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Field Guides Tour Report
Costa Rica 2019
Mar 16, 2019 to Mar 31, 2019
Jay VanderGaast

Sunbitterns are cool birds, and it's exciting to just see one, but finding one sitting on a nest is a special sight. Look closely, and you can see the chick peeking out from the female's breast feathers; the male was nearby as well. We found this family near Rancho Naturalista; this was just one of the wonderful sights we had during the tour! Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

I've been showing people the birds of Costa Rica for over 25 years now, returning every year since spending 6 years as the resident guide at Rancho Naturalista. Which may lead people to wonder if I ever tire of showing people the same birds, year after year after year. Do I tire of starting a morning on Rancho's back porch, coffee in hand, watching the parade of birds visiting the many feeders? Do I grow weary of tracking down antpittas and antthrushes inside the forests of Carara. Do I get bored watching quetzals in the high mountain forests in the Savegre valley? Of La Selva night walks, of boat trips on the Rio Tarcoles, of hikes through the cloud forests in Monteverde? My only answer to all this is "Are you crazy? This is awesome!" Who could ever get bored of birding in this avian paradise? Certainly not me, and if you want nearly 500 reasons why, just keep on reading to the end of this list.

The most difficult thing about these trips is what I'm doing right now: trying to write this report without repeating what I've said numerous times before, without resorting to all the same old superlatives I've used a hundred times on past trip lists. Wonderful, fantastic, amazing, incredible, unbeatable, etc... these words will likely appear time and again for a simple reason, the things their describing are all that and more. This is just the kind of place where incredible, amazing, etc sightings are an everyday occurrence, so you'll just need to accept that you might be seeing these words a lot. That said, I'l try not to repeat myself too much as I summarize a handful of some of the highlights here.

As always, we started off on the Caribbean side of the country, with a visit to La Selva Reserve, one of the premier lowland forest sites in the country. Despite the almost constant threat of rain, we really weren't hampered by it, and the cooler temperatures meant that bird activity didn't really slow down as much as usual here. Lowland specialties, from Great Green Macaw and Semiplumbeous Hawk, to Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and Snowy Cotinga, all showed beautifully, and we had our first encounters with representatives of many typical tropical families, including trogons, toucans, motmots, jacamars, and puffbirds. Memorably, our first sighting of the last family was of a pair of Pied Puffbirds sharing a tree with our first sloth! We also enjoyed a great night walk here, with an excellent assortment of herps, including some gaudy Red-eyed Leaf-frogs, a Fer-de-lance, and my lifer Cloudy Snail-eater!

Next we moved into the Caribbean foothills, first with a visit to Braulio Carrillo NP, followed by a stay at Rancho Naturalista. Braulio is often a tough place to bird, and the weather wasn't the best, but we came away with some key species from there, including the very local Lattice-tailed Trogon, Spotted Antbird, Streak-crowned Antvireo, and Tawny-crested and Blue-and gold tanagers, the latter which I hadn't seen for a long time. Meanwhile, Rancho gave us a trio of flashy manakins (White-crowned, White-collared, and White-ruffed), speedy Snowcaps, and a fantastic encounter with a pair of showy Sunbitterns.

We crossed over to the Pacific side, dropping into the scenic Savegre valley for a couple of nights, with a load of Chiriqui endemics in our sights. Of course, we enjoyed plenty of great looks at a bunch of the flashier, and generally easier species, beauties like Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Flame-throated Warbler, and Collared Redstart. But we also had some super encounters with some of the trickier species, including Dusky Nightjar, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Buffy Tuftedcheek, and a couple of serious skulkers--Wrenthrush and Silvery-fronted Tapaculo. The latter bird was unusually easy this trip, in fact, giving us some of the best views I've ever had of this bird! Not to be forgotten are the most iconic residents of the valley, the stunning Resplendent Quetzals. Not only did we share the usual early morning sightings with dozens of other visitors to the valley, but we had a couple of wonderful, private sightings, including a nest-building pair we found right near our hotel on one early morning walk!

The Pacific lowlands were next up, and as always there were far too many highlights there to do anything but scratch the surface here, but there were a few that stood out more than any others. First was that amazing, gawky Common Potoo chick, perched on a roadside fence post, that we saw during our drive up the coast, thanks to a friend of Vernon's. Super looks at a gliding King Vulture (from above!) were much appreciated, as were all those gorgeous manakins: Red-capped and Blue-crowned bathing at the little stream crossing, Orange-collared and Long-tailed showing well inside the forest. A superb army ant swarm in a good viewing area gave us great looks at a bunch of otherwise difficult birds, including Black-faced Antthrush, Bicolored Antbird, and Chiriqui Foliage-gleaner, recently elevated to species level status. Another ant-critter was pretty unforgettable, too: an incredibly unperturbed Streak-chested Antpitta feeding just a few feet away on the trail ahead of us! It amazes me how bold these birds have gotten here. Other local highlights ranged from day-roosting Black-and-white Owls, to a calling Pacific Screech-owl at dusk, to a tiny American Pygmy-Kingfisher and some wacky Boat-billed Herons during our excellent boat trip.

We finished up with a quick visit to the cloud forests of Monteverde, where we're always down to just a handful of targets. One of those is a big one, the unique Three-wattled Bellbird. Things really didn't look good for us, as the drizzly weather kept the birds from calling, but we waited out the rain, and were rewarded with the fantastic sight of one of these bizarre cotingas calling loudly from his canopy perch. Once that was in the bag, we could concentrate on some secondary targets, and while the hoped-for Black-breasted Wood-Quail remained stubbornly silent, we made up for those by tallying exceptional views of some close Chiriqui Quail-Doves, a cooperative pair of Gray-throated Leaftossers, lovely Rufous-and-white Wrens, and a brilliant male Golden-browed Chlorophonia.

All in all, this was another wonderful visit to this fabulous, friendly country, my home away from home. Many thanks to my awesome colleague and friend, Vernon, for not only getting us safely and efficiently everywhere we needed to be, but also for spotting many excellent things, not to mention just being great company on the trip. Thanks also are due to Caroline in the Field Guides office, and Sonia at our ground agent's office, for flawless handling of the tour logistics, allowing for another smooth run of this tour. My final thanks go to all of you for joining me on this adventure. It was a real pleasure, and I look forward to another adventure with all of you in the future!


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

We were told about this Common Potoo chick by a friend of Vernon, and we made a special detour to see it. Photo by participant Eric Dudley.

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) – One bird each at La Selva and Carara. At both places, these usually timid birds have gotten completely habituated to humans. The one at Carara was sitting a few yards off the path, and it could hardly be bothered to get up when we stopped for a look. [E]
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) – Heard in second growth at La Selva. [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A small flock of 5 birds flew by at the Angosturra Reservoir, and a bunch were at the ponds north of the Tarcoles River.
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – A couple of pairs of these large ducks were in the river along the Quebrada Bonita trail at Carara, and yes, they were truly wild birds!
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – A couple on the Angosturra Reservoir were the only ducks close enough to identify there. [b]
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – A bunch of these were at the fruit feeders at Rancho, and a trio were found on a couple of days in a fruiting tree at the Fonda Vela.
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – Another large, edible species that has gotten quite used to people and is much easier to see than in the past. We had these tree turkeys at La Selva, Rancho (at the army ant swarm!), and Carara.
BLACK GUAN (Chamaepetes unicolor) – Excellent looks at a trio of these on the road above Orosi, then saw them again at the Santa Elena Reserve, where one bird performed the crackling flight display almost right overhead. What a great sound!
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra) – One of our big targets on our second morning at La Selva, and Joel did a great job of finding a couple of different males calling from high up in the canopy.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
BLACK-BREASTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus leucolaemus) – I've never had such a hard time with this species at Monteverde. They just weren't vocal, and I suspect that they were on nests, as usually they are calling a lot. We did hear one pair call once at Curi-Cancha, but that was it. [*]
SPOTTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus guttatus) – Heard a few times in the upper Savegre Valley. [*]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – A couple of birds on the Angosturra Reservoir.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Just a few birds around Puerto Viejo. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Fairly common in the Caribbean lowlands; seen best at the fruit feeders at Cope's house.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – This gorgeous pigeon is quite scarce in the La Selva region, so I was surprised to find one teed up on a treetop along the entrance road, and even more surprised to find a second bird right over the road, looking like it was starting work on a nest.
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – The common large pigeon in most areas we visited, though generally rare in lowland areas. One bird inside the forest at Carara was a real surprise. I'm not sure I've ever seen one in the area before, let alone inside the forest.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – Flocks were seen a few times in the Savegre valley, though our first were above Orosi and we also had some at Curi-Cancha.
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) – Very similar to the next species, and most easily told by voice, though they do mostly separate out by elevation, with this species preferring higher areas (though they do overlap at some sites). We had our best views of a trio of them feeding on the ground in the oak forest above Savegre Lodge.
SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris) – This one prefers lowland areas, and we saw our only ones at La Selva, though we also heard their distinctive song at Carara.
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – Surprisingly few in the Carara region, including, oddly, a single bird in the canopy inside the forest!

Always a favorite, and for good reason! We had several encounters with the amazing Resplendent Quetzal. Photo by participant Mary K. Elfman.

COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina) – A few birds along the Guacimo Road, but like the Inca Dove and the next species, these small doves were pretty scarce this trip.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – A few birds only in the Caribbean lowlands. Where the heck were they all on the Pacific side?
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana) – Only a few of us caught a quick look at a furtive female along the trails at Carara.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – The commonest of the doves in this genus, and we saw them at several sites.
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassinii) – We saw both subspecies of this dove, with the Caribbean race cerviniventris showing well at La Selva and under the feeders at Rancho, and the Pacific race, rufinucha, seen very well on the trail behind Villa Lapas.
BUFF-FRONTED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon costaricensis) – Only Jay and I caught a brief look as this one scurried off across the forest floor at Curi-Cancha.
CHIRIQUI QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon chiriquensis) – I saw one of these dash across the trail behind us at Curi-Cancha, so we quickly moved into a good position and lured it back towards us. It wasn't long before the bird sauntered out onto the trail, right beside where I'd left my scope, and we got amazing looks at it as it crossed to the other side, followed shortly by a second bird. Always nice to see these shy doves so well.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – This species has expanded its range greatly in the country in recent years. We only used to see them in the northwest, as they were pretty much restricted to that region. Not so now, and we saw them on about half the days of the tour.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Seen from the bus as we drove around San Isidro, where this it the only ani species present.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – The more widespread ani on this tour route, and we saw them in scrubby areas at several sites.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – A common bird, but I feel like we saw fewer than usual this trip. We did get some good views however, especially of that bird along the fenceline next to the road in the Orosi valley.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis semitorquatus) – This nighthawk has a very distinctive flight profile, as we saw when one flew by overhead a couple of times as we watched from the suspension bridge at La Selva at dusk.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Great looks at a pair on the ground near the dining hall at La Selva on our night walk there.
DUSKY NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus saturatus) – This specialty gave a great performance in the Savegre valley, as it sat on the power line right over us and sang! What a view!
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) – A day roosting bird near Cope's house was fantastic, and it looked to me like it was sitting on a nest, so it's likely to be there for a while.
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – A friend of Vernon's had told him about this bird so we made a short detour during our drive up the coast to look for it. I'm glad we did, as we found the bird, a juvenile, sitting on a roadside fence post where it no doubt had spent its entire life to date.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – Swifts were in short supply this trip, and even this common, large species wasn't seen very often. We saw only some high-flying birds around La Selva, then another flock hurtling overhead as we walked down from the oak forest in the Savegre valley.
VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi) – A few birds around Monteverde were all we tallied.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – The small swifts over the clearing at La Selva were these ones, and I think at least a couple of you got to see the gray rumps as they banked.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – The most common hummingbird at the feeders at Rancho and at Cope's house.
BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri) – We had a few suspected ones around the La Selva area, but none paused long enough for a definitive view. Luckily, we found a couple of much better behaved birds feeding at heliconia blossoms on the grounds of Villa Lapas hotel.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – A hermit of middle elevation forests. We saw a few of these at each such site we visited, but probably had our best looks at the feeders at La Paz.
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris) – Great looks at this one at Cope's feeders, and we had a few looks around the Carara region, too.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – The smallest of the hermits, this little bandit was seen at various flowers at a number of different sites, perhaps best at the flowering verbena hedge at Rancho.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – A single of this uncommon species was a surprise at the feeders at Tolomuco Lodge. I think it was the first one I'd seen there.
LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus) – Formerly Green Violetear. A very common highland hummingbird that we saw both in the Savegre valley and at Monteverde.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – I had just glanced at the time as we watched the hummingbird pools at Rancho, and declared that a fairy should be showing up at pool #3 within the next 5 minutes, and sure enough, one showed up just a couple of minutes later! I was showing off a bit, but it comes from having spent countless hours here in the past and knowing the birds' tendencies.
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii) – Most of the ones we saw were at Rancho, where they area common feeder bird.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – We only saw them on our first day out at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, but we did have fantastic looks at a couple of each sex at the feeders there.

