Savegre lies in one of Costa Rica's mountainous areas, on the slopes of the Talamanca mountain range (Cordillera de Talamanca). I stayed for a couple of days in this private reserve, looking at (mainly) birds found here, at elevations between about 2,000m and 2,500m.

This area is known as montane rain forest in the Holdridge life zones system. Forests at this elevation are often (as here) subject to low-level cloud cover for at least part of the year and are also known as cloud forests.


Cloud forests are home to a number of unique species, including the resplendant quetzal and several hummingbirds.

The resplendant quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno costaricensis) is probably one of the most colourful birds found anywhere in the world. Males have iridescent green feathers, where the colour seems to alter as the angle of view or illumination changes. The pictures are all of the same (male) bird, just viewed in different lighting.
 Talamanca hummingbird or admirable hummingbird (Eugenes spectabilis). My tour guide lives on the reserve, and maintains a garden set out with many feeders, charging only $5 per day via an honesty box.
 The volcano hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula) is a small and rather beautiful hummingbird only found in the Talamancan montane forests of Costa Rica and western Panama.
 The sooty-capped bush tanager or sooty-capped chlorospingus (Chlorospingus pileatus) is an endemic resident breeder in the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama.

As well as the cloud forest specialists above, I saw several birds which are mainly found at these altitudes, but which can also be seen at lower altitudes.

Lesser violetear (Colibri cyanotus cabanidis) also known as the mountain violet-ear.
The blue-and-white swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca). In Central America, it is a highland bird, but elsewhere in its range it can occur from the lowlands to an altitude of 4,000m.
The flame-colored tanager (Piranga bidentata citrea) is found mostly in montane forest, but can be found as low as 900m and in pastures, coffee plantations and gardens.

Similarly, the acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is rarely found below 1,000m in Central America.


The blue-throated toucanet (Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis) is mainly found in humid montane forest, but also more open landscapes from 800m to 3,000 m.


Some other birds seen are found more widely, also seen at lower altitudes.

 The tropical mockingbird (Mimus gilvus)
The blue-gray tanager (Thraupis episcopus)

Several North American migrants overwinter in Costa Rica

The Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula) received its name from the resemblance of the male's colors to those on the coat-of-arms of 17th century Lord Baltimore.
Tennessee warbler (Leiothlypis peregrina)
Philadelphia vireo (Vireo philadelphicus), Despite the name, the Philadelphia vireo breeds in deciduous and mixed woods in Canada and is unlikely to visit Philadelphia except in passing when migrating.

Reptiles seen

Just one, the emerald swift or green spiny lizard (Sceloporus malachiticus)