Birding Coto 47–Wattled jacana.

The south Pacific is always an exciting place to bird-watch, many of the new Panamanian invasive species are often recorded here first, and some expected species are looked for here by many! Would crimson-backed tanager be first reported near San Vito or near Villa Neily? Time will tell.

On this time I went back since a wattled jacana was seen by some CR well known photographers but with no details of location. Coto 47, La Gamba and San Vito are known as the best 3 sites in the country for this south American bird, luckily a friend birder who lives at Coto 47; Daniel Hernandez knew where the bird was, I must thank him because without him I would had missed it.

Southern lapwing. Abundant here.

Southern lapwing. Abundant here.

Coto 47 is deforested and instead it’s vast lowland is planted with African palm oil, rice and some cattle pastures, tus creating plenty of flooded areas which favors many aquatic species and those associated with canebrake, scrub, rivers, canals, etc. Species such as Savanna hawk, striated heron (see my post), wattled jacana, lesser yellow headed vulture, yellow-headed blackbird (see post) and many more had been seen here. On Oct 8th 2016 we tried in the afternoon but the rainy weather did not allow us to do much, only highlights were white-faced ibis and 2 Savanna hawks. No jacana then but the temptation did not let me leave, we stayed at a cheap hotel and went back again the morning of the 9th with our friend Daniel. After searching we finally got back to where it was seen before and there it was! Finally a bird my wife, and my friend Roy Orozco (RIP) searched for so many times for our CR list! So many memories came to us of my friend while we saw it, hard to believe its has been only 2 months since he left.

wattled jacana Manuel Antonio birding


wattled jacana buena coto 47 share

This is the place to find wattled Jacana in Costa Rica, or at least the most recent sightings are these, here are the coordinates directly to the site we saw it 8.519337, -82.992536, once you get there the bird hangs out in the swap behind the warehouse at the Y junction, or the one on the left and/or in front of, as it kept moving to those sites during the time we were photographing it.

As is known by many, Coto has great birds to offer, Daniel, the local expert took us to some spots where he knew it was productive. Private road along a canal, no name to this site unfortunately but do have the coordinates 8.555414, -82.977125: The canals were bordered by Inga trees (Inga vera?) full of flowers and yes its was birdy! I got good picture of the uncommon red-rumped woodpecker, We got rusty margined flycatchers, sapphire throated hummingbird, various FC and more. After that We went to a sector known as Las Pangas where Daniel knew veraguan mango and red-rumped woodpecker would be and this is what we got!

Male red-rumped woodpecker. This male was seen on the tree line along the canal, unfortunately no name to location but here the coordinates 8.555414, -82.977125

Male red-rumped woodpecker. This male was seen on the tree line along the canal, unfortunately no name to location but here the coordinates 8.555414, -82.977125

veraguan mango

veraguan mango

Blue headed parrot... and oh yes!, a great tailed grackle!

Blue headed parrot… and oh yes!, a great tailed grackle!

Female red-rumped woodpecker at La Pangas, along Rio Corredor.

Female red-rumped woodpecker at La Pangas, along Rio Corredor.


Male sapphire throated hummingbird

Male sapphire throated hummingbird


After that, and so we could get a lifer Daniel knew the spot for a gray-lined hawk, a hawk that was split relatively resent from gray hawk, I personally wanted to see the differences myself and can now say that they are certainly noticeable! The gray barring on the head was noticeable while viewing through the spotting scope, the bird seemed longer tailed than I am use to see on gray hawks, giving it a larger look. Legs seemed slightly longer as well.


In resume, from the many times I had gone to both Coto 47 and La Gamba (both sites on single-day trips) I came to realize if you are to choose one that would be Coto 47, except from the birds you can get at Esquinas rainforest lodge you will find most/all southern Pacific specialties here, highly recommended!

Gray lined hawk

Gray lined hawk


Female barred antshrike we got early in the day.

Female barred antshrike we got early in the day.