Participant Jay Pruett got a wonderful portrait of the Great Tinamou that we saw at Carara.

GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula) – I think all of the ones we saw were at various feeders at La Paz, Tolomuco, and Monteverde.
TALAMANCA HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes spectabilis) – This is the new name for what used to be Magnificent Hummingbird, which was recently split into two species. This is a common denizen of higher altitudes, and we saw plenty in the Savegre valley.
PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster constantii) – A bird on a nest right next to the road as we left the Central Valley on our first morning. We thought it was a Long-billed at first, and our photographs seemed to back this up, but a video that was taken by the people that found the nest clearly show it was this species. [N]
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis) – Another Chiriqui highland specialty. We had some amazing views of these at the feeders at Miriam's Restaurant in the Savegre valley.
WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis hemileucus) – Not a common bird on the tour route, but we had great views of a single male at the feeders at the La Paz Waterfall Garden.. Good thing, too, as our only other site for this species was at Tapanti, and we weren't able to get there because of the bridge conditions!
PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis calolaemus) – Common at the feeders both at La Paz and Monteverde.
WHITE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (GRAY-TAILED) (Lampornis castaneoventris cinereicauda) – The females of this and the Purple-throated Mountain-gem are almost identical, though the males are very different. This species is mainly at higher elevations as well, and we had good numbers in the Savegre valley as well as at Tolomuco.
MAGENTA-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox bryantae) – This species wanders around quite a bit, though at this time of year there are usually a few up at the feeders around Monteverde, and that's where we saw our only ones yet again.
VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula) – As its name suggests, this is another highland specialty which we only encountered in the Savegre valley and the surrounding areas.
SCINTILLANT HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus scintilla) – We only had one this trip, a female in the gardens at Tolomuco Lodge. Very similar to female Volcano Hummingbird, but shows more rufous in the flanks and tail, and generally at lower elevations, though they do overlap.
GARDEN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon assimilis) – Gary and I saw a female of this hummer from the balcony of the restaurant where we stopped for lunch near San Isidro.
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti) – Great looks at a bird at Cope's feeders, and a couple the following day at the old butterfly garden, despite the fact that the area had just been sprayed with an herbicide which seemed to have drive off most of the hummingbirds that usually frequent the flowering hedges there.
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – A single one of these large, drab hummingbirds was in gallery forest along the Guacimo Road.
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – Large and impressive, this bulky hummer was seen very well at a number of sites, mainly at feeders.
BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia) – A relatively uncommon lowland hummingbird. We found a male perched among some heliconia flowers along the La Selva entrance road, then saw a couple of others at Cope's feeders. I still much prefer the old name "Red-footed Plumeleteer", which I feel better highlights one of its most distinctive features.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – Our first few encounters (Cope's feeders, old butterfly garden) were only with females, but we did finally catch up with some stunning males at Rancho, where they were most memorably seen as they bathed in the hummingbird pools in the late afternoon.
STRIPE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa eximia) – A female was seen in the gardens at Tolomuco Lodge, then a few others at the feeders in the Monteverde area. The distinctive rufous patch in the wings is a distinctive feature shared only by this species and the next among the regularly occurring hummingbirds in the country (the rare Blue-tailed Hummingbird, a vagrant to CR, also has this feature).
BLACK-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa nigriventris) – As with the White-bellied Mountain-gem, this species was only seen at the La Paz feeders, and otherwise would only have been likely at Tapanti. Unlike the mountain-gem, this bird was quite numerous at La Paz.
WHITE-TAILED EMERALD (Elvira chionura) – Tolomuco Lodge is the only possible place for this tiny specialty on our tour route, and we were fortunate to get good views of a lone female during our limited time there.
COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD (Elvira cupreiceps) – One of the very few Costa Rican endemic birds, this little hummer was a fixture at the feeders both at La Paz and Monteverde. [E]

King Vulture was a bird that many of you wanted to see, and we certainly had a great look at this massive creature! Photo by participant Eric Dudley.

SNOWCAP (Microchera albocoronata) – Most of us missed the male that put in a brief appearance at the flowering verbena at the old butterfly garden, but our visit to Rancho fixed that, and we all got some great views of this unique, tiny hummer, including those memorable ones bathing in the hummingbird pools.
STEELY-VENTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia saucerottei) – Good scope views of a couple of these at a flowering tree along Guacimo Road.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – One of the most widespread of the hummingbirds, and one we were all very familiar with by tour's end.
CINNAMON HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia rutila) – A couple of these pretty hummers were well-seen along Guacimo Road, and another in the mangroves at Punta Caldera on our way back to San Jose.
BLUE-THROATED GOLDENTAIL (Hylocharis eliciae) – Just one sighting of a male in a flowering tree (an Inga, if I recall correctly) along the La Selva entrance road.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
RUSSET-NAPED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides albiventris) – With the Gray-necked Wood-Rail recently being split into two, Costa Rica gained another species as both of the new species occur in the country, though there is some uncertainty about the exact ranges of the two, and there does appear to be some overlap in some areas. In any case, this is the one we saw at La Selva, feeding along the trail in the secondary forest.
GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – The other half of the split, this form is mainly restricted to the Pacific side of the country. We had excellent looks at a pair that crossed Guacimo Road in front of us, and they even performed their raucous calls for the group.
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) – A real pain, as always, and though we drew in one bird quite close, we never did lay eyes on it. [*]
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – We heard the distinctive, far-carrying cry of this unique species at the Angosturra Reservoir. [*]
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus bistriatus) – Vernon spotted a pair of these in the scrubby pasture at the turnoff to Villa Lapas, and we saw them there several times over the next couple of days, as well as finding several birds along Guacimo Road.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – Three birds at the roadside pond north of the Rio Tarcoles bridge were all we had this time.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Just one pair of these large plovers were seen on the beach during our boat trip on the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Three in the pastures at the Hacienda Oriente, a couple by the ponds on our way up the coast to Villa Lapas, and at least 7 birds at the pond north of the Rio Tarcoles. This species was first recorded in the country back in 1997, but has spread pretty rapidly since that time.
COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris) – Just one bird, spotted nicely by Eric on a sand bank along the Tarcoles River.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) – A couple of birds in the pasture next to the grocery store we stopped at in Cartago. [b]
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa) – Just a couple of birds in the water hyacinth on the Angosturra Reservoir, then about half a dozen, including a couple of juveniles, at the ponds en route as we headed up the coast to Villa Lapas.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – Seen only during the boat tour, during which we tallied at least 30 of these curlews. [b]
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – A lone bird among a bunch of Sanderlings on the beach at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – A flock of about 60 of these were at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – About 10 along the Rio Tarcoles during our boat tour. [b]

This stunning Red-headed Barbet put in a great appearance at Tolomuco Lodge. Photo by participant Mary K. Elfman.

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – One group of 13 birds on the mudflats along the Rio Tarcoles during the boat tour. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – At least 50 in the big gull/tern flock at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles.
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – Generally the most common tern in the country. We estimated 150+ of these in the large mixed flock at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – The next most common tern in the country, and there were roughly half as many of these as the Royal Terns in the flock.
ELEGANT TERN (Thalasseus elegans) – Never numerous, but sometimes there are a few of these mixed in with large flocks of Royal Terns, so it's worth checking carefully. We picked out at least 4 of these among all the other terns.
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) – We failed to see a bird that was calling near the restaurant of our hotel near Orosi until it flew off of the balcony it was perched on, though the flight views were not bad. But we did much better below Rancho Naturalista, where we enjoyed stunning views of a bird preening on a boulder in the middle of the river, showing off its spectacular wings to full effect. It was only after we'd been watching this bird for a while that I realized we were standing right across from a rather obscured nest. We got some quick looks and photos of the female and chick as they sat motionless, watching us, before we moved off so as not to disturb them too much. As always, a real highlight, and it was picked by Gary as his favorite bird of the trip. [N]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – A few birds daily in the Pacific lowlands.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – About 25 of these were feeding over the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – A handful of these were seen at several different sites in the lowlands on both slopes.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Seen only along the Rio Tarcoles, where we only had about half a dozen.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – Only at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles, where large numbers were feeding and roosting. We estimated about 120 birds.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum) – Super looks at an adult along a small river on our way from La Quinta to Braulio Carrillo.
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – First seen along the Police Station Road near La Selva where Mary Kay spotted one in a wet pasture. On the Pacific side we saw them daily, including a nest with a couple of large juveniles in the large tree above the reception building, a spot they've nested in regularly. [N]
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – Half a dozen or so along the Rio Tarcoles.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Widespread in small numbers in the lowlands on both slopes.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Also widespread in wetland areas on both slopes.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Seen in small numbers in all the same places as the two preceding egrets.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Only along the Rio Tarcoles, where we saw about 10 of these lovely herons.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Pretty common wherever there were cattle or horses present.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – Seen only at the Angosturra Reservoir (3 birds) and the ponds near Parrita along the coast (a single bird). Surprisingly none along the Rio Tarcoles.

