Kèköldi, Costa Rica

Million Raptor Migration

Kèköldi, Costa Rica is one of just four 'million-raptor migration' watch sites in the world, along with Eilat, Israel, Veracruz, Mexico, and as of 2012, Batumi, Georgia.

In autumn, raptors migrate through Costa Rica over the Caribbean lowlands. With the Talamanca mountain range on one side and the Caribbean coastline on the other, a funnel-like, three-mile-wide lowland region near the Kèköldi Indigenous Reserve creates a natural funnel as the raptors funnel between the mountains and the ocean. This bottleneck is used by most raptor migrants in the region, and offers an ideal place to count and monitor raptor migration.

The Bribri People
For the Bribri indigenous people, raptor migration is part of their mythology; the migrating raptors are dancing gods, the carriers of the seeds of the forest trees. “We owe them the existence and persistence of our forests,” says Mauricio Salazar, a local indigenous guides.

In autumn 2000 the Migratory Raptor Conservation Project began standardized, full-season counts at a single watchsite in the Kèköldi Indigenous Reserve in southern, Caribbean-slope, Talamanca, Costa Rica. And since the beginning, the community has been committed to make the hawkwatch a part of their lives and duties, as a group of people concerned with the sustainable development of the Talamanca region and the conservation of the resources given to them by the dancing gods.

A hawkwatch tower is located in the heart of the reserve, at the top of a hill that boasts a 360-degree view of the surrounding forest, the Caribbean Sea and Panama.

Vegetation at the site is mostly old secondary forest and abandoned cacao plantations, so is great for wildlife spotting. The watchsite is within the Indigenous Territory, which is part of the Talamanca-Caribbean Biological Corridor. The biological corridor encompasses over 36,000 ha, and connects La Amistad National Park to the Caribbean coast. 

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The Kèköldi Indigenous Territory is located between the towns of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo on the Southern Caribbean region of Costa Rica, and you can visit any time of the year. The Scientific Center is located one kilometer (3/4 of a mile) into the forest, so please contact us to coordinate your visit.

There are different ways to get to the reserve. All you need to do is make your way to Puerto Viejo de Limón. You can see in detail all different alternatives here:

Please use the form below to contact, or call us at +506.8841.5999; +506.8362.3886 

Grassroots conservation

In 2002, the local BriBri indigenous people opened and today continue to operate the Kèköldi Scientific Center, which has hosted more than 1000 volunteers, university students, scientists and friends from all over the world.

The center is managed by the Kèköldi Wak Ka Koneke Indigenous Association and all its members. Their main objective is to contribute to the development of the Kèköldi Indigenous Territory through science. For that, in partnership with local and international scientists and institutions it has become an obligatory stop for anybody who wants to learn about nature, birds and the BriBri Indigenous culture.

Through partners and visitors, the site has been able to conduct studies on migratory and resident birds, plant diversity, amphibians and reptiles, culture and anthropology and welcomes anyone who wishes to work on science for conservation and community development.

Thanks to this initiative, more than 10 families directly or indirectly benefit from the operation of the center.

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