Monday Top 5: Birds on Campus

One of the best things about our campus in Costa Rica is the number and variety of birds found here. In fact, we have nearly 250 species, so it’s a challenge to pick only five! 

Blue-crowned Motmot — The Motmot is one of the most beautiful birds we see on campus. When he is in the shadows, he blends right into the green and brown of the forest. But when he perches on the edge of the trees, the light shows his dazzling blues and oranges as well. Motmots are sometimes called the poor man’s Quetzal, because although beautiful and stunning like the legendary Resplendent Quetzal, they not as elusive. I like to think they are just more friendly.

Clay-colored Thrush – The clay-colored thrush, also known as the clay-colored robin is the national bird of Costa Rica. Although the bird does not have the bright colors or distinctive plumage you might expect from a tropical bird, he does have a good soul. Because he is widespread across Costa Rica and lives close to humans, he is well-known across the country. His beautiful song has also endeared him to the people of this country.


Long-tailed Manakin – In addition to his stunning coloring, the long-tailed manakin’s graceful tail sets him apart from other birds. They also have an unusual mating ritual where two males must cooperate in performing an elaborate dance to impress the female. If they succeed, only the alpha male of the pair gets to mate.

Blue-Gray Tanager – These birds are easy to identify because of their bright color. You can find them hopping from branch to branch looking for berries. We often see them on the front porch of the Student Union.

Orange-bellied Trogon – This Trogon is found in humid tropical forests. Lately, one has been sleeping in the same tree along the Casita Trails, so it has been a treat to see him sleeping during our night hikes!

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