Text Box: Costa Rica Rare Bird Reports



Paint-billed Crake Family Takes a Stroll in Sarapiquí


28 August 2007: Lance Barnett was stunned to witness two Paint-billed Crakes Neocrex erythrops “crossing a small dirt road at one of our banana dump sites in Sarapaquí near our Gavilan farm. The area has wet dense grass (partially underwater) bordered by one of our forest reserves. The first one crossed the road and my jaw dropped. It had three chicks following it. I grabbed your book to validate and another one crossed with two chicks. Definite bicolored bill and markings of the species. Since they had chicks, I assume they are breeding there.”



Northern Shoveler at Chomes


27 August 2007: Jim Zook and Dennis Rogers found a male Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata in eclipse plumage at Chomes. Jim surmised that it was an oversummering bird.


Also of note during their visit to Chomes were some 20 Wilson’s Phalaropes Phalaropus tricolor and 60 Least Terns Sternula antillarum.



Two Rare Furnariids Turn up at Bajos del Toro


25 August 2007: Lance Barnett and Tom Deligiannis observed a Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus and two Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaners Anabacerthia variegaticeps while enjoying some roadside birding along the road above Bosque de Paz.



Migrants on the Move


21 August 2007: Jim Zook spotted two female/immature Cerulean Warblers Dendroica cerulea in a coffee plantation near his home in Naranjo.


As expected, North American migrants are beginning to show up around the country now. However, on this page I will limit reports to those species that are very uncommon or rare in Costa Rica and the five species that are on the eBird Priority Migrant list:


Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi



Lovely Cotingas Show at Two Sites


18 August 2007: During a morning of birding at Tausito, Ernesto Carman and Herman Venegas saw a total of three male Lovely Cotingas Cotinga amabilis! As if that weren’t enough, they also had Sharpbill Oxyruncus cristatus, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet Phylloscartes superciliaris, and Blue-and-gold Tanager Bangsia arcaei, among many other middle elevation dwellers.


14 August 2007: Marco Fallas and Pedro Bolaños watched a pair of Lovely Cotingas Cotinga amabilis feeding in a fruiting tree by the upper parking area at Arenal Observatory Lodge. This is apparently the same spot where sightings occurred last year.



Slaty Finch Seen at Km 70


05 August 2007: Julio Sánchez had a singing male Slaty Finch Haplospiza rustica near the huge Cipresillo tree Podocarpus oleifolius at Jorge Serrano’s Paraíso del Quetzal, just off km 70 on the PanAmerican Highway south. He also heard two more the birds in the area, but didn’t notice whether there was any seeding bamboo, or not.



Solitary Eagle South of Cahuita


04 August 2007: Hernán Araya was driving from Cahuita towards Puerto Viejo de Limón when he happened to notice a Solitary Eagle Harpyhaliaetus solitarius soaring above the forested ridge to the right of the road.



Good Ground Birds at Arenal


26 July 2007: Leo Chaves reported finding a Violaceous Quail-Dove Geotrygon violacea at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. It was apparently new for the lodge list. Likewise, previously unreported for the lodge property was a Tawny-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus mexicanus.



Slaty Finches Singing at Selvatur


25 July 2007: César Sánchez heard three singing Slaty Finches Haplospiza rustica along the Selvatur walkway, near the Santa Elena Reserve. More precisely, the birds were scattered between bridges two and five, where there is abundant bamboo in seed.



Black-and-white Warbler gets an early start


15 July 2007: Christopher Wood, of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornothology, saw an adult male Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia that was mobbing a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum in the garden of his downtown San José hotel. The warbler was also heard singing.


This is an extremely early record for an NA migrant passerine. Normally, this species doesn’t begin showing up in CR until the middle of August.



Rough-legged Tyrannulet on Cerro de la Muerte


In early July, Paco Madrigal and Erick Castro were birding at the Mirador de Quetzales (km 70 on the PanAmerican Highway south of San José) and found a Rough-legged Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias burmeisteri) that was singing incessantly from about 30 meters up in the canopy. Playback brought the bird in closer for several good looks at this rare flycatcher.



Tropical Parula turns up in Carara


In early July, Paco Madrigal and Erick Castro saw a Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi while birding on the loop trail at Carara NP. I’m not aware of any other sea level records for this species on either side of CR.



American Wigeon makes final stop at Cocos Island


15 June 2007: While visiting Cocos Island, Felipe López observed a male American Wigeon Anas americana at the mouth of the Río Genio in Wafer Bay. He saw the for bird several days and took the accompanying photograph before eventually discovering the headless corpse of the bird on the beach. Felipe surmised that it may have been killed by one of the island’s feral cats, or else died of starvation and was partially consumed by feral rats.


This is apparently the first record of American Wigeon for Cocos Island.



Large-billed Tern returns to Caribbean coast


13 June 2007: Dennis Wille spotted a Large-billed Tern Phaetusa simplex at Boca de Matina, on the canal/river system south of Tortuguero. The only previous record of this species in Costa Rica was a bird that was seen and photographed in Tortuguero in March 2003. So far, I haven’t heard of any further sightings of the current individual.


Dennis also saw two Black Skimmers Rynchops niger in the same area. Given the date, these may perhaps have been migrants from South America.



Red-breasted Blackbirds at Caño Blanco


09 June 2007: Conrad Weston reported seeing six Red-breasted Blackbirds Sturnella militaris in a field about 1.5 km before arriving at Caño Blanco (one of the embarkation points for the boat journey to Tortuguero).



First Nunbird sighting in ten years at Kèköldi


02 June 2007: Daniel Martínez joined Lucas Chaves of the Kèköldi Indigenous Reserve on a hike to Wimb'ta Hill, a peak with primary forest at an elevation of 220 meters. Daniel was interested in checking out this seldom visited part of the reserve to see what birds might be found there. They observed nothing out of the ordinary until they came across a foraging army ant swarm on the return hike. The usual assemblage of antbirds were in attendance, but Daniel heard a different call. Imitating the sound, a White-fronted Nunbird Monasa morphoeus flew in and remained perched above them for about ten minutes. According to Pablo Porras, of the Talamanca Hawk Monitoring Program, there have been no reports of nunbirds in the reserve in the last ten years.



For reports prior to these, please check previous Costa Rica Rare Bird Reports:


May/Apr/Mar 2007

Feb/Jan 2007

Dec/Nov/Oct 2006


For reports prior to those, please check the Gone Birding Newsletter.




Have you seen a rare bird in Costa Rica, or a species in an unexpected locality, or exhibiting odd behavior? If you have any noteworthy sightings, I (and the rest of the birding community) would appreciate hearing about them. Please send reports to Richard Garrigues gonebirdingcr@gmail.com and include pertinent details such as location (as precise as possible), date, time, and observers’ names. If you have digital images, all the better; however, please send images at file sizes of less than 500 kb.


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