The Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is 25,000 acres near the border of Nicaragua along the Rio Frio River. It was established in 1984.
Our BoatOne of the first birds we saw was a Jabiru. This stork is the largest bird species in Central America and among the largest in the world. They are rare in Costa Rica, occurring only in Cano Negro and a nearby national park. We were lucky to get a glimpse of this one as it flew down the river and out of sight.
JabiruWhile we saw plenty of birds, it turns out that the high point of this trip was monkeys. Of the four monkey species present in Costa Rica, we got great looks at three of them.
Most common were the Mantled Howler Monkeys, They "roar" more than "howl", and we often woke up to the sound of troops roaring at each other across the jungle. The reddish colored hair on their backs gives them the "Mantled" part of their name, but it isn't always obvious. You can see just a hint of it in the photo below (click on the picture for a larger view).
Mantled Howler Monkey
Mantled Howler Monkey with babyA special treat in the Cano Negro area is the presence of a rare orange color morph. Our guide told us that they are unique to this area and we were lucky to see one.
Mantled Howler Monkey (Orange morph)Howler monkeys live in troops of 15 - 20 monkeys, and the young stay with their mothers for about a year before becoming independent. Troops include a mix of males and females, young and old. This orange monkey was very obviously a male!
Mantled Howler Monkey (Orange morph)
Later in our trip we came across a young White-faced Capuchin feeding near the edge of the river. They eat primarily leaves and other roughage, so there was no shortage of food!
White-faced CapuchinWe watched this youngster feed for about 10 minutes. He was very acrobatic, hanging from various branches and trees. A couple of times the branch would break, dropping him nearly into the water, but he always managed to catch something and hang on!
Just hanging out...After we'd watched for a while a larger adult Capuchin approached the youngster, who looked a little surprised. We don't know if this was Mom, Dad, or just a watchful adult, but it didn't seem too pleased with our close proximity.
White-faced Capuchin adult
The last monkeys we saw were Central American Spider Monkeys. They weigh about the same as the Howler Monkeys, but are have longer arms and legs and look sort of gangly. Spider Monkeys apparently break into small feeding groups during the day, and we only saw a couple, including this mother with her baby.
Central American Spider Monkey - Mom with baby
Then it was off the boat and time for a delicious lunch.
After lunch it was back in the van for a very long drive to the hotel. After a little birding off the deck, we had dinner and turned in early.
Next time: Day 3 - Hiking the trails
Birds seen today: 63.
Bare-throated Tiger Heron
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Central American Spider Monkey
Mantled Howler Monkey & Melanistic Howler Monkey
Nicaraguan Slider (turtle)