USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics Wildlife & Fish

Checklist to the Birds of Tortuguero, Costa Rica

This list was compiled by William P. Widdowson and Margaret J. Widdowson
Humboldt Bay Bird Observatory, 6900 Lanphere Road, Arcata, California 95521 USA, December 2000

Tortuguero lies on the northeastern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, approximately 50 miles north of the principal Port of Limón. The climate of Tortuguero is hot, humid and rainy year-round, with daily highs around 90º F (32º C). The average annual rainfall is over five meters, making it one of the rainiest places in the country.

Tortuguero National Park (47,000 acres) and the surrounding area is truly a birder's paradise. The beautiful swamp forests, freshwater sloughs, beach, river mouth and primary and secondary forest habitats support over 300 resident and migrant bird species. Bird enthusiasts visiting Tortuguero can expect to see most of these bird species within a relatively small area from a variety of comfortable lodging options.

There are no automobiles in Tortuguero, instead visitors can travel to most of their birding destinations by boat on the many canals that are interlaced throughout the area. Time spent birding on trails in the National Park itself can be the most rewarding, with opportunities to see flocks of mixed species of resident birds foraging in the dense undergrowth. Large numbers of migrant species call Tortuguero home during the northern winter, and provide excellent opportunities for biologists to study these annual movements. With the active cooperation of the host, the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), various collaborators of Partners in Flight and the U.S. Forest Service's Redwood Sciences Laboratory (RSL) have been monitoring resident and migrant birds since 1994 and continue to do so each year at monitoring stations established in and around Tortuguero. Through monitoring of this type, we can gain a greater understanding of their migration, behavior and breeding biology. Contact CCC or RSL for further information on the bird monitoring program, and volunteer and participation opportunities.

This Field Checklist provides birders with a summary of the species in the Tortuguero area, an idea of their preferred habitat, and their local abundance. The area covered is centered on the village of Tortuguero, and includes all waterways and trails easily accessible on a reasonable day trip. Names and taxonomic order follow the most recent AOU Check-list of North American Birds (1998). There have been many taxonomic revisions since the Stiles and Skutch field guide, still the best guide to the country, was published; we have listed these at the end of the checklist for ease of reference. Spanish names are taken from a list compiled by Richard Garrigues from Stiles and Skutch (1989). The information on status, abundance, and habitat is largely based on the work of the Tortuguero Integrated Bird Monitoring Program, and records from Lewis and Stiles (1980) and Costa Rica Expeditions (1988). Additional records have been provided by visiting birders and local experts. We encourage visitors to submit records of interesting sightings with complete documentation to CCC or RSL for inclusion in future editions of this checklist.

