The Sights and Sounds of Costa Rica, Sounds List

The Sights and Sounds of Costa Rica

Travels in Costa Rica

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All content, including text, sounds and graphics is copyrighted to Naturesongs and Doug Von Gausig, 1998-2001. Any unauthorized use is prohibited. Educational and non-commercial license is usually granted without charge, but must be in writing from Naturesongs. For information on other uses and licensing of sounds and files on these pages see our Licensing Page. All illustrations are copyright 1999 to Dana Gardner, who illustrated Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch's "A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica", and many other books. Visit his web site for more information, or visit our on-line store to purchase his art work and note cards.


QUICK JUMPS TO BIRD ORDERS
TINAMIFORMES (Tinamous)
GAVIIFORMES (Loons)
CICONIIFORMES (Waders/Vultures)
ANSERIFORMES (Ducks/Geese)
FALCONIFORMES (Raptors)
GALLIFORMES (Fowl)
GRUIFORMES (Rails, etc.)
CHARADRIIFORMES (Gulls, Sanpipers, Jacanas)
COLUMBIFORMES (Doves/Pigeons)
PSITTACIFORMES (Parrots and Parakeets)
CUCULIFORMES (Cuckoos)
STRIGIFORMES (Owls)
CAPRIMULGIFORMES (Nightjars)
APODIFORMES (Hummers/Swifts)
TROGONIFORMES (Trogons)
CORACIIFORMES (Kingfishers)
PICIFORMES (Woodpeckers)
PASSERIFORMES (Perchers)
MYSTERY SOUNDS (Can you help?)

Tinamiformes - Tinamous

The Great Tinamou (Tinamus major) is the most ancient of birds in Costa Rica. Its call is ancient-sounding, simple, quavering, primieval. In this sample one calls in the distance at La Selva, then is answered by another right at our feet! (41K)

Little Tinamous (Crypturellus soui) are more often heard than seen - a great jungle sound! (223K) (MP3, 22.5 sec., 66K)

Ciconiiformes - Waders and Vultures

Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) are common residents of the country, though I seldom hear them call. This one was recorded in flight in Grano de Oro, in the Talamancas, 11/98. (60K)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) This is just a sample to compare to North American birds. I found a little marshy area 10 miles north of Quepos that was absolutely full of Green Herons and Northern Jacanas. (22K)

Little Blue Herons (Egretta caerulea) Not a great recording, but all I got - the herons are the gagging sounds. This recording was made in June, when the adults have by and large left to breed in the north, so you see almost exclusively juvenile Little Blues. (36K)

Anseriformes - Ducks & Geese

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) short sample (65K) a longer sample (166K). These ducks were very common around Manuel Antonio and the Pacific coast.

Muscovy Ducks (Cairina moschata) are seldom heard at all! These were flying into that marsh 10 Mi. north of Quepos. (69K)

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Falconiformes - Raptors

Black-chested or Barred Hawks (either name is OK) (Leucopternis princeps) are common around Guayabo National Park, which is where these soaring hawks were recorded, 6/99. (262K) Here's an example of a single bird, sitting in a tree and calling. (148K)

Gray Hawks (Asturina nitida) sound like a typical buteo, with which they were, until very recently, classified. This one was recorded near La Selva, 11/98. (15K)

Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) This poor soul was being harrassed on the beach at Manuel Antonio by Blue-gray Tanagers. (143k)

Collared Forest Falcons (Micrastur semitorquatus) are widely-distributed large hawks, mostly found in the lowlands. This one was recorded at La Selva, 11/98. (158K)

Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) - short version (161K), demonstrating the transitions. The entire "song" - 53 seconds, 414K(MP3, 53 sec, 105K). Laughing Falcon songs sometimes last a few minutes - they start softly and slowly, building to a crescendo in pitch and volume - a magical sound. These were recorded in the forest at Manuel Antonio. In this sample, one sits above the sendero going into the hills west of El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99, and laughs! Don't miss this recording! (344K) Here is a regular call, often heard in duet with another. (286K) Illustration by Dana Garder

This Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis) was recorded as he flew high overhead near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, in the SE corner of the country. He was difficult to ID, as he was "skylighted", but Jason Sutter, who is very familiar with them through his work at Tikal, confirmed my ID. (244K)

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Galliformes - Quail, Pheasants, Grouse, etc.

A Gray-headed Chacalaca (Ortalis cinereiceps) family perched in the tall brush at the No. end of Lake Arenal. Both parents and three youngsters were there. We saw the same (or an identical) family in the same location three days earlier. (68K)

This is the rattling alarm call (and most commonly-heard sound) of a Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor), as he escapes from our path in the Monteverde Preserve, 6/16/99. (82K)

This Spot-bellied Bobwhite (Colinus leucopogon) was recorded in a vacant field across from the Hampton Inn parlking lot in Alahuela, 6/17/99. (114K) This species is sometimes lumped with Colinus cristatus. He was sitting in the top of a small shrub right in the middle of the traffic & hubbub of the city!

A covy of Black-breasted Wood-Quail (Odontophorus leucolaemus) call in the distance at Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, 6/17/99. (84K) In this recording a single quail calls (146K) - this is a bit unusual, as they are normally call in a chorus.

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Gruiformes - Rails, Coots, Cranes, etc.

A White-throated Crake (Laterallus albigularis) calls from a meadow/marshy area on a road leading across the river out of downtown Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui into a marshy area and farmlands, 6/19/99. They can surprise you with this call, right at your feet, when you surprise them! (132K) Here is their clucking call, recorded in a small slough near Grano de Oro, 6/24/99. (138K)

Just about my favorite sound in Costa Rica is the "song" of the Gray-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides cajanea) . In this recording a flock of forages in the forest near the El Pizote lodge, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/23/99. They were heard every day there, morning and evening. Locals said they are good to eat ("like chicken"). It was unclear how many birds were calling in this sample. (204K) Illustration by Dana Gardner

Purple Gallinule(Porphyrula martinica) - with lots of frogs! This ws recorded in the marshy area 10 mi. North of Quepos. (106K) Here is a bit more vocalization, recorded in a small marsh on a road leading out of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/19/99. (116K)

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Charadriiformes - Gulls, Sandpipers, Jacanas, etc.

Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa)(115K) Here's a Second Sample - Breeding Display (250K) For the Jacanaphile only! This 24-second sample of Jacana talk is quite nice, but may take a few minutes to download (512K) Another Jacanaphile sample This one's a threesome, 21 seconds (319K). All of these recordings were made in the marsh 10 miles north of Quepos, where the Jacana breeding season was in full swing. These guys are very interesting birds, lots of ritual behavior, and lots of vocalization. For a good primer on these fascinating and beautiful birds, take a look at Godfrey Jackson's Jacana pages. Illustration by Dana Gardner

Spotted Sandpipers (Actitis macularia) are the most numerous Sandpipers in Costa Rica, especially inland. They are neotropical migrants. This is a flight call. (42K) This is a call from a foraging bird. (50K)

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Columbiformes - Doves & Pigeons

The Pale-vented Pigeon (Columba cayennensis) calls in the distance at Manuel Antonio, 6/12/98. (36K) Pale-venteds are sometimes hard to tell from Short-billeds - their size is similar and they both have dark bills, and when wet (which is often) they are both predominantly dark pigeons. Their calls are quite different, though. The Pale-billed says "Who are you?" and the Short-billed asks "Who cooks for you?" (Silly mnemonic device: The Short-billed is a "Short order cook")

Scaled Pigeons (Columba speciosa) are beautiful birds, uncommonly so for a pigeon, with a scaled nape and breast, and white-tipped red bill (like a Red-bill's). This one lives near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, a few miles from La Selva, 11/13/98. (97K) Here is a slight variation on that theme - recorded at the same location, 6/19/99. (106K)

Red-billed Pigeons (Columba flavirostris) are fairly common residents of the middle elevations, especially in the central part of the country. Visually, they're difficult to tell from the Short-billed and Pale-vented Pigeons, but the song is distinct. (51K)

A Short-billed Pigeons (Columba nigrirostris) call the typical "Who cooks for you?" and "churrs" at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. This is probably the most common and widespread pigeon in Costa Rica. See the entry above for help separating the Short-billed from the Pale-vented Pigeon.

