A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Costa Rica: Birding the Edges Part I, the Deep South 2024

January 21-30, 2024 with Cory Gregory & Vernon Campos guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Talamanca Hummingbird was just one of 25+ species of hummingbirds that we enjoyed on this trip! You might recall that the Talamanca Hummingbird became a new species when Magnificent Hummingbird was split. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.

With Costa Rica being such a top-notch destination for birders, there's hardly a bad time to visit, and timing our trip to coincide with the dead of winter up north really helped all of us escape the winter blues! Because Costa Rica is host to so many different ecosystems, from the montane paramo down to the steamy lowlands, the avian diversity is top-notch and we topped 300+ species on just the first part of our Edges trips!

We started out at the Hotel Bougainvillea where we even managed to snag some key species like Cabanis's Ground-Sparrow, White-eared Ground-Sparrow, and Hoffman's Woodpecker. From there we drove uphill to the amazing Calle La Paz where we had our first big slug of highland specialties; the trees lit up with Resplendent Quetzal, White-throated Mountain-gem, Ruddy Treerunner, Yellow-winged Vireo, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Flame-throated Warbler, Collared Redstart, and others. The famed Paraiso Quetzal area provided more eye-candy in the flavor of Lesser Violetears, Volcano, Fiery-throated, and Talamanca hummingbirds, and even more silky-flycatchers. From there it was up to the paramo around the radio towers where we added even more high-elevation specialties like Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren.

Our home for a couple nights, the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano, was a fantastic home base that also had some top-notch birding. Highlights here included Brown Violetear, White-crested Coquette, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, and a nice variety of other species as well. We visited Los Cusingos, which put us in contact with more specialties like Slaty-tailed Trogon, Black-hooded Antshrike, Dot-winged Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, some good woodcreepers, and at least three species of manakins.

The birding in the steamy lowlands around Esquinas can be almost overwhelming. We birded in this area for several days, spanning locations like La Gamba, the entrance road to Esquinas, Golfito, and others. The open country hosted lookers like Red-breasted Meadowlarks, Ruddy-breasted Seedeaters, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, White-necked Puffbirds, aracaris, several species of woodpeckers, spinetails, elaenias, and so much more. The lodge itself, tucked back into the deep forest, was a birding destination itself; the grounds yielded sightings of curassows, guans, wood-rails, hermits, several species of trogons including the local Baird's Trogon, antthrushes, and the endemic Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager. Overhead, we added King Vulture and Black Hawk-Eagle which were nice compliments to the Swallow-tailed Kites.

On one of our mornings we made the special trip to the base of the Osa Peninsula, where we birded at the famed Rio Rincon Bridge. In just a couple of hours, our list had topped 70 species! Perhaps no species here mattered as much as the very rare and local Yellow-billed Cotinga which we ended up getting good looks at. Nearby, Scarlet Macaws littered the trees point-blank, a gorgeous scene overlooking the bay unfolded, and we even got a quick glimpse of the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird. Our birding stop along Ciudad Neily gave us Veraguan Mangos, Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, and of course, another stunning Fork-tailed Flycatcher. Meanwhile, the nearby Las Pangas area had some great habitat and we added a number of waterfowl and shorebirds to our growing list.

The Wilson Botanical Gardens, which sit at the far southern tip of Costa Rica, quite near the Panama border, is a mid-elevation avian haven boasting great diversity and fun birding. This gorgeous location, which was our home for several nights, was hopping with 10+ species of tanagers, point-blank euphonias, swifts, chachalacas, and some great hummingbirds like Long-billed Starthroat. Out back of our rooms, we were treated to nightly calls from the spooky-sounding Crested Owl. Some nearby property was hosting the rare and difficult Rosy Thrush-Tanager (and yes, we got it)! But, before long, it was time to start back towards San Jose. Even though it was a travel day, we were able to stop and add some last-minute goodies like Acorn Woodpecker, more Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Violet Sabrewing, Red-headed Barbet, Green-crowned Brilliant, Crowned Woodnymph, and others.

In the end, this was a very fun and successful Part 1! Many of you continued onto Part 2 and enjoyed more expertise from our amazing guide, Vernon, as well as from veteran guide Chris Benesh. But I can say, on behalf of Field Guides and the many people that helped with getting this tour off the ground, a huge thank you to all of you! We hope you made good memories and enjoyed the sights and sounds Costa Rica has to offer.

Good birding and see you next time!

—Cory (Curlew)

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

Tinamidae (Tinamous)

GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) [*]

This species can be a really tricky one to see although they were heard fairly commonly.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

A couple of large swarms of these tree-loving ducks were out in the flats in Coto 47.

MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)

Coto 47 also had a couple of these far out with the other waterfowl.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

This dabbler was another species of duck we found at Coto 47.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

This is a fairly uncommon species and we didn't expect to find them when we were birding at Coto 47.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps)

These noisy, gregarious birds kept us company during our time around the Wilson Botanical Gardens.

CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens)

Much larger than the chachalacas, these big guys were actually quite arboreal, staying up in trees most of the time.

BLACK GUAN (Chamaepetes unicolor)

At least one of these was seen at Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.


