Costa Rica is an absolutely incredible nation, one known for incredible natural ecosystems, friendly people, and a wide array of tourist friendly activities. There are many different reasons for visiting this peaceful and fascinating Central American country and if you’re a fan of bird watching then you know that Costa Rica can be paradise for a birdwatcher who wants the opportunity to catch sight of some rare birds. With over 850 species calling this small nation home, there’s no denying just how much there is to see!
However, like anywhere, some parts of Costa Rica are much better for viewing rare birds than others. Read on to learn about some of the best spots to find those elusive rare birds!
The Monteverde Cloud Forest
An incredibly popular destination for anyone who loves nature, the Monteverde Cloud Forest is renowned among eco-travelers of all sorts. In fact, the popular Cloud Forest is considered by native Costa Ricans to be one of only 7 natural wonders of their country. This forest is heavily untouched, with over 9/10 of it untouched from civilization, development, or man. This forest is located in the mountains creating a constant cloud cover that creates a truly unique look and feel.
Over 400 different bird species call this forest home, and an early morning tour can let you tackle that sighting list, including many rare birds that are going to be rarely found anywhere else. You have the ability to check this place out alone or consider taking one of the guided bird tours from an experienced local guide who can help increase your chances of seeing one of the many different species there.
This national forest not only features hundreds of birds, but a wide variety of unique options like the 30-different species of hummingbirds, parrots, owls, herons, and more. Especially fortunate gazers may even be lucky enough to see the endangered Curassow, or the remarkable Quetzalgreat. These are beautiful birds with stunning displays of color. You’re not likely to forget the experience of seeing either!
Palo Verde National Park
Palo Verde gets a big thumbs up from bird watchers because this one park is home to many different natural ecosystems in one place, which makes it ideal for hundreds of different species of birds all in one relatively contained area. This is a park with dry forest, wetlands, grasslands, and more. Getting around can be a bit of a challenge and going with a guide might not be a bad idea.
There are many different types of birds commonly found here including:
– Roseate spoonbills
– Green backed herons
– Snowy white herons
– Great egrets
– Black bellied whistling ducks
– Scarlet Macaw
The scarlet macaw is going to be really high on any birder’s list when visiting Costa Rica as this beautiful bird has a mixture of blue, yellow, and red feathers that are absolutely stunning and a major part of the reason that they are so popular.
The Los Quetzales National Park
A mountain park that boasts not only three rain forests, but also a glacier, this is one of the most diverse parks in a country that is known for them. This really interesting park is home to far more than just birds as many eco travelers come here to spot tapirs, squirrel monkeys, snakes, and pumas, but even with all those animal types birds are still the stars of the show here.
You may feel like every major park has one or two birds that are “featured” there, and Quetzales is no exception featuring the Quetzal bird. These show-offs are particularly showy during mating season with stunning red and green tails feathers that stick out brightly, and some males have long tails that can be even a full three feet in length. To answer the next obvious question: yes, the park is named after this remarkable bird.
This is another park with a wide array of hummingbirds ranging from blue and purple to yellow and green. There’s a very healthy population and you are likely to catch sight of many of them.
The Santa Rosa National Park
Santa Rosa is home to 10 different ecosystem habitats (marshes, bogs, woods, and plains just to name a few) and that means all kinds of birds and many different various types, as well. While this is more known among surfers who love the waves and entomologists who are in love with the 10,000 species of bugs and insects. While this might not be the most interesting thing to bird watchers, there is a definite positive benefit to this: with 10,000 species of insects there is an overabundance of food for the 250 species of birds who hang around because they love easy eating.
This is also an excellent place to find the keel-billed toucan – a black bird with a bright yellow feathered breast in contrast in addition to a truly colorful bill. If this one is still on your list then you will definitely want to take a look at the Santa Rosa park.
La Selva Biological Station: When You Want To Hit High Numbers
This protected area is over 1500 hectares in size, and hosts both scientists and students looking to check out the amazing laboratory facilities and it isn’t hard to see why. This place is home to over 220 bird species and during various migrations is home to 230+ more. At the height of certain seasons there can be over 450 species of birds at there at any one place and allows bird watchers to check a lot of different bird species off of the list.
There are acres of cloud forests here as well, and elevated wooden paths mean you can immerse yourself without worrying about interfering with the natural ecosystem.
You have many options when it comes to spotting even the rarest of Costa Rica Focus birds, but make sure ahead of time to do your research so you’re visiting during the right seasons and are prepared whether it’s the wet season or a dry one and your experiences will almost certainly be unforgettable!