Bird Watching in Costa Rica

Bird Watching in Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a country of which almost half is rainforest, is a true birding paradise. More than 900 species of birds can be found here. One of the most beautiful and special birds that has its habitat in Costa Rica, however, is the Resplendent Quetzal. A good reason to go bird watching in Costa Rica!

The most beautiful bird in the world

The Quetzal has been called the most beautiful bird in the world by many bird lovers. Unfortunately, the Quetzal is endangered and extremely rare. This is mainly due to the loss of habitat due to deforestation. In addition, Quetzales were often killed in earlier times because of the males’ beautiful long tail feathers. These tail feathers the male develops only during the breeding season, and can grow about 80-100 cm long. With this, the Quetzal is also called the king of the cloud forest.

The Quetzal lives only in the cloud forests of Central and South America which are located at high altitudes about 1,500 – 3,000 meters above sea level. In Costa Rica, these are the cloud forests of Monte Verde, and the cloud forest near San Gerardo de Dota. The latter is also next to the Parque Nacional de Quetzales, the name says it all!
Bird watching in Costa Rica

Local Bird Guide

When visiting the cloud forests of Costa Rica, at least try to go out with a guía local. They know exactly where to find the breeding sites of the Quetzales. By the way, you do have to go early because the Quetzal are mainly active in the early morning.

Therefore we were ready at 6:30 a.m. to go out with a guide. Our guide’s name was Michael, spoke good English and was able to tell us a lot about the Quetzales’ way of life, what they eat, etc. And also about the many other birds that can be spotted there.

Of course, we were not the only early birds at this spot. A whole row of enthusiasts had gathered, all with guides. And after some waiting, our patience was rewarded! The guides recognize the specific call of the bird and know they are nearby. And suddenly you see it! Very special to see this beautiful bird suddenly fly by. Both male and female are feeding the young and therefore fly back and forth.


The Quetzal feeds mainly on avocados, which they swallow whole. They defecate the seeds, thus helping to propagate the avocado trees. Nature is well constituted, and without human interference, these and many other birds would not be threatened with extinction. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to protect the specific habitat of these and many other birds. And also that local people learn how to live with and in nature, without causing harm. Local NGOs like Adopt Rainforest play an important role in this.

Other Bird Species

In addition to the Quetzal, there are numerous other special, sometimes rare, birds to spot in Costa Rica. Think of the toucan, many species of hummingbirds, various tanagers, flycatchers and, of course, the beautiful macaw. All can be found abundantly in the rainforests of Costa Rica, a true bird paradise.

Would you like to contribute to the protection of this beautiful bird paradise?
Then adopt a piece of rainforest here, and help protect nature!

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