Trip report: Costa Rica; The Introtour (Feb. 2016) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Cameron Cox. This was a set departure tour.

For birders and lovers of wildlife Costa Rica offers an experience that is hard to top. While there are plenty of birds, Costa Rica offers an experience that is more than just typical birding experience; it offers phenomenal views of species that are often tough, like Great Curassow and several species of tinamou, it’s the opportunity to consistently see rarely observed tropical mammals like sloths and other wildlife like the impressive basilisk lizards, better known as Jesus Christ lizards that run across the surface of the water when startled, it offers incredible sights around every corner be it bird, bug, or scenic view. Costa Rica boasts both quality and quantity! Costa Rica’s quality was apparent on this trip over and over but particularly when a male Black-crested Coquette repeatedly hovering right in front of us, in the stunning looks at both Great Green and Scarlet Macaws we enjoyed, in watching a Northern Tamandua, an arboreal anteater, tear into a termite mound, in the surprise of a Streak-chested Antpitta hopping into the trail right in front of us, in exceptional view after exceptional view of stunning Resplendent Quetzals, and in the surprise Three-wattled Bellbird at the 11th hour of the trip. On the quantity front we enjoyed 29 species of hummingbirds, 13 species of doves, 8 species of trogons, 12 species of parrots, 15 species of wrens, and 21 species of tanagers. Clearly Costa Rica is overflowing with wildlife, but what really sets Costa Rica apart is the ease with which you can encounter it. The country has an excellent network of National Parks, numerous private reserves, well maintained trails, and very little hunting pressure. This means birds and other animals are numerous, easy to get to, and often easy to see with less of the wariness common in tropical regions. This gorgeous and diverse country well deserves its reputation as a birding paradise. Our trip explored Caribbean influenced lowlands, lush, cool mountain valleys, humid forests on the edge of the Pacific, and dripping cloud forests that hosted numerous hummingbirds. The combination of the hospitality, beauty, and incredible birdlife of Costa Rica made our trip a pleasure from beginning till end.

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