M Migrant - birds breeding in North America and moving south in the northern winter (includes passage migrants and winter residents)
R Resident - birds breeding in Costa Rica, though not necessarily in the Tortuguero area, (includes local and altitudinal migrants)
B Beach and near-shore waters viewable from beach
W Fresh water: canals, lagoons and marshes
F Forest, including swamp forest and terra firme forest
C Clearings - Tortuguero village, tourist lodges, agriculture areas, cattle pastures
A Aerial - includes aerial foragers such as hawks, swifts and swallows
ABUNDANCE (reflect the probability of encountering a species in its preferred habitat in the appropriate season)
C Common - easily seen most days, often in moderate to high numbers
F Fairly Common - should be seen most days, in small numbers
U Uncommon - hard to see, only once or twice a week
R Rare - very hard to see even in appropriate habitat and season
X Casual, vagrant, or few records; unlikely to see
H Hypothetical - undocumented sighting, more information required
? Status uncertain - more information required
Common Name Scientific Name Spanish Name Status Habitat Abundance
Great Tinamou Tinamus major Tinamú Grande R F C
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui Tinamú Chico R F F
Slaty-breasted Tinamou Crypturellus boucardi Tinamú Pizarroso R F U
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus Zambullidor Enano R W R
SULIDAE: Boobies and Gannets
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster Piquero Moreno R B U
Red-footed Booby Sula sula Piquero Patirrojo R B X
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Pelicano Pardo R BW C
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Cormorán Neotropical R W C
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga Pato Aguja o Aninga R W C
FREGATIDAE: Frigatebirds
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens Rabihorcado Magno R B C
ARDEIDAE: Herons and Bitterns
Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis Avetorillo Pantanero R W R
Rufescent Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma lineatum Garza-Tigre de Selva R W R
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum Garza-Tigre Cuellinuda R W C
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Garzón Azulado R W F
Great Egret Ardea alba Garceta Grande R W C
Snowy Egret Egretta thula Garceta Nivosa R W C
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea Garceta Azul R W C
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor Garceta Tricolor R W U
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens Garceta Rojiza R WB X
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Garcilla Bueyera R WC C
Green Heron Butorides virescens Garcilla Verde R W C
Agami Heron Agamia agami Garza Pechicastaña o Agamia R W R
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea Martinete Cabecipinto R WB C
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius Pico-Cuchara o Chocuaco R W F
THRESKIORNITHIDAE: Ibises and Spoonbills
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus Ibis Morito R W X
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis Ibis Verde R F R
Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaja Espatula Rosada R W R
Wood Stork Mycteria americana Cigueñón R W R
CATHARTIDAE: New World Vultures
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Zopilote Negro R A C
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Zopilote Cabecirrojo R A C
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa Zopilote Rey R A U
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata Pato Real R W U
American Wigeon Anas americana Pato Calvo M W X
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors Cerceta Aliazul M W R
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata Pato Cuchara M W R
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis Porrón Menor M WB X
ACCIPITRIDAE: Hawks, Kites, and Eagles
Osprey Pandion haliaetus Aguila Pescadora M BW C
Gray-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis Gavilán Cabecigrís R F U
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus Elanio Tijereta M/R A U
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus Elanio Coliblanco R AC U
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus Gavilán Gorgirrayado R F F
Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis Elanio Colinegro M A R
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea Elanio Plomizo R F R
Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis Gavilán de Ciénega R WA X
Tiny Hawk Accipiter superciliosus Gavilán Enano R F R
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens Gavilán Ranero R F R
Semiplumbeous Hawk Leucopternis semiplumbea Gavilán Dorsiplomizo R F U
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis Gavilán Blanco R F U
Common Black-Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus Gavilán Cangrejero R BFC C
Great Black-Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga Gavilán Negro Mayor R BFC R
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Gavilán Chapulinero R C R
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Gavilán Aludo M FC C
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus Gavilán Colicorto R FC X
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni Gavilán de swainson M A U
Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus Aguilillo Negro R F R
Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus Aguilillo Penachudo R F R
Barred Forest-Falcon Micrastur ruficollis Halcón de Monte Barreteado R F R
Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon Micrastur mirandollei Halcón de Monte Dorsigrís R F R
Collared Forest-Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus Halcón de Monte Collarejo R F R
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans Guaco R FC F
American Kestrel Falco sparverius Cernícalo Americano R C X
Merlin Falco columbarius Esmerejón M ABC R
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis Halcón Cuelliblanco R C F
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Halcón Peregrino M CB U
CRACIDAE: Curassows and Guans
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps Chachalaca Cabecigrís R F R
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens Pava Crestada R F U
Great Curassow Crax rubra Pavón Grande R F U
Black-eared Wood-Quail Odontophorus melanotis Codorniz Orejinegra R F R
White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis Polluela Gargantiblanca R CW C
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea Rascón Cuelligrís R F F
RALLIDAE: Rails and allies
Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica Gallareta Morada R W U
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Gallareta Frentirroja R W U
American Coot Fulica americana Focha Americana R W R
Sungrebe Heliornis fulica Pato Cantil R W F
EURYPYGIDAE: Sunbitterns
Sunbittern Eurypyga helias Garza de Sol R W R
ARAMIDAE: Limpkins
Limpkin Aramus guarauna Carao R W R
CHARADRIIDAE: Lapwings and Plovers
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola Chorlito Gris M B C
Collared Plover Charadrius collaris Chorlitejo Collarejo R B F
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsonia Chorlitejo Picudo M B F
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus Chorlitejo Semipalmado M B C
HAEMATOPODIDAE: Oystercatchers
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus Ostrero Americano R B R
RECURVIROSTRIDAE: Stilts and Avocets
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Cigüeñuela Cuellinegro R WB R
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa Jacana Centroamericana R W C
SCOLOPACIDAE: Sandpipers and allies
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca Patiamarillo Mayor M W R
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes Patiamarillo Menor M W R
