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Exotic Birds of Costa Rica

There are more than 880 species of birds in the 51,000 km² of Costa Rica

Red-legged Honeycreeper. See more bird pictures in Costa Rica Bird Watching. Rainbow-billed Toucan. See more bird pictures in Gallery.  Exotic birds of Costa Rica are a great example of its huge biodiversity. Its world features the most bizarre combination of shapes, colorations and songs that can be ever imagined. From the tiny and delicate Humming Bird to the strength and power of birds of prey like the Harpy Eagle (whose population is being recovered successfully); from the colorful toucans, like the Rainbow-billed Toucan at left, and tanagers or honeycreepers, like the Red-legged Honeycreeper at right, to the less flamboyant but extraordinarily melodious Clay-colored Robin "Yigüirro"; or from the most common and charming to the birds in danger of extinction, all they are what remains from dinosaurs thanks to its evolutive adaptations to fly and protect themselves with its feather coverage.

(En Español: Aves Silvestres de Costa Rica   ||   Also learn about Costa Rica Bird Watching)

Summary of Costa Rica Birds Facts
Families: About 80.
Featured: Clay-colored Robin or "Yigüirro" (Turdus grayi) is the national bird of Costa Rica.
Ecosystem role: Several including seed dispertion and population growth control.
Problems: Loss of habitat, hunting and trapping.

  • There has been documented 887 species of birds in Costa Rica. (1)
  • Among the most common sighted birds are: Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi), Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus), Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus), Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) and the Rufous-tailed Humming bird (Amazilia tzacatl).
  • The highest activity hours of birds are in the dawn and at dusk.

Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), a seriously endangered beautiful bird. Its life depends upon the Swap Almond tree (Dipterix panamensis).
Tropical Rainforest, Laguna del Lagarto Lodge. Boca Tapada, San Carlos.
Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) couple, in its nest into the trunk of the Swap Almond tree (Dipterix panamensis).
Tropical Rainforest, Laguna del Lagarto Lodge. Boca Tapada, San Carlos. From Barbara Puskas' Film Almendro: Tree of Life © ORF 2003.
Rainbow-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), ... taking it very easy!. Rainbow-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), as seen in the rainforest surrounding Arenal Volcano. The Great Curassow (Crax rubra) not only can be seen foraging at the ground level, but also on the trees. The White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa) is an strict inhabitant of the Tropical Dry Forest. La Norma Ecolodge, Guanacaste. White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa) with a green caterpillar in its bill. Tropical Dry Forest, La Norma Ecolodge, Guanacaste. Swainson's Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii), from the tropical rainforest of Los Cañones Canopy Tours at Arenal Volcano northern flanks. Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus), in the tropical rainforest of Los Cañones Canopy Tours into the northern Arenal Volcano area. Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus), juvenile male, in the tropical rainforest of Arenal Volcano flanks. A juvenile male of Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus), as seen in the tropical rainforest of Arenal Volcano flanks. Adult male of Pale-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis). Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma). Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza).
© 2010 Olger Aragón, Foto Koky, La Fortuna de San Carlos.
Cherrie's Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis).
© 2010 Olger Aragón, Foto Koky, La Fortuna de San Carlos.
Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) showing all its resplendent coloration as an adult male.
© 2010 Olger Aragón, Foto Koky, La Fortuna de San Carlos.
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus), one of the most easy to see birds. Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus), at the Tropical Rainforest of Southern Pacific.
Golfo Dulce Lodge (Golfito, Puntarenas)
Red-capped Manakin (Pipra mentalis), into the lush forest next to the lodge.
Golfo Dulce Lodge (Golfito, Puntarenas)
Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi), the national bird of Costa Rica, and one of the most widespread along its territory.
© 2010 Olger Aragón, Foto Koky, La Fortuna de San Carlos.


Costa Rica and its Tropical Wild Birds

 Costa Rica Tropical Rainforests are famous because of its high biodiversity. As an example, into the Arenal Volcano surrounding forests the Great Curassow (Crax rubra) can be seen foraging almost times on the ground and sometimes hovering into the trees foliage. Also, Kingfishers, as the largest of America, the Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata), are found easily on the rivers and springs. It is no difficult to sight the conspicuous bill of toucans, either the full colored Rainbow-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) or the yellow and purple of Swainson's Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii). The Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani) and the Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis) search for larvae and insects on tree trunks, but also eat fruits, specially from Heliconia in the last one. Very soundly and ubiquitous is the The Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) calls. Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza) feed primarily on fruits, and you can see its sublime green plumage while feedeng in a banana tree, as well as the Reg-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) and the not less charming colorful tanagers like the Golden-hooded (Tangara larvata), the Bay-headed (Tangara gyrola), Blue-gray (Thraupis episcopus) or the Cherrie's tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis).

One of the most graceful, amusing and charming bird song you can ever hear is the rich call on breeding season of the Costa Rica national bird, the Clay-colored Robin or "yigüiro" (Turdus grayi). This bird melodies can be enjoyed, widespreadly along the country, at the beginning of the annual rainy season, and that's the reason of the Costa Rican peasant tradition according to which this bird song calls for the rains at April and May.

In order to ensure the welfare of birds and their natural habitat; it must be avoided stressing the birds by controlled use of photography and video equipment, keeping back from nests and nesting colonies, and respecting general environmental guidelines as well.

Tropical Exotic Birds Books

This is a selection of recommended and suggested books for further reading and learning about Costa Rica tropical exotic birds, flora and fauna; which are available for look at their reader reviews and buying online if needed (* As a form to support this website, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites).

Notes & References:
- Official 2010 List of Costa Rica Birds. Scientific Committe Científico. Ornithology Association of Costa Rica (AOCR).
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