27 COMMON Birds Found in Costa Rica! (2024)

Are you trying to identify a bird in Costa Rica?

Types of birds in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has an incredible diversity of birds. Hundreds of species are recorded annually, with more sightings added every day!

As you can imagine, there was no way to include this many birds in the below article. So instead, I tried to focus on the birds that are most regularly seen and observed.

27 COMMON birds in Costa Rica:

#1. Clay-colored Thrush

  • Turdus grayi

Common Costa Rica birds

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 23–27 cm (9–11 in) long.
  • Their coloring is shades of brown, often slightly darker on the wings and tail.
  • They have reddish-brown eyes, brown legs, and yellow beaks.

Despite being non-descript, the Clay-colored Thrush is a well-known bird in Costa Rica.

This species is comfortable around humans, so don’t be surprised to find them in your backyard or even an urban park. If you want to attract Clay-colored Thrushes to your yard, try offering fruit or mealworms since they don’t eat seeds.

In the wild, these ingenious birds will follow ants and then eat small insects disturbed by the ants’ movements. Interestingly, they don’t eat the ants themselves! They must know not to bite the hand that feeds them. πŸ™‚

Listen for the Clay-colored Thrush’s song, a slow, low-pitched series of musical calls.

YouTube video

#2. Social Flycatcher

  • Myiozetetes similis

Common birds found in Costa Rica

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 16–18 cm (6–7 in) long.
  • This species has a distinctive color pattern: A bright yellow belly, chestnut wings, and a black head with a white stripe above the eye and a white patch on the throat.
  • They are round-bodied with short beaks and relatively long tails.

For such an unassuming little bird, the Social Flycatcher is persistent regarding meals. These small songbirds perch on branches and wait for insects to fly by. Then, they zip out of the tree and catch the insect mid-flight! But that’s not their only hunting strategy.

Social Flycatchers will hover to eat berries, forage from the ground, and even take a swim to find tadpoles or small fish to eat. Amazingly, they’ll even work cooperatively with common marmosets to flush out insects and eat with them! Talk about strange dining companions. πŸ™‚ Despite this willingness to work together, Social Flycatchers don’t join mixed flocks to feed, so you’re likely to see this species on its own.

This species has a frenetic, shrill call that sounds like an alarm. It uses its voice to advertise territory.

YouTube video

#3. Lesson’s Motmot

  • Momotus lessonii

Birds of Costa Rica

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 38–43 cm (15-17 in) long.
  • They have a golden-yellow torso, bright green wings, a black head, and bright blue highlights. The crown is also black.
  • Their beaks are black and curved downward.

Despite being large and colorful, Lesson’s Motmots are experts at avoiding notice. They sit perfectly still and blend in with their dense forest habitat. Unfortunately, even though this tactic is useful for avoiding predators, it also makes these birds difficult to find for bird watchers.

If you’re feeling lucky, look for this species in dense woodlands with plenty of tree cover. Fortunately, even though they’re experts at hiding, these birds are one of the most abundant birds in Costa Rica.

YouTube video

#4. Turquoise-browed Motmot

  • Eumomota superciliosa

Species of birds in Costa Rica

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure about 34 cm (13 in) long.
  • Their coloring is a bright mix of red, green, gold, and blue. They have a black streak under the eye and a flash of turquoise above.
  • This species has an unusual tail; it thins out toward the middle and has a fringe of wide feathers at the end.

These birds prefer open forests and ravines in Costa Rica.

Turquoise-browed Motmots are sometimes called the “foolish bird” by locals because it’s so comfortable around humans. They routinely allow people to approach within just a few feet before flying off!

One of the easiest ways to recognize a Turquoise-browed Motmot is by looking at its tail. The unusual “racket” shape is unique to this species! Some people think these birds pluck their tail feathers to create the shape, but that isn’t true. Instead, the middle tail feathers are loosely attached and come off on their own during normal preening. Interestingly, both males and females display showy tails. Males use them to attract a mate, and females use them to warn away predators.

The call of the Turquoise-browed Motmot is a croaky, nasal sound that carries into the distance.

YouTube video

#5. Bare-throated Tiger Heron

  • Tigrisoma mexicanum

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 80 cm (31 in) in length.
  • The overall coloring is black and rufous bars that look similar to tiger stripes, true to its name.
  • Their featherless faces and throats are covered in yellow skin, and they have a brown stripe bordered by white running down the belly.

