Like bird watching, enjoy the unique species that you will find near the Arenal volcano or near la fortuna de san carlos
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During the wet season – which typically lasts from July to November – the banks of the Río Frío overflow. During this time, the reserve becomes a shallow lake and acts as a wintering site for migrant American birds. During the dry season – which runs from December until April – the water level steadily falls, until all that is left is the Río Frío’s main channel.
Some birds, like the Olivaceous Cormorant, make their nests in the reserve and stick around all year. Most birds, however, make their appearance during the dry season. These include the Glossy Ibis, Black-necked Stilt, Anhinga, American Widgeon, Northern Shoveler, Wood Stork, White Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Snail Kite, Green Backed Heron, and Blue-winged Teal. What’s more, Caño Negro is one of the best places to see the Nicaraguan Grackle, whose only Costa Rican habitat is within Caño Negro, or the Jabirus, which is the largest bird in Central America and extremely endangered.
Although Costa Rica is a small country, it is in the bird-rich neotropical region and has a huge number of species for its area. 894 bird species have been recorded in the country (including Cocos Island), more than in all of the United States and Canada combined. Of those species, eight are endemic (five mainland species and three species found only on Cocos Island) and 19 are globally threatened. The Official List of the Asociación Ornitológica de Costa Rica contains 857 species.
Over an area of 51,100 km2, an area smaller than West Virginia, this is the greatest density of bird species of any continental American country. About 600 species are resident, with most of the other regular visitors being winter migrants from North America. Costa Rica’s geological formation played a large role in the diversification of avian species. North America and South America were initially separate continents, but millions of years of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions eventually fused the two continents together. When this happened, species from the north and south poured into the land bridge that became Central America. Birds like the hummingbird came from the south, while birds like the jay came from the north. Part of the diversity stems from the wide array of habitats, which include mangrove swamps along the Pacific coast, the wet Caribbean coastal plain in the northeast, dry northern Pacific lowlands, and multiple mountain chains that form the spine of the country and rise as high as 3,500m.
These mountain chains, the largest of which is the Cordillera de Talamanca, form a geographical barrier that has enabled closely related but different species to develop on either side of the chain. A good example of this speciation is the white-collared manakin of the Caribbean side, which is now distinct from the orange-collared manakin of the Pacific slope. In the past, higher sea levels left the mountains as highlands, and isolation again led to distinct species developing, with over thirty now endemic to the mountains, especially the Talamanca range which extends from southern Costa Rica into Panama. Costa Rica’s national bird is the ubiquitous clay-colored thrush.
- Great tinamou, Tinamus major Highland tinamou, Nothocercus bonapartei Little tinamou, Crypturellus soui Slaty-breasted tinamou, Crypturellus boucardi Thicket tinamou, Crypturellus cinnamomeus
- Least grebe, Tachybaptus dominicus Pied-billed grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Waved albatross, Phoebastria irrorata Outlying islands only Vulnerable (rare)
- Black-capped petrel, Pterodroma hasitata Rare/Accidental Endangered Galapagos petrel, Pterodroma phaeopygia .
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