It was hard to miss these majestic giants waltzing around the grounds at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge! What an amazing bird!

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

MARBLED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus gujanensis)

Vernon worked some magic and we actually were able to see a couple of these skulky quail at a dead-end road near Golfito.

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This view wasn't half bad! Shaded by the palms, enjoying a warm breeze, watching some Scarlet Macaws, life was good! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)

We saw at least one of these in a tiny roadside pond towards the end of the trip.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Common in urban areas.

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

This chunky pigeon was fairly common once we descended into the lowlands around Ciudad Neily and Esquinas.

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

This attractive pigeon was seen at the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) [*]

SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris)

Although fairly plain in plumage, these pigeons are quite vocal and we got to hear them singing several times around Wilson Botanical Gardens and again around Esquinas.

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)

This tiny species was spied at the start of the trip near the Hotel Bougainvillea.


Vernon spotted some of these along the road south of the Rio Rincon bridge and we all ended up getting good looks.

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

A common but bright species at all mid-low elevation sites we visited.

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

Although this ground-loving species was common throughout our trip, it's rather shy and would often stay out of view. Sometimes we'd see them flush but only be able to see the white tips to some of the tail feathers as they flew away.

GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassinii)

This shy species was seen a couple of times at Esquinas but it was sometimes hard to make them out compared to the previous species.

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Costa Rica has a number of night birds ranging from potoos to owls. One species we enjoyed was this Mottled Owl, photographed by participant Linda Mack.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

Common in the Central Valley and around the Hotel Bougainvillea.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

This all-black member of the cuckoo family was the only common ani species on Part 1. We'd spy them around grassy fields and bushy edges.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

At least one of these big cuckoos was spotted in the Rio Rincon area.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

A couple were flying around near the Rio Rincon bridge when we first arrived.

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Heard and then seen predawn at Esquinas.

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)

Half a dozen were seen overhead at the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

This huge swift was seen a couple of times, sometimes rocking past in large flocks.

COSTA RICAN SWIFT (Chaetura fumosa)

High overhead, this small swift was seen just a couple of times near Esquinas Rainforest Lodge where they're the only Chaetura swift present.

VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)

A number of these were tallied from the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

The Rio Rincon had a couple of these but they were way, way out.

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We couldn't have gotten better views of this local specialty, the Volcano Hummingbird. This high-elevation species is only found in Costa Rica and a little bit of Panama. Photo by participant Linda Mack.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)

Tallied from Esquinas.

BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes ruckeri)

A road near Esquinas was a reliable spot to find this shadow-loving hummingbird. We had several looks including one that perched point-blank for everyone!

GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)

This is a big, forest hummingbird that we tallied a couple of times.

LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris)

This large species was seen nicely at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)

This was another species tallied from Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae)

This was a nice pickup at the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus)

Paraiso Quetzal Lodge had a couple of these montane hummers.

GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii)

This big species was tallied a couple of times early in the tour including right at the Hotel Bougainvillea.

VERAGUAN MANGO (Anthracothorax veraguensis)

This species is generally a pretty range-restricted species within Costa Rica. We had great luck though, in the deep south, picking these up along the roadsides in Ciudad Neily.

WHITE-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis adorabilis)

This gorgeous little hummer was seen nicely at the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

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Perhaps the flashiest hummingbird of our entire trip was this White-crested Coquette! Wow! This stunning image was captured by participant Paul Beerman.


A fairly large species, these were spotted late in the tour at places like Mirador Valle del General.

TALAMANCA HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes spectabilis)

Formerly part of the Magnificent Hummingbird complex, this species is a highland species we saw at the Paraiso Quetzal Lodge.

LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris)

Long-billed indeed! We saw these near the Wilson Botanical Gardens late in the trip.


This is a highland species that we saw nicely at the Paraiso Quetzal Lodge.

WHITE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis castaneoventris)

Only one of these attractive hummers was spotted early in the trip.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris)

This is a wintering species that we added at the Hotel Bougainvillea and again near La Gamba.

VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula)

The highlands around Paraiso Quetzal Lodge proved to be loaded with this tiny Selasphorus.


Seen briefly on the grounds at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus)

This big, flashy, and gorgeous hummingbird was reliable at some high-elevation spots late in the tour.

CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica)

A female came in at the Mirador Valle del General stop late in the trip.

WHITE-TAILED EMERALD (Microchera chionura)

This attractive little hummer was seen a couple of times including at Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano but then again at the Mirador Valle del General.

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King Vulture! Any day that you spot one of these soaring high above, like we did at Esquinas, is going to be a good day. Talk about a distinctive pattern! Photo by participant Linda Mack.


A common hummingbird throughout our time at Wilson Botanical Gardens. In fact, the song of this species was one of the most common sounds at times.


These ended up being fairly common at spots like the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano, near San Vito, and at the Mirador Valle del General.


Abundant and seen daily.

MANGROVE HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia boucardi)

This Costa Rican endemic proved to be a little shy near the mangroves near Rio Rincón.


This was a daily species for us once we reached Esquinas.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)

Not particularly uncommon in the lowlands around Esquinas.

