Bell Bird is the Word


The Three-wattled Bell Bird of Costa Rica is one of the most distinctive birds in the world and is currently labeled “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. The bell bird may soon become endangered if enough is not done to protect its habitat from deforestation.

Three-wattled Bell Birds have an extremely unique appearance. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism with the female having a greenish-yellow coloring and the male exhibiting a stark white head and rufus-colored body, tail, and wings. The male has three long black wattles that hang from its black beak. The bird’s name derives from his extremely unique call which some compare to a bell. The bell sound is actually one part of a three-part song. The call is thought to be one of the loudest in the world- the human ear can hear it from half a mile away! Click the video below to hear its peculiar call.

As you saw in the first video, the Three-wattled Bell Bird is migratory, following the blooming avocado trees to different elevations within Costa Rica throughout the year. In order to protect them during migration, the Bell Bird Biological Corridor was created. Through the assistance of seven institutions, all of which are listed and linked at the bottom of this post, a protected area stretching from the Monteverde Reserve all the way to the coast of the Gulf of Nicoya has been formed. This corridor is also created by the support of  Fundacion Neotropica and the National Power and Light Company (CNFL). There are now multiple sub-regional advisory committees led by many local community organizations in the various communities through the Corridor region. It’s thanks to the coordinated effort of the Bellbird Corridor Advisory Commission, the sub-regional commissions, and to many concerned private citizens throughout the region that Bellbird habitat is being restored throughout this region. It takes the collective action of everyone to make this happen.

To date, the Bell Bird Biological Corridor encompasses an area of  164,048 acres (66,416 hectares) and follows three parallel watersheds: Río Aranjuez, Río Guacimal and Río Lagartos. The protected area contains more than half of Costa Rica’s 900 species of birds including 29 endemic species and 20 threatened species on the IUCN’s redlist. The corridor is also home to many other animals including 12 endangered species of mammals. This biological corridor protects a wide diversity of animals from continued deforestation of their natural habitat and allows them to migrate safely.


The current members of the council which governs the biological corridor are currently in the middle of a two-year long research program with the following goals:

  1. Analyze current land use trends using Geographic Information Systems;
  2. Support project proposal development with new collaborators outside the Monteverde area;
  3. Begin baseline monitoring efforts of water quality and avian populations; and
  4. Identify existing institutional resources and activities throughout the area of influence.

With the help of the following institutions, we hope that the Three-wattled Bell Bird will no longer be listed “vulnerable” and that it and the other wildlife in the biological corridor will be protected for many years to come.

Arenal-Tempisque Conservation Area


Costa Rican Conservationist Foundation


Monteverde Conservation League


Monteverde Institute


Monteverde Reserve-Tropical Scientific Center


Santa Elena Reserve


University of Georgia Costa Rica


further reading from UGACR

music by, blog, animation, and graphics by photojournalism intern Erin Burnett


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