Costa Rica Birding Hotspots: Finca Rosa Blanca, in the Central Valley Highlands
Call us biased but, when it comes to Costa Rica birding hotspots, we think Finca Rosa Blanca stands out as one of the best.
Located in the Central Valley and just 20 minutes to SJO Airport, we may be close to it all – but our birds don’t know it! In fact, at one of the world’s premier bird-watching destinations and in one of the most bio-diverse counties in the world, Finca Rosa Blanca is a birding haven-within-a-haven: home to 130+ of Costa Rica’s 921+ bird species.
The forests that surround and intersperse our organic coffee farm are ideal for birdwatching, whether you’re a beginner or expert birder. So, whether you're staying at Finca Rosa Blanca or are just looking for a birdwatching tour in the Central Valley, be sure to book a daily birding tour with our talented (and eagle-eyed) bird-watching experts and naturalist guides.
11 Iconic Bird Species at Finca Rosa Blanca
While we’ve spotted more than 130 bird species at Finca Rosa Blanca, there are several extroverted souls that like to make themselves seen – day after day after day. Here are a few of our guests’ favorite sightings:
Clay-colored Thrush (Spanish: Yigüirro)
Turdus grayi | Abundant Resident at Finca Rosa Blanca
If you ask us, any birding list must include the national bird Costa Rica, beloved not for its unassuming plumage but rather for its song: Melodious and steady-tempoed, the yigüirro’s warble has for centuries heralded the start of the rainy season – and a long-awaited, life-giving respite for Costa Rica’s farmers.
Northern Crested Caracara (Spanish: Caracara Cargahuesos)
Caracara cheriway | Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
What looks like a hawk, acts like a vulture, and is technically a species of falcon? Both beautiful and majestic, the northern crested caracara is a bird of prey known for its long legs and neck, as well as for its showy orange-and-gray beak. We love this species for its atypical behavior, including its propensity to roam the forest floor and build its own nest, instead of inhabiting the abandoned nests of other species.
Crimson-fronted Parakeet (Spanish: Perico Frentirrojo)
Psittacara finschi | Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
There are few sounds more distinctive than the raucous call of parakeets in flight. At Finca Rosa Blanca, our crimson-fronted parakeets put on a near-daily show – a peevish, boisterous squawking show, as they take to the air, seemingly scolding each other (or us?) into flight. It’s a sound that never fails to pull our eyes upward and our smile outward.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Spanish: Mochuelo Comun)
Glaucidium brasilianum | Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
If you’ve never thought a bird of prey could be adorable, then we'd invite you to spot our resident ferruginous pygmy-owl, which clocks in at only 6 inches tall and sports disproportionately large feet and talons. Keep your ears tuned for the species’ persistent whistle – a distinctive hoo-hoo, usually in E-flat.
Gray-cowled Wood-Rail (Spanish: Rascón Cuelligris)
Aramides cajaneus | Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
If there’s a sound that symbolizes birding at Finca Rosa Blanca, then we’d peg it as the characteristic call of the gray-cowled wood-rail: repetitive, warbling and sure to put a smile on your face. Luckily, this chicken-like rail – unlike many of its cousins – is often conspicuous, flashing its russet breast and hot-pink legs near our trail edges.
Hoffmann's Woodpecker (Spanish: Carpintero de Hoffmann)
Melanerpes hoffmannii | Abundant Resident at Finca Rosa Blanca
While several species of woodpecker make their home at Finca Rosa Blanca, Hoffmann’s woodpecker is the most likely to make itself known. You’ll recognize it not only for its telltale wood-pecking, but for its rattling wicka-wicka call – not to mention, its black-and-white barring and the males’ red crowns.
Laughing Falcon (Spanish: Guaco)
Herpetotheres cachinnans| Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
When it comes to distinctive birds and their calls, you’d be hard-pressed to name one more revealing than that of the laughing falcon: far-carrying, pitchy and human-like cry/laughs, which easily morph from joyful to melancholic – and back again. The falcon’s namesake call isn’t it’s only distinguishing feature, though; we love watching its hurried, stiff flight, so different from other falcons that soar.
Lesson’s Motmot (Spanish: Momoto Común)
Momotus lessonii | Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
Chances are, there’s a motmot species on your must-spot list. And chances are, if you’re at Finca Rosa Blanca, you’ll spot one – specifically, the Lesson’s motmot, with its tick-tock tail and striking blue crown. That said, as arresting as is its appearance, the bird is named for its double-hooting call – an onomatopoetic mot-mot hoot that sounds similar to that of an owl.
Montezuma Oropendola (Spanish: Oropéndola de Montezuma)
Psarocolius montezuma | Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
While we’re on the topic of distinctive calls, we can’t help but mention the Montezuma oropendola and its memorable gurgle-warble, reminiscent of water poured so quickly into a bottle that it bubble out and onto itself. Even more delightful, Montezuma oropendolas, with their striking black-and-orange beaks and bold yellow tails, dance to their own tune, tipping forward and then see-sawing backward, as they sing their song.
Squirrel Cuckoo (Spanish: Cuco Ardilla)
Piaya cayana | Common at Finca Rosa Blanca
A long-tailed specimen with serious wow-factor, squirrel cuckoos are stealthy creatures best known for their sudden and breath-taking swoops that both surprise and inspire awe. Their white-tipped, russet tail feathers are eye-catching, but what we find most endearing is the squirrel cuckoo’s fluffy appearance, paired with a tail longer than its body.
Violet Sabrewing (Spanish: Ala de Sable Violáceo)
Campylopterus hemileucurus | Uncommon at Finca Rosa Blanca
When it comes to Costa Rica birding hotspots, no list is complete without mention of the country’s many hummingbird species. And here at Finca Rosa Blanca, none is quite so conspicuous as the violet sabrewing: a very large, very eye-catching and, as hummingbirds go, very assertive species with spectacular purple plumage guaranteed to inspire awe, as it catches the sunlight.
Note that we classify the violet sabrewing as “uncommon” at Finca Rosa Blanca. More precisely, it is common but only seasonally: When our pavón rojo (Megaskepasma erythrochlamys) plants bloom (several times a year), our birdwatchers spot the violet sabrewing almost daily.
Want to know more? Download the full list of bird species at Finca Rosa Blanca.