The forest surrounding Rancho Naturalista is home to a wealth of bird species; from tanagers to toucans and manakins to antbirds and woodcreepers.

The lodge garden has fruit feeders which attract a variety of bird species including Lesson’s Motmots, Montezuma, and Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, Grey-headed Chachalacas, Baltimore Orioles, several kinds of euphonias, and tanagers. The feeders also create great opportunities for bird photography. Besides birds, a number of mammals also visit the feeders and provide great close-up views.

On the balcony, at Rancho Naturalista the hummingbird feeders are renowned for attracting many species of hummingbirds. Some of the species possible are; Violet-crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin, Green Hermit, Green Thorntail, Violet Sabrewing, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, and Green-crowned Brilliant. On the Verbena Hedges at Rancho Naturalista the Snowcap is a frequent visitor along with the Black-crested Coquette, the Violet-headed hummingbird, and the Garden Emerald.

A unique feature offered at Rancho is the hummingbird pools where a variety of hummingbird species (including Snowcap and Purple-crowned Fairy) come to bathe. Also, other species besides Hummingbirds visit this area including the Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Dull-mantled Antbird, Great Tinamou, and many more.

Specialty birds

Snowcap at Rancho Naturalista


This tiny hummingbird is one of the smallest birds in the world and is quite rightly the number 1 target bird for most visiting birders. It occurs primarily on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica and Rancho Naturalista is one of the best places in the world to see this species as it regularly attends the flowers at the lodge and hummingbird pools.

Black-crested Coquette

This very uncommon and highly impressive hummingbird is definitely high on the ‘wanted’ list of most birders, and non-birders alike. An adult male certainly is a bird that will stick in your mind. This species is often a garden visitor at Rancho Naturalista.

Tawny-chested Flycatcher at Rancho Naturalista

Tawny-chested Flycatcher

This flycatcher is categorized as Vulnerable by Birdlife International (2006 IUCN Red List Category) due to its occurrence being restricted to a small range of increasingly fragmented forest. This species breeds regularly at Rancho Naturalista and this is one of the best places to see it.

White-throated Flycatcher

This very local flycatcher is distributed patchily through Central America, and is regularly found along the edge of the Rancho Naturalista property, especially where there are swampy pastures.

Lovely Cotinga

To get to see this enigmatic bird you will need a little bit of luck. But depending on the season Rancho can be a very good site to get views of the stunning Lovely Cotinga, a bird that once you have seen it, you will never forget.

Thicket Antpitta

This often-heard Antpitta is usually, as its name suggests, difficult to see due to its preference of thickets. There are however a few of the Rancho Naturalista trails that occasionally offer views of this secretive species, and what a reward is in store for those lucky observers.

Dull-mantled Antbird at Rancho Naturalista

Dull-mantled Antbird

This species has a very thin altitudinal distribution throughout the Caribbean lowlands of the country. This species breeds near our hummingbird pools and sightings are very regular.

Black-throated Wren

A restricted range species that has a secretive habit given away by a stunning song. This wren is seen almost daily here, mainly when feeding in dead leaves and vine tangles, usually in pairs through the second growth at forest edges.

White-crowned Manakin at Rancho Naturalista

White-crowned Manakin

The most accessible lek of this stunning species in Costa Rica is at Rancho Naturalista. Uncommon on the Caribbean slope, this is one of the best places to see it.

Grey-headed Piprites

This rare and poorly known species is found sporadically along the length of the Cordillera Talamanca and is classified as a species of Restricted Range by Birdlife International. It is occasionally present in the second growth forest, especially during the beginning of the wet-season.

If you want to see the complete list of birds being seen at Rancho Naturalista, check out our checklist!