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria Andarríos Solitario M C R
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus Pigüilo M B C
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia Andarríos Maculado M WB C
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Zarapito Trinador M B C
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Vuelvepiedras Rojizo M B R
Sanderling Calidris alba Playero Arenero M B C
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla Correlimos Semipalmado M B F
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri Correlimos Occidental M B U
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla Correlimos Menudo M B U
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus Agujeta Común M W R
LARIDAE: Jaegers, Gulls, Terns and Skimmers
Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus Págalo Pomarino M B X
Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus Págalo Parásito M B X
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla Gaviota Reidora M B C
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis Gaviota Piquianillada M B R
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica Charrán Piquinegro M B R
Royal Tern Sterna maxima Pagaza Real M B C
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis Pagaza Puntiamarilla M B R
Common Tern Sterna hirundo Charrán Común M B R
Black Tern Chlidonias niger Charrancito Negro M B C
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus Tiñosa Común R B R
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger Rayador Negro R B X
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis Paloma Colorada R FC F
White-crowned Pigeon Columba leucocephala Paloma Coroniblanca R F X
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris Paloma Piquicorta R F C
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti Tortolita Rojiza R C F
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa Tortolita Azulada R C U
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi Paloma Coliblanca R FC X
Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassini Paloma Pechigris R FC C
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana Paloma-Perdiz Rojiza R F R
PSITTACIDAE: Parakeets, Parrots, and Macaws
Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi Perico Frentirrojo R FC F
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana Perico Azteco R FC F
Great Green Macaw Ara ambigua Lapa Verde R FC F
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao Lapa Roja R FC X
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis Periquito Barbinaranja R FC F
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis Loro Cabecipardo R FC F
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis Loro Coroniblanco R FC C
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis Loro Frentirrojo R FC C
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa Loro Verde R FC C
CUCULIDAE: Cuckoos and Anis
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus Cuclillo Piquinegro M F R
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus Cuclillo Piquigualdo M F X
Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor Cuclillo de Antifaz R FC R
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Cuco Ardilla R CF C
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia Cuclillo Listado/Tres Pesos R C X
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris Garrapatero Piquiestriado R C C
Barn Owl Tyto alba Lechuza ratonera R C X
STRIGIDAE: Typical Owls
Vermiculated Screech-Owl Otus guatemalae Lechucita Vermiculada R F R
Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata Buho Penachudo R F R
Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata Buho de Anteojos (Oropopo) R FC U
Central American Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium griseiceps Mocheulo Enano R F R
Mottled Owl Ciccaba virgata Lechuza Café R FC R
Black-and-white Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata Lechuza Blanco y Negro R F R
CAPRIMULGIDAE: Nighthawks and Allies
Short-tailed Nighthawk Lurocalis semitorquatus Añapero Colicorto R C U
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis Añapero Menor M C F
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor Añapero Zumbón M C C
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis Tapacaminos Común R C C
Chuck-will's-widow Caprimulgus carolinensis Chotacabras de Paso M C X
Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis Nictibio Grande R F F
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus Nictibio Común R F U
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Vencejón Collarejo R A C
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica Vencejo de Paso M A C
Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris Vencejo Lomigrís R AW C
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis Vencejo Tijereta Menor R A X
Great Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila sanctihieronymi Vencejo Tijereta Mayor R A X
TROCHILIDAE: Hummingbirds
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea Ermitaño Bronceado R FC C
Band-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes ruckeri Ermitaño Barbudo R FC F
Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus Ermitaño Colilargo R FC C
Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus Ermitaño Enano R FC C
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus Ala de Sable Violáceo R FC X
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Jacobino Nuquiblanco R F F
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii Manguito Pechiverde R F R
Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica Ninfa Violeta y Verde R F U
Blue-throated Goldentail Hylocharis eliciae Colibrí Colidorado R F U
Blue-chested Hummingbird Amazilia amabilis Amazilia Pechiazul R F U
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Amazilia Rabirrufa R CF C
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Chalybura urochrysia Colibrí Patirrojo R F R
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti Colibrí Picopunzón R F R
Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris Colibrí Piquilargo R F R
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus Trogón Violáceo R F R
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus Trogón Cabeciverde R F U
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena Trogón Coliplomizo R F C
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii Momoto Canelo Mayor R F R
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum Momoto Piquiancho R F R
ALCEDINIDAE: Kingfishers
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata Martín Pescador Collarejo R W C
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon Martín Pescador Norteño R W C
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona Martín Pescador Amazónico R W C
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana Martín Pescador Verde R W C
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda Martín Pescador Vientrirrufo R W F
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea Martín Pescador Enano R W C
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos Buco Collarejo R F U
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis Buco Barbon R F U
White-fronted Nunbird Monasa morphoeus Monja Frentiblanca R FC F
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda Jacamar Rabirrufo R F R
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus Tucancillo Collarejo R FC C
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus Tucán Pico Iris R FC C
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii Tucán de Swainson R FC C
PICIDAE: Woodpeckers
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani Carpintero Carinegro R FC C
Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex Carpintero Alirrufo R F R
