Olive-throated Parakeet (Eupsittula nana)

The Olive-throated Parakeet is a resident species of the northern and Caribbean regions of Costa Rica. Like most other parrot species in Costa Rica, its plumage is green overall, with blue flight feathers that are barely noticeable when the wings are folded. The upper side of the tail feathers look brownish, and the throat has a somewhat dark olive color as the name suggests. A member of the Aratinga family, it only shares its habitat with Crimson-fronted Parakeet, which is larger and has conspicuous red patches on the should section of the wings, visible both in flight and with folded wings. They are usually seen in groups, cracking fruits with their beaks, producing a characteristic sound.

Spectacled Parrotlet (Forpus conspicillatus)

The Spectacled Parrotlet was one of the species that we did not expect to see during our trip, however I was lucky enough to observe a pair of them perched on a bamboo fence in Cali, when visiting the CRARSI. The female is really similar to the Orange-chinned Parrolet, except for not having the orange chin that defines that species. The male has a darker green coloration on the body overall, and sports a turquoise mask along with blue plumage under the wing. They are the smallest parrotlet species that exists in the world.

Brown-hooded Parrot (Pyrilia haematotis)

The Brown-hooded Parrot is a noisy species of parrot that travels in groups of 10 or more. I have seen them at Laguna del Lagarto Lodge, in Boca Tapada, which is located very close to the border with Nicaragua. They arrive to the fruit feeder in big numbers and compete with other birds for the food. Their defining mark is the head, which is brown, showing also red to rose cheeks and a white mask. Once they come to the perch, they move slowly through it, sometimes aided by their beak, which serves as a third limb to prevent falling. Compared with other species of parrots, it is medium sized, being much larger than the Orange-chinned Parakeet, and smaller than the Scarlet and Great Green Macaws.

Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus)

The Great Green Macaw is a pretty uncommon sight in Costa Rica. It is a huge bird, their calls are very loud. I had the opportunity to observe the birds very close in Rio Cuarto. Our wildlife photography guide explained that Green and Scarlet Macaws do not hybridize in the wild, however in this refuge, a pair of Macaws have been interbreeding in the last few years, resulting in hybrids being born. In Rio Frio, where my parents live, it is common to see a pair of these birds flying overhead most of the times I am there. Either they are more common in the area, or a single pair of birds has taken residence. They are easy to identify, as their harsh call is heard from very far away and no other parrot has such a characteristic call, other than the Scarlet Macaw. They like to feed on almond and are likely to be seen perching relatively high in those trees.