Top 10 Birds To See In Costa Rica

With a wide variety of tropical birds, Costa Rica happens to be a paradise for bird watchers. We have gathered ten of them for you to watch on your next Costa Rica Trip. Read on!

1. Toucans

Toucan at Whipsnade Zoo

The large curved beaks and small bodies of Toucans gave them a distinct look. Costa Rica boasts six types of Toucans. They live in small groups of five to seven members. One can spot Toucans easily in a rainforest. The best places to see them are Puerto Viejo, Manuel Antonio, Tortuguero, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Uvita, Jaco, Bijagua, Sarapiqui, and Osa Peninsula.

2. Resplendent Quetzals

Male Resplendent Quetzal” by ryanacandee is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Visitors often call the Resplendent Quetzal the most beautiful bird in Costa Rica. Many ancient civilizations thought they created the earth and water and considered them sacred. The national parks in Costa Rica are the best spots to watch them.  They love to dwell in high-altitude forests. You can see them in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Los Quetzales National Park is also a great destination to watch them.

3. Hummingbirds

File:Scaly-breasted Hummingbird – Sarapiqui – Costa Rica S4E0291 (26084747394).jpg” by Francesco Veronesi from Italy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Costa Rica is home to many varieties of hummingbirds.  When you look for plants and flowers near water, you might find them feeding on the nectar. These beautiful birds have fluorescent feathers of blue, green, and purple colors. Birdwatchers can spot them in La Fortuna and Monteverde. The Selvatura Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest boasts a dedicated hummingbird garden with fourteen varieties.

4. Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaws” by Bohemianism is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Scarlet Macaws are native to Costa Rica. They boast bright rainbow feathers that give them a stand-out look. They are also one of the most beautiful Costa Rican parrots. As their bright feathers do not blend with the natural environment, one can spot them easily. Visitors can find them on the Central Pacific Coast, especially in the Carara National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Pal Verde National Park. One can also spot them in the Corcovado National Park, Jaco, and the Osa Peninsula.

5. Blue-crowned Motmot

Blue-crowned Motmot” by Andy Morffew is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Blue-crowned motmot swings their tails like a clock pendulum.  It is also known as a clock bird. Among all motmot species in Costa Rica, they are the most common. These birds are famous for their blue and green plumage with black eye masks and bright blue crowns. One can find them in the central valley on the Pacific coast including Carara National Park, Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Santa Rosa National Park.

6. Bay-headed Tanager

Bay-headed Tanager (Tangara gyrola)” by Dominic Sherony is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

They have a distinct look with their red heads, green wings, and blue underbelly. You can find them nesting near or on buildings. You can also find them on the slopes of the southern Pacific and in the Caribbean foothills.

7. King Vultures

King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa” by brian.gratwicke is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

King Vulture or Sarcoramphus papa is a magnificent bird of Costa Rica.  Bird watchers come to Costa Rica to watch them for their impressive large size and incredible colors. Their large wings are patterned black & white and their heads have a colorful combination of red, orange, purple, and yellow. But they discretely perch on trees keeping their head down and pushing forward. They live alone or in small groups in the tropical lowlands. The best places to find them in Costa Rica are Boca Tapada, the Maquenque Mixed Reserve, and also in Tortuguero National Park.

8. Rufous-Naped Wren (Rufous-Breasted Wren)

Rufous-naped Wren

Rufous-Naped Wrens almost go up to seven inches in length. The feather of their upper body is brown and streaked with black and white. They have black-and-grayish-white wings. The feathers of the underpart are white. You can find these chatty birds on the Costa Rican Pacific coast in woodlands and forests. Visitors can also find them skulking in tangles of vines in the Carara National Park.

9. Great Green Macaws

Great Green Macaw RWD” by DickDaniels ( is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Green Macaws are also native to Costa Rica. Averaging about 35 inches long, they happened to be the largest parrot species. Brilliant green feathers cover their head, back, underbelly and wings. Green Macaws squawk very loudly and one can hear them coming before seeing the bird. They love to eat almonds and nest around almond trees. You can find these birds in the lowlands of the Costa Rican Caribbean side and the Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge.

10. Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker Briones Regional Park, CA

One can feel their presence by hearing the loud tap-tap sounds coming from the treetops. These birds have right red caps. Their black heads have red caps with white masking.  They have black beaks. You can find these social birds living in small groups in the Costa Rican highland areas. They love to live in oak and evergreen forests mixed with oak trees.

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