It's a new year! What better excuse to take a birding trip to Costa Rica? The birding in Costa Rica is always exciting because of:
- A list of more than 900 species.
- Easy access to different habitats with different birds in close proximity.
- Experienced multilingual guides.
- Good tourism infrastructure.
These and other factors ensure sightings and photos of many bird species but the birding can be even better. These are 5 insider tips for better birding from folks who have been involved with birding in Costa Rica for many years.
1. Bird sites with extensive habitat - Intact, mature forest hosts the highest numbers of bird species. Sites such as these are more likely to host raptors, cotingas, antbirds, and many other species that require large areas of habitat to maintain healthy populations.
2. Study for the trip - Whether taking a guided tour or not, it pays to study before the trip. Even if it's just to become familiar with different bird families, studying a field guide beforehand will help you identify more birds once you start the birding in Costa Rica.
3. Patience in the rainforest- Forest birding is often slow, especially in tropical habitats. It can be frustrating but it pays to persevere! The birds are naturally adapted to staying hidden and sometimes only occur in mixed flocks. But, with patience and knowing how to find those flocks, they will eventually make an appearance.
4. Know your microhabitats - Some species are more common in stands of bamboo, others prefer vegetation along the edges of streams, and others only occur in vine tangles the canopy. Knowing how to recognize these and other types of microhabitats facilitates finding more birds.
5. Go with experienced guides - Most importantly, if you want to maximize birding efforts, an experienced birding guide is invaluable. This would include guides who know how to recognize the majority of vocalizations, who have guided many birders both individually and in groups, and who know how to find every target species (or at least know whether these species occur in the area or not).
Try these tips to maximize birding trips to Costa Rica in 2019. Want to know the best sites to see and photograph Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Emerald Tanager, and other beautiful species? Contact Lifer Tours for the answers to these and whatever questions you may have about birding in Costa Rica.