It was great to return to Costa Rica to lead this pair of "Birding the Edges" tours in 2023. These two tours complement each other, with Part One (detailed below) focusing on the southern reaches of the country and Part Two examining the north. On Part One, after leaving our home base in the Central Valley at Hotel Bougainvillea, we made an efficient loop of the South and stayed at three lodges to maximize the diversity of the route.
Following some introductory birding around the Hotel Bougainvillea, we climbed out of the Central Valley onto Cerro de la Muerte, stopping on side tracks and the excellent Paraiso Quetzal Lodge for doses of excellent highland birding. Resplendent Quetzals were around but showed poorly; far better on this visit were the Golden-browed Chlorophonias, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, and hummingbirds including close-up White-throated Mountain-Gem and Talamanca, Fiery-throated, and Volcano hummers. The higher montane forest was good for Yellow-winged Vireo, Peg-billed Finch, and a surprisingly high elevation Hook-billed Kite.
In the middle elevations of the humid Pacific Slope, we stayed at the rustic Talari Mountain Lodge. We birded the lodge grounds as well as the nearby river corridor and Los Cusingos, the estate of Alexander Skutch. In this area we found Turquoise Cotinga, Scaled Pigeon, Olivaceous Piculet, Red-capped Manakin, Tropical Screech-Owl, Double-toothed Kite, and clouds of swifts overhead.
Moving to the steamy coastal lowlands, we set up at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge for three nights. The birding here was split between the forest and the surrounding fields and marshes, including some of the highest diversity outings of the whole trip. Sampling the forest and scrubby field habitat near the lodge helped us find White-crested Coquette, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, Bicolored Antbird, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Scrub Greenlet, Royal Flycatcher, and more. Fields and marshes south of Ciudad Neily added clouds of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, flocks of shorebirds, and scarce border specialties like Savanna Hawk, Veraguan Mango, and Sapphire-throated Hummingbird. An early morning departure took us to the Rincón Bridge at the base of the Osa Peninsula where we found Yellow-billed Cotingas, Scarlet Macaws, Red-rumped Woodpecker, White-necked Puffbird, Mangrove Hummingbird, and many other birds - in fact, over 100 species in a single morning!
Our final lodge stay on Part I was the comfortable Wilson Botanical Garden near San Vito, an OTS field station that is a great lodge for our visits. Time on the trails and the surrounding hills led us to find another White-crested Coquette, Great Tinamous, Black Hawk-Eagle, White-winged Tanager, and a bizarre hybrid Blue-winged x Green-winged Teal on a small lake.
Finally, we closed our Southern Costa Rica loop, climbed back over Cerro de la Muerte, and cruised back to the Hotel Bougainvillea. We had enough time to make some good birding stops on the way including a set of hummingbird feeders that attracted White-tailed Emerald and Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, among others. Before long, we were back to our starting point—some of us headed back home while others stayed on for Part Two in the North.
A few thank yous:
Vernon Campos was an excellent guide (and long-time friend) who spotted many fantastic birds and share loads of Costa Rican culture and history with us. And of course, Johnny Happer did an admirable job of piloting our Coaster Bus over the mountains and around the many curves of Costa Rica's roads.
Also, many thanks to Barbara Williams for sharing her knowledge and interest in bats and for compiling the bat detector data for us at tour's end.
Pura vida and good birding!
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
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
GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major)
We heard these on many occasions but it was fantastic to actually see two birds walking ahead of us on the trail at Wilson Botanical Garden.
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
About 2000 were at Las Pangas near Coto 47.
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)
Two flew in and landed in the wet fields near Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)
Three were mixed in with Blue-winged Teal and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks at Las Pangas.
BLUE-WINGED X GREEN-WINGED TEAL (HYBRID) (Spatula discors x Anas crecca)
Wow - this little stunner was a continuing rarity on a small forested lake near Wilson Botanical Garden. Its odd Baikal Teal-esque bridle was not typical of either presumed parental species.
