Beautiful, flute-like birdsong echoes from the humid undergrowth of misty forest. Dense with vegetation, the singers are at first unseen but with patience, they and other species of the beautiful middle elevation forests of Tapanti National Park reveal themselves. One of them, the Black-faced Solitaire shows itself by sallying for small fruits at the forest edge. The other main songster, the Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, hops into view at the edge of the road on bright orange legs. As the sun comes out, the calls of an Ornate Hawk-Eagle in flight draw our attention to the skies and a flock of Barred Parakeets zips past, flying high and fast like winter finches from the north.
There aren’t any crossbills in Tapanti National Park but this excellent site makes up for it with hundreds of other bird species that make their home in one of Costa Rica’s classic and best middle elevation sites for birding.
Found around 1.5 hours drive from the city of San José, Tapanti has long been recognized as one of the better sites for cloud forest species in Costa Rica. Many a local birder has made trips to Tapanti to look for a variety of scarce middle elevation species including Scaled and Ochre-breasted Antpittas, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, foliage-gleaners, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Dark Pewee, and many others.
No matter how much experience one might have with birding, this wonderful national park always makes for a productive and fun day. Some of the reasons why Tapanti works well as an essential day trip when birding Costa Rica:
- Good roads through quality habitat with several regional endemics.
- Mature middle elevation forest that is difficult to access in other parts of the country.
- Chances at a very good variety of species including several that are rare or difficult to see in other parts of the country, eBird Hotspot list.
- Easy, excellent birding.
Although anyone interested in birds will love Tapanti, this park is especially good for birders in search of some of the more challenging and rare species of Costa Rica. Hoping to boost your Costa Rica list? A visit to Tapanti is a must. Want a chance at seeing Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, and Rufous-rumped Antwren? This is the place to go. Not that these rare birds are present on every visit, but these species are regular at Tapanti, birding in this national park does provide a chance at seeing them.
A day of birding at Tapanti actually begins with trying not to watch all of the birds on the drive in! We will do our best but if a client wants to, we will certainly make stops to try and see White-eared Ground-Sparrow, may even see the rare and endemic Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow, Lesser Elaenia, Golden-hooded, Crimson-collared, Silver-throated, and White-lined Tanagers, Tropical Parula, and various other species of second growth and edge habitats.
Upon reaching the forests of the national park, we may begin to see Dark Pewee, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Collared Trogon, nightingale-thrushes, Common Chlorospingus, Red-headed and Prong-billed Barbets, and other birds. Many of these are possible just outside of Tapanti but even more live in the mature rainforest inside the boundaries of the park. We will explore these forests along a good road and will also have the chance to look for birds along a few trails.
Birding in Tapanti can be excellent right from the road and can include views of the species mentioned above as well as Tufted Flycatcher, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Ruddy Pigeon, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Spotted Woodcreeper, Red-faced Spinetail, and others. Two of the more difficult hummingbird species in Costa Rica, Black-bellied Hummingbird and White-bellied Mountain-gem are more regular in Tapanti than other sites, and many other birds occur in mixed flocks, the biggest of which can host some of the rarer species of the park like Streaked Xenops and Sharpbill.
Birding on the trails is a good way to have a chance at seeing shy species like antpittas (always tough but they are present), White-throated Spadebill, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Brown-billed Scythebill, and other birds. Out back on the main road, we will also watch for raptors, Tapanti National Park being an excellent site to see two species of hawk-eagles (Black and Ornate), as well as Barred Hawk, while the streams can host Green-fronted Lancebill and Torrent Tyrannulet.
If it sounds like a lot of birds can be seen at Tapanti, that is absolutely right! Join us for a day of birding in Costa Rica to this special site to see why it’s a perennial favorite among local birders.
$ 215.00 p.p.
Price based on
- Private guide for a full day tour.
- Private transportation
- Entrance fees
- Water and snacks
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.