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Wildlife of the Talamanca Area


Green bird

Costa Rica is well known as one of the world's premier birding countries. The most recent bird site guide on Costa Rica has described Talamanca as the most underrated birding area in the country. From tropical sea birds to shore and wetland species, to the raucous schools of parrots, oropendulas, trogons, blue dacnis, and hummingbirds, that share the lowland forest, as well as important migrants like the cerulean and prothonotary warblers. Three toucan species—rainbow billed (AKA keel-billed), chestnut mandibled, and aracari—are also common here. The variety is amazing and easily accessible.

The patient and dedicated birder will be rewarded by seeing rare birds like a sun bittern, or a king vulture, a cotinga, a three-wattled bellbird. Serious list makers have identified over 300 species within walking distance of Puerto Viejo.


capuchin monkey

The forest is also home to many species of mammals and reptiles. Three types of monkeys occur in the area. Generally, howler and white faced or capuchin monkeys are fairly easy to find. The spider monkey is rare. Both the three and two-toed sloths are common. Kinkajous, tayras, coatamundis, anteaters, river otters, margays are all possibles. How about reptiles? Boa constrictors, iguanas, anoles, eyelash vipers, poison dart frogs (3 types), basilisks (Jesus Christ lizards), and geckos to name a few.

Marine Life

starfish The sea is a different world, but no less a provider of fascinating subjects. The warm waters harbor a living coral reef replete with life from the microscopic to the giant sea turtles who lumber up the beach to lay eggs during the spring to early summer season. Crystal clear water for snorkeling or scuba diving is not always dependable, but when the sea is calm and rainfall light it is time to enjoy the colorful reef fish. Parrot fish, surgeons, angels, squirrels, wrasses, barracudas, snappers, groupers, rays, octopus, are just a few. Boat trips will often raise dolphins.

Insects and other arthropods

Leaf or Moth?

A bother to some, but a highlight to others are the arthropods. The humid tropics are known for their insects and we've got some good ones. Watching butterflies either in the field or from the hammock is a local pastime. From flittering understory specimens to large gliding bright blue morpho butterflies, to moths designed to look like dead and partially eaten leaves. There are several different species of stick Bug, katydid, praying mantis, weevil, click beetle, dragonfly, damselfly. Ants range from tiny ants that penetrate plastic packaging to the bullet ant at 1.25" (3cm). Columns of army ants and road-building leaf-cutter ants vie for your attention. Arachnids include a tailless scorpion, wolf spiders, golden orb, and tarantulas.

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This page last modified 18 Jan, 2016

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