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus Carpintero Canelo R F R
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus Carpintero Castaño R F U
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus Carpintero Lineado R F C
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis Carpintero Picoplata R F C
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura Arquitecto Plomizo R F R
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner Philydor rufus Trepamusgo Rojizo R F R
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus Hojarrasquero Gorgianteado R F R
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus Xenops Común R F R
Scaly-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus guatemalensis Tirahojas Barbiescamado R F R
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa Trepador Pardo R F F
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus Trepadorcito Aceitunado R F X
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus Trepadorcito Pico de Cuña R F U
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae Trepador Barreteado R F C
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans Trepador Gorgianteado R F U
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus Trepador Pinto R F U
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii Trepador Cabecirrayado R F C
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus Batará Lineado R F R
Great Antshrike Taraba major Batará Grande R FC F
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus Batará Barreteado R CF U
Western Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha Batará Plomizo R F C
Streak-crowned Antvireo Dysithamnus striaticeps Batarito Pechirrayado R F R
Checker-throated Antwren Myrmotherula fulviventris Hormiguerito Café R F U
White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris Hormiguerito Flanquiblanco R F U
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis Hormiguerito Alipunteado R F U
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina Hormiguero Negruzco R F U
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul Hormiguero Dorsicastaño R F F
Spotted Antbird Hylophylax naevioides Hormiguero Moteado R F R
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis Hormiguero Bicolor R F F
FORMICARIIDAE: Antthrushes and Antpittas
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis Gallito Hormiguero Carinegro R F F
Streak-chested Antpitta Hylopezus perspicillatus Tororoi Pechilistado R F R
Thicket Antpitta Hylopezus dives Tororoi Pechicanelo R F R
TYRANNIDAE: Tyrant Flycatchers
Brown-capped Tyrannulet Ornithion brunneicapillum Mosquerito Gorricafé R FC U
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola Mosquerito Amarillo R C U
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster Elainia Copetona R CF C
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus Mosquerito Aceitunado R F C
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris Mosquerito Orejinegro R F X
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus Mosquerito Cejigrís R FC C
Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis atricapillus Mosquerito Colicorto R F U
Northern Bentbill Oncostoma cinereigulare Piquitorcido Norteño R F U
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum Espatulilla Común R CF C
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps Espatulilla Cabecinegra R FC R
Eye-ringed Flatbill Rhynchocyclus brevirostris Piquiplano de Anteojos R F R
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens Piquiplano Azufrado R F F
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis Piquiplano Aliamarillo R F R
Golden-crowned Spadebill Platyrinchus coronatus Piquichato Coronirrufo R F F
Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus Mosquero Real R F X
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus Mosquerito Colirrufo R F F
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius Mosquerito Lomiamarillo R F R
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi Pibí Boreal M CF U
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens Pibí Oriental M CF C
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus Pibí Tropical R CF F
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris Mosquerito Vientriamarillo M FC U
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens Mosquerito Verdoso M FC R
Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum Mosquerito de Charral M FC U
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii Mosquerito de Traill M FC C
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus Mosquerito Chebec M FC R
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus Mosquero Coludo R CF F
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus Atila Lomiamarilla R F C
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra Plañidera Rojiza R FC U
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer Copetón Crestioscuro R CF U
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus Copetón Viajero M FC F
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Bienteveo Grande R CFW C
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua Mosquerón Picudo R CF C
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Mosquero Cejiblanco R CF C
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis Mosquero Cabecigrís R CF U
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata Mosquero Cabecianillado R CF U
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris Mosquero Vientriazufrado M/R CF U
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius Mosquero Pirata M C U
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Tirano Tropical R C C
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus Tirano Norteño M CF C
Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis Tirano Gris M C X
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana Tijereta Sabanera R C X
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus Piha Rojiza R F U
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus Cabezón Canelo R F F
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus Cabezón Aliblanco R F R
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata Tityra Carirroja R FC C
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus Cotinga Nivosa R F R
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata Querula Gorgimorada R F F
PIPRIDAE: Manakins
White-collared Manakin Manacus candei Saltarín Cuelliblanco R F C
White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera Saltarín Gorgiblanco R F R
Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis Saltarín Cabecirrojo R F C
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus Vireo Ojiblanco M CF X
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons Vireo Pechiamarillo M CF C
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus Vireo Amarillento M FC U
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Vireo Ojirrojo M FC U
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis Vireo Cabecigrís M FC F
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps Ferdillo Leonado R FC R
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus Verdillo Menudo R FC C
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus Vireon Esmeraldino R F U
CORVIDAE: Crows and Jays
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio Urraca Parda R FC U
Purple Martin Progne subis Martín Purpurea M A U
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea Martín Pechigrís R A F
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Golondrina Bicolor M A R
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea Golondrina Lomiblanca R WA C
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis Golondrina Alirrasposa Norteña M A C
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Golondrina Alirrasposa Sureña M A U
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia Golondrina Riberena M A U
