Chestnut-mandibled Toucan in full display
near Puerto Viejo 19 Dec 2007
ANNOTATED CHECKLIST Birds, Mammals, and Herps

This is an annotated Costa Rica trip list from our two-week visit in late December 2007. Excluded the two days flying to and from San Jose, we had 12 days in Costa Rica. We visited only three primary sites (1-3 below), plus traveled between sites, and had a brief afternoon in San Jose (#4):

  1. Atlantic lowlands/foothills near La Selva. We stayed at Posada Andrea Christina, a bed & breakfast in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, and we visited La Selva Biological Reserve (35-50m elev), fields around P. Viejo, some trails in Braulio Carrillo NP (~600m elev), and the feeders at Mirador Cinchona (~1200m elev).
  2. Montane cloud forest at and around Savegre Mountain Lodge (2200m elev), plus brief visits (usually in rain) to Cerro de la Muerte (3490m) and vicinity (i.e., Provencia Rd at K76).
  3. Pacific rain forest at Bosque del Rio Tigre (~130m elev) with side trips to little village of Dos Brazos, the Rio Pizote, and to the mangroves at Rio Rincon and near P. Jimenez.
  4. Afternoon in gardens of Buena Vista Hotel, above San Jose

Species heard only are included on main list if it was a species we knew or with which we had experience. "Heard only" species pointed out to us solely by guides are listed in an appendix. We had 284 native species, plus two non-native introduced birds [in brackets]. Another 9 birds (Appendix) were "heard only" and not counted. Together, the sum is 295 birds.

Those species photographed are followed by "[ph]" (113 birds). Lifers for me have an asterisk after Latin name.
Great Tinamou Crypturellus major: heard daily at La Selva but not seen
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui: one came daily to rice thrown out by the kitchen at Rio Tigre; also heard there widely, including throughout the night (ph)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis: a pair with young at Dos Brazos, the little town near Bosque del Rio Tigre (ph)
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps: a group of 8 or so was foraging in trees along the river near Rio Tigre (ph)
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens: heard daily at La Selva; Rita saw one
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor: one was foraging in the 'quetzal tree' (a wild avocado) shortly after dawn (phs); another was seen hiking during a hike above Savegre
Great Curassow Crax rubra *: a male was standing on a log in the river at La Selva, until it took flight (ph)
Marbled Wood-Quail Odontophorus gujanensis: Don watching one walking through the forest at Rio Tigre
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis: several in flight over Golfo Dulce
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens: one male and a female in flight over Golfo Dulce
Fasciated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum *: one flushed from Rio Pizote into a tree for great views (ph)
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum: two in wet farm fields at P. Viejo de Sarapiqui
Great Egret Ardea alba: scattered birds on lowlands of both sides
Snowy Egret Egretta thula: a few near Rio Tigre
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea: a few near Rio Tigre
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor: one along Rio Rincon, Osa Peninsula
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis: common and widespread in lowlands
Green Heron Butorides virescens: one flew across Rio Rincon
White Ibis Eudocimus albus: one right at Rio Tigre, 8 more on Rio Rincon

Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Snowy Egret in Rio Tigre: some of the very few waterbirds seen in what was a forest-birding trip

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus: common and widespread (ph)
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura: common and widespread
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa: one in flight over Dos Brazos late in the afternoon
Gray-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis: one in flight over La Selva
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus: a group of 7-8 over Rio Tigre one afternoon
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus: one seen from taxi in lowlands enroute to Osa Peninsula
Semiplumbeous Hawk Leucopternis semiplumbeus: one scoped by Kevin in forest at La Selva
Common Black-Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus: two adults near mangroves at or near Rio Rincon (ph).

Both looked like typical black-hawks. Birds that frequented the mangroves along the Pacific side have been considered to be a separate species, Mangrove Black-Hawk Buteogallus subtilis (e.g., AOU 1986), but Clark (2007) showed that there was no diagnosable differences between black-hawks in mangroves on the Pacific and Atlantic sides of Central America, and recommended that subtilis be considered a subspecies restricted to the Pacific coast of South America. This position has been adopted by the South American Checklist Committee, and will be adopted by the A.O.U. (pers. comm.).

