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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.

Birds at Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is slowly becoming a renowned birdwatching destination. Hacienda Guachipelin has sponsored several bird counts. This year’s event will most likely take place in October.

Birds are now becoming another reason to visit the area.

Cesar Guell
Cesar Guell

Here we will share a  bird list provided the naturalist guide Cesar Güell. Cesar is a professional guide graduated from a Costarrican official training program for naturalist guides. What Cesar most enjoys is to share his knowledge with visitors. He really enjoys a day full of nature in the park or in the surroundings. The bird count in the area exceeds the 200 mark, but Cesar in his past year has registered 65 birds in his own personal list. Come to Rincon de la Vieja and experience the wildlife of Costa Rica with Cesar.

  1. Black Vulture – Zopilote negro – Coragyps atratus
  2. Turkey Vulture – Zopilote Cabeza roja – Cathartes aura
  3. Broad-winged hawk – Gavilan aludo – Buteo platypterus
  4. Crested Caracara – Carga huesos – Caracara cheriway
  5. Red billed pigeon – paloma piquiroja – Patagiones cayensis
  6. Inca dove – paloma inca – Colombina inca
  7. White fronted parrot – lora de frente blanca – Amazona albifrons
  8. Crested owl Buho crestado Lophostrix cristata
  9. Collared trogon – trogon collagero – Trogon collaris
  10. Keel billed Toucan – Rhamphastos sulfuratus
  11. Hoffmanns woodpecker Mellanerpes hoffmannii
  12. Masked tityra – Tityra semifaciata
  13. Red crowned ant tanager – Habia rubica
  14. Rufous naped wren – campylorhynchus rufinuca
  15. Tropical kingbird – Tyranus melancholicus
  16. Long tailed manakin – chiroxiphia linearis
  17. Yellow green vireo – Vireo flavoviridis
  18. White throated magpie jay – Calocitta Formosa
  19. White lored gnatcatcher Palioptila plumbea
  20. Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus
  21. Red crowned ant tanager Habia rubra
  22. Summer tanager Piranga rubra
  23. Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula.
  24. Northern Barred – woodcreeper – Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae.
  25. Olivaceous woodcreeper – Sittasomus griseicapillus
  26. Long-tailed Woodcreeper – Glyphorhynchus spirurus
  27. Dusky Antbird – Cercomacra tyrannina
  28. Great Curassow – Crax rubra
  29. Crested Guan – Penelope purpuracens
  30. Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
  31. White hawk – Leucopterni albicolis
  32. Roadside Hawk – Buteo magnirostris
  33. Short-tailed Hawk – Buteo brachyurus
  34. Swainsons hawk – Buteo swainsoni
  35. Gray-necked wood rail – Aramides cajanea
  36. Leser Ground cukoo – Morococcyx erythropygus
  37. Spectacled owl – Pulsatrix perpicillata
  38. Pacific screech owl – Megascops cooperi
  39. Common pauraque – Nyctidromus albicollis
  40. White collared Swift – Streptoprocne zonaris
  41. Ruby throated hummingbird – Amazilia boucardi
  42. Long billed starthroat – Heliomaster longirostris
  43. Turquoise browed Motmot – Eumomota superciliosa
  44. Yellow- eared toucanet- Selenidera spectabilis
  45. Groove billed Ani – Crotophaga sulcirostris
  46. Squierrel Cuckoo – Piaya cayana
  47. Lineated Woodpecker – Dryocopus lineatus
  48. Pale billed Woodpecker – Campephilus guatemalensis
  49. Dusky Antbird – Cercomacra tyrannina
  50. Bare crowned Antbird – Gymnocichla nudiceps
  51. Piratic Flycatcher – Legatus leucophaius
  52. Olive sided Flycatcher – Contopus cooperi
  53. Black phobe – Sayornis nigricans
  54. Great Kiskadee – Pitangus sulphuratus
  55. Boat billed Flycatcher – Megarhynchus pitangua
  56. Social Flycatcher – Myozetetes similis
  57. Tropical Kingbird – Tyrannus melancholicus
  58. Philadelphia Vireo – Vireo philadelphicus
  59. Tropical Gnatcatcher – Polioptila plumblea
  60. Kentucky Warbler – Oporornis formosus
  61. Red crowned ant Tanager – Habia rubica
  62. Red legged honeycreeper – Cyanerpes cyaneus
  63. Bronzed Cowbird – Molothrus aeneus
  64. Montezuma Oropendola – Psarocolius Montezuma
  65. King Vulture – Sarcoramphus papa


Tapir in Rincon de la Vieja NP
Tapir in Rincon de la Vieja NP by Cesar Guell