The Gold-ringed Tanager was one of the species that we looked for the most. It is one of the emblems at Tatama National Park, since it has a restricted range that gives it an endemic and vulnerable status, with Tatama being a few of the places where it can be spotted. Its body is mostly dark green with black throat and a yellow patch on the chest. It has blue wings and a black head. The yellow supercilliary coils down and joins the yellow moustachial line, forming the ring that gives this species its name. We found it in a few occasions as we descended down the trail at Tatama. At one side of the trail, a big wall raised which was covered in vegetation; the bird would forage in there, going up and down in search of fresh fruit, and was not very disturbed by our presence. They move rapidly when foraging, jumping from branch to branch in search for the best fruits. As long as you stay motionless, they won’t be scared of being in close proximity.
The Golden-naped Tanager is a very conspicuous bird. Its turquoise body stands out from the crowd at Finca Alejandría, where we spent a lot of time photographing hummingbirds and tanagers as they came to the feeders. A violet band is sandwiched inside the black head, and hints of violet can be seen at the lower back of the head. The belly and flanks are white to tawny. But the most distinctive feature of this bird is the golden nape, which gives this species its name. It is sometimes raised like a crest.
The Golden-fronted Whitestart is part of the Myioborus genus that includes also the Slate-throated and Collared Whitestart or Redstart, as are called sometimes. It is a varied genus of warblers that are present in all of the American continent, in different species. In Costa Rica, the Slate-throated is also found along with the Collared species, although here they are called Redstarts instead. The Golden-fronted is characterized by black upper parts and yellow underparts, with a yellow face. It also has white on the cheeks, shoulders and the lower base of the tail, hence the name.
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.
The Golden Tanager at first glance may resemble a bit the Silver-throated Tanager due to their similar body form, however the Golden is much darker in coloration with an orange body, and lacks the distinctive white throat of the Silver-thorated. Instead, it features a black ear patch. The back has heavy black markings all around, and the wings also are very contrasty. They readily come to fruit feeders and shares a space with other tanagers and honeycreepers.
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.