Coto 47–Desviación campiña a cangrejo verde, Puntarenas, CR
Oct 9, 2016 7:35 AM – 9:55 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
Comments:    Karina Segura, Daniel Hernández y yo. EL Marcador de este sitio esta justo donde se avisto wattled jacana
57 species

Marker on this list is EXACTLY on the site we saw the jacana, and presumably is the same site where it was seen a week ago by others who got great pictures. Seen singly, and we did not find any other individual. Black, body, yellow bill and red shield. Pictures attached
View this checklist online at


Coto 47–acceso restringido, Puntarenas, CR
Oct 9, 2016 10:45 AM – 11:15 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.3 kilometer(s)
Comments:    Daniel Hernandez y yo
31 species
View this checklist online at


Coto 47–Las Pangas, Puntarenas, CR
Oct 9, 2016 11:30 AM – 11:45 AM
Protocol: Stationary
1 species

View this checklist online at



Coto 47–finca 41, Puntarenas, CR
Oct 9, 2016 11:55 AM – 12:10 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:    buscando especificamente al gray lined hawk.
1 species

View this checklist online at

South east specialties: Birding La Gamba, Esquinas rainforest lodge and Coto 47.

The Southern Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica has  a tremendous contrast in habitats, ranging from wetlands such as the Terraba-Sierpe river, mangroves, foothills, the pristine forest at Corcovado National Park (one of the most bio-diverse sites in the country) and Golfo Dulce area, Piedras Blancas National park, etc, but also land devastated by the mono-culture of palm oil, rice fields and even bananas back in the day! However, sites such as Coto 47 are great for some of the newer Panamanian invasive species such as Sapphire-throated hummingbird, wattled jacana, rusty margined flycatcher, Savanna hawk, and in matter of time might surprise birders with one or two new records for the country such as the long-time-waited crimson backed tanager (if it doesn’t show up at San Vito area first!).

it only takes a look at Google map to see the amount of mono-cultures near Villa Neily-Paso Canoas area.

it only takes a look at Google map to see the amount of mono-cultures near Villa Neily-Paso Canoas area.

The small town of La Gamba is the gateway to the wonderful Esquinas rainforest lodge, an excellent option to stay “in” the forest. The road that leads there produces quality species, on September 7th 2016 my friend Karen and I went to bird this site, and as any time I come here was pleased with the birds seen. The soonest one lives route 1 and drives on the gravel road to La Gamba is a great site for the some what rare red-rumped woodpecker, which I had seen there on other occasions. Various Flycatchers, blue headed parrots, scrub greenlet, tanagers and more where pretty active there.


Male red-rumped woodpecker

Male red-rumped woodpecker

Now, while rusty margined flycatcher can be seen basically along this road  the most reliable site I know is closer to town, once at La Gamba town, take the turn to the right past the school (Notice the MINAE 9KM sign on your right) and drive for about 650 meters, basically right after crossing the second bridge (under construction the day we visited), it had nested here 2 years ago.

We saw about 4 adults and 1 juvenile bird, interestingly juvs looks much social flycatchers but no rusty margins but do have the yellow crown as adult RMFC.

Rusty margined Flycatcher, notice the margins, blacker face than Social FC.

Rusty margined Flycatcher, notice the margins, blacker face than Social FC.

Social Flycather, grayer head, back not as brown as RMFC.

Social Flycather, grayer head, back not as brown as RMFC.


Gray capped Flycatcher

Gray capped Flycatcher


1st bridge after turning right.

1st bridge after turning right.

Juv Bare throated tiger-heron

Juv Bare throated tiger-heron, this is what Karen was up to on the above picture!

After 2.5hrs we spent on La Gamba we moved to Esquinas lodge, the staff is always welcoming here! we quickly looked for our main target which we got easily; Black cheeked ant-tanager, although it can show up in any trail this time we found 2 with a small mixed flock near the entrance of La Trocha trail, were a pair of great curassows welcomed us!



