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10 Fantastic Benefits of High Elevation Birding in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a friendly place of stunning tropical beauty and biodiversity. Go birding in Costa Rica and these truths becomes evident upon arrival. Take a look around and whether heading to a hotel near San Jose or watching macaws on the Pacific coast, beautiful mountain scenery is always visible. Some of those mountains are volcanoes (most are dormant or extinct), others have been uplifted by a meeting of continents. Either way, the green peaks are topped with forest and they beckon with birds.

In no particular order, these are ten fantastic benefits of birding above 7,000 feet in Costa Rica:

More Than 35 Endemics

At least 37 species of birds are endemic to the high mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama. Even better, most are common! We love to show these special birds to our clients.

Back Guan

Hummingbirds with Fiery Throats

The Fiery-throated Hummingbird is one of the signature hummingbird species of Costa Rica's high elevation habitats.Although the colors on its throat aren't visible until light hits it at the right angle, the wait is worth it!

The Big and Beautiful Talamanca Hummingbird

The Fiery-throated Hummingbird i sn't the only bird living large in the high elevations of Costa Rica. Formerly lumped with the Magnificent Hummingbird of Mexico and the southeastern USA, based on differences in plumage, voice, and range, the Talamanca Hummingbird was recognized as a species unique to the high mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama.

Friendly Collared Redstarts

Take a birding tour in Costa Rica and you will probably experience the cheerful sights and sounds of this striking warbler. This beautiful little bird usually occurs in pairs and can be quite tame.

Brushfinches with Yellow Pom-Poms

Other birds will also be there to greet you and your birding group. One of them is the Yellow-thighed Brushfinch. Although at first glance, this arboreal towhee might just seem to be entirely dark, keep watching and you will see its unique yellow "pom-poms".

During a birding tour to Costa Rica, listen for your guide to say, "chlorophonia"! Don't be surprised if they sound excited because even though they have seen this species hundreds of times, it's hard to not get excited about a bright emerald and yellow beauty.

Flame-throated Warbler

This fancy little warbler often shows its colors while foraging with other small birds in the high elevation forests of Costa Rica and western Panama. You won't see it anywhere else!

Sulphur-winged Parakeet

Yes, even parakeets live in the enchanting mossy forests of Costa Rica. Listen for the screeching calls of this special bird as it flies through and perches in the canopy of massive tropical oaks.

It's Cool Up There!

You will need a jacket when birding at 8,000 feet (2,500 meters). After enjoying views of parrots, toucans and manakins in the hot and humid lowlands, cool weather can be pretty ncie.

Resplendent Quetzals

And then there is this bird...

The high elevation forests of Costa Rica are the most accessible and easiest places to see this incredible world mega. We look forward to helping you experience quetzals!

More birds than these live in the high elevations of Costa Rica and hundreds more are waiting to be seen in other parts of the country. Which birds do you want to see? We can help! Tell us about your birding dream trip to Costa Rica at


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