Nicaraguan Seed-Finch (Sporophila nuttingi)

The Nicaraguan Seed-Finch is one of Costa Rica’s biggest finches species, only surpassed by the Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, which is even rarer and has a longer tail. It looks similar to the Thick-billed Seed-Finch, with the male being uniformly black and the female uniformly brown, albeit with a bigger size. Their bills are undoubtely specialized for breaking down seeds and the male’s bill is particularly conspicuous, given its pink coloration. In Costa Rica, it can be found in lowland areas of the northern area, near the border with Nicaragua, and in a thin strip along the eastern coast of the Caribbean.

Green-and-black Fruiteater (Pipreola riefferii)

The Green-and-black Fruiteater is a species of the Cotingidae family, despite having a body form similar to a Tanager. The female is entirely green with yellow streaking on the belly, and red bill and legs. The male is similar, but has a black head and a yellow necklace that separates the black head from the green belly. We saw this species as we searched for the Gold-ringed Tanager at Tatama National Park. It was not surprisingly perching on a branch that showed some small fruits, which presumably were being eaten by the bird.

Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata)

The Golden-hooded Tanager, known as “Seven Colors” (direct translation from Spanish) in Costa Rica, is indeed a colorful bird, in my opinion one of the prettiest. In direct sunlight, the contrast of the deep black with the different shades of blue, white underparts and golden hood just looks amazing, like a very saturated painting, but it is real. They are small birds, similar in size to the Honeycreepers, and belong to the Tanager family. Juvenile birds lack the golden hood, but are just as colorful as the adults. Golden-hooded Tanagers do come to fruit feeders, but they prefer to stay on seed-bearing plants.

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

The Collared Aracari is very similar to the Fiery-billed Aracari, but the upper part of the beak does not have the green-yellow-red coloration found on the Fiery-billed, and the ring around the belly is darker; also the ranges do not overlap, with the Fiery-billed Aracari seen in the Central and South Pacific, and the Collared Aracari seen in the Caribbean and the Northern Pacific. Both the Fiery and Collared Aracaris have a bright red rump, which differentiates them to the Yellow-throated and Keel-billed Toucans, which have white rumps. The juveniles have a very similar coloration, however their beaks and chest are duller in appearance, and overall the plumage is fluffier. The Collared Aracari is known in Costa Rica as the Gangster, as they always come in groups, bullying other birds that may be at food sources.