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Recent Birding Highlights from Costa Rica- March and Early April, 2024

Birding in Costa Rica is fantastic all year long but the high season goes from January to April. In some parts of the country, this is our dry season and a lot of birders like to take advantage of that. They also like a nice little escape from freezing cold and snow. If I lived there, I would too!


To give an idea of some of what we've been seeing on Lifer tours and elsewhere in Costa Rica the past month, check out these highlights:

Striped Owl



Striped Owls are uncommon but regular birds in Costa Rica. Even so, like most owls, to see them, you have to know where to look and might need some time to find them. We don't often see them during the day but for the past couple years, we have had a good site for seeing roosting Striped Owls!


It's been really nice to see this beautiful youngster!


Sunbittern Nest


At this time of year, Sunbitterns are nesting. However, those nests aren't always easy to find! Fortunately, we have known about a couple nests and have been happily showing them to clients (always from a safe distance of course).


Sunbitterns are actually fairly common on streams and rivers in Costa Rica. However, they are also shy and not always the easiest birds to find. It's nice to have nests we can visit, especially since the birds in Costa Rica and the Andes might end up being split from lowland Sunbitterns in South America (ones in the Amazon and the Pantanal).


An Out of Range White-crested Coquette



This interesting looking hummingbird is a juvenile male White-crested Coquette! One of the harder birds to find in Costa Rica, usually, we have to go to the San Vito area or other parts of southern Costa Rica to see them.


However, on occasion, small numbers of these insect-like hummingbirds wander to parts of the Central Valley and even to the Caribbean slope. Recently, we got lucky with this bird at one of our main birding sites in the foothills of northern Costa Rica!


Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo


This major mega target is back! They are always possible but away from an antswarm, not likely. Recently, one has been foraging with Army Ants at the San Luis Canopy and since we had a group nearby, we of course went to see it! Luckily, the cuckoo was still there and everyone got eyes on this fantastic mega.


Three-wattled Bellbird



Bellbirds are a fantastic, fun bird to see. The months of March through July are one of the best times to see them and lately, we have been bringing clients to see enjoy these birds at a reliable spot near San Ramon.


This loud cotinga also shows at Monteverde and other spots but it's been nice to have them near San Ramon, actually not too far from the site for the ground-cuckoo!


Nesting Ocellated Poorwills!


These birds have been a bit further afield but it's worth mentioning them! Ever since Juan Diego Vargas rediscovered this rare nightjar in the Cano Negro area, sightings have been far and few between. Fortunately, a local birder and biologist found two at the Pitilla Biological Station. And they are nesting!


It's hard to say how long they will be on the nest but likely not for more than another week. However, those poorwills should still frequent that area for some time, perhaps all year long.


Speckled Mourners!


Also at Pitilla, at least two Speckled Mourners have been singing. Like the poorwill, this is another very rare bird for Costa Rica. Although it can turn up in a few other areas, at present, the only known birds are these ones at Pitilla. It's worth mentioning that this remote site is also close to where a Harpy Eagle was seen in 2017! An area worth birding for sure, especially for adventurous birders.


These aren't the only highlights. Of course, there have also been lots of Resplendent Quetzals, many tanagers, hummingbirds, and hundreds of other bird species. There always is when you go birding in Costa Rica!


Which birds would you like to see in Costa Rica? Some of the ones above? Contact us to learn how we can help you and your friends see those and hundreds of other fantastic birds in Costa Rica!


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