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Year-Round Birding at Hacienda Guachipelin

Year-Round Birding at Hacienda Guachipelin

The Guanacaste region where Hacienda Guachipelin is located has more than 600 resident avian species. More than 200 of the local species are migratory birds. Being a migrant myself, I am inspired by these birds who seek comfort in only the best climates. They are the groupies of nature, following her along as she blossoms from north to south and back again. The colorful natives that regularly inhabit this land are just as inspiring. All in all, the diverse bird population brings birdwatching visitors to stay with us no matter the time of year.

The great kiskadee, part of the tyrant flycatcher family, is an agile hunter

Visiting Hacienda Guachipelin during different seasons

There are a variety of natural bird habitats on the vast Hacienda Guachipelin grounds. Here, you will find wetlands, grasslands and a dry forest among the nearly 10 different habitats in this region. The Rio Negro runs through our 3500 acre land. During the rainy fall season, the ground water swells and creates a broad marsh area that attracts many migratory birds. And the ever-present abundance of fruit and nut bearing trees keep our locals happy throughout the year.

The extra water during rainy season can make it harder for people to get around. But taking a horseback ride through the less walkable areas makes it easy to sight the snowy white herons and roseate spoonbills coming to visit.

Traveling by horseback across the beautiful Hacienda Guachipelin grounds is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of this biodiverse region

During the dry season, the foliage shrinks back to reveal an incredible selection of bugs. There are about 10,000 insect species here, more than enough to feed the many bird species.

A few of the bird “residents”

The three-wattled bellbird is a funny little resident with long wattles off his bill. If you are here between March and September, you might hear his piercing call.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds buzz by our many flower bushes than line Hacienda Guachipelin’s central trails. There are around 30 different types of hummingbirds here. You’ll be amazed at the beautiful shades of their feathers, from shiny blues and purples to greens and yellows. Look for their small, cone-shaped nests among the foliage.

A private suite at Hacienda Guachipelin is a perfect hummingbird spotting location

Some of the native locals include parrots, the brown pelican, herons, eagles, cuckoos, owls, blue-throated toucanet and more. If we’re lucky, we may see the curassow, whose population is endangered. This bird is more than three feet tall and glossy black, with dark blue undertones and a bright yellow bill. The female looks more like a pheasant, with black tail feathers accented in white.

The turquoise motmot is one of six species that birdwatchers can find at Hacienda Guachipelin

Trogons are named after how they gnaw their nests from rotted wood. They don’t have strong bills, but they have managed to find a way to build their nests for their families. They are most vocal in spring and summer, and there are at least 10 species that you can spot while visiting Hacienda Guachipelin. Some include the gartered trogon, the black­-headed trogon, the slaty­-ailed trogon, and the orange­-bellied trogon.

A masked trogon perches in full-view near Hacienda Guachipelin’s visitor’s center.

Curious white­-throated magpie­ jays can often be seen visiting tourists for food. These birds are not shy and travel in large groups making lots of noise. They are large birds with a very long tail and curved feathers on the head. These birds like the many plantations for coffee that you will find in our region, including our own newly planted 100 acres of gourmet coffee plants.

Some of the favorite bird sightings at Hacienda Guachipelin

A native star of this region is the keel-billed toucan, whose body is black with a yellow breast and the most colorful bill anywhere. It’s a bright green with splashes of turquoise and orange leading to a tip covered in purple. If you have a good view, you’ll see his scarlet bottom and turquoise talons.

Black mandibled toucan eating Ylang Ylang berries

The resplendent quetzal captures every birder’s attention with its bright green back, deep red belly and prominent feathers. This is definitely one of the areas most unique birds with a very small body and an extremely long tail.

The blue-­crowned motmot is another of the most unique birds in all of Costa Rica. There are six species of motmot that call Costa Rica home as well but the blue­-crowned motmot stands out for its uniquely colored head, green body and a long tail. It can be observed up to 13 ft from the ground. Both the blue-crowned motmot and the resplendent quetzal can be found at Hacienda Guachipelin.

Bird list

Bird list for Hacienda Guachipelin and Rincon de la Vieja National Park
TINAMIDAE
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Thicket Tinamou Crypturellus cinnamomeus
Slaty-breasted Tinamou Crypturellus boucardi
CRACIDAE
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens
ODONTOPHORIDAE
Crested Bobwhite Colinus cristatus
PHALACROCORACIDAE
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
ARDEIDAE
Great Egret Ardea alba
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
CATHARTIDAE
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
ACCIPITRIDAE
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
FALCONIDAE
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
RALLIDAE
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea
Uniform Crake Amaurolimnas concolor
BURHINIDAE
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
COLUMBIDAE
Red-billed Pigeon Patagioenas flavirostris
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassini
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
PSITTACIDAE
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
CUCULIDAE
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor
Lesser Ground-Cuckoo Morococcyx erythropygius
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
STRIGIDAE
Pacific Screech-Owl Megascops cooperi
CAPRIMULGIDAE
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
NYCTIBIIDAE
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
Northern Potoo Nyctibius jamaicensis
APODIDAE
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
TROCHILIDAE
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis
Canivet’s Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii
Blue-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia cyanura
Steely-vented Hummingbird Amazilia saucerrottei
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila
TROGONIDAE
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans
Orange-bellied Trogon Trogon aurantiiventris
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
MOMOTIDAE
Tody Motmot Hylomanes momotula
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
RAMPHASTIDAE
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Yellow-eared Toucanet Selenidera spectabilis
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
PICIDAE
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
FURNARIIDAE
Ruddy Woodcreeper Dendrocincla homochroa
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Ivory-billed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus flavigaster
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
THAMNOPHILIDAE
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Spotted Antbird Hylophylax naevioides
TYRANNIDAE
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma imberbe
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus sylvia
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Nutting’s Flycatcher Myiarchus nuttingi
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Genera INCERTAE SEDIS
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
COTINGIDAE
Three-wattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculatus
PIPRIDAE
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis
VIREONIDAE
Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus
CORVIDAE
White-throated Magpie-Jay Calocitta formosa
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
TROGLODYTIDAE
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
Banded Wren Thryothorus pleurostictus
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Nightingale Wren Microcerculus philomela
SYLVIIDAE
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
TURDIDAE
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus mexicanus
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
PARULIDAE
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis poliocephala
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
THRAUPIDAE
Gray-headed Tanager Eucometis penicillata
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager Habia rubica
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
EMBERIZIDAE
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
Stripe-headed Sparrow Aimophila ruficauda
Botteri’s Sparrow Aimophila botterii
Rusty Sparrow Aimophila rufescens
CARDINALIDAE
Blue Grosbeak Passerina caerulea
ICTERIDAE
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
FRINGILLIDAE
Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
Empidonax spp