Look for the Bare-throated Tiger Heron in open wetlands such as riverbanks and marshes. They stand motionless in shallow water, waiting for prey to swim by, then bend down and snatch it from the surface. Typically, this species eats crabs, fish, and frogs.

The Bare-throated Tiger Heron has one of the most unusual calls of any bird in Costa Rica!

It’s hard to believe a bird could make such a noise. Its loud, grumbling “hhrawk” and growling noises sound more like a jungle cat than a wading bird. Listen here!

YouTube video

#6. Black-headed Trogon

  • Trogon melanocephalus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure about 28 cm (11 in) long.
  • Their coloring is black overall, with lemon-yellow underparts and thick white bands on the underside of the tail.
  • They have white eye rings that make them look surprised.

Look for Black-headed Trogons in sub-tropical and tropical forested areas of Costa Rica. These medium-sized birds eat insects and fruit, which they gather by flying quickly from their perch and then back again.

This species has an unusual preference for nesting sites. While some birds may use abandoned burrows or holes in trees, the Black-headed Trogon actually seeks out active termite nests, meaning the termites are still living there! I guess if you’re taking care of babies, it makes sense to keep your food source close! πŸ™‚

The call of the Black-headed Trogon is a quiet, mellow “chip” sound.

YouTube video

#7. Collared Aracari

  • Pteroglossus torquatus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 39–41 cm (15–16 in) long.
  • Their coloring is glossy black with red highlights and a creamy yellow belly.
  • The long, stout beak is black with a yellow and red patch near the base.

Look for flocks of up to 15 Collared Aracaris flying through dense forests or perching in trees. Though their groups are small, this toucan is sociable and prefers to spend time with its group.

In fact, up to six adults and their fledglings will spend all of their time together and even roost together year-round. During the breeding season, hatchlings are fed by their parents and additional “helpers” from previous generations. That’s quite a tight-knit family!

This species is mostly a fruit-eating bird, although it occasionally eats lizards and eggs. Its large, strong beak is well-suited to ripping apart large pieces of fruit and tearing through tough skins.

Collared Aracaris have a loud, piercing call that sounds like “peeseek.”

YouTube video

#8. Keel-billed Toucan

  • Ramphastos sulfuratus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 42-55 cm (17-22 in) long.
  • They are predominantly black, with a yellow bib edged in red.
  • Their large bills are flamboyantly decorated with red, yellow, blue, and green patches, and their eyes are ringed with blue skin.

The Keel-billed Toucan is one of the most colorful birds in Costa Rica!

It’s not hard to see why this species is also called the “Rainbow-billed Toucan.” The colors on its bill contrast sharply with its mostly black appearance. And don’t forget shoes; this bird also has bright blue feet. It’s a striking fashion statement, to say the least!

It isn’t just their appearance that makes Keel-billed Toucans stand out. They’re also incredibly playful and entertaining! For example, members of family groups often play “ball” with one another, throwing fruit bits around with their beaks and tossing food into one another’s mouths. In addition, they “duel” frequently by batting their beaks against each other, which can be a way to establish a hierarchy but can also be for play.

Keel-billed Toucans occasionally eat lizards and eggs, but most of their diet is made up of fruit. Their beaks are perfectly adapted to this, allowing them to peel and dissect fruit to remove the pits. Once that’s done, they throw their heads back and swallow the fruit whole!

The sounds this species makes are surprisingly dainty when considering its large size. Listen for a quiet, trilling song that blends in with the noises of the jungle.

YouTube video

#9. Roadside Hawk

  • Rupornis magnirostris

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 31–41 cm (12–16 in) long.
  • They have a chestnut head, back, and wings with chestnut and buff barred underparts and yellow eyes and legs.
  • Their beaks are hooked, slate gray on the end, and covered with yellow skin at the base.

The Roadside Hawk is the smallest hawk species in Costa Rica!

This bird of prey is aptly named because of its affinity for populated areas. It’s often spotted on the side of the road near a city or town.

However, just because this species has adapted to city life doesn’t mean there are never altercations. Roadside Hawks are known to be particularly aggressive during the nesting season. There are several accounts of them attacking humans who get too close to their nest. Therefore, it’s best to observe them from a distance, or you might end up with a fight on your hands!

Roadside Hawks are carnivores like other birds of prey, and they prefer eating invertebrates and mammals, especially young primates.

Roadside Hawks have a clear, high-pitched call that often comes in four or three syllables: “Eeh-Eeh-Eeh-Eeh” is the most common sound.

