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Field Guides Tour Report
Costa Rica 2014
Mar 15, 2014 to Mar 30, 2014
Megan Crewe & Jay VanderGaast

A fruiting fig tree outside of our cabins at Monteverde attracted a variety of hungry birds, including this lovely and cooperative Emerald Toucanet, photographed by tour participant Chris DeCilio

Without a doubt, this year's classic Costa Rica was by far the driest ever. Even in the dry season, a certain amount of rain is expected, but the minimal amount of rain we experienced on this trip was low, even by dry season standards. Fortunately, though much of the country was pretty sere, there was nothing dry about the birding, and the dry weather meant that we didn't lose any valuable birding time to rain!

Our birding got off to a fine start the first morning when we spotted some raptors circling around in the clear morning sky near Virgen del Socorro. Hopping off the bus, we were treated to eye level views of beautiful Swallow-tailed Kites and White Hawks rising up on the mid-morning thermals. Before that first day was complete, we'd been buzzed by hordes of hummers at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, notched our first trogon and toucan, and come face to face (almost) with a roosting Great Potoo! All in all it wasn't a bad introduction to what CR has to offer!

The next few days were full of highlights as we birded the rich Caribbean lowlands in the La Selva region. Along the wonderful entrance road to the OTS station, we enjoyed a parade of great birds: nearly side-by-side views of Rufous and Broad-billed motmots; a lovely pair of Cinnamon Woodpeckers intently working over a roadside tree trunk just a few meters away; a pair of Slaty-tailed Trogons excavating a nest cavity in an arboreal termitary; immaculate Snowy Cotingas chasing each other around above the canopy; a pair of Rufous Mourners landing in the road ahead of us. The reserve itself was a bit quieter, but still provided some memorable moments, such as the male Great Curassow singing from a high perch near the trail and that responsive Vermiculated Screech-Owl that nearly landed on Lenin's head! Elsewhere in the area, both Scarlet and Great Green macaws offered exceptional views, and the sight of hundreds of Turkey Vultures and Swainson's Hawks streaming northward above us was simply amazing.

The cooler temperatures at Rancho Naturalista were most welcome after the heat of the lowlands, and a different mix of birds awaited us here, too. A low-soaring Black Hawk-Eagle flying across a wooded hillside, a pair of stunning Sunbitterns along a clear mountain stream, and the parade of birds at the "moth cloth" -- Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, the very local Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Wren, and Red-throated Ant-Tanager, among others -- were a few of the many birds that kept things exciting during our time here. Our final Caribbean slope birding came at Tapanti National Park as we moved on up into the mountains. A bold Streak-breasted Treehunter, an excited pair of Black-and-white Becards, a striking male Red-headed Barbet, and brilliant Golden-browed Chlorophonias made our short visit there exceedingly sweet!

Chiriqui specialties were the theme in the highlands of the Cerro de la Muerte region, where many species restricted to Panama and CR can be found. We encountered more than 30 of these Chiriqui endemics here, a list that included such treats as the scarce Silvery-throated Jay that suddenly appeared in the forest beside us, the skulking Wrenthrush in the thick bamboo along the Savegre River, the charming Collared Redstarts that flitted about on the trailsides, and the glittering Fiery-throated Hummingbirds that darted about at the feeders of La Georgina, their fiery throats glowing brilliantly when the angle of the light was just right. Despite all the local endemics, it was actually a much more widespread bird that stole the show: the Resplendent Quetzal! Having a pair of these showy birds nesting right behind our cabins was a real thrill!

Dropping to the Pacific coast, we were back in the heat and among another completely different suite of birds. The forests of the Carara region gifted us a bunch of superb birds: a Crested Owl growling in the canopy of a roadside tree; Golden-naped Woodpecker and Baird's Trogon, two local specialties, seen beautifully along the Quebrada Bonita trail; a couple of incredibly confiding Orange-collared Manakins at their trailside lek; a surprise Streak-chested Antpitta hopping along the trail ahead of us. Away from the forest, such species as Roseate Spoonbill, Double-striped Thick-knee, Gray Hawk, Striped Owl, and Turquoise-browed Motmot added to the birding excitement.

We finished up in the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde. Foremost among our targets was the bizarre and spectacular Three-wattled Bellbird, which gave a brief but memorable performance from a dead snag nearly right overhead. I think my ears are still ringing! Black-breasted Wood-Quail, dainty Magenta-throated Woodstars, White-fronted Parrots, a couple of gorgeous male Long-tailed Manakins, Ruddy Woodcreeper (at an army ant swarm) and White-naped Brush-Finches were among the many other species we encountered here.

This tour also featured a pretty good list of both mammals and herps, many of which we seldom see on our trips (and a few that were "lifers" for your guides, too). Among the mammals, the sleepy Mexican Hairy Porcupine beside the trail at La Paz, the super Northern Tamandua at Braulio Carrillo, the pair of Vesper Rats (a first for me) on the La Selva night walk, and the curious Long-tailed Weasel at Savegre stand out. As for the herps, well that incredible large Neotropical Chameleon and the Yellow-spotted Night Lizard in its trailside burrow were both first for me!

Finally, I just have to say that, as great as the birding was, the big highlight for Megan and me was having such a great group with whom to share them all. We truly enjoyed your camaraderie and companionship, and we look forward to traveling with you all again someday soon. Many thanks for joining us on the trip. Thanks, too, to our driver, Lenin, for getting us around the country safely and professionally. Happy birding!


