Lagunas de doña Ana

When you see a gallinule species in our area of Costa Rica, it is almost certainly Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus). However, the Common Gallinule (formerly Common Moorhen) (Gallinula galeata) can also sometimes be found. Such was the case on the occasion of my first visit to the Lagunas de Doña Ana at Paraíso near Cartago, some 45 minutes’ drive west of Turrialba.

132 Common Moorhen Florida (1)

Common Gallinule

The Purple Gallinule is undoubtedly a more handsome bird, as John Beer’s file photo clearly shows:

Gallinule, Purple (adult; CATIE) (19)

Purple Gallinule, always in residence at the CATIE lake

The Lagunas de Doña Ana in Paraíso are not much smaller than the one at CATIE but at the moment they are almost fully overgrown with lilies, water hyacinth and such. This seems to make it ideal for the Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), which seems to be the dominant species here. At least 40 individuals were present.

Duck, Whistling-, Black-bellied adults+juvenile Angostura (1)

John Beer’s photo was taken at Angostura Dam near Turrialba on another occasion but shows a typical small flock of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, including immatures in the foreground

Lagunas de Doña Ana is staffed by knowledgeable and concerned people working hard every day to provide a beautiful and restful environment for local inhabitants. At least 200 different bird species can be found there and in the adjacent fields.

My very modest list for this mid-day visit can be found at


3 thoughts on “Lagunas de doña Ana

  1. Hi Paul,
    We are currently in the Turrialba area, staying at Cabanas el Bosque. We are wondering if there is a time when we can meet, enjoy a beer, and talk? We are here for the next five days.

    Allen and Jenette Todd
    Phone: 86710620


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