Common Black-Hawk in mangroves

Black Vulture at Savegre
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris: a few most days on Osa Peninsula in open country
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus: an adult perched at El Tapir near Braulio Carrillo NP
Gray Hawk Buteo nitidus: one at La Selva
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus: a single adult light-morph was seen flying behind Posada Andrea Christina on two afternoons
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis: one seen from Mirador Cinchona
Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus *: a subadult spotted by our guide Kenneth Alfonso at La Selva was a major highlight of our morning walk. He got on the radio and workers and staff came running to see it as it perched in the compound for a quarter-hour (many photos).
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway: a few in open areas around P. Viejo de Sarapiqui (ph)
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima: a few most days in open areas around Osa Peninsula
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis: a stake-out pair were seen every visit to farm fields near P. Viejo (ph)
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea: one came to ground feeder by Rio Tigre lodge (ph), two others crossed road near Dos Brazos
Uniform Crake Amaurolimnas concolor *: one glimpsed running away into forest at the edge of the flooded 'lagoon' near Rio Tigre; the species becomes reasonably 'easy' here during the dry season in Mar-Apr
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica: several in marshes on Osa Peninsula
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus: a half-dozen on sandbars in Rio Rincon
Northern Jaçana Jacana spinosa: a few in marshes in both Atlantic & Pacific lowlands
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius: one on Rio Tigre, a few more on Rio Rincon
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus: two on sandbars in Rio Rincon
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla: small flock on sandbars in Rio Rincon
[Rock Pigeon Columba livia: this non-native Introduced species seen in larger cities & towns]
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis: a couple in flight behind Posada Andrea Christina
Red-billed Pigeon Patagioenas flavirostris: a flock in flight enroute to Cinchona
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata: a very few around Savegre Lodge
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea: two perched in San Gerardo Valley, upstream of Savegre (ph)
Short-billed Pigeon Patagioenas nigrirostris: common in lowlands both sides, in forest, heard all day (ph)
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti: common in Pacific lowlands (ph), fewer but easy on Atlantic side
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa: a male came daily to ground feeder at Rio Tigre (ph), a few others seen or heard around Osa Peninsula
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi: a few daily seen on Osa Peninsula; also a couple at La Selva vicinity. One chunky dove in flight might have been Olive-backed Quail-Dove Geotrygon veraguensis but I was unable to confirm that.
Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassini: a few daily at ground feeder next to Rio Tigre lodge (ph)

Ruddy Pigeon
at Savegre

Blue Ground-Dove
at Rio Tigre
Sulphur-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura hoffmanni: a small flock of 8-12 seen most days around Savegre
Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi: a small flock seen in flight from taxi enroute to Rio Tigre
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana *: a dozen or more scattered around La Selva and vicinity (ph)
Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguus *: we tried twice at the farm fields with fruiting almond trees with Alex Martinez (but in rain) and with Kevin Martinez. The latter effort was near dusky and by walking out into the fields (paying $5/each) we flushed a pair and got wonderful views as the sun set (ph). Alex Martinez is very active in the effort to protect them in these Atlantic lowlands.
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao: a pair heard and poorly seen in farm fields near P. Viejo de Sarapiqui. Alex Martinez advises that they are re-establishing their range here where they have been absent ~50 years. The species remains common on Osa Peninsula, where we had up to 40/day along Rio Tigre (ph).
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis: common in lowlands, both Atlantic & Pacific sides
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis: small flocks encountered twice at Rio Tigre
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis: one in flight across the waterfall view from Mirador Cinchona was quite a lovely site! Small flocks encountered twice at Rio Tigre, once perched in canopy of small tree
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis: a few daily around La Selva, also a few at Rio Tigre
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa: a few daily around La Selva, also daily at Rio Tigre
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana: singles seen on both visits to Braulio Carrillo NP
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia: one watched singing from a low open branch near P. Jimenez, Osa Peninsula
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani: common in open land on Osa Peninsula
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris: common in open land around P. Viejo de Sarapiqui
Black-and-white Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata: an owl heard every night along the river at Rio Tigre was probably his species. It only gave single hoots, but those match one portion of one tape fairly well. Efforts to locate it were unsuccessful. Don heard another owl at Posada Andrea Christina one night, but it moved away quickly. It was a series of hoots. Although Vermiculated Screech-Owl Megascops guatemalae is in range, the calls weren't right. So it remains a mystery.
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis: heard from a P. Viejo restaurant at dusk, and nightly at Rio Tigre
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris: small flocks daily at Savegre, much larger flocks (100+) daily at Rio Tigre
Costa Rican Swift Chaetura fumosa *: a few most days at Rio Tigre, often with flocks of WC Swifts (ph)
Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris: small Chaetura swifts over La Selva were likely this species

Scarlet Macaw
at Rio Tigre

Costa Rican Swift
at Rio Tigre

Band-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes ruckeri: a few around Rio Tigre lodge and trail to 'lagoon'
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy: a few at feeders at Mirador Cinchona (ph)
Long-billed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris *: one at La Selva and then a few daily in the forest around Rio Tigre.

