Bird Watching

Costa Rica has an abundance of birds of spectacular diversity. And none is more famous than the vibrantly-colored quetzal, inhabiting the Monteverde Cloud Forest in the north-central region, and San Gerardo de Dota in the south. Scarlet macaws, toucans and countless other exotic species can be found in the mid-Pacific region's Carara Wildlife Reserve and the secluded Corcovado National Park. Visitor's interested in covering a lot of ground at once should visit La Selva Biological Station. Located in the Caribbean lowlands of Sarapiquí, it is believed that this bird watcher's paradise contains half of the country's bird species. Those interested in migratory birds may want to check out Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge and Palo Verde National Park, both located in the north.



Best Season for Viewing

Special Information

Black Guan




All year


Blue-crowned Motmot


Central Valley, South Pacific slope below 1,800m


All year


Found in the suburbs of San José

Cerise-throated Hummingbird


Poas Barba


All year


Chestnut-mandibled Toucan


Forests of Caribbean and South Pacific below 1,000m


All year


Collared Redstart


Highlands above 2,000m



  Sings during this period
Double-striped Thick-knee  

Palo Verde


All year

Great Curassow  



All year


Populations being greatly reduced by hunting



Marshes of Guanacaste


Early day; Jan-Apr


Laughing Falcon


Wooded lowlands of both coasts


All year


Masked Tityra


Wooded regions below 1,200m




Montezuma Oropendola


Caribbean lowlands and slope


All year


Purple-crowned Fairy Hummingbird


Widely distributed below 1,000m


All year


Quetzal, Resplendent


Monteverde, Cerro de la Muerte, Barba Volcano




Calling: Mar-Jun

Scarlet Macaw


Corcovado, Palo Verde, Santa Rosa


All year


Populations are being greatly reduced because of the cutting of nesting trees

Scarlet-rumped Tanager


Clearings, Caribbean and South Pacific below 1,200m


All year


Silvery-fronted Tapaculo




All year


Snow cap


Finca la Selva




Squirrel Cuckoo


Widely distributed below 1,500m


All year


Sun Bittern


Tortuguero, La Selva, Monteverde


All year


Along stream banks, very difficult to find

Three-wattled Bellbird


Monteverde, Cerro de la Muerte, highland forests


All year


Mar. Aug. best viewing; calls all year, migrates to coasts, high in trees

Torrent Tyrannulet


Mountain torrents, both slopes


All year


Volcano Junco


Highest summits, Irazu


All year


White-throated Magpie Jay


Guanacaste, Northern Puntarenas


All year




Monteverde, Cerro de la Muerte


All year


Yellow-billed Coringa




All year


Mangrove estuaries and adjacent forests


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