YouTube video

#10. Crimson-backed Tanager

  • Ramphocelus dimidiatus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure about 18 cm (7 in) long.
  • Males are a deep, velvety red on the head and body that brightens toward the tail. They have black wings and tail feathers. Their beaks are white with a black stripe, and their eyes are reddish brown.
  • Females have the same overall pattern, but their colors are duller.

Look for Crimson-backed Tanagers in moist lowland forests and degraded forestland. Their bright red coloring makes them easy to see, even in dense vegetation.

This species eats fruit and berries primarily but supplements its diet with small insects. They also occasionally drink nectar from flowers. Interestingly, they don’t open the flowers themselves but wait for another bird with a longer bill to do the hard work. Then, when the bird flies away, the Crimson-backed Tanager comes in to drink the leftovers. πŸ™‚

Despite their colorful appearance, these birds have a rather ordinary call; they make a stilted, quiet “tseet” noise.

YouTube video

#11. Great-tailed Grackle

  • Quiscalus mexicanus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These blackbirds are fairly large, slender, and have long legs,
  • Males are iridescent and completely black. Look for their bright yellow eyes and long V-shaped tail.
  • Females are about half the size of males. Their upper parts are dark brown, while they feature paler brown plumage below.

Great-tailed Grackles are brash blackbirds in Costa Rica often found in large flocks. It’s common to see them living near people at parks, farms, landfills, or neighborhood backyards. Naturally, they live in open forests, marshes, and scrub.

Their range has spread over the past century because of their fondness for agricultural and urban areas. In fact, they are one of the fastest-expanding species in North America!

Interestingly, it’s common for “sex-biased” populations of Great-tailed Grackles to occur where female birds greatly outnumber males. This happens for two reasons.

  • #1. Females have a higher survival rate in the nest since they are smaller and require less food.
  • #2. On average, females live longer than males.

Because of their wide array of vocalizations, it’s hard to describe these blackbirds’ sounds! Descriptions of their whistles, squeals, and rattles include everything from “sweet, tinkling notes” to “rusty gate hinges.” Regardless, Great-tailed Grackles can make a lot of loud noises, especially when they gather in enormous flocks numbering in the tens of thousands!

#12. Scarlet Macaw

  • Ara macao

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults average about 81 cm (32 in) long.
  • Their plumage is bright scarlet red overall with yellow and blue wings.
  • They have bare white skin around the eye, light yellow eyes, and a white upper beak.

These stunning birds are a symbol of the rainforest in Costa Rica.

Look for Scarlet Macaws in humid, lowland rainforests, open woodlands, river edges, and savannas. They often flock to clay licks, which are deposits of clay that the Macaws eat for minerals.

As one of the longest-living birds worldwide, Scarlet Macaws can survive 40 to 50 years in the wild but may live up to 75 years in captivity. Despite their long lifespans, this species faces unique challenges like declining forest quality and poaching for the pet trade. They’re so dependent on healthy native trees that their populations can be used to measure the health of an entire rainforest.

My favorite fact about Scarlet Macaws is that they appear to all be left-footed! Believe it or not, observations show that every individual favors their left foot for peeling fruit and other tasks that require precise movements. Maybe I’m biased because I’m left-handed, but I think that’s pretty amazing! πŸ™‚

#13. Ruddy Ground Dove

  • Columbina talpacoti

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 13-18 cm (5-7 in) long.
  • Males have reddish-brown upper parts, a blue-gray head, and pink feet.
  • Females are similar but have duller plumage, a brown head, and a brighter rump.
  • Both sexes have rusty brown wing patches that are visible in flight.

Look for Ruddy Ground Doves in humid habitats with plenty of open space. They often frequent wet areas like marshes.

Although they’re typically seen in flocks of 10 to 20, occasionally, flocks of up to 200 occur and may flush explosively when humans or predators walk near them. It can be startling to see hundreds of brown pigeon-size birds all take to the sky at once!

These doves are believed to be common, and their range seems to be expanding. Their need for open habitats means they have adapted well to deforested and agricultural areas. They also adapt well to towns and cities.

#14. Tropical Mockingbird

  • Mimus gilvus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 23-25 cm (9-10 in) inches long.
  • Their coloration is silvery-gray above and whitish below, with a long black tail.
  • They have white stripes above their eye, long dark legs, and a slim, black beak with a slight downward curve.