According to the on-line information from the South American Checklist Committee, "Phaethornis longirostris was formerly (e.g., Peters 1945, Meyer de Schauensee 1970) treated as conspecific with P. superciliosus [under the name 'Long-tailed Hermit"]. Hinkelmann (1996), followed by Hinkelmann and Schuchmann (1997), provided evidence that it should be treated as separate species, a return to the classification of Cory (1918), namely a three-species classification: (1) P. longirostris of Middle America and northwestern South America; (2) P. malaris of western Amazonia, the eastern Guianan Shield, and southeastern Brazil; and (3) P. superciliosus (with muelleri) of the Guianan Shield and eastern Brazil." This proposal has been adopted by the AOU. Initially the name given to P. longirostris was "Western Long-tailed Hermit." This has now been changed to Long-billed Hermit.

Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis: this is a fairly recent split from Little Hermit P. longuemareus; it was found daily around La Selva, and once at Rio Tigre (ph)
White-tipped Sicklebill Eutoxeres aquila *: this was a major highlight for me. When I learned it was possible to have a reasonable shot, I hired Abram at Rio Tigre to take me up the Rio Pizote (about 3 miles away) to look for it in the late afternoon. One wades up a rocky creek -- which is heavily worked for gold -- though the forest. Abram spotted one on a roost over the creek, and I was able to approach closely for photos (ph). An unexpected treat!
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird Phaeochroa cuvierii: one seen singing from a perch enroute to Rio Pizote and another at Rio Rincon (ph)
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus: a half-dozen were at the feeders at Mirador Cinchona (ph)
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora: one in the forest at Rio Tigre
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus: common at Savegre and surrounding cloud forest (ph)
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti: one male at 'El Tapir' gardens near B. Carrillo NP (ph)
Black-crested Coquette Lophornis helenae *: one male feeding on Verbena at 'El Tapir' gardens (ph). I spent several hours watching flowing trees on the ridge above Rio Tigre for White-crested Coquette L. adorabilis, which had been seen there recently, and glimpsed a likely subject, but better views were desired (not counted).
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii *: a male and a subadult were at 'El Tapir' gardens (ph)
Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica: a male was seen inside the forest along Los Palmas Trail, B. Carrillo NP; females were seen a couple times in the forest behind Rio Tigre lodge.
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis *: this high elevation specialty was coming to the feeders at "Georgina's Restaurant" on the PanAmerican Highway over the Cerro de la Muerte. We had at least two males of differing ages (ph).
Blue-throated Goldentail Hylocharis eliciae *: a male seen hovering along the Rio Pizote, and one sitting on a nest near Rincon, both on Osa Peninsula (ph)
Charming Hummingbird Amazilia decora *: a half-dozen were irregularly visiting the feeders at Rio Tigre lodge
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl: this is the common and widespread hummer throughout the lowlands, both sides, and upslope into B. Carrillo NP (ph)
Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps: this Costa Rican endemic was pretty common at the feeders at Mirador Cinchona (ph); both males and females have much white in the tail visible when hovering
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Chalybura urochrysia: single males at La Selva (ph), feeding at a Heliconia, and in B. Carrillo NP
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaemus: at least one female regularly visiting feeders at Mirador Cinchona (ph)
White-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis castaneoventris *: common at Savegre feeders (ph); hard to say how many because some gorgeous males just sat there all day
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula: common at feeders at Mirador Cinchona (ph)
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens: females were regular at M. Cinchona feeders but males tended to dominate the feeders at Savegre (ph)
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti: one in forest at Rio Tigre lodge; our guides saw others at B. Carrillo NP that we missed
Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris: singles seen on two days at Rio Tigre
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula: common in stunted temperate forest at Km76 on Cerro de la Muerte, at least before it starting to rain
Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla: regular in small numbers at Savegre feeders; others fed often on flowers in the gardens there (ph)
Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii *: one or two seen daily in forests at Rio Tigre (ph)
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus: a lowland species seen on most days at La Selva and Rio Tigre (ph)
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris: several seen around the grounds of Savegre lodge
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena: a few at La Selva and Rio Tigre (ph)
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno: Rita had missed this fabulous bird on her visit to Costa Rica in 1988, so it was a primary focus of our trip. We had superb views of 3 males and 2 females at a fruiting wild avocado on two mornings, at a site ~3km upstream from Savegre Lodge. Don also saw a male fly over the Lodge itself on our final morning (24 Dec). We spent quite some time on photography (ph).
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota: seen or heard daily at Rio Tigre; one occasionally visited the feeder (ph)
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii: one seen (more heard) at La Selva with our guide Kenneth
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum: several seen at La Selva, including one perched on a line across the entrance road (ph)
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquatus: singles at P. Viejo and along Rio Tigre
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana: a few on Osa Peninsula, including one perched on Rio Rincon bridge (ph)

