Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

The Great Blue Heron is one of the largest birds that occur naturally in Costa Rica. They can be found in watery environments like rivers and ponds, even artificial ones like the one in Concasa, which has been visited by a juvenile bird almost every morning from January 2018 to March of the same year. The name is misleading though, as the blue is color is rather dull on this bird. The juvenile is mostly grayish, with a darker cap, yellow eye and lower mandible, and black upper mandible. The adult shows a light dull blue on the back and wings, with brownish neck and white cheeks, maintaining the dark cap and yellow eye, but the upper mandible changes to yellow. They stalk prey from the edge of water ponds and lakes, and launch a forceful attack as fish pass by, able to snatch fish of considerable size and swallow them in one go.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)

The Fulvous Whistling-Duck is a pretty duck, very similar in shape to the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, to the point that it can be confused with a Juvenile of the Black-bellied. I was lucky because three individuals came to swim on the lake by Concasa, so I spotted them when I returned home in the afternoon. This was unexpected, because I already knew that they only inhabit the northwestern region of Costa Rica, and should be not be found in the Central Valley. I took out my camera and snapped lots of pictures, because I assumed the birds would leave next day. And so they did, in the days afterwards there was no sight of them. Since then, a single individual has returned a few times joining a flock of Black-bellied, which seems pretty unusual. I have seen the Black-bellied pecking at this Fulvous, seemingly trying to drive it away, but it stays with the flock.

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)

The Muscovy Duck is a wild duck, but can also be found domesticated; I have seen them in Fraijanes (Alajuela), the University for Peace (Ciudad Colón) and La Sabana (San José), which are three parks you can visit either for free (La Sabana) or a small fee. The ones below are all domestic birds found in Concasa; there is a small lake where ducks usually stay. Domestic members of this duck species are very common in Costa Rica, obtained through crossing with the Barnyard duck. Crossed individuals come in a variety of black and white combinations, some even having entirely white plumage. Wild ducks are very nervous about people and don’t show almost any white on their plumage.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendroygna autumnalis)

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is found in flocks taking residence around small ponds and lakes, becoming accustomed to people and relatively approachable. At dusk, they usually flock to the air, making circular trajectories and a lot of noise, and finally descending again into their watery home. Their calls are very high pitched and loud. Their necks are very flexible, so when resting, they normally turn their heads back and tuck they into the middle of their wings; they also like to stand up in one foot, with the other one hidden inside their belly feathers. Their bills are characteristically pink, as well as their legs. Juveniles are duller and have brownish bills instead. The Fulvous Whistling-Duck belongs to the same family and is very similar in shape, but has a different plumage coloration and gray bill and legs.