White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica) are both permanent residents and neotropical migrants in Costa Rica, mostly along the Pacific lowlands. They are also one of the birds that frequents my yard in central Arizona, so it is a treat to see and hear them down south, too. This is their typical song, recorded near Orotina, 11/98. (183K)

Inca Doves (Columbina inca) are common residents in Costa Rica, where their range has been expanding since the 1930's. In this sample you'll hear their normal song followed by a mating call, sung while displaying by fanning the tail and a wing. (199K)

Ruddy Ground Doves (Columbina talpacoti) are common residents of the country. This one was recorded on the road leading out of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui into a marshy area and farmlands, 6/19/99. (104K)

A pair of Blue Ground Doves Claravis pretiosa call on the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. (120K)

A Gray-fronted Dove (Leptotila rufaxilla) calls in the distance at Manuel Antonio, on the Mirador trail, 6/15/98. (126K) Here is another, slightly different example of the call, recorded at El Gavilan lodge, near La Selva, 11/12/98. (59K)

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Psittaciformes - Parrots and Parakeets

A flock of Crimson-fronted Parakeets (Aratinga finschi) call in the forest off the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. (252K)

Olive-throated Parakeets (Aratinga nana)(166K) This example is two birds sitting high in an Almond tree near Cerro Tortuguero.

Orange-chinned Parakeets (Brotogeris jugularis) A pair chattering in a tree (119K) A flock in flight (83K) This is certainly one of the most common parrots in Costa Rica - I can't think of many places we haven't seen (and heard!) them. Usually they travel in large flocks, and they always, always chatter.

Surely the most impressive parrot (and possibly the most impressive bird in Costa Rica is the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). Unfortunately, their breeding is now pretty much restricted to Carara and possibly a few sites in the Carribbean lowlands. These were recorded in Carara Biological Preserve, 11/98. (172K) (MP3, 52K, 17.5 sec.)

A pair of White-crowned Parrots (Pionus senilis) fly over at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. (248K)

White-fronted Parrots (Amazona albifrons)(146K) Another example, a large flock near Arenal. (90K) And Another (78K) The White-fronted Parrot is an Amazon that is fairly common in Costa Rica.

Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)(33K) This individual was recorded at Tortuguero, where lots of the locals have made pets of this species.

Mealy Parrots (Amazona farinosa ) enjoy the evening chat session when they come in to roost. Like many flocking birds, they must tell about their day to anyone listening before they bed down for the night. This is one such chat session. (193K) Here one sits in the big tree at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99, and produces various calls over a several minute session. (320K)

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Cuculiformes - Cuckoos and Anis

A Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana) calls at the El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/23/99. (160K). Here is the "song" of the species, recorded at La Selva, 6/19/99. (37K) And this is their rattle, from the El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/23/99. (50K)

A Striped Cuckoo calls in a tree in a field on the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99.(144K) He went on like this for more than 5 minutes. Here is an example of a more complex "song", recorded in a meadow area on a road leading across the river out of downtown Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui into a marshy area and farmlands, 6/19/99. There were two birds calling and answering, then one flew into a tree quite close and continued calling. (218K)

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) - Flying in to a marsh (60K) Their normal flight songs (140K) This sample could also be titled "Why they call them "tijos""A third call (47K) Groove-billed Anis (which are Cuckoo relatives) are common residents of fields and clearings - they like to hang out around marshes, too, which is where I recorded these. Cattle are their best friends, as they like to eat the insects the cattle stir up. They always want to announce their arrival by calling their "Tijo, Tijo" call. Here is one talking to some others in a field nera Las Horquetas. (83K) Here is an example of a Groove-billed Ani recorded above Grano de Oro in the Talamancas, 6/24/99, illustrating the call notes leading to the "song". (120K) This unusual vocalization (82K) was made by a single bird in Monteverde - Jim Zook, an accomplished ear-birder in Costa Rica says that he has also heard this call from the species.

Strigiformes - Owls

A Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) scolds me, as I am unexpectedly close to her child (I learn later) in the river bottom at El Gavilan, near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/20/99. (138K)

A Mottled Owl (Ciccaba virgata) calls outside our cabin at about 4 AM, 6/17/99, Monteverde. (242K)

A Black and White Owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata) sits high in a tree at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. (66K)

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Caprimulgiformes - Nightjars

A Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) calls in the early evening at the "El Pizote" in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99, 5:40 PM. I had seen this guy earlier that morning, as I walked near his ground roost in a derelict cacao plantation. He apparently never strayed far from that spot, as these recordings were made 12 hours later only a few meters from where I had spotted him. (274K)

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Trogoniformes - Trogons

In this recording a female Violacious Trogon (Trogon violaceus), sits still in a tree (except when she calls, she flicks her tail and spreads it momentarily)in the lowlands 9 KM above Rancho Grande, down the Mt. from Monteverde and talks to herself, 6/17/99. (95K) This the normal "song" of the species, recorded at La Selva, 6/19/99. (80K) Here is a slight variation on that theme, from the El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/23/99. (130K)

A Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena) calls in the forest at La Selva, 6/19/99. (96K)

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Apodiformes - Hummingbirds and Swifts

Chestnut-collared Swifts (Streptoprocne rutila)(63K) These were flying high and fast near Fortuna Falls, talking all the time.

A Band-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes ruckeri) sits high above our heads in a tree and calls for long stretches at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. (188K)

Violet Sabrewing on Lek (Campylopterus hemileucurus)(172K) This sparrow-sized bird is one of the largest Hummers, and one of the most beautiful. This male was recorded on his "Lek". A Lek is a place where males of a species gather to display their wares to the available females in the area. It is usually a small area where several (10 or so in this case) males are within sight and earshot of each other. Leks can be found by listening for continuous calling coming from several birds of the same species. This was recorded in Early June.

Steely-vented Hummingbirds (Amazilia saucerrottei) are one of the most common hummers in Costa Rica. You'll hear this sound in a lot of your travels there. (90K)

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl)(45K) This is a common species around Arenal - this one was recorded at La Fortuna. Here's another example of their trill. (45K) This is the "feeding call" (222K) of a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird at a Heliconia flower at El Gavilan lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/18/99.

Long-tailed Hermits (Phaethornis superciliosus) lek, as do Little Hermits, below. This sample is a male on lek in Carara Biological Preserve. The lek was approximately 30x100 meters and held 8-10 males. (133K)

Little Hermit (Phaethornis longuemareus)(138K) Male on lek (see explanation under Violet Sabrewing, above) in Manuel Antonio, 6/15/98. These birds, when on lek, are almost impossible to see. They sit very near the ground in dense understory. I sometimes had to sit for 15 minutes, knowing I was only 3 meters away from them, before I saw one. If you wait long enough, one will fly out and take a look around occasionally.