A highlight of the tour was this little Streak-chested Antpitta that came within a few feet of us. What fun it was to watch this little imp feeding practically at our feet! Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – A stunning, breeding-plumaged adult was along the Sunbittern river below Rancho.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – Surprisingly few along the Rio Tarcoles (only two juveniles), where they can be numerous at times.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – Good looks at a couple of these bizarre herons roosting in the mangroves along the canal during our boat tour.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – Good numbers (about 25) along the Rio Tarcoles.
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – A lone bird at the pond near Parrita was unusual along this part of the coast in the country. They are regular both to the north and south of here, but there seem to be very few records in the zone between these two populations.
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – A couple of birds feeding along a track, seen from the La Selva entrance road. Our first looks at the Russet-naped Wood-Rails were here also, though we saw those better later in the morning.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Five of these were at the pond to the north of the Rio Tarcoles bridge, and we also saw 3 during our boat tour on the river.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – As several folks really wanted to see this bird, we made a trip up the hill behind the Villa Lapas in hopes of catching one there. It didn't seem promising at first, as there was little activity in the heat of the late morning, but after a fairly long wait, Mary Kay picked out an adult flying in the valley below our viewpoint, and we all got wonderful views as it gained altitude and made a couple of passes in front of us. This was Eric's pick as bird of the trip.
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Hard to miss, and we never did, other than that first afternoon at the Bougainvillea.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Every day, even on that first afternoon.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Only at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles, where there were about half a dozen fishing, successfully. [b]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – Our only one was a bird perched along the roadside in the pineapple plantations en route to La Quinta.
HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus) – Quick views of a bird flying away from us in the Orosi Valley.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – Surprisingly few of this usually common species, but the rainy conditions at some ideal locations certainly didn't help. We did see about a dozen at the Rio Macho Reserve above Orosi, and also had some fantastic looks at several circling low overhead at Tolomuco Lodge, but I usually expect to see more and at more sites.
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – Heard only at the forest trails above Savegre Lodge. [*]
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis) – Scope views of a couple of birds at the Angosturra Reservoir. Both this species and Limpkin were previously unknown (or extremely scarce) in this region, but the formation of the lake in 1999 and the arrival of apple snails in the region obviously benefitted these two snail-loving species.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus) – A brief flyover at the King Vulture overlook above Villa Lapas was our only one this trip.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – A pair circled above the canal during our Rio Tarcoles boat trip, but didn't stick around for long. [a]
BICOLORED HAWK (Accipiter bicolor) – What was almost certainly this species was seen flying over the road on the way to Tapanti, but we lost it in the trees before we could get off the bus for a better look. We did get a couple of brief looks at the resident birds at Rancho, with one spooking off the trail as we rounded a bend and surprised it as it was sunbathing, and another making a pass over the hummingbird pools as we watched the bathing birds.
CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens) – Good scope looks at a bird perched in a bare tree during a pre-breakfast walk on the grounds of the Villa Lapas.

Purple-throated Mountain-Gem was a common sight at the feeders in Monteverde and La Paz. Photo by participant Mary K. Elfman.

COMMON BLACK HAWK (MANGROVE) (Buteogallus anthracinus subtilis) – A couple of handsome adults gave us nice views as they perched in the mangroves during our boat tour.
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – A perched juvenile was scoped along the roadside near Virgen del Socorro.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Our first of several sightings was a lone bird along the La Selva entrance road that was being harassed by a pair of Masked Tityras.
SEMIPLUMBEOUS HAWK (Leucopternis semiplumbeus) – One of the lowland specialties we were hoping to find at La Selva, and we wound up with excellent looks at one of these lovely hawks along the STR trail.
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – Our only sighting of this usually common species was of a roadside adult near Virgen del Socorro on our first morning.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – We had plenty of sightings of this common wintering species, though we missed the huge migration spectacle we usually get at this time of year. [b]
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – Just two sightings in the Carara region, one from the bus on our way to Guacimo Road, the other at the King Vulture overlook above Villa Lapas. Both birds were light morph individuals.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Eric spotted one flying over the mangroves during our boat trip, but only a couple of us saw it before it disappeared.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – Just one bird in the Savegre valley on our way down from the forest trails above Savegre Lodge. The resident birds here belong to the race costaricensis, which is endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and Panama.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – Nice looks at a lone bird on a day roost in the town of Paraiso. It always amazes me that these birds roost in such busy areas, especially when there are also many noisy Crimson-fronted Parakeets around.
Strigidae (Owls)
BARE-SHANKED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops clarkii) – Super looks at one of a calling pair in the cloud forest above Orosi on our night outing there.
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – A lonely bird (its mate apparently had been killed a while ago) on its day roost in the park in Paraiso.
PACIFIC SCREECH-OWL (Megascops cooperi) – Our plan to stay out along Guacimo Road until dusk worked perfectly, and this bird, our main quarry that evening, came in and showed off beautifully, and more importantly, quickly!
CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata) – Joel, our guide at La Selva, tracked down one of these on a day roost, though they'd been missing from this roost site for a week or so before our arrival. This made up nicely for the one we heard calling directly overhead the previous evening during our night walk.
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) – Wonderful scope looks at a very alert day-roosting bird near Cope's home. It even performed its deep, throbbing call for us one time.
COSTA RICAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium costaricanum) – We had one calling close in the late afternoon in the upper Savegre valley, but we just couldn't spot it at first. Luckily, Vernon eventually managed to track it down through a very small window in the foliage, and we managed to get the scope on it. Good thing, as it was very difficult to see without the scope.
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – Great looks at a calling bird on our first night in the country, right behind the hotel, then even better looks at one along Guacimo Road, sitting out in the open at eye level in broad daylight.
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) – Our 10th and final owl species. After hearing it nightly at Rancho (but not seeing it there) we were resigned to tracking it down at our Monteverde hotel, and that's just what we did, with the help of another birding group that was also looking for it. We got nice looks at a calling pair after dinner one night, then had good scope views of a day roosting bird the next morning at Curi-Cancha Reserve.
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – Vernon knew of a roosting pair near Tarcoles, so after our boat trip, we drove to the spot and quickly had a pair of these gorgeous owls in our sights!
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno) – Always one of the big targets in the Savegre valley, and we did very well again. In addition to enjoying one with a crowd of other people on the traditional pre-breakfast outing, we also got to find some of our own. First, we had mouth-watering looks at a pair along the forest trails above Savegre Lodge; we eventually had to just walk away from those beauties. Then, as icing on the cake, we found a pair excavating a nest hole right outside our hotel on an early morning walk the next day. Both Jay and Mary Kay chose quetzal as their favorite bird of the tour.

One of the birds that people want to see in the tropics is the Three-wattled Bellbird, and we got to see and hear this one well! Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

LATTICE-TAILED TROGON (Trogon clathratus) – Braulio Carrillo NP hosts a whole bunch of birds that we have no other chance of seeing on this tour, but it's a tough place to bird, and there's no guarantee we'll get any of them. This local species has been especially tricky on recent tours, so I was really pleased to hear one calling close, and even more pleased to ultimately be able to track it down for some awesome views! It's been three years since I last saw one here!
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – Though we somewhat surprisingly missed this species at Carara this year, we did have a few good looks at them at La Selva, so it wasn't a big deal.
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus) – I thought we were actually going to miss this normally common species, but we pulled one out at the last moment in the mangroves near Punta Caldera on our way back in to San Jose, giving us a clean sweep of all the possible trogons on the trip.
BAIRD'S TROGON (Trogon bairdii) – Two different pairs of this handsome Pacific lowland specialty gave us really nice views along the Sendero Meandrico at Carara.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – A few of us had a male on the grounds of La Quinta as we were about to meet for our afternoon outing. Everyone else had to wait until we got to the Pacific side of the country to catch up with it, and we did that easily, with good looks at them on the grounds of the Villa Lapas.
BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) – This smallish trogon is generally found inside lowland forest, where it tends to perch very low. We had several wonderful encounters with them both at La Selva and Carara.
ORANGE-BELLIED TROGON (Trogon aurantiiventris) – Kind of a dubious species in my view, and I am not convinced this isn't just a color morph of the next species. Whatever the case, it is currently treated as a good species, and we had a couple of good views of them in the Monteverde area.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – Our first trogon of the trip, making the list early on at Virgen del Socorro, where we had a female. Our only other sightings were of a couple of males at the Rio Macho Reserve above Orosi.
Momotidae (Motmots)
LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii lessonii) – Formerly Blue-crowned Motmot. We had a couple of these around the Bougainvillea, then saw them regularly and very well, around our Monteverde hotel.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – The largest of the motmots, this handsome species gave us excellent views a couple of times at La Selva.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) – Pretty common and easy to see at La Selva, where we had several sightings. We also heard this species at Rancho Naturalista, where they seem to be making a bit of a comeback after having disappeared there for several years.
TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (Eumomota superciliosa) – Quite common in the dry northwest, and we saw the majority of ours there along Guacimo Road, though we also had one or two (tailless) birds at Carara.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – One of these massive kingfishers perched nicely on a wire over the pond near Parrita, another flew past along Guacimo Road.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – At least 4 different birds along the Rio Tarcoles during the boat trip. [b]
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – The largest of the green-backed kingfishers. We had just a couple: one on the wire over the ponds near Parrita (same place as the Ringed KF), and one in the mangroves during the boat trip.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – This tiny kingfisher can be tricky to spot, as it tends to sit quietly back inside the mangroves where it is hard to see, but Mary Kay impressed everyone by spotting a female during the boat trip, and we all got on it after it relocated to the other side of the canal.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – The most often seen kingfisher, with singles on three days on the Caribbean slope (La Selva, Angosturra Reservoir, and the Sunbittern river) and at least three during our boat trip on the Rio Tarcoles.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) – Heard a couple of times at La Selva, but we couldn't track it down there, but we fared better at Carara with great looks at a pair along the start of the Quebrada Bonita Trail.
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – How often do you get to use a sloth as a landmark to get folks on a bird? Well that was the case with this bird, a pair of which turned up in the same tree in which we'd just spotted our first sloth along the La Selva entrance road.
WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis) – Though our first was at La Selva, we arguably had our best views of these at Carara, where we just kept running into them. We saw 10 birds over our 3 days there, including one right on the grounds of Villa Lapas.

This lovely male Snowcap posed for participant Jay Pruett. We had some great views of these tiny, special hummingbirds at Rancho Naturalista.

Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – We did well with jacamars, getting great looks at them both at La Selva and Carara.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii) – A male I spotted at Rio Macho got away before I could get anyone else on it, so it was especially sweet to get such good looks at another male at the fruit feeders at Tolomuco Lodge.
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
PRONG-BILLED BARBET (Semnornis frantzii) – A pair at the feeders at La Cinchona gave their odd duet song a couple of times for us, and we saw several in the Monteverde region.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
NORTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis) – Though we had quite a few sightings throughout the highland areas, those first looks at 3 of them at the La Cinchona fruit feeders were simply unbeatable.
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – Plenty of great views in the Caribbean lowlands, including a trio at the feeders at La Quinta, but we just had a single bird at Rancho, where they are usually more common.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Lots of these large toucans in the lowlands of both slopes.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – Small numbers around the La Selva region, though outnumbered by the Yellow-throated Toucan there. We also had some great looks at these both at Rancho, as well as on the grounds of our Monteverde hotel.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – Gregarious and quite numerous in the oak forests in the Savegre valley, with some especially great looks at half a dozen at the feeders at Miriam's Restaurant.
GOLDEN-NAPED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes chrysauchen) – One of several specialties of the southern Pacific lowlands. This is not always an easy bird here, but we had good luck with them, getting one on a late morning walk at Villa Lapas, then getting scope looks at another that same afternoon at Carara, a good catch up bird for those that skipped the morning walk.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani) – Pretty common in the Caribbean lowlands, and more tolerant of disturbed forest than the above species, which is mainly in good quality forest. We saw them most days at La Selva and Rancho.
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – Good looks at a male in a fruiting tree below our lunch restaurant near San Isidro. This species replaces Hoffmann's Woodpecker in the southern part of the country, though the two do overlap in some areas, and hybrids are not uncommon. Though we didn't see any at Villa Lapas, the ones there seem to be mainly hybrids.
HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii) – Very common in the dry northwest and the Central Valley, both places we saw them in good numbers. We also had a female at Cope's fruit feeders, which was a surprise, as the species is quite rare in the Caribbean lowlands.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus) – This form of Hairy Woodpecker (race extimus) is smaller and browner below than the races most of us are familiar with further north. We had a couple in the Savegre valley, one along the oak forest trails above Savegre Lodge, the other at the fruit feeders at Miriam's Restaurant.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus) – Lisa spotted our first of these small woodpeckers, a female just over the road at Virgen del Socorro. We ran into them again a few days later on an early morning walk on the grounds of our Orosi hotel.
PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis) – We had excellent views of this large woodpecker, a close relative of Ivory-billed Woodpecker, both at La Selva and Carara.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – A few scattered sightings over the first half of the tour were kicked off by a great look at a male in a dead tree on our very first afternoon near the Bougainvillea Hotel.
CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus) – Wonderful close views of one of these along the Police Station Road near La Selva. Not always an easy bird to see, as they often tend to stay up in the forest canopy, but once in a while you get lucky with one more out in the open, as we did.
CHESTNUT-COLORED WOODPECKER (Celeus castaneus) – The beautiful coloration and the floppy crest of this woodpecker make it a favorite for many. It also tends to feed quite low, where it is much easier to see than the Cinnamon WP. We had several nice views of these on our first morning at La Selva.
RUFOUS-WINGED WOODPECKER (Piculus simplex) – Heard on our first morning along the La Selva entrance road, but it kept its distance. [*]
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – We really struggled with this bird on this trip, and it wasn't until our final morning at Curi-Cancha Reserve that we finally tracked one down near the hummingbird feeders.

The fancy White-throated Magpie-Jay was a favorite that we saw in a couple of locations. Participant Mary K. Elfman missed the first ones, but got a great photo of one of the second set that we found.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BARRED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur ruficollis) – Heard in the late afternoon near Monteverde, and we managed to lure it in but just couldn't see it in the fading light. It even somehow snuck across the road without us seeing! [*]
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Few this trip, with just one flying over at La Selva, another at Tolomuco Lodge, and a couple more chasing each other around at the ponds north of the Rio Tarcoles bridge.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – First seen near the Bougainvillea, where they have become regular after first turning up there a few years ago. Seen again several times along the Pacific coast. First recorded in Costa Rica in 1973, and has rapidly spread northward in Central America, with records from both Honduras and El Salvador. Like Southern Lapwing, it may just be a matter of time before one shows up in the USA.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – Heard a few times, but never close enough to see, though I thought we might get those ones at Villa Lapas. [*]
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – A couple along the main road near Virgen del Socorro on our first morning, then another at the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles during our boat tour. The latter one was eating a recently caught bird, though we couldn't identify the prey to species.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – Our first were a pair entering a nest (or roosting) hole during a roadside stop on our way to La Quinta the first day, but the best views came at Cope's, where a pair came down to feed on some papaya and banana at the fruit feeders.
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – We sure heard these a lot, and at a bunch of different places, but it sure did take a long time to get everyone a clean look at them. We did finally prevail with a good scope view of one at Carara, ending the frustration with these parrots.
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – Seen pretty regularly on the Caribbean slope, where it is generally the most common small parrot.
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – Seen daily in the Caribbean lowlands, starting with 4 birds feeding in a fruiting tree right over the road en route between Virgen del Socorro and La Quinta. We also heard and saw these a few times around Carara.
YELLOW-NAPED PARROT (Amazona auropalliata) – About half a dozen flew overhead during the boat trip, though I don't think anyone got a good look at their yellow napes.
WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons) – The smallest of the Amazona parrots, and the only one to show sexual dimorphism. We didn't fare all that well with these, though we had a couple of pairs fly over the grounds of the Fonda Vela in Monteverde.
MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa) – And this is the largest of the country's Amazonas. We saw just a single bird at La Selva, though at least we had a good scope view.
SULPHUR-WINGED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura hoffmanni) – A couple of flocks totaling about 20 birds flew over as we birded the Silent Mountain Road near Rancho, and we we also had some flybys on the trails above Savegre Lodge, but I don't recall ever getting any views of a perched one.
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (AZTEC) (Eupsittula nana astec) – Several sightings around La Selva included wonderful scope views of a pair allopreening in a dead tree above the bus parking area.
ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEET (Eupsittula canicularis) – Restricted to the dry northwest, and fairly common along Guacimo Road, where we saw about 20 of them.
GREAT GREEN MACAW (Ara ambiguus) – It's wonderful to see these birds with increasing regularity at La Selva; it wasn't that long ago that we missed them more often than not. We almost missed the first ones, as we were down the road from the bus when they flew in and landed nearly right beside the road, and they didn't make a sound. Luckily, Vernon had seen them arrive, and he called us back, allowing us great close views, though it was amazing how hard it was to pick them out of the foliage! All in all, we tallied about 20 of these magnificent birds, including one flock of 8 birds!
SCARLET MACAW (Ara macao) – As usual, there were plenty of these to be seen around Carara, and we had loads of good sightings, including great looks at a pair at a nest hole they have used for at least a couple of years.
CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET (Psittacara finschi) – Hard to miss these noisy birds as they were seen pretty much everywhere on the first half of the trip, though we had just one Pacific slope sighting of 9 birds flying over at the roadside pond near Parrita.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – This bird played a bit hard to get, but we ended up with nice looks at a male we'd lured in on the grounds of our Orosi area hotel.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Dave alerted us to this bird, a fine male, that he'd spotted during a roadside stop in the Orosi valley, and we managed to get everyone a great look at it. A good thing, too, as we only managed to see one other one during our Rio Tarcoles boat trip.

Orange-collared Manakins were rather quiet, but we found this gorgeous male perched close to his display arena. Photo by participant Eric Dudley.

BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha) – Formerly known as Western Slaty-Antshrike. We saw just one, a male that turned up almost right beside us, along the STR trail at La Selva.
BLACK-HOODED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bridgesi) – A southern Pacific specialty, and a pretty easy antshrike to see at Carara, where we had them daily.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus) – A canopy species, unlike all the other antshrikes in CR. We had quick views of single birds with mixed flocks both at Braulio Carrillo and on the Silent Mountain Road.
STREAK-CROWNED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus striaticeps) – One of the specialties and main targets at Braulio Carrillo. It had been a slow start to our morning there, but things started to pick up when Gary spotted a male near the trail, and it just got better from that point onward!
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) – Heard with a mixed flock at Rancho, but we never laid eyes on them. [*]
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – This antwren occurs at higher elevations than any other antwren in the country. We had decent looks at a pair in the Rio Macho Reserve, then again at the Santa Elena Reserve.
DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis) – A few sightings of these dapper antwrens on each visit to Carara, but I never did see a female, which is arguably better looking than the male of this species. He's not too shabby either, though.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina) – Heard several times on the Caribbean slope, but we ignored those, as they are so much easier to see in the open forest at Carara, and we once again had excellent looks at a couple of pairs there.
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Poliocrania exsul) – We heard the Caribbean slope nominate subspecies at Braulio Carrillo, though it just wouldn't show itself. We fared far better with the Pacific subspecies occidentalis, which showed well a bunch of times at Carara, including at the army ant swarm.
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Sipia laemosticta) – We heard these at Rancho's hummingbird pools, but they never came in to bathe. [*]
ZELEDON'S ANTBIRD (Hafferia zeledoni) – Heard a couple of times at Rancho and on the grounds of our Orosi hotel. [*]
BICOLORED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys bicolor bicolor) – The key to finding these birds is to find an active army ant swarm, and that's what we did, coming across a great swarm that was emerging on to the creek bed below the bridge at Carara, drawing a whole bunch of great birds out into the open, including a pair of these antbirds.
SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides) – It's been ages since I've seen one of these on this tour, so I was pretty excited to hear a couple begin to call as we birded at Braulio Carrillo. They weren't easy to see though, but we stuck with it, tracked one down a few times, and eventually got almost everyone pretty good views of this dapper little bird, one of my all-time favorites.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
STREAK-CHESTED ANTPITTA (Hylopezus perspicillatus) – Wow, were these birds ever tame at Carara. After initially seeing a couple of pretty confiding birds late one afternoon, we ran into another pair the next morning. In fact, we almost ran one of them over, as it just kept feeding in the middle of the trail, with us just a few feet away! It was quite fun watching it feeding, as it would crouch, then lunge at a leaf and quickly flip it over to grab something from underneath. I'm a big fan of antpittas, and this was my favorite bird of the trip.
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus argentifrons) – This is always a tough bird to see well, and I generally expect that we are unlikely to get our bins on one, but our only one this trip was unusually cooperative, and gave great views along the forest trails above Savegre Lodge. I think most everyone got it in their bins, and got to see the silvery brow, too!
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – Super looks at one that joined the many other birds at the army ant swarm at Carara.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
TAWNY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus mexicanus) – Heard by the hummingbird pools but it never did show up for a bath. [*]
GRAY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus albigularis) – A close pair of these birds was a nice find at Curi-Cancha Reserve, and it's always fun to see their feeding technique. They come by the name honestly!
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – The only one we saw was along the road at the Rio Macho Reserve, though we also heard these a few times in the Monteverde area.
LONG-TAILED WOODCREEPER (Deconychura longicauda) – Of all the woodcreepers on our checklist, this is the species I see the least often, so I was especially pleased to get such a good look at one in the late afternoon at Carara. Unlike other similar-sized woodcreepers, this one is usually found inside good quality forest.