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

We enjoyed several nice scope looks at this colorful species in the fields along the entrance road to Esquinas.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Coto 47 had a number of these tall, lanky shorebirds.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

This wintering species was added to our list after we found one out on the mud at Coto 47.

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The Volcano Junco is a range-restricted, high-elevation specialist that's only found in Costa Rica and Panama. Lucky for us, we were at the right elevation to find this grumpy-looking species. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

The fields near Esquinas proved to be pretty reliable for this attractive species. The range of these has expanded northward out of Panama and they can now be found many places in Costa Rica.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)

This was a surprise find at Coto 47. Although more than a dozen of these were seen there, this isn't a species we expect to see on this tour.

WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)

Seen a couple of times in the lowlands around Esquinas.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

An impressive number of these were seen from the Rio Rincon bridge.

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

Coto 47 had a couple of these quiet shorebirds out along the edge of the wetlands.

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

This was another shorebird we added at Coto 47.

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)

At least one of these sturdy Tringas was seen from the Rio Rincon bridge.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

A couple of these distinctive shorebirds were picking at the waters edge at Playa Blanca near the Rio Rincon bridge.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

This was the most common peep for us.


The Las Pangas at Coto 47 had a number of these mixed with the more-numerous Leasts.

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It seemed that wherever we were, there was a Yellow-headed Caracara not too far away! This interesting, long-tailed raptor was seen most days and participant Linda Mack got this photo of one.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)

Seen at least once at Playa Blanca near the Rio Rincon.

ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)

This big tern was seen only once or twice on the trip.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)

A little flock of these was seen soaring high overhead near Golfito.

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


This beautiful, oceanic specialty was seen gliding overhead several times along the coast.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

This cormorant, the only one we expect to see in Costa Rica, was fairly common in large bodies of water or large rivers we crossed over.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Seen offshore from Playa Blanca.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum)

La Gamba and the Rio Rincon Bridge were at least two of the spots we saw this fascinating heron.

BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)

We weren't exactly expecting it but we found one of these when we were out after dark looking for owls!

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

Fairly common in the right habitat.

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

The lowlands around La Gamba and Coto 47 were good spots for this slender species.

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Fiery-billed Aracari really stole the show when it came to colorful, Costa Rican classic birds! Thankfully, they were pretty common and we enjoyed them numerous times on Part I. Photo by participant Linda Mack.

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

Seen at least the once at the Rio Rincon.

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

Esquinas, La Gamba, and the Rio Rincon bridge were all spots we found this quiet heron.


Our most common heron on the trip, these were often seen in fields alongside cattle, as expected. Note that this species has gone through a recent name change (well, more like an addition to the existing name).

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

This big, white heron was fairly common in the lowlands.

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

This big, classic heron was seen a few times in wet areas towards the end of our tour.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

Fairly common in wet habitats.

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

Coto 47 had at least a dozen of these.

GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis)

This was a pretty rare sighting near the entrance to Esquinas. But they put on a show and we got some photos.

ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)

One was seen and photographed at the Rio Rincon Bridge late in the tour.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)

It's always a treat to see this huge, colorful vulture. We found a couple of these soaring high overhead at Esquinas during one of our morning outings.

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Most birders have heard of "Warbler Neck" and here is the correct posture for attaining it! What were we looking at? A tanager, warbler, flycatcher, trogon? Costa Rica has a lot of options!

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

Common, tallied nearly every day.

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Abundant, seen every day of the trip.

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)

We had a couple of brief sightings of this marsh-loving vulture in the lowlands near Ciudad Neily.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

This fish-eating species was tallied from at least the Coto 47 area.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

We enjoyed watching these swirling raptors once we arrived at Wilson Botanical Gardens. They would end up being quite common in the area.

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

One of these was seen (and heard!) overhead at Esquinas one morning. What a fantastic raptor!

DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)

Fairly common, usually seen while flying overhead.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

Common and widespread through much of our tour.

GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)

Some excellent spotting along the road near Ciudad Neilly led us to this sneaky raptor perched low in the canopy. This species was considered conspecific with the previous species until recently when it was split. Costa Rica is the only country that hosts both species.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

This wintering raptor species was fairly common during our time around Wilson Botanical Gardens.

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The Black-crowned Tityra might not have the gaudy colors of various parrots and tanagers, but it's still a handsome and well-marked species. Photo by participant Linda Mack.

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

Not very common, only one of these was spotted soaring overhead.

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

We had a sighting from The Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano during our stay there.

RED-TAILED HAWK (COSTARICENSIS) (Buteo jamaicensis costaricensis)

Note the subspecies; this is a non-migratory subspecies of this familiar raptor that is found mostly in the highlands of Costa Rica.

Strigidae (Owls)

CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata)

We heard one of these calling nonstop behind our cabins at the Wilson Botanical Gardens. Some folks got a glimpse as well.

Trogonidae (Trogons)

RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno)

What is there not to like about this fantastic and popular species? We had great looks along Calle La Paz in Cartago early in the tour.

SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena)

Tallied from Los Cusingos and the Rio Rincon bridge.

