Costa Rica

10 - 25 February 2001

Stephanie Coghlan

Rolando Delgado

DRIVER: Juan Carlos


Saturday 10th February 2001 Overcast

Leaving Heathrow we flew over the Atlantic Ocean, which we glimpsed briefly through the clouds until we reached the Bahamas, where it was clear. Miami was experiencing delays due to bad weather fronts in the north, so we were two hours late before we flew into San Jose. We were welcomed by Rolando, our guide, and Juan Carlos, our driver, who transferred us to the Hotel Torremolinos.

Sunday 11th February 2001

We had a good buffet breakfast and were away at 8.00 clock to visit Tapanti National Park. We passed by Cartago the old capital and we saw the old cathedral, which had been damaged in an earthquake. In the Orosi valley we drove through coffee fields and soon we were birding at the gates of the park and watching Prong-billed Barbets and Torrent Tyrannulets. We walked up the road and found plenty of birds and new flowers and we took the river trail and an Agouti crossed over, our first mammal. Then we walked back towards the gate and admired more butterflies and birds. We had lunch at the Kiri Restaurant and ate local trout while we birdwatched. In the afternoon we descended slowly and stopped at Lankester Botanical Gardens to look at the orchids. It was rather quiet for birds but we did see Hoffman's Woodpecker. We drove back to San Jose and after dinner we held our first log getting to grips with all the new bird names. Then we fell exhausted into bed.

Monday 12th February 2001

We packed up and left at 8.15 and were soon catching up with the common birds we had seen yesterday. We stocked up with stamps and drinks and snacks, those essentials of tourist life, and steadily climbed up through more coffee groves, this time with the kind of coffee which does not need shade. Then we reached the slopes of the Poas volcano and walked the last kilometer to the rim. Sadly the mist was down so we only had a brief glimpse of the view. However we found Big-footed Finch, Black-billed Nightingale Thrush and some hummingbirds. Lunch was taken further down the mountain at La Paz Waterfall gardens were we enjoyed an excellent buffet lunch while we watched the bird feeders. Walking down through the gardens we found nine new kinds of hummingbird on the lower feeders. Further down we came to several waterfalls and emerged at the road. Several stout souls walked back up the gardens by mistake but survived the experience. At our next stop at Cinchona feeders we found many tanagers as well as hummingbirds remarkably close. Further along on the road we stopped at Virgen de Socorro and found Black Phoebe on the river and our first Leaf-cutter Ants on the trail. At La Laguna we saw a Great White Egret and two Northern Jacana, and learnt about their amazing family life. On arrival at Sarapiqui Lodge we settled into our Lodge based on a native Indian design. It was very comfortable. After dinner we used the lecture room to hold a checklist and retired to try to clear away the remains of jet lag.

Tuesday 13th February 2001 Overcast with heavy tropical showers.

We began the day at La Selva and the OTS and we spent the morning birding the trails. There was so much happening with Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers building nests near reception that we had trouble getting started. Over the bridge we found a Three-toed Sloth and baby and soon saw a Coati so the mammal list was rising, and not long after we found some White-lipped Peccaries and young. We returned to the centre for a break and had an early lunch as the heavy showers increased. We took a rest after lunch and then we were delayed by the showers again but many birds came down to bathe in the puddles, We spent the afternoon exploring the arboretum area and the showers became ever increasing so we retreated and stopped off briefly at the Sarapiqui bridge where we found a Little Blue Heron and a Buff-rumped Warbler as well as briefly glimpsing a White-collared Manakin. We returned to Sarapiqui Lodge and enjoyed dinner all alone as we were the only guests and then we held a review of the day's sightings. We had already reached a hundred species.

Wednesday 14th February 2001 Showery.

We took early morning walks to the Sarapiqui river and saw parakeets as well as mixed tanager flocks. After breakfast we set off again for OTS and were soon birdwatching along the drive. It took us quite a while to reach the gate as we were met by wave after wave of mixed flocks, and new birds were appearing faster than we could record them. We were pleased to have a cup of coffee when we arrived at the centre and to watch how the Black-cheeked Woodpeckers were getting on with their nests. Showers again suggested an early lunch but we were soon out again looking for poison dart frogs. The red one with blue legs was very plentiful behind the reception centre and so were the birds. The showers seem to have brought them all out together and we found Rufous-tailed Jacamar, warblers and wood creepers as well as Rufous-winged and Chestnut-colored Woodpeckers. We drove home to Sarapiqui Lodge and had a brief break and then set out to explore our surroundings. We looked briefly at the Botanical garden and went to the well laid out archaeological site with a self- guided trail. From here we went down to the river and had good views of how our buildings were constructed in Indian style as they were still building the Museum for the site. We decided not to cross the swing bridge to yet more forest but to bird along the riverbank. This proved to be quiet at first but then there was a flurry of birds and we had excellent views of Baltimore Oriole, Black-cowled Oriole and Scarlet collared Tanager, as if these were not colourful enough we were then called to see the nest of a White-crowned Parrot. After dinner we got to grips with all the new birds we had seen that day. Nearly 50 new species today. The first of many Giant Toads was spotted in the gardens.