Black-cheeked ant-tanager

Black-cheeked ant-tanager












Esquinas rainforest trail map

Esquinas rainforest trail map

After that we then moved to Coto 47, south of Villa Neily, here our targets were Savanna hawk, sapphire throated hummingbird and also the Jacana which I have failed at least 5 times already, and had not heard resent report here lately, I wonder…


No hummingbird nor Jacana but we got great looks of the hawk, despite the rainy weather. Located very near the tree on which it nested 2 years ago (First confirmed nest for CR).

This part brought so many memories of the many times I went there with my Friend Roy Orozco in search for these targets, last time we promised we would return to take revenge with the savanna hawk, so this photo is dedicated to the memory of my best friend, I cannot accept the fact he is no longer with us.


the road to Savanna hawk.

the road to Savanna hawk.




Hylophilus and other CR Greenlets.

Hylophilus is a genus in which formerly 3 species of Costa Rica Vireonids best known as greenlets were in, these are: Lesser greenlet (H. decurtatus), tawny-crowned greenlet (H. ochraceips), and scrub greenlet.

From the greek Hule = woodland, forest and philos = loving. Most species within this genus are known to dwell well inside the forest, often up in the canopy. Nonetheless true Hylophilus species such as Scrub greenlet ironically favors palm oil and banana plantations and scrub, often near water rather than forest interior.

The recent taxonomic changes published by the AOU last July brings in 2 new genus to this family; PACHYSYLVIA and TUNCHIORNIS both new to Vireonidae.

Tawny-crowned greenlet (Hylophilus ochraceiceps). The new scientific name to this sp is now Tunchiornis ochraceiceps and Lesser greenlet (H. decurtatus) which not only has its genus changed but also a slight moddification on the spelling of the species, now called Pachysylvia decurtata.

The above greenlets are common, often seen on mixed flocks moving through the forest canopy (lesser greenlet) or middle to lower levels (Tawny crowned greenlet), often noisy and easily seen.


Scrub greenlet is less active, often very vocal, sitting on middle level of scrub or small tree, it’s song is a bit loud for a small vireonid which is convenient to locate it when at the field.

Although reported only one time in Nicaragua as an accidental (?) This species occurs from SE Costa Rica  south to Panama, Colombia and Venezuela.

Here near Manuel Antonio I have personally seen it in sites such as La Gallega River, Savegre, Matapalo and others but the best and most reliable site to look for it is El Rey Marshes, where is seen most times. Below a link to a recording of its songs to help getting familiar with it!′ scrolling=’no’




New taxonomy changes!

How many birders often hate the idea of having to erase or edit their field guides due to new names applied to bird species, well, I personally find bird taxonomy fascinating and really enjoy having to study the scientific articles provided by the experts and having to add more notes to my guides, it is just a totally different way to bird!


As it is known to many that the American Ornithologists’ Union has published in its 16th supplement on July 6th, 2016 and it contains a series of taxonomic changes, various of the families, genus, and common English names had been treated, some splits, some merges it means a lot of fun editing the books and trying to understand this fascinating wave of changes!

Here is the link to the official Article and to complement the list the 24th update for CR species list  (Sandoval, L. y C. Sánchez. 2016. Lista de aves de Costa Rica: vigésima cuarta actualización. Unión de Ornitólogos de Costa Rica. San José, Costa Rica.


Based on the article some of the basic/important changes we should be aware to modify (again!) our Costa Rica field guides and lists are:

Cathartidae has been removed form Accipitriformes  and has been elevated to order Cathartiformes with a single family, Cathartidae.

American Vultures, once in Falconiformes, then Accipitriformes now has its own order.

Nyctibiidae and Steatornithidae have been removed from Caprimulgiformes and elevated to order status; Nyctibiiformes, Potoos and Steatornithiformes, oilbird.


