Tropical Dry Forest
Guanacaste National Park, Costa Rica

    Tropical Dry Forest This forest type typically experiences an annual hard dry season. The average rainfall is sufficient enough to promote growth of trees, but these tree and plant species must be able to withstand periods of low precipitation and moisture. Many of the tree species in dry forest are also deciduous. During the driest months these species will drop their leaves much in the same manner that northern deciduous forest species loose their leaves in the fall and winter. This dry season leaf-drop reduces the water needs of the plant, as there is no evapotranspiration through the leaves. Much of the dry forests of Mexico and Central America have been converted into cattle ranches and planted in exotic grasses. These introduced plant species provide forage for livestock, but in turn, change the habitat, and displace native forest species. These native plant species are what comprise the forest habitat needed for both the plants and animals that form the dry forest ecosystem.

Guanacaste N.P. (Santa Rosa Section)
Early morning sun illuminates the light bark and bright green leaves of a strangler fig tree against a deep blue sky. A clear, windless morning has a magic about it in this dry forest scrubland. Sounds carry in the open as ripples on a still lake surface. The human-like voices of Yellow-naped Parrots travel hauntingly in the distance as Rufous-naped Wrens chorus in duet loudly to other pairs. A the lone clear whistle of a Thicket Tinamou reverberates through songs of motmots, and trogons, as a rising hum of insects pollinators, bees meets the warming air in the tree-tops.

The Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata) is one of several parrot and parakeet species occurring in the region. Yellow-napes are a larger type amazon parrot. They are not nearly as numerous as the smaller, and more screeching White-fronted Parrot. Yellow-napes have a rich tonal voice, it is truly one of the more evocative sounds of the dry forest. Amazon Parrots such as the Yellow-naped are prized as pets, and when young can learn a variety of sounds and words. Pressures such as capture for the pet trade and habitat loss, are threatening many species of parrots with extinction. Certain species of parrots from South America are on the verge of extinction, others such as the Spix's Macaw, only exist in Zoos and private collections.

A waterhole in the dry season (note the absence of leaves in the taller trees), is a magnet to wildlife. A late morning, or afternoon visit may yield views of several species of monkeys, deer, peccaries, as well as numerous birds, bees and wasps.

White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi)
White-tipped, and other dove species are frequent visitors to waterholes during the dry season. their plaintive calls are heard throughout the day.