Costa Rica is a Bird Watcher’s Dream
Costa Rican wildlife is famed the world over for its colorful, diverse and unique species. Some of the most beautiful and easiest animals to spot in this natural wonderland are birds. From brightly-colored and noisy parrots to unassuming brown robins, there are hundreds of species of birds to be found in Costa Rica – a number of which can be seen on the most casual of excursions.
Because of its central location, Costa Rica is home to birds indigenous to both North America and South America, and serves a stop along the migration route of many species.
In spite of its small size, there are roughly 890 documented species of birds in Costa Rica – more than can be found in the U.S. and Canada put together.Bird watchers will certainly enjoy seeing some of the country’s more exotic species, including:
Sixteen of the world’s 330 parrot species call Costa Rica home. Most of the country’s parrot population is made up of smaller-sized green birds and parakeets. However, South America’s most iconic bird, the gloriously rainbow-colored scarlet macaw, can still be seen from time to time in the country’s softwood trees.
There are 42 species of Toucan in Latin America and six of them are found in Costa Rica. Big and graceful, these colorful birds can be seen in the jungles near the coast; a bird lovers dream, it is fascinating to see their near motionless flight, a seemingly impossible feat given the length of their giant bills, which are surprisingly light despite their size.
Many visitors to Costa Rica hope to catch a peek at these small, colorful birds. With their round bodies, scarlet bellies, fringed headdresses and striking plumage, they’re the darlings of the Costa Rican bird population.
These large, graceful birds soar motionless above Costa Rica’s coast, searching for mates or gulls from which to poach their next meal. Their large, sculpted figures are definitely a sight worth seeing.
About 25 long-necked wading birds inhabit Costa Rica. From the graceful great egret, to the stout, short-necked gray boat-billed heron, to the massive jabiru, these long-legged water-lovers can be seen wading through the shallows of coast lines and wetlands across the country.
There are 50 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica. Colorful species like the Buffon’s plummeteer, the green-crowned brilliant, the purple-throated mountaingem, and the stunning fiery-throated hummingbird – native only to the Costa Rican mountains and western Panama – shine like jewels as they hover in the subtropical air.
Perhaps some of Costa Rica’s most curious and captivating of birds, the small, brightly colored mot mot doesn’t call the jungle canopy home. Instead, it lives in burrows underground, where it feeds on insects, lizards, and even poison dart frogs. Six out of nine total mot mot species inhabit Costa Rica. Visitors are most likely to see the fabulously colored blue-crowned motmot and the turquoise-bowed motmot. Birdwatchers can identify mot mots by their tails, which are missing feathers in the middle, giving them a “racquet” appearance.
There is no shortage of opportunities to see exotic species in Costa Rica. Beyond visiting wildlife refuges and national parks, bird lovers can book one of the many birdwatching tours offered by private companies.