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Coraciiformes - Kingfishers and Motmots

Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota) (77K) Recorded at Rancho Oropendola near Orotina - this bird repeats this "bark" every 5 seconds or so over and over. Motmots are beautiful birds with long, knob-ended tails, which they swing back and forth side-to-side like a pendulum. The tail feathers emerge without the "knobs", but the barbs abrade off quickly in the area a few cm proximal to the end, leaving a "knob" attached only by the shaft. Here is a duet performed by a pair of Blue-crowned Motmots in the forest near Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde - morning of 6/16/99. (89K)

Rufous Motmots (Baryphthengus martii) call to each other in the creek bottom the road to the Arenal Lodge, 6/15/99. (96K)

Broad-billed Motmots (Electron platyrhynchum)sound like a shortened train whistle to me. The sound is unmistakable. This one was receorded at La Selva, 11/98. (29K)

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Piciformes - Woodpeckers, Toucans, Jacamars, Barbets, etc.

Rufous-tailed Jacamars (Galbula ruficauda) like to hang out in the gallery forests. This one lives along the Sarapiqui River, at El Gavilan, the lodge where I stay when I'm recording in the La Selva area. They look a bit like a giant hummingbird. (108K) Here is an example of their "song" recorded 1 km from the Arenal Lodge in the creek bottom, 6/15/99. (170K) In this recording, a pair discuss the coming day early in the morning in the river bottom at El Gavilan, near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/20/99. (328K)

Prong-billed Barbets Duetting (Semnornis frantzii)(112K) - also a distant recording from Monteverde, but well worth the listen! Here's a better recording of a duet, recorded in the forest at the Monteverde Preserve, 6/16/99. They sure love to duet! (178K)

Emerald Toucanets (Aulacorhynchus prasinus ) are one of the small toucans in Costa Rica. They are beautiful to see, and grating to hear - in fact they sound a bit like a cheese grater! They're quite talkative, and usually let you know when they're around. This pair was recorded at the top of Catarata (Waterfall) La Paz, which you can hear in the background. (134K) Here is a second example of the call - this one recorded near the Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, 6/17/99. (98K) A family of 4 Emerald Toucanets ate and conversed within 20 feet of me on the path behind the Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, 6/17/99. This is a juvenile chattering (whispering) to it's elder. Flight sounds are also Emerald Toucanet.

A Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus calls in the forest during a rainstorm in Tortuguero. (101K)

The image of the Keel-billed Toucans (Ramphastos sulfuratus) appears on every curio in Costa Rica. It is a spectacularly beautiful bird, and is very common. Their call is heard everwhere. (103K) Here's an example of a Keel-billed Toucan's "whisper song" recorded at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. (58K)

Chestnut-mandibled Toucans (Ramphastos swainsonii) are one of the two large toucans in Costa Rica. They often coexist with their cousin, the Keel-billed Toucan, but their calls are entirely different. This one was recorded in La Selva, 11/98. (192K)

The Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani) is one of the most widespread and common woodpeckers in Costa Rica. (24K) Compare this woodpecker's call to that of our to our related Gila Woodpecker (145K). Both are from the Melanerpes genus. here is another, "churring" call of this bird. (174K)

A Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) drums just above his nest about 10 meters up a dead tree, right at the top of the tree, at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. (72K)

Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis)(224K) This male and female were interacting in a tall tree in Manuel Antonio. They seemed to talk to each other incessantly the whole time I observed them. They're a noble-looking woodpecker, with their striking red crest and white bill, much like the now extinct Ivory Bill, with which they share the genus. This is the sound of Pale bills excavating a nest in Carara, 11/98. (96K) Here is an example of their call, recorded at La Selva, 6/19/99. (196K) And this is their characteristic (and diagnostic) "double drum", usually done every 30 seconds or so. This bird was signalling in the river bottom at El Gavilan, near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/20/99.

Hoffmann's Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii)(77K) This recording was made at a marsh 10 miles north of Quepos, on the Pacific coast, while the pair was tending a nest in a dead tree. Here is an example of their protracted call. This is a female calling from a bare tree behind the Cabinas el Bosque, 6/16/99, Monteverde. She called like this for several minutes, sitting in one spot near a Brown Jay in the same tree (was she complaining about the Jay?). (236K)

Smoky-brown Woodpecker (Veniliornis fumigatus)(48K) - a distant recording made in the park at Monteverde.

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Passeriformes - Perching Birds

QUICK JUMPS TO PASSERINE FAMILIES
FURNARIIDAE (Spinetails, Etc.)
DENDROCOLAPTIDAE (Woodcreepers)
THAMNOPHILIDAE (Antbirds)
FORMICARIIDAE (Ant Thrushes & Ant Pittas)
RHINOCRYPTIDAE (Tapaculos)
TYRANNIDAE (Tyrant Flycatchers)
COTINGIDAE (Cotingas, Bellbirds)
PIPRIDAE (Manakins)
VIREONIDAE (Vireos, Greenlets)
CORVIDAE (Jays)
HIRUNDINIDAE (Swallows, Martins)
TROGLODYTIDAE (Wrens)
SYLVIIDAE (Gnatcatchers)
TURDIDAE (Thrushes)
PARULIDAE (Warblers)
COEREBIDAE (Bananaquit)
THRAUPIDAE (Tanagers, Euphonias)
EMBERIZIDAE (Sparrows, Grassquits, etc.)
CARDINALIDAE (Grosbeaks, Saltators)
ICTERIDAE (Blackbirds, Orioles)
FRINGILLIDAE (True Finches)
PASSERIDAE (House Sparrow)
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FURNARIIDAE: Spinetails, Foliage Gleaners, Leaftossers, etc.

This Red-faced Spinetail (Cranioleuca erythrops)(96K) sounds off deep in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

This Lineated Foliage-gleaner (Syndactyla subalaris ) (148K), "a rufous bird with a more rufous tail - flicks his tail as he calls - Rufous mourner-sized" was recorded 6/16/99, on the Sky Walk, near Santa Elena. Those are Three-striped Warblers in the background.

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DENDROCOLAPTIDAE: Woodcreepers, Scythebills

The "song" of the Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus) is unmistakeable at La Selva, 6/19/99. (270K) This is their call. (214K)

This Cocoa (formerly Buff-throated) Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus sussurans (formerly lumped in with X. guttatus)) was our alarm clock at Manuel Antonio - he sings the first parts over and over and over every 6 seconds for 30+ minutes in the morning, occasionally including the "churrs". (115K) Woodcreepers are some of those notoriously difficult to identify by sight birds, but each has it's unique song. I still hear this one in the morning some days, and I'm thousands of miles away!

Spotted Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius)(29K) I included this one to show how different Woodcreeper sounds can be. He was recorded at Monteverde way off in the forest.

A Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) (51K) calls along the river at La Selva, 11/16/98. (Buff-throated Saltator in the background)

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THAMNOPHILIDAE: Antbirds

A pair of Great Antshrikes (Taraba major) call to each other at the El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. Listen for the characteristic (but not always present) raspy finish to the "song". (236K). Here is another example of the call, recorded a week earlier at La Selva. (195K) Antshrikes are difficult to tell apart by voice - best to rely on a visual ID of these guys!.