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps)
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens)
Honking and feeding on palm fruit at Wilson Botanical Garden and other sites.
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra)
These giants were found walking around the grounds of Esquinas Rainforest Lodge on a few occasions.
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)
One perched up and then fed in a fruiting tree above the rooms at Talari Mountain Lodge.
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris)
Common in the Central Valley.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)
Ours were in the vicinity of Paraiso Quetzal in the highlands.
SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris)
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)
PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND DOVE (Columbina minuta)
Good views of these small (and indeed, plain) doves at Playa Colibri.
RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
BLUE GROUND DOVE (Claravis pretiosa)
We eventually tracked down a singing bird for scope views near Esquinas.
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana)
Brief views at Los Cusingos followed by several that we heard in the lowlands.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassinii)
Just a few on the grounds of Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia)
The singing bird at Esquinas was interesting to watch as it flared its crest up and down.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)
We arrived at the Rio Rincón early enough to see several bounding around over the forest and river.
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis semitorquatus)
One was seen in flight by a few folks from the pool (!) at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge around dusk.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus)
We spotlighted a couple of these bizarre nightbirds during our night drive from Esquinas.
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)
A few over the Santa Elena feeders with White-collareds.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)
COSTA RICAN SWIFT (Chaetura fumosa)
We studied a few carefully in the lowlands in order to see that pale rump band.
VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)
Mostly in middle elevations; the birds circulating around a traditional roost tree at Wilson Botanical Garden gave good views in the evenings.
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)
BRONZY HERMIT (Glaucis aeneus)
We saw a nesting bird resting in a hanging sock nest in the southern lowlands.
BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri)
This odd hermit is found reliably in the lowlands near Esquinas Rainforest Lodge; we saw a few here, including one at night!
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris)
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)
LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus)
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti)
VERAGUAN MANGO (Anthracothorax veraguensis)
Nice sightings of a male and female on the Papayera Road near Ciudad Neily. These are recent arrivals from Panama.
WHITE-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis adorabilis)
We found two of these tiny hummers: one at Wilson Botanical Garden and the other at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. They buzzed around canopy flowers like feathered bees and eventually gave us some nice views.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula)
TALAMANCA HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes spectabilis)
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis)
Fabulous views up close at the Paraiso Quetzal feeders.
WHITE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis castaneoventris)
A male and female attended the feeders at Paraiso Quetzal.
VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula)
Very common around the gardens at Paraiso Quetzal.
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus)
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica)
WHITE-TAILED EMERALD (Microchera chionura)
It took some waiting but we managed some time with one of these little hummers at the feeders at Mirador Valle del General.
STRIPE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa eximia)
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii)
SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia edward)
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl)
MANGROVE HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia boucardi)
Eventually we tracked down a showy bird at Playa Colibri.
SAPPHIRE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysuronia coeruleogularis)
We saw three individuals in the same stretch of viney roadside brush that hosted the Veraguan Mangos near Ciudad Neily.
CHARMING HUMMINGBIRD (Polyerata decora)
BLUE-THROATED GOLDENTAIL (Chlorestes eliciae)
A singing bird at Los Cusingos plus others at field edges near Ciudad Neily.
GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)
Perhaps most memorable was the loud, haunting dusk chorus near our rooms at Talari Mountain Lodge.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Six at Las Pangas with a multitude of other waterbirds.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
A huge wintering flock at Las Pangas - around 350 birds.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)
On the beach at Playa Colibri.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
Common in wetlands around Golfito and Coto 47.
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)
One of these massive vultures soared over the hill forest along the La Gamba-Golfito Road.
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)
One was perched over the Papayera Road near Ciudad Neily, allowing for great scope views of its colorful head pattern.
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii)
Vernon spotted a nest along the Pan-American Highway as we drove by. We circled around and came back for some good scope views.
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)
HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus)
Wow! What a surprising bird to see in the mountains at 2800 meters elevation. It was good to have photos of this one to be able to confirm the ID.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)
Best views were of the soaring, whistling bird at Los Cusingos, but we did see another distant one at Wilson BG.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)
One soared over and flared its undertail coverts at Los Cusingos.
