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Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)

The Muscovy Duck is a wild duck, but can also be found domesticated; I have seen them in Fraijanes (Alajuela), the University for Peace (Ciudad Colón) and La Sabana (San José), which are three parks you can visit either for free (La Sabana) or a small fee. The ones below are all domestic birds found in Concasa; there is a small lake where ducks usually stay. Domestic members of this duck species are very common in Costa Rica, obtained through crossing with the Barnyard duck. Crossed individuals come in a variety of black and white combinations, some even having entirely white plumage. Wild ducks are very nervous about people and don’t show almost any white on their plumage.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendroygna autumnalis)

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is found in flocks taking residence around small ponds and lakes, becoming accustomed to people and relatively approachable. At dusk, they usually flock to the air, making circular trajectories and a lot of noise, and finally descending again into their watery home. Their calls are very high pitched and loud. Their necks are very flexible, so when resting, they normally turn their heads back and tuck they into the middle of their wings; they also like to stand up in one foot, with the other one hidden inside their belly feathers. Their bills are characteristically pink, as well as their legs. Juveniles are duller and have brownish bills instead. The Fulvous Whistling-Duck belongs to the same family and is very similar in shape, but has a different plumage coloration and gray bill and legs.

Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi)

The national bird of Costa Rica, known locally as “Yigüirro”, has a beautiful song and can be found almost anywhere in the territory. It is said that their song marks the start of the rainy season, so in past century, farmers would schedule their crops accordingly. It is now known that males sing to attract females for mating, and that the start of the rainy season just coincides with the start of the breeding season for this bird. They like to eat insects, but also eat fruit like papaya and banana. They are most fond of the ground, where they move along by hopping instead of walking.

Green Heron (Butorides Virescens)

From what I have observed, the Green Heron shares some traits with the bigger Bare-throated Tiger Heron. Both maintain their necks coiled most of the time, and elongate them up to twice the size of their body when they are ready to attack. Both walk in a stealthy manner, not making a single sound, as they approach to unsuspecting prey. Both are startled easily and fly far away when you are too close. The differences are that the Green Heron is more likely to be found perching high up in the trees, and the obvious size difference; the Green Heron is pretty small, the size of a duck, while the Tiger Heron is bigger than a turkey. They stalk prey while wading in shallow waters using their long feet and toes or from the water edge, sometimes standing motionless for minutes until they launch their attach and grab their prey.