Tropical Mockingbirds in Costa Rica occupy farmland, scrublands, savanna, and parks.

They prefer open habitats and avoid dense forests and mangroves. This species typically forages on the ground or in low vegetation. However, they may also perch and fly to catch insects like swarming termites.

These vocal birds are susceptible to parasitism by the Shiny Cowbird. Cowbirds lay their eggs in the Tropical Mockingbird’s nest, which then raises the chicks as their own. But, they have developed a unique adaptation to help them survive. Because up to 80% of nests are parasitized during their first brood, Tropical Mockingbirds lay second and third broods that aren’t affected.

Despite the name mockingbird, this species rarely mimics other birds. However, they often sing through the night and have various songs and calls.

YouTube video

#15. Turkey Vulture

  • Cathartes aura

common vultures in the united states

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 64-81 cm (25-32 in) tall with a wingspan of 160-183 cm (63-72 in).
  • Their coloring is all black, with a bald red head and a pinkish bill.
  • The undersides of their wings are lighter in color, which you can see in flight.

The Turkey Vulture, also known as the Turkey Buzzard, is incredibly common in Costa Rica. The name derives from their loose resemblance to a turkey.

Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot these vultures while they are flying. Look for a large raptor soaring in the sky making wobbly circles, whose wings are raised high enough to look like the letter “V.” It’s thought that this flying style helps them glide at low altitudes, which keeps them close to the ground to smell for food.

Turkey Vultures use their highly developed sense of smell to locate carrion. Their sense of smell is so sensitive that they can detect dead meat from 13 kilometers (8 miles) away. These birds prefer to eat fresh food and try to get to animals as quickly as possible after their death.

These birds are dark, and they absorb heat easily. So to cool themselves off, they defecate on their legs to cool the blood and help moderate their body temperature. So let’s collectively say “Ewww!” and move on!

When these raptors are frightened, they can be so full of meat that they cannot rapidly fly away. In this case, you may see them projectile vomit what they’ve eaten to lose weight and escape. If they target the predator’s face, the material can be blinding. Bear in mind that even if they miss, they are vultures that are eating rotting meat, so just try to imagine the odor.

#16. Yellow Warbler

  • Setophaga petechia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 12-13 cm (5-5.1 in) long.
  • Lemon-yellow across the whole body, with light chestnut streaks on the chest.
  • Males are brighter than females.

With its bright yellow coloring and relatively large population, this is one yellow bird you shouldn’t have trouble finding. Look for Yellow Warblers primarily in moist forests of small trees, especially near rivers.

Because their diet is primarily insects, Yellow Warblers do not visit bird feeders. Instead, look for them in large yards with plenty of tall trees or parks near forests.

These small birds occasionally get caught in an unbelievable predicament. Due to their size, they can become entangled in the large webs of orb weaver spiders. Unfortunately, they aren’t strong enough to break out of the web and often die trying to free themselves.

The song of the American Yellow Warbler is said to sound like “sweet, sweet, sweet; I’m so sweet!”

YouTube video

#17. Vermilion Flycatcher

  • Pyrocephalus obscurus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 13-14 cm (5-5.5 in) long.
  • Adult males are brilliant red with a dark brown mask, back, wings, and tail.
  • Females are gray-brown with faint streaks on the breast and salmon-red underparts.
  • Both sexes have a black beak.

The Vermilion Flycatcher’s genus name, Pyrocephalus, literally translates to “fire-headed.” And one look at a male of this species will tell you why! Its striking red color comes from its insect diet, which contains a chemical that turns its plumage bright red.

These beautiful birds primarily feed on flying insects. Their prey includes butterflies, honeybees, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers. Vermilion Flycatchers capture most of their prey by suddenly flying out from an exposed perch. Then, they carry their prey back to the same perch in a single swoop, sometimes hitting large prey against the perch before eating it.

The best place to spot a Vermilion Flycatcher is in an open habitat near the edges of ponds and streams. These birds often wander and are sometimes far outside their normal range.

#18. Inca Dove

  • Columbina inca

inca dove

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Compared to other dove species, they are small and slender with long, narrow tails.
  • Their feathers’ outer edges are dark, giving them the appearance that they have scales!

These doves generally stay away from forests and are found in open woodlands, deserts, scrublands, suburbs, parks, and urban areas. They are often seen on the ground foraging for seeds.

Inca Doves are not shy of humans and are common backyard visitors. Try using tray feeders or spreading food on the ground for them. Their favorite foods include millet, cracked corn, and shelled sunflower seeds.