Common potoo

*Aramides cajaneus splits in 2: Aramides cajaneus now called Gray-cowled wood-rail, in CR found on both coasts, lowloands, foothills and central valley, except in the North East (a Southern central-America and south America sp). And Aramides albiventris called Russet-naped wood-rail, in CR found in the North East (A Northern Central America sp)

Gray-cowled wood-rail (former gray necked w-r)


*Green violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus) splits in Lesser violet-ear (C. cyanotus) and mexican violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus) from which only Lesser violet-ear occurs in CR.

*Momotus momota splits, and the specie that is found in CR is Momotus lessonii = Lesson’s Motmot, here is a link to the vocalizations from xeno canto to some the other species splitted from Momotus momota:

Momotus Lessonii – Lesson’s motmot

Momotus ceoruliceps – Blue capped motmot

Momotus subrufescens – whooping motmot

Momotus momota – Amazonian motmot

*Dusky Antbird has genus changed from Cercomacra to Cercomacroides, so Cercomacroides tyrannina is the new scientific name.

Some Members of Vireonidae have now new genus (Pachysylvia, from greek Pakhus = thick and Sylvia from Silva, a forest, perhaps in reference the members of this new genus’ preference for thick vegetation/forest?

*Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus, genus changes and specie is slightly modified = Pachysylvia decurtata

*Tawny-crowned greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps genus changes to Tunchiornis ochraceiceps.

*Plain wren – Cantorchilus modestus — Splits in 3: 1-Cantorchilus modestus with a new English name: Cabanis’s wren, in CR found in the NW of the country. 2- Cantorchilus zeledoni named canebrake wren, Endemic, along Caribbean coast from South East Nicaragua to extreme Northwest Panama (western Bocas del Toro) 3- Cantorchilus elutus = Isthmian wren. Found From Quepos south into Panama, Endemic.

*Basileuterus melanotis – Costa Rican warbler. Split from B. tristriatus due to genetics and vocalization differences. Endemic, from Tilaran cordillera to western Panama.


Other changes on this AUK article include new subfamilies for Scolopacidae and also for Thraupidae. Some splits on Oceanodroma spp , Some genus changed on Rallidae such as Porzana flaviventer changing to a new genus Hapalocrex flaviventer (Yellow breasted crake). And some Procellariidae genus changed from Puffinus to Ardena, see AUK article for details, page 551.


Enjoy this type of “birding” it might get you an “armchair tick!”







Birding the south Caribbean; lowland and foothills. Part 1

As is well known, Costa Rica offers not only a great diversity of habitats, each one offering interesting diversity of bird species, many of which are endemic to specific regions, but it also offer easy access to those sites, this making the country attractive to the visitor wishing to see our tropical beauties. The main regions visited by the average birder traveling with an itinerary are the Pacific lowlands, foothills and middle elevation as well as the NW. Caribbean middle elevation and northern foothills, Talamanca and Dota region among others. Nonetheless some of the less-visited sites, perhaps because it is hard to fit them on an itinerary but can offer quality species are the southern pacific and Coto Brus area, as well as the south Caribbean fotthills and lowlands. This time my wife and I, as part of a leisure trip to the south caribbean took the opportunity to quickly check some birding sites and hope to soon go back and bird there seriously as we were impressed with the sites we birded vaguely and were somewhat just focused on some target species.

Hitoy-cerere biological reserve.

The lowlands around Limón city suffered serious deforestation during the agricultural expansion lived in the region between late 1800s to early 1900s mostly for Banana plantations, now considered the main source of work at this province. However the foothills remained somewhat untouched at some parts since the topography did not favor banana plantations; this is the case of Hitoy-Cerere.


Image from Google maps showing the level of deforestation on the lowlands south of Limón.


Another Google image showing topography at Hitoy-Cerere.

I wanted to check this place even though we did not bird it properly as we had little info about directions, where to stay, schedule, facilities etc etc. This is known (along with Selva Bananito lodge) to be one of the best places to find the rare Great Jacamar and many of the south caribbean specialties. Thanks to recent reports generated in eBird (and special thanks to Patrick O’Donnell for providing some handy information!) I thought to check it out as we planned to spend a few days in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, this thinking it wasn’t that far off the road, but oh gosh I was wrong!

