Birdwatching in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has more than 850 species of birds in a land mass no larger than the state of West Virginia. This makes it one of the most attractive places in the world to look for birds. Two reasons that so many species concur in such a small space are its unique geographic position between North and South America and its varied topography and climatic conditions which provide a diversity of habitats.

From North America many of the grassland and dry forest representatives have the southern limit of their ranges in Costa Rica, and migrants from North America contribute nearly 200 species to the Costa Rican avifauna. South America contributes a few migrant species but is most important for its wet forest species at the northern limits of their ranges.

With so many habitats, each with its own distinctive set of birds, Costa Rica invites the birder to add to his or her life list, make new discoveries about bird behavior and ecology, or just enjoy watching them. Costa Rica now has many places for the birder to stay and investigate all of these habitats without exhausting travel to reach them. Many lodges and hotels are built especially for the birder or natural history visitor. Excellent places to stay for this type of activity are the Caribbean lowlands on the Atlantic coast, the South Pacific area and the Monteverde Cloudforest.