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)

Large game birds are scarce where hunting is permitted, but they can become quite habituated where they are undisturbed by people, like this Crested Guan at La Selva. (Photo by guide Megan Crewe)

GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) [*]
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – A male that flew across the lake at Casa Turire was a bit of a surprise. We also had 2 males and a female on the Quebrada Bonita at Carara NP, where they have gotten quite used to people.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) [b]
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) – A rather uncommon migrant; we had a male and 5 females on the lake at Casa Turire. [b]
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – Lots on the lake at Casa Turire. [b]
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps)
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – A few good views of the habituated birds at La Selva, then again at Punta Leona, where a trio were in the trees above our rooms early each morning.
BLACK GUAN (Chamaepetes unicolor) – Paula saw what was almost certainly this species from the bus near the La Paz Waterfall. Later at Tapanti, Lew spotted a couple in roadside fruiting trees, but it wasn't until the cooperative ones at Santa Elena that everyone finally saw these birds.
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra) – Great looks at a singing male in the subcanopy at La Selva. The curassows here, like the guans, are habituated to humans, and much easier to see than in many other parts of the country.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
BUFFY-CROWNED WOOD-PARTRIDGE (Dendrortyx leucophrys) [*]
BLACK-BREASTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus leucolaemus) – After a noisy covey of these birds went by at Santa Elena, a lone one seemed to have gotten left behind, and we got to see this bird as it crossed the trail a few meters away from us.
SPOTTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus guttatus) – Lenin found us a very cooperative trio as we watched the quetzals the first morning behind our cabins at Savegre.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

Arguably the most responsive bird of the trip was this Vermiculated Screech-Owl, which nearly hit Lenin in the head as it flew in, then perched right beside the trail and started singing as we watch from a few feet away. Amazing! (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – A couple at the lake at Casa Turire, then a few more during our boat trip on the Rio Tarcoles.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – We were hoping those first couple in the Caribbean lowlands were the similar Fasciated Tiger-Herons, which also occur here, but the large size and bare yellow throat were pretty tough to ignore.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) [b]
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – A few along the Rio Tarcoles.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – A lone bird at dusk during our boat tour. Quite scarce along the Rio Tarcoles, where Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are quite numerous.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – Lenin spotted one perched in a tree near the road when we made a stop for some parrots. Later we also saw half a dozen feeding in the open at the Pueblo Nuevo marsh.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Some impressive numbers of migrants streaming north at the Pueblo Nuevo Marsh were particularly memorable.
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Megan spotted a Wood Stork in with a kettle of vultures along the Pacific coast, and when we stopped for a look, we also found a King Vulture among them. The bird still had a dark back, indicating that it was a subadult.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) [b]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)
HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus) – A female that sailed by along the entrance road at La Selva was a nice find, and the only one of the tour.
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – Quick looks at a flying bird as we crossed the La Selva suspension bridge.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

Swallow-tailed Kites were a common sight on the tour. This was one of several that were soaring with White Hawks, Barred Hawks, and a Broad-winged Hawk over the beautiful Virgen del Socorro valley on our first morning. (Photo by tour participant Marshall Dahl)

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – Fantastic views of a low flying bird soaring across in front of a wooded hillside along the Silent Mountain road.
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) [*]
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis) – I think Chris and I were the only ones to see this bird at Casa Turire, where they've appeared only recently, since the formation of the lake in 1999.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)
COMMON BLACK-HAWK (MANGROVE) (Buteogallus anthracinus subtilis)
BARRED HAWK (Morphnarchus princeps)
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – We kicked off the tour in style, with fabulous looks at a pair of these gorgeous hawks soaring by at eye level in perfect morning light, along with a couple of Barred Hawks, a Broad-winged Hawk, and a few Swallow-tailed Kites, along the road near Virgen del Socorro.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – A couple of big migrational movements were noted in the Caribbean lowlands and the Savegre Valley. [b]
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – A couple of hundred migrants with the Turkey Vulture at Pueblo Nuevo Marsh, than an impressive 500+ (minimum) over the ridge in the Savegre Valley. [b]
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – A couple of birds of the local race costaricensis, which is endemic to the mountains of Panama and Costa Rica.
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) – Pete T. spotted this one first along the river at La Mina, and we had wonderful lengthy views of an adult and a full grown juvenile as they moved along the stream. The adult flew a couple of times, showing off its stunning wing pattern, then paused on a rock and sang for several minutes.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) [*]
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – Seen at La Selva by the few folks that had remained behind the rest of the group to try and take photos of a cooperative male Great Curassow.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus)
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – Another of the birds that have become established at the new lake next to Casa Turire. We had great views of one along the shoreline.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus bistriatus) – A pair on the sandy shoreline of the Rio Tarcoles showed nicely, and it appeared that one may have been on a nest, though it could have just been resting as well.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

Tour participant Pete Thayer spotted (and photographed) this Sunbittern along the river at La Mina. We were fortunate to also get to see the stunning wing pattern of this bird as it flew a short way upriver a couple of times.