If you can’t find an Inca Dove in Costa Rica, you can always try listening for one. These birds produce a low, mournful coo that sounds like they are saying, “no hope.” This call is repeated over and over.

These birds have an interesting way of keeping warm. Lots of doves come together in a communal roost and will stack on top of each other in a pyramid formation, which can include up to 12 birds and three levels high!

#19. Blue-Gray Tanager

  • Thraupis episcopus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 15-18 cm (6-7 in) long.
  • Their plumage is shades of blue, from nearly gray to very bright. They have dark eyes, dark gray legs, and a short, thick bill.
  • Populations east of the Andes have white wing bars.

Look for this vibrant blue bird in Costa Rica in agricultural areas and urban parks.

They adapt well to human presence and feed on cultivated fruit like papayas. Blue-gray Tanagers travel in pairs or small flocks and are noisy and restless.

Although they typically make their nests high in trees, Blue-gray Tanagers have been known to use building crevices in urban areas. That’s one effective way to make use of human-altered habitats!

Listen for this species’ squeaky, high-pitched call, which can be compared to a series of “tseee” and “tsuuup” noises.

YouTube video

#20. Brown Pelican

  • Pelecanus occidentalis

brown pelican

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Large water bird with a very long bill and neck.
  • Brown skin on their giant throat patch.
  • Dark gray bodies with white necks and pale yellow heads.

It’s hard to mistake a Brown Pelican in Costa Rica since no other water bird looks quite like it!

When I’m visiting the beach, I love seeing the way that Brown Pelicans elegantly fly just over the water’s surface. While these water birds are common today, believe it or not, they almost went extinct in the mid-20th century due to DDT poisoning.

These seabirds are commonly seen along the coast as they plunge aggressively headfirst into the water. These dives are meant to stun the surrounding fish, which then are scooped up with their enormous throat pouch and swallowed whole.

YouTube video


Don’t bother listening for them, as Brown Pelicans are mostly silent creatures. However, you may hear loud popping sounds when they defend their nests, which are made from them snapping their bills together sharply.

#21. Cinnamon Hummingbird

  • Amazilia rutila

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 9.3-11 cm (3.7 to 4.5 in) long.
  • Their coloring is metallic bronze-green above and cinnamon below, slightly paler on the chin and upper throat.
  • They have a bright red bill tipped in black, a chestnut tail, and dark brown wings.

Cinnamon Hummingbirds DO NOT migrate! Instead, they are a year-round resident in Costa Rica. If you’re lucky enough to live in its range, look for a medium-sized hummingbird in bronze, tan, and green shades.

Try planting tube-shaped red flowers, including encliandra fuchsias, peacock flowers, and cypress vines to attract this species. Unfortunately, they are territorial and will defend preferred feeding sites from other hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.

Except for breeding, Cinnamon Hummingbirds are solitary. However, males will perform courtship displays, flying in a U-shape in front of females to convince them they are the best suitor.

#20. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

  • Amazilia tzacatl

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 8-11 cm (3-4 in) in length and have a wingspan of about 11 cm (4.3 in).
  • Males are golden-green above and on the throat, ashy brown on the belly, and have a coppery tail.
  • Females are similar, except their belly is paler gray or white.
  • They have a nearly straight red bill with a dark tip.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds prefer semi-open areas in humid evergreen forests and banana or coffee plantations. This species’ elevation preference varies wildly with food availability. They may be seen in lowlands, along the shore, or even over 2,438 m (8,000 ft) above sea level in the Andes Mountains!

The typical Rufous-tailed Hummingbird in Costa Rica lives three to five years old.

However, even in the wild, some may live for much longer. For example, the oldest recorded wild individual was 12 years old when it was discovered!

#23. Tropical Kingbird

  • Tyrannus melancholicus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range 18-23 cm (7-9 in) inches long.
  • They have a big, gray head, bright yellow underparts, pale gray-green backs, and dark gray-brown wings.
  • They have a medium-length tail notched in the center, a heavy, long beak, and broad wings.

Tropical Kingbirds have adapted well to human development in Costa Rica.

Look for them in cities and suburbs, where they are comfortable living close to people. In particular, they like parks.

As members of the flycatcher family, Tropical Kingbirds feed primarily from the air. They sit in their favorite perches and wait for insect prey, then fly out, catch it, and return to their perch to eat it. They will also feed on fruit and usually perch to grab fruit but occasionally hover if there’s no convenient perch. Whichever way they choose to eat, these birds show off their athletic nature!

