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Field Guides Tour Report
Costa Rica: Birding the Edges Part II, the Far North 2017
Jan 22, 2017 to Jan 31, 2017
Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory

The view from Arenal Observatory Lodge is simply breathtaking. Here, Lake Arenal is in the background on the left and the slope of the Arenal Volcano is on the right -- and in the middle, forest with LOTS of birds. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

This wonderful loop through Northern Costa Rica took us from the cool Central Valley into the misty, breezy middle elevations and highlands of some of the country's famous volcanoes, with a nice warm interlude in the Lake Nicaragua lowlands around Caño Negro. Weather was very pleasant throughout, with very little rain during our birding outings.

We started off with a morning on Volcan Poás, finding highland specialities like Golden-browed Chlorophonias feeding low on a fruiting fig tree. At lunchtime, we enjoyed the hummingbirds of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and as a nice encore, we stopped at some roadside feeders that had very close Red-headed Barbets, Emerald Toucanets, tanagers, and orioles gorging themselves on bananas.

Our home for two nights in mid-elevation forest was Hotel Bosque de Paz, a lovely spot indeed. We enjoyed the Black Guans, Chestnut-capped Brushfinches, and strange Pacas at the feeders as well as the Brown-billed Scythebills, Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers, and nightingale-thrushes in the forest.

Dropping in elevation and increasing in temperature, we shifted north to the lowlands along the Nicaraguan border. We added a boat trip in the Medio Queso wetland this year, a great way for us to see some wonderful birds like Pinnated Bittern (two, and CLOSE!), American Pygmy-Kingfisher, Nicaraguan Grackle (we missed it at Caño Negro, so we were pleased to find it here), and scores of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. On the road to Caño Negro, we found Nicaraguan Seed-Finch, Double-striped Thick-knee, and at night, Great Potoo (WOW! They were close and marvelous!), Striped Owl, and Black-and-white Owl. Our boat trips into the flooded Caño Negro were very interesting, allowing us some close views at birds like Sungrebe, Spot-breasted Wren, Gray-headed Kite, Black-collared Hawk, Slaty-tailed Trogon, and Olive-crowned Yellowthroat. Water levels were still high after flooding in late November 2016 due to the devastating Hurricane Otto.

Our final stay on the tour was at the always wonderful (and always surprising!) Arenal Observatory Lodge at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. A fruiting fig tree in the gardens was erupting, taking the place of the now-quiet volcano. We saw tons of tanagers, toucans, thrushes, and Crested Guans eating the fruit here -- we even spotted a rare Yellow-eared Toucanet early on our second morning. The forests of Arenal were very productive, and we found some fun birds including White-throated Shrike-Tanager, Orange-bellied Trogon, Song Wren, Ocellated Antbird, Olive-backed Euphonia, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Thicket Antpitta, and more. By Lake Arenal, we were able to compare the scarce Keel-billed and Broad-billed motmots in an area where they sometimes pair up together, and Cory spotted a surprising Northern Tamandua hustling down a tree and then slowly climbing a hillside across from us.

Cory and I were delighted to share this piece of Costa Rica with you - we really saw a lot of this fantastic country in a week, with plenty of highlights (birds and otherwise). Thank you for birding with us, and we hope to see you out on the trails again soon!

Special thanks go to Vernon Campos for driving and helping us as an outstanding third guide on this fun and exciting tour.



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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – At least 180 of these fine ducks flew over us during the boat trip at Medio Queso.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – These small migrant ducks were at Medio Queso and along the road to Caño Negro.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – Basically massive fruit-chickens, these guans fed with abandon on the figs in the gardens at Arenal.

We had some splendid views of this Brown-billed Scythebill in the forest near Bosque de Paz. This species has to lean back just to fit itself on a tree trunk! Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BLACK GUAN (Chamaepetes unicolor) – About 14 attended the feeders in the yard at Bosque de Paz.
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra) – These massive birds were regulars at the fruit feeders at Arenal, even kicking the bananas down to the ground before jumping down and devouring them.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – Cory spotted this huge soaring bird to the north from the boat landing at Medio Queso. We watched it through scopes for a few minutes at great distance.
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – Common in the Caño Negro lowlands.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Common at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – Very common around Caño Negro.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PINNATED BITTERN (Botaurus pinnatus) – Two of these uncommon, cryptic herons were along the edge of a brushy canal at Medio Queso during our boat trip there. We had binocular-filling views of both of them as they tried their best to blend in. Amazing!
FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum) – One adult fed in the fast-flowing stream below Arenal Observatory Lodge each day - we saw this uncommon bird on several occasions.
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – These open-land herons were in the wetlands at Medio Queso and the road to Caño Negro.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – Fairly common in the wetlands along the Nicaraguan border.

