Andrew home Photo gallery Birds of Costa Rica
(Original batch), Feb. 2005

All photos on this page were taken with a Canon ZR65MC digital video camera, in still image mode.

Costa Rica birds montage. Clockwise from the upper left: Great kiskadee, Blue-gray tanager, Silver-throated tanager, Red-footed honeycreeper, Scarlet-rumped tanager, Scarlet macaw, Pacific screech owl, and in the right center, a Coppery-headed emerald hummingbird.

Click on the thumbnail images in the montage to go to the respective full-size photo below.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, La Paz Waterfall (Feb. 16). If this guy looks rather haggard, it is because he was all wet from the steady light rain that was falling that day. This is one of only three or four birds on this page that regularly migrate north to the United States during the spring and summer months.

SILVER-THROATED TANAGER, La Paz Waterfalls (Feb. 16). At first I thought this brightly colored bird was some kind of warbler, but Dr. Aaron Sekarak, the biologist at this nature sanctuary, helped me identify it as a tanager.

VIOLET SABREWING (F) ?, La Paz Waterfalls (Feb. 16). After excruciating minutes waiting for another people to get out of the way, I was able to take a brief video clip of the male of this species. Stay tuned!

Green-crowned brilliant (M), La Paz Waterfalls (Feb. 16).

GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (F), La Paz Waterfalls (Feb. 16). A purplish-blue spot below the throat of this large hummingbird is visible when the light is at the right angle.

COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD (M), La Paz Waterfalls (Feb. 16).

PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN GEM (F), La Paz WF (Feb. 16). At first I thought this was a male bronzy hermit, but they inhabit lowland areas on the Caribbean slope.

BANANAQUIT, La Paz Waterfalls (Feb. 16). These very small birds are seen in several parts of Costa Rica. They derive much of their nutrition from flower nectar, and often frequent hummingbird feeders.

Playa de Cacao, near Golfito

SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER, at the Playa de Cacao Cabins (owned by Doña Isabel), near the town of Golfito (Feb. 18) The first time I saw this beauty I was stunned, but couldn't immediately react because I was talking to Doña Isabel. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that these striking birds are fairly common in the area around Golfito.

SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER (F), Playa de Cacao. (Feb. 18). It's interesting that the female has more color on the breast than the male, which is all black on top and in front.

RUDDY GROUND-DOVE, Playa de Cacao (Feb. 18). These a very common in the southwest part of the country.

GREAT KISKADEE, Playa de Cacao (Feb. 18). These very handsome flycatchers are seen throughout Costa Rica.

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE, Playa de Cacao (Feb. 19). One of the most abundant birds in Costa Rica, they make amazing vocalizations that never fail to fool a less-experienced bird observer into thinking it's something exotic. After a while they start to get on your nerves... This species favors warm, dry climates, and is also found in the western U.S.A.

BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW, Playa de Cacao (Feb. 19). At first I thought this was some sort of towhee because it was so large.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER, Playa de Cacao (Feb. 19). Even though this bird is one of the most common ones in Costa Rica, getting this photo was a rare stroke of luck. I had been having a hard time getting the manual focus controls to work on the Canon ZR65MC, but this tanager patiently waited for me to get set up for a classic shot.

AMAZON KINGFISHER, Playa de Cacao (Feb. 19). It's hard to tell given the angle of the sunlight, but these are green in color, not the dark bluish gray of the Belted kingfishers we see in Virginia, and which are also seen in Costa Rica.

Corcovado National Park

CRESTED CARACARA, near Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20). Another example of a photo that should have turned out better but was marred by inadequate automatic focusing, one of the few weak spots of the Canon ZR65MC.

COMMON BLACK-HAWK, near Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20). I couldn't believe this raptor stayed in place as our vehicle approached, letting me get a close-up photo.

BARE-THROATED TIGER HERON, near Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20). The "tiger" in its name refers to the stripes along the back of its long neck.

WHITE IBIS, near Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20). The hazy appearance probably resulted from the camera's sensors being oversaturated with the bright sunlight reflected off the white feathers.

GREAT CURASSOW, near Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20). I was extremely fortunate to get this shot, even though the image is only fair quality because I had to take the picture through the front window of the van we were riding in.

SCARLET MACAW, Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20). Unfortunately, these spectacular birds rarely come down from the tree tops, so getting an up-close photo of one is extremely difficult.

GREAT BLUE HERON (immature), Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20).

RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPERS, Corcovado N.P. (Feb. 20). These two males were engaged in some kind of territorial claim ritual, dancing and maneuvering around each other in a very precise and surprisingly nonviolent way.

Santa Rosa National Park

WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE JAY, Santa Rosa N.P. (Feb. 25). This loud and ostentatious bird was hard to miss. I saw several that day, and a few more in Nicaragua.

PACIFIC SCREECH OWL, Santa Rosa N.P. (Feb. 25). I would have missed this bird had I not been alerted to its presence by a biology student from Washington State who was doing field research on bird vocalizations. More serendipity!

ROADSIDE HAWK, Santa Rosa N.P. (Feb. 25). I got a good video clip of this raptor, whose voice sounds surprisingly thin and nasally, rather like a squeeze toy. Until I took a close look at the video clip, which shows distinct broad tail bands and rufous barring on the belly, I had thought that this might be a Hook-billed kite, or perhaps a Crane hawk.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO, Playa de Cacao (Feb. 19). It is aptly named because of its color, size, and behavior. It nimbly climbs along tree branches just like a squirrel, which is remarkable given its big size. They are very shy and elusive, however, and I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get a good picture of one of these guys.

GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, Santa Rosa N.P. (Feb. 25). One of the few birds on this page which regularly migrates north to the United States during the spring and summer months.

ELEGANT TROGON, Santa Rosa N.P. (Feb. 25). I thought the battery in my camera had run out, and I was on the brink of utter despair. Fortunately, there was just enough charge left to get this image, plus a brief video clip. I was surprised how docile this colorful bird was. A few wander into Arizona during breeding season, but the vast majority stay in Latin America.