Why Southern Costa Rica Is The Ultimate Bird Watching Destination

 

Attention all bird enthusiasts: welcome to your paradise. Costa Rica, in short, is a bird haven. 1 out of every 10 birds species in this world makes its home in this itty-bitty country–making Costa Rica more dense than your grandma’s fridge during the holidays.

 

Birds Southern Costa Rica Bird Watching
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Why Southern Costa Rica Is The Ultimate Bird Watching Destination

 

Costa Rica is just slightly larger than 50,000 sq. km., yet crammed into every nook and cranny is 10% of the entire global population of bird species. With about 10,000 known species of birds, that means there’s roughly 50 different bird species in every sq. km! While the avid bird lovers out there probably just sat up straight and inched closer to their computer screens, the rest of you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal?”

 

For centuries, humanity has admired these species so foundational to the ecosystem. Birds represent beauty and inspiration. We got our notion to fly from them, and many of our favorite childhood movies have these little graceful creatures. We love to tattoo drawings of them on ourself to represent freedom, and we’ve always taught our kids to take after them by being the “early bird that gets the worm.”

 

From the hummingbird to the Ostrich, birds are diverse and intriguing. Spotting unique species in the wild is a rewarding experience that will both inspire and amaze you.

 
 

Amazing Bird Species Found In Costa Rica

 

Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher
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Photo via Chris Jimenez

 

Although Costa Rica is home to nearly 1,000 different bird species, a rare 6 species are endemic to Costa Rica, meaning they are native to this country and found nowhere else in the world. Another 66 birds are endemic to the region between the highlands and lowlands of Costa Rica, and Western Panama, and another 25 birds are endemic to the region extending between Honduras and Panama. Costa Rica is truly a hotspot for unique bird species, with nearly 100 different bird species that can only be found in this area of the world.

 
 

What Types Birds Can Be Seen In This Area

 

Southern Costa Rica is home to hundreds of birds. Here are 5 remarkable birds to give you a sneak preview of what can be seen here:

 

1. Moscovy Duck

 

Moscovy Drake
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Photo via Marilyn Brinker

 

The Moscovy Duck, not to be mistaken as a cow, has large black spots splattered on its pure white feathers. It’s an odd-looking bird, with a silly personality to match. Don’t be too quick to discount him, though. These helpful creatures do you a huge favor by feasting on pesky little mosquitos.

 
 

2. Coppery-headed Emerald

 

Coppery-headed Emerald
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Photo via Peter Wilton

 

The Coppery-headed Emerald is endemic to Costa Rica, meaning it can’t be found anywhere else in the world. This tiny bird has a spectacular emerald color that looks almost iridescent.

 
 

3. The Scarlet Macaw

 

I'd like you to meet the mrs.
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Photo via Alan Wolf

 

The Scarlet Macaw is a favorite among many! This large bird has a bright, unmistakable red body most commonly combined with blue and yellow colors on its tail. These amazing creatures live long, happy lives usually between 40 or 50 years, with the exception of those in captivity, who have been known to live ’till the ripe old age of 75.

 
 

4. White-necked Puffbird

 

White-necked Puffbird (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)
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Photo via Rob Batchelder

 

The White-necked Puffbird looks like a baby penguin in disguise. His little body is puffed up (true to its name) with white and black feathers.

 
 

5. Eye-ringed Flatbill

 

Eye-ringed Flatbill (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris)
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Photo via Dominic Sherony

 

This curious bird looks like it’s had one too many cups of coffee. Its olive-colored body is too small for it’s bulging black eyes encircled by a thick white ring.

 
 

Where To Go For Awesome Bird Watching

 

Finding Playa Uvita
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Photo viaThomas Milne

There are tons of great places to go bird watching in Southern Costa Rica. Among the top spots to witness incredible birds stands Hotel Cristal Ballena. This 4-star boutique hotel located in Uvita boast remarkable oceanfront views and is conveniently located by the Marino Ballena National Park and Whale’s Tail Beach. Uvita is also a prime spot for whale watching, as humpback whales migrate through these waters twice each year, from December to April, and June to November

 
 

Hotel Cristal Ballena

 

Untitled
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Photo via John R. Hutchinson, Jr.

Hotel Cristal Ballena is one of 9 hotels accepted to be part of the Group Of Best Hotels In Costa Rica For Bird Watching. In order to be in this group, the hotel must be up-to-par with standards of highest quality, such as: having a private reserve for conservation of original habitats, having a certificate of sustainability, having the most qualified and intelligent birdwatching guides, being part of a Biological Corridor, and being located near a National Park. This ensures utmost integrity and quality experiences with wildlife.

 
 

Useful Info About The Bird Watching Tour

 

Currently Playing in Costa Rica
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Photo via Tyler Ingram

In addition, to the birds you will likely see around the property, the Cristal Ballena Hotel offers an incredible Bird Watching Tour to enhance your experience with these incredible animals. You will be lead by a specialized guide that can educate you on each bird species, as well as, help you spot the hard-to-see birds.

 

The walking tour is two hours long and takes you through the best areas to spot birds on Cristal Ballena’s 30-acre property. It cost $45 per person, and there must be at least two people participating in the tour. Tour participants often witness at least 30 different species of birds during the tour’s length, but a wopping 200 species have been recorded as seen in this area, so always keep your eyes peeled. 🙂

 

After finishing the tour at the Marino Ballena National Park, you will be picked up and driven back to the hotel for a buffet breakfast. Your guide will provide you with a complete list of birds witnessed on the journey so you can always remember the experience, and learn more about the birds you saw.

 

White-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta formosa)
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Birds are some of the most intriguing and beautiful animals on the face of this Earth. If you’re a bird enthusiast, Costa Rica will quickly become one of your favorite places; and if you’re new to birdwatching, there’s no place quite like Costa Rica that will develop a love for these creatures within you.

 

Have you gone on a bird watching tour in Costa Rica? What types of birds did you see? What types of birds do you wish you saw?

 
 

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