Tropical Kingbirds use the safety of large numbers to protect their eggs and hatchlings. Look for their nests near large members of the blackbird family, such as orioles, which chase away predators and parasitic cowbirds.

#24. White-winged Dove

  • Zenaida asiatica

white winged dove

Identifying Characteristics:

  • A pale grayish-brown dove with a white stripe on the edge of the wing.
  • Short, square-tipped tail.
  • Distinctive black mark on their cheek.

White-winged Dove Range Map

white winged dove range map


White-winged Doves have adapted well to the presence of humans, and they are commonly found in cities and backyards in Costa Rica. They readily visit bird feeding stations that offer sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, milo, and cracked corn.

Like other dove species, White-winged Doves have a few interesting abilities:

  • When nestlings are born, the parents feed them “crop milk.” This secretion is regurgitated from the lining of the esophagus.
  • Pigeons and doves can drink water while their head is down. They don’t need to look skyward to swallow, which is rare among birds.

Males sing to attract females and make a series of hooting coos, which sounds like they say, “who cooks for you.” Many times, the final coo is longer than the rest.

#25. Black Vulture

  • Coragyps atratus

black vulture - common vulture species in the united states

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 56-74 cm (22-29 in) long with a wingspan of 130-168 cm (51-66 in).
  • Their coloring is black all over, with white legs.
  • The skin of their face and neck is featherless and leathery.

Black Vultures primarily eat carrion, but unlike most other vultures, they are also known to kill animals to feed on fresh meat. As a result, it’s not uncommon for them to prey on living skunks, opossums, and livestock, such as baby pigs, calves, and lambs.

These birds get their name because their entire body is covered in black feathers, except for their bald head, which features black skin. But as they are soaring, you can see silver feathers on the underside of their wings.

Look for Black Vultures in Costa Rica in both forested and open areas. They prefer to roost and nest in dense forests but forage for food along roads, fields, and other open spaces.

Like most vultures, these birds are mostly silent. The only noises you may hear are grunting and hissing. Trust me; you won’t be hearing any lyrical tunes from these birds!

#26. Great Egret

  • Ardea alba

great egret

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Large, white bird with long, black legs.
  • S-curved neck and a daggerlike yellow bill. Look for a greenish area between their eyes and the base of the bill.
  • While they fly, their neck is tucked in, and their long legs trail behind them.

Appearance-wise, Great Egrets are one of the most stunning water birds found in Costa Rica. They especially put on a show during breeding season when they grow long feathery plumes called aigrettes, which are held up during courtship displays.

In fact, these aigrettes are so beautiful that Great Egrets were almost hunted to extinction in the 19th century because these feathers made such nice decorations on ladies’ hats. As a result, the National Audubon Society was formed in response to help protect these birds from being slaughtered. To this day, the Great Egret serves as the organization’s symbol.

Great Egrets don’t get any awards for their beautiful songs. Listen for a loud sound best described as a croak (“kraak).” When surprised, you may hear a fast “cuk-cuk-cuk” alarm call. LISTEN BELOW!

#27. Great Kiskadee

  • Pitangus sulphuratus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults measure 21-27 cm (8-11 in) long.
  • The wings and tail are warm reddish-brown, and their underparts are yellow.
  • They have black heads and white eyebrows and throats.

Great Kiskadees are one of the most common birds in Costa Rica.

Look for Great Kiskadees in the wild in tropical forests near clearings or bodies of water. They prefer semi-open habitats with some large trees. However, they also occur in human-altered habitats, including suburbs, orchards, and coffee plantations.

The Great Kiskadee uses a combination of survival tactics to ensure their survival. For example, they often hunt by catching insects in midair, but they also forage for plant material and fish. In addition, Great Kiskadees visit feeders and sometimes steal pet food, bread, bananas, and peanut butter. They make wonderful visitors to the backyard!

They’re very vocal birds, and their name comes from their call, which is a ringing “kis-ka-dee.” They will often join mixed flocks of birds and aren’t easily scared off by humans.

YouTube video

Which of these birds in Costa Rica have you seen before?

Leave a comment below!

Check out these guides to other animals found in Costa Rica!

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One Comment

  1. Lindsey, thank you for this guide to common birds of Costa Rica which has great videos, clear helpful sounds and interesting facts and info.