Thursday 15th February 2001 Cloudy with sunny intervals. Low cloud in the afternoon on the Pan American Highway.

We left at 8.15 for the Aerial Tram and were delighted to see Howler Monkeys at the entrance and a Squirrel Cuckoo. At the Ford Bridge we were able to see two Sun Bitterns very well. Our Aerial tram tour was a great experience to see and hear the Rain Forest and the variety of plants, butterflies and mammals from this unique angle. We saw White-nosed Coati and Red-tailed Squirrel and a few birds. Our walk back to the car park included good views of White Hawk as well as butterflies and dragonflies. Lunch was taken in a typical restaurant, El Aposento, overlooking San Jose. Then we continued in the afternoon in low cloud along the Pan American highway to our destination in the San Gerardo de Dota valley. Here the weather was clear and we walked down part of the road and found Mountain Robin, Sooty Robin and Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher and the success of the afternoon Yellow-thighed Finch. Those yellow thighs had to be seen to be believed! We arrived in late afternoon at the Trogon Lodge and settled into our cabins before dinner of local trout. We caught up with today's list and retired for a well earned sleep - especially Jan & Liz, observed trying to get a bottle of water at the bar and actually ordering a bottle of Gin by mistake!

Friday 17th February 2001 Sunny and clear. Some low cloud

We were up to cries of 'Quetzal' and were soon watching a male in the gardens. As the party assembled with cups of teas, most people saw their first Quetzal before breakfast. Back up at the Pan American Highway we went to visit the Mirador de Quetzales. We were soon in the trails with Edwardo and his son Jason and found two males with different-sized tails. We heard Gray-breasted Wren, and a Violet-eared Hummingbird was calling like a 'Chiffchaff' all morning. Wilson's Warblers and Slaty Flowerpiercers were seen and we had lunch as the cloud descended. In the afternoon we walked again on the San Gerardo de Dota road and found Black-capped Flycatcher, the lovely Flame-throated Warbler and Mountain Elaenia as well as another Quetzal. We walked the streamside trail back to the hotel and had a cup of tea while watching all the hummingbirds on the feeders. Leaving to explore further down the valley to the next Hotel, American dipper was in the stream and we had good views of Hairy Woodpecker, Flame-coloured Tanager and Tufted Flycatcher. Back home there were yet another pair of Quetzals in the garden and Black Guans flew over to roost.

Saturday 18th February 2001 Sunny with high cumulus

After a rather cool night with loud bumps when a wash basin fell off the wall, some brave souls assembled for early walks but it was quiet on the bird front, although those who opted to wait were rewarded by the return of the Black Guans. We drove up to the Paramo and drove the bus up Cerro de la Muerte and walking down in the stunted vegetation of bamboos and high arctic plants. We found Volcano Junco and Volcano Hummingbird. Descending further into the valley and we turned off at San Isidro for Los Cusingos where we were lucky enough to be greeted by Dr Skutch himself. We took a look round the lower garden and into the forest where the party was joined by a young horse, which accompanied us on our tour. Sharing the trails with fourteen people and an excitable horse was a bit nerve-wracking. We found Speckled Tanager and Blue Ground Dove but the best birdwatching was when we had lunch in the garden and a Laughing Falcon with a vine snake arrived along with Golden-naped Woodpecker, Green Honeycreeper and Turquoise Cotinga. On our way back to San Isidro we found Fork-tailed Flycatcher and we saw flocks of Barn Swallows on migration and had a very close view of a Lineated Woodpecker. We had a break in San Isidro while the bus was refuelled and we were amused by a clown and three trained dogs. It was then a 3 hour steady drive along the River Terraba past a native Costa Rican Reserve until we turned off for Esquinas Lodge. We drove the last 4 km in the dark so the bridges were not too alarming, and Common Pauraques were roosting on the drive. We had a warm welcome as we arrived and enjoyed a pleasant dinner and looked at the stars as we walked back to our cabins to the sound of Tink Frogs and counted the Giant Toads.