Driving directions: From Puerto Viejo, drive about 25km North towards Penshurt, once at the gas  station bear left and continue on this paved road for about 14km, on your way you will pass the small town of La Guaria/Valle La estrella. Once the pave road ends continue on the gravel road, notice that here where the pave ends you will see the turn to Pandora on the right hand side, crossing the bridge, so continue straight on the main road until you come to a T intersection, here turn left, you might see small signs to the town of Cerere and the Hitoy-cerere reserve, between end of the pavement and that T intersection you will pass a Y junction, then a second Y junction which can confuse you, so just continue until you get to the T intersection that has the signs as suggested. After bearing left continue for about 1km and you will find another T intersection and some railroad crossing (see picture below), turn right, along your way you will find a banana processing plant. After almost 5km you will get to Cerere, at the Y turn left and you will notice how the track gets narrower as you go up the hill, continue for 5 kilometers as the road ends right at the reserve.

the drive along banana plantations

Second T intersection, you would see the railroad crossing the road here, at this point turn right


We spent about 1hr45min from Puerto Viejo, the distance is not that bad but the gravel road is in awful conditions, therefore a 4WD (or at least a high-ground-clearance vehicle) is suggested, specifically a rental car! so you can do it in much shorter period of time. No sales here, so bring all you need. No lodging options so you might be best to stay at Cahuita as it is closer, unless you get camping permissions directly with the Reserve officers. Phone number at the reserve 22065516.

Ranger station


I just so regret I didnt bird this place properly, that because the lack of information or better planning, and the heat/humidity as we got too late to the site can be discouraging, I am so much looking forward to come back, particularly after reading Patrick’s entry on his recent trip there!






Eurasian Collared-dove near Quepos/Manuel Antonio.

Eurasian collared-dove is a common introduced specie to Bahamas and and quickly spreading throughout the USA though FL, as of now, based on eBird maps is pretty much all over NA. This specie was reported on Feb 20th by Jeff Tingle on what is thought to be the first sighting (at least first with photographic proof) on a site called finca 7th, a palm oil plantation quite far to the east of Palmar Sur, this in the south pacific.


Yesterday, Jim Zook was able to photograph an individual near Quepos, on a finca called Roncador, thanks to his report and kind directions we were able to get this dove on the same site, sitting on an electricity post.


Here is the link to the original eBird report, there shows the map to the site.

Eurasian collared-dove

Eurasian collared-dove




Birding Hacienda Baru wildlife reserve.

     Hacienda Baru is located approx 47km south of Quepos/Manuel Antonio, near the beach town of Dominical. This small private reserve and only reserve available nearby to those who are staying at the small beach/surfer heaven of Dominical.

On occasions birders staying in Quepos or Manuel Antonio wonder about birding opportunities at this small reserve. Hacienda Baru is a small reserve with 330 hectares, well maintained trail system extending for about 7km total, all very easy to do and on flat terrain. However, while I am sure the reserve has some great habitats on the northern side of the highway (which I do not know if it is open to the public) those trails available on the main headquarters include secondary forest, pastures, beach vegetation and even teak plantation (the last one being almost useless for bird-watching).


I had been here several times before, but after a couple of years of not visiting I thought to go back and check the site again, it was very hot as it has been lately in our country, it is important to consider we entered at 13:20.  Immediately we climbed up  the bird observation tower and found that a good thing, here we saw some of the species that one is use to see from the ground, it felt so nice to see tropical gnatcatcher, yellow olive flycatcher and others without braking your neck!

Yellow olive flycatcher





























We took the Pizote and Estrangulador trail as both are the most forested trails, basically consisting of small patches of secondary forest with clearings, tall grass and calathea, perfect habitat for wrens which we got black bellied, plain and riverside wrens.

Male black hooded antshrike, a common local endemic

Juvenile male blue crowned manakin


Walk board

at the end of the board walk, this place look great for hawk watching, I am positive king vulture must show up here!


