Elegant Euphonia (Euphonia elegantissima)

This probably is the best named species of euphonia in Costa Rica. Just as the Olive-backed Euphonia, the Elegant Euphonia is very peculiar since it is not blue and yellow like most other euphonias. Instead, the male has a deep orange belly with blue back and wings, dark blue throat and light blue hood, and a very small orange patch on the front of the head, which the female also shares. The female is green overall, but with the light blue hood. Both male and female are gorgeous, a great sight for any birdwatcher.

Saffron-crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala)

The Saffron-crowned Tanager is very confusing, since its plumage coloration can change a lot depending on the prevailing light. One thing that not changes and that really identifies this species is the yellow head with black mask. The body is either turquoise with green patches, or light green with turquoise patches. Whichever the color seen, it has a spotted appearance on the back and black wing feathers with turquoise/green linings. The belly and vent are white. In terms of body shape, it is very similar to the Gold Tanager, but with a very different coloration; this made them unmistakable even though they often shared the same feeder at Finca Alejandría.

Golden-naped Tanager (Tangara ruficervix)

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.

Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)

The Blue-gray Tanager has mostly light-blue body and metallic blue wings, which can glow strongly under flash. It can be found almost throughout the entire country, specially in the lowlands, accompanied by Scarlet-rumped and Palm Tanagers, which have a very similar body shape, but very different colors. All three species will readily come to fruit feeders. It’s local name is “Viudita”, which literally means “Small Widow”. A bird species does not have to be rare to be a beauty, and the proof is in Blue-gray Tanagers. We see them daily at our gardens in Costa Rica, yet their metallic blue wings are a wonder to watch.