Two Black-hooded Antshrikes (Thamnophilus bridgesi)(110K) These two males competed for song supremacy at Manuel Antonio for hours! If you'd like a longer version, let me know. Suffice it to say that this "battle of the bands" went on pretty much the entire day. Here are several other calls of this beautiful bird. (239K)

Dot-winged Antwrens (Microrhopias quixensis) are some of the most talkative and linguistically varied birds in Costa Rica. This is a call used while several forage in a mixed flock (they love mixed flocks!) in La Selva. (118K) This is a female, calling in the morning at Carara. (157K) Here are some flocking calls recorded at Carara. (11 sec., 171K) (MP3, 30 sec, 121K) Here is another call from Carara. (54K) More calls, trills and chatter. (188K) And here is a "sampler" of calls from one talented Carara bird. (139K)

Chestnut-backed Antbird (Myrmeciza exsul)(131K) This was a pair foraging at Manuel Antonio. Here's their song (103K), which we heard a lot around Manuel Antonio - sung over and over for several minutes at a time.

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FORMICARIIDAE: Ant Thrushes & Ant Pittas

A Thicket (formerly Fulvous-bellied) Antpitta (Hylopezus dives) sings, hidden in the dense understory (where they feel comfortable) at La Selva, 6/19/99. (184K) This bird wins the "cutest bird in Costa Rica" prize!

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RHINOCRYPTIDAE: Tapaculos

This is a Silvery-fronted Tapaculo (Scytalopus argentifrons) at Catarata La Paz in the montane cloud forest, 11/16/98. These guys are often heard, but seldom seen, and the song sometimes continues uninterrupted for 2 minutes! (159K)

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TYRANNIDAE: Tyrant Flycatchers

A Yellow Tyrannulet (Capsiempis flaveola) sits atop a small bare tree along a path near El Gavilan (Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui) and tells us his life story. Smoky Jungle Frogs call in the background. (12 sec., 185K) (MP3, 31.5 sec, 92K)

A Brown-capped Tyrranulet (Ornithion brunneicapillum) (204K) sings at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99.

Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster)(243K) We heard this plaintive call from Arenal to Quepos - he's even heard in the sample of the Brown Jays, below. The "song" is rather like hearing the wind in a wire, almost raptor-like. Here a pair quarrel outside our room at the Arenal Lodge, 6/15/99. (103K)

Ochre-bellied Flycatchers (Mionectes oleagineus) are common lowland residents of both slopes. This one was recorded at La Selva. (76K)

A Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant (Myiornis atricapillus) (the smallest Passerine bird) visits us and calls in the forest at La Selva, 11/98. (118K)

A Northern Bentbill (Oncostoma cinereigulare) calls his buzz-saw call at La Selva, 6/19/99. (30K)

Tawny-chested Flcatchers (Aphanotriccus capitalis) are in trouble these days, and are considered threatened by most Costa Rican ornithologists. This one hangs out near La Selva, where they are still relatively easy to find. Recorded 11/13/98. (81K)

Tropical Pewee (Contopus cinereus)(97K) This little guy sat on a wire in La Fortuna and called a whole morning away, occasionally sallying forth to catch an insect on the wing.

A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris) sits in a tree and calls incessantly in Carara Biological Preserve, 11/17/98 - these are 2 examples of different individuals only minutes apart. (183K)

A pair of Long-tailed Tyrants (Colonia colonus) call at their nesting tree on the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. (248K)

Bright-rumped Attilas (Attila spadiceus) often sit in one place and sing this song for long periods (hours sometimes). This one was in La Selva, 11/98. (203K) (MP3 110K, 38 sec.) Here is a second example of the song, illustrating the lead-in notes a bit better. (292K)

A Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer) calls at El Gavilan lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/18/99. A sharp-eared listener will hear the answering call of another in the background. (120K)

Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)(35K) Great Kiskadees are pretty much everywhere in Costa Rica - Their onomotopaeic call can be heard morning and night. Here's another example of the call (143K) Here is an example of their single call. (170K) Here are two more examples of their calls. (1) (2)

Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua)(74K) I heard and recorded this one at Manuel Antonio. Here's another call from Monteverde. (78K)

Social Flycatchers (Myiozetetes similis)(60K) often nest around people. In the Tortuguero area, where this one was recorded, the nests can be seen hanging from telephone wires and poles. In this second example (132K) a family group near Volcan Arenal chatters amongst themselves.

Here is the call of a Gray-capped Flycatcher (Myiozetetes granadensis ) while sitting in a tree with a Kiskadee anbd another Gray-capped. (98K) Another calls at El Gavilan lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/18/99. (209K) Here a pair discuss the day's news. (233K) In this example the discussion gets a bit more heated. (234K)

A White-ringed Flycatcher, (Conopias albovittata) calls along the dirt road to Fortuna Falls, near La Fortuna, 6/12/98, in the early evening. This bird always looks to me like a "mini-Kiskadee". (57K)

The Common Tody Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum)(87K) is a tiny yellow and black bird - as small as a "large hummingbird" according to my notes. This one is heard piping and trilling at La Fortuna, near Volca Arenal. Here is their characteristic call, also from the Arenal area (Black-striped Sparrow in the background). (67K)

A Yellow-margined Flycatcher (Tolmomyias assimilis) calls his high, thin call in the canopy at La Selva, 11/16/98. (93K)

This Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius) was recorded in the early evening along the road leading to Fortuna Falls, near Fortuna. (85K)

Tropical Kingbirds (Tyrannus melancholicus)(45K) are common residents of Costa Rica. Their range is apparently expanding northward, as more and more accounts of them come each Summer from as far as Southern Canada. Here is A Tropical Kingbird's "whit" call, performed at the Arenal Lodge. His "whit" note seemed to counterpoint a Black-striped Sparrow's, which was also calling in the "whit" style,6/15/99. (45K)

Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata)(19K) This female makes the only type sound either sex seems to make! A washboard rubbed with a straw? In this example a pair, who are nesting in a hole in a dead tree right outside our cabin at Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, talk to each other, 6/17/99 (106K)

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COTINGIDAE: Cotingas, Bellbirds, etc.

The Rufous Piha (Lipaugus unirufus) is a common lowland Cotinga that I hear more often than see (of course this is true of most Costa Rican birds!). This guy has a variety of calls/songs - here are three of them: Call 1 (85K) Call 2 (85 K) Call 3 (85K)

Here are three examples of Cinnamon Becards (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) recorded at the El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22 and 6/23/99. Their calls are almost definitively "plaintive". (152K) Here are a few more examples of the call and song (158K), recorded while the bird sat high in a tree early morning - El Gavilan - in the river bottom. 11/16/98.

Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculata)(104K) Well, what can be said about one of the archtypical sounds of the Monteverde Cloud Forest? It's fantastic? Unworldly? Just wonderful! Bellbirds sit high, high in the canopy and are heard far more than seen. The sound is extremely loud, often carrying a mile or more! The bird flies up and calls - listen for the "squeaky gate" as well as the "BONG" of his call. I love this sound!

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PIPRIDAE: Manakins

White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei)(225K) This male was on Lek in the forest at Tortuguero. Listen to the characteristic wing snapping display! Another male calls (141K) from his perch at the edge of his lek.

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VIREONIDAE: Vireos, Greenlets

Lesser Greenlet (Hylophilus decurtatus)(119k) This bird heard, but not seen at the top of the trails in Manuel Antonio, 6/15/98. He's a member of the Vireo family. Here is another example of this guy from Tortuguero. (202K) Another Lesser Greenlet, sings a different song high in a tree at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. Note that the first note of their "normal" song/call is identical to the notes in this call. (280K)

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A Rufous-browed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis gujanensis) sits in the canopy above my head on the trail around Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, early morning 6/16/99, and sings this song - over and over and over... (168K)

CORVIDAE: Jays

White-throated Magpie-Jays (Calocitta formosa) are beautiful big jays that travel the No. Pacific slopes in small flocks. Their songs and calls are quite varied - this is one of the typical calls, recorded on the road to Monteverde. (128K)

These Black-chested Jays Cyanocorax affinis announced themselves at the El Pizote lodge (one of my favorite spots), near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/23/99. (135K)

Brown Jays (Cyanocorax morio) are very common residents of both slopes. They hate quiet and will do whatever they can to destroy it when they find it! You'll also hear the call of Blue-crowned Motmot in this recording. (129K) Here is another example of a group near the Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, 6/17/99. (162K) And here is an unusual vocalization also recorded near the Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, 6/17/99. (164K)

Azure-hooded Jay (Cyanolyca cucullata)(360K) This medium-sized Jay's call is a ringing alarm in the Monteverde Cloud Forest - in the city you'd think it may be someone's car alarm!