Fruit feeders provide some great opportunities to study frugivores up close. This Emerald Toucanet was one of several coming in to bananas at Cinchona. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Very common, especially at Caño Negro.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Common around the northern wetlands, though less abundant than Great Egret.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Common at Caño Negro.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Seen several times at Caño Negro.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Common and widespread.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – Very common in the lowlands of the north, especially at Medio Queso where we saw 16!
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – A few were around Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – Small numbers were around Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – One flew over us during our evening boat trip on the Caño Negro.

A new species as of 2016 (after the split of Gray-necked Wood-Rail), this Russet-naped Wood-Rail was a great addition to our trip near Caño Negro. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – We started out with excellent scope views of these strange ibis from the driveway of our hotel at Caño Negro; later, we saw a few others during our boat trips.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Several were mixed in with Wood Storks near Caño Negro.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Very common and widespread.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Common but less abundant than Black Vultures on this tour.
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – Great views overhead at Medio Queso - we really had a good chance to study these lovely vultures.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Just a couple were at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – A few of these elegant raptors flew over at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – One perched up for close views along the river during a boat trip at Caño Negro.
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – Though we heard one calling at Arenal Sky Trek, we couldn't see this impressive bird. [*]
BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis) – An adult showed nicely in the open lagoon during our evening boat trip at Caño Negro.

A Fasciated Tiger-Heron showed off repeatedly along the entrance drive to Arenal. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis) – Perhaps due to high water levels, we only saw one of these snail-specialist raptors during the evening boat trip at Caño Negro.
NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus cyaneus) – One was soaring over the expansive wetlands of Medio Queso. The species is scarce as a winterer in Costa Rica.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus) – One flew over us on our first morning at the fig tree on Volcan Poás.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Common and seen frequently in the lowlands.
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – One flew in and perched above the boat during our evening trip at Caño Negro. Others were seen flying past the bus while we drove to La Fortuna.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – One was at Cinchona during our feeder watching there; another soared over at Arenal.
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – A few good views during our drives through the north. This species is the northern member of the complex that includes the recently split Gray-lined Hawk.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – A fairly common wintering bird on this tour; seen on four days.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – Seen twice during our drives.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – Great views at Volcan Poás and especially along the road above Bosque de Paz.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) – One flushed out of a tiny patch of grass along the road to Caño Negro. The real highlight, though, was the pair that wandered around at a reserve on the outskirts of La Fortuna.

Army ants had this Yellowish Flycatcher distracted at Bosque de Paz. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

RUSSET-NAPED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides albiventris) – Gray-necked Wood-rail was split last year, with Russet-naped Wood-rail the "new" species found in northern and eastern Costa Rica. We watched one wander around a wetland ditch on the road to Caño Negro and got to admire its russet nape.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – Common at Medio Queso, with 12 there; a few others popped up at Caño Negro.
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica) – Two of these bizarre waterbirds swam out in front of our boat during the morning cruise on the Caño Negro.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus bistriatus) – Five were standing around in a short field on the drive to Caño Negro. Another was by itself in a field to the SW of Caño Negro.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A few were in the Caño Negro area.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa) – Quite common in the wetlands between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – Seven were with a Wilson's Snipe in a puddle at the roadside en route to Caño Negro.

As we were leaving Caño Negro, this Streak-headed Woodcreeper put on a good show next to the bus. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata) – One was a surprise in a roadside pool near Caño Negro.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Common in the lowlands of the north.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – Two flew up from roadside ditches between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – We heard one of these lanky waders at Caño Negro.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common in towns and cities. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Common in the lowlands of the north.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – One flew in and landed in a fruit tree on the road west of Caño Negro. We enjoyed lengthy scope views of this stunning Columbid.
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – Common on the edges of the Central Valley and at Arenal.

We were pretty stoked to find this Yellow-eared Toucanet in the fruiting fig trees at Arenal Observatory Lodge. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – A few large flocks of these widespread mountain pigeons flew past us at Arenal.
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – Common in the Central Valley, seen at the beginning and end of the tour.
PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE (Columbina minuta) – A few of these small, pale doves were at the roadside at Medio Queso and the road to Caño Negro.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Very common, especially in the lowlands.
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – A few of these striking powder blue doves were with Ruddy Ground-Doves at the side of the road near Caño Negro.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Common around Caño Negro where it occurs alongside Gray-headed Dove.
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassinii) – One of these dark forest doves was a daily visitor to the feeders at Arenal.
GRAY-HEADED DOVE (Leptotila plumbeiceps) – This northern specialty was heard a few times along the water at Caño Negro; we found one singing right above the boat dock after our morning cruise.
QUAIL-DOVE SP. (Columbidae sp. ) – Two quail-doves made all-too-brief appearances at Cinchona and Bosque de Paz. Both might have been Buff-fronted Quail-Doves, but we didn't see them well enough to be sure.

