costa rica is for the birds

This one is for the bird lovers among our kind readers.

Costa Rica is home to more than 840 species of birds. It is a favourite destination for amateur and dedicated bird watchers alike. In fact, it’s hard to ignore the birds here, whether it’s the ominous circling of black vultures overhead, the screeching of wood rails, the raspy call of toucans, the rapid buzzing past of hummingbirds, or the happy chirpiness of great kiskadees, we are surrounded!

The travel companies here on the Caribbean coast offer bird watching tours, and we may do one yet. In the meantime, the grounds, creek, and trees around the cabin we’re staying at near Playa Cocles, (about three kilometres south of Puerto Viejo), are all we need — most of the photos below were shot from the open main floor of our cabin or within metres of our front steps. Many of the rest were taken at the beach 100m away, or on a nearby trail. And these are just the ones we could see and grab photos of. We could hear many others, but could not see them high in the trees or well-hidden by leaves and branches, or I didn’t have my camera with me or get it out in time.

One tree on the property in particular is a gold-mine for up-close bird watching. In some of the photos you’ll see birds with the red-berry from this tall shrub — I believe they are Surinam Cherries.

We’ve done our best to identify the birds in these photos from a two-page field guide and some good websites — but some remain unknown. Help with additional names, or corrections, is very welcome! You should be able to click on each photo to see a larger version.

Rufus-tailed Hummingbird

Rufus-tailed Hummingbird

IMG_7177

Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee

Passerini's Tanager

Passerini’s Tanager

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Olive-backed Euphonia

Olive-backed Euphonia

IMG_7033

Blue-black Grassquit

Blue-black Grassquit

IMG_7017

Squirrel Cuckoo

Squirrel Cuckoo

Long-tailed Hermit

Long-tailed Hermit

Streaked-headed Woodcreeper

Streaked-headed Woodcreeper

Green Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher

Collared Aracari

Collared Aracari

Collared Aracari

Collared Aracari

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Collared Aracari

Collared Aracari

Whimbrel

Whimbrel

Squirrel Cuckoo

Squirrel Cuckoo

Ringed Kingfisher

Ringed Kingfisher

Grey-necked Wood Rail

Grey-necked Wood Rail

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee

IMG_6236

Groove-billed Ani

Groove-billed Ani

IMG_6316

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