BAIRD'S TROGON (Trogon bairdii)

Found only in southwestern Costa Rica and a little bit of neighboring Panama, this is a main target of ours and a very colorful specialty. We encountered them a couple of times, including along the Golfito Road and again at the Rio Rincón bridge. Success!

GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)

This yellow-bellied trogon was seen nicely a couple of times including at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, the Rio Rincon Bridge, and along a road near Golfito.


The only spot we encountered this species was near La Gamba where we pulled out a pair.

Momotidae (Motmots)

LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii lessonii)

This fascinating, bright, and fun tropical species was common and widespread for us. Any day with a motmot is a good day!

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The Spangle-cheeked Tanager is a stunner! In a country full of colorful tanagers, this species still comes out in the top 5! Photo by participant Paul Beerman.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

Rio Rincon hosted a couple of these giant kingfishers.

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

This was another species of kingfisher we got at the Rio Rincon Bridge.

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

La Gamba and the Rio Rincon bridge area netted us this medium-sized kingfisher.

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)

This fun species was seen along the entrance road to Esquinas on our arrival.

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)

This long-billed species specializes in eating large insect prey like butterflies, dragonflies, and cicadas.

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii)

A beautiful inhabitant of cloud forests in Costa Rica. One came to the feeders during a lunch stop in the mountains.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

NORTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis)

At least one of these was spotted late in the tour but not everyone saw it.

FIERY-BILLED ARACARI (Pteroglossus frantzii)

This specialty is restricted to southern Costa Rica and neighboring Panama. We eventually had great success with these small toucans with several looks at small roving flocks along roadsides. This species is always a hit and for good reason.

YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii)

A common and widespread species for us at mid-low elevations sites like Wilson Botanical Gardens.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus)

Our first sighting of this small woodpecker was at Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano. We later saw another near La Gamba.

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Our group was witness to some pretty incredible, close Scarlet Macaw antics. They sure were loud! Participant Paul Beerman got this nice shot before they flew off.

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

In Costa Rica, and much of Central America, this is actually a montane species. We added a couple of these late in the tour, on the final day.

GOLDEN-NAPED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes chrysauchen)

Esquinas and La Gamba hosted a couple of these attractive woodpeckers.

RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)

Common and widespread for us through much of tour.

HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii)

This species is found in the northern parts of the country and also down into the Central Valley. We encountered them by the Hotel Bougainvillea.

RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Dryobates kirkii) [*]

Heard by some.

PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis)

This big species was tallied late in the tour near Esquinas.

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

This big woodpecker was fairly common once we dropped into the Pacific lowlands towards the end of the trip. This species might remind you of the Pileated Woodpecker from farther north.


This uncommon species was finally found near La Gamba in the lowlands.

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)

This is a cool woodpecker that we saw early on the trip and then again later. They were never common though.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

This noisy raptor was heard several times and then seen in a roadside tree near Esquinas.

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The Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher has a lot going for it! The crest, the long tail, the beautiful highland forest it prefers, it really is a quintessential staple of the highlands. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.

COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus)

Wow, this was a pretty amazing experience. We were birding the entrance road to Esquinas when we heard and then saw one of these cross the road. Vernon eventually somehow spotted it and we had scope views.

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

This distinctive raptor was fairly common and tallied on the majority of our days.

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Daptrius chimachima)

Although less common than the previous species, this distinctly-marked caracara was seen several times including good numbers around Esquinas.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)

These small, fast parakeets were seen a few times at spots like Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and the Rio Rincón bridge. The orange chin is, in fact, very difficult to see in the field!

BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis)

Right around the lodge at Wilson Botanical Garden was a good spot for this parrot and we got some in the scope on a couple of our mornings there.

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

Not uncommon around Wilson and Esquinas.


We saw most of these from the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis)

This was the common parrot overhead at the Rio Rincón bridge during our dawn birding.

MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)

A couple small flocks of these flew over the Rio Rincon bridge.

SULPHUR-WINGED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura hoffmanni)

It was a treat seeing this small species early on in the trip. It's not a species we typically see on this part.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The lowlands around Esquinas were host to a number of trogons. One species we enjoyed on our trip was this Northern Black-throated Trogon as it surveyed our group. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.


The sight of these jaw-dropping macaws in flight at the Rio Rincón bridge, with morning light, isn't a memory to forget! Gorgeous.


Pretty common throughout the trip and especially around the Hotel Bougainvillea.

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major)

We had at least one sighting late in the trip, around the Wilson Botanical Gardens.

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

We had a beautiful look at a pair along the roadside edge along Rt. 237 near Wilson.

BLACK-HOODED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus bridgesi)

Not uncommon late in the trip where we heard/saw them at places like Los Cusingos, Esquinas, Rio Rincon, etc.

RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus)

Seen at least once, near Wilson Botanical Gardens.

PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis)

This was another species we tallied on our birding excursions from Wilson Botanical Gardens.

DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis)

At least half a dozen of these were tallied from our birding at Los Cusingos.

DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina)

Never common for us, this species was seen maybe just the once near La Gamba.