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HIRUNDIDAE: Swallows, Martins

Gray-breasted Martins (Progne chalybea)(141K) fullfill the swallows' roll at the marsh 10 Mi. North of Quepos - this one is sitting on a wire surveying his empire. A second sample of this bird's "song" - note the cadence. (183K)

A Blue and White Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) flies over a small slough near Grano de Oro, in the Talamanca range, 6/24/99. (202K)

Northern Rough-winged Swallows (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)(171K) These are common swallows where I'm from in Central Arizona, so it was interesting to record them in Costa Rica, too - they sound pretty much the same!

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TROGLODYTIDAE: Wrens

Band-backed Wrens (Campylorhynchus zonatus) almost never "sing" alone - if you can call what they do singing! Actually it's one of my favorite Costa Rican sounds, but singing? They love to duet, and a pair can sometimes sound like 40 birds chattering away. They generally occupy the higher reaches of river and stream galleries.(127k) Example 2 (94K) Example 3 (203K)

Rufous-naped Wrens (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) are close relatives of the Band-backed Wren, and they sound similar. This sample demonstrates two of their calls - the first is a solitary bird, followed by some social interaction of a small flock of 8-10 birds. (252K)

Black-throated Wrens (Thryothorus atrogularis) are wonderful songsters - this song was recorded in the thick understory at La Selva, 11/98. (78K) Here is another individual's song, also from La Selva. (67K) Here's another in the understory at La Selva, 6/19/99. (201K) And here is one from the El Pizote Lodge, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. (151K) And finally another example from El Pizote. He sang the initial phrase over and over for 20 or so reps, then switched to the last song type in this sample for several more repetitions. (233K) These recordings demonstrate the flexibility of this species (in fact this genus') songs.

Bay Wrens (Thryothorus nigricapillus) occupy the same niche on the Carribrean slope as the Riverside Wren (below) occupies in the South Pacific slope - dense river and stream galleries. They have, in fact, at times been considered just subspecies. They are a good example of allopatric evolution. Both are wonderful, loud singers. (191K) Here are two more examples of different songs: (sample2)(129K) (sample 3)(101K) These are their scolding calls (138K).

Riverside Wrens (Thryothorus semibadius)(186K) love the underbrush. They have several distinct songs, most of which are strident and loud. Funny how such an inconspicuous bird can be so conspicuous. The area around Manuel Antonio is full of Riverside Wrens. This call I refer to as the excited "stream" of calling. If this bird has a "normal" song (61K) this is it. Another variation on the theme. (96K) And Another (122K) Here are a few of his calls, given from the deep underbrush, where he's so comfortable - Manuel Antonio's surf in the background. (142K) And another call (96K) which came from the underbrush at Manuel Antonio (Black-hooded Antshrike in the distance). Riverside Wrens, like House Wrens, are masters of "theme and variations" singing - it seems each individual comes up with his own song, which fits snugly within their basic theme. Here is one of their warning calls - issued to us at Carara, 11/98. (152K)

Stripe-breasted Wrens (Thryothorus thoracicus) are common residents of the Carribbean slope. They have two dominant "song types". This is their monotonous (literally!) song - delivered from the underbrush in the mountains above Braulio Carrillo. (109K). Here is another example of that song type from Guayabo. Note that the birds at Guayabo often vary the pitch of this song slightly during its rendition. Here are three examples of his more "song-like" song - sounds a bit like a Carolina Wren, doesn't it? Example 1, recorded near Arenal Lodge, at the foot of Volcan Arenal, 6/15/99. (44K) Example 2, recorded at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. (96K) Example 3 recorded at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. (140K) Here is their typical warning call, at La Selva, 6/19/99. (88K) If a pair they really get excited, they may sound like this, recorded at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. (144K)(

This Rufous-breasted Wren (Thryothorus rutilus) (198K) sang this exact phrase evey 6 seconds for hundreds of repetitions in the forest surrounding "Cabinas el Bosque" in Monteverde, 6/17/99.

A Rufous and White Wren (Thryothorus rufalbus) sings in the dawn chorus at Monteverde, near "Cabinas el Bosque", 6/16/99. (254K) The song was repeated verbatim at 6-10-second intervals for several minutes. Following are either two more examples of the same species or the same bird sings three variations of his song. All were recorded within a few hundred meters and within a two-hour period. Example 1 (86K) Example 2 (78K) Notice that, although the songs are all different, they share common structure - a lead-in note or phrase, followed by a variable-speed trill and ending with an upturned punctuation note. Now, just to show that no bird follows any rule I create, here are two examples of this species' song from deep in the forest at Manuel Antonio - morning of 6/15/98.

The Plain Wren (Thryothorus modestus) is well-named. It is plain as a post. Small and plain. Brown. But it sings beautifully and frequently! This sample demonstrates the calls and song. (224K) Here's another example of a high-pitched and questioning song, recorded near our cabin at the Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, 6/17/99. (236K) Here are more calls and songs of this variable species, recorded as it works it's way through a hedgeline above Santa Elena, 6/10/98. (252K)

This is a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)(160K) from Monteverde. House Wrens were very common throughout our travels, and each had his slightly different dialect - in fact the dialectic differences were quite marked for the small linear distances of their separation. The separation in habitat provides the differentiation here. Here's another individual from Monteverde. (219K) And a third - this one from Manuel Antonio (118K) Here are two of the House Wren's common calls. Call one and call two. Here's the local bird outside our room at the Arenal Lodge, 6/15/99. (159K)

Ochreaceous Wrens (Troglodytes ochraceus)(146k) are tiny reddish Wrens that can be easily confused with House Wrens. In general Ochreaceous Wrens inhabit the highlands and forests and House Wrens hang out around human habitation, also this Wren is redder and slightly smaller. The song is completely different.

