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How to See a Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo in Costa Rica- Visit Pocosol Research Station

The Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo is one of the more challenging birds to see. On the entire planet. Although this rainforest roadrunner ranges from Honduras to the Amazon and eastern Brazil, it can take years to see one, decades even. At least if you try to see one on your own.

Several birders have seen this elusive species in Panama (indeed, Lifer guides have shown it to birders during tours in Panama) but that's because local birders tend to keep track of where they are being seen. Bird on your own from the heart of the Amazon to Costa Rica and the quest becomes a serious challenge. Well, a challenge unless a family of ground-cuckoos happens to be found by chance!

That's what recently took place at the Pocosol Research Station in the Children's Eternal Rainforest. After being discovered by a local volunteer, dozens of local birders made the trip to Pocosol and were treated to fantastic, up front, in your face views of not one, but 3 and even 4 ground-cuckoos. Check out the story of one of Costa Rica's biggest twitches in this video:

Whether because the cuckoos had a juvenile with them or because they were just enjoying the easy foraging at a massive Army Ant swarm, the birds showed very little fear of the many birders observing them. It helped that the management of Pocosol did an excellent job in coordinating groups of visiting birders see the cuckoos while local birders also did their best to just quietly watch the cuckoos and not disturb them.

The juvenile cuckoo nicknamed "Lorenzo".

The birds stayed for around a week and thus provided a fantastic chance to document their behavior. Juan Diego Vargas and Maria Jose Anthony Arce of Lifer Tours did just that by recording hours of video that will be used to publish information about this rare, little known species.

In addition to being a fantastic, rare birding lifetime moment, the "cuckoo show" was a win-win for the birds, station, and the birders because admission fees provided much needed funding to help protect this fantastic, extremely important area of tropical forest.

Many other species also use the forests of Pocosol including Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Yellow-eared Toucanet, the Central American subspecies of Sharpbill (which is very likely a separate species from other Sharpbill taxa), Lanceolated Monklet, and various additional species. The occurrence of a family of Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoos is icing on the birding Pocosol cake and further emphasizes why Pocosol is always worth a visit!

Contact us at to learn more about birding in Costa Rica at Pocosol and how you can help protect this vital site.


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