Protecting Osa’s Endemic and Endangered Birds


Our avian conservation program focuses on the monitoring and protection of bird-friendly habitat on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Our projects include scientific investigation of endemic and endangered bird species, monitoring of the abundance and long-term health of both resident and migratory bird populations, and activities and partnerships promoting bird conservation throughout the Americas.

Costa Rica’s south Pacific coast is home to over 400 species of birds. About a dozen of these species are endemic and restricted to the Osa region and adjacent Panama. These include at least five species of conservation concern which inhabit the lush tropical forests and coastal mangroves of the Osa Peninsula.

  • Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae)
  • Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager (Habia atrimaxillaris)
  • Mangrove Hummingbird (Amazilia boucardi)
  • Turquoise Cotinga (Cotinga ridgwayi)
  • Baird’s Trogon (Trogon bairdii)

Learn about what we’re doing to protect Osa’s endemic and endangered bird, the Yellow-billed Cotinga!

Osa also provides important wintering habitat for many North American migratory breeding birds including the Olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), Wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), Golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera), Kentucky warbler (Oporornis formosus), Prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea) and Canada warbler (Wilsonia Canadensis).

Learn how elementary school students in Wisconsin are welcoming migratory birds back to their state after wintering in the Osa Peninsula.

What Are the Primary Threats to Birds in the Osa?

The primary threat to birds in the Osa is loss and fragmentation of habitat. Because of this, we work to protect and restore habitat in the region, monitoring our forest restoration projects for changes in avian community composition over the course of forest growth. We also monitor artificial nest boxes to observe breeding behaviors of cavity nesting birds such as scarlet macaws. Essentially, we want to know what species inhabit and visit the Osa, where they are, and if their populations are changing due to changes in habitat integrity and availability. This information informs our management strategies to ensure the long-term protection of important bird sites throughout the region.