Slaty-tailed Trogon at La Selva

Green Kingfisher
at Rio Rincon
Prong-billed Barbet at Mirado Cinchona
Emerald Toucanet at M. Cinchona
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos: one perched in forest at La Selva (ph)
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda: seen at La Selva, heard at Rio Tigre, but each avoided my camera
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii: pair in mixed flock at upper foothills, B. Carrillo NP
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii: a half-dozen came to feeders at Cinchona (ph)
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus: one at Cinchona feeder (ph) and another in San Gerardo Valley near Savegre were it. These were of the blue-throated subspecies caeruleogularis
Collared Araçari Pteroglossus torquatus: a handful in the lowlands at and around La Selva (ph)
Fiery-billed Araçari Pteroglossus frantzii: two in cut-over forest near Rio Rincon, Osa Peninsula. Alas, they got away before photos
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus: fairly common at La Selva (ph)
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii: common and conspicuous in lowland forests, both sides. Most impressive was watching a long, full display of a calling male near La Selva (ph)
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus: this familiar species was conspicuous at Savegre (ph)
Golden-naped Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysauchen *: guide Luis Sandoval at Rio Tigre took me to the one tree that they were still known to use regularly, and I saw a pair; was able to show one to Rita the next day. This limited range species appears to be declining on the Osa Peninsula (ph)
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani: seen daily in the Atlantic lowlands (ph)
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus: common daily on the Osa Peninsula, Pacific lowlands
Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii *: a male and female were seen in the gardens of Hotel Buena Vista on our final afternoon in San Jose, the only species seen in San Jose and nowhere else.
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus: a couple heard calling above Savegre
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus: a pair were foraged on a huge epiphyte-laden tree at La Selva during our early morning walk with guide Kenneth
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus: one in flight on the Osa Peninsula
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis: Rita saw one at Rio Tigre
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus: several were with mixed flocks along the Quebrada Trail above Savegre
Striped Woodhaunter Hyloctistes subulatus *: one with a mixed flock along the Los Palmas Trail at Braulio Carrillo NP was an unexpected treat; it was foraging among the large epiphytes
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus: a few daily in mixed flocks in the forest at Rio Tigre (ph)
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus: Rita and I saw singles on two separate days in the forest at Rio Tigre (ph)
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper Dendrocincla anabatina: Rita and I got to see one on different days at Rio Tigre. In both cases, Liz heard it calling near the office, and Abram took us over to get views. Don's was near dusk and the woodcreeper was actively battling a Red-crowned Woodpecker over a hole, which was either related to a roost hole or (possibly) a potential nest hole
Ruddy Woodcreeper Dendrocincla homochroa: a single seen with mixed flock along Los Palmas Trail at Braulio Carrillo NP
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorhynchus spirurus: single at B. Carrillo NP and another foraging on a tree in Rio Tigre lodge's front garden (ph)
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae *: now split from Amazonian Basin barred woodcreepers, this large bird was with a mixed flock in the forest at Rio Tigre. The race here looks mostly unbanded in the field
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans: scattered individuals in lowland forest on both Atlantic and Pacific sides; this is a split from Buff-throated Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii: a few in lowland rainforest on both sides
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis: several daily in cloud forest at Savegre
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus: one male was seen very well at La Selva
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi *: this is the common antshrike on the Osa Peninsula, occurring primarily in pairs, sometimes with mixed flocks and sometimes foraging alone. Could be difficult to see but we ended up seeing a fair number (ph)
Western Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha: pair seen at Braulio Carrillo NP; also heard at La Selva
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis: fairly common component of mixed flocks in forest on Osa Peninsula (ph)
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul: present every day in the forest behind Rio Tigre lodge (ph)
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis: Don had a pair, with Luis, in a mixed flock at Rio Tigre (ph); Abram showed Rita another on our final morning there
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis: one watching walking on the forest floor at Rio Tigre. It was calling in close proximity to a calling Chestnut-backed Antbird, and their calls were remarkably similar