Sunday 19th February 2001 Sunny, some cloud in the pm,

The early morning group explored the gardens and saw the Pacific race of the Variable Seedeater and Cherrie's Tanager at the feeders. Long-tailed Hermit and Purple-crowned Fairy buzzed by. After breakfast we set off with a box lunch for Golfito and our Mangrove swamp tour. We boarded our boat and set off into the creeks. Soon it was Mangrove everything: Mangrove Swallow, Warbler, Hummingbird and Hawk all turned up! Willets, Whimbrel, Semipalmated Plovers and Spotted Sandpipers came with us and a Pygmy Kingfisher was a highlight. We emerged to find a Crab-eating Raccoon on the sandbank and various herons, Laughing Gulls and Caspian, Royal and Sandwich Terns. After watching a local catch a Spotted-thornback Ray and release it, we had lunch in a shady creek and then we emerged onto the open sea. A large sand bank was full of Brown Pelicans, and Magnificent Frigatebirds were robbing terns and pelicans who were feeding on a shoal of fish. We cruised back into Golfito and drove home. There were so many new birds on the drive into the Lodge it took quite a while, but we did have time for a rest a swim and the chance to catch our breath. This evening there was a bit of a competition as to who had the best wildlife around their cabin. Some had as many as four Giant Toads on their verandahs and Long-nosed Bats also roosted there in the day time.

Monday 20th February 2001 Sunny & Clear.

We awoke to low cloud so had breakfast at 7.00 and set off to walk in the grounds for the morning. We were soon at the Cayman pool and there were lots of birds along the trail. By 10.30 it was getting hot and we ran out of shade so Rolando called up the bus and we watched in air-conditioned comfort for another hour. Some walked back to the lodge as coffee called. We had lunch at the lodge and rested in the heat of the day. At 4 when we were taking tea a short heavy shower arrived and when it cleared it brought out the birds so we had a good number in our second walk along the drive.

Tuesday 21st February 2001 Sunny

We set off with our small bags and soon turned off down to the Sierpe river through Banana and Palm Oil plantations. At the creek head we had coffee and drinks and then boarded our two boats which we were glad to find had shade for our two hour trip down river and across the sea to Marenco. The river was busy with birds but the sea was remarkably empty until the second boat spotted a school of Bottle-nosed Dolphins, which played around the boat. On our arrival we climbed up the steep slope to the Lodge and were welcomed with lunch. In the afternoon we explored the lodge grounds and ventured onto the Fila Trail, which was very quiet. However it was busy in the gardens and we enjoyed our first sunset there.

Wednesday 22nd February 2001. Sunny and Clear

The early morning walkers found so much to watch that they just drank tea and birded from the veranda, surely the best way to do it. At 8.00 we sailed up the coast and landed at a beach in the Corcovado National Park. We left our lunch at the beach shelter and set off to explore the Park. Unfortunately crossing the beach we were savaged by biting insects "no-see-ums" and only those wearing 'Jungle Juice' escaped. However in the Forest it was no problem and we had excellent views of White faced Capuchin Monkeys and Coatis and Howler Monkeys feeding in the same tree. Red- tailed squirrels also featured so it was definitely a mammal walk. On our return some swam and others relaxed while lunch was prepared. After looking at the drift collection our boats came to take us back for a well-deserved rest. Some saw a turtle and others Dolphins. The lighting failed at dinner and a shopping session with the local carvings and beads was conducted by torchlight. Jim's new Petzl head torch was much admired and he could have sold those as well if he had been wise enough to have a box of them with him. Some of the party went on an escorted Night Walk. Fortunately electricity was soon restored

Thursday 23rd February 2001 Overcast and humid.

Today we walked the Rainforest trail and found some special birds like Blue-crowned Manakin and Rufous-crowned Ant Tanager and Plain Xenops and glimpsed a Whale before we arrived at Rio Claro in time for a swim in the river before we walked back along the shore. We had lunch at the hotel on our return and had a restful afternoon. But there was lots of activity again at tea time. Chestnut-mandibled Toucans and Dolphins passed by and Brown Pelican and Brown Boobies went up and down the coast and then a Rat Snake was reported in a tree. It was handled rather badly by a local guide and bit him. Fortunately it was not a venomous snake but all our sympathies were with the snake! Dinner was a typical Costa Rican Buffet and we held a big counting session to catch up with last night.