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota Golondrina Risquera M A F
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Golondrina Tijereta M A C
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus Soterrey Matraquero R FC F
Black-throated Wren Thryothorus atrogularis Soterrey Gorginegro R F U
Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus Soterrey Castaño R F C
Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus Soterrey Pechirrayado R F F
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus Soterrey Chinchiriguí R FC F
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Soterrey Cucarachero R C C
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta Soterrey de Selva Pechiblanco R F U
Nightingale Wren Microcerculus philomela Soterrey Ruisenor R F R
Song Wren Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus Soterrey Canoro R F U
SYLVIIDAE: Old World Warblers
Tawny-faced Gnatwren Microbates cinereiventris Soterillo Caricafé R F U
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus Soterillo Picudo R F U
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea Perlita Tropical R FC F
TURDIDAE: Thrushes
Veery Catharus fuscescens Zorzal Dorsirrojizo M F C
Gray-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus Zorzal Carigrís M F C
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus Zorzal de Swainson M F C
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina Zorzal del Bosque M F C
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi Yiguirro, Mirlo Pardo R CF C
MIMIDAE: Mockingbirds
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Pajaro-gato Gris M F F
PARULIDAE: Wood-Warblers
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus Reinita Aliazul M F X
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera Reinita Alidorada M FC U
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina Reinita Verdilla M FC C
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Reinita Amarilla M C C
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica Reinita de Costillas Castañas M FC C
Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia Reinita Colifajeada M FC U
Cape May Warbler Dendroica tigrina Reinita Tigrina M FC X
Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens Reinita Azul y Negro M F X
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata Reinita Lomiamarilla M F R
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca Reinita Gorginaranja M FC U
Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica Reinita Gorgiamarilla M F R
Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum Reinita Coronicastaña M C R
Bay-breasted Warbler Dendroica castanea Reinita Castaña M CF R
Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea Reinita Cerulea M CF R
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia Reinita Trepadora M F F
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla Candelita Norteña M F U
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea Reinita Cabecidorada M F C
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorus Reinita Gusanera M F U
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus Reinita Hornera M F U
Northern waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis Reinita Acuatica Norteña M FC C
Louisiana waterthrush Seiurus motacilla Reinita Acuatica Piquigrande M FC F
Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus Reinita Cachetinegra M F F
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia Reinita Enlutada M F U
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas Antifacito Norteño M C U
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis semiflava Antifacito Coroniolivo R C C
Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina Reinita Encapuchada M F R
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla Reinita Gorrinegra M C U
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis Reinita Pechirrayada M F U
Buff-rumped Warbler Phaeothlypis fulvicauda Reinita Guardaribera R F U
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens Reinita Grande M C R
COEREBIDAE: Bananaquits
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Reinita Mielera R CF U
Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii Tangara Carinegruzca R F U
Olive Tanager Chlorothraupis carmioli Tangara Aceitunada R F R
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus Tangara Caponiblanca R FC U
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delatrii Tangara Coronidorada R FC U
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda Tangara Hormiguera Gorgirroja R F F
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra Tangara Veranera M FC F
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea Tangara Escarlata M FC U
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus Tangara Capuchirroja R CF R
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii Tangara de Passerini R CF C
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus Tangara Azuleja R CF C
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum Tangara Palmera R CF C
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla Eufonia Coroniamarilla R F R
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi Eufonia Olivácea R FC C
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata Tangara Capuchidorada R FC F
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana Mielero Azulejo R F U
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza Mielero Verde R F U
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus Mielero Luciente R F F
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina Semillerito Negro Azulado R C F
Variable Seedeater Sporophila americana Espiguero Variable R C C
White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola Espiguero Collarejo R C F
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus funereus Semillero Picogrueso R C U
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea Semillerito Cariamarillo R C U
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris Pinzón Piquinaranja R F F
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris Pinzón Cabecilistado R FC C
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens Saltator Grisaceo R CF X
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus Saltator Gorgianteado R FC C
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps Saltator Cabecinegro R F R
Slate-colored Grosbeak Saltator grossus Picogrueso Piquirrojo R F R
Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster Picogrueso Carinegro R FC U
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus Picogrueso Pechirrosado M CF U
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides Picogrueso Negro Azulado R F U
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea Azulillo Norteño M CF R
Dickcissel Spiza americana Sabanero Arrocero M C R
ICTERIDAE: New World Blackbirds
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna Zacatero Común R C X
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Clarinero (Zanate Grande) R C C
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus Vaquero Ojirrojo R C U
Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora Vaquero Grande R C U
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis Bolsero Capuchinegro R CF U
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius Bolsero Castaño M CF R
Yellow-tailed Oriole Icterus mesomelas Bolsero Coliamarillo R CF R
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula Bolsero Norteño M CF C
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus Cacique Picoplata R CF U
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis Cacique Lomiescarlata R CF F
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri Oropéndola Cabecicastaña R FC U
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma Oropéndola de Moctezuma R FC C