COMMON BLACK HAWK (MANGROVE) (Buteogallus anthracinus subtilis)
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis)
We saw these recent arrivals from Panama at Coto 47 and Ciudad Neily.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)
One perched and flew around a nesting territory at Coto 47.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)
RED-TAILED HAWK (COSTARICENSIS) (Buteo jamaicensis costaricensis)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba)
We heard a few individuals and some folks got views of the one at Talari Mountain Lodge.
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata)
Heard in the early mornings at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)
A pair watched us carefully one morning at Hotel Bougainvillea.
MOTTLED OWL (Strix virgata)
Two were on day roosts in the back garden at Hotel Bougainvillea.
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno)
We heard one on Cerro de la Muerte, and later some folks saw one fly across the valley at Paraiso Quetzal.
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena)
BAIRD'S TROGON (Trogon bairdii)
A male and female put on a show at Los Cusingos.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)
BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus)
LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii lessonii)
These jewel-crowned motmots were seen repeatedly (and up close) - fantastic birds.
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)
One perched up on a treetop at the Rio Rincón.
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)
FIERY-BILLED ARACARI (Pteroglossus frantzii)
This iconic small toucan showed off repeatedly in the southern lowlands and middle elevations. Great views on the banana feeders at Wilson BG.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii)
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus)
One carried food to a nest hole at Los Cusingos.
GOLDEN-NAPED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes chrysauchen)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)
HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii)
HAIRY WOODPECKER (COSTA RICAN) (Dryobates villosus extimus)
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus)
One of these little guys was at Talari Mountain Lodge.
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Dryobates kirkii)
We scoped one at the Rincón Bridge; a small, relatively inconspicuous woodpecker.
PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis)
One loped past us and perched up at the Rio Rincón. A relative of the Ivorybill!
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)
It was amazing to see this big woodpecker up close on the fruit feeders at Santa Elena.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)
BARRED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur ruficollis)
One called insistently in the predawn at Wilson Botanical Garden but we were unable to spot it on this visit.
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Daptrius chimachima)
MERLIN (Falco columbarius)
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)
Dan saw one carrying prey in flight on one of our drives; we also saw a vocal pair flying over at Wilson Botanical Garden.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
One cruised by at Talari Mountain Lodge.
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)
All of ours were at Wilson Botanical Garden.
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis)
Repeated good views including some perched birds at Talari and Wilson.
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis)
Quite common in the morning roost exodus flight at the Rincón Bridge.
WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons)
Seven were a nice treat at Hotel Bougainvillea.
MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)
Less common than the Red-lored Parrots but still conspicuous at the Rincón Bridge.
SCARLET MACAW (Ara macao)
Superb! We first saw these huge parrots landing in a treetop at Esquinas; later, they flew right past us at the Rincón Bridge.
CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET (Psittacara finschi)
BLACK-HOODED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bridgesi)
Good views at Los Cusingos, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, La Gamba-Golfito Road, and the Rio Rincón.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus)
One was dead-leafing with a mixed flock at Wilson Botanical Garden.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor)
A vocal bird stayed out of sight at Wilson BG.
DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis)
One was with a mixed flock at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina)
Heard at Esquinas.
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Poliocrania exsul)
Most of us were able to piece together views of the vocal birds along the driveway at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
BICOLORED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys bicolor bicolor)
A few birds attended a busy army ant swarm along the side of the La Gamba-Golfito Road.
SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus argentifrons)
Heard singing along a side road on Cerro de la Muerte.
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis)
We heard these forest floor-dwellers at Los Cusingos and Esquinas.
TAWNY-WINGED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla anabatina)
Best views were of the bird that was attending the army ant swarm between La Gamba and Golfito.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)
Seen at Los Cusingos and the Rio Rincón.
