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Photogenic Waterbirds from Costa Rica

Birds live everywhere! It's one of the many things about birds that makes them fun to watch and photograph. For most places on Earth, all you have to do is go outside, look up or around and sooner or later, you see some birds. Some places (like Costa Rica) have more, others less but there are always birds to look at.

One of the reasons why there are so many types of beautiful birds in so many places is because they have become adapted to using so many different habitats. In Costa Rica, when we bring clients to rainforest, we might see puffbirds, trogons and toucans along with dozens of other species. Look for birds in open habitats and others take center stage. However, no matter what type of trip we are doing, we like to fit in sites for aquatic species. Waterbirds can be big or small, many are easy to see, and several are exquisite. Those attributes also make many of them ideal for fantastic, photogenic portraits. In addition to the Russet-naped Wood-Rail pictured above, these are five of our favorites:

Green Ibis

Unlike some other ibis species, this dark jade bird with beryl highlights prefers shaded spots near forested wetlands.

We often see them during boat tours on the tropical waterways of Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge where this bird with the decidedly prehistoric look can perch in riverside trees or probe muddy spots with its long beak.


One of the fancier birds in a nation with hundreds of beautiful bird species, the unique Sunbittern is a main target and big hit on many of our tours. In Costa Rica, it lives in many parts of the country on shaded rocky rivers and streams. Although its a shy bird, if you look in the right places at the right time of day, you can see them at a number of sites. Despite their fancy look, the mottled pattern of this bird's plumage helps it blend in with its shaded surroundings.