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) [b]
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) [b]
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) [b]
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) [b]
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) [b]
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) [b]
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris)
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) – Though it generally occurs at higher elevations that the almost identical Short-billed Pigeon, the two species do overlap at a few places, such as Rancho Naturalista. So, the silent bird there could have been either (our opinion was Short-billed, however), but the ones in the oak forest at Savegre were definitely this species.
SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris)

We were very pleased to find this Black-and-white Owl back on its day roost at Orotina park, as it had been missing here for some time beforehand. (Photo by guide Megan Crewe)

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina)
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassini) – One gathering nest material on the open ground along the La Selva entrance road.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)
LESSER GROUND-CUCKOO (Morococcyx erythropygus) – People always seem to be surprised at how gorgeous this cuckoo is in real life; the books just don't seem to convey that beauty adequately. We had some awesome views in the dry northwestern lowlands, though I ran into a rather nasty stinging plant in the process. Fyi, 2 weeks later, I still have a large red welt on my finger, though the pain and itchiness is long past, and the rash on my legs is gone.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – We saw just one, and right near the northern edge of the species' range in CR, a little north of Dominical. A little further north, the Groove-billed Ani takes over.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris)
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – A bit of a delayed response, but we eventually tracked this one down on our first night in San Jose, right on the hotel grounds.
VERMICULATED SCREECH-OWL (GUATEMALAN) (Megascops guatemalae vermiculatus) – Capping off a fun night walk at La Selva, one of these small owls flew in and landed almost close enough to touch. In fact, it practically brushed past Lenin before it perched up on a low branch along the trail, where it proceeded to sing for the next few minutes, seemingly unconcerned about all the nearby paparazzi!
BARE-SHANKED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops clarkii) – It was a bit of a battle to find this calling bird in the Savegre valley, but a little luck and persistence paid off with an excellent view.
CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata) – Having local contacts is always a good thing; without ours, we never would have known about the site for these birds near Carara. We wound up with an excellent scope view of one perched high in a roadside tree!
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata)
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – The local Orotina park birds have been somewhat unreliable as of late, so it was great to find one again, and in a much better, more visible perch than it often is on. Funny how that bird is so tolerant of all the activity below its roost.
STRIPED OWL (Pseudoscops clamator) – Great looks at one on a roadside power line near Jaco.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – Large numbers at dusk over the mangroves at Tarcoles.
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis semitorquatus) – A distinctively shaped nighthawk. One made several passes overhead for a great study at La Selva at dusk.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)
DUSKY NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus saturatus) – Before this trip, I'd never seen one perched on a power line, but there you go!
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) – Thanks to a hospitable family, and a roadside "potoo" sign, we had a fine eye level view of a perched bird en route to La Quinta. A friend of mine posted a recent photo on Facebook, and there is now a small chick in the "nest".
Apodidae (Swifts)

Costa Rica is always a good place for hummers. This White-necked Jacobin was one of more than 35 species we saw on the trip. (Photo by tour participant Chris DeCilio)

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)
VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)
BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri) – Very brief views for a few people along the start of the "Universal" trail at Carara.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris)
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)
GREEN-FRONTED LANCEBILL (Doryfera ludovicae) – Nice looks at one that hovered around in front of us and showed off pretty well at Tapanti.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae)
GREEN VIOLETEAR (Colibri thalassinus)
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti)
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii)
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii)
PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster constantii) – A starthroat at Punta Leona on one of our morning walks was most likely this species, though we didn't see it well enough to rule out Long-billed.
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis) – It's always nice to see this attractive highland hummer, but when you get one at the right angle, showing off that fiery throat-- Wow! We had that "wow" angle a few times at the La Georgina feeders.
WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis hemileucus) – Pretty local and restricted to a fairly limited elevational range. We saw three birds at the La Paz feeders, then another three at Tapanti.
WHITE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (GRAY-TAILED) (Lampornis castaneoventris cinereicauda)
MAGENTA-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox bryantae) – It was a good trip for this species. We usually are pretty happy if we get just one, but we had a couple at La Paz this year, then a bunch more at Monteverde.
VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula)
SCINTILLANT HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus scintilla)
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti) – Strange that we only saw one of these hummingbirds; stranger still that the only one we saw lacked normal coloration. The bird was kind of beige where it should have been green, and it could have been tough to identify, but the distinctive call and big white spot behind the eye left no doubt that it was this species.
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – A big aggressive, purple hummingbird... what's not to like?

One of the prizes of our visit to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens was this Black-bellied Hummingbird, which is restricted to the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama. (Photo by guide Megan Crewe)

BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia)
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica)
BLACK-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa nigriventris) – A bunch of these beautiful little Chiriqui specialties were at the feeders at La Paz, where we couldn't find one a month earlier!
WHITE-TAILED EMERALD (Elvira chionura) – A bonus bird for the tour, and a lifer for Megan (as well as her trip favorite). We had nice views of a couple at flowering verbena on the grounds of the Bosque de Tolomuco lodge, where we made an impromptu stop on a hot tip from our local contacts.
COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD (Elvira cupreiceps) [E]
SNOWCAP (Microchera albocoronata) – An amazing little hummingbird, first seen at the flowers at the old butterfly garden near Braulio Carrillo NP, then again at Rancho, where the ones bathing at the pools were especially nice.
MANGROVE HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia boucardi) – I think Muffet was the only one to get on this rather dull Costa Rica endemic on the Rio Tarcoles boat trip. Always tough. [E]
STEELY-VENTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia saucerrottei)
SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia edward) – Another bonus hummingbird from our Tolomuco Lodge stop on our way down from the highlands.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno) – Hard to beat having quetzals nesting right behind our cabins! We had super looks at a male and a couple of females on our first morning at Savegre. The next morning we saw the tail plumes of the male sticking out of the nest hole, but despite a long wait, we never got any more than that. But, another female along the Providencia road and a couple of males at Santa Elena and the Curi-Cancha reserve all rounded out our excellent quetzal karma! Not surprisingly this gorgeous bird was a highlight for many, and both Paula and Tom chose it as their top bird of the trip.
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – Seen commonly in the lowlands on both slopes. Most fun was seeing the male excavating a nest in an arboreal termite mound while the female looked on at La Selva.
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus)
BAIRD'S TROGON (Trogon bairdii) – We worked hard to get onto this local specialty at Carara, with Megan ultimately spotting the male and getting everyone on it. Of course, the next morning we had a couple right above our cabins at Punta Leona!

