Costa Rica lies within the bird-rich neotropical regions of our world, and it house a great number of bird species. The country has 915 species of recorded birds, more than those in both Canada and the United States. There are eight endemic species of birds in Cost Rica while 19 species are threatened globally. Out of the 915 species of birds recorded in the country, 600 species are resident while most of the species are migratory, especially during winter. The diversification of the avian species in Costa Rica has been facilitated by the geological formation and the wide array of habitat including the mangrove swamp, wet Caribbean, and the dry Pacific lowland. Some of the native birds of Costa Rica are detailed below.
The Blue Dacnis, scientifically known as Dacnis cayana and also known as the Turquoise honeycreeper, is a passerine bird belonging to the Tanager Family. It is widespread in the South American region, and also found in Nicaragua, Trinidad, and Panama. The blue dacnis inhabits forests and woodlands including parks and gardens where it builds its bulky cup nest. The bird grows to 12.7 centimeters long and weighs 13 grams, with the adult male being covered with turquoise blue feathers with black spots around the eyes, throat and back. Its wings and tails are also black. The female are mostly green with a blue head and pale green under parts. The female incubates the eggs with the male feeding it during the incubation period. The blue dacnis feeds on insects and fruits.
Leach's Storm Petrel
The Leach's storm petrel, scientifically called Oceanodroma leucorhoa, is a seabird belonging to the Tubenose Family. It is also referred to as Carrie chick in some areas. Leach's storm petrel measures 18 to 20 centimeters in length with a wingspan of 44 to 48 centimeters. It has an all-black plumage with a forked tail. The Leach's storm petrel is pelagic when it is not in its breeding and breeds mostly in the remote sites making it difficult to be seen from land. It has an average lifespan of 20 years, with its telomeres lengthening with age. It feeds primarily on planktons and lantern fish. The parent birds feed their chicks until they are fully grown and strong to fly.
The Cedar waxwing, scientifically named Bombycilla cedrorum, belongs to the Waxwing Family of passerine birds. It is a medium sized bird measuring between 15 and 18 centimeters long, and weighs around 30 grams. Its body is silky shiny collection of brown, yellow, and gray. The wing feathers have brilliant red droplets that appear similar to wax, with the wings being broad and pointed while the tail can be yellow or orange depending on the diet. Its bill is short and wide. Cedar waxwing prefers trees at the edge of wooden area as its habitat and is common during the fruiting season. It is a nomadic species which moves in winter. Cedar waxwing is also a social bird which feeds in large flock numbering hundreds. It feeds on berries and sugary fruits. During breeding, the male does a “hopping dance” to the female who will hop back if she is interested. They will then pass objects including flower petals back and forth and rub their beaks together. The female lays 5 to 6 eggs and incubates for 11 to 13 days.
Dietary Habits and Threats
Most of the birds in Costa Rica feed on fruits and flowers, with a good number also feeding on insects, worms, fish, and small invertebrates. The birds, on the other hand, disperse fruit seeds and aid in the pollination of flowers. Forest fragmentation and losses of their habitats due to human activities are the major threats to the native birds of Costa Rica.
|Native Birds of Costa Rica||Scientific Name|
|Blue Dacnis||Dacnis cayana|
|Leach's Storm Petrel||Oceanodroma leucorhoa|
|Cedar Waxwing||Bombycilla cedrorum|
|Black-Bellied Whistling Duck||Dendrocygna autumnalis|
|Ocher-Breasted Antpitta||Grallaricula flavirostris|
|Lesson's Motmot||Momotus lessonii|
|Scarlet Macaw||Ara macao|
|Common Potoo||Nyctibius griseus|
|Volcano Hummingbird||Selasphorus flammula|