The Endangered Birds of Costa Rica

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan at Lapa Rios
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan at Lapa Rios

Costa Rica holds nearly 5% of the world biodiversity and lies in the bird-rich neo-tropical region. This astounding biological diversity has given the country a wide array of habitats. Home to one-tenth of the world’s total bird species, the country provides critical habitat to several extinct birds which have all but disappeared from other areas of the world due to deforestation.

Endangered Species

Costa Rica boasts an estimated 850 bird species of which 630 are resident species and 19 are endangered. Rare birds like the Quetzal and Scarlet Macaws can still be seen in the various protected reserves of Costa Rica. Many travel to Costa Rica to catch a glimpse of the fascinating Quetzal. This endangered species can be seen throughout the highland area and at cloud forest elevations. The Great Curassow is another endangered bird species found in the Santa Rosa or the Corcovado National Park.

Costa Rica is also home to an estimated 50 raptor bird species. These birds of prey include the common Black Hawk, Osprey and the extremely rare Harpy Eagle which can mostly be found in the remote Talamanca ranges and in the Osa Peninsula region. There are approximately 17 owl species, around 51 species of the humming birds, 100 species of sea and shorebirds including a variety of gulls and some 25 species of endemic neo-tropical and migratory birds in Costa Rica. Also the country provides habitat to 16 species of parrots including 6 species of parakeets and 2 species of macaws.


The most flamboyant birds of Costa Rica are the delightful Toucans. Also called the “flying bananas”, these endangered birds are a pleasure to watch. The country is home to 6 of toucan species, these including the Keel-Billed Toucan found in the lowlands, the loud Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan found in the Pacific southwest and the dense forestation along the coastal zones. Also the Scarlet Macaws and the ‘Buffon’ or the Great Green Macaws are endangered and now in danger of disappearing completely.

Where to Spot Them

Areas like the Carara National Park, Corcovado National Park, the Palo Verde National Park, La Selva Biological Station, Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, Manuel Antonio National Park and the Santa Rosa National Park are excellent for viewing these endangered birds while the Pacific lowland region, with its dense forestation is a bird watcher’s paradise on its own.

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