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Wild Costa Rica

Photo via National Biodiversity Institute.

Wild Costa Rica:

pájaro mil colores

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Published on Thursday, June 27, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The "pájaro mil colores" (Stilpnia larvata), or a thousand colors bird in English, is also known as the butterfly bird. It is a widespread bird in Costa Rica's tropical rainforest lowlands and mountains.

According to the Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica issued by the National Biodiversity Institute, this species inhabits the upper levels of dense forests, clearings with scattered trees, semi-open, tall second-growth areas, and shaded gardens.

From sea level to 4,900 feet altitude, it also resides in the canopy of dense forests and semi-open areas like clearings, second-growth, and well-vegetated gardens.

The colorful bird is widespread throughout the country, particularly in middle-altitude mountain areas and near streams.

In the Americas, the multicolored bird is a resident breeder from southern Mexico to western Ecuador.


In Mexico it is known as the golden-hooded tanager, and it exemplifies the family Thraupidae's vibrant colors and beauty.

Adult colorful birds measure 5.1 inches long and weigh 19 grams. The adult male has a golden head and a black eye mask bordered in violet-blue above and below. The upper body is black, except for the turquoise shoulders, rump, and wing and tail edgings.

Their flanks are blue, while the middle of their belly is white. Females have a greenish hue to their heads, occasionally with black speckling on the
crown, and predominantly white underparts. Newborn birds have a green head, dark grey upperparts, off-white underparts, and a small amount of blue in their plumage.

They eat certain small fruits, usually swallowed whole, berries, seeds and flowers. They also search foliage and mossy branches for insects, occasionally catching them mid-air.

The bird's call is sharp, and its song is a tuneless, rattled series of tick sounds.

They occur in pairs, family groups, or as part of a mixed-species feeding flock.

Their cup nests are typically built-in tree forks or bunches of green bananas, and the normal clutch consists of two brown-blotched white eggs. They breed between March and September, and pairs often have two broods in the same season.

However, this wonderful bird was added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species due to its population trend decreasing.

Another amazing bird in Costa Rica is the Águila Tirana, a top predator that plays a vital role in the environment.

Wild Costa Rica is a space for readers to discover more about the fascinating species that make the "Pura Vida" land one of the world's countries with the richest natural diversity.

What should authorities do to safeguard the thousand colors bird?
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