These species, reported from the Tortuguero area, are unconfirmed or lack sufficient documentation: American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus), Masked Duck (Nomonyx dominica), Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus), Bicolored Hawk (Accipiter bicolor), Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus), Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis), Gray-breasted Crake (Laterallus exilis), Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), Least Tern (Sterna antillarum), Mourning Dove (Zenaida macraura), Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti), Olive-striped Flycatcher (Mionectes olivaceus), White-throated Spadebill (Platyrinchus mystaceus), Gray-headed Piprites (Manakin) (Piprites griseiceps), Bare-necked Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus glabricollis), Nicaraguan Seed-Finch (Oryzoborus nuttingi), Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis).

Name Changes

Several names have changed because of taxonomic revision since Stiles and Skutch was published (old name in brackets): Neotropic (Olivaceous) Cormorant, Green (Green-backed) Heron, Agami (Chestnut-bellied) Heron, (American) Swallow-tailed Kite, White-tailed (Black-shouldered) Kite, Black-eared (Rufous-fronted) Wood-Quail, Central American (Least) Pygmy-Owl, Violet-crowned (Crowned) Woodnymph, Bronze-tailed (Red-footed) Plumeleteer, Northern Barred-Woodcreeper (Barred Woodcreeper), Cocoa (Buff-throated) Woodcreeper, Western Slaty-Antshrike (Slaty Antshrike), Streak-chested (Spectacled) Antpitta, Thicket (Fulvous-bellied) Antpitta, Paltry (Mistletoe) Tyrannulet, Olive (Carmiol's) Tanager, Passerini's (Scarlet-rumped)Tanager, Nicaraguan (Pink-billed) Seed-Finch.


We are grateful to the many people who have contributed in various ways to this checklist: CCC, Cindy Taft, and all staff at Gainsville, San Jose and Tortuguero; Caño Palma Research Station and staff, administered by the Canadian Organisation for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation; Parque Nacional Tortuguero; Jungle Lodge; C.J.Ralph, Brian O'Donnell, Linda Long, Kim Hollinger of Redwood Sciences Laboratory, USFS; F. Gary Stiles, James Lewis, and Costa Rica Expeditions; and all the volunteers who have participated in the bird monitoring project at Tortuguero over the years; and the numerous people who sent observations and comments.

  • American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
  • Costa Rica Expeditions 1988. Birds of Costa Rica Locational Checklist. Costa Rica Expeditions, San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Henderson C. 1991. Birds of Tortuguero National Park. Unpublished manuscript (available at Redwood Sciences Laboratory).
  • Lewis T. J. and F. G. Stiles 1980. Locational Checklist of the Birds of Costa Rica. Unpublished manuscript (available at Redwood Sciences Laboratory).
  • Stiles F. G. and A. F. Skutch 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.
  • Taylor K. 1993. A Birders Guide to Costa Rica. 3rd edition. Keith Taylor Bird Finding Guides, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.