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
at Rio Tigre

Chestnut-backed Antbird
at Rio Tigre
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster: a couple at forest edge at Rio Tigre
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii: a few around Savegre (ph), where they ate berries
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea: enroute to Cinchona, we saw one perched on a rock in a rushing stream from one of the bridge along the road
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus: one at Mirador Cinchona
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus: a few in lowland forests at La Selva and Rio Tigre
Paltry (Mistletoe) Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus: a few daily in bushes around La Selva hdqs; also at Rio Tigre
Northern Bentbill Oncostoma cinereigulare: Rita and I saw one nicely in understory at Rio Tigre
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum: common at forest edge in lowlands, both sides (ph)
Eye-ringed Flatbill Rhynchocyclus brevirostris: I was surprised to find singles twice with loose flocks in the forest at Rio Tigre (ph)
Golden-crowned Spadebill Platyrinchus coronatus *: an adult carrying nesting material perched within a foot of Luis and me inside the forest at Rio Tigre
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius: one with a mixed flock in forest at Rio Tigre (ph)
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus: a few around Savegre (ph)
Dark Pewee Contopus lugubris: one in forest near Savegre gave us fine views
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris: one foraging right in the front yard of Rio Tigre lodge on our final morning (ph)
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii: one foraging at forest edge at Rio Rincon was clearly a Willow/Alder E. traillii/alnorum type. We were actually leaning toward Alder due to its greener tones (at least compared to western Willows we see regularly) but the literature states that Alders do not winter locally in Costa Rica. Ergo, it is almost certainly a Willow at this date (27 Dec) and, given its color tone, almost certainly an eastern bird
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens: a couple around Savegre
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps: seen daily in small numbers at Savegre (ph)
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans: one along stream at Savegre
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus: one in open country near P. Viejo
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus: several seen at La Selva -- one of them caught a gecko right in front of the La Selva dining hall (ph) – and heard daily at Rio Tigre
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra: nice views of a couple at La Selva
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer: a few daily around La Selva
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus: singles seen at La Selva and Rio Tigre, the latter eating a dragonfly (!)
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus: common and conspicuous throughout lowlands, both sides (ph)
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua: a few seen or heard in Atlantic lowlands & foothills
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis: common in lowlands, both sides
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis: common on Osa Peninsula, some also at La Selva (ph)
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus: common and conspicuous in both lowlands and mountains
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus: one watched calling in forest at Rio Tigre
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus: two in mangroves at Rio Rincon
Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae: single males seen on a couple of days inside forest at Rio Tigre; the subspecies here does not have rose on the throat (ph)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
at Rio Tigre

Rose-throated Becard
at Rio Tigre
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata: a few at or near La Selva
Turquoise Cotinga Cotinga ridgwayi *: two females were scoped from Rio Tigre lodge as they sat atop a tall bare tree across the river (ph)
Yellow-billed Cotinga Carpodectes antoniae *: this much-wanted species was in evidence around the Rio Rincon mangroves, where we tallied 5 males and a female (ph)
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus *: a male sat atop a tall bare tree at the edge of the La Selva clearing (ph)
Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus *: there is a fabulous display ground uphill from Rio Tigre, where we could watch up to 9 males daily in display (ph)
Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis: a female visited the feeder at Rio Tigre (ph); there is a lekking locale behind the lodge but the males were not yet using it during our visit
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons: singles at La Selva and Rio Tigre
Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli: a few around Savegre
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus: several on Osa Peninsula, both at Rio Tigre and Rio Rincon
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps: a few in the forest behind Rio Tigre lodge
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus: several in scrub forest-edge at Rio Tigre
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus: one heard on several days at Rio Tigre; I did not try to track it down
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea: one at La Selva
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea: common in mangrove area at Rio Rincon (ph)
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca: common in upper foothills (Cinchona) and mountains (ph)
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus: pair along entrance road into La Selva (ph)
Black-throated Wren Thryothorus atrogularis *: pair seen with guide Kenneth at La Selva
Black-bellied Wren Thryothorus fasciatoventris: one seen in forest at Rio Tigre
Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius *: a rather common but skulking wren at Rio Tigre
Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus *: one seen on Los Palmas Trail, B. Carrillo NP
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus: we watched one at length in brushy farm fields near P. Viejo
House Wren Troglodytes aedon: rather common in open country in lowlands, both sides
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys: several daily at Savegre, but often very hard to see; another was viewed from the balcony at Cinchona as it ventured into the open (ph)