Our boat trips on the Caño Negro were great for all kinds of wildlife, not just birds. This Spectacled Caiman gave us a nice grin as we cruised past. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – Common in the Central Valley.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Seen daily around Caño Negro.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – We saw these big, rusty cuckoos at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Caño Negro, and Arenal.
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor) – Very good views from the boat trips at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – We heard one screech near the parking lot at Caño Negro Natural Lodges.
Strigidae (Owls)
PACIFIC SCREECH-OWL (Megascops cooperi) – A pair roosted together over the river at Caño Negro.
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – One was calling outside our rooms at the Hotel Bougainvillea on the first morning of the tour.
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – It took until the final evening of our tour, but we went outside at the Hotel Bougainvillea and found one of these tiny owls in the gardens before dinner.
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – Three were along the roads at night near Caño Negro where this species fortunately has the nice habit of hunting from roadside utility wires.
STRIPED OWL (Pseudoscops clamator) – We found one on a roadside wire at Caño Negro.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – About fifteen of these bounding nightjars got up off their day roosts and started hunting over Caño Negro during our evening boat trip.

We saw this male Tawny-capped Euphonia really well near the river at Arenal Observatory Lodge. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Common during our night drive at Caño Negro.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) – A pair sat atop roadside poles near Caño Negro, hunting large, flying insects attracted to bright lights while we watched from just 10 meters away. Amazing! Another bird was on a day roost near Lake Arenal.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – Some large flocks of up to 70 of these big swifts cruised over us at Bosque de Paz and Arenal.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – These small swifts made some close passes above the deck at Arenal, allowing us to study and identify them.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – One hawked insects above the treetops in the gardens at Arenal.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – Common at Bosque de Paz.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – We heard and saw just a couple of these small hummers on the trails at Arenal.

Several species of hummingbirds patronized the flowers in the gardens at Arenal Observatory Lodge. This Violet-headed Hummingbird shows off its blue-purple forehead patch and short bill. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – One was in the gardens at Arenal.
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii) – One made a quick exit after showing briefly along the Caño Negro entrance road.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – We had excellent views at the feeders at La Paz Waterfall Gardens; one without a tail was in the verbena hedges at Arenal.
BLACK-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis helenae) – At least one male and female visited the verbena hedges at Arenal. These tiny hummers were a real delight for the group.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula) – Common at the feeders at La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Bosque de Paz.
MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – Several of these big hummers visited the feeders at Bosque de Paz. It is likely that these birds will be split from the northern taxa of Magnificent Hummingbird and could be called "Admirable Hummingbird."
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis) – Fairly common in the forests at Volcan Poás.
WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis hemileucus) – We waited for a little while at the Cinchona feeders before one of these handsome hummers showed up right in front of our faces.
PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis calolaemus) – Several showed nicely at La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Bosque de Paz.
MAGENTA-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox bryantae) – A few folks saw one come in two times to the feeders outside the dining room at Bosque de Paz.

Sungrebe was one of the big highlights of our boat trips at Caño Negro. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) – One showed up right outside the Hotel Bougainvillea at the end of the tour.
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti) – Common in the gardens at Arenal.
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – Several were singing loudly in the gardens at Arenal. One tree seemed to be something of a skirmish grounds with 3-4 males fighting at one time.
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – These huge, striking hummers are common at the feeders at Bosque de Paz.
STRIPE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa eximia) – One flew in and perched near the fruiting fig tree on our first morning at Volcan Poás.
BLACK-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa nigriventris) – These boxy-headed hummers were pretty common at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD (Elvira cupreiceps) – The La Paz Waterfall Gardens feeders are fantastic for this Costa Rican endemic hummingbird. [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Common and widespread.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – The one that perched out on the edge of the river at Caño Negro couldn't have been more cooperative.
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus) – We had a lovely view of a male perched up along the river at Caño Negro.