A male Slaty-tailed Trogon takes a pause from excavating a nest in an arboreal termitary at La Selva. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)
ORANGE-BELLIED TROGON (Trogon aurantiiventris) [*]
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris)
Momotidae (Motmots)
BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT (LESSON'S) (Momotus coeruliceps lessonii) – Seen regularly, with the most memorable being the one dispatching the massive leaf-shaped katydid in the middle of the parking lot at Punta Leona.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – Both this and the next species were seen about the same time along the La Selva entrance road, which is nice for noting the differences between the two.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum)
TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (Eumomota superciliosa) – Especially nice views of this gorgeous motmot were had along the Rio Tarcoles, where the late afternoon light really brought out their colors and made them appear even more stunning than usual.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) [b]
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – A highlight of the Rio Tarcoles boat trip was seeing this a male of this inconspicuous little kingfisher, the smallest of the New World kingfishers, so well in the mangroves.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – We thought we might have missed this species, but a pair in a dead tree near the road at the Pueblo Nuevo marsh saved the day.
WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis) – A very responsive, and extremely cooperative male stayed put at Carara during the entire time Megan was off locating the camera bag she'd inadvertently left behind on a bench.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii) – The male of this species is a thing of beauty, and we had several fantastic looks at some at Tapanti.
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
PRONG-BILLED BARBET (Semnornis frantzii) – Though not as visually appealing as the Red-headed Barbet, the calls of these birds are pretty cool and endearing. We had a nice duetting pair at La Paz, and another on the feeders at La Cinchona, right next to the chicken, for an odd juxtaposition!
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis) – One that got away from most at Tapanti, then some much more friendly ones at Monteverde.
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)
BLACK-MANDIBLED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii)

White-whiskered Puffbirds are rather quiet and inconspicuous, so it was great to find this one sitting quietly near the trail at Carara. (Photo by tour participant Pete Thayer)

KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – A common Caribbean slope species, and always a popular bird on the tour. We had many fine views, and both Chris and Jean chose this as their favorite bird of the trip.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)
GOLDEN-NAPED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes chrysauchen) – A rather uncommon endemic of the Pacific slope lowlands of CR and Panama. It was tough work trying to see this species in the tall forest at Carara, but we found a small tree fall clearing and managed to get one overhead for an excellent view.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)
HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii)
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) [*]
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) [*]
RUFOUS-WINGED WOODPECKER (Piculus simplex) – Superb views of a male of this uncommon species along the entrance road at La Selva.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)
CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus) – This woodpecker often stays high in the canopy where it can be tough to get a good look, so the pair we had feeding low next to the La Selva entrance road were a real treat. They were pretty nonchalant about our presence, too, giving us arguably the best views I've ever enjoyed of this bird, which is why I chose it as my trip favorite.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – Large woodpeckers were scarce this trip, and we saw just one male at the Pueblo Nuevo marsh and a female along the Guacimo Road.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) [*]
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) [*]
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Megan spotted a beautiful large female perched in the shadows of a large riverside tree during our boat trip on the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
Psittacidae (Parrots)
SULPHUR-WINGED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura hoffmanni)
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (AZTEC) (Aratinga nana astec) – The flowering Erythrina trees in the La Selva region were a big draw for many birds, including these parakeets, which are restricted to the Caribbean lowlands.
ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEET (Aratinga canicularis) – Some poor flybys in the northwest. Definitely a BVD bird.
GREAT GREEN MACAW (Ara ambiguus) – A detour en route to La Selva to check for macaws was a great success. We first spotted a pair of Scarlet Macaws, and while watching those, we heard a 3rd macaw calling that sounded a bit different. After a bit of a search, we managed to track that bird down, and ended up with super scope views of one of these macaws, which was quite rare locally in the not so distant past. We also saw a pair along the main road the next day, so we did quite well for a species we used to miss more often than not.
SCARLET MACAW (Ara macao) – The above mentioned pair near La Selva was a bit of a surprise and only my second or third sighting here. Much more expected were the ones along the Pacific coast, where we had many excellent views of these flashy birds. A perennial fan favorite, and this year both Lew and Lucee picked it as their top bird of the trip.
BARRED PARAKEET (Bolborhynchus lineola) – Many wonderful views of these guys in the highlands. Okay, okay, the views were terrible, tiny black dots hurtling across the sky, which is usual for these birds, by the way.
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis)
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – That first one after our wonderful White Hawk experience near Virgen was pretty fun, the bird dropping into a nearby tree right on cue. If only we could forecast all the birds' appearances so accurately.

