Lachrymose Mountain-Tanager (Anisognathus lacrymosus)

The Lachrymose Mountain-Tanager bears some resemblance to the Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, however they differ in a key feature: The Lachrymose has blue upperparts, and that includes the back, wings, tail and nape, while the Blue-winged has black upperparts. Also the yellow underside aren’t as bright on the Lachrymose on the subspecies that we observed at Termales del Ruiz, which is above 3,000 meters over sea level. Other subspecies range from yellow to deep orange underparts. Their diet is mainly composed of berries and fruits, although some insects do form part of it.

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.

Great Thrush (Turdus fuscater)

The Great Thrush is virtually indistinguishable from the Glossy-black Thrush, as they both are black in coloration with orange bill and legs and a yellow eye ring. Both species have a large plump body, much larger than Costa Rica’s national bird, the Clay-colored Thrush. They are separated by altitude, with the Great Thrush inhabiting lower grounds below the Subparamo region. They hop on the ground in search of large insects to feed on, but when startled they take to the trees and hide within the branches.

Great Sapphirewing (Pterophanes cyanopterus)

The Great Sapphirewing is a very large hummingbird with glittering colors. We saw both the male and female at Termales del Ruiz, which is above the 3,000 meters over sea level mark. At this altitude, oxygen content is low, meaning that the birds do not spend as much time on the flight and frequently perch to conserve energy, specially with such a large size. Their wing beat is relatively slow as well. The male on this species has a green body, but the chest glows with blue tonalities as light changes, an iridescence phenomenon. The wing is metallic blue, both on the upper and the lower side, which easily explains its common name. The female is very similar, however the chest, belly and throat are cinnamon in coloration. Both have a very long and narrow bill, and a white postocular spot.

Golden-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis mosquera)

The Golden-breasted Puffleg is so called due to two characteristics: Its breast glow in golden and coppery due to an iridescence effect, and its feet are covered in white feathers with a fluffy look. The rest of the body is metallic green, but with the correct light it can show off some variation in the color. A white postocular spot and long, slim bill finishes the look. We found this bird at Termales del Ruiz, which is about 3,200 meters above sea level. At this elevation, oxygen content has dropped a lot, so hummingbirds don’t stay airborne as much and are found perching quite frequently.

Glossy-black Thrush (Turdus serranus)

The Glossy-black Thrush is virtually indistinguishable from the Great Thrush, as they both are black in coloration with orange bill and legs and a yellow eye ring. Both species have a large plump body, much larger than Costa Rica’s national bird, the Clay-colored Thrush. They are separated by altitude, with the Glossy-black inhabiting higher grounds in Subparamo and Paramo regions. They hop on the ground in search of large insects to feed on, but when startled they take to the trees and hide within the branches.

Buffy Helmetcrest (Oxypogon stuebelii)

The Buffy Helmetcrest is a hummingbird species that’s native to the Nevado del Ruiz Paramo and is found on a really limited range, being endemic to Colombia. Since they live at altitudes above 4,000 meters above sea level, where oxygen content is low and temperatures are close to 0 degrees celsius, they can’t flap their wings as fast as other hummers, and they prefer to perch on branches while they drink a flower’s nectar, which helps them conserve previous energy. There are four species of Oxypogon, each one inhabiting the paramo region of a different peak. Frailejones flowers are among the common energy sources for them.

Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus gracilirostris)

This small bird inhabits the highlands in Costa Rica. Its plumage is drab like most of the birds in its family, but its song is melodious, flute-like with a metallic quality. The belly and face are gray, with the upperparts being brown. While this colors are very similar to other birds in its family, it is identified by the black bill and the brown collar around the throat that separates the face from the belly. It perches in the understory of oak forest and can be found also hoping on the ground or through trails, in places where light is scarce. With enough patience, they will perch at eye level and remain motionless long enough for a good picture.

Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus)

The Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher is an elegant bird that can be found in the highlands in Costa Rica. It’s long black tail contrasts with the gray and yellow body, ending with a yellow crest that is normally seen protruding from the head. The male is more colorful than the female, but overall they look similar and might be indistinguishable on bad lighting. Along the Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher, this species is part of a four species family around the world, with only the Black-and-yellow and the Long-tailed being present in Costa Rica, endemic to our country and western Panama.

Talamanca Hummingbird (Eugenes spectabilis)

The Talamanca Hummingbird is pretty similar to the Fiery-throated Hummingbird and both inhabits similar environments, in the highlands of Costa Rica. The female has gray underparts, which makes it easier to identify against the Fiery-throated. The male is glittering green in the upperside, with iridescent throat and head that look black most of the time, but in certain angles reveal a deep turquoise-blue metallic color in the throat, and purplish-blue on the head.