BLACK-STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus)
Fantastic views of this handsome woodcreeper on the road between La Gamba and Golfito.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)
One at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
CHIRIQUI FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus exsertus)
One interrupted our lunch at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)
At Esquinas and the Ciudad Neily area.
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera)
One was seen by some on the forest trails at Wilson Botanical Garden.
VELVETY MANAKIN (Lepidothrix velutina)
Just a few brief sightings at Los Cusingos and Wilson BG.
ORANGE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus aurantiacus)
These beauties were at Los Cusingos, Talari, and Esquinas.
RED-CAPPED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra mentalis)
A few in a fruiting tree gave us our best views between La Gamba and Golfito.
TURQUOISE COTINGA (Cotinga ridgwayi)
A male was in a distant treetop near the police station in San Isidro, but we had better views of two birds later at the Rio Rincón.
RUFOUS PIHA (Lipaugus unirufus)
YELLOW-BILLED COTINGA (Carpodectes antoniae)
Six of these fine, endangered cotingas were flying back and forth across the Rio Rincón and perching in treetops during our morning watch.
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)
One was perched in a treetop at the Rio Rincón bridge.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)
We saw one each morning during our stay at Talari Mountain Lodge.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)
Good views of a singing bird along the entrance road to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae)
One was with a mixed flock at Wilson Botanical Garden.
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus)
Two skulked along the driveway at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus)
This tiny flycatcher hung out near an army ant swarm on the road between La Gamba and Golfito.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus)
Also seen near the army ant swarm (near the Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher).
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)
This was the wing-flipper that popped up a few times along the driveway at Talari.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus)
One teased us a few times at Wilson BG but we eventually had some good views.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)
One was in the viney subcanopy near the parking spot at Los Cusingos.
YELLOW-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Ornithion semiflavum)
This little guy stayed wayyyy up in the canopy at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum)
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola)
YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Tyrannulus elatus)
One gave a great show near Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii)
MISTLETOE TYRANNULET (Zimmerius parvus)
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)
Two of these localized flycatchers were along the edge of a marshy pasture near the Panama border.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi)
A wintering bird was perched up on a snag along the La Gamba-Golfito Road.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris)
BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax atriceps)
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus)
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus)
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)
We enjoyed close views of a vocal bird along the road in to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. This is another species that has just inched its way into Costa Rica in recent years.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis)
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)
We saw this species twice at Talari Mountain Lodge and enjoyed its unusual dusk song one evening, too.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana)
SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes)
One of these plucky vireos gave us a close show near Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)
YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli)
Super views of this Chiriqui endemic vireo near the communications towers atop Cerro de la Muerte.
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)
Now called "White-browed Gnatcatcher." Ours was at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
TIMBERLINE WREN (Thryorchilus browni)
It took a bit of patience but we eventually managed some looks at these little gnomes in the highlands of Cerro de la Muerte.
RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
A few pairs of these Pacific-slope immigrants were singing loudly around the Hotel Bougainvillea.
BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris)
Heard at Esquinas, but it stayed well-hidden.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus)
CABANIS'S WREN (Cantorchilus modestus)
We heard this member of the Plain Wren complex at Hotel Bougainvillea a few times.
ISTHMIAN WREN (Cantorchilus elutus)
Super views of this Pacific-side version of Plain Wren in the area around La Gamba and Ciudad Neily.
RIVERSIDE WREN (Cantorchilus semibadius)
Perhaps the best encounter with this bar-bellied wren was at the army ant swarm near La Gamba.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta)
Finally seen well along the road at Finca Cantaros while looking for brushfinches.
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus)
BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus gracilirostris)
ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus aurantiirostris)
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus)
WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis)
One was tough to see in the canopy at Wilson Botanical Garden.
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi)
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)
One perched up in a fruiting tree at the Rio Rincón. This irruptive species made a strong push into Central America this winter.
BLACK-AND-YELLOW SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Phainoptila melanoxantha)
About 4 individuals showed off along a side road on Cerro de la Muerte.
LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys caudatus)
Most of ours were in the gardens of Paraiso Quetzal Lodge.