Spangle-cheeked Tanagers were regular visitors to the feeders at Bosque de Paz. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) – A female was above the trail at Arenal Sky Trek.
ORANGE-BELLIED TROGON (Trogon aurantiiventris) – A female showed well over the waterfall trail at Arenal.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – We saw these red-bellied trogons well several times at Bosque de Paz.
Momotidae (Motmots)
KEEL-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron carinatum) – One of these very scarce motmots was perched up near a Broad-billed Motmot near Lake Arenal.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) – One was with a Keel-billed Motmot at Arenal where the two species have been known to interbreed.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Several of these big kingfishers were at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – One flew over us a few times during our Medio Queso boat trip.
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – Very common at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.

Much to our amazement, White-throated Crakes paraded out in the open near La Fortuna. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – A few showed nicely along the edge of the water at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – Singles were at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – A pair of these black-and-white stunners showed off right overhead near Caño Negro.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – A pair posed along the driveway to Caño Negro.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii) – A few of these remarkably handsome fruit-eaters were attracted to the bananas on the feeders at Cinchona.
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
PRONG-BILLED BARBET (Semnornis frantzii) – Repeated, point-blank views were definitely welcomed. Check out the photo elsewhere in the trip list to see the prong up close!
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis) – Great views of these small, bright toucans on a fruiting fig at Volcan Poás and also at the Cinchona feeders.
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – Our first were scoped in a cecropia along the driveway at Caño Negro. Several other nice views between Caño Negro and Arenal.
YELLOW-EARED TOUCANET (Selenidera spectabilis) – One of these rare toucans appeared in the fruiting fig trees at the edge of the gardens at Arenal. We were lucky to get extended views of this surprise, even though the lighting left something to be desired.

We had some great luck with fruiting fig trees on this tour. Here, a Yellow-throated Toucan searches for its next morsel. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – This was the most common large toucan around Arenal during our visit.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – A few were at Arenal, but our best views were of three birds perched up and feeding in a fruta dorada tree west of Caño Negro.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani) – Fairly common around the Caño Negro lowlands.
HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii) – A few were around Caño Negro and the Hotel Bougainvillea.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – We found these brownish Hairy Woodpeckers between Volcan Poás and Bosque de Paz.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – Our first was near the fruiting fig tree on Volcan Poás; another was at Caño Negro later in the trip.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – We had some nice sightings of this large woodpecker including at Caño Negro and Arenal.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BARRED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur ruficollis) – One was heard barking from the forest below the deck at Arenal in the early morning. [*]

An anteater with a pattern like a skunk! Northern Tamandua put on a good show for us along the Peninsula Road at Arenal, climbing down from a tree and then up a bank across a gully from us. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Several were seen perched and in flight in the northern lowlands.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – Singles were perched up near Caño Negro and at Arenal.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – One that flew around the crater at Volcan Poás was a bit of a surprise for the elevation and the cloud forest habitat.
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – One flew by us west of Caño Negro, and another two flew over calling at Arenal Sky Trek.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – This was the common small parakeet that we saw in the lowlands between Caño Negro and La Fortuna, where a small flock descended on fruit feeders for some close views.
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – Repeated close sightings around Arenal, including perched up in the fruiting fig tree.
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – We had frequent flyovers from these small, squeaky parrots.
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – Common in the Caño Negro lowlands.
WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons) – A pair of these small dry-country parrots flew over the Hotel Bougainvillea on our final evening of the tour.
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula nana) – We had some close looks at several pairs of these northern/ eastern specialties on the road to Caño Negro.
CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET (Psittacara finschi) – Common flyovers in the Central Valley and also a few times in the northern lowlands.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – A pair of these chunky antbirds sang loudly but showed very poorly at the casona overlook below Arenal.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – A few of these nicely marked antbirds were at the forest edge in Caño Negro.

Violet Sabrewings often buzzed by just inches away near the feeders at Bosque de Paz. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus) – A few of these buffy antbirds were feeding in mixed flocks along the waterfall trail at Arenal.
STREAK-CROWNED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus striaticeps) – A pair was moving with a mixed flock along the waterfall trail at Arenal; we were afforded some spectacular views of these skulkers.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – A male was working around with a flock on the waterfall trail at Arenal.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina) – A few gave us brief views on the waterfall trail at Arenal and also nearby at Arenal Sky Trek.
BARE-CROWNED ANTBIRD (Gymnocichla nudiceps) – We heard several of these striking antbirds along the river during our morning boat ride at Caño Negro; two showed in the tangles of the forest edge, but not particularly well.
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Poliocrania exsul) – One was near a Spotted Antbird along the Peninsula Road at Arenal.
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Sipia laemosticta) – A male responded and approached us closely along the roadside at Arenal.
SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides) – Fairly common around the forest at Arenal. One came in to the lights at the casonas in the early morning, and others were foraging along the forest trails nearby.
OCELLATED ANTBIRD (Phaenostictus mcleannani) – We heard these fine antbirds at close range on three different occasions, but unfortunately couldn't coax one out into the open this time. [*]
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
THICKET ANTPITTA (Hylopezus dives) – The singing bird along the Arenal driveway put on a good show for us - like a cute, fluffy baseball on stilts.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – These little woodcreepers showed well several times around Arenal and the Sky Trek trails.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – This big, buff-marked woodcreeper showed nicely at Caño Negro.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius) – We saw one in a flock on the trails at Bosque de Paz.

