A Complete Birdwatching Guide to Spotting the Clay-Colored Thrush in Costa Rica

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    In this blog, we share the best information for birdwatchers eager to observe the national bird of Costa Rica, the Clay-Colored Thrush to lesser-known avian treasures. With countless encounters with this Costa Rica robin, Andrea has enough experience to help tourists spot this shy bird in its natural habitat. She has crafted an expert guide tailored for enthusiasts seeking an unparalleled birding adventure. Drawing from her extensive experience and field-tested insights, Andrea offers seasoned recommendations, ensuring an unforgettable exploration of this exotic paradise’s diverse birdlife.

    Costa Rica is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with many species of birds located throughout its varied bird habitations. The clay-colored thrush, also known as the robin, Yigüirro, or Turdus Grayi, is the national bird of Costa Rica.

    “During my visit to Costa Rica, I had the incredible opportunity to observe this robin in its natural habitat. I vividly remember waking up to its melodious song every morning.”

    With its ordinary-looking brown-gray feathers, this bird may not seem like the most exciting national symbol. However, birding in Costa Rica is incomplete without a visit to the high-elevation forests, where this unique garden bird represents the country’s biodiversity.

    Read on to learn more about this local robin, the best places to experience birding, and how to plan the ultimate bird-watching adventure in Costa Rica.

    History of this Revered Bird of Costa Rica

    Designated as the national bird in 1977, this species has gray/brown colors and darker markings. More importantly, its melodic song was said to inspire those who first proposed it as the national symbol.

    Looks and Habits of the Costa Rica Robin

    “As an avid birdwatcher, I have spent countless hours in the rain forests of Costa Rica, patiently waiting for a glimpse of the elusive robin. Its distinctive call always fills me with excitement.”

    Measuring around 8 inches in length, this Costa Rica bird resembles the American robin but lacks the unmistakable bright red breast of its North American cousin.

    Unlike the parrot and some other common birds in Costa Rica, this bird has a pointed beak that is useful to forage on the ground or in trees. It feeds on insects, fruit, and berries. The clay-colored robin uses its bill to probe into the soil, leaf, and flower litter to uncover food.

    As an insectivorous forest bird, this robin-like bird plays an important part in its sustaining the forest ecosystem and must therefore be on your Birds of Costa Rica checklist when you go bird watching.

    Planning Your Costa Rica Clay-Colored Thrush Vacation 

    Ready for bird watching in Costa Rica? Customizable vacation packages allow you to design the perfect tropical getaway.
    Build your dream vacation from the ground up.

    Choose your ideal lodging, add excursions and activities, and select airport transfers and rental cars. Expert local guides or Ticos can take guests to see the avian treasures and several species across the country.

    “During a guided bird-watching tour in Costa Rica, our group was lucky enough to spot a pair of robins building their nest. Witnessing this intricate behavior was truly awe-inspiring.”

    Best Places For Yigüirro Sighting 

    With abundant natural habitats, Costa Rica offers world-class bird-watching opportunities. Lowland rainforests, mountainous cloud forests, dry forests, and more provide homes for a wealth of avian life.

    Carara National Park, Joy for Costa Rica Birding Enthusiasts

    This national park shelters many birds beneath its forest canopy.

    Scarlet Macaw

    While the great green macaws are the largest flying parrots in Costa Rica, the scarlet macaw is one of the most majestic parrots in Costa Rica. With their bright red, yellow, and blue feathers, these birds blend naturally with the lowland tropical rainforests of Costa Rica.

    Tanager Sighting

    Carara is a great place to see the scarlet-rumped Tanager. Males have a bright red rump and underparts with a black face mask and wings. They like to forage high in the forest canopy.

    MotMots – Attractive Birds of Costa Rica

    The Blue-crowned Motmot looks beautiful with its distinctive black face and vent with blue crown, turquoise tail, and wings.

    “As a wildlife photographer, I have captured stunning images of the robin in various national parks of Costa Rica, showcasing its beauty and grace to a wider audience.”


    1. Over 400 species have been recorded in the park, including the robin, yellow-billed cuckoos, and herons. It’s a top spot for ecotourism and bird-watching tours.

    2. The park protects wet tropical forests, mangroves, and transitional moist forests, and provides safe habitats for different kinds of birds.

    3. In addition to birds, visitors may also see howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles.

    4. Many tour operators offer guided birding tours that help visitors spot rare and elusive species more easily.


    1. The heat, humidity, and rainy weather all year round can be physically draining. Proper clothing and hydration are important.

    2. The park is a 2+ hour drive from most tourist centers like Manuel Antonio, so you have to plan. 

    3. Limited amenities are available, so a rental car or tours are required to access trailheads. Driving on dirt roads can be bumpy.

    4. Dense vegetation provides ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Insect repellent is essential.

    5. Popular guided tours can involve large groups diminishing the serene nature experience at times.

    Corcovado National Park is home to Motmots, jaybirds, and other Bird Species