Whimbrel at the beach.



the road back form the beach to the headquarters


In short words: Birding at Baru is ok, but I think the quality of species can be just the same if you bird your hotel grounds if trails are available, come here for the common woodcreepers, common antbirds and wrens, we saw so many gray headed tanagers here at many parts of the trails! expect toucans, common black-hawk, motmots, woodpeckers but that is about it.


The place has a small restaurant with very reasonable prices so you can have lunch after your trip. The fee is$4 per person. Open from 7:00am to 5:50pm

Baru Check list.

Today’s seen list.

Hacienda Baru contact.


Birding Wilson’s Botanical Garden/Las cruses biological station.

Wilsons Botanical Garden is located 300km southeast of the capital of San Jose, in the county of Coto Brus, at an approximate elevation of 1200 meters above sea level. Run by the Organization for tropical studies OTS.

Approximately more than 1000 genera and more than 200 families form part of the unique collection that are part of the Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson’s botanical garden as well as 400 + bird species,  this is well known as one of the best places to find Ruddy foliage-gleaner, a species that has a very limited range in the southeast corner of Costa Rica.

Great for hummingbirds as they keep a lot of stachytarpheta. Male Garden emerald.


Striped-throated hermit

Some days ago my wife and I went to bird the forest at Las Cruces and stayed at the OTS rooms which were very nice, with the benefit of being able to bird the reserve as early as possibly, otherwise those staying else where are limited to The normal operation hours; 7:00am to 5:00pm. Rates: US$65 per person, 3 meals included. Otherwise if visiting for the day an admission fee will be charged at the front desk.


We took the Rio Java trail as it is said were ruddy foliage gleaner has been seen more often, and we got lucky! we walked to the first bridge, approx 200 meters from where you enter the forest and soon got a nice mixed flock, plain antvireo, slaty antwren, brown billed scythebill were highlights, this joined by collared trogon, buff thorated foliage-gleaner, and many others, but just when we thought we had seen them all a ruddy foliage-gleaner  called from the undergrowth, and oh boy it knows how to hide! after trying him for a while we got descent looks.

Orange billed nightingale-thrush Catharus aurantiirostris russatus, one of the 14 sub species known, 2 for CR.

Below a recording I got of it:


Female Plain antvireo.


Scale crested pygmy-tyrant

The trail is really nice, as it is typical of this type of forest, most comes in mixed flocks lead by tawny-crowned greenlet, red-crowned ant-tanager and buff-throated foliage gleaner, due to the habitat the amount of birds seen might be small if compared to the gardens which can produce much bigger lists than the forest trails, this is great for tanagers, hummers, orioles, flycatchers and parrots, be in the look out for crested oropendola as it is said to visit the palms in the afternoon.

Contact information:




Birding Rainmaker park. Quepos – Manuel Antonio.

   If you are birding at Manuel Antonio National Park and have already visited the park itself, El Rey, and Esquipulas but still you would like to birds other surrounding areas you might find a visit to Rainmaker park convenient!
   Rainmaker is in nature park with a well-maintained trail system including little more than a dozen hanging bridges on the canopy of the primary rain-forest, which in my opinion can yield some good looks to species such as trogons, bright-rumped Attila, and others which otherwise you would see their under parts from the forest floor. However, this site will not produce big lists, I will rather think of it as a place for the birder visiting with family or non-birding friends so you can feed two birds with the same seed! I.E enjoy the trails and waterfalls and also get 2 or 3 birds to your list.
The road to Rainmaker, the gravel road is usually in good condition, a sedan-type-vehicle should be able to get you there no problem.
   The trails are relatively steep but all with some nice steps and side railing, thus making it easier, I  don’t suggest to bring telescopes or even a tripod for your camera, not a good idea (yes today I carried mine) when you are in this kind of trails, binoculars are the key here.
   Also, I would invest more time at the hanging bridges trails rather than those near the streams and waterfalls, it is a bit noisy and the water sound wont let you hear the birds, however do look for buff-rumped warbler and fasciated tiger-heron at the river. On the smaller creeks look out for sulphur-rumped flycatcher and riverside wren. And hey! good luck (REAL good luck!) with the pair of crested-owls who typically roost before the first hanging bridges!