White-breasted Wood Wrens (Henicorhina eucosticta ) are common residents below 3000' (900M), where they take over the job of the Gray-breasted Wood Wren, below. These two species are a good example of sympatric evolution - each doing his job in his own territory. This song and call were recorded in Grano de Oro, in the Talamancas.(86K) Here are more calls, recorded at La Selva, 6/19/99. This species' songs are elegant in their simplicity, characterised by variations on a three-note theme. Here are several examples: Example 1, in a clump of platanilla & grass at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. (178K) Example 2, at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. (84K) Example 3, from the Mts above Grano de Oro, 6/24/99. Example 4, at La Selva, 6/19/99. (60K)

A Gray-breasted Wood Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys)(64K) is a delight to hear in the deep cloud forests of Monteverde and Santa Elena. Listen to these and compare them to the Riverside Wren, who occupies the niche in the Pacific slope that this bird holds in the highlands.A second example (67K) (with Bellbird!) Here is one of the calls, recorded from the underbrush at Sta Elena Preserve. (97K) Here's another example of the scolding call, also from Monteverde. (128K)

This Nightingale Wren (Microcerculus philomela) entertained us early one morning in the pouring rain high in the hills above the Carribean slope (a very rainy recording!). (204K) This sample is a bit better, but these guys always seem to sing in the noisiest possible environs! Recorded near the Arenal Lodge, in the creek bottom off the road up to the lodge - 6/15/99. (226K)

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SYLVIIDAE: Gnatcatchers

This Long-billed Gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus)(106K) sings at the top of the Mirador Trail in Manuel Antonio. The top of that trail is one of the most beautiful places anywhere in the world, for my money! There is a small observation deck there that looks out over the tops of the trees and on to one of the earth's most gorgeous beaches several hundred feet below - butterflies are everywhere, incredible flowers abound, and the peace is breathtaking! Go there. Here are two more examples of the call with slight variations. This one was recorded at La Selva, 6/19/99. (44K) This one on the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. (116K)

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TURDIDAE: Thrushes

A Black-faced Solitaire (Myadestes melanops) sings in the forest near a small waterfall in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, 6/16/99. (204K). This bird is generally considered to have the most beautiful song in Costa Rica, where he is called the "Jilguero", and where the song has led to high demand as a caged bird. Here is a second example of one of their songs, this time sung softly and very close to me in the same preserve. (158K)

This Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush (Catharus aurantiirostris) (100K) was recorded on a wonderful path through the forest that I love near the Cabinas el Bosque, Monteverde, 6/17/99.

Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrushes (Catharus fuscater)(170K) are heard more than seen in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, and they sing one of the area's most pleasing songs. Here's a second example. (95K) If you get really close to a singing Slaty-backed Nightingale Thrush, the song can lose some of the ethereal quality that it gains from reverberation and natural acoustics. This example was recorded for only a few meters away - you'll see what I mean. (388K)

Wood Thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina) are neotropical migrants in Costa Rica. This individual was foraging on the forest floor in La Selva, 11/98. It's always interesting to see "our" North American birds in their winter homes. (153K)

The Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi) is the national bird of Costa Rica, and one of the most widespread (112K). I don't think there was any major area without this bird. The local name is "Yigüirro" and the song signals the beginning of the rainy (and therefore, the planting) season. Here's one of his calls. And Another. This I call the "Mono-Duet", a double call in which the bird uses both syrinxes to make slightly different sounds - it took me a while to figure out that this wasn't two birds duetting. Click here for a spectrogram of this call, showing both syrinxes operating. In this sample they use this "mono-duet" as a mobbing call as they harrass a pair of Spectacled Owls that are too close in the river bottom at El Gavilan, near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui 6/20/99. (366K)

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PARULIDAE: Warblers

Yellow Warblers (Dendroica petechia) are common neotropical migrants to Costa Rica, and many spend the rest of the year near my home in central Arizona. This is their song. (183K) These are typical calls. (70K) Both recordings are from 11/98.

One of the most common neotropical migrant warblers in Costa Rica is the Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica ). They were everywhere we went in November,1998, You generally hear only the calls of the migrant warblers there. This one was recorded on the grounds of "El Gavilan", where I like to stay when in the La Selva area. (71K)

The Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis) is a common neotropic migrant along the rivers. This is the call heard during their stay in the south. (92K)

An Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (Geothlypis semiflava) sings in a small marshy area at La Selva, 6/19/99. (94K)

Gray-crowned Yellowthroats (Geothlypis poliocephala) enjoy grassy meadows and marshy areas. This is the typical song. (182K) Here are two of their calls. Call 1 and Call 2

Collared Redstarts (Myioborus torquatus) flit around the forest inside the Monteverde preserve. (142K)

Golden Crowned Warblers (Basileuterus culicivorus) call and sing as they forage above our heads through the trees at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. (260K)

Rufous-capped Warblers (Basileuterus rufifrons) are common residents on the Pacific slope and central highlands. We ran into this one at San Mateo, north of Carara - this is just the call note. (98K)

Three-striped Warblers (Basileuterus tristriatus) are also pretty common in Monteverde. (121K)

Buff-rumped Warblers (Phaeothlypis fulvicauda) (202K) are found (and more often heard!) foraging on the banks of rivers and streams. Here is a pair talking (88K) to each other. Here is another singing in the river bottom at El Gavilan, near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/20/99. There are two songs here - the abbreviated "lead in" song and the full song, including the lead-in. Usually at any distance and with the forest and river's acoustics, you hear only the last, strident part of the full song. (302K, big, but worth it!)

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COERIBIDAE: Bananaquit

This Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) was foraging amongst the palms and Cecropia trees in Manuel Antonio - though he could have been recorded in any of the warmer areas of the country (168K). Here is a courtship duet, during which these birds were copulating (114K). The Bananaquit is the sole representative of his family, the Coerebidae.

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THRAUPIDAE: Tanagers, Euphonias

This Common Bush-Tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus) was part of a mixed flock in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. (162K)

Sooty-capped Bush-Tanagers (Chlorospingus pileatus ) inhabit the higher areas on the Cordillera Central & the Talamanca range - this small flock was recorded at Catarata (waterfall) La Paz. (141K)

Dusky-faced Tanagers (Mitrospingus cassinii) can be heard before they're seen - listen for this explosive "sputtering" flock call. (165K) (MP3, 11 sec., 44K)

White-lined Tanagers (Tachyphonus rufus) are typical tropical tanagers, vocally. This is a series of calls recorded in Carara. (174K) Here are some calls recorded at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. (136K)

Red-throated Ant-Tanagers (Habia fuscicauda) squabble at La Selva, 6/19/99. (350K) Here is an example of their call. (90K)

I love hearing Summer Tanagers (Piranga rubra) when they're in Costa Rica for our winter, because their summer range is right where I live in central Arizona. I hear them every day of the spring and summer here, then get to see them on their winter grounds in November - a real treat! (128K) You can hear their summer sounds on my North American Birds page.

Two female Passerini's Tanagers (Ramphocelus passerinii) have a heated discussion near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 11/98. (34K) A male sings just outside Carrizal, 6/18/99. (274K) For a discussion of the Passerini's/Cherrie's split from what used to be a single species, the Scarlet-rumped Tanager, see below.

Cherrie's Tanagers (Ramphocelus costaricensis) are common birds throughout the Pacific Slope (happily, since they are also one of the most strikingly beautiful!). This one is a male, demonstrating his "tsips" & chatter. (97K) Some chirps (26K). A Male song (146K). Female calls (85K) This species was recently split from the Scarlet-rumped Tanager, creating two species, the Cherrie's which occurs mostly on the Pacific slope and the Passerini's, which inhabits primarily the Carribean slope. The Cherrie's female is much more boldly-colored than the Passerini's, but the males are essentially similar.

Blue-gray Tanagers (Thraupis episcopus) are also common in Costa Rica. Here is some chatter. (48K) A longer sample with chirps and "chatter" (275K). More "Chatter" (75K) Complaining at a Common Black Hawk on the beach (49K)

Palm Tanagers (Thraupis palmarum) sing and call at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. (328K)

Scrub Euphonias (Euphonia affinis) sound similar to their congens, the Yellow-crowns, below, but the call is higher in pitch and delivered rather faster. This specimen was recorded in a mimosa about a third of the way up the mountain to Monteverde. (103K)

The Yellow-crowned Euphonia (Euphonia luteicapilla) produces some of the purest tones I've recorded in any bird. This one was at Manuel Antonio in June, 1998. (78K)

This Yellow-throated Euphonia (Euphonia hirundinacea) male was recorded along the roadside near the town of Tilaran. (131K)

Olive-backed Euphonias (Euphonia gouldi) have this distinctive call, which, to me, sounds a bit like an old "Selectric" typewriter! This one was recorded at La Selva.(107K) Here's an example of their mixed call/song, at El Gavilan lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/18/99. (A very Vireo-like thing to do!)(256K) Here's another example, from La Selva. (68K)

Golden-hooded Tanagers (Tangara larvata) are common residents of both lower slopes. They are resplendent in black, yellow and electric blues - much prettier to see than to hear! (252K) Here are more examples of their calls. (110K)

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EMBERIZIDAE: Sparrows, Grassquits, etc.