A pair of Cinnamon Woodpeckers along the La Selva entrance road gave a wonderful show as they worked over a tree trunk low down next to the road. This one is the male. (Photo by tour participant Chris De Cilio)

RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis)
YELLOW-NAPED PARROT (Amazona auropalliata)
WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons) – One of our final new birds, seen well behind our cabins at Monteverde on our final morning.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus) – A super male near the cafeteria at La Selva gave us all a great show.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)
BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha) – This is the one know as Western Slaty-Antshrike in your field guides. We had a nice encounter with a male near the (completely dry) marsh at La Selva.
BLACK-HOODED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bridgesi)
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus)
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – Best views were of a male that showed up for a moth feast in the early morning at Rancho's moth cloth.
STREAK-CROWNED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus striaticeps) – Tough this year, and only a few of the folks in Megan's group at Braulio actually got a glimpse of this bird.
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris)
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) [*]
DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis) – Some very nice looks at this pretty antwren, both males and females, with several of the mixed flocks encountered at Carara.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra tyrannina)
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza exsul) – Antbirds were overall quite scarce this trip, but this is one that performed nicely, including one that sat on a concrete curb in the parking lot at Punta Leona.
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza laemosticta) [*]
ZELEDON'S ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza zeledoni) [*]
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
STREAK-CHESTED ANTPITTA (Hylopezus perspicillatus) – It wasn't looking too hopeful for us to track down this elusive understory bird. It was mid-morning, hot, and there were none calling, so chances were pretty slim. But then, one suddenly appeared on the trail in front of us and proceeded to hop along ahead for just long enough for all to get incredible views!
THICKET ANTPITTA (Hylopezus dives) [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus argentifrons) – Generally a tough species to actually see, and our first one at La Paz illustrated that nicely, managing to stay out of sight for everyone but Karen, despite being very close by. Our second attempt at Tapanti was much more successful, with pretty much the entire group getting good looks at that one.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – You definitely want to keep track of the places you see Olivaceous Woodcreepers, as someday someone is going to work on them and split them into a bunch of different species. We had nice views of this one at Curi-Cancha.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa)
RUDDY WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla homochroa) – A scarce species that is often seen following army ant swarms, which is exactly where we saw our lone one, on our final morning at the Ecological Farm in Monteverde.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus)
NORTHERN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) – Great views of a trio chasing each other around along the entrance road to La Selva, and another at the army ant swarm alongside the Ruddy Woodcreeper.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)

Streak-breasted Treehunters don't usually pose out in the open like this, but this one at Tapanti was just so curious. (Photo by tour participant Marshall Dahl)

BLACK-STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) [*]
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius)
BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus pusillus) [*]
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)
SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis)
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)
BUFFY TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes lawrencii) – We followed these great birds for quite a while as they moved high up through the oak forest at Savegre. I believe that everyone finally had a good view of them, but it wasn't easy as they didn't stay put for long and were often buried in bromeliads or behind branches.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris)
STRIPED WOODHAUNTER (Hyloctistes subulatus) [*]
BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (HYPOPHAEUS) (Automolus ochrolaemus hypophaeus)
STREAK-BREASTED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes rufobrunneus) – An incredibly cooperative one at Tapanti gave us spectacular views as it popped out on a branch a couple of meters away right out in the open! Marshall even got a great photo of this often elusive bird!
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens)
RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus)
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops)
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – One along the Guacimo Road was nice to see after the views we'd had of the Southerns in the previous couple of days. This species is pretty dull compared to the quite brightly colored Southerns.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola)
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii)
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea) – Even folks that aren't really fond of flycatchers love these perky little birds. We saw them along fast-flowing mountain streams a couple of times on the trip.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus)
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris)
PALTRY TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus)
BLACK-CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis atricapillus) [*]
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – A small bird with a big voice; we saw and heard these little guys a few times at Rancho and Tapanti.
NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare) – We had some good looks at a couple of these odd little birds along the trails at Carara.
SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia)
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – Unlike the other CR tody-flycatchers, this little bird generally stays high up in the canopy, where it can be tough to see. On the plus side, they often stay put for long periods, allowing one to get them in the scope and we had some great views of one at Rancho Bajo during our coquette watch.
EYE-RINGED FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris)
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus) – Spadebills are tiny flycatchers of the forest interior, and can be tricky to see, but we had excellent views of one of these along the trails at the Santa Elena reserve. An earlier one at Tapanti had managed to elude all but a few people.
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus coronatus)
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) – Great views of one at Rancho for the folks that stayed on the lower trails.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus)
TAWNY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Aphanotriccus capitalis) – The vast majority of birders who have seen this scarce and local species have seen it at Rancho, and we added a bunch more people to that list. We had excellent looks at a pair that joined the morning feeding frenzy at the moth cloth.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus)
DARK PEWEE (Contopus lugubris)