Like the Black-hooded Antshrike, these were actually fairly common but always difficult to see well. We encountered some around Esquinas and the road to Golfito.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Black-chested Jay was a bit of a surprise sighting but participant Paul Beerman was ready and came away with this beautiful photo.
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)

BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis)

It took quite a bit of patience but some folks were eventually rewarded with views of this secretive species near Esquinas.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

TAWNY-WINGED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla anabatina)

This was one of the woodcreepers we saw at Los Cusingos but they were never common after that.

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus)

Esquinas was a decent spot for this short-billed woodcreeper and we ended up seeing several.

COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)

Relative to the size of the body, this species has a pretty impressive, sturdy bill!

BLACK-STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus)

Among the woodcreepers, this is a gorgeously-patterned member that ranges south to Ecuador, often in lowland habitats.

STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)

Perhaps our most common woodcreeper on tour, this curve-billed species was seen on a majority of our days.

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

This small species was spotted at Los Cusingos, Esquinas, and La Gamba/Golfito.

RUDDY FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis rubiginosus) [*]

This is a rare species in Costa Rica but we did end up hearing one at Wilson.


This was a fantastic species to get. Tallied only around Esquinas and the nearby wet forest, this species is found mostly in Costa Rica.

WESTERN WOODHAUNTER (Automolus virgatus)

This was another neat Furnariid we found in the wet forest between La Gamba and Golfito.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We looked at more than just birds, of course. Here's a Banded Peacock at the Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus)

This is a highland species we tallied a couple of times. Found only in Costa Rica and Panama.

RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops)

Seen only near Wilson late in the trip.

SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura)

A species of wet fields and brushy edges, this attractive spinetail was tallied in the wet area along Rt. 237 en route to Wilson.

PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)

This grass-loving spinetail was seen very nicely in the wet fields near Wilson.

Pipridae (Manakins)

WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera)

Seen on the day we explored at Wilson Botanical Gardens.

VELVETY MANAKIN (Lepidothrix velutina)

Los Cusingos and Wilson were the only spots we found this fun species.

ORANGE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus aurantiacus)

Los Cusingos and Wilson both had this forest species.

RED-CAPPED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra mentalis)

This is yet another manakin we spotted at Los Cusingos and then again near Golfito.

Cotingidae (Cotingas)

TURQUOISE COTINGA (Cotinga ridgwayi)

What a stunner! This gorgeous cotinga was tallied a couple of times including in San Isidro early on and then again at Esquinas. Susan picked this as one of her Top 3.

RUFOUS PIHA (Lipaugus unirufus)

Tallied from Los Cusingos and Wilson.

YELLOW-BILLED COTINGA (Carpodectes antoniae)

This endangered species is very range restricted and sought-after by birders. They're found in coastal areas of southwestern Costa Rica and a little bit of Panama but are close to extirpation there. With a population of fewer than 700 left, seeing this species is a real treat. Our time at the Rio Rincón bridge was successful and we saw several males and females.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Very nearly endemic to Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Brushfinch is one of the more difficult species to find on this tour. Thankfully Vernon used his magic and participant Paul Beerman got this great shot of this one.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)

Seen several times at spots like Esquinas and the Rio Rincon bridge.

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

This distinctive species was seen many times including at the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano and the Rio Rincon bridge.

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

TROPICAL ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus)

This awesome flycatcher was seen fairly nicely at Esquinas.

SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus)

Seen at Los Cusingos and Wilson Botanical Gardens.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)


Seen on the day we birded Wilson Botanical Gardens.

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

Seen several times including at Los Cusingos and Esquinas.

SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus)

This is a super cool, tiny species we saw at Wilson Botanical Gardens.

NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare)

Heard and seen by only a couple.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

With a dark back and bright yellow below, this fairly common species was seen several times towards the end of the tour, especially at Esquinas.

EYE-RINGED FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris)

This flycatcher was seen a couple of times, usually as it sat quietly in the understory. We saw them at San Gerardo de Rivas, Esquinas, and La Gamba.

YELLOW-OLIVE FLATBILL (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)

Tallied from Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

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Riverside Wren is surely not lacking in stripes or singing ability! These turned out to be fairly common during much of our trip. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.

YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola)

Seen just once or twice along the road to Las Pangas.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

This widespread elaenia was heard a ton and also seen several times. Generally speaking, this is one of the easiest elaenias to find and see. They have an enormous, bushy crest!

MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii)

Saw this flycatcher at Calle La Paz and then again late in the trip in the highlands.


Formerly part of the Paltry Tyrannulet complex before they were split out. This Zimmerius is actually quite widespread and common in much of Costa Rica and we tallied them most days.

YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris)

This wintering Empid was seen at Esquinas just once or twice.

BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax atriceps)

Our time in the highlands overlapped with a couple of these fairly distinctive Empids. With a range limited to mountains of Costa Rica and Panama, it was a great specialty to see.

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus)

This species was easy to hear but a lot less easy to actually see. Tallied from Los Cusingos and Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra)

This all-brown species was seen on the day we went from Esquinas to Wilson.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

Not particularly uncommon in the lowlands including at Rio Rincon where we heard at least one.


This large, bright Myiarchus might be a familiar species for birders from farther north. They winter in lowlands and we found them at spots like the Golfito Road and the Rio Rincón bridge.

