Quetzal Quest


The sunset from our cabanas on the first evening 

Our next stop was at Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, located in the Talamanca highlands, off Route 2. Our purpose, to see Resplendent Quetzal. The cabanas, glorified timber sheds really, are adequate in terms of comfort levels but spectacular for location. The extensive grounds and trails give resident birders access to a variety of habitat and plenty of birds – we must have had half a dozen new species just walking from Reception to our cabin! The lodge is also well situated to explore several other well-documented sites in the Central Highlands and we visited plenty of interesting locations during our three night stay. Unfortunately, we failed to find Quetzal locally (I suspect very few visitors see them at the lodge) and in the end had to resort to paying a guide to show us some. We were glad we did though – they are truly amazing.



Not all birds in this region are bright or brash though. Reminiscent of our UK Blackbird, if it weren’t for the pale eye, this is in fact Sooty Robin – seen in the grounds of the lodge


Nor is every parrot species garish or gaudy – what about this super-subtle Barred Parakeet


An intriguing species, first seen in the grounds, were these ‘Big Feet’ – Large-footed Finch, which feed by continuously raking through the leaf-litter 


Another stunning regular species – Black and Yellow Silky-Flycatcher


There are several hummingbird feeders located in the grounds, attracting a select group of species – this Green Violet-ear amongst them


and this Magnificent Hummingbird


or what about this, aptly named, Fiery-throated Hummingbird!



Further up the mountain range, at or above the tree-line we came across several of these scarce endemics – Volcano Junco. It had taken us an hour, in sweltering heat, to track them down, but when we returned to the car there was one sheltering under it!


Another species of the area was this rather diminutive and under-stated Black-capped Flycatcher


Meanwhile back at the cabanas – another woodpecker makes the list. This time it’s Hairy, of the Costa Rican race


and another local endemic, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, seen near-by


Last word (or photo) goes to another skulking endemic – Black-cheeked Warbler


Paraiso Quetzal Lodge is a good place to stay, well located with plenty of birding interest. But if you go expecting Resplendent Quetzal on the doorstep, you’ll be disappointed. Paying ‘top dollar’ for average facilities and very limited access to ‘free’ information and locations, you might do well to look elsewhere. Next stop, San Vito – close to the Panamanian border, with more great birding on route.

This entry was posted in Birding.

One comment on “Quetzal Quest

  1. Jet Eliot says:

    Your bird photos and finds are a true pleasure. And you captured the resplendent quetzal in his and her full glory. One of the most spectacular birds we have on this planet.

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