The boat leaves the dock and the first of many Amazon Kingfishers flies quickly by us and perches at the edge of the river. As we move forward, Anhingas, Neotropic Cormorants and common wading birds appear, Russet-naped Wood-Rails run to cover on the banks and the river, and the loud rollicking calls of Green Ibis issue from the forest. Checking the treetops reveals a small bright white bird, it’s one of our hoped for targets, Snowy Cotinga! During the rest of the tour, different raptors fly across the river, Spot-breasted Wrens sing from the vegetation, and a couple of Sungrebes show themselves at close range.
This is Caño Negro, one of the premier wetlands in Costa Rica and on account of the number of species easier at this site than other places, yet another must visit for both local and visiting birders.
Situated just south of the border, Caño Negro hosts a mosaic of wetlands, rainforest, and edge habitats associated with Lake Nicaragua. These factors make it a very interesting place for birding. These are some of the other reasons why a day trip to Caño Negro is an important part of any birding trip to Costa Rica:
- This exciting birding area is a 90 minute drive from la Fortuna town. This makes Caño Negro an easy site to visit as a day trip while staying in the Arenal area.
- Localized species such as Spot-breasted Wren, Gray-headed Dove, Sungrebe, and other birds are more easily seen at Caño Negro than many other sites in Costa Rica.
- The mix of rainforest and wetlands results in a great variety of birds, most seen right from the boat, eBird hotspots list.
- Excellent photo opportunities. Due to many of the birds being seen from a boat and in rather open habitats, this site offers up some of the best bird photography in Costa Rica.
This day tour of birding in Costa Rica begins with an early start and drive to the Caño Negro area from your hotel. Since the main road to the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge can be good for a variety of wetland and open country species, we may stop to look for such species as Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, and the uncommon near endemic Nicaraguan Seed-Finch, the male of which has a striking, massive ivory-pink beak! Depending on water levels of the wetlands, other species on the drive in can include different shorebirds, chances at Jabiru and other wading birds, and such raptors as Harris’s Hawk, Black-collared Hawk, and other species.
During the boat ride, we will visit different parts of the refuge including a river flanked by lowland rainforest and lagoons with marshes. Along the river, we will be watching for Sungrebe, an uncommon, odd species that picks insects off of vegetation at the edges of tropical rivers and lakes. We also hope to see two of Costa Rica’s more difficult kingfisher species perched in low vegetation; American Pygmy-Kingfisher and Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher. Both of these beautiful kingfishers can be rare and hard to find but we will be in an excellent places to see them. Riverside vegetation can also host such small birds as Bare-crowned Antbird, Spot-breasted and Canebrake Wrens, Great Antshrike and a nice variety of edge and rainforest species.
In the lagoons, we will watch for spots that tend to concentrate waterbirds. These are places where fish become trapped in shrinking bodies of water that in turn attract dozens of herons, egrets, Wood Storks, and other wading birds. Such local feeding hotspots act as our best chance at seeing Jabiru and other rarities. In the marsh areas of the lagoon, we will in turn look for such specialties as Pinnated Bittern and Yellow-breasted Crake. In Costa Rica, the bittern is a rare resident of tropical wetland marshes and is most commonly found in the Caño Negro area. The same goes for the crake, a small elusive bird that prefers floating vegetation in lowland marshes, we will look for it in its preferred microhabitat. After the boat ride, we will see what else we can find on the drive out and back to your hotel.
Birding the Caño Negro area is always exciting; we can’t wait to visit this special site with you!
$ 265.00 p.p.
Price based on
- Private guide for a full day tour.
- Private transportation
- Entrance fees
We can make arrangements for lodging, transportation, activities, car rental and all the fun you want to have while in Costa Rica.
Our specialty is Custom Made Birding Tours to the best birding destinations in Costa Rica.