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Birding Costa Rica on Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano National Park is one of the most frequently visited national parks in Costa Rica. This first national park was established so Ticos and tourists could walk right up to the edge of an active volcano’s crater! As worrisome as that sounds, the volcano seems to mostly let off steam and if any change in gases is perceived, the park is evacuated and closed. That has rarely happened, though, and Poas receives thousands of visitors a year.

This national park is just a short hour’s drive from the San Jose area and is also a great place to see a good variety of highland species. The walk to the crater is good for Fiery-throated and Volcano Hummingbirds, Yellow-thighed Finch, Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, and some other bird species but the best birding is actually found in the high elevation rain forests on the road in to the park.

A Fiery-throated Hummingbird shows its colors. This high elevation hummingbird only occurs in Costa Rica and western Panama.
Sooty-capped Bush Tanagers are common birds of high elevation habitats.

Any number of high elevation specialties can occur along that road including:

A male Golden-browed Chlorophonia from the Poas area.
The Large-footed Finch forages in the leaf litter of wet highland forests.
The Wilson’s Warbler is one of the most common highland species during the winter months.
The beautiful Collared Redstart is often seen on the trails at Poas.
Black Guans are regular in the forests of Poas.
Although the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal isn’t a common species on Poas, it does occur and is seen now and then.

Watch for these and other birds while visiting Poas National Park in Costa Rica. All of these bird species are found on our birding app for Costa Rica. Identify and learn about them with the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app.

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