You like nature, animals and especially birds? It's the perfect time, Costa Rica is a paradise for birds: the country has more than 800 species, which is more than France and the United States combined! So, take your car and drive out to spot the most beautiful species in Costa Rica. Here is our pick of the top 5 most beautiful birds you will easily see in Costa Rica.
1. The Quetzal
The Quetzal belongs to the Trogon family. It is the most majestic bird and one of the most beautiful of the country.
Especially the male with his huge tail made of long feathers. It is its trademark which distinguishes it from all the other birds. His plumage is rather brown, but the reflection of the sun gives him an emerald color recognizable between thousands. As it is the case for many birds, the female is more sober with a green and brown plumage.
The Monteverde Nature Reserve or San Gerardo de Dota, located in the cloud forests, are among the best places to observe this rare and elusive species. You'll have a better chance of seeing them if you come to Costa Rica during the mating season which runs from mid-February to May. And it is the best season to go there.
2. The Toucan
In Costa Rica, there are 6 different species of toucan but one is the most beautiful. Famous for its huge colorful beak, the Keel-billed Toucan is sometimes called the Rainbow-billed Toucan or Pico Iris Toucan in Spanish. It is most often found in warm and humid forests, for example on the Caribbean coast, especially in the Tortuguero National Park, but you can also see them in Corcovado or Monteverde. You can definitely see things in this park! It is not for nothing that it is so known and unavoidable in Costa Rica.
They feed mainly on fruit, but sometimes eat lizards, snakes, insects and the eggs of other birds.
When hiking, try not to make too much noise so as not to scare them and manage to see them. You can also opt for guided tours of the national parks. The guides are all sharp-eyed and will be able to show you the toucans but also all the wildlife of the forest like sloths and howler monkeys.
3. The Hummingbird
The smallest bird in the world is easily found in mountainous regions and rainforests. There are 54 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica. Incredible, right? The hummingbird is a fascinating bird, known worldwide for its ability to fly on the spot thanks to its very fast wing beats. But also, and above all: it is the only bird in the world that can fly backwards! This small glittering bird spends most of its time sipping nectar from flowers: hence the interest of being able to fly on the spot.
For your happiness, the Costa Ricans also install cups of sweet water to attract them. It's time to take a picture :).
During the mating season, the males keep a close watch on a patch of flowers and only let the females in to drink the nectar and in hopes of attracting a mate.
4. The Scarlet Macaw
The Scarlet Macaw, for a long time an endangered species, is no longer threatened thanks to a huge conservation effort. It is not uncommon to see them in pairs on trees in the Central and South Pacific. Amazing fact: the Scarlet Macaw is a faithful bird. Once paired, it is for life. How romantic! If you're in the Jacó area, go to the terrace of the Hotel Villa Caletas, which overlooks the forest, where you might be lucky enough to see some thanks to the 180° view. The landscape here is sublime!
Another place where you can observe them? The National Park of Carara. You can stop there on your way back to San José before going home. Impossible to miss them, so much their cry is strong!
Our Tip: Visit the Macaw Recovery Refuge (Note that it is only open for tours from 4:00-5:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday). Then head to Coyote and stop at the village of Islita. Here, in the tree in the main square of this charming village with colorful houses, you can observe a large family of Red Macaws in the wild.
5. The Motmot
There are six species of motmots in Costa Rica, but the blue-crowned motmot is probably the most beautiful and recognizable. Indeed, of an iridescent blue color, it has at the end of its tail two long feathers at the end. This bird nests inside holes in river beds or on the side of roads. You will easily see it in the central valley and on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.
As you know, Costa Rica is known for preserving and saving animals, and it is a pleasure to see them in the wild. Spotting as many as possible can even become a game with your children. It is true that the majority of the birds are visible in the forests where they like to shelter. You will see less of them near the beautiful beaches of the country.