This Slate-colored Grosbeak called out right overhead at the Arenal waterfall trail. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus pusillus) – Two showed fairly well along the road above Bosque de Paz. This spectacular woodcreeper was fairly vocal, even if it kept moving around to the back side of the tree it was on!
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – Good views around Caño Negro, including in the parking lot of our hotel as we were packing up the bus to leave.
SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis) – We saw these small montane woodcreepers a few times near Bosque de Paz.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – At least two of these handsome ovenbirds showed nicely along the trails at Bosque de Paz.
RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus) – One showed poorly up high in the trees at Bosque de Paz against a dull sky, proving an ID challenge initially.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops) – Great views of these montane ovenbirds in the forest around Bosque de Paz.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
YELLOW-BELLIED/ BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Ornithion sp.) – One was calling from out of sight to the west of Caño Negro in the overlap zone between Yellow-bellied and Brown-capped Tyrannulet; we weren't able to tell which one this was!
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – These small flycatchers were fairly common along the river at Caño Negro.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – Two of these spunky flycatchers were in town just outside the entrance to our hotel at Caño Negro.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Fairly common at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – This slim flycatcher with the nicely contrasting wing edging was common and highly vocal around the Poás Volcano and Bosque de Paz.

A pair of Streak-crowned Antvireos showed well along the waterfall trail at Arenal Observatory Lodge. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea) – A pair of these small sprites foraged on rocks in the fast-flowing stream downhill from Bosque de Paz.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – Good views at Bosque de Paz.
PALTRY TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus) – Heard more often than seen, but we did have some nice looks at this small, common flycatcher near Bosque de Paz and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – Several brief sightings on the forest trails at Arenal.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – Common and widespread, but especially common along the edge of the rivers at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – Vernon showed us one of these tiny tyrants near the start of the trail at Arenal Sky Trek.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – Our only one, surprisingly, was on a utility wire over the road as we left Bosque de Paz. Fortunately, it posed nicely for good views.
DARK PEWEE (Contopus lugubris) – We heard one of these forest flycatchers just uphill from Bosque de Paz.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – Common, especially between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) – One was on the lower slopes of Volcan Poás on the first day of our tour.

Our close observations of Prong-billed Barbets allowed us to see the bristles at the base of the bill and the prongs of the bill, too. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) – One called and showed off its long primary projection on the edge of the forest near Bosque de Paz.
YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens) – This bright, beautiful Empid was fairly common in forest between La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Bosque de Paz, where a pair was following a small army ant raid.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – Common near water, especially near Bosque de Paz.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – One was hawking insects at the casona overview at Arenal.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – These stocky, hook-billed flycatchers were at Arenal on several occasions. We heard their loud, alarm-like songs frequently in the early morning hours.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – This Myiarchus flycatcher was common at Arenal.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – We saw this big, brightly colored Myiarchus along the river at Medio Queso during the boat trip.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common and widespread.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Good views of this kiskadee look-alike at Arenal.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis) – Fairly common, especially in the Caño Negro lowlands.

This lovely Scaled Pigeon flew in and perched along the road west of Caño Negro, allowing guide Cory Gregory to snap this great digiscoped shot. Check out that awesome scaling!

GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis) – Excellent views in the fruiting tree at the casonas at Arenal.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Common and widespread; seen every day.
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – We were fortunate to find this striking tyrant in the open fields surrounding the marshes of Medio Queso. Not a species normally found on this tour, we found a surprising 9 birds!
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera) – A few of these striking black-and-white manakins showed in the fruiting fig trees at Arenal.
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – One male showed particularly nicely in vine tangles at Arenal Sky Trek.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – Two perched up with a Masked Tityra along the banks of the Caño Negro, offering a rare side-by-side comparison.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – These black, white, and red beauties were at Caño Negro and Arenal. At Arenal, one showed close and low in the fruiting fig tree in the gardens.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – Excellent looks and a nice listen just outside the casonas at Arenal.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata) – Fairly common between Caño Negro and Arenal.