This Orange-collared Manakin sat calmly on his display perch next to the trail at Carara, obviously quite accustomed to having people stop by and gawk! (Photo by tour participant Pete Thayer)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) [b]
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) [b]
YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens)
BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax atriceps) – A very distinctive bird, especially considering it is an Empid! Usually quite common in the highlands, but oddly we only found one bird in the Savegre valley. Still, that was all we needed.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – These elegant little flycatchers were seen a few hawking for insects from exposed perches along the La Selva entrance road.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus)
RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra) – Incredible views of a bold pair along La Selva's entrance road, one of them even landing right in the middle of the road! I'd never seen one of these on the ground before.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
PANAMA FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus panamensis) – A very drab Myiarchus, and very local in CR, confined to Pacific coast mangroves. We had a very close perched bird along the canal during our Rio Tarcoles boat trip.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) [b]
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis)
WHITE-RINGED FLYCATCHER (Conopias albovittatus) – Much more localized that similar Social Flycatchers, and longer-billed with a more contrasty head pattern. This species is confined to Caribbean slope lowlands, where we saw several at La Selva.
GOLDEN-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes hemichrysus)
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) [a]
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) [a]
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – Nice views of 5 just north of Dominical, near the southern end of their wintering range. We also had a couple along the Guacimo road. [b]
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW (Querula purpurata) – A couple of birds were calling at La Selva, but we only managed to see a female.
RUFOUS PIHA (Lipaugus unirufus) [*]
THREE-WATTLED BELLBIRD (Procnias tricarunculatus) – After a fairly long hike at Santa Elena, then a bit of a wait, during which we could hear these birds calling around us, a male finally flew in and began calling loudly from an exposed perch nearly right overhead! An incredible bird both visually and vocally.
SNOWY COTINGA (Carpodectes nitidus) – At least 4 birds, including a couple of ethereal males, were hanging around near the parking lot at La Selva, giving many excellent views to all. This was Al's favorite bird of the tour.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera)
LONG-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia linearis) – Manakins as a group are always among the main targets for many, and this fabulous bird was one of our main targets on our final day. It didn't take long for us to track down a gorgeous male at the Monteverde Ecological Farm for some excellent views.
RED-CAPPED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra mentalis)
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – A sleeping male looking very much like a tennis ball was seen on our La Selva night walk. Then at Rancho we had some excellent looks at several males displaying at a very active lek.
ORANGE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus aurantiacus) – Wow, the ones at the lek along the Sendero Meandrico trail are obviously accustomed to an audience! That one male in particular seemed pretty nonplussed to have so many spectators as he sat out in the open very near to the trail. Peter Q. chose this bird as his trip favorite.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)

Timberline Wrens came easy this trip, though that isn't always the case; this one was hopping about in the open scolding when we came walking down Providencia Road. (Photo by tour participant Marshall Dahl)

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)
NORTHERN SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis veraepacis) [*]
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – Nice looks at a pair building a nest near the cafeteria at La Selva.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)
BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD (Pachyramphus albogriseus) – A pair of these rather uncommon becards along the road at Tapanti were a very nice find, and gave us all a great view.
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae)
Vireonidae (Vireos)
MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens) [*]
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) [b]
YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli) – An attractive Chiriqui endemic which is pretty common in the highland forests, where we saw them regularly.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)
PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus) [b]
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) [b]
YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis) [a]
TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Hylophilus ochraceiceps)
LESSER GREENLET (Hylophilus decurtatus)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) [*]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
SILVERY-THROATED JAY (Cyanolyca argentigula) – Quite a rare and difficult to find species, and one of our main targets in the oak forest at Savegre. Having missed this species entirely in February, I didn't have high expectations, so when a lone bird popped up next to the group, shortly after we'd all arrived at the trailhead, no one was more surprised and excited than I was! Given that this species often stays high in the canopy where it can be tough to see, we had an awesome view of it fairly low and in the open!
WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY (Calocitta formosa) – About 7 of these beauties turned up at the same time as our Lesser Ground-Cuckoos; giving us all a difficult decision about which to look at first! Luckily we all got excellent looks at both.
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) [b]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
NIGHTINGALE WREN (Microcerculus philomela) [*]
SCALY-BREASTED WREN (WHISTLING) (Microcerculus marginatus luscinia) [*]
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus)
TIMBERLINE WREN (Thryorchilus browni) – These skulking wrens can sometimes be hard work, but it wasn't the case this trip, as we stumbled across a pair hopping about in the open in a brush pile of broken bamboo next to the Providencia Road.
BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus)
RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris) – Tough work at Carara, but I think everyone ultimately got a good look at these skulkers.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus)
BLACK-THROATED WREN (Pheugopedius atrogularis) [*]
RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus)
STRIPE-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus thoracicus) – One of a number of wrens deserving of consideration as most beautiful wren in CR. We had great views of a couple feeding at the moth cloth at Rancho.
PLAIN WREN (Cantorchilus modestus)
PLAIN WREN (CANEBRAKE) (Cantorchilus modestus zeledoni) – The Caribbean lowland form of Plain Wren, which is sometimes proposed as a split from that species based on its grayer underparts and somewhat different song. We had a good view of a pair at the Pueblo Nuevo marsh.
RIVERSIDE WREN (Cantorchilus semibadius)
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – Pretty good views of this lovely bird, a pair of which were the only birds at an army ant swarm at La Selva.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – A pair of these gave great views at Rancho's moth cloth. Good thing, as they can be tough to see well elsewhere.

Our first Black-cowled Oriole at La Paz was notable not just because it was an unusual record at that high an elevation, but also because it was Marshall's 3000th life bird! (Photo by guide Megan Crewe)

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)
WHITE-LORED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila albiloris)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)
Cinclidae (Dippers)
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes melanops) – Beautiful song, beautiful bird. We enjoyed both the views and the performances by this bird at several highland forest sites.
ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus aurantiirostris) – We finally caught up with this one, the last of the nightingale-thrushes, at the army ant swarm at the Monteverde Ecological Farm.
BLACK-HEADED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus mexicanus) – The group that came with me on the trail at Braulio Carrillo had super looks at a very responsive bird. By the time Megan's group got to the territory, the bird wasn't responding. And then the rain started...
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) [b]
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) [b]
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens)
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus)
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Ubiquitous, which is just what you'd expect of the national bird!
WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis)
Ptilogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Phainoptila melanoxantha) – Just about the time we were getting views of our Timberline Wrens at Providencia, Megan spotted one of these inconspicuous birds, too, and we all got a nice look at it as well. Both of our main target birds in just a few minutes... gotta like that!
LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptilogonys caudatus) – Always stunning and elegant, and it was a pleasure to have so many great views at these gorgeous creatures.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) [b]
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – Nice views of one along a lowland river en our way to Braulio Carrillo, with a Northern nearby for a good comparison. [b]
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) [b]
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) [b]
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) [b]
FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis) – A stunning Chiriqui endemic, which proved to be quite common in mixed flocks in the high elevation forests.

Sooty-capped Chlorospingus is one of the many Chiriqui endemics we encountered in the highlands. (Photo by tour participant Chris DeCilio)

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) [b]
GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala)
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) [b]
KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) [b]
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (MANGROVE) (Setophaga petechia erithachorides) – Some folks got on a nice red-headed male in the Tarcoles mangroves.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) [b]
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) – Peter Q. had a male of this uncommon migrant just outside of his cabin at Savegre. [b]
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons)
BLACK-CHEEKED WARBLER (Basileuterus melanogenys) – Another Chiriqui endemic, this one seen a few times in mixed understory flocks in the Savegre valley.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (Basileuterus tristriatus)
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda)
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)
COLLARED REDSTART (Myioborus torquatus) – The charming little amigo de hombre, as they are known locally, was a delight to see in the highland forests.
WRENTHRUSH (Zeledonia coronata) – Pete T's favorite bird of the trip was this super-skulker, which played a bit hard to get but ultimately was seen well by nearly everyone. It's heard to believe this thing is just an aberrant warbler, but that is what it is treated as, for now at least.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata)
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus)
TAWNY-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus delatrii) – The big mixed understory flocks of Carmiol's and Tawny-crested tanagers were really on the move at Braulio Carrillo this trip, and both groups had several encounters an good views of both.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)
WHITE-THROATED SHRIKE-TANAGER (Lanio leucothorax) – Just as the two groups were approaching each other at Braulio, a big mixed flock was moving in between us, with a pair of these large tanagers accompanying them. Megan's group saw the male very well, my group got on the female.
CRIMSON-COLLARED TANAGER (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus)
PASSERINI'S TANAGER (Ramphocelus passerinii) – Isn't it nice to have such a gorgeous bird be so common? We saw these beauties in abundance daily in the Caribbean lowlands. Muffet was obviously delighted, as she chose these as her favorite overall.
CHERRIE'S TANAGER (Ramphocelus costaricensis)
BLUE-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Bangsia arcaei) [*]
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
SPECKLED TANAGER (Tangara guttata) – Very few this trip, but we finally all caught up with these lovely tanagers with a super view of a couple at Bosque de Tolomuco Lodge.
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata) – Scarce this trip, and only Marshall and I got on the lone bird that dropped in briefly at La Selva.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)
EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida) – Some excellent views along the Silent Mountain road, where they seem to be pretty common.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala)
SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta) – Seen well near Virgen del Socorro and at Monteverde, though I think no one ever even glimpsed those scarlet thighs.

In addition to all the great birds, this trip was also excellent for mammals. One of the best was this Northern Tamandua that joined us during our picnic breakfast at Braulio Carrillo. (Photo by tour participant Marshall Dahl)

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
SHINING HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes lucidus)
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas) – An absolutely stunning tanager, so I was pleased that we managed to find a few on our way back down the Silent Mountain road, which was our final chance to see these beauties.
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea)
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina)
WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila torqueola)
NICARAGUAN SEED-FINCH (Oryzoborus nuttingi) – A very local specialty of the Caribbean lowlands on CR and Nicaragua. We got lucky, finding a pretty close perched male that stayed put for lengthy scope views. What a honker on him, eh?
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Oryzoborus funereus)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)
DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii)
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)
BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps)
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) – The group that accompanied me on the trails at Braulio had pretty nice views of this grosbeak (which is actually a saltator) with a mixed canopy flock.
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 impossible to miss. We saw them numerous times in the Savegre Valley.
LARGE-FOOTED FINCH (Pezopetes capitalis)
SOOTY-FACED FINCH (Arremon crassirostris) – An easily overlooked bird of middle elevation Caribbean slope forests. We had one at VIrgen, than about three at La Paz, with everyone getting a look at them at one place or the other.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH (Arremon brunneinucha)
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris)
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus) – Marshall spotted these birds feeding on the ground at a roadside stop in the dry northwest.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris)
WHITE-NAPED BRUSH-FINCH (YELLOW-THROATED) (Atlapetes albinucha gutturalis) – One of the final new birds of the trip, with very nice views of a couple behind our cabins at Monteverde.
PREVOST'S GROUND-SPARROW (CABANIS'S) (Melozone biarcuata cabanisi) – A very local species, and possibly a CR endemic, if you treat this distinctive, disjunct race as separate from the birds of northern Central America. We found one near our hotel on the first afternoon of the tour, but unfortunately couldn't repeat the sighting on the final evening for Pete T.
STRIPE-HEADED SPARROW (Peucaea ruficauda)
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)
VOLCANO JUNCO (Junco vulcani) – A pair just off the highway saved us some time, and a bumpy ride up to the antennas at Cerro de la Muerte.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus)
SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – Good looks at a male above the Hummingbird Gallery at Monteverde.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) [b]
FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata)
WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera) – Nice views of a pair above the ranger station, shortly after our arrival at Tapanti.
RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda) – Super views at the early morning moth feast at Rancho's moth cloth.
CARMIOL'S TANAGER (Chlorothraupis carmioli)

Headlining an impressive list of herps seen was this rarely seen, canopy-dwelling Neotropical Chameleon, which we found dozing next to the suspension bridge at La Selva. (Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast)

