From the Osa Peninsula, I travelled northwest to Villa Lapas to visit Carara National Park on a hiking trail, and on a boat trip on the Tárcoles River, which forms the northern boundary of the park.

Carara forest trail

Although Carara has 432 bird species recorded, I only saw a handful on my walk.

The rufous-tailed jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) is a resident breeder in a range of dry or moist woodlands and scrub, which hunts from a perch, sitting with its bill tilted up, then flying out to catch flying insects.
The White-whiskered puffbird (Malacoptila panamensis) mostly inhabits dense primary evergreen forest though it is also found in secondary forest and in shorter vegetation around the edges of fields.

The Panamanian white-faced capuchin (Cebus imitator) is important to rainforest ecology for its role in dispersing seeds and pollen.

Tárcoles River


The great egret (Ardea alba) is found across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, it builds tree nests in colonies close to water.
The little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) is found widely in both saltwater and freshwater ecosystems.
Yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea).

Snowy egret (Egretta thula).

The tricolored heron (Egretta tricolor) breeds in swamps and other coastal habitats and nests in colonies, often with other herons.

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus).

Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius).
The black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a locally abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines.
Double-striped thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus).

Collared plover (Charadrius collaris).

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga).
Neotropic cormorant (Nannopterum brasilianum).
Yellow-headed caracara (Daptrius chimachima).
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus).

Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) in flight.

The Amazon kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) inhabits large rivers, both slow- and fast-flowing, and the wooded shores of lakes and freshwater lagoons.
The ringed kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) is seen in freshwater habitats, tropical and temperate marine shorelines, and several islands.
The prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea) is a winter migrant from the eastern United States.


American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus).

Villa Lapas


The turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) lives in fairly open habitats such as forest edge, gallery forest and scrubland.

Grey-capped flycatcher (Myiozetetes granadensis).


Black spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).


The acacia ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) lives in a symbiotic relationship with the bullhorn acacia (Vachellia cornigera). The spines on the acacia are home to ants that protect the plant from herbivory. In return, the acacia has beltian bodies which can be found at the tips of the leaves. They are full of fats and sugars that feed the ants. The tree also produces carbohydrate-rich nectar from glands on its leaf stalk.