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Enchanting Feathers: Exploring Costa Rica's Magnificent Birdlife



A Comprehensive Guide to Costa Rica’s Most Stunning Birds


Introduction: Costa Rica, a country known for its remarkable biodiversity, hosts an astonishing array of bird species despite its modest size. With over 900 species, this Central American gem offers a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. From the misty cloud forests to the sun-drenched coastal plains, Costa Rica's diverse landscapes provide habitats for an abundance of avian life. Join us on a journey through the vibrant world of Costa Rica's birds, where every feather tells a story of resilience and beauty.


Trogons: Renowned for their striking colors and distinctive appearance, trogons are among Costa Rica's most iconic birds. With ten species calling this country home, these avian gems captivate birdwatchers with their beauty and grace.



Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno):

  • With its emerald plumage and cascading tail feathers, the Resplendent Quetzal is a symbol of beauty and mystique. Encounter this majestic bird in the cloud forests of San Gerardo de Dota and Monteverde.

  • Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris):

  • Adorned with a vibrant green head and fiery red belly, the Collared Trogon enchants observers with its dazzling colors. Spot this beauty in the foothills of both the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

  • Lattice-tailed Trogon (Trogon clathratus):

  • Endemic to Costa Rica and Western Panama, the Lattice-tailed Trogon boasts a unique pale iris and intricate tail barring. Seek out this elusive bird in the lush forests of the Caribbean foothills.

Toucans: No bird epitomizes the exotic allure of the tropics quite like the toucan. With their oversized bills and vibrant plumage, these charismatic birds add a splash of color to Costa Rica's verdant landscapes.



Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus):

  • Known affectionately as the "Fruit loops Bird," the Keel-billed Toucan delights observers with its rainbow-hued bill and distinctive call. Encounter this iconic species across various habitats, from lowlands to mid-elevations.

  • Yellow-throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus):

  • Formerly known as the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, this majestic bird boasts impressive proportions and a resplendent yellow throat. Spot it along the slopes of both the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

  • Fiery-billed Aracari (Pteroglossus frantzii):

  • Sporting a vibrant red-orange bill, the Fiery-billed Aracari adds a touch of flamboyance to Costa Rica's forests. Keep an eye out for these sociable toucans as they traverse the Central and Pacific slopes.

Parrots, Parakeets, & Macaws: With their dazzling plumage and raucous calls, parrots captivate the imagination of bird enthusiasts worldwide. Costa Rica's lush jungles provide a haven for these colorful avians to thrive.



Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao):

  • Dressed in vibrant hues of scarlet, blue, and yellow, the Scarlet Macaw is a sight to behold. Encounter this majestic bird as it soars through the skies, from the Central Pacific to the Osa Peninsula.

  • Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus):

  • With its emerald-green plumage and resounding squawk, the Great Green Macaw commands attention wherever it goes. Look skyward in the northern Caribbean lowlands to catch a glimpse of this magnificent species.

  • Crimson-fronted Parakeet (Psittacara finschi):

  • Adorned with crimson accents and a distinctive red forehead, the Crimson-fronted Parakeet adds a splash of color to Costa Rica's urban and rural landscapes. Spot flocks of these charming parakeets throughout the country.

Hummingbirds: Known for their iridescent plumage and agile flight, hummingbirds are among Costa Rica's most beloved avian inhabitants. With over 50 species recorded in the country, these tiny dynamos captivate birdwatchers with their beauty and agility.



Black-crested Coquette (Lophornis helenae):

  • Sporting a striking crest and a speckled chest, the Black-crested Coquette is a gem of the Northern Caribbean foothills. Visit the Arenal Observatory Lodge for a chance to witness this tiny wonder.

  • Purple-throated Mountain Gem (Lampornis calolaemus):

  • Distinguished by its brilliant purple throat and turquoise cap, the Purple-throated Mountain Gem adds a splash of color to Costa Rica's montane forests. Seek out this endemic species from Guanacaste to the Talamancas.

  • Snowcap Hummingbird (Microchera albocoronata): With its distinctive white forehead and vibrant plumage, the Snowcap Hummingbird is a sought-after sight for birdwatchers and photographers alike. Head to Rancho Naturalista to spot this elusive beauty.

Tanagers: Renowned for their dazzling plumage and melodious songs, tanagers enchant observers with their beauty and grace. From vibrant blues to fiery reds, these avian jewels add a splash of color to Costa Rica's forests.



Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus):

  • Adorned in hues of blue and gray, the Blue-gray Tanager is a common sight throughout Costa Rica. Keep an eye out for this delightful species in a variety of habitats.

  • Speckled Tanager (Tangara guttata):

  • With its turquoise and green plumage adorned with black speckles, the Speckled Tanager is a delightful addition to mixed flocks in wet foothills and middle elevations.

  • Silver-throated Tanager (Tangara icterocephala):

  • Sporting a bright yellow head and a silver throat, the Silver-throated Tanager is a welcome visitor to fruit feeders in wet foothills and middle elevations.

Motmots: Known for their distinctive racket-shaped tails and vibrant plumage, motmots are a highlight of Costa Rica's rainforests. These elegant birds embody the essence of tropical beauty and mystery.



Lesson's Motmot (Momotus lessonii):

  • Formerly known as the Blue-crowned Motmot, this exquisite bird features a long, blue-ringed tail and an intense blue crown. Listen for its distinctive "hoop-hoop-hoop" call in the forest understory.

Join Appleseed Expeditions on a School Trip to Costa Rica!

Embark on an unforgettable educational journey with Appleseed Expeditions to discover the wonders of Costa Rica's birdlife. Our expert-led expeditions offer students a unique opportunity to explore the rich biodiversity of this captivating country while gaining insight into conservation efforts and ecological research.


Why Choose Appleseed Expeditions?

  1. Expert Guides: Our experienced naturalist guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise, providing students with engaging and informative experiences in the field.

  2. Hands-On Learning: From birdwatching excursions to immersive field studies, our expeditions offer hands-on learning opportunities that bring classroom lessons to life.

  3. Customized Itineraries: We work closely with educators to tailor itineraries that align with curricular goals and educational objectives, ensuring a meaningful and enriching experience for students.

  4. Safety First: The safety and well-being of our participants are our top priorities. We adhere to strict safety protocols and maintain small group sizes to provide personalized attention and supervision.

Join Us on a Student Trip to Costa Rica Studying Birdlife!

Embark on a journey of discovery with Appleseed Expeditions and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Costa Rica's avian wonders. Contact us today to learn more about our upcoming school trips and start planning an unforgettable adventure for your students.

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