Blue-and-white Swallow
at Savegre

Gray-breasted Wood-Wren
at M. Cinchona
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops: Don got fine views of one perched in forest along Quebrada Trail above Savegre; others heard
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris: two seen on Quebrada Trail above Savegre
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii: one seen from dining room window at Savegre, another in forest above lodge
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina: one was regularly foraging on the grounds of Posada Andrea Christina; more were seen in the forest at La Selva
Sooty Robin Turdus nigrescens: several daily around Savegre (ph)
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus: quite common at Savegre (ph)
Pale-vented Thrush Turdus obsoletus *: one seen very well in the forest at Braulio Carrillo NP
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi: the national bird of Costa Rica was common and widespread everywhere except the high mountains; only one seen at Savegre (ph)
White-throated Robin Turdus assimilis: singles at Rio Tigre on separate days
Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher Phainoptila melanoxantha *: there were 3-4 female or imms with a mixed canopy flock along the Quebrada Trail above Savegre. I was able to watch these at length as they sallied out like flycatchers for a time, and then started to eat small berries. The flock they were with soon left them behind, eating berries in the canopy above me. An unexpected highlight!
Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher Ptilogonys caudatus: one frequented a fruiting bush outside the reception desk at Savegre; the manager pointed it out to us as we were checking in!
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera: Rita and our guide Kenneth saw one briefly at La Selva; Don missed it entirely.
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina: a half-dozen or more at Savegre, and one in a B. Carrillo flock
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia: Rita had one at P. Viejo; a couple more were in mangroves near P. Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula. All seemed to be wintering birds from N. America
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica: this is the common wintering warbler throughout Costa Rica. We saw it daily in good numbers in lowlands; fewer in highlands but still present
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens: several in mixed flocks at B. Carrillo NP and Savegre
Townsend's Warbler Dendroica townsendi: one along Provencia Rd in cloud forest, plus one at Savegre
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca: a few in mixed flock in Braulio Carrillo NP
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia: Rita saw one at Braulio Carrillo NP
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis: a few at La Selva and vicinity (including one walking on the compound lawn); another in Osa Peninsula mangroves
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis semiflava: several singing in swampy grasslands near P. Viejo (ph)
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla: the common warbler at Savegre and above, often the dominant species seen in mixed flocks
Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus: common and often conspicuous in forest at Savegre (ph)
Black-cheeked Warbler Basileuterus melanogenys: fairly common in mixed canopy flocks along Quebrada Trail above Savegre
Buff-rumped Warbler Phaeothlypis fulvicauda: one working a paved path through La Selva; a couple more along the Rio Pizote on Osa Peninsula (ph)
Wrenthrush Zeledonia coronata *: this much-wanted species was finally seen briefly (and others heard) along the Quebrada Trail above Savegre. The short-tailed long-legged little gnome flushed from the edge of the creek, giving its thin high-pitched call as it flew
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola: common and conspicuous in lowlands, both sides
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus: a couple at forest edge at Braulio Carrillo NP
Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus: quite common in small flocks at Savegre (ph)

Olive-crowned Yellowthroat
at Puerto Viejo

Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager
at Savegre
Olive Tanager Chlorothraupis carmioli: a handful at La Selva and B. Carrillo NP
Gray-headed Tanager Eucometis penicillata: small parties were with mixed undergrowth flocks inside the forest at Rio Tigre (ph)
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus: a few daily in mixed flocks in the forest at Rio Tigre
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delattrii: small party in undergrowth at Braulio Carrillo NP, with next species
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda: a pair or two in the undergrowth at B. Carrillo NP
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager Habia atrimaxillaris *: this much-wanted Costa Rican endemic was regular, and often noisy, inside the forest at Rio Tigre; a few birds also came to the back feeder each day (ph)
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra: fairly common in lowlands and seen or heard every day there; some up into the foothills to B. Carrillo NP and Mirador Cinchona (ph, below)
Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata: a few (4-8) daily around Savegre lodge; sometimes at the hummingbird feeders (ph)
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii: the former "Scarlet-rumped Tanager" has been split into two species. The males are essentially identical but females are easily distinguished. This is the Caribbean lowland species; it is common and conspicuous at La Selva and at the feeder at Posada Andrea Christina (ph)
Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis: this is the Pacific slope split of "Scarlet-rumped Tanager;" it is common and conspicuous at forest edge and in gardens around Rio Tigre (ph)
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus: common open country species in lowlands of both sides, and often at feeders (ph)
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum: rather common in Caribbean lowlands; a few in Pacific lowlands
Blue-and-gold Tanager Bangsia arcaei *: about 3 in mixed flock at edge of 'El Tapir' garden, near B. Carrillo NP
Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata: several on a couple days around La Selva
Emerald Tanager Tangara florida: two in mixed flock at 'El Tapir' garden, near B. Carrillo NP
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala: reasonably common in foothills and mountains, from B. Carrillo NP and Mirador Cinchona, to Savegre. Came to feeders at Cinchona (ph)
Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata: several in mixed flock at 'El Tapir' garden, near B. Carrillo NP
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola: a few daily in the forest at Rio Tigre