Field Guides Birding Tours
When a Band-tailed Barbthroat perched point-blank, our group was ready! Bins up! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Common, bold, widespread, and tallied daily.

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

Fairly common on many of our days.

RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

Although this black, yellow, and white flycatcher is quite widespread in South America, it is a very range-restricted specialty in southern Costa Rica. We found some reliable birds near Esquinas.

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

Common and widespread, tallied daily.

GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis)

Similar to the previous species, this pale-eyed, gray-headed flycatcher became more common once we dropped into the lowlands around Ciudad Neily and Esquinas.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

Seen along the entrance road to Esquinas.

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)

Fairly common at Wilson Botanical Gardens.

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Abundant, tallied daily.


Although never abundant, these gorgeous and distinctive flycatchers were seen a couple of times including around Ciudad Neily.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes)

Great looks were had near Esquinas in the lowlands. Greenlets are in the Vireo family.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the more common butterflies at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge was Lantana Hairstreak. It was actually quite attractive once you got close enough to see it well. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

GREEN SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius pulchellus)

Seen at Los Cusingos and then heard again later in the trip. This big vireo is downright tough to see sometimes!

LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)

Tallied a couple of times including at Los Cusingos and La Gamba. Greenlets are in the vireo family.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

This wintering species was seen a couple of times early in the tour at spots like Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli)

This highland species was seen on our first full day of birding.

PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus)

This is another wintering species of vireo that we tallied on our trip.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

SILVERY-THROATED JAY (Cyanolyca argentigula) [*]

This is a highland species that only a couple people heard on our final day.

BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio)

Common around the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano and the Hotel Bougainvillea.

BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis)

We had really nice views of this attractive jay near Wilson Botanical Gardens.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea)

Seen a couple times but our best views came from the Rio Rincón bridge where they'd land on the power lines right next to us.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

This big swallow is a close relative of the Purple Martin folks might know from back home in the States. For us, they were common once we dropped into the mid-low elevations.

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Speckled Tanager is seemingly always discussed as a Top 3 contender at the end of the trip, and for good reason; the patterning is so intricate! Photo by participant Linda Mack.

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

This swallow species was seen only once early on in the tour.

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

A couple were seen a couple of days when we were staying at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

Our most widespread and commonly seen swallow on tour. Mostly white below, the black vent really stood out in contrast.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

This fairly plain, brown wren was common through much of the trip although their quiet behavior didn't make them very obvious.

TIMBERLINE WREN (Thryorchilus browni)

This highland species is nearly endemic to Costa Rica. We got this sneaky guy on our first full day of birding.

BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris)

Detected at least once at Esquinas but this can be a notoriously tricky bird to see.

RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus)

Common early in the trip at spots like Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

ISTHMIAN WREN (Cantorchilus elutus)

Split out many years ago now from the Plain Wren complex. We had this species a couple of times early in the trip but they were more often heard than seen.

RIVERSIDE WREN (Cantorchilus semibadius)

This is a rather attractive wren that's also limited to southern Costa Rica and Panama. We had encounters many times including in the Esquinas area, the Rio Rincon area, and others.

WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta)

Seen at least once from the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Blending in quite well, this treefrog was photographed by participant Linda Mack.

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)

Tallied on the day we birded Wilson Botanical Gardens.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)


Fairly common, this mimic was seen near San Vito, Ciudad Neily, and Golfito.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes melanops)

This songster is an attractive inhabitant of various mid-high elevation forests.


This is another high elevation specialty that's only found in Costa Rica and Panama.


This is one sneaky thrush! We encountered them a couple of times including at Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)

This migrant species winters in Costa Rica and we encountered it near Wilson Botanical Gardens.

MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus)

Fairly common at mid-high elevations early on the trip. This is in the same genus as our robin back north.

WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis) [*]

This species was at least heard by some and glimpsed by couple others.


This widespread thrush is the national bird of Costa Rica.

Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)


This is a beautiful species, one of only 4 silky-flycatchers in the world. For us, these were seen at Calle La Paz early on the trip and then again at Paraiso Quetzal Lodge.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the most common reptiles we encountered in the lowlands was the Common Basilisk. Here's one near one of the ponds at Esquinas. This species actually swims very well and can stay submerged for 10 minutes! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Seen occasionally in urban areas.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

ELEGANT EUPHONIA (Chlorophonia elegantissima)

This pretty species was seen a couple of times including at Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano.

GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys)

This is another bright species that's found mostly in the mountains. We found ours in the Paraiso Quetzal Lodge area.

YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla)

This is mostly a lowland species and we encountered some at the Rio Rincon bridge.

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

This yellow-throated member of the Euphonia genus was one of two species at the Wilson Botanical Garden fruit feeders.

SPOT-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia imitans)

These were fairly common once we birded around Wilson Botanical Gardens. The females are very nicely marked and obvious!

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

Seen a couple of times including at Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano, the grassy area along Rt. 237, and Wilson Botanical Gardens.

YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus)

This flyover was a nice pickup at Calle La Paz on our first day.

