Stripe-headed Sparrow (Peucaea ruficauda)

The Stripe-headed Sparrow is a small bird resident of the northwestern region of the country, but also found in the western portion of the Central Valley. They have a gray to white belly, with orangish to brown feathers on the back and wings. As the name suggests, the head pattern consists of a series of stripes, with a white throat, followed by a broad black stripe covering the black eyes, then one white stripe and another black stripe, each narrower than the previous one. The look is finished with a central white stripe. They are most likely found foraging in groups of at least three around an area. They perch at a lower level in many places, including fences, but also get down to the ground sometimes.

Gray-headed Chachalaca (Ortalis cinereiceps)

The Gray-headed Chachalaca is a relatively big arboreal bird with mostly a brown body and gray head. Their diet consists mainly of fruits. At my parents´ home, up to ten arrive at the feeders where my parents place the papaya. Due to their size, they throw the papaya to the ground while eating, which does not help the toucans when they arrive. They are very loud, particularly when spooked by predators or humans, although not as loud as Brown Jays. They can be seen gliding from tall trees, one after another in rapid succession, relying on the uplift from air currents to avoid expending energy on batting their wings.

Buff-throated Saltator (Saltator maximus)

The Buff-throated Saltator has a grey belly, black and whitish throat, white supercilliary and olive upperparts. It can be confused with the Black-headed Saltator, however the Black-headed is bigger, does have a black nape and white throat, which is very distinctive, and their song is a lot different and noisier. This species is very wary of humans, and although they approach fruit feeders, they make it hesitantly. At the first sign of human presence, they will fly away. A combination of camouflage and patience goes a long way towards getting close to them.

Coppery-headed Emerald (Elvira cupreiceps)

The Coppery-headed Emerald is one of the few species of birds that are true endemics of Costa Rica, meaning only found in this country. The male is mostly green, with the copper hues on the head that can only be seen in the appropriate light and angle. The female has grey underparts and lacks the copper colors on the head. Both have a black downcurved bill, which help with identification versus similar species like the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, with which it shares the brownish-red rump. They are one of the tiniest species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica. They are seen in the mid to high elevations, in places where there is high humidity, but specially in the Cinchona and Vara Blanca zone.

Red-headed Barbet (Eubucco bourcierii)

This bird is a beauty, one that we can find in some spots around Costa Rica like Cinchona and Braulio Carrillo. I first met it during this trip to Colombia in Finca Alejandría, where a pair of this species would come and go from the feeders frequently. It is bigger than most tanagers, however it is rather small when compared with how I imagined it. It is the sole species of the Eubucco genus that is found in Costa Rica, with Colombia also hosting the Lemon-throated Barbet. They are related to the toucans, and as such they eat a lot of fruit, however they do not share the Toucan’s behavior of raiding other birds’ nests for eggs and hatchlings. The male and female only share the green body and yellowish beak, with the male having a red face with a white ring separating it from the back, a belly that transitions from deep orange to yellow as it goes down, and flanks that are streaked green and light yellow. On the other hand, the female features a black face with light blue cheeks, orange half hood and patch on the chest, light yellow belly and again streaked flanks in green and light yellow.

Blue-headed Sapphire (Hylocharis grayi)

The Blue-headed Sapphire is a very conspicuous hummingbird. It has an iridescent green body with brown wings and white feathers on its legs, sharing this combination of colors with many hummingbirds. However, its head is a deep blue, almost violet coloration, and it has a dark pink bill with a black tip, which makes it stand out of the crowd. It is shy in comparison with other birds that approached the feeders at Finca Alejandria, and when I first saw, it was on feeders inside the forest, in a very dark environment. It did came to a feather in the outside and perched long enough to get a good picture of it.