Silver-throated Tanager
at M. Cinchona

Bay-headed Tanager
at Rio Tigre

Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata: fairly common in the lowlands on both sides; sometimes at feeders (ph)
Spangle-cheeked Tanager Tangara dowii: singles at higher elevations in B. Carrillo NP, and at Savegre
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana: one female at Posada Andrea Christina feeder
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza: a few daily in Caribbean lowlands; one at Rio Tigre feeder
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus: a few daily at Posada Andrea Christina feeder (ph)
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus: scattered males irregular at La Selva and Rio Tigre
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina: common in weedy fields in lowlands, both sides
Variable Seedeater Sporophila americana: all-black subspecies corvina scattered in open country of Atlantic lowlands; black-and-white subspecies common daily in open country on Osa Peninsula (ph)
White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola: single female and imm male with Variables on two days on Osa Peninsula
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus funereus: rather common in open country in Atlantic lowlands (ph)
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivaceus: a few daily in San Gerardo Valley, usually upstream of Savegre
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea: common in the gardens at Savegre (ph)
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis: fairly common around Savegre; more were up higher on Provencia Road in stunted forest (ph)
Large-footed Finch Pezopetes capitalis: just a handful around Savegre (ph)
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Buarremon brunneinucha: one along Quabrada Trail above Savegre
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris: common around Rio Tigre lodge; a few at La Selva (ph)
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris: common in brushy areas on Rio Tigre
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis: abundant in the mountains; one at Cinchona feeders (ph)
Volcano Junco Junco vulcani: two at highest point on Cerro de la Muerte, in rain and fog (ph)
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus: daily in both Atlantic and Pacific lowlands, often at feeders (ph)
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps: two at feeder at Posada Andrea Christina
Black-thighed Grosbeak Pheucticus tibialis: very unexpected as a flock of 4-5 at the edge of the main compound at La Selva Biological Station, which is well below the expected elevation
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus: singles at La Selva (Rita only) and Savegre
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides: one in forest at Rio Tigre, a couple more near Rio Rincon (ph)
Red-breasted Blackbird Sturnella militaris: an open field near Rio Rincon at 8 or more
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives: one singing in a little town near Mirador Cinchona
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus: abundant in open country on Osa Peninsula, and in San Jose
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus prosthemelas *: a few most days at La Selva and vicinity
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula: not common but seen most days in both lowlands and at Savegre (ph, below, is from Mirador Cinchona)

Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis: heard at La Selva, and finally nicely seen at Rio Rincon
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma: common in Caribbean lowlands
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris: a female seen along Rio Pizote, Osa Peninsula
Spot-crowned Euphonia Euphonia imitans *: a few daily at Rio Tigre, almost all at the feeder that was visited by both males and females (ph)
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi *: small party of males and females was foraging in a fruiting tree at La Selva (ph); also another near P. Viejo
White-vented Euphonia Euphonia minuta: male and two females in Braulio Carrillo NP
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae *: a pair in mixed flock at forest edge at 'El Tapir,' adjacent to B. Carrillo NP
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys: Don briefly saw a male in a mixed flock at forest edge on the final morning at Savegre
[ House Sparrow Passer domesticus: non-native Introduced species seen in some towns ]

male Spot-crowned Euphonia at Rio Tigre

female Olive-backed Euphonia at La Selva

APPENDIX: "Heard only" bird species pointed out solely by guides, and vocalizations not known to us:

  • Around La Selva: Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis atricapillus (several; efforts to see in canopy unsuccessful), White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittatus, Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus, and Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
  • Around Osa Peninsula: White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis, Red-rumped Woodpecker Veniliornis kirkii, Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet Ornithion semiflavum (daily in canopy behind lodge but could not see), and Scaly-breasted Wren Microcerculus marginatus (along Rio Pizote)