Rhodinocichlidae (Thrush-Tanager)

ROSY THRUSH-TANAGER (Rhodinocichla rosea)

This is a special species and one we certainly don't expect to find on this tour. Vernon had some connections and we were able visit a special patch of forest to give it a try. Once we got there and met our local escort, we filed into the forest where to tried our best to get looks at this skulky species. In the end, I think we all heard it, some saw it well, and some only got bits and pieces.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus)

Fairly common at the higher elevations like around Paraiso Quetzal.

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus)

This lower-elevation counterpart to the previous species was seen at least once at Wilson Botanical Gardens and other nearby roadsides.

BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris)

Fairly common in the lowland forests.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Hands down this is the most commonly sought after species in Costa Rica. Birders from far and wide come to Costa Rica to enjoy the quintessential Resplendent Quetzal! Here's a beautiful photo by participant Linda Quinn.

COSTA RICAN BRUSHFINCH (Arremon costaricensis)

Success! This is a rare, range-restricted brushfinch that's very nearly endemic to Costa Rica. Vernon did his magic and we found a pair along a road near San Vito.

ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris)

This is a brightly-colored attractive sparrow of the lowland shadowy forests. We found ours at spots like Esquinas and Los Cusingos.

VOLCANO JUNCO (Junco vulcani)

It was our first full day, when we went high up into the mountains, that we saw this highland endemic. Found only in Costa Rica and a little bit in Panama, this is a fun specialty to target.

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

A common bird at mid-upper elevations; we saw our first right at the Hotel Bougainvillea.


This is a superb, skulky species and one we added at the Hotel Bougainvillea at the start of the trip.

CABANIS'S GROUND-SPARROW (Melozone cabanisi) [E]

This specialty is one of just a few truly endemic species in Costa Rica. Funnily enough, one of the best places is right in San Jose near the Hotel Bougainvillea which is where we found ours.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)

At least one of this grassland-loving species was seen on our first outing at the Hotel Bougainvillea.


How cool was it to see meadowlarks with bright red fronts! This species was tallied near Ciudad Neily and near Esquinas in the tropical lowlands.

YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus)

Seen at least once from Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and again near Wilson Botanical Garden.

CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)

This was the most common oropendola for us on this part of the tour. We stopped at a couple spots near Wilson that had some nests and again near Golfito.

MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma)

Seen at the start of the tour by the Hotel Bougainvillea.

SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SCARLET-RUMPED) (Cacicus uropygialis microrhynchus)

We ended up getting some pretty good looks several times at Esquinas and the Rio Rincon bridge.

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

We had a number of these burnt-orange orioles feeding in the trees along the Ciudad Neily rice fields.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Keep an eye on the yellowthroat taxonomy in the coming years; the path that this species has taken has been a curious one. It was originally thought to be a subspecies of Masked Yellowthroat until studies suggested it should be its own species, the "Chiriqi Yellowthroat". But then more studies showed that it should actually be a subspecies of Olive-crowned Yellowthroat instead. Who knew! This nice photo was taken by participant Paul Beerman.

BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

Common throughout the trip.

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

This glossy black cowbird was seen a couple of times including at Ciudad Neily and the Rio Rincón bridge.

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)

Most of our sightings came from the lowlands around Esquinas and the Rio Rincon.

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

We scored half a dozen of these at the Rt 237 grassy area also another from the rice fields at Ciudad Neily.


Common around the Hotel Bougainvillea.

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Abundant, tallied daily.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

Several were heard and a couple were seen in the lowland forest around Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and the Rio Rincon bridge.


This limb-creeping warbler was fairly common and we tallied them on at least half of our days.

FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis)

This is a high-elevation species we encountered along Calle La Paz and the radio tower area.

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

It was interesting to see this wintering warbler visiting fruit feeders here and there on tour!

MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia)

First detected by its call, this skulky warbler eventually came into view nicely at the Rt. 237 pond near Wilson.

OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (CHIRIQUI) (Geothlypis semiflava chiriquensis)

Some sources split this out as its own species "Chiriqui Yellowthroat". For now, we treat this as a subspecies of Olive-crowned (until recently, it was actually part of Masked Yellowthroat; a confusing situation!). We had looks in a weedy marshside near San Vito.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Spot-crowned Euphonia was seen many times visiting fruit feeders at the Wilson Botanical Gardens. It was hard for it to find a way in between all the thrushes, tanagers, and chachalacas though! Photo by participant Linda Mack.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

This familiar warbler was seen a couple of times including at the Rt. 237 pond.

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)

At least one of these was spotted at the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano and then again late in the tour near Wilson.

BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea)

This was a surprising find, a species we don't typically see on this part. We were birding near the Rio Rincon bridge when one of these came into view and we all enjoyed a good study and even came away with some pictures to prove it.


Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano hosted at least one of these wintering warblers.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

This familiar wintering warbler was seen just a couple of times and was never common.

CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica)

Our most common warbler on the trip, these cute little guys were tallied nearly every day.


On our final day, we returned to some high elevation forest and came across a couple of these wintering warblers.

BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda)

These friendly warblers were often seen on the ground, especially along the edges of roads or trails where they preferred to forage.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)

Fairly common, seen many times at various spots on tour.