Costa Rican Warbler is another Chiriqui endemic that we saw well. Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

TAWNY-WINGED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla anabatina) – The woodcreepers in this genus all regularly follow army ants, and both of our looks at these birds were at swarms in Carara. The first ones were at a small swarm which had very few followers along the Sendero Meandrica, the other pair at the much larger and better attended swarm that we saw from the bridge.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – Seen several times at both La Selva and Rancho, not at army ant swarms, but at least at Rancho, the moth light seemed to be a reasonable stand-in for the ants.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – A widespread species, and we had small numbers of these small woodcreepers at several sites.
NORTHERN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) – The largest of the woodcreepers that we encountered, this one was seen several times at both La Selva and Carara.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – Vocal at La Selva, but they stayed out of sight there. In fact, we saw very few of this common and widespread species, with just one sighting each at Rancho and Carara.
BLACK-STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) – Good views of this handsome, well-marked woodcreeper, at the far end of the Sendero Meandrico at Carara. I believe that was the first time I'd run into this species on that trail.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius) – A common, middle elevation bird, but they were pretty quiet this trip. Nesting, perhaps? Still, we saw them a handful of times at most of the middle elevation sites (Virgen del Socorro, Braulio Carrillo, Rancho, Santa Elena).
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – More tolerant of disturbed areas than most other woodcreepers, and often seen in quite open habitat. We had fairly regular sightings of them throughout.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – Seen at a number of sites, but I think our best sightings came at Carara, where we ran into these birds with several mixed feeding flocks.
BUFFY TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes lawrencii) – Every time I'm in the oak forest in the Savegre valley, I advise my groups to keep their eyes open for organic material being tossed out of large bromeliads, a sure sign that one of these great birds is foraging inside the bromeliad, as they are prone to doing. It sure paid off this year, as we spotted just such a scenario, and ended up with really nice looks at three different birds. Always one of my favorites!
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) – One was in the same flock as our first tuftedcheek, but it wasn't very friendly and I think it eluded at least half the group.
STREAK-BREASTED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes rufobrunneus) – We also had just one of these large foliage-gleaners, but this one showed quite well along the road in the Rio Macho Reserve.
BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (HYPOPHAEUS) (Automolus ochrolaemus hypophaeus) – A widespread tropical bird ranging from southern Mexico right down into Brazil. In CR, it is restricted to the Caribbean slope, where we saw it beautifully at the moth cloth at Rancho.
CHIRIQUI FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus exsertus) – This Pacific slope species was just recently split from Buff-throated FG, a split I'd been waiting for years to happen, as this is quite a different bird (especially vocally) from Buff-throated. We saw a couple at Carara, the best being the one that joined in at the feeding frenzy at the army ant swarm.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – We finally picked this small Furnariid up at the Santa Elena Reserve, after missing them at several other sites where they regularly occur.
RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus) – Good numbers with mixed feeding flocks in the Savegre valley, then a few more at the Santa Elena Reserve.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops) – We saw this arboreal spinetail at several middle elevation sites, beginning with one in the gardens of our Orosi hotel.
SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura) – A skulking spinetail of scrubby habitats, this one showed well both along the Police Station Road near La Selva, and the marshy pasture near the town of Platanillo below Rancho Naturalista.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum) – Heard regularly around the grounds of Villa Lapas, and we saw a pair pretty well at the old oxbow lake along the Sendero Meandrico.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – Nice looks at one of these in scrubby habitat along the Police Station Road.

A Common Black Hawk showed well for us in the mangroves. Photo by participant Mary K. Elfman.

GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata) – A couple in the Carara area, but the sightings weren't that memorable, and the bird itself is already pretty forgettable.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Though it occurs almost everywhere at lower elevations, all but one of our many records was from the Caribbean slope.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – Quite a few of these drab elaenias were seen in the Savegre valley.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea) – A pair of these perky little flycatchers were fixtures at the bridge near our hotel in the Savegre valley.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – Brief views of one along the Silent Mountain Road, then somewhat better looks at one at Santa Elena Reserve, though neither bird stuck around long.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – Our only sighting was of one bathing at Rancho's hummingbird pools.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – A couple of birds with a mixed flock at Rancho were our only ones.
MISTLETOE TYRANNULET (Zimmerius parvus) – One of the most widespread birds in the country; I've seen them from lowlands on both slopes, right on up to nearly 10,000 feet in the mountains. This trip we recorded them pretty much everywhere except for Carara.
NORTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus arenarum arenarum) – Pretty much restricted to mangroves, and that's where we saw both of ours. The first was seen poorly on the boat trip, the second much better in the mangroves near Punta Caldera on our final day.
BLACK-CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis atricapillus) – Like a feather ping pong ball with a beak and very short tail, and it spends a lot of time in the high canopy, so seeing one is always a challenge. It was made even more challenging as they were pretty quiet this trip, but we eventually heard one at La Selva and after considerable effort, managed to get decent looks at it.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – This is a charismatic little tyrant, and I always love seeing them. We had great looks at a couple in the Rio Macho Reserve.
NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare) – One showed up at pretty much the same time as a pair of similar Slate-headed Tody-Flycatchers at Carara, but that crooked beak is a dead giveaway!
SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia) – Great looks at this inconspicuous little bird inside the forest at Carara.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – By far the easiest of the tody-flycatchers to see, and we had them regularly except in the highlands.
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – Another tiny bird that likes to stay in the canopy, though this one is usually easier than the pygmy-tyrant. After hearing them several times, we finally connected with one at Rancho for some scope views.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) – Widespread in the lowlands, and we had several records on both slopes.
STUB-TAILED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus cancrominus) – Heard at Carara, but it didn't play ball. [*]
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus) – Super looks at one dipping into the water on the wing at Rancho's hummingbird pools.
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus) – Singles were seen on both of our visits to Carara's Quebrada Bonita trail, and I think Lisa spotted it both times! Sadly the crest is very rarely raised, and the bird is pretty muted in coloring when it's down.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) – One or two folks picked up a rather backlit view of one at Braulio.

Chiriqui Quail-Dove can be a tough bird to see, but we caught up with a couple of them in the cloud-forests near Monteverde. Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus) – Excellent looks at one that was hanging around the manakin bathing area at Carara.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – We first connected with this little cutie at Virgen del Socorro, then got to enjoy them again both in the Savegre valley and the Santa Elena Reserve.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – Most of these winter in South America, but a few stick around in CR, though they are also beginning to pass through en their way north, so it's hard to say if ours were wintering birds or passage migrants. Either way, we had nice scope views of a bird teed up along Silent Mountain Road, then another the next day in the Savegre valley. [b]
DARK PEWEE (Contopus lugubris) – Just one bird, seen as we awaited the arrival of quetzals on our first morning in the Savegre valley.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – When they're calling, these are easy to tell apart from the migrant pewees, both of which are possible here. Ours were not calling, but the brighter, fresh plumage (migrants are usually pretty worn at this time) and habit of perching low and doing short sallies, are both good marks for this species. We saw them in the Orosi valley and along Guacimo Road.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) – The most common wintering Empid here. And we had small numbers at several sites, though best seen were the ones feeding at the moth cloth in the early morning. [b]
WHITE-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax albigularis) – One of those species that you really need to have a site for, as they are pretty scarce and local. Luckily, we had a great site for these near Rancho, and got nice looks at a calling bird.
YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens) – A very distinctive Empid of higher elevations. We saw our first at Rio Macho, but our best look by far was the one sitting in the middle of the paved trail a few feet away from us at Santa Elena Reserve.
BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax atriceps) – Another distinctive highland Empid, this one restricted to the mountains of CR and Panama. We had a few in the Savegre region.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – Almost always around water, and we saw them in several such areas, including a pair feeding 4 chicks that were sitting out on the rocks in the middle of the Sunbittern river. [N]
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – A couple of these were hanging around at La Selva, where we had several nice looks at them.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – We heard these a fair bit, at La Selva, Rancho, and Carara, but i don't think we ever managed to get a look at one. [*]
RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra) – Especially nice views of these were had on our first morning along the La Selva entrance road.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – The common, widespread Myiarchus in the country, and we recorded them at a bunch of places.
NUTTING'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus nuttingi) – Good views of one along Guacimo Road, shortly before our first Brown-crested Flycatcher, which is quite similar, though larger.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – The only one we saw was along the start of the trail behind Carara HQ, though we heard them also at La Selva and along Guacimo Road. [b]
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Like Nutting's pretty much restricted to the dry northwest. We had one each along Guacimo Road and at the Punta Caldera mangroves, where we were hoping for it to be a Panama Flycatcher instead.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Not many days go by without seeing this common bird, though I'm still waiting for one to turn up in the Savegre valley.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Less common the the similar kiskadee, but still pretty widespread. Our first was a bird on a night roost near La Selva's suspension bridge.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis) – Pretty much everywhere other than the highlands, and seen in numbers most days.

Volcano Junco is a specialty of the Central American highlands that we saw well at Cerro de la Muerte. Photo by participant Eric Dudley.

GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis) – Quite widespread but generally outnumbered by Social FC. We had them especially well at La Selva.
WHITE-RINGED FLYCATCHER (Conopias albovittatus) – A pair in the forest at La Selva were not happy to have a Pale-billed Woodpecker near their tree, and they were harassing it pretty mercilessly. I was a bit surprised that the much larger woodpecker flinched as much as it did!
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus) – Similar to next species, though generally paler below, with thin black malar stripes rather than the thick stripes and chin strap of Sulphur-bellied. This one is also mostly confined to the Pacific lowlands. We saw them on the grounds of the Villa Lapas.
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) – Seen in small numbers almost exclusively on the Caribbean slope, and mainly at middle elevations, though we did have one at La Selva and a couple on the Pacific slope on the grounds of our Monteverde hotel. [a]
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – Named for their habit of taking over completed nests from other species, often other flycatchers, but even larger birds like caciques and oropendolas. Indeed, our best views were of a pair that had expropriated a nest of Chestnut-headed Oropendola at the Rio Macho Reserve! [a]
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Through sheer will and determination, and maybe a bit of luck, we actually managed to miss these on two days!
EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus) – Eastern Kingbirds winter in South America, mainly in the Amazon Basin, and at this time of year they are just starting to move northward through Central America. The lone bird we saw along the La Selva entrance road was perhaps a bit on the early side, which may have been why it was flagged in Ebird. [b]
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – Gary alerted us to one of these gorgeous birds during our roadside stop at the ponds near Parrita, and we all got great looks as it flew past over the pond. [b]
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW (Querula purpurata) – Just one pair at La Selva that stayed pretty high in the canopy and were pretty backlit, though I know a few folks got a look at the male's glossy purple throat.
RUFOUS PIHA (Lipaugus unirufus) – Super scope views of one sitting right overhead at Carara, though the Scarlet Macaws by their nest hole were proving to be a bit of a distraction!
THREE-WATTLED BELLBIRD (Procnias tricarunculatus) – The weather at the Santa Elena Reserve was pretty poor, and not at all favorable for bellbirds to be up and singing, so when we arrived at the area where one had been hanging out, we were met by silence. So, to use up some time and give us another chance, I decided to do a long loop that would eventually bring us back to that area, as the weather seemed to be slowly improving. Long story short, by the time we got back, the rain had let up and a bellbird was calling. It still took us some time to track him down, but we eventually got great scope views of him on a song perch, mouth wide open, wattles swaying. What a great bird, and an awesome sighting!
SNOWY COTINGA (Carpodectes nitidus) – Joel spotted a male in a bare tree as we walked along the track at La Selva, but as it was cloudy and the background was also white, it was actually pretty tough to pick him out. But that's what the scope is for, and we all ended up with good looks at this Caribbean lowland specialty.
Pipridae (Manakins)
LONG-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia linearis) – Calling males were heard along the narrow side track at Carara, and eventually a subadult male popped out and sat for us. Shortly after, we spotted an adult male sitting quietly in the same area, and we all enjoyed scope views of him as he posed for quite a long time. A bit later, we again saw the young male, this time following around an adult Orange-collared Manakin that had been displaying. Identity crisis I guess!
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera) – Good views for most of a couple of males along the trail at Braulio Carrillo, and for those that missed out there, we found a couple more in a mixed feeding flock at Rancho.
BLUE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix coronata) – A few of these beauties showed up at the bathing stream in the late afternoon at Carara.
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – We didn't fare too well with these at La Selva, though we glimpsed some and heard them a few times, so we really needed to clean up our views at Rancho. With that in mind, we headed to a good spot, where we could hear them at their lek, then we waited patiently. It took a little time, but before long, we heard their wings as they approached our position, and ultimately several of them wound up in the trees right overhead for some super looks!
ORANGE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus aurantiacus) – They weren't displaying too vigorously at Carara this trip, though we heard a few wing snaps which eventually led us to a display area where one male was perched low and close to the trail. This brilliant little bird actually was the runner up to quetzal in the bird of the trip voting, with Lisa choosing it as her favorite bird of all.
WHITE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Dixiphia pipra) – We were approaching the lekking area at Rancho, and I could hear several of these calling from further up the trail, so I stopped for everyone to catch their breath, then just happened to notice a male sitting quietly at eye level about 20 feet away! Good thing, too, as every other bird was well off the trail and out of sight!
RED-CAPPED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra mentalis) – It's hard to say just how many of these stunning little birds were hanging about the bathing stream at Carara, but there sure were plenty of them showing off. I estimated at least a dozen, but there easily could have been more.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – A pair perched out over Guacimo Road were the only ones we saw this strip.