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]
GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys)
Close views of these colorful, chunky songbirds down low in the gardens at Paraiso Quetzal. Fantastic!
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla)
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)
SPOT-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia imitans)
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus)
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus)
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris)
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha)
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)
LARGE-FOOTED FINCH (Pezopetes capitalis)
Common on the grounds of Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, where a few interrupted our lunch and others kicked around the edges of the gardens.
CABANIS'S GROUND-SPARROW (Melozone cabanisi) [E]
Good sightings of one furtive bird on our first morning out of the Hotel Bougainvillea.
WHITE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (YELLOW-THROATED) (Atlapetes albinucha gutturalis)
One came in to the feeders at Mirador Valle del General on our final day.
YELLOW-THIGHED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes tibialis)
These attractive brushfinches (formerly called Yellow-thighed Finch) showed off their pom-pom legs in the forest edge at Paraiso Quetzal.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Leistes militaris)
Close views in the open fields at Las Pangas.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)
The best sightings were of flying birds passing over at Wilson Botanical Garden.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SCARLET-RUMPED) (Cacicus uropygialis microrhynchus)
More sightings than normal; they were conspicuous in the forest on this visit to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
It was great to compare these slim cowbirds to many Bronzed and a flock of Giant cowbirds along the Papayera Road near Ciudad Neily.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
Big flocks near Ciudad Neily.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)
A flock of 18 towered over the other two cowbird species at Ciudad Neily.
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives)
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera)
In mixed flocks at Wilson Botanical Garden; also one at Los Cusingos.
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia)
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia)
Chipping along the driveway at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica)
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus delattrii)
Formerly part of "Rufous-capped Warbler;" seen in the fenceline along the road at Finca Cantaros.
BLACK-CHEEKED WARBLER (Basileuterus melanogenys)
Two emerged from the fog in the highlands of Cerro de la Muerte.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda)
Along the shaded fenceline at Finca Cantaros.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)
WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera)
A brilliant male was seen in the treetops from the dining room at Wilson Botanical Garden - wow!
BLACK-CHEEKED ANT-TANAGER (Habia atrimaxillaris) [E]
This range-restricted species was heard each morning at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge; with some fortune, we had good views along the La Gamba-Golfito Road associated with an ant swarm.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)
A male was in the fields near Hotel Bougainvillea.
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata)
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Loriotus luctuosus)
SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER (CHERRIE'S) (Ramphocelus passerinii costaricensis)
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
SPECKLED TANAGER (Ixothraupis guttata)
Two of these exquisite tanagers attended the banana feeders at Wilson BG.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Stilpnia larvata)
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala)
SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta)
Two sightings - first, we had brief looks at two atop a flowering tree near Ciudad Neily; later, a close male popped up in the treetops near our rooms at Wilson BG.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus)
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea)
PEG-BILLED FINCH (Acanthidops bairdi)
A male and female were feeding in seeding bamboo on the road to the communications towers atop Cerro de la Muerte. It was fantastic to study the female as she foraged at close range right in front of us. A great sighting!
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)
RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta)
Two were perched on a roadside fence in La Gamba.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea)
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina)
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)
We scoped one in the wet fields near the entrance to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus)
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus)
CINNAMON-BELLIED SALTATOR (Saltator grandis)
The new name for Grayish Saltator in this area; we saw one visiting flowers in a canopy tree at Talari Mountain Lodge.
STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus)
GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata)
Near the bar at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
COMMON TENT-MAKING BAT (Uroderma bilobatum)
Wow - fantastic to see these beautiful bats in a frond "tent" at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus)
We scoped a "rapidly" moving individual in a treetop at San Isidro. We had only about a minute before it moved out of sight behind some leaves.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides)
The larger and more variably colored squirrel we saw on this route.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)
NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor)
One was snoozing on a comfy tree branch in the heat of the day at Las Pangas.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)
Totals for the tour: 316 bird taxa and 8 mammal taxa