Costa Rica- Curi Cancha or Curicancha or Curi-Cancha Reserve or Refuge (Day 11)

On the eleventh day of our trip we had breakfast at Stella's Bakery which has some feeders, then headed to Curi-Cancha Reserve (or whatever variation of the name you prefer).


 Olivaceous Woodcreeper

 Curi-Cancha has agoutis and Olivaceous Woodcreepers, sure, but it is known for something far grander.  A bird that causes little old ladies to run up hills and old men to hug their guides with tears in their eyes.

The Resplendent Quetzal.  So grand.  So wild.  So ridiculous.

The misses is a bit less ornate but still lovely in her own right.

We happened to see a guide point these birds out, then mentioned a better view up a hill and to the right.  This lady took off running faster than you might expect:

Caroline stole my phone to take a photo of her because she loved her so much

The birds seem used to the crowds, thankfully.  At some point in the middle of quetzal excitement someone called out a Gray-crowned Yellowthroat.  I tore my eyes away for a minute to look at it and take one horrible photo.

We left the quetzal party to explore more of the trails.

White-eared Ground-Sparrow

 Cabanis's Wren

 The best Zonotrichia?  Rufous-collared Sparrow

 Slate-throated Redstart

 We came across another guide (same guide?) with a group looking at a Mottled Owl.  Views were not great but you can kind of tell it's an owl...

We stopped by an array of hummingbird feeders attended by Magenta-throated Woodstars, among others.

The feeders got crowded so we migrated over to a patch of porter weed nearby. I don't remember this next bird at all but I think it's a young male Yellow-crowned Euphonia.

Pereute charops, pretty sure

We headed back into the darker forested trails, looking mostly for ground birds.  At one point I saw a leaf move.  It was windy though so it took a minute before I confirmed there was a bird in there and it was moving leaves.  Leaftosser!

 Gray-throated Leaftosser, I promise you

Red-faced Spinetail, another bad photo of a good bird

At another point we heard movement on the ground but it was just a Black Guan creeping around super close to us.

We saw some interesting bugs on the ground which I think are adults and nymphs of pale red bugs, Dysdercus concinnus.

Mountain Thrush

 Golden-browed Chlorophonia

At some point we came across some birds acting strange.  Turned out to be an ant swarm!  Heading our way!  We had high hopes for interesting birds.

Lesson's Motmot

Ruddy Treerunners with leg bands

 Yellowish Flycatcher

 Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush

Unfortunately no real antbirds showed up but it was still a fun experience.  That Lesson's Motmot, though.  It was running around our feet catching insects fleeing the ants.  At one point I saw a bug near my feet, pointed at it and told the motmot to get it, and it did.

Watch the whole video for the excellent commentary from Steve.

After awhile of watching the ant swarm approach and no new birds showing up we decided to move on.  One more round of quetzal party...

Checklist from the day here.

We headed back into town for lunch (pizza) and dinner (pizza to go) and supplies (cookies).  While Jacob waited for the pizza to go, the rest of us wandered over to the market with natural foods, oreos and nutritional yeast.  As we were waiting to pay I looked through the window and saw a person placing their small child in a tree.  I thought it was strange, then saw them grabbing the child out of the tree while the child screamed.  Dummy parent was trying to get a photo of their kid with a monkey.  Ugh.

The monkey jumped from the tree to the roof and dangled around causing quite a pile-up of tourists which is not evident in the photo above.  Here's a good video of one such tourist:

After bringing everything back to the house we went over to the hummingbird feeder spot at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

The feeders here are well attended and we had Green Hermit, Lesser Violetear, Green-crowned Brilliant, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Magenta-throated Woodstar, Violet Sabrewing, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, and Coppery-headed Emerald.

Female and male Purple-throated Mountain-gems

 Weird shot of a Green Hermit

 Purple-throated Mountain-gem and Stripe-tailed Hummingbird

 Violet Sabrewing

 Green-crowned Brilliants, Bananaquit, Lesser Violetear

 I had no idea the violet "ears" on the violetears would flare out when angsty

One last video for a more accurate depiction of the number of hummingbirds visiting these feeders:

 Another solid day of birding, only one more to go!!  Good times!!


  1. Wow I have just been catching up on all your Costa Rica posts! Amazing birds with amazing names and some very cute mammals too - I love the anteater!! Looks you had a great trip!! Looking forward to the last instalment :)

    1. Thanks, Emma! The anteater sighting was definitely a highlight for me!

  2. Again amazing birds! SO many I cant pick one I liked more than any other!! Silly people making a fuss over a monkey Im sure that child was scared!

    1. Oh man that child was terrified! Parents do some stupid things sometimes.


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