This Paca was one of several that visited us at night at Bosque de Paz. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – The nicest view we had was at the Scaled Pigeon spot just west of Caño Negro.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – One foraged in a single roadside tree along the river just downslope of Bosque de Paz.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
AZURE-HOODED JAY (Cyanolyca cucullata) – We saw one briefly at the feeders at Cinchona.
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio) – Common along our tour route, especially around the gardens and feeders at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – Common in higher areas like Bosque de Paz and Volcan Poás.
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – A small group circled over the PN Arenal trails as we left the Arenal area on the tour's final day.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – Common and widespread, especially around the forest at Arenal.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Common around Caño Negro.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – Common, including trying to nest on our boat at Caño Negro.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
NIGHTINGALE WREN (Microcerculus philomela) – Though we heard the magical songs of several of these small forest wrens, we weren't able to get eyes on one. [*]
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Common and widespread.
OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus) – A few showed nicely in viney tangles at Bosque de Paz.

A Hepatic Tanager female dropped down to the ground to pursue this fancy mantis, who was not too pleased with the encounter. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus) – These large, charismatic wrens chattered loudly in the gardens at Arenal; we watched a family group go into a communal roost in a palm tree on our first evening at Arenal.
SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus) – These localized wrens were fairly common around Caño Negro where we had a great view during the boat trip.
BLACK-THROATED WREN (Pheugopedius atrogularis) – Several sang for us at Arenal, and we had a nice view of one at the Thicket Antpitta spot.
STRIPE-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus thoracicus) – This slim wren was common in the forest at Arenal.
CABANIS'S WREN (Cantorchilus modestus) – This species is one of the taxa elevated to species status last year by splitting Plain Wren - Cabanis's Wren is the one found in the Central Valley. We enjoyed a pair on our final evening at the Hotel Bougainvillea.
CANEBRAKE WREN (Cantorchilus zeledoni) – This species was created during the split of Plain Wren last year. It is the Caribbean slope taxon, and we had great looks just west of Caño Negro at a spot where ~3 pairs were singing.

The fig trees at Arenal attracted a wide variety of neat songbirds including this dramatic-looking Masked Tityra. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – These striking wrens put on a nice show at Caño Negro and on the Peninsula Road at Arenal, too.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – Fairly common at Arenal, where we found several on the waterfall trail.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – Fairly widespread at higher elevations; we saw one nicely at Volcan Poás and another at Bosque de Paz.
SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus) – Several of these strangely-shaped wrens were bopping around at the entrance to the waterfall at Arenal.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TAWNY-FACED GNATWREN (Microbates cinereiventris) – These beautiful gnatwrens were tough to see at the start of the Arenal Sky Trek trail, but a few of us managed views.
Cinclidae (Dippers)
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus) – Not particularly cooperative, but we did have some quick looks and listens along the stream near Bosque de Paz.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes melanops) – Several of these lovely thrushes posed very nicely on fruiting trees at Bosque de Paz.
BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus gracilirostris) – Tame and easy to watch at higher elevations where they often hop around in forest clearings.
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus fuscater) – A few showed well at Bosque de Paz.
RUDDY-CAPPED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus frantzii) – Common at Bosque de Paz, including in the driveway.

Our boat trips at Medio Queso and Caño Negro were great for seeing Mangrove Cuckoos this year. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BLACK-HEADED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus mexicanus) – One was singing along the waterfall trail at Arenal, and it came in for some lovely, close views.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – A few of these northern migrants were at Arenal. One even came out on the driveway at the casona lights to hunt insects in the early morning.
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens) – A few were along the road up to Volcan Poás in the highlands.
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus) – Common at Volcan Poás and near Bosque de Paz.
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Common and widespread; seen every day of the tour.
WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis) – Fairly easy to see on this visit to Arenal, where several were regularly attending the fruiting fig trees in the gardens.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) – One perched up to look at us on the edge of the marsh at Medio Queso.
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – We saw a few during our drives around the north. This species has increased rapidly across Costa Rica in recent years.
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Phainoptila melanoxantha) – A pair perched low in front of us on the road through the forest above Bosque de Paz.