Friday 24th February 2001 Sunny with high cumulus

We were awake to a dawn chorus of Howler Monkeys and Bright-rumped Attila, enjoyed our final breakfast overlooking the ocean and assembled at the shore for our boats back to Palmar Sur. We had one fast boat for everyone and were soon cruising up the river. At the sand banks there were herons and Roseate Spoonbills, a new species. At the landing stage we paused for a coffee and drink and found a Boa Constrictor up a tree. The country bus transfer took us back through the Palm and Banana Plantations to the airstrip where we found lots of activity and few planes but we were about an hour early due to our fast boat. Then two planes came for most of the group and we flew off to San Jose for our reunion with Juan Carlos and the bus. Unfortunately the third plane was delayed so we went to the Hotel and had a wash and brush up and lunch and the rest of the group caught up with us. We set off at 2.30 to Heridia and the Cafe Britt coffee tour, which helped to explain coffee production in Costa Rica in a very entertaining fashion. We returned to the hotel to turn into Cinderella's for the final dinner. Set in an old grand house Le Chandelier Restaurant was a lovely setting to think about all our travels and say goodbye to our new-found friends.

Saturday 25th February 2001 Sunny with cloud

We had time to walk in the Sabana Park and collect gifts in the local supermarket. At 11.15 we packed the bus and said our final farewells and soon we were at the airport having passed the daily improving sight of Coral Trees and Savannah Oaks in orange and pink blossom respectively. Our flight was on to Miami and then to London. We flew in over a sunny but snow covered West Country and landed about one hour fifteen minutes late at Heathrow.



TINAMOUS Tinamidae

Great Tinamou Tinamus major One seen at Marenco

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui Heard at La Selva


Brown Booby Sula leucogaster Seen at Marenco

CORMORANTS Phalacracoracidae

Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Seen off Marenco and Golfito

PELICANS Pelicanidae

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Seen off Golfito and Marenco


Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens Seen at Marenco and off Golfito


Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Seen at Sarapiqui Lodge, Golfito and Marenco.

Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis Common, associating with cattle and horses, largest flock over 100 at Esquinas pastures.

American Great White Egret Casmerodius albus Common in small numbers.

Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor One at Golfito estuary.

Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea Common around rivers.

Snowy Egret Egretta thula Recorded by the sea at Golfito and Marenco

Green Heron Butorides virescens Common in small numbers.

Fasciated Tiger-heron Tigrisoma fasciatum One on the river at the Aerial Tram

IBISES & SPOONBILLS Threskiornithidae

American White Ibis Eudocimus albus Seen near Esquinas

Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaia Seen on sandbanks on the river Sierpe returning from Marenco


Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata Only tame ones seen in Sabana Park.


Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Common

American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Common

OSPREY Pandionidae

Osprey Pandion haliaetus Seen at Golfito Mangroves and Marenco

HAWKS Accipitridae

Gray-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis Recorded several times at La Selva

American Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus Seen in the Sarapiqui valley, near San Isidro and on the way to Palmar Norte.

White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus Seen fairly regularly throughout the tour up to Esquinas.

Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus Seen at La Selva

Black-chested (Barred) Hawk Leucopternis princeps Seen over the pastures at Esquinas on two days.

Semiplumbeous Hawk Leucopternis semiplumbea One at La Selva perched near the reception centre.

White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis One at the Aerial Tram and one at Marenco

Mangrove Black-hawk Buteogallus subtilis Seen in the mangroves at Golfito and near Marenco

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Seen at Sarapiqui valley, St Gerardo de Dota valley and Esquinas

Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Seen at Poas volcano.

Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus Seen near Esquinas Lodge.

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis One sailing in circles over the bus as we left the St Gerardo road for the Pan American highway.


Crested Caracara Polyborus plancus Seen at La Selva and in the Sarapiqui valley.

Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima Recorded on the Pacific side near Los Cusingos, at Esquinas Lodge feeding on a frog and at Marenco.

Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans Heard at La Selva, seen with a vine snake at Los Cusingos, and at Marenco.

Collared Forest-falcon Micrastur semitorquatus Seen at Poas Volcano.

American Kestrel Falco sparverius One near Cartago.

Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis One at dusk at Esquinas Lodge.


Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps Seen at La Selva

Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens One at La Selva

Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor Seen at Tapanti, and Trogon Lodge.

RAILS & COOTS Rallidae

White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis Heard 'boiling water' call at La Selva and Esquinas.

American Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinicus Two adults with young near Esquinas Lodge.

JACANAS Jacanidae

Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa Common at suitable habitats of small wetlands and pools.

PLOVERS Charadriidae

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 10+ around the Golfito Mangroves.

Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus Scattered throughout the Golfito Mangroves.

SANDPIPERS Scolopacidae

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Seen at Golfito and Marenco.

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca Seen at Golfito

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia Seen on river Sarapiqui, at the Aerial Tram and at Rio Claro and Golfito mangroves.

Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus Several in the Golfito Mangroves.

(Ruddy) Turnstone Arenaria interpres Seen at the Golfito quay.

GULLS Laridae

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla Seen at Golfito and Marenco.

TERNS Sternidae

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia One in a roost near Golfito.

Royal Tern Sterna maxima Flocks on a sandbank off Golfito.

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis Small numbers in flock on sandbank

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbidae

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia Seen in Golfito

Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata Seen at Trogon Lodge and Mirador de Quetzales.

Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis Seen at Sarapiqui Lodge, and Esquinas Lodge

Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris Seen on the Caribbean slope at La Selva and Sarapiqui.

Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea Seen in the uplands near Trogon Lodge.

Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris Seen in Sarapiqui valley. Heard more commonly than seen calling 'who cooks for you'.

Ruddy Ground-dove Columbina talpacoti Seen near Esquinas Lodge.

Blue Ground-dove Claravis pretiosa Seen near Esquinas Lodge

White-tipped Dove Lepotila verreauxi Seen near Esquinas and Marenco Lodges.

Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassini Seen at La Selva

PARROTS Psittacidae

Scarlet Macaw Ara macao Pairs seen at Marenco and a flock of 15+ there.

Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana A flock at Sarapiqui Lodge.

Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis Seen at Sarapiqui Lodge and La Selva

Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis Seen at La Selva

White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis Nesting in a hollow tree at Sarapiqui Lodge.

Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa Seen at La Selva and Marenco

ANIS Crotophagidae

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Common on the Pacific slope.

Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris Seen on the Caribbean side.

Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia Two on the drive to Esquinas Lodge.


Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Two seen near the Aerial Tram parking area.


Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata Heard at Esquinas Lodge.

Black & White Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata Heard at Marenco

NIGHTJARS Caprimulgidae

Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis Several roosting on the road into Esquinas Lodge

SWIFTS Apodidae

White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Recorded over Brauillo Carillo NP , La Selva, Trogon Lodge, Esquinas Lodge.

Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris Seen over Orosi valley and La Selva,


Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea Seen at Esquinas Lodge.

Green Hermit Phaethornis guy Seen at Tapanti and La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Cinchona Feeders.

(Eastern) Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus Seen at La Selva Arboretum and Esquinas Lodge.

Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus Seen at Trogon Lodge and at Marenco.

Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus Seen at La Paz Waterfall Gardens

White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Seen at La Selva and Esquinas Lodge

Brown Violet-ear Colibri delphinae La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus Seen at La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Mirador de Quetzales.

Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii Seen at Cinchona feeders.

Green Thorntail Discosura conversii Seen at La Selva.

Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis Seen at Poas Volcano, La Selva and Mirador de Quetzales.

Fork-tailed Emerald (Canivet's Emerald) Chlorostilbon canivetii Seen at Tapanti.

Beryl-crowned Hummingbird Amazilia (Polyerata) decora Seen at Esquinas and Marenco.

Mangrove Hummingbird Polyerata boucardi Seen at Golfito Mangroves.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Common around the gardens at all the areas we visited except in the highlands.

Black-bellied Hummingbird Eupherusa nigriventris Seen at Tapanti and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps Seen at la Paz Waterfall Gardens.

White-bellied Mountain-gem Lampornis hemileucus Seen in the highlands at Trogon Lodge and Mirador de Quetzales.

Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema Seen at Tapanti N.P. and La Paz waterfall Gardens.

Gray-tailed Mountain-gem Lampornis cinereicauda Seen at Trogon Lodge

Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula Seen at La Paz Waterfall gardens.

Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens Seen at Trogon Lodge

Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti Seen in Esquinas Lodge Gardens.

Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula Seen in the Highlands at San Gerardo and Cerro de la Muerte.

Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla Seen at Mirador de Quetzales and Trogon Lodge.

TROGONS Trogonidae

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno Seen at Trogon Lodge in the San Gerardo valley and at Mirador de Quetzales.

Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena Heard at La Selva and seen at Esquinas Lodge.

Collared Trogon Trogon collaris One lovely male seen well at Tapanti N. P.

Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus One at Esquinas Lodge.

Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus Two males and one female at La Selva.


Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata Seen at Esquinas and Golfito

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona Seen at roadside pool on the Caribbean side

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana Seen at roadside pool on the Caribbean side.

