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Birding Costa Rica birds to watch for in Costa Rica Pacific slope

Scarlet Macaw in a Beach Almond

During recent guiding in the Carara area, Scarlet Macaws were hanging out at the beach near the village known as Tarcoles. These unbelievable looking birds do this now and then to feast on seeds of the “Beach Almond” (Terminalia catappa). A common sight on beaches in Costa Rica, this tree species isn’t really an almond nor is it native to Costa Rica but the macaws sure love it. I do too and not just because it frequently plays host to Scarlet Macaws but also because its large leaves provide solid, welcome shade when the tropical sun is bombarding everything in its path with intense UV rays.

While attempting some shots of these brilliant birds, I was surprised to see that they are somewhat camouflaged in the foliage of the beach almond. The shocking red, yellow, and blue plumage of the Scarlet Macaw might be a bit too much to describe them as being “camouflaged” but they sort of blend in with the red, yellow, and green leaves of the Beach Almond.

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A Scarlet Macaw trying to hide in a Beach Almond….

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followed by an unflattering view from the rear….

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until it clambered out from the leaves to…

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munch on a seed.

As with most neotropical birding, Murphy’s Law came into effect when this and other macaws were nowhere to be found when I showed up with two serious photography enthusiasts on the following day. At least we still recorded around 140 bird species during a day of birding the wonderfully diverse area around Carara.

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