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How to See More Rare Birds in Costa Rica

Rare bird species are, be definition, very hard to see. These are the birds not typically expected on birding tours, the species that tend to be written off by tour companies because encountering them is an unreliable, unpredictable endeavor. Fortunately, when birding Costa Rica, there aren't too many species that fall into this challenging category. We have literally hundreds of common and colorful bird species so why even worry about the rare ones?

Agami Heron is one of those rare ones...

While it's easy to understand why a tour might follow such a philosophy, it doesn't have to be that way. Yes, rare birds are hard to see but they aren't impossible, not if you (1) know where to look for them, and (2) how to find them. During our birding tours, we routinely help people see rare megas like Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, eye-catching cotingas and more. This is how we make that happen:

We Go Birding in Costa Rica, a Lot

The best way to find more birds, even the rare ones, is learning about them in the field. This is only accomplished by paying close attention when you go birding, and birding a lot. Where do umbrellabirds occur? Do they prefer certain forests over others? Which fruiting trees do they prefer? How do you look for them? Learning the answers to these and other questions is essential for connecting more clients with rare birds. We find those answers by learning everything we can about species like the Bare-necked Umbrellabird and dedicating time to finding them before a tour begins (yet one more advantage of working with local, country-based guides).

We Have a Network of Professional, Dedicated Birding Guides

One world class birding guide can find a lot of rare birds but a network of experienced professional guides will find a lot more. Whether during tours or while birding on our own, we keep each other informed about where we are seeing certain choice species and also where we are not seeing them. This gives all of us a better idea of where and how we can show those birds to clients. When it comes to birding, we know that nothing is ever guaranteed but when we can work at finding rare birds and keep each other informed, we can at least up the odds to encounter birds like Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Silvery-throated Jay, and other tough species during our birding tours in Costa Rica (and elsewhere).

Custom Target Tours

One of the other major factors to show more people rare birds is arranging tours that specifically target them. Such tours focus on the sites and situations that give us the best chance to find those target species. Since those tours visit sites with excellent habitat and the birding is fantastic , its a win-win situation!

That's about it. We admit that we also keep track of eBird sightings but when it comes to finding rare birds in Costa Rica, that's only one small factor. The rest has everything to do with extensive local field experience and teamwork. Which rare birds do you want to see in Costa Rica? If Orange-breasted Falcon is on that list, well, we can't help you see it in Costa Rica but we can still plan tours to the best places for this mega falcon in other countries. As for the other 900 plus species, tell us about the birds you would love to see and photograph. We look forward to helping you experience them!


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