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea One in Golfito Mangroves.

MOTMOTS Motmotidae

Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum Two at La Selva

Blue-crowned Motmot Motmotus momota One in the garden at Marenco

JACAMARS Galbulidae

Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda One at La Selva.


Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcieriii Seen at La Paz Waterfall gardens.

Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii Seen at Tapanti N. P. and La Paz Waterfall gardens.

TOUCANS Ramphastidae

Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus Seen at La Selva.

Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii Seen at Marenco

Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus Seen at La Selva

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii Seen at Sarapiqui Lodge and at Esquinas and Marenco.


Golden-naped Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysauchen Seen at Los Cusingos, and near Esquinas Lodge

Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani A pair nest excavating at La Selva.

Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus Seen at Esquinas and Marenco.

Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii Two at Lankester gardens.

Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus Seen in San Gerardo valley.

Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex Seen at the gates to La Selva.

Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus Seen at Kiri Restaurant below Tapanti.

Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus One at La Selva and near Esquinas Lodge.

Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus One close to the road near Los Cusingos.

WOODCREEPERS Dendrocolaptidae

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus Seen at La Selva and Esquinas

Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus One at La Selva

Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius Seen at Tapanti and Esquinas

Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii Seen at La Selva

Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis Seen at Cinchona and at Sarapiqui Lodge.

OVENBIRDS Furnariidae

Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus Seen in San Gerardo valley

Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus Seen at Poas Volcano and Sarapiqui Lodge

Plain Xenops Xenops minutus Seen at Esquinas Lodge.


Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi One at Marenco

Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul One at La Selva.


Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster One at La Selva.

Lesser Elaenia Elaenia chiriquensis One on the Esquinas drive walk.

Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii Seen at Mirador de Quetzales

Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea Seen on fast flowing streams at Tapanti, and Virgen de Socorro

Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus Seen at La Selva.

Common Tody-flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum Seen at La Selva, Trogon Lodge, a nest outside Margaret's cabin at Esquinas and in the gardens at Marenco.

Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens Seen at La Selva.

Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus Seen in the San Gerardo de Dota valley.

Black-tailed Flycatcher Myiobius atricaudus Seen at Corcovado N P.

Dark Pewee Contopus lugubris Seen in San Gerardo de Dota valley.

Eastern Wood-pewee Contopus virens Seen at Cinchona feeders.

Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus Seen at Esquinas

Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps Seen at Mirador de Quetzales.

Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans Seen on fast flowing rivers at Tapanti, Virgen de Socorro, and at Trogon Lodge.

Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus Two seen at start of the drive into La Selva.

Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus Seen at La Selva and heard at Esquinas and Marenco.

Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra Two at La Selva.

Panama Flycatcher Myiarchus panamensis Seen in the Golfito Mangroves.

Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer Seen at La Selva.

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Common.

Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua Seen on the Caribbean slope.

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Common on the Caribbean slope

Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis Recorded daily on the Caribbean side.

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Common.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana Seen in rough fields near San Isidro.

Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus Seen at La Selva and at Golfito.

White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus Seen at La Selva.

Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata Seen at la Selva and at Marenco.


White-collared Manakin Manacus candei Heard at the Aerial Tram, seen at Sarapiqui Bridge.

Blue-crowned Manakin Pipra coronata Seen at Marenco in the gardens and on the trails.

Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis Seen in the Marenco gardens.

COTINGAS Cotingidae

Turquoise Cotinga Cotinga ridgwayi One while we had lunch at Los Cusingos.

Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus Two at La Selva Arboretum.

SWALLOWS Hirundinidae

Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea Seen at Golfito, over the pastures at Esquinas and on the River Sierpe.

Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Recorded daily on the Caribbean side.

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Only at La Selva.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Seen at La Selva and then small flocks daily on the Pacific slope.


Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys caudatus Seen in the San Gerardo de Dota valley.

DIPPERS Cinclidae

American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus Seen at Trogon Lodge.

WRENS Troglodytidae

Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus Seen at La Selva.

Black-throated Wren Thryothorus atrogularis Heard at La Selva

Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius Heard and seen at Esquinas and Marenco.

Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus Virgen de Socorro and La Selva.and Sarapiqui Lodge.

House Wren Troglodytes aedon Seen at Esquinas and Marenco.

White-breasted Wood-wren Henicorhina leucosticta Heard and glimpsed at La Selva.

Gray-breasted Wood-wren Henicorhina leucophrys Seen at Poas Volcano and San Gerardo de Dota valley.


Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Seen on the walk into La Selva.


Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops Heard at Trogon Lodge

Black-billed Nightingale-thrush Catharus gracilirostris Seen at Poas Volcano and in San Gerardo de Dota Valley.

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-thrush Catharus frantzii One in lower San Gerardo de Dota valley.

Sooty Robin (Thrush) Turdus nigrescens Seen at Poas Volcano and in the highlands.

Mountain Robin (Thrush) Turdus plebejus Seen at Tapanti and in the highlands.

Clay-colored Robin (Thrush) Turdus grayi Common

JAYS & CROWS Corvidae

Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio Seen in Sarapiqui valley

BUNTINGS Emberizidae

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Seen at La Paz, around Trogon Lodge and Mirador de Quetzales and in San Jose.

Volcano Junco Junco vulcani Seen at Cerro de la Muerte.

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina Seen at La Selva and Sarapiqui Lodge.

Variable Seedeater Sporophila aurita Common with two races the Pacific and Caribbean.

Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis Seen at Esquinas Lodge.

Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea Seen near Tapanti N P.

Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris Seen at Esquinas Lodge

Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris Recorded at La Selva, Esquinas and Marenco.

Large-footed Finch Pezopetes capitalis Seen in the Poas Volcano carpark.

Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis Seen in San Gerardo de Dota valley.

CARDINALS & GROSBEAKS Emberizidae - Cardinalinae

Black-thighed Grosbeak Pheucticus tibialis Seen at La Selva

Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster Seen at La Selva and Aerial tram

Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps Seen at La Selva.

Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus Seen at La Selva, Los Cusingos and Esquinas Lodge.

Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides A pair seen at La Selva.

TANAGERS & ALLIES Emberizidae - Thraupinae

Common Bush-tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus Seen at Tapanti and in the lowlands.

Sooty-capped Bush-tanager Chlorospingus pileatus Seen at Poas Volcano and in the uplands

White shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus One at Corcovado NP.

White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus Seen at La Selva

Black-cheeked Ant-tanager Habia atrimaxillaris Seen at Corcovado N. P.

Red-throated Ant-tanager Habia fuscicauda Recorded at La Selva.

Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata Seen at Trogon Lodge and San Gerardo de Dota valley.

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra Seen at La Selva, Sarapiqui Lodge, Esquinas and Marenco.

Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus Seen in Sarapiqui Lodge gardens

Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii Common on the Caribbean side.

Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis Common on the Pacific side, both once known as Scarlet-rumped Tanager.

Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus Seen regularly.

Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum Recorded daily on the Caribbean side.

Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla Seen at La Selva.

Spot-crowned Euphonia Euphonia imitans Seen at Esquinas.

Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi Seen at La Selva.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys Seen at La Paz waterfall gardens.

Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala Seen at La Paz waterfall gardens and at La Selva.

Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata Seen in the gardens at Los Cusingos.

Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola Seen at La Paz, La Selva and at Esquinas and Marenco.

Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata Seen at La Selva, at a roadside pool, Esquinas and Marenco.

Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana Seen at La Selva.

Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza Seen at La Selva

Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus Seen at La Selva, and the Aerial Tram.

Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus Seen at Los Cusingos and at Esquinas and Marenco.

Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea Seen at Poas Volcano and Mirador de Quetzales.


Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Common.


Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina Seen at Tapanti N P and La Paz Waterfall Gardens and at Esquinas and Marenco.

Flame-throated Warbler Parula gutturalis Seen in the San Gerardo de Dota valley.

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Seen at La Selva, and Marenco.

Mangrove (Yellow) Warbler Dendroica petechia erithachoroides Seen in the Mangroves at Golfito and Corcovado.

Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica Seen at La Selva and Trogon Lodge, and Esquinas Lodge.

Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla Seen in the San Gerardo de Dota.

Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus Seen at Tapanti N P

Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus Seen at Mirador de Quetzales and San Gerardo de Dota.

Buff-rumped Warbler Basileuterus fulvicauda Seen at Sarapiqui bridge and Corcovado N. P.

Black-cheeked Warbler Basileuterus melanogenys Seen at Poas volcano, and San Gerardo de Dota valley.

VIREOS Vireonidae

Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus Seen at Marenco and Corcovado.

FINCHES Fringillidae

Yellow-bellied Siskin Carduelis xanthogastra Seen in the lower San Gerardo de Dota valley.

SPARROWS Passeridae

House Sparrow Passer domesticus Seen in San Jose.


Baltimore (Northern) Oriole Icterus galbula Seen at Sarapiqui Lodge and Los Cusingos

Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma Seen at La Selva, Sarapiqui Lodge and at the roadside pool.

Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis Seen at La Selva

Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus Seen at La Selva

Yellow-tailed Oriole Icterus mesomelas Seen at La Selva

Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis Seen at Sarapiqui Lodge.

Red-breasted Blackbird Sturnella militaris Seen in the pastures near Esquinas Lodge.

Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Common around urban areas

Great Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora One near Esquinas Lodge.

Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus Recorded in the Golfito ö Esquinas area.


Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth Seen at La Selva and at Sierpe River

Long-nosed Bat Several in roosts under verandahs at Esquinas Lodge,

White-lined Sac-winged Bat Several in a tree at Corcovado N. P.

Mantled Howler Monkey Heard at la Selva, and Esquinas. Seen at the Aerial Tram and at Marenco.

Central American Spider Monkey Seen at Corcovado N. P.

White-nosed Coati Seen at La Selva, Aerial Tram, and Marenco.

Crab-eating Racoon One on the sandbank at Golfito.

Kinkajou Heard on the night walk at Marenco.

Humpback Whale A 'blow' was seen off Marenco which could have been this species.

Bottle-nosed Dolphin A school played around the boat on the way to Marenco.

White-lipped Peccary A family with feeding young in the jungle at La Selva.

Red-tailed Squirrel Common

Variegated Squirrel Seen in the Sarapiqui valley.

Central American Agouti One at Tapanti and also seen at La Selva.


VINE SNAKE One in a Laughing Falcon's talons at Los Cusingos and one in garden at Esquinas.

BOA CONSTRICTOR Seen at Esquinas and Marenco.

NEOTROPICAL BIRD SNAKE One in a tree at Marenco.

CAT-EYED SNAKE One in garden at Esquinas.

COMMON ANOLE Norops polylepis These brown lizards were seen in the leaf litter in the jungle.

BASILISK Basiliscus basiliscus Seen at Esquinas and Marenco.

GREEN IGUANA Iguana iguana Seen at La Selva, Sarapiqui Lodge and at Esquinas

SPECTACLED CAYMAN Caiman crocodilus Two at pool at Esquinas and seen in the Golfito mangroves and on the Sierpe river.

BLACK RIVER TURTLE Tortuga negra de rio One on sandbanks on river at La Selva.

SNAPPING TURTLE Tortuga mordelona In pool at Esquinas Lodge


GIANT TOAD Bufo marinus First seen at Sarapiqui Lodge and many at Esquinas Lodge

GLASS FROG Centrolenella fleischmanni One seen on the Night walk at Marenco

RED POISON DART FROG Dendrobates pumilio Many at La Selva.

TINK FROG Eleutherodactylus diastema Heard at Esquinas Lodge and Marenco

COMMON BROWN FROG Eleutherodactylus brandsfordii Seen in the leaf litter at Corcovado NP.

SMILISCA FROG Seen at Esquinas Lodge

MASKED FROG Seen at Marenco

BROWN TREE FROG Seen at Corcovado N. P.



GIANT SWALLOWTAIL Seen at Esquinas Lodge gardens

MALACHITE Seen at Esquinas Lodge gardens



OWL BUTTERFLY Seen at Corcovado N P

BLUE MORPH BUTTERFLY Seen at La Selva, Rainforest Tram, and Esquinas Lodge.

FATIMA Common in disturbed habitats.

CAPPUCHINO Seen at Tapanti

SULPHUR YELLOW Common in the Sarapiqui and La Selva area.

CALICO Seen at Marenco.


LEAF-CUTTER ANTS Atta cephalotes Virgin de Sorocco and La Selva

SAFARI ANTS Seen at Marenco

BULLET ANTS Seen at La Selva

SUNDOWN CICADAS Fidicina mannifera Heard at all the Lodges.

4 SPOT HELICOPTER DAMSELFLY Megaloprepus Seen La Selva, and at the Aerial Tram

BLUE DRAGONFLY Common at the Aerial tram.


GOLDEN ORB-SPIDER Nephelo claritis Seen at Corcovado NP

BUSH KATYDID Seen at Esquinas and Marenco

PAPER WASP Polistes occidentalis Several nests observed

AFRICAN/HONEY BEE We tiptoed past one nest in Corcovado NP.

STICK INSECT Calgada biaispis Seen at Marenco

SCORPION Only one seen during the tour.

LEAF MANTIS One at Aerial Tram


FIREFLIES Seen at Esquinas and Marenco


Stephanie Coghlan March 2001

© The Travelling Naturalist 2001