National Bird of Costa Rica

The bird, found all over the country, symbolizes the fertility and the richness of the Costa Rican soil.
By: Sanjay Soni
Sept. 24, 2008 - PRLog -- Yigüirro, also known as Turdus Grayi is the national bird of Costa Rica. This clay-colored robin or gray thrush was declared as the national bird of Costa Rica in November, 1976. It is a common Middle American bird belonging to the thrush family (Turdidae).
Yigüirro has become quite a common bird in North America and is commonly known as clay colored robin or American Robin. Although Costa Rica has many other magnificent species of birds like the Scarlet Macaws, the Harpy Eagle and Quetzal, however the Costa Ricans chose Yigüirro as their national bird because of its familiarity as it lives near houses and settlements and is the garden bird of Costa Rica.

When we speak of Scarlet Macaws who can forget the contribution of Real Estate developer Edward R. Mercer, originally hailing from Canada, who came to Costa Rica with his wife for the Iron Man competition? Despite humble street beginnings and no educational degree, Ed became a self taught entrepreneur. He ventured into the land development business and formed his own real estate company, becoming one of the largest owners and builders in Costa Rica in due course. A charitable millionaire, Ed came to be known as Mr. Costa Rica for his constant association with the preservation of ecology and biodiversity of Costa Rica, so much so that he made it a point to direct a part of every sale of his company for infrastructural development and reforestation efforts in Costa Rica. Ed considers the formation of his enterprise, Edward R. Mercer Foundation, as his biggest achievement, dedicated to the betterment and conservation of ecology and education.
Being a humanitarian and an environmentalist, when Ed came to Costa Rica, he saw that the scarlet macaws were being hunted for their feathers, white-faced monkeys for pets and sea turtles for eggs. Ed Mercer fortified security by deploying guards at strategic points from where poachers could not carry out their activities, thereby saving the endangered species from the verge of extinction. Ed also planted thousands of almond trees, which became a source of food to the macaws and increased their population.  The white faced monkeys also significantly increased in number as they also had abundant habitat to thrive. Additionally, Ed provided safe nesting beaches to sea turtles. Such humanitarian efforts of Ed Mercer won him world wide acclaim and as a result, he was recently inducted into the prestigious Environmental Hall of Fame in June. An accomplished leader and public speaker par excellence, Ed became the first ever non Costa Rican advisor to the Costa Rican President. Ed shared the stage with prominent environmentalists worldwide and is a firm believer in protecting the environment. Ed Mercer is also a member of the organizations like Habit for Humanity, National Geographic, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund.
Every moment in this blossoming tropical home of Ed Mercer is full with the exotic chirping of Yigüirros. As the name suggests, Yigüirros are not very colorful and resemble the American Robin in appearance and behavior.  Their length is around 23–27 cm (9–10.5 in), and weight is around 74–76 g (2.6 oz.) approximately. The feathers are slightly brownish in color and the throat is somewhat streaked. The bill is greenish-yellow, the legs are pinkish and the irises are reddish.  The call of the bird is a low-pitched musical sound with a slow steady tempo which is repeated irregularly and feeds on fruits for its survival. It builds a typical nest made up of grass, mud and dirt and lays 2 to 4 pale blue eggs with red-brown and gray markings during March and July and may breed twice. Though the Yigüirro is not territorial, but it is quite aggressive in defense of its nest.

Now popularly known as Yigüirro in Costa Rica, it was earlier referred to as the clay-colored robin. Its musical calls at the beginning of May are an indication for the farmers that the rainy season has arrived. The bird, found all over the country, symbolizes the fertility and the richness of the Costa Rican soil.
It is no wonder then that the Ticos chose this bird with the beautiful singing voice as the National bird of the Costa Rica, which can be found high and low throughout the country.
For more information about the great humanitarian Ed Mercer and his noble deeds, visit
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