Blue-black Grassquits (Volatinia jacarina) are also common field and fenceline birds. They are fairly ubiquitous in Costa Rica. This is the song - Guess who they hang out with? (127K) This is their call. (97K) A male Blue-black Grassquit performs his display flight & call - flies straight up from his perch on a fence post, about 2 meters, calls, flips over and lands, then repeats this over & over - the flapping sound is the vertical ascent each time. (127K)

Yellow-faced Grassquits (Tiaris olivacea) like fields and fencelines. This one was recorded 6/11/98 near the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Preserve. (103K)

This Variable Seedeater (Sporophila americana) was recorded at the base of Arenal Volcano, June, 1998. (172K) Here are some of their calls. (100K) Here are two examples of Variable Seedeater mimicry, both recorded on the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99. The mimicry is delivered in the same style as a Lesser Goldfinch's - rapid fire and each separate song very brief. Listen for Olive-backed Euphonia, Hoffman's Woodpecker, and other species' songs in these samples. Example 1 (201K) Example 2 (163K) If you are aware of mimicry in this species, I'd like to hear more about it from you.

A small flock of Orange-billed Sparrows (Arremon aurantiirostris) invade the very temporary quiet at La Selva - 11/98. (124K)

Black-striped Sparrows (Arremonops conirostris) woke us at La Fortuna in the dawn chorus, with their "bouncing ball" song. Later I found one singing in a field on the road leading to Fortuna Falls. This song's a treat! (106K) Here's a longer version, including the calls that often precede their full song. (217K)(MP3, 82K, 28 sec) In this recording, a pair talk to each other in the shrubbery outside our room at the Arenal Lodge, early morning. This is their characteristic chatter, 6/15/99. (222K)

Rufous-collared Sparrows (Zonotrichia capensis) are one of the most common sparrows in Costa Rica. They like urban and semi-rural field environs, like parks, soccer fields, etc. This song is sung over and over, and loudly! (125K)

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CARDINALIDAE: Saltators, Grosbeaks

Buff-throated Saltators (Saltator maximus) were heard all around Arenal Volcano. This one was recorded on a very windy day at the Arenal visitor's center. (82K) Here are two more examples of the song and calls of this species: Example 1 (202K) Recorded at La Selva, 11/16/98 (the descending trill is a Streak-headed Woodcreeper) Example2 (260K) recorded at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99.

Black-headed Saltators (Saltator atriceps) are talkative and noisy birds. This song could be heard all over the Carribean slope in November. Here are two of his calls. Call 1 (88K) Call 2 (149K) Here is an example of the call (171K), recorded at La Selva, 11/16/98.

Grayish Saltators (Saltator coerulescens), recorded at La Fortuna and on the shores of lake Arenal, sing their typical series over and over at 10-second intervals, especially in the early morning - in the first sample he includes some youthful(?) chatter afterwards. 6/13/98(129K)

A Slate-colored Grosbeak (Saltator grossus ) (a type of Saltator) sings this pretty little song at La Selva, 6/19/99. (160K)

This Black-faced Grosbeak (Caryothraustes poliogaster) calls in the forest at La Selva. (159K)

These Blue-black Grosbeaks (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) joined us as part of a mixed flock at La Selva in June, 1999. This is their typical chatter. (185K)

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ICTERIDAE: Blackbirds, Orioles, Oropendolas

A Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) sings atop a fence at a small finca (farm) near Fortuna Falls. This was the only singing red-wing that I found on the 6/98 trip. His song and calls are "thin" compared to ours in the US, but I have only this one sample to go by. (115K)

A Red-breasted Blackbird (Sturnella militaris) sits on a fencepost and calls near Grano de Oro, 6/24/99. The locals call him a "Veranero" or a "Cacique veranero". This has been a South Pacific lowland bird, but reports of it moving north throughout the country are increasing. In this case, the bird is in the eastern Talamancas, far from the southeast lowlands! (276K)

An Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) sings in a hilly field about 10 miles outside Monteverde on the road to Arenal, Mid-afternoon 6/15/99. (75K)

Melodious Blackbirds (Dives dives) are well-named large blackbirds that have been spreading south through Costa Rica for several years. Their calls and songs are loud, piercing, and unmistakeable. (71K) Here are a few of their other calls. (173K)

Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) calls in Tilaran. I didn't concentrate on this species, I guess because it is so abundant in my home area - it was almost like recording pigeons to me! I just forgot to do it - I'll do better next trip! (62K) Here is an sample of that great grackle tradition - the telling of the day's events! Each evening, as they go to roost, each one must tell the rest what his day held - and they must all do this at one time! These are roosting just outside Atenas. (140K) This recording, from Damas Estuary, just north of Quepos, was recorded in November, 2000, and illustrates the variety of sounds this species uses. (372K) (MP3, 25 sec, 122K)

This Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) sits beside a Clay-colored Robin on a mountain road just north of San Jose, 6/14/99. (91K)

A Black-cowled Oriole (Icterus prosthemelas (AKA I.dominicensis prosthemelas)) male sings at El Gavilan lodge, near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/18/99. In this second example, you'll hear some mimicry, notably of the Olive-backed Euphonia and various Tyrannids (187K). This is similar to the mimicry of the Hooded Oriole in North America.

A Yellow-billed Cacique (Amblycercus holosericeus) calls in the early morning rain in the gallery of the Sarapiqui at El Gavilan, near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 11/16/98. (100K)

Scarlet-rumped Caciques (Cacicus uropygialis) are usually black-rumped, as the scarlet feathers are normally hidden away. Their calls are characteristically quavering. (133K) Here is another common call of this species, recorded at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. (242K). In this example, the singer "called in" another Scarlet-rumped Cacique, who gave the second group of calls and they flew off together, also at El Pizote, on the same day. (304K)

Montezuma Oropendolas (Psarocolius montezuma)w/young in nests. This is one of the archtypical sounds of Costa Rica, and their communal nests, hanging from a dead tree, are one of the archtypical sights. (173k) Here's a second example of that extraordinary call. (54K) When a bunch of Montezuma Oropendolas get together (which is pretty much all the time), you'll hear this typical chatter (recorded at La Selva, 6/19/99). (188K) In this example a male at La Selva (6/19/99) had been posturing, bill skyward, for a while with no challengers. Then this strange sound came from near him, and he answered with his regular call. (188K) Here are the commonly-heard flight sounds of a Montezuma Oropendola. (110K)

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FRINGILLIDAE: True Finches

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PASSERIDAE: House Sparrow

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Mystery Birds

These I recorded, and have some idea about, but was unable to sight-verify (it's a jungle out there, you know!). Please let me know if you recognize any of these sounds, which are posted with my recording notes.
Mystery #17 A mystery Wren (?) - undoubtably a Riverside Wren at Manuel Antonio, but I couldn't see it in the dense underbrush (Riverside territory!) 6/13/98 - Telinga - 252K
Mystery #18 Heard at nightfall at the marsh 10 Mi. No. of Quepos - the sound seems to emanate from the trees at the other side of the marsh, where several waders, etc. are beginning to roost - heard several times during the evening. 6/14/98 - Telinga, extreme range - 20 sec., 120K
Mystery #20 Rec. during the dawn chorus, Manuel Antonio, 6/15/98 - Telinga - a sparrow or wren? - 39K
Mystery 1b: Unknown sound from the forest around the Arenal Lodge, 9:30 pm - 6/14/99