Black-hooded Antshrikes were fairly easy to see at Carara. This one is a female. Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – A pair were harassing a Roadside hawk along the La Selva entrance road, and another pair was seen on both our mornings on the grounds of the Fonda Vela.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor) – A couple of these were pretty vocal in the Santa Elena Reserve, but they played a bit hard to get, and I'm not sure everyone had a satisfactory look.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – Oddly scarce this trip, though we had good looks at one along the La Selva entrance road and another in the upper part of the pasture at Rancho.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – Our only record was of a calling male as we scanned Angosturra Reservoir for waterbirds.
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae) – Not uncommon in drier forest of the Carara area.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) – Often vocal but can be tough to see, so we were quite lucky with our first ones at Rio Macho, getting great views of a pair there. Though we heard them several times afterward, we never did see another.
LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata) – Other than in the highlands, these little guys occur almost everywhere, and we encountered them regularly, often in with mixed flocks.
MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens) – One was calling in the mangroves along the canal during our boat tour, but stayed out of sight. [*]
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – A few singles were seen at scattered locations throughout. Generally a fairly common wintering bird. [b]
YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli) – A highland specialty, a couple of these birds were seen in a mixed flock in the oak forest above Savegre Lodge.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – We nabbed some nice looks at a singing bird at Rio Macho, where we emerged from the forest into the more open habitat.
YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis) – These had just recently arrived in the country from their wintering grounds in South America, and they were quite vocal, sounding very much like Red-eyed Vireo. They were most numerous in the Pacific lowlands, though we saw our first in the gardens of our Orosi valley hotel. [a]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
AZURE-HOODED JAY (Cyanolyca cucullata) – We ran into these sneaky jays twice in the Monteverde area, first at Santa Elena Reserve, where we had a trio of them, then the next day at Curi-Cancha, where we found a pair. Their secretive behavior and the poor lighting probably kept most of us from seeing much of any color.
WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY (Calocitta formosa) – A couple of birds along Guacimo Road were a big hit, and another pair near the coast on our final day were also well appreciated, especially by Mary Kay who'd missed out on the Guacimo Road outing.
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio) – Other than at La Selva and the Savegre valley, we ran into these large, brash jays just about everywhere, and even found an active nest on the grounds of the Fonda Vela Hotel. [N]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – The common swallow of pretty much everywhere but the lowlands, and most numerous up at higher elevations.
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – We actually saw more of these than of the next species, which seems to be the norm nowadays though I recall when Southern was the more numerous of the two species.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – We only saw these a couple of times in the Caribbean lowlands, where it was especially nice to see a couple at the same time and place as a couple Northern Rough-wings around the buildings at La Selva,
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Sightings at La Selva, the Orosi valley, and at the ponds along the Pacific coast, but all were of ones and twos; there really weren't many of these about.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – Seen only along the Rio Tarcoles, though, despite their name, they aren't restricted to mangroves.

We saw many interesting non-avian creatures on the tour. Participant Eric Dudley got a nice image of one, the tiny Strawberry Poison Dart Frog. These little guys were happy with the wet conditions at La Selva.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Only seen on several days along the Pacific coast, with a high count of 60+ flying by over the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) – About 25-30 of these migrants were mixed in with the Barn Swallows over the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles. [b]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Widespread and common, we recorded these on all but a handful of days.
OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus) – We had this small wren our first day out, creeping along the epiphyte-laden branches of a tall tree at Virgen del Socorro. Following that, we also heard and saw these at several other upper elevation sites.
TIMBERLINE WREN (Thryorchilus browni) – A real specialist of high elevation habitats, generally where there is plenty of native bamboo. We pulled out a pair of these at pretty much the first place we tried for them at Cerro de la Muerte.
BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus) – A pair of these snazzy wrens were nest-building near the dining hall at La Selva, under the watchful eye of a female Shining Cowbird. Apparently this pair has been victimized by the cowbirds before. [N]
RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) – Very like a Cactus Wren, and closely related to that species. These are not uncommon in the Pacific lowlands, where we saw them several times, including a pair building a nest in a Bullhorn Acacia at Carara. [N]
BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris) – On this trip, the Sendero Meandrico is really about the only place to get this large wren, and we got it there, by the skin of our teeth. They were a bit elusive, but most had a pretty good look before the strong smell of smoke from an apparent forest fire made us decide to move on.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus) – Another fine wren from Carara, where we had some pretty nice views of them.
BLACK-THROATED WREN (Pheugopedius atrogularis) – A difficult, skulking wren, though we scored some fairly decent views of a singing bird at Virgen del Socorro.
BANDED WREN (Thryophilus pleurostictus) – Our only one was along a dry stream bed next to the gallery forest along Guacimo Road, and it uncharacteristically stuck around in one spot long enough for all of us to enjoy it in the scope.
RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus) – Not only is this another gorgeous Pacific-slope wren, but it's also one of the best singers out there. We had awesome looks at a pair along the edge of the forest early one morning at the Fonda Vela.
STRIPE-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus thoracicus) – After hearing these often at La Selva and Rancho, and getting a couple of so-so glimpses, we finally caught up with a cooperative one along the Silent Mountain Road.
CABANIS'S WREN (Cantorchilus modestus) – Plain Wren was recently split into 3 species, all 3 of which occur in the country. This is the most widespread one, regularly encountered at middle elevations in the north. We heard these at a bunch of sites, but had a little trouble getting them into view. We eventually did get some reasonably friendly ones in a coffee plantation in the Orosi valley. We also heard a "Plain" wren type at the ponds near Parrita south of Jaco along the Pacific coast, though it is unclear whether it is this species or the more southern Isthmian Wren which is found here.
CANEBRAKE WREN (Cantorchilus zeledoni) – This Caribbean lowland wren is the third form split out from the former Plain Wren. We had incredible looks at a feisty pair in scrubby habitat near La Selva.
RIVERSIDE WREN (Cantorchilus semibadius) – Seen and heard a few times around Carara and Villa Lapas, including a pair feeding not far from where we had our friendly antpitta.
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – A gorgeous wren, but often a very frustrating bird to see. We were frustrated several times before we found a showy pair along the river near the Sunbittern nest that gave incredible looks!
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – Thank goodness these tiny wrens like to feed at the moth cloth at Rancho, where they hop around fully out in the open. Saves us a lot of time and aggravation trying to see them in the forest!
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – Replaces the preceding species at higher elevations, where they are numerous. We first ran into these at Rio Macho, where they showed nicely, then again at Savegre and Monteverde.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – Not especially easy this trip, but we did finally see a pair feeding along one of the trails at Carara.

It's nice to be able to say that Scarlet Macaws were plentiful near Carara. We had some good views, including this pair in flight. Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

WHITE-LORED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila albiloris) – Restricted to the dry tropical forest of the northwest, where we had nice views of a pair along Guacimo Road.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) – Widespread at lower elevations on both slopes, though we only ran into them a couple of times at La Selva and Rancho.
Cinclidae (Dippers)
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus) – A pair were seen a couple of times along the river below our hotel in the Savegre valley.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes melanops) – One of the best sounds of the highland forest, and the bird isn't bad looking either. We had some good looks at a couple along the trails above Savegre valley, though a couple of folks missed it there. Luckily we had another couple at Curi-Cancha that allowed everyone to catch up.
BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus gracilirostris) – Occurs at higher elevations than any of the other nightingale-thrushes, right on up into the paramo at 10,000 ' and higher. At the lower end of its range, it overlaps with Ruddy-capped. We saw these daily in the upper sections of the Savegre valley.
ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus aurantiirostris) – Usually the toughest of the group to see well, but we did well this year, getting pretty cooperative ones at Rio Macho, then again along the Silent Mountain Road.
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus fuscater) – A couple of these were hopping around on the paved trail near the entrance to Santa Elena Reserve, giving excellent looks, alongside a Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush that was doing the same.
RUDDY-CAPPED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus frantzii) – In addition to the Santa Elena bird mentioned above, we also saw this species in the Savegre valley.
BLACK-HEADED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus mexicanus) – This one is usually pretty easy at Braulio Carrillo, but not this trip. Though we heard one singing there, it kept its distance and stayed out of sight. [*]
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – These migrant thrushes can turn up just about anywhere, and we ran into them at a number of places on both slopes, and from the lowlands at Carara up to 8000' in the Savegre valley. [b]
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – A few sightings at La Selva were all we had this trip. [b]
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus) – Regularly in the mountains, though I don't remember ever seeing them hopping around in the hotel grounds like robins as they were this year in the Savegre valley.
PALE-VENTED THRUSH (Turdus obsoletus) – Good looks at a pair with a mixed flock of frugivores at Braulio Carrillo.
WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis) – These are usually pretty easy to see around the entrance to Monteverde Reserve at this time of year, and that was again the case this year.
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Didn't I tell you at the beginning of the tour to just check this one off for every day of the trip?
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens) – Numerous in the higher mountains, where they regularly hop around in open pastures and gardens.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Vernon and Jay (not me) saw one fly across the road at the Hacienda Oriente but we couldn't relocate it for the rest of the group.
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Phainoptila melanoxantha) – Right on cue! We made a special stop to find this one before dropping down into the Savegre valley, and we had a fine male in our sight within just a couple of minutes!
LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys caudatus) – These lovely birds are a common sight in the Savegre valley, usually teed up in bare limbs in the upper part of the valley.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys) – The first couple of sightings really didn't show this bird at its best, so it was pleasing to finally get smashing views of a male as we walked down the hill from the Hummingbird Gallery. What a stunner!

A lovely Swallow-tailed Kite circled low and close to us at Tolomuco Lodge. Photo by participant Eric Dudley.

