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See More Tanagers on a Birding Tour to Costa Rica- 5 Essentials

Tanagers are much more than Scarlet, Western, or Summer. During a birding tour in Costa Rica, birders quickly discover that they can also be Golden-hooded,


Silver-throated,


and Emerald.



A whopping 52 species of tanagers have occurred in Costa Rica (!). That impressive number includes the finch-like seedeaters, cardinalesque saltators, and an array of fancy, multicolored birds. Some only occur in or near lowland rainforest, others are birds of higher elevations. Either way, go birding in Costa Rica and you have a fair chance of seeing a number of these beautiful birds.


Try these tips to see more tanagers while birding in Costa Rica:


Keep an Eye Out for Fruiting Trees and Bushes

Berries and other small fruits play a vital role in the diets of many tanager species. While birding in Costa Rica, find the right fruiting tree and you'll find tanagers, in some places, a lot of tanagers. Don't look for trees with large fruits or seeds. Look for vegetation with dozens, even hundreds of small berries. Trees like this are such important food sources for tanagers, chances are, you'll probably notice the foraging birds before noticing the fruits.


If you do come across fruiting trees with berries that lack birds, it's worth waiting to see what shows up. Tanagers will eventually pay a visit along with flycatchers, manakins, and other frugivores.


Visit Foothill Rainforest

Tanager species occur everywhere in Costa Rica but the habitat with the highest number of species is foothill rainforest. This wet and mossy forest grows in a narrow elevational band of around 500 meters to 1,000 meters and plays host to such species as Black-and-yellow, Emerald, Speckled, and Crimson-collared Tanagers along with many other birds. Even better, they often forage in mixed flocks that have a dozen or so tanager species.



Go Birding in Different Elevations

Although tanager diversity in Costa Rica reaches its peak in foothill habitats, to see every species of tanager, birders also need to visit lowland rainforest sites and cloud forest. In lowland areas, birds like Blue Dacnis and Plain-colored Tanager are more common whereas cloud forest is the home of the fancy Spangle-cheeked Tanager.



Watch Fruit Feeders

As a bonus, most of these beautiful birds also visit fruit feeders. Go to the right places and you may have fantastic photo opps for Emerald, Bay-headed, Speckled Tanagers, and more!


Take a Birding Tour to Costa Rica with Local Experts

As with any type of birding, you'll always see more by taking a tour with local experts. They know where fruiting trees have been bringing in the birds, where the best sites are for tanagers and everything else, sites with the best fruit feeders, and other situations that produce better looks and photo options for more birds.

Want to learn more about the tanagers of Costa Rica and how we can help you see them? Contact Lifer Tours today.