Mystery 4b: Unseen bird(?) on the road to the Arenal Lodge - at the creek crossing - 6/15/99

Mystery 5b: An unseen Wren - probably one of the Thyrothorus wrens in the deep understory (Thyro. territory) near the Arenal Lodge in the creek bottom - 6/15/99

Mystery 6b: Unseen birds on the road above Tilaran on the way to Monteverde - in a valley in a cow pasture area far in the distance - possibly two large raptors which were seen, or possibly two parrots - I favor the raptor theory. I said during the recording that there is a "big hawk" in the recording field. 6/15/99

Mystery 7b: A Lesser Greenlet? near Cabinas el Bosque, 6/16/99, Monteverde

Mystery 8b: Unseen Thrush (Probably a Pale-vented Robin) , 6/16/99, Monteverde Reserve

Mystery 10b: Unseen flycatcher - a Paltry Tyrranulet? - 6/16/99, Monteverde Preserve

Mystery 11b: Unseen bird (a Trogon?) - 6/16/99, in the forest off the Canopy Tour, Santa Elena

Mystery 13b: An unseen bird in the forest, 6/16/99, Canopy Walk, Santa Elena - Emerald Toucanet in the BG - possibly a Pale-vented Robin? - Becky saw it and describes it as "yellow (or red) eye, with yellow/red eyering, black with pale vent area, which sounds like SBNT or SORO.

Mystery 18b: A Crimson-colared Tanager? at El Gavilan lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/18/99

Mystery 20b: Unseen bird/frog(?) (see mystery 4b) at El Gavilan lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 6/18/99

Mystery 22b: Unseen bird at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99

Mystery 28b: Unseen bird in a canyon off the path leading west from El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99

Mystery 29b: Unseen "Darkish Wren" sings in the forest at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99, Telinga Pro-Vw, Twin Science - also heard him this morning in the dawn chorus - same song, non-duet then, too. Is this a Song Wren? He repeats the same song over and over for minutes!

Mystery 30b: Larger tanagers(?) like Palm Tanagers on the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99

Mystery 31b: Unseen bird in the forest on the road leading out of Bribri, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/22/99, he did this for several minutes - no variation

Mystery 32b: A sound coming from the direction of, and seeming to be from a Squirrel Cuckoo at the El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/23/99, Probably an unseen Scarlet-rumped Cacique in the same tree.

Mystery 34b: Unseen flycatcher at the El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/23/99

Mystery 36b: Female Yellow-faced Grassquit? Grano de Oro, 6/24/99

Mystery 37b: A group of small, sparrow-sized birds in the tops of the trees above Grano de Oro, 6/24/99, a lek?

Mystery 38b: Unseen bird in wet montane forest above Grano de Oro, 6/24/99. A Jay?

Mystery 39b: An antbird? - brown and black, acc. to Tulio- it calls as it sits in the brush, unseen. Grano de Oro, 6/24/99

Mystery 40b: Unseen bird above our heads in the trees above Grano de Oro, 6/24/99

Mystery 41b: Unseen bird, deep understory above Grano de Oro, 6/24/99. Same antbird? as in mystery 39b?

Mystery 42b: Unseen bird, in the mountains above Grano de Oro, 6/24/99

Mystery 44b: A "very small yellowish or yellow and brown bird" (according to the men hanging out there)in Tuis at the filling station. The locals say he does this for long periods of time, always in the same place - a very dense tangle of brush., 6/24/99. Sounds more like an insect or amphibian to me.

Mystery 45b: On the road from Turrialba to Guayabo, riparian lowland (like the Verde River) 6/24/99. These birds are way up in a tree on the side of the road. A Tanager? He's brown, yellow under the tail.

Mystery 46b: High-pitched little guy high in the trees - unseen - Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99, Note: This is either a duet or the bird uses his 2 syrinxes to sing the tune at two different freqs!

Mystery 47b: Unseen bird in the underbrush - running with SBWR next to them - Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99

Mystery 48b: Unseen bird at Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99. Note the sybilant high-note before the main song is normally present - but is not present in the middle phrase herein - so it's "optional"

Mystery 49b: A quail? in Guayabo Nat'l Park, 6/25/99

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Herps (Amphibians & Reptiles)and Night Sounds

(Please let me know the identities of any of these if you know them)


Frogs near Fortuna Falls
Another Frog near Fortuna Falls
Dendrobates pumilio, Red Poison Dart Frog
A frog high above El Pizote, on the trail into the woods that leads to the antenna, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. The only frog I saw other than D. pumilio was D. auratus, the Turquoise, or Green & Black Poison Dart Frog. The call fits the written description of the call of that species. (204K)

The Gecko that kisses you goodnight at Tortuguero
Night Chorus #1, Monteverde
Night Chorus #2, Lake Arenal, starring the whooping Smoky Jungle Frogs (Leptodactylus pentadactylus)!(138K) Don't miss this one! A "Closeup" (71K) of the "whooping frog".
Night Chorus #3 - La Fortuna
Unknown frog at La Fortuna - hidden in a hybiscus - never saw it.
More unknown frogs at a marsh 10 miles north of Quepos, at sea level, early evening, 6/14/98 - 42K
These frogs were in a small slough at El Pizote, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 6/21/99. Unknown species in the foreground, probably a Smoky Jungle Frog in the background. (136K)

Several species of amphibians call from the little ponds behind the restaurant at the Arenal Lodge, 6/14/99. The "clapper-like" sound is similar to the Bolivian Hyla punctata on Sjoerd Mayer' Bolivian Amphibians CD-ROM. (133K) Here are more examples from this same group of ponds. Notice the two distinct bands of frequencies. Is this due to sexual differences, age differences, different species, duetting? (90K) This sample separates the two bands, first the higher group, then the lower, from the same recording. (182K)

Frogs in a field near El Gavilan, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 11/13/98. (87K)

A large (10 cm. long) Toad, possibly Bufo marinus, brown, with stripes and spots on his legs, very large parotids, 6/23/99, Grano de Oro. (196K) This recording doesn't match other recordings of B. marinus that I have heard, so my ID is suspect.

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Insects

Cicadas pulsate on Cerro Tortuguero
A Cicada struggles(?) to get going on Cerro Tortuguero And here is what they sound like when they all get it together. (221K)

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Mammals

Mantled Howler Monkeys (146K) - Tortuguero. Here is another example, from Monteverde, 6/16/99. (272K)
Collared Peccary - Santa Elena Preserve Scary!
White-faced Monkey
Spider Monkey
Squirrel Monkeys - a band of 125 or so in the trees at Manuel Antonio - 220K
Agouti eating a nut - This is a sound we heard a lot around Manuel Antonio - Agoutis are very common there and they enjoy eating the hard nuts from the forest floor - 132K
A Variegated Squirrel scolds me on the path behind Cabinas el Bosque, in Monteverde, 6/16/99. (184K)

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Other Sounds

Arenal volcano grumbles, recorded near the Arenal Lodge on the morning of 6/15/99.

The Advertising Truck at Tilaran Fun!

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Trip Reports

To get lists of birds seen on our trips to Costa Rica, please e-mail me, I'll be happy to supply them!


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