking them down a little easier. We had nice views of them a couple of times at Arenal.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) – Heard at Cano Negro. [*]
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus) – Heard at Bosque. [*]
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus) – Singles were seen on several days at Arenal.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – We found a couple of them feeding fairly low in a forest clearing at Bosque.
DARK PEWEE (Contopus lugubris) – Sandy and Vernon saw one while the rest of us were in the Serpentarium at La Paz, but we all caught up with a couple along the road near Bosque the next day.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – Several at Cano Negro, with a few around Arenal as well. Distinguished from the migrant wood-pewees by voice as well as this bird's much shorter primary projection.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) – The most numerous migrant Empid in the country, seen regularly around Arenal. [b]

Sooty-faced Finch is a regional endemic in Costa Rica and western Panama. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens) – A common bird of mid-elevation forests. Seen well at Bosque.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – Regular along the river in front of the lodge at Bosque.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – It's always nice to see these snazzy little flycatchers, which we recorded several times around the Arenal region.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – Heard around Cano Negro and Arenal. [*]
RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra) – Marianne spotted a couple of these birds with a roadside flock near Lake Arenal.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – It was especially nice to see this common species at about the same time as the migrant Great Crested Flycatcher at Cano Negro, giving us a nice comparison between the two.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – One bird behind the old station at Cano Negro. [b]
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common and conspicuous throughout.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Just a few sightings of this kiskadee lookalike, with best views coming along the Arenal lakeshore road.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis) – Numerous throughout.
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis) – Never seems as numerous as the Social Flycatcher, but still quite common and seen pretty regularly at Arenal.
WHITE-RINGED FLYCATCHER (Conopias albovittatus) – The longer bill, blacker face, and complete white ring around the head separate this Caribbean lowland species from the similar looking Social Fly. We had good looks at a pair with a mixed canopy flock at Arenal.
GOLDEN-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes hemichrysus) – Heard only at Bosque. [*]
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Abundant throughout.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
LOVELY COTINGA (Cotinga amabilis) – We'd spent more than an hour scanning the canopy from the casona viewpoint at Arenal without success, when Vernon walked up and immediately said "I've got it!" and then managed to get us all onto a distant, but identifiable perched male!
SNOWY COTINGA (Carpodectes nitidus) – A stop to look at toucans in a fruiting tree en route from Cano Negro to Arenal really paid off when we spotted some of these beauties feeding in the same tree! We counted a minimum of 5 males and 6 females, by far the biggest number I'd ever encountered! To top things off, we found another male teed up in a dead tree further down the road.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – Great looks at a male during our morning boat trip on the Rio Frio.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – Our only tityras on the trip were during our early morning walk before leaving Cano Negro, when we saw both species together.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – Good views of the "pajaro chancho" or "pig bird" with the previous species at Cano Negro.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor) – Pretty good views of a calling male along the forest trails at Bosque.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – Several sightings of this pretty becard at Arenal.

A group of at least 11 Snowy Cotingas was the largest Jay had ever seen! This male posed for a digiscope shot. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – Super views of a close male on our early morning walk at Cano Negro.
Vireonidae (Vireos)
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – Heard somewhere between Cano Negro and Arenal. [b*]
YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli) – Pretty good views of this highland vireo both on Poas and at Bosque.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – Seen a couple of times with mixed flocks at Bosque.
TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Hylophilus ochraceiceps) – Heard only at Arenal. [*]
LESSER GREENLET (Hylophilus decurtatus) – Common in a variety of lower elevation forest types and we saw or heard them daily after leaving Bosque.
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) – Heard at Bosque. [*]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY (Calocitta formosa) – Mainly a Pacific slope bird, but a small population has established itself in the Arenal region, where they have gotten pretty cheeky, looking for handouts from the tourists. We had very close encounters, and a good photo session, with a trio on our way to the lodge.
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio) – Pretty common throughout.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – Numerous in the highlands.
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – Great comparisons of the two rough-wings at Arenal, where we had them side by side. This species is generally less common than Southern.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – Common in the Arenal region.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Seen mainly around lowlands towns, often perched on roadside wires.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – Common along the Rio Frio.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Just a few birds around Cano Negro. [a]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
NIGHTINGALE WREN (Microcerculus philomela) – Amazingly, we had scope views of this elusive forest floor bird at Arenal. It's really not much to look at though; its quirky song is its most endearing feature.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Pretty common throughout.
OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus) – Seen a few times with mixed flocks in the highland areas.
BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus) – A very noisy pair made recording the Great Antshrike difficult below the lodge at Arenal.
RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) – A pair has taken up residence in the gardens at the Bougainvillea where we saw them before leaving for the north.
SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus) – A specialty of the Cano Negro region, where they are quite common and we saw them very well.
BLACK-THROATED WREN (Pheugopedius atrogularis) – A real skulker, but we lured one in for some excellent looks near Lake Arenal.
STRIPE-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus thoracicus) – One of these little beauties was seen feeding at the light below the lodge at Arenal, and others were seen along the forest trails there.
PLAIN WREN (Cantorchilus modestus) – Good looks at a pair of these wrens that we called out near Lake Arenal.
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – They may have been vocal, but they weren't very responsive, and I think only a few of us got decent looks at them in the Arenal region.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – Heard regularly at Arenal, and seen fairly well at the light below the lodge.

White-throated Magpie-Jay's range just extends into NW Costa Rica -- and to the Arenal area, where the birds have discovered there really is a free lunch...from tourists! (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – Vocal in the highlands, and seen by some at Bosque.
SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus) – These great wrens with their wonderful songs proved to be pretty common around Arenal, and we had several excellent views of them, as well as some nice vocal performances.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TAWNY-FACED GNATWREN (Microbates cinereiventris) – Pretty elusive, as always, but we managed some good views of a bird that I recorded at the Hanging Bridges.
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – A single bird was well seen at the casona viewpoint.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) – Regularly seen at Cano Negro and Arenal.
Cinclidae (Dippers)
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus) – Nice views of one right out front of the lodge at Bosque.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes melanops) – Pretty decent views of this incredible songster in the canopy at Bosque.
BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus gracilirostris) – One seen on our cool and blustery morning at Poas Volcano.
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus fuscater) – A couple of birds gave us great views at the army ant swarm we found at Bosque.
RUDDY-CAPPED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus frantzii) – At the same ant swarm as the preceding species, with similarly good views.
BLACK-HEADED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus mexicanus) – Especially common at the Hanging Bridges, where we saw about a half dozen of these lovely thrushes on the trails.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – A few of these migrants were seen in forest in the Arenal region. [b]
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens) – Just a couple of these highland specialties high up on Poas.
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus) – Fairly common around Poas and Bosque.
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Numerous pretty much everywhere.
WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis) – Mike W. and Ian saw one feeding among the many other birds in the fantastic fruiting tree en route to the Hanging Bridges.
Ptilogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Phainoptila melanoxantha) – Good looks at this unique bird, which is very unlike the other three silky-flycatchers, at both Poas and Bosque.
LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptilogonys caudatus) – When we missed them on Poas, I thought we were done with them, so it was great to find them around Bosque, where we had some excellent views of these gorgeous creatures.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – One was seen with several other birds, including our only Kentucky Warbler, along the Waterfall Trail at Arenal. [b]
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – Birds in cages don't usually count, but I think the one that flew into the Puma enclosure at La Paz is definitely countable! It sure gave us a good look, and seemed to be completely unbothered by us standing a few feet away. Perhaps the reflection in the glass kept it from seeing us. [b]
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – A common migrant, seen or heard almost daily. [b]
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) – Seen most days of the tour, though generally in ones or twos only. [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Quite a common migrant, and only missed our first day on Poas and our last day at Arenal. [b]
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – It was nice to get such good looks at several of these stunning warblers along the Rio Frio. [b]
FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis) – Connie spotted our first of these brilliant warblers with a small flock on Poas. We saw several more over the next couple of days in the highlands.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – One of the most numerous migrant warblers, usually, though we saw relatively few at Cano Negro and Arenal. [b]
GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala) – A couple of sightings in the pastures adjacent to the forests at Arenal.
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – Fairly common, but often inconspicuous. We saw our only one at the old station at Cano Negro. [b]

A little relaxing birding and a cool breeze on our boat ride on the Rio Frio. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) – Another inconspicuous migrant, this one gave us a hard time at Arenal, though I think everyone eventually got a good look. [b]
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava) – Good close views of a responsive bird during our final morning's walk at Cano Negro.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – Seen only on one day at Cano Negro, but we had two different males and a female on that day. [b]
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – Pretty widespread in the country, and we heard or saw them on all but a couple of days.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – Pretty numerous along the Rio Frio, with a few also in the Arenal region. [b]
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – One of the most abundant and easily seen migrant warblers, but somehow we managed to miss this species one day. [b]
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – Fairly common in the highlands, and we saw a few in the Bosque area. [b]
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons) – A couple of these pretty warblers were found in the coffee plantations around the Bougainvillea.
BLACK-CHEEKED WARBLER (Basileuterus melanogenys) – Good close views of a couple of these highland warblers along the trail to the crater at Poas.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – Quite common inside the forest at both Bosque (where they overlap with the next species), and Arenal, including several that joined the morning feeding frenzy at the street light.