Fasciated tiger-heron, unlike the common bare throated T.H. this one favors fast running creeks or rivers instead of canals and lagoons. (  Picture for illustration)


Today we got a nice wood thrush, Sitting quietly in the dark understory of the forest.

 Target species:
Great and little tinamous, Fasciated tiger-heron, King vulture, Gray headed kite, white-crested coquette (at the gardens) trogons, bright rumped attila, red-capped and blue-crowned manakins, yellow-bellied tyrannulet, sulphur rumped flycatcher,tawny-crowned greenlet, buff-rumped warbler, blue-black grosbeak. Scaled antpitta has been seen here in the past!
Suggestions: Park fee is about $20 per person. The administration of this park quite is interesting, while the trails are nicely kept all the time, its hard to speak of operating hours, normally you will see staff at the entrances after 7:30am and will leave about 1:30pm, but the gate does not close so you can leave after that. If you enter and do not see personnel at the trail entrance, you can pay the fee at the house located right next to the gate. You need to sign a waiver.
oh! why it’s called Rainmaker? let this picture taken today Jan 30th explain, this is CR’s summer months!

Birding Manuel Antonio; Esquipulas.

Several times before I had stated that Esquipulas is the best spot for bird-watching in Manuel Antonio. Although the park itself has however some good birds if birded early in the morning, taking the right trails can yield some quality birds. Currently a perch of black and white owls on the waterfall trail, some perches for lesser nighthawks and the current best; common potoo! nesting on the sloth trail! may make your visit to this park enjoyable!

Common potoo, courtesy of Manuel Cabalceta. Manuel Antonio birds

Common potoo, courtesy of Manuel Cabalceta.

Black and white owl, by Michael Araya

On the other hand other good birds easily seen here at MA NP are black bellied wren, riverside wren, long billed gnatwren, fiery billed aracary. Currently slaty-tailed trogon and black-throated trogon had been actively calling from the waterfall trail  and many others.

Long billed gnatwren. Foto taken in Puriscal, for illustration purposes.

   The elevated boardwalk on the sloth trail is quite good for black bellied wren, also for long billed gnatwren and blue crowned manakin.


But, I am not going to lie at you! the park itself is busy and could produce a small list if compared with other great parks such as Carara, great for general wildlife though, such as sloths, monkeys, frogs, snakes etc, a great option for the birder visiting this area with family or non-birding friends, if that is your case then Esquipulas is the place to go for birds, away from the crowds!

Thanks to it’s location on the foothills of the mountains near Manuel Antonio/Quepos region, this is the best site for birding, often including species not expected for the locality such as rufous-breasted wren, montezuma and chestnut headed oropendolas. A good morning here should produce any where between 60 species to 100 species, depending on the weather conditions as well as fruiting/flowering trees and of course! how good your eyes are to spot and ID those tropical beauties!

The road at Esquipulas

Chestnut headed oropendola



the very common roadside hawk.

Esquipulas is home to common species and various endemics but also to some highlights for many visiting Costa Rica such as white crested-coquette, turquoise cotinga, and great for raptors such as king vulture, white hawks, barred hawk and others.

This beautiful male turquoise cotinga was seen on my last birding tour to Esquipulas with Jennifer Timmer, not 1 but a pair!

This beautiful male turquoise cotinga was seen on my last birding tour to Esquipulas with Jennifer Timmer, not 1 but a pair!


Follow this link to eBird for the list of the birds reported for Esquipulas or contact me for a checklist I have made which contains all the sightings reported here since the last 9 years

I hope to post about other small spots where you can get some good birds if you are bird-watching in Quepos, stay tuned!


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