Costa Rica might be a small country but it’s filled with birds and has several distinct biogeographical regions. This ups the number of bird species found in the country and explains why you can see a Resplendent Quetzal, Violet Sabrewing, and Ruddy Treerunner on one day, and a White-throated Magpie Jay, Black-headed Trogon, and Rufous-naped Wren on the following day.
Costa Rica has four main bioregions (along with a few smaller biogeographical regions or areas within those four) and each has a distinct set of birds. When you visit the Dota valley, get ready for birding in the cool, lush highlands. Head down to Perez Zeledon and on to Dominical, and the highlands are traded for the humid southern Pacific region. If your trip to Costa Rica then takes you north, when you drive across the Tarcoles River, you enter into the tropical dry forest zone. Make your way to the other side of the mountains and you will be birding on the Caribbean slope.
To make it easier to find the birds in a specific bioregion, use our app to search by region. For example, if you birding the Sarapiqui area:
1. Touch “filter bird list”
2. Touch “region”
3. Scroll to “Caribbean”
4. Touch “Done” and then “Back” and the app will only show the species that occur on the Caribbean slope (well over 300).
If you happen to visit the high elevation forests of Poas the next day, just reset the filter and, search for “highlands”, and the app will only show birds likely to be seen in the mountains.
Download the lite version of the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app for free to check out this and other quick search options.