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus) – Numerous in the forest understory at Bosque, where we regularly encountered them with mixed flocks.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Numerous around Arenal, with some very confiding birds at the morning moth massacre at the street light. Connie chose these perky birds as her favorite of the trip.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – Another common migrant, though rare in lowlands, and missed only on our full day at Cano Negro. [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – A common bird of highland forests.
COLLARED REDSTART (Myioborus torquatus) – These adorable little "amigos" were seen wonderfully at Poas, then again at Bosque, where they overlap with the preceding species, which mainly occurs at lower elevations.
WRENTHRUSH (Zeledonia coronata) – The weather on Poas made the birding pretty challenging, and few species were responsive. This skulking warbler was an exception, and we had fantastic looks at a pair that came in close to check us out.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – Scarce this trip, and we saw just a few, mainly females, at Arenal.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – A lone bird was seen on our way from Cano Negro to Arenal.
WHITE-THROATED SHRIKE-TANAGER (Lanio leucothorax) – Superb views of a responsive male along the Waterfall Trail at Arenal.
CRIMSON-COLLARED TANAGER (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus) – They were a bit elusive, but we finally managed a good look at a couple at the big fruiting fog tree along the road to the Hanging Bridges.
PASSERINI'S TANAGER (Ramphocelus passerinii) – A very common bird at lower elevations, seen in big numbers at Cano Negro and Arenal.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Numerous throughout.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – A little less common than the preceding species, but only missed on a couple of days.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – Generally the most numerous of the Tangaras, especially so around Arenal where we saw good numbers daily.
SPANGLE-CHEEKED TANAGER (Tangara dowii) – Really scarce this trip, and we saw just a single bird along the roadside above Bosque.
RUFOUS-WINGED TANAGER (Tangara lavinia) – With more than 8 of these usually scarce tanagers in the fruiting fig near the Hanging Bridges, I think I doubled the total of all my previous sightings of this species in CR!
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Common in the Arenal region.
EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida) – A couple of birds in a fruiting fig next to the loading zone at Arenal were a nice find on our final morning.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – Very common in the higher elevation regions, a little less so at lower sites like Arenal.
SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta) – Reasonably good views a couple of times near Arenal, though I doubt anyone saw those scarlet thighs.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – Just a few birds around Cano Negro and Arenal.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – A couple of females on the feeders at Arenal were the only ones for the trip.
BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas) – Our only sighting was of a male in a mixed canopy flock near the maintenance area at Arenal, but it was an awesome look at this gorgeous bird!
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea) – A few bird high up on Poas.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Pretty common in weedy fields around Cano Negro.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina) – The most numerous and widespread seedeater in the country. The males of these Caribbean slope birds are all black, unlike the form we saw on Part I on the Pacific slope.
WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila torqueola) – Fair numbers around Cano Negro. Interesting was a female that methodically worked her way along a electric cable, searching for insects hiding in the grooves on the cable's underside.
NICARAGUAN SEED-FINCH (Oryzoborus nuttingi) – Boy do these things ever have massive beaks! We had several good looks at this northern specialty in weedy roadside fields in the Cano Negro region.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Oryzoborus funereus) – Compared to the preceding species, this one has a pretty puny bill. It's all relative though, and this bird's bill is quite stout in comparison to the similar Variable Seedeater. We saw just a single male alongside Nicaraguan Seed-Finches near Cano Negro.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Pretty common just about everywhere.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – Widespread, and seen at a number of locations, though not in the lowlands.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – First seen around the Bougainvillea, then again around Cano Negro, where it is quite common.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – Missing in the real high elevations, but seen pretty much everywhere else.
BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps) – A group of 5 or 6 of these big saltators were found along the roadside at Arenal as we were on our way out.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
YELLOW-THIGHED FINCH (Pselliophorus tibialis) – Unlike the scarlet thighs of the dacnis, the yellow thighs of this bird are hard to miss! We had excellent studies of them at Poas and Bosque.
LARGE-FOOTED FINCH (Pezopetes capitalis) – Heard only at Poas. [*]
SOOTY-FACED FINCH (Arremon crassirostris) – Super looks at this local species by the compost pile at La Paz.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – A common feeder bird at Bosque, which is probably the easiest place anywhere to see this normally skulking bird.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – Seen several times at Arenal.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris) – Mainly at Arenal, in scrubby secondary growth.
WHITE-EARED GROUND-SPARROW (Melozone leucotis) – The Bougainvillea area was the only spot on the trip for the two ground-sparrows, so we spent some time one afternoon trying to track them down. We managed just one of each, but that was all that we needed!