This Coppery-headed Emerald was a fancy endemic species that we saw really well at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys caudatus) – Common and active at Bosque de Paz where we found two nests about 30 feet apart from each other. At one point, we watched one of the silkies bring in some lichen to add to its simple cup/ platform nest.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – A few individuals frequented the yard along the stream at Bosque de Paz.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – A few were along the water's edge at Caño Negro during the boat trips.
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) – One of these migrants was on the slopes of Volcan Poás on our first day, and we saw another at Caño Negro during a boat trip - that second sighting was interrupted by a Sungrebe that swam out from the riverbank!
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – A common wintering species in the forest here.
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – Fairly common during our boat trips at Caño Negro, where they feed along the water's edge.
FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis) – One appeared overhead on the riverside trail at Bosque de Paz.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – Common in mid and high elevations.
GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala) – One of these stout-billed yellowthroats perched up with two Common Yellowthroats during our Medio Queso boat trip.
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – One was near the stream with the Torrent Tyrannulets downslope from Bosque de Paz.
KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) – Two were calling and walking around on the forest floor on the trails at Arenal Sky Trek.
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava) – The one that sang and then came out to the river's edge at Caño Negro gave us a particularly excellent view.

These Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were part of a large flock at the Medio Queso wetlands. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) – Two perched up with a Gray-crowned Yellowthroat in response to our pishing at Medio Queso.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – This widespread warbler was a regular sighting at Bosque de Paz and Arenal.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – Common in lowland edges and wetlands.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Common at Caño Negro and Arenal.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – Fairly common in highland forests, especially at Bosque de Paz.
BLACK-CHEEKED WARBLER (Basileuterus melanogenys) – We saw these Chiriqui endemics really nicely along the trail to the crater at Volcan Poás.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – A common species in mixed flocks in the forest on trails around Arenal.
COSTA RICAN WARBLER (Basileuterus melanotis) – We had lots of repeated views of this newly re-named species at La Paz Waterfall Garden and Bosque de Paz. A few at BdP completely ignored us as they foraged on insects flushed by a small raid of army ants.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Common on forest trails at Arenal, where they liked to dance around on the open ground in front of us.

An Olive-crowned Yellowthroat took a break from singing to check out our boat on the Caño Negro. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – Common in the highland portions of the tour between Poás and Bosque de Paz.
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – A common warbler at La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Bosque de Paz.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-THROATED SHRIKE-TANAGER (Lanio leucothorax) – One was moving with a flock and calling on the waterfall trail at Arenal, where it perched out in the open long enough for us all to admire it at length.
CRIMSON-COLLARED TANAGER (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus) – We found this amazingly attractive tanager just a few times - once at feeders near La Fortuna and once more at Arenal.
PASSERINI'S TANAGER (Ramphocelus passerinii) – A Caribbean slope species that looks like the Cherrie's Tanagers that we saw on the Part I tour. We saw this on every day of Part II.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Common and widespread.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Common and widespread, especially at lower elevations.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – These striking tanagers were common in the Arenal area.
SPANGLE-CHEEKED TANAGER (Tangara dowii) – Oh, the irony! While Vernon and I were discussing the fact that we hadn't seen this species at fruit feeders before, one dropped in and began munching on bananas at eye level at Bosque de Paz. We enjoyed repeated, extremely close views of these beauties.
RUFOUS-WINGED TANAGER (Tangara lavinia) – Cory picked out a female-plumaged bird from a flock of Bay-headed Tanagers in the gardens of Arenal.

One of our best sightings on the Caño Negro boat trips was this Gray-headed Kite that perched up beautifully along the riverbank. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Very common in the forest and on fruiting trees at Arenal.
EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida) – Several of these green stunners were in the mixed tanager flocks at Arenal.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – Common and widespread.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – A few of these delightful tanagers showed up for us between Caño Negro and Arenal, including at the Bogarín and Arenal fruit feeders.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – A common sight at the fruit feeders at Arenal.
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea) – A few were in the forest on Volcan Poás on the first day of the tour.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Seen along the roadside on the drive to Medio Queso.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) – A few perched up nicely for us during the Medio Queso boat trip.
NICARAGUAN SEED-FINCH (Sporophila nuttingi) – The huge pink bills on these seed-finches give them an outrageous look - we were very pleased to find them feeding along the road in to Caño Negro.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina) – Common from Caño Negro to Arenal.
WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila torqueola) – We found these contrasting seedeaters several times between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – We saw these striking, small tanagers several times at feeders and in verbena hedges.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – Common in forest edge around Bosque de Paz.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – A regular feeder visitor.