SCRUB EUPHONIA (Euphonia affinis) – Heard along Guacimo Road but we couldn't track it down. [*]
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla) – Did we really only see a single male of this species? We usually see more than that, though we did hear plenty this trip.
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea) – We saw our first one during a stop in Paraiso to look for owls, then ran into them several times afterward in the Orosi Valley, at Rancho, and on the grounds of both Villa Lapas and Fonda Vela hotels.
OLIVE-BACKED EUPHONIA (Euphonia gouldi) – Common at La Selva, and now also at Rancho, where they were regulars at the feeders.
TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia anneae) – This used to be the common euphonia at Rancho, but that is no longer the case, with Olive-backed seemingly the more numerous one there now. We did catch up with these in middle elevation forest at Rio Macho and along the Silent Mountain Road.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – I was surprised to see some of these among siskins in the orchard at Savegre Lodge, as it was my first record of them here. Seems they showed up sometime in the last year. The birds found here belong to the black-backed subspecies colombianus.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus) – A few with the goldfinches at Savegre Lodge.
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
ASHY-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus canigularis) – A rather scarce bird of middle elevations on the Caribbean slope, and the one we had in a mixed flock at Braulio Carrillo (seen only by Jay and me), was the first I'd seen in a long time.
SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus) – Numerous in the highland forests of the Savegre valley.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus) – Generally at lower elevations than the previous species, and likewise a very common bird where it occurs. We had our first of many at Virgen del Socorro.
STRIPE-HEADED SPARROW (Peucaea ruficauda) – Common in the grasslands of the dry northwest, and often in fairly large groups. We saw 15-20 of them along Guacimo Road.
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus) – Also seen only along Guacimo Road, though we had just one bird there. Luckily it showed well.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris) – This used to be a much easier bird on the tour route, but we actually need to make something of an effort to see it now. We did manage to get good looks at a pair at the White-throated Flycatcher marsh below Rancho.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – These gorgeous sparrows were seen well a bunch of times, including at the feeders at Rancho, where they always show beautifully.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – Widespread in upper elevation forests, though can be tough to see as they are quite secretive. We did ultimately catch up with some reasonably confiding birds at Santa Elena and Curi-Cancha.
SOOTY-FACED FINCH (Arremon crassirostris) – These have gotten ridiculously tame around the restaurant at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and it's nice to see them there, but I'm also glad we saw some "wild" ones at Virgen del Socorro first.
VOLCANO JUNCO (Junco vulcani) – As usual, seen only in the paramo up near the top of the road at Cerro de la Muerte. We tracked down about 5 or 6 birds during our brief stop up there.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – The common highland sparrow and easily seen at a bunch of places.
LARGE-FOOTED FINCH (Pezopetes capitalis) – Another highland specialty which we saw a few times in the Savegre Valley, including underneath the feeders at Miriam's.
WHITE-EARED GROUND-SPARROW (Melozone leucotis) – Pretty easy to see around Monteverde. We had them daily around our hotel, and even got to see them bathing in the fountain late one afternoon.
YELLOW-THIGHED FINCH (Pselliophorus tibialis) – Our first was hanging around just outside of the restaurant at La Paz, but otherwise we only saw this cool bird in the Savegre valley.
WHITE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (YELLOW-THROATED) (Atlapetes albinucha gutturalis) – Our lone one at Rio Macho didn't stick around for too long.
Zeledoniidae (Wrenthrush)
WRENTHRUSH (Zeledonia coronata) – After several attempts, we finally tracked down a pretty cooperative pair in the upper Savegre valley for some good looks.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – Several in the pastures around the Hacienda Oriente.
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Leistes militaris) – Also at the Hacienda Oriente, but it took us quite a while to find one. We did ultimately track down a handsome male.
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) – I found one near the Bougainvillea on the day before the tour, so we kicked things off by re-finding this bird, the first I'd seen in that area.
CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius wagleri) – Best of several sightings were the ones at the nesting colony up at the Rio Macho, though one bird had lost its nest to Piratic Flycatchers. [N]

During the tour, we stayed at some wonderful, birdy places, including the very special Rancho Naturalista. Participant Mary K. Elfman took this lovely shot of the view from the patio.

MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma) – Abundant on the Caribbean slope, where we saw plenty of them daily.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SCARLET-RUMPED) (Cacicus uropygialis microrhynchus) – A few sightings at La Selva, then a single bird at the feeders at Rancho.
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – A few of these pretty orioles were encountered in the La Selva area.
STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus pustulatus) – Great looks at our only one along Guacimo Road.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – A common wintering species, which we saw regularly throughout. [b]
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – A couple each in the Caribbean lowlands and along the Rio Tarcoles during the boat tour.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – These have been expanding their range in CR since the first record back in 2004, and now can be found throughout the country. We had a female at La Selva, then a pair along the Silent Mountain Road, sharing a tree with the other 2 cowbird species.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – A few records around the Caribbean slope.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – We first saw one at the Chestnut-headed Oropendola colony at Rio Macho, waiting for a chance to sneak in and lay an egg. There were also several along Silent Mountain Road, including the one sitting in the same shrub with the other cowbird species.
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives) – First recorded in CR in 1987, and has since spread all across the country. We saw them daily on the Caribbean slope, then again up at Monteverde.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Very common and missed only on a couple of days.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – Our only one was seen along the trail behind Villa Lapas on the late morning walk after the boat trip. [b]
WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum) – Great looks at one of these probing dead leaves above the manakin pools at Carara. [b]
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – Has a preference for clear, fast flowing streams in the mountains. We saw our only one along the Sunbittern river below Rancho. [b]
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Pretty common in the Pacific lowlands, including in the mangroves. [b]
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) – Seen in small numbers in most of the sites we visited, including a couple of birds in the mangroves during the boat trip. [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Oddly we had very few of these, with just a couple at Virgen del Socorro, then a single at Silent Mountain Road. [b]
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – A male at the banana feeders at Cinchona was a bit of a surprise; they're rather rare other than in the lowlands, and I'd never seen one there, or at any feeders, before. The female in the mangroves during our boat trip was more typical. [b]
FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis) – A few of these beautiful creatures were well seen with mixed flocks along the trails above Savegre Lodge.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – Seem regularly on the Caribbean slope, with just a single sighting on the Pacific slope at Carara, but overall there weren't nearly as many as we usually see. [b]

We had good views of the tiny Common Tody-Flycatcher for much of the tour. Photo by participant Eric Dudley.

GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala) – A cooperative pair were in the small marsh below Rancho where we had the White-throated Flycatchers.
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – Good views of one of these skulking warblers below the feeders at Rancho. [b]
KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) – One came for a bath at the hummingbird pools at Rancho, showing nicely for those of us who were still watching the show. [b]
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – Two different females were seen in the mangroves during our boat tour. [b]
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – Pretty common in middle elevation forests, and we heard them regularly, and saw a few at several suitable sites, beginning with several at Virgen del Socorro.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Most of our sightings were from the Rancho region, but we also had a couple at Virgen del Socorro. [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – The migrant type is pretty widespread in scrubby coffee plantations, marshy areas, etc, mainly in lowland areas but also as high up as around the Bougainvillea. [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (MANGROVE) (Setophaga petechia erithachorides) – The male of this resident form has a rufous-colored head and is restricted to the Pacific coast mangroves, where we had nice looks at a few birds.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – One of the most numerous wintering warblers, seen throughout except in the highlands. [b]
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – A fairly common winterer in the highland forests. We had them in small numbers at each of the upper elevation sites. [b]
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons) – We first ran into these pretty warblers in the coffee plantations near the Bougainvillea. We had them at a few other sites as well, including a single bird along the Guacimo Road.
BLACK-CHEEKED WARBLER (Basileuterus melanogenys) – A few of these specialties were seen at close range in the oak forest above Savegre Lodge.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – I was surprised to not even hear these warblers at Rancho this visit, but we caught up with them finally one morning at the Fonda Vela near trip's end.
COSTA RICAN WARBLER (Basileuterus melanotis) – A recent split from Three-striped Warbler, adding another species to the list of Chiriqui endemics. We had nice, close views of about a half a dozen at the Santa Elena Reserve.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – A pair ahead of us on the paved trail at La Selva were the first of several good sightings of this distinctive warbler.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – Winters mainly in the highlands, and we saw most of ours in the Savegre valley. [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – Regularly encountered in middle elevation forests.
COLLARED REDSTART (Myioborus torquatus) – Generally replaces Slate-throated in higher elevation forests. We had a bunch of these in the Savegre valley, as well as a nest-building pair at Santa Elena. [N]
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – Heard at the Hummingbird Gallery in Monteverde. [*]
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – Fewer than usual, though we had a few scattered records around the Caribbean slope. [b]

Crested Guans were seen in several locales; participant Jay Pruett got a nice shot of this one perched in a tree, peering at the group below.

SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – A passage migrant here, as these birds winter in South America. Our lone sighting was of a female along the Quebrada Bonita Trail at Carara. [b]
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – Vernon and I were just discussing how the area above Villa Lapas used to be a good place for this species when a handsome male flew across right in front of the bus! First one I've seen in CR in years. [b]
FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata) – Numerous in the Savegre valley.
RED-CROWNED ANT-TANAGER (Habia rubica) – I'm not sure I've ever actually seen this species in Carara before this, but we sure did this trip, finding one in a fruiting tree that kept returning to the same perch, making it easy to get everyone on it. We also had a pair along the trail at Villa Lapas.
RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda) – Seen on several days at La Selva and Rancho, but easiest at the latter site, as they are pretty bold when they come to feed at the moth cloth in the morning.
CARMIOL'S TANAGER (Chlorothraupis carmioli) – Large and dull, these noisy tanagers were encountered at Braulio, where we had 15-20 of them, then again a few times at Rancho, where there used to be a lot, but now there seems to be just 3 or 4 of them.
BLACK-FACED GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes poliogaster) – Noisy flocks were seen a few times both at La Selva and Braulio Carrillo, mostly moving through the canopy, but several times sitting right out in the open.
BLACK-THIGHED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus tibialis) – We heard the sweet song of a couple of these at Santa Elena, but couldn't spot them in the canopy. [*]
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – Three birds at Virgen del Socorro an a single at Bosque de Tolomuco were the only ones this time around. [b]
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia cyanoides) – A few folks saw one at La Selva with Joel, the rest of us caught up at Carara, where we had a couple of birds, including one cooperative one on the hotel grounds early one morning.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata) – Though not exclusively army ant followers, your chances to see them always increase by finding a swarm, and that's what happened to us, as we had at least 7 of these with the large army ant swarm at Carara, and saw them nowhere else.
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – Pretty scarce this trip, as we had just one small group at the old butterfly garden near Braulio that moved through pretty quickly, then just a single male at Carara, where they are usually fairly common.
TAWNY-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus delatrii) – Braulio Carrillo is the best place on this trip for many of the tanagers, including this one, and we picked up a flock of about half a dozen there, then also saw a couple of birds along the Silent Mountain Road.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – A tanager of open scrub, where it is usually found in widely scattered pairs, it seems. We found our first pair in the Orosi valley, then had another at the feeders at Rancho.
WHITE-THROATED SHRIKE-TANAGER (Lanio leucothorax) – A couple were calling at Braulio, but that's all we got. [*]
CRIMSON-COLLARED TANAGER (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus) – A couple of these beauties put in a brief but memorably appearance as we birded along the road at Virgen del Socorro.
SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER (PASSERINI'S) (Ramphocelus passerinii passerinii) – Numerous on the Caribbean slope, where we saw them daily. This and the next form were recently relumped after spending several years as good species.
SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER (CHERRIE'S) (Ramphocelus passerinii costaricensis) – The Pacific slope form, first seen at Tolomuco Lodge, then again around the Villa Lapas.
BLUE-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Bangsia arcaei) – Not a bird I see very often, so I was thrilled to get one of these feeding in a fruiting tree just above us at Braulio Carrillo!
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Abundant pretty much throughout, though we did miss them once on along the Pacific coast.

Golden-hooded Tanager is common on the Caribbean slope, but they are such pretty birds! Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – A little less numerous than the Blue-gray, but still a widespread and common species.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – As usual the most commonly seen Tangara, especially on the Caribbean slope, where we had them most days. We also had a few birds at Carara.
SPANGLE-CHEEKED TANAGER (Tangara dowii) – This lovely highland species was a bit on the scarce side this year (as were many of the tanagers, to be honest), but we found a few in the oak forest above Savegre Lodge, and had another pair on our final day at Curi-Cancha Reserve.
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata) – The drab tanager we saw with our first Golden-hooded Tanagers along the La Selva entrance road on our first morning there was this not very memorable bird.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Way fewer than usual, and some folks almost missed this one, as neither of our sightings on the Caribbean slope (Braulio Carrillo, Rio Macho) resulted in clean looks. Luckily we had a couple feeding in a fruiting tree above the manakin pools at Carara that we much more cooperative.
EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida) – This used to be one of the tougher Tangara tanagers to find, but they seem to have increased in recent years. We had several nice looks at these brilliant birds at Braulio Carrillo an Rancho Naturalista.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – A common species of upper elevations, and one we had no trouble finding, as we started off with excellent close views at the La Cinchona fruit feeders.
SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta) – A few birds around Virgen del Socorro our first day were seen by most, but none stuck around long, so that brilliant male we all saw so well as we walked down from the Hummingbird Gallery was a real treat.
SHINING HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes lucidus) – Scope views of a lone male along the La Selva entrance road on our first morning there.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – A few records in the lowlands on both slopes, with the best views coming at the fruit feeders both at La Quinta and Cope's house.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Pretty regularly encountered on the Caribbean slope, though, as with many of the fruit eating birds, there didn't seem to be as many as usual.
BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas) – A group of about 8 of these gorgeous birds were at Braulio, where they didn't give themselves up easily, but I think they were seen by all.
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea) – Easily seen around the hotel gardens in the Savegre valley, where most of the flowers show tiny holes at their bases courtesy of these nectar thieves.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – A bunch of these were in the agricultural fields at our turnaround point on Guacimo Road, and that's the only place we saw them.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) – Good looks at a male perched on a barbed wire fence at the little marsh below Rancho.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina) – Common in open, scrubby habitat on the Caribbean slope, where we saw them most days. Usually common on the Pacific slope too, where they look quite different, though we saw just a couple of birds around the Villa Lapas.
MORELET'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila morelleti) – This bird is the result of the recent split of White-collared Seedeater into two species. We saw just one female at the same time and place as our only Thick-billed Seed-Finch.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Lots of these were seen throughout, including at hummingbird feeders at a couple of places.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – Common in scrubby areas almost anywhere, and we saw them regularly.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – The most common of the saltators, and we had them daily on the Caribbean side, with smaller numbers along the Pacific slope.

This Pygmy Round-eared Bat, found roosting in a termite nest, was a lifer mammal for guide Jay VanderGaast. Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps) – We had good views of our first on our initial afternoon walk near the Bougainvillea, then saw a few more in the Orosi valley.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Mostly just seen around the Hotel Bougainvillea, though we also had a lone bird in the Orosi Valley.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Only seen a couple of times around towns as we drove through them. [I]

COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis) – One in the Orosi Valley as we searched for owls in the scrubby habitat outside of the town.
LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – Roosting bats of this species were seen both at La Selva and on the ceilings of some of the older cabins at Villa Lapas.
PYGMY ROUND-EARED BAT (Lophostoma brasiliense) – A new species for me! Our guide at Cope's place pointed out this cute little bat roosting in a hollowed out arboreal termite mound.
GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata) – These were roosting under that bridge we stopped at on our way down from Monteverde.
LESSER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx leptura) – And these were roosting in the dilapidated gazebo at La Selva.
COMMON TENT-MAKING BAT (Uroderma bilobatum) – They weren't in their usual spot at Villa Lapas, but I managed to refind these beautiful bats in a pandanus tree near our rooms.
HONDURAN WHITE BAT (Ectophylla alba) – These tiny, snowy bats were also seen with the help of Cope's guide, who found a group of six roosting under a leaf, and we went in, one by one, for eye to eye views of these amazing little animals.
MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Seen a few times, beginning with a troop right above the parking lot at La Quinta!
WHITE-THROATED CAPUCHIN (Cebus capucinus) – Our only sighting was a good one, with close views of a bunch of them just along the trail at Carara.
HOFFMANN'S TWO-TOED SLOTH (Choloepus hoffmanni) – A couple of these were seen in the Caribbean lowlands, including one on our first day at La Selva.
BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – Also seen a couple of times in the Caribbean lowlands, with our initial one being used as a landmark to point out the Pied Puffbirds which were perched nearby!
NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus) – Close looks at one on the grounds of the Fonda Vela.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides) – The common large squirrel through much of the country.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – We had fewer sightings of these, but still saw them a few times. Both squirrels were well seen at Rancho's banana feeders.
MEXICAN HAIRY PORCUPINE (Coendou mexicanus) – Vernon spotted this weird-looking porcupine walking across a power line above the La Selva entrance road, as we left the reserve after our night walk.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – These large rodents have gotten fairly habituated at a couple of places and are pretty easy to see nowadays.
GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) – Gary spotted one of these in the coffee plantations near the Bougainvillea, the first time I've seen one there.

Here's a view of a Lesson's Motmot that you don't want to see if you are an insect! Photo by participant Jay Pruett.

WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – Seen at several sites, including one poaching bananas from the fruit feeders at Rancho.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – Just the usual habituated ones at La Selva.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – One along the trail at Carara was mostly heard (and perhaps glimpsed by some) as it snorted and then ran off for cover.
TURNIP-TAILED GECKO (Thecadactylus rapicauda) – Joel found one of these big geckos on a large tree trunk during our La Selva night walk.
SLENDER ANOLE (Anolis limifrons) – At least one on low foliage along the trails at La Selva.
STREAM ANOLE (Anolis poecilopus) – One at Rancho's hummingbird pools gave a territorial display, showing off his orange-red dewlap.
PUG-NOSED ANOLE (Norops capito) – The anole seen near the feeders at the Hummingbird Gallery appeared to be this species.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – Pretty common along the river at La Selva, where they hang out in the tree tops.
BLACK SPINY-TAILED IGUANA (Ctenosaura similis) – Regularly seen at Carara and elsewhere along the Pacific coast.
COMMON BASILISK (Basiliscus basiliscus) – Plenty of these along waterways in the Pacific lowlands.
STRIPED BASILISK (Basiliscus vittatus) – Similar to the preceding species, but replaces it in the Caribbean lowlands. We had a couple of these at La Quinta.
HELMETED BASILISK (Corytophanes cristatus) – We found a couple of these cool lizards sleeping on tree trunks during our La Selva night walk.
TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia) – Widespread, but mainly seen at Villa Lapas, where they are numerous on the walls at night.
CENTRAL AMERICAN WHIPTAIL (Ameiva festiva) – A few in leaf litter along the trails both at La Selva and Carara.
GREEN SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus malachiticus) – Several of these highland lizards were soaking up the sun in the gardens on our Savegre valley hotel.
CLOUDY SNAIL-EATER (Sibon nebulatus) – This was that cool, blotchy-patterned gray snake we found below the Red-eyed Leaf Frog on our La Selva night walk. A new species for me, and one I'd been hoping to find for a long time.
NORTHERN CAT-EYED SNAKE (Leptodeira septentrionalis) – Vernon alerted us to the distress calls of a frog near the restaurant at Villa Lapas, and we quickly tracked down the frog on a planter, though we couldn't immediately see why it was screaming. Eventually we noticed its foot was stuck in a tiny crack in the planter and when we lifted the planter, we discovered this small snake had the frog's foot in its mouth. Oddly this was one of three frogs seen/heard caught by snakes on that same day! I heard similar distress calls by the pool shower, but couldn't find the frog, then we saw another one grabbed by a snake at the broken pipe along the trail at Carara.
SALMON-BELLIED RACER (Mastigodryas melanolomus) – The small brown snake with a orange-red belly that we found along the trail at Carara.
FER-DE-LANCE (Bothrops asper) – A fairly small one was pointed out to us by another group on our La Selva night walk. It was coiled up on a log a couple of feet up off the ground and we had walked by it without noticing it.
EYELASH VIPER (Bothriechis schlegelii) – A couple of gorgeous golden ones along the La Selva trails.
AMERICAN CROCODILE (Crocodylus acutus) – A couple of biggies along the Rio Tarcoles during our boat trip.
SMOKY JUNGLE FROG (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) – Several of these large frogs were found during our La Selva night walk.
FORRER'S LEOPARD FROG (Lithobates forreri) – We found these in the pools on the grounds of the Bougainvillea on our first night.
STRAWBERRY POISON DART FROG (Dendrobates pumilio) – The wet conditions were to their liking, and we saw plenty of these at La Selva.
GREEN-AND-BLACK POISON DART FROG (Dendrobates auratus) – A few folks saw one of these handsome small frogs on the grounds of the Villa Lapas.
COMMON TINK FROG (Eleutherodactylus diastema) – A common sound during our night walk, but always a tough frog to track down. [*]
COMMON RAIN FROG (Craugastor fitzingeri) – One or two of these small brown, leaf litter frogs were seen at La Selva.
RED-EYED LEAF FROG (Agalychnis callidryas) – Though this is an iconic Costa Rican animal, seen in lots of promotional material for the country, it is not necessarily an easy frog to find, so we were pretty lucky to find three different ones on our La Selva night walk.
GOLDEN-EYED LEAF FROG (Agalychnis annae) – I hadn't seen one of these in a long time so I was really happy to find one at the Bougainvillea again, as I wasn't sure they were still around on the grounds.
GLIDING LEAF FROG (Agalychnis spurrelli) – Aka Dark-eyed Leaf Frog. The large green tree frog we saw at the Villa Lapas frog pond appeared to be this species.
BLACK RIVER TURTLE (Rhinoclemmys funereal) – Seen along the river below the suspension bridge at La Selva.
SMOOTH-SKINNED TOAD (Bufo haematicus) – Another of the many herps we had on our La Selva night walk.
CANE TOAD (Rhinella marina) – Also seen at La Selva, though surprisingly we saw few others, as this is a very common species.
HOURGLASS TREEFROG (Dendropsophus ebraccatus) – The common small treefrog around the frog pond in front of the rooms at the Villa Lapas, though there were probably at least a couple of other species there, too.


Totals for the tour: 479 bird taxa and 20 mammal taxa