MAMMALS [nearly every species was photographed; see Mammals page]

Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth Choloepus hoffmanni: a female with well-grown baby at Posada Andrea Christina, P. Viejo, and an adult at Rio Rincon on Osa Peninsula (ph)
Variegated Squirrel Sciurus variegatoides: seen around La Selva, P. Viejo (Posada A. Christina), and Rio Tigre (ph)
Red-tailed Squirrel Sciurus granatensis: reasonably common around Savegre (ph)
Poas Squirrel Syntheosciurus brochus *: one or two visited the feeders at Mirador Cinchona, at ~1200m elevation on Volcan Poas (ph). This is a limited-range species known from only 3 volcanic mountains
Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata *: several inside forest at La Selva (ph)
White-faced Capuchin Cebus capucinus *: troops encountered during two days at Rio Tigre (ph)
Mantled Howler Alouatta palliata * : heard daily around La Selva and P. Viejo vicinity, and a few seen (ph); heard but not seen on Osa Peninsula
Central American Spider Monkey Ateles geoffroyi *: a troop watched in the forest at La Selva (ph)
Long-nosed Bat Rhynchonycteris naso: a day-roost of four was seen daily at Rio Tigre, and at dusk the small bats around the clearing were assumed to be this species. Great views of one of these that perched on roof in the dining room during dinner (ph)
Greater White-lined Bat Saccopteryx bilineata: a day-roost observed at La Selva, some of which were wearing bands (ph); also, the mid-sized bat at dusk at Rio Tigre was presumably this species
Lesser White-lined Bat Saccopterys leptura: a day-roost seen at La Selva in a hollow of a huge forest tree
Collared Peccary Tayassu tajacu: common at La Selva, where encountered several times (ph)
White-nosed Coati Nasua narica: a band of ~30 caused a traffic jam along the road to M. Cinchona (ph)

AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES [all the following species were photographed; see Herp page]

Cane Toad Bufo (Chaunus) marinus *: one at Posada Andrea Christina, P. Viejo
Common Rain Frog Craugastor fitzingeri *: common at Rio Tigre
Slim-fingered Rain Frog Craugastor crassidigitus *: one at Rio Tigre
Stejneger's Rain Frog Craugastor stejnegerinanus *: one at Rio Tigre
Talamancan Rocket Frog Colostethus (Allobates) talamancae *: one or more at Rio Tigre
Bluejeans Dart Frog Dendrobates (Oophaga) pumilio *: common at La Selva
Golfo Dulce Dart Frog Phyllobates vittatus *: Abram took me to a small stream that had a couple of these at Rio Tigre
Common Basilisk Basiliscus basiliscus: common at Rio Tigre, from little ones to a huge male at the feeder
Green Iguana Iguana iguana: common and conspicuous around La Selva & vicinity
Central American Ameiva Ameiva festiva *: common at La Selva and Braulio Carrillo NP
Four-lined Ameiva Ameiva quadrilineata *: common at Rio Tigre
Green Spiny Lizard Sceloporus malachiticus *: one basking on tree at Savegre
House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus: non-native introduced species, snatched and eaten by Bright-rumped Atila at La Selva
Red-headed Gecko Gonatodes albogularis *: common on the walls of Rio Tigre lodge, from adult males to adult females to tiny babies
Turnip-tailed Gecko Thecadactylus rapicauda *: Liz Smith at Rio Tigre showed me one in her 'office'
Slender Anole Norops limifrons *: common at La Selva
Golfo Dulce Anole Norops polylepis *: common in the forest around Rio Tigre
Western Fer-de-lance Bothrops asper *: one small one, asleep, near Rio Tigre
Eyelash Viper Bothriechis schlegelii *: one asleep at a day-roost in the forest at Rio Tigre

ODONATES [Dragonflies & Damselflies]
[all species encountered were photographed and appear on the Ode page]

Literature cited:

  • American Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Check-list of North American birds. 6th ed., A.O.U., Washington, D.C.
  • Clark, W.S. 2007. Taxonomic status and distribution of Mangrove Black Hawk Buteogallus (anthracinus) subtilis. Bull. B.O.C. 127: 110-117.
  • Garrigues, Richard, and Robert Dean. 2007. The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Stiles, F.G., and A.F. Skutch. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, N.Y.
Atlantic Lowlands
Montane Cloud Forest
Reptiles & Amphibians
Pacific Lowlands
Dragonflies & Damselflies
Complete TRIP LIST
with birds, mammals & herps
page created 25-27 Jan 2008
© Don Roberson 2008