Slaty-Tailed Trogons (Trogon massena) - male and female, eat insects and fruit, nest in occupied termite nests or decaying tree trunks, and are residents of canopy and damp tropical forests, this pair nested right next to our homesite. These birds can be 30 cm long and weigh 145 grams. Their call is like a nasal "uk uk uk". Trogons in general have large eyes, hooked bills, short wings and their tail is long, square and graduated. The males are more brightly colored than the females. They do not like to fly long distances.

Great Kiskadee - there were many birds that looked similar in the area, including this Kiskadee and many types of Flycatchers, the Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) lives in open woodland areas and around human cultivation, they eat insects and some fruit and are known to attack larger predators (i.e. raptors) to scare them off. This is a passerine that is about 22 cm long and 63 grams. The spanish name is bien-te-veo "I see you well".

Hummingbirds - they can hover by flapping 12-90 times per second and are the only type of bird that can fly backwards, they can fly in excess of 54 km per hour, there were so many varieties in Santa Rosa it was amazing, I was usually not fast enough to get a picture as they darted about finding food or protecting nests. They range from 7.5 cm - 13 cm. Hummingbirds are nectaviores and will reject flowers with nectar that have a sugar content of less than 10%. They also eat insects and spiders for their other nutritional requirements. An interesting note, hummingbirds use spider silk to tie their nesting materials together.

King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)- these vultures are unique because unlike other new world vultures they are not known to kill sick or dying animals, they are true scavengers, our dog hated all vultures and would jump up in the air and bark when they soared past or rested in the trees near our homesite as this one did. King Vultures have a bald head and neck, they are 67-81cm long, have a wingspan from 1.2 - 2 meters and can weigh up to 4.5 kilograms. Their numbers have been decreasing due to habitat loss. Their beak is hooked with a sharp edge to cut into carcasses. An intersting thing about King Vultures is they have no eye lashes.

Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) - due to hunting, poaching and habitat destruction by 1993 Scarlet macaws only occupied 20% of their previous total range, our resident flock was part of the "Amigos de Aves" program - a captive breed and release program to repopulate the heavily poached scarlet macaws. These macaws are the largest parrots in the world, up to 33 inches from beak to tail. Macaws mate for life and lay 1-2 eggs per year. Macaws eat clay to neutralize the toxins found in many of their food sources. They eat nuts, leaves, berries and seeds.

A nestling red lored parrot (Amazona autumnalis) - unlike many birds the male and female plumage is the same, they have been heavily poached for the pet trade and are known to be good talkers, this one was being hand raised by a neighbor and was released back to the wild

Chestnut Mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii) mainly eat fruit but also eat small birds, insects, lizards and frogs. A mated pair visited us almost daily and would sit in our Ron Ron tree. They raised a family up the mountain from our homesite. Their size ranges from 52 - 56 cm long and can weight anywhere from 599-746 grams. The sexes are very similar. Toucans flock in groups of 3-12 birds and rarely fly more than 100 meters at a time.


There are many migratory cliff swallows and also mangrove swallows in our area. They are excellent at eating bugs and therefore we LOVE them.

Anhinga, a cormorant type bird, that does not waterproof its feathers so it can stay underwater fishing for long periods of time. This of course means it also has to spend a great deal of time drying in the sun, also like a cormorant.


A chachalaca (say that 10 times fast) is a large bird, the size of a small turkey. They roost in trees when not foraging for food. They are not strong fliers and therefore use the trees to avoid predators. This bird was in Uvita.


“Until you have loved an animal, part of your soul will have remained dormant.”

Anatole France


4 Responses to Birds

  1. bev fullbrandt says:

    Thank-you for letting us see the types of birds common to the area. what beauty. good luck in your endeavors.

  2. Gladys Soeterik says:

    Cormorant it is. I rehabbed them in California. I was glad to see them down there.

  3. Gladys Soeterik says:

    I love your bird page.

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