BLACK-FACED GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes poliogaster)
BLACK-THIGHED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus tibialis) [*]
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) [b]
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa cyanoides)
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
RED-BREASTED BLACKBIRD (Sturnella militaris) – A lone male at Casa Turire gave us great scope views.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – A male and 7 females among a group of Bronzed Cowbirds north of Dominical. A recent arrival in Costa Rica, and this is easily the largest number of them I've ever seen here.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – Common in the Caribbean lowlands, but the one at La Paz Waterfall Gardens was an unusually high record for this species. It was noteworthy for another reason, too, being Marshall's 3000th species on his life list, and consequently his favorite of the trip.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) [b]
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus)
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SCARLET-RUMPED) (Cacicus uropygialis microrhynchus)
MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma)
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
SCRUB EUPHONIA (Euphonia affinis)
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla)
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea)
ELEGANT EUPHONIA (Euphonia elegantissima) – Elegant indeed! A lovely female at Tapanti was eclipsed by a stunning male a couple of days later at Bosque de Tolomuco Lodge.
SPOT-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia imitans)
GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys) – The colors of these birds are simply amazing, with the males being especially gorgeous (though the females are pretty hot, too). We saw them a number of times, and a number of times well. Well enough for Karen to pick them as her favorite bird overall.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus) – Wonderful close views of a pair feeding in some seeding grass below the trail sign on our way down from the Savegre oak forest.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso)
NORTHERN GHOST BAT (Diclidurus albus) – A couple of these pure white bats were roosting below palm leaves at Carara. This is the only time I've seen more than one of these bats at a time.
MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata)
CENTRAL AMERICAN SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles geoffroyi) – I was surprised to see these monkeys not once, but twice, at Carara, where I had never encountered them before.
HOFFMANN'S TWO-TOED SLOTH (Choloepus hoffmanni)
NORTHERN TAMANDUA (Tamandua mexicana) – One that we spotted during our picnic lunch at Braulio was a nice surprise, and it showed well for all as it worked its way through the trees.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides)
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)
ALFARO'S PYGMY SQUIRREL (Microsciurus alfari) – One of these tiny squirrels was above the feeders at La Paz.
SUMICHRAST'S VESPER RAT (Nyctomys sumichrasti) – We saw a couple of these attractive orangey rats climbing around in the vines during our night walk at La Selva. I believe this is the first time I've ever seen this species.
MEXICAN HAIRY PORCUPINE (Coendou mexicanus) – One was curled up in a ball next to the trail at La Paz. It didn't look like much at first, but it eventually showed its face.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)
NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor)
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)
LONG-TAILED WEASEL (Mustela frenata) – A rarely seen mammal in the country, so it was nice to encounter one in the oak forest at Savegre. It took off after it first saw us, but some squeaking piqued its curiosity and it came close for several more good looks before losing interest in us.
TAYRA (Eira barbara) – One of these large weasels crossed the road in front of the bus near Virgen, but only about half the group saw it.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)
SLENDER ANOLE (Anolis limifrons)
LEMUR ANOLE (Norops lemurinus) – Aka Canopy Anole. The species Rodolfo caught, which had the red dewlap.
STREAM ANOLE (Anolis poecilopus)
PUG-NOSED ANOLE (Norops capito) – One of these rather angular headed anoles was at the base of a tree along the trail at La Selva.
GREEN TREE ANOLE (Norops biporcatus) – A couple of these large green anoles were seen sleeping high on branches during the La Selva night walk.
NEOTROPICAL CHAMELEON (Polychrus gutturosus) – The large and incredibly long-tailed lizard seen at night at the end of the suspension bridge at La Selva. The Harvard herpetology professor who was there with his students was pretty excited to see this one!
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana)
BLACK SPINY-TAILED IGUANA (Ctenosaura similis)
COMMON BASILISK (Basiliscus basiliscus)
GREEN BASILISK (Basiliscus plumifrons)
STRIPED BASILISK (Basiliscus vittatus)
TURNIP-TAILED GECKO (Thecadactylus rapicauda) – This one was shown to us by some of the Harvard students who had caught it at La Selva.
TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia)
YELLOW-SPOTTED NIGHT LIZARD (Lepidophyma flavimaculatum) – All these years of visiting La Selva and I never knew those holes in the bank along the trail belonged to these nocturnal lizards! Now that I've seen one, I don't think I'll forget.
FALSE FER-DE-LANCE (Xenodon rabdocephalus) – One spotted by Megan during the day at La Selva.
GREEN PARROT SNAKE (Leptophis ahaetulla) – The green snake climbing a tree at La Selva was likely this common parrot snake, though there is another similar parrot snake that we didn't rule out.
BROWN BLUNT-HEADED VINE SNAKE (Imantodes cenchoa) – Marshall photographed one of these incredibly long, slender snakes which almost fell on his head as he sat under a shelter at Tapanti. I'm a bit jealous as I've never seen this one.
AMERICAN CROCODILE (Crocodylus acutus)
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus)
CANE TOAD (Bufo marinus)
SMOOTH-SKINNED TOAD (Bufo haematicus)
SMOKY JUNGLE FROG (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) – The largest frog in the country. We saw several during our night walk at La Selva, including one very large female!
MASKED TREE FROG (Smilisca phaeota) – One during the night walk at La Selva.
MEXICAN TREE FROG (Smilisca baudinii) – The lethargic frog we found on the floor of the restaurant at La Quinta.
BLACK RIVER TURTLE (Rhinoclemmys funereal)


Totals for the tour: 502 bird taxa and 19 mammal taxa