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

Although never abundant, this attractive tropical warbler was seen at least a couple of times.

COLLARED REDSTART (Myioborus torquatus)

What an adorable warbler! This is a high-elevation species and one of our only encounters occurred up at Calle La Paz.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

Common and widespread.

BLACK-CHEEKED ANT-TANAGER (Habia atrimaxillaris) [E]

Excellent! This is one of the main targets of the entire Edges Part 1 tour! This rare ant-tanager is endemic to the southwestern corner of Costa Rica where it's believed fewer than 15,000 remain. We caught up to them a couple of times including right on the grounds of Esquinas and then again along the road to Golfito

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

This wintering finch was spied several times on the trip at various spots.

BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia cyanoides)

We finally caught up to one of these dark grosbeaks at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Not only is Costa Rica home to hundreds of species of birds, hundreds of species of butterflies also call it home. One of the most common we saw was the striking Zebra Heliconian. Photo by participant Linda Mack.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

This is an uncommon species on this part of the trip but we still managed to find one on a couple of days. First was at the Hotel Bougainvillea and then another along the road by Ciudad Neily.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata)

Seen a couple of times late in the tour.

SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER (CHERRIE'S) (Ramphocelus passerinii costaricensis)

An abundant but gorgeous addition to the avifauna of Costa Rica. Until recently, these were split out as different species but they've been re-lumped as Scarlet-rumped again.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

Our most common tanager on average. Tallied daily.

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

Although a bit more bland than the previous species, this species does have a fine, yellow tinge to the head. These were fairly common throughout.

SPECKLED TANAGER (Ixothraupis guttata)

Certainly one of the better-looking tanagers! We saw this intricately-patterned species several times including at the Hotel de Montaña El Pelicano and Wilson Botanical Gardens.

GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Stilpnia larvata)

A common but attractive species we saw on a majority of our days!


San Gerardo de Rivas had a couple of these beautiful tanagers but they were never a common species for us.

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)

A common and familiar tanager seen on most of our days.

SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala)

This is another beautiful tanager that was actually fairly common.


There was at least one sighting late in the tour, near the Wilson Botanical Gardens.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Of all the warblers we saw, perhaps the most striking of them all (cute, even?) was the Collared Redstart. A species of high-elevation forests, it's endemic to Costa Rica and Panama. Photo by participant Linda Mack.

SHINING HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes lucidus)

We could see the yellow legs on this species of honeycreeper when we spotted it at Esquinas.


A common feeder bird early in the trip, seen many times.

GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

One of our most common honeycreepers on Part 1, this attractive tropical species was quite fond of visiting flowers and fruit feeders throughout the tour.

SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea)

This is a high-elevation species limited to Costa Rica and Panama. We encountered some several times early in the tour and then again on our final day when we went up and over the mountains.

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

Fairly common throughout the trip.


This fairly distinctive tanager (yes, seedeaters are technically tanagers) was tallied from near La Gamba and then again at the Rt. 237 pond.

THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea)

This is a large-billed, mostly-dark species we encountered in the lowlands around La Gamba.

VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina)

Abundant in any grassy habitat through much of the tour.

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)

More than a dozen of these were hanging out along the road near La Gamba but we would see more around the Rt. 237 pond.

SLATE-COLORED SEEDEATER (Sporophila schistacea)

Vernon had some details on where to go to find this uncommon species at Wilson Botanical Gardens and after some looking, we were successful.

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)

Common just about anywhere with flowers!


Not particularly uncommon.


Our most common saltator on this tour, this big-billed species was a mainstay at fruit feeders throughout.

STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus)

We saw this distinctive saltator in the scrub by the Rt. 237 pond and then again from the Mirador Valle Del General stop.


COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis)

Spotted along a roadside when we went looking for owls near Esquinas.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We kept a careful eye for other critters too. Here's a dragonfly, known as the Blue-eyed Setwing, that was keeping guard near some of the lantanas. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata)

If you ever needed to see one of these, you only needed to look by the fridge at Esquinas which is where they'd roost every day!

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata)

Seen high up, at one point, near Esquinas.

RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)

Seen occasionally.

ALFARO'S PYGMY SQUIRREL (Microsciurus alfari)

Seen by a couple during our day between Esquinas and Wilson.

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)

Common and seen almost daily.

COYOTE (Canis latrans)

Seen on our final day as we were driving back to San Jose.

WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)

This relative of the raccoon was fairly common.

COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)

Seen once or twice.


GROUND ANOLE (Anolis humilis)

Tallied on at least one of our days.

GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana)

There was no shortage of these big guys once we dropped down into the Pacific lowlands!

COMMON BASILISK (Basiliscus basiliscus)

Our best views came from Esquinas Rainforest Lodge where these were quite common near the ponds.

TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia)

The sound these geckos make blends right in with the normal night sounds and we heard them daily.

SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus)

A couple of these always seemed to be lurking somewhere in the ponds at Esquinas! At night, the eye-shine was especially helpful in picking them out.

MASKED TREE FROG (Smilisca phaeota)

Seen at Esquinas by some.

Totals for the tour: 311 bird taxa and 9 mammal taxa