During the whole year one can enjoy birdwatching in Costa Rica, eventhough not all the birds will be present all the time. About 650 Costa Rica bird species are resident, which means that they breed there and stay in the country yearround. All the others are mightants, of which most come from the North (Canada and US) to winter in the tropical climate of Costa Rica. They normally arrive around September- October and return to the north to breed around April – May. Examples of birds of Costa Rica that come to winter are:
- New World Warblers: Chestnut-sided Warbler (dendroica pensylvanica), Golden-winged Warbler (vermivora chrysoptera), Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia), Wilson’s Warbler (wilsonia pusilla) and Black-and-white Warbler (mniotilta varia),
- Vireo’s: Red-eyed Vireo (vireo olivaceus), Yellow-throated Vireo (vireo flaviforns) and Philapdelphia Vireo (vireo philadelphicus)
- Sandpipers: Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularius), Lesser Yellowlegs (tringa flavipes) and Solitary Sandpiper (tringa solitaria)
- Raptors: Broad-winged Hawk (buteo platypterus)
- Herons: Little Blue Heron (egretta caerulea), Great Blue Heron ( ardea herodias) and Tricolred heron (egretta tricolor)
Other northern migrants travel farther south then Costa Rica and can only be seen a few weeks during spring and fall migration. Examples are Scarlet Tanager (piranga olivacea), Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus) and Canada warbler (wilsonia canadensis) A spectacular fenomenon is the mass migration of the Swainson’s Hawk (buteo swainsoni) who can make the sky black for several days, especially during spring migration.
Besides northern migrants, there are also a few southern migrants: these birds do exactly the opposite: they migrate from South America and arrive in Costa Rica around January – February to breed. Around September – October they return to avoid Costa Rica’s heaviest rains. Examples are Swallow-tailed Kite (elenoides forficatus), Plumbeous Kite (ictinia plumbea), Piratic Flycatcher (legatus leucophaius) and Yellow-green Vireo (vireo flavoviridis).