PREVOST'S GROUND-SPARROW (CABANIS'S) (Melozone biarcuata cabanisi) – This form is sometimes considered a good species on its own, which would make this another Costa Rican endemic. We had good views just before dark one evening.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – Numerous in the highlands.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus) – Bunches of these at La Paz and Bosque.
SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus) – Common at high elevation where they mostly replace the preceding species.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – Quite local in the country, with Arenal being one of the better places for them. We had good views of a pair that were sporadic visitors to the feeders.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – A common winter resident, seen most days. [b]
WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera) – Beautiful looks at a pair of these uncommon tanagers with a mixed flock on the road above Bosque.
RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda) – A noisy pair along the Arenal lakeshore road were the only ones.
CARMIOL'S TANAGER (Chlorothraupis carmioli) – About 15 to 20 of these noisy and gregarious tanagers were regular early morning visitors to the street light below the lodge at Arenal.
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea) – A couple of birds in a weedy field near Cano Negro.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – Numerous around Cano Negro, where they are resident. North American migrants don't make it this far south.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – A couple of birds near Medio Queso marsh. Like the Red-wings, these birds are resident here.
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives) – First recorded in CR in about 1988, but now just about everywhere. Still, the 30+ birds we saw near the Bougainvillea one afternoon is the biggest group of these I've ever seen!
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Abundant almost everywhere.
NICARAGUAN GRACKLE (Quiscalus nicaraguensis) – These birds were really just arriving in CR from Nicaragua, abd we saw only one, a male singing from atop a bush alongside the Rio Frio. But one was all we needed!
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – A lone bird perched near the viewing deck at Arenal.
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – Seen daily at Arenal.
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – Just a few birds in flowering trees along the Rio Frio. [b]
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – A common boreal migrant, seen daily at Cano Negro and Arenal. [b]
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) – We had several good sightings of these skulking caciques at Arenal and Cano Negro.
MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma) – An abundant bird of lower elevations on the Caribbean slope (also occurs on the Pacific slope). We only missed them on one day.
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla) – Heard at Cano Negro and Arenal. [*]
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea) – A few birds in the Arenal region.
OLIVE-BACKED EUPHONIA (Euphonia gouldi) – One male was in the fruiting fig tree en route to the Hanging Bridges.
TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia anneae) – Small numbers in the Arenal region.
GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys) – Good looks at a pair high in the canopy at La Paz, thanks to Vernon's sharp eyes.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus) – Mike W. found a pair of these birds feeding in a roadside tree above Bosque de Paz.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – A few in towns along the way. [I]

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Seen mainly along the Rio Frio.
HOFFMANN'S TWO-TOED SLOTH (Choloepus hoffmanni) – Great looks at a mother and baby along the road on our way down from Poas.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides) – The larger of the two squirrels we saw. I think the all black one at Arenal was the first I've seen of that color morph.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – A few at La Paz and Bosque.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – A single sighting at Arenal.
PACA (Cuniculus paca) – This shy nocturnal creature is pretty hard to see most places, but at Bosque, they come and visit the feeders at night, and we had super looks at two of them just at dusk.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – Lots at the Bosque feeders, with even more at the Arenal feeders.
TAYRA (Eira barbara) – A couple of us got quick looks at one of these large weasels along the river at La Paz.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – We had three different sightings, all on the same day at Arenal. Best were the dozen or so that were fording the river near Lake Arenal. Those three little piglets were swept pretty far downstream by the current before they managed to get across!
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – Numerous around Cano Negro, with some massive ones at the lunch stop along the river in Muelle.
GREEN BASILISK (Basiliscus plumifrons) – A couple of these neat lizards were along the Rio Frio.
TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia) – Heard and seen nightly at Cano Negro.
CENTRAL AMERICAN WHIPTAIL (Ameiva festiva) – A couple along the trails at Arenal.
EYELASH VIPER (Bothriechis schlegelii) – We spotted a beautiful golden one along the trail at the Hanging Bridges, then saw a much more cryptic one at the lodge when a groundskeeper found it in the hedge he was trimming next to the viewing deck.
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus) – Lots along the Rio Frio.
CANE TOAD (Bufo marinus) – A few biggies on the grounds of the hotel in Cano Negro.
VAILLANT'S FROG (Lithobates vaillanti) – The leopard frogs in the frog pond at Cano Negro.
MESO-AMERICAN SLIDER (Trachemys venusta) – I believe these were the turtles we saw basking on the banks of the Rio Frio.


Totals for the tour: 364 bird taxa and 9 mammal taxa