Costa Rica is home to 850+ bird species! There are hundreds of different species flying around where ever you go in Costa Rica. The highest number of bird species are usually seen in the lowland wet forests where you’ll find around 200 different kinds of breeds of birds. When it comes to the lowland dry forests, you may only see half the number of species you find in the lowland wet forests. Location and weather is a big factor that affect the different kind of birds you will see.
Some of the most famous birds you’ll catch seeing on your trip to Costa Rica are Parrots, Parakeets, Toucans, Quetzal, Egrets, and the scary Vultures.
On our trips to Costa Rica, I have usually seen many different of species of Parrots and Parakeets. There are over 16 species of Parrots living in Costa Rica. You’ll most likely find them in the lowland forests on both the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and the Nothern Pacific side. The most frequent kind you’ll see are the Scarlet Macaw’s and the Orange-chinned Parakeets. The cute thing about the Parakeets is I usually seen them in pairs. I assumed that they were love birds since you’ll always find a pair flying around and chirping away at each other like an old married couple. When it comes to their diets, they are usually found eating small flowers plants, fruits, nuts and little insects.
Toucans are another cool bird to see. They’re a little harder to spot unless you visit some of the lowland forests or rainforests. The most famous one you’ll find would be the Keel-billed Toucan. They are usually known for the their beaks since it is covered in cool colours of yellow, orange, lime and pale blue. Their diet usually consists of large seeds, small seeded berries, insects, spiders, lizards, snakes and sadly the nestlings of small bird species. A fun fact about these guys would be that when they eat the seeds from fruits, it goes through their digestive track without being digested. So when it’s that time to go to the bathroom, they’re technically helping mother nature out and planting new fruit trees around the forests. So when you see a tree that completely looks different from the others around it, you’ll know how it got there.
Quetzal are a very popular bird in Central America. Usually during mating season (March-June/July) males usually grow an emerald coloured tail feathers that can reach lengths up to half a meter. These birds are known for their colour, but believe it or not the colour that they usually are is brown. They get their exotic change of colour from melanin, which is the same pigment that causes tanning in humans. This is probably the best time to see them. They are usually found in cloud forests with cool climates. Unfourtneatly for these guys, they are’t the best at flying, so they are easy to catch (doesn’t mean we recommend that you do!!!)
Egrets are easy to find in Costa Rica. Especially if you’re in the rural area like parts of Guanacaste, you’ll see them hanging out with groups of cattle. These type of Egrets are usually called Cattle Egrets.They usually feed off of the small vertebrates and insects that are surrounded by moving cows. Don’t worry, the cows don’t mind the company of the Egrets. A fun fact about these birds are Cattle Egrets, in the 1800’s, actually found their way to South America without any human interferance. They were orginally from Europe and Africa and scientists think that due to maybe a storm within the area caused their migration to come to South America. Once they found cattle, which majority do hang out with, they decided to stay and reproduce successfully. If you think about it, thats actually a great friendship story!
Ah, the Vultures. These birds aren’t the prettiest things to see while in Costa Rica but they’re probably seen more often than the birds I just talked about. Vultures are large birds and have usually brown or black feathers. Their wing span can usually be measured up to 1-2 metres. They are known are scavengers usually flying over in circles looking on dead animals to feast on. Now, when you think of vultures, you think of these ugly, bald headed creatures that feast on the dead, but believe it or not they actually contribute importantly to biological sanitation. By eating the dead animals, they prevent bad smells and potential diseases! They usually have first pick at the food clearing the main bits and then insects and microorganisms such as bacteria will take care of the rest. A dead body of animals can literally disappear within a few days. Talk about team work!
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Pictures are in order of which talked about…