Our time with Golden-browed Chlorophonias on this trip was magical! Look at that combination of colors! Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Excellent views at the Cinchona feeders and again at Arenal.
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) – One called and then perched up above us on the waterfall trail at Arenal.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus) – This was the common chlorospingus species at higher elevations on Volcan Poás.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus) – This was the lower elevation species of chlorospingus that we saw commonly around Bosque de Paz.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris) – We found these loud singers at Caño Negro and Arenal where they are easy to see in the lodge gardens.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – A regular sight in the dark forest interior at Arenal.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – These lovely songbirds come in to feed on the cracked corn at Bosque de Paz, where they are easy to see.
SOOTY-FACED FINCH (Arremon crassirostris) – One was hopping around and feeding under the tables in the lunch restaurant at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – Common at higher elevations like on Bosque de Paz.
YELLOW-THIGHED FINCH (Pselliophorus tibialis) – Our best experience was at Bosque de Paz where these large, striking finches come in to feed in the open.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – Several were around Arenal. A few folks got to see one in a standoff with an aggressive mantis.

This tiny pescador, the American Pygmy-Kingfisher, was hunting along the edge of the water at Medio Queso. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – Relatively common at Caño Negro and Arenal, often in mixed flocks at the forest edge.
CARMIOL'S TANAGER (Chlorothraupis carmioli) – Formerly "Olive Tanager", these odd songbirds were seen several times in small flocks in the forest and feeding on insects under the streetlights at Arenal.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – Seen regularly in the Caño Negro lowlands.
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – Formerly called Red-breasted Blackbird. One was in the open at Medio Queso.
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives) – Fairly common, especially in the Central Valley and around Arenal.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Widespread, but especially common around the Caño Negro lowlands.
NICARAGUAN GRACKLE (Quiscalus nicaraguensis) – Two of these small grackles made brief appearances at Medio Queso. Flood conditions at Caño Negro have made it difficult to find this localized species this winter.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – About 20 were in a flock along the entrance road into Caño Negro.
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – Sam spotted one near the entrance drive to our hotel in Caño Negro on our final morning there.
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – A common wintering species in the area around Caño Negro.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – A common winterer at most sites on our tour away from the highlands.
MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma) – Common, especially between Caño Negro and Arenal. The nesting birds were regularly attending the watermelon feeders at Arenal.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea) – A common sight at feeders and fruiting trees at Caño Negro and Arenal.
OLIVE-BACKED EUPHONIA (Euphonia gouldi) – A pair foraged on two consecutive mornings at the casonas in Arenal.

Emerald Tanager was a regular member of the flock feeding on fruit in the garden at Arenal Observatory Lodge. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia anneae) – Several lovely sightings of this amazingly colorful euphonia at Arenal.
GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys) – One of the tour's first highlights! We found a fruiting fig tree on Volcan Poás that hosted several of these high elevation canopy species. They even dropped down just above eye level to forage in front of us in the sunlight, sparkling like blue, green, and yellow gems. Yes!
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Common only in larger towns and cities. [I]

COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis) – One did not impress much during our night drive at Caño Negro.
MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Heard commonly, including as an alarm clock at Bosque de Paz. Seen regularly at Caño Negro and near Arenal.
WHITE-THROATED CAPUCHIN (Cebus capucinus) – Several of these smaller monkeys were near Caño Negro.
CENTRAL AMERICAN SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles geoffroyi) – Common between Caño Negro and Arenal.
NORTHERN TAMANDUA (Tamandua mexicana) – Vernon and I saw one of these fancy anteaters, and then the whole group saw another that Cory spotted on the Peninsula Road at Arenal. What a cool-looking animal!
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides) – The common, larger squirrel that we saw.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – A few were in the forest at Bosque de Paz.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – We saw these at the feeders at Bosque de Paz - they were often chased off by guans or Pacas, depending on the time of the day.
PACA (Cuniculus paca) – These big, spotted rodents are a specialty of the feeders at Bosque de Paz. During our evening meal, we spotlighted these beautiful mammals from the dinner table.

Pinnated Bitterns showed very well along the edge of the river at Caño Negro. We were pretty fortunate to see this sneaky heron this well. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor) – One was seen near Caño Negro on our night drive.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – Common between Caño Negro and Arenal; at Arenal, they attend the feeders regularly.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – Lots, especially at Caño Negro.
TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia) – We heard these clicking geckos around our lodging at Caño Negro where they help control the insect populations.
CENTRAL AMERICAN WHIPTAIL (Ameiva festiva) – One scampered off the trail at Arenal Sky Trek in front of our group.
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus) – Good views of some medium-large specimens during our boat trips at Caño Negro.
CANE TOAD (Rhinella marina) – A few were on the hotel grounds at Caño Negro.


Totals for the tour: 306 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa