Guest Blogs

Fifteen Beautiful Birds from Belize

By Patrick O'Donnell 8/17/2018 5 minutes

There are many reasons to visit Belize, one of the best being abundant natural beauty. More than a few stunning beaches can be walked on her shores. Islands with coconut palms swaying in a soft sea breeze beckon. Visitors in search of more adventure can explore Mayan ruins, snorkel at fantastic reefs, and look for wildlife in rainforest and along vibrant tropical rivers. Speaking of the Belizean wild side of things, some of the easiest animals to watch are birds.

More than 590 species are on the Belize bird list and more than a few of these are colorful, exotic tropical species. Better yet, many are also common and easy to see! The following are fifteen beautiful stunning bird species to look for when visiting Belize:

1. Jabiru

Belize is a good place to see this big, impressive stork. Crooked Tree Lagoon and other large wetland sites can be good sites for it.

2. Azure-crowned Hummingbird

This glittering beauty is one of twenty-two species of hummingbirds that reside in Belize.   

3. Gartered Trogon

In the same family as the famed quetzal, this is one of four species of trogons that occur in tropical forest habitats throughout the mainland.

4. Lesson’s Motmot

Around the same size as a jay or pigeon, this colorful bird never fails to impress. It gives a double-noted hooting call from the shade of the forest and unlike smaller birds, the motmot nests in a burrow typically excavated in an embankment.

5. Amazon Kingfisher

One of five kingfisher species in Belize, this jade-green bird frequents lowlands waterways. Watch for it perched on snags during a tour along a jungle river.

 

6. Rufous-tailed Jacamar

At first glance, this glittering bird looks like a big, slender hummingbird! Although it does have a long, needle-sharp bill, the jacamar doesn’t use it to drink nectar. Instead, it has a long beak to help it snatch wasps, butterflies, and other insects from the air.

7. Keel-billed Toucan

This impressive, colorful bird is fairly common and right at home in tropical forest habitats of Belize. Watch for it at Caracol, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, and any other number of similar sites.

8. White-fronted Parrot

One of several common parrot species in Belize, this one prefers drier, more open forest habitats in the northern part of the country.

9. Barred Antshrike

The rolling, laughing song of this striking species is a regular part of the soundscape in most parts of Belize. Watch for it in low dense vegetation.

10. Great Kiskadee

Another bird with a loud song, this one says its name, “Kis-ka-dee!” over and over. One of the more adaptable flycatcher species, and a very common garden bird, the Great Kiskadee eats everything from insects to small lizards, fruit, and can even catch small fish!

11. Red-capped Manakin

This striking little resident of rainforest does a “moon-walking” dance to attract a mate! Watch for it in forested habitats throughout the country.

12. Yellow-throated Euphonia

Yet another common, beautiful bird, this tropical relative of the goldfinch likes to eat fruits of various Mistletoe species.

13. Montezuma Oropendola

A large, colorful, crow-like bird with a yellow tail is this bird. In the same family as the Baltimore Oriole, this impressive bird also weaves long, hanging nests.

14. Crimson-collared Tanager

The stunning black and red plumage of this tanager is a site to behold. Watch for it at the edge of humid forest in southern parts of Belize.

15. Red-legged Honeycreeper

One of the most beautiful little birds on the list is also commonly seen in many habitats. These lovely little birds feed on small fruits and insects, and also probe flowers for nectar.

 
Watch for these and dozens of other beautiful birds at nature lodges and other natural areas. Better yet, take a birding tour to see them, and identify all the birds in Belize with the Belize Birds Field Guide app.


Where can I download the Belize Birds Field Guide app?
The app can be found on the Apple iOS store for your iPhone or iPad. Download it from this link: http://birdingfieldguides.com/belize.html
Learn More
Events
Belize Birding Festival To celebrate Belize’s avifauna, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), in partnership with the Belize Hotel Association (BHA) and the Belize Audubon ... moreSociety (BAS), decided to host the first ever Annual Belize Birding Festival on October 25-28, 2018, in the capital of the country, Belmopan City.

As nature’s best kept secret, Belize offers many birding hotspots for amateur and expert birdwatchers, including six Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Most of these hotspots are nestled in nature reserves that are tropical forests, savannahs, wetlands, islands, and coastal planes. These locations make for an ideal habitat for a diverse collection of birds.
2018 Belize Birding Festival The 2018 Belize Birding Festival will be the first of it's kind in Belize as it celebrates the love for birds and the unique collection of bird species that exist in the country. This birding festival will be hosted at the National Trade and Agriculture Show Grounds in Belmopan City.

More details will be posted as soon as new information is release by the organizers.

#belizebirding #BelizeBirdingFestival2018 #letsgobelizing
Why should you attend the First Annual Belize Birding Festival? The First Annual Belize Birding Festival is a great opportunity for amateur bird waters and professional bird watchers to come together and celebrate their admiration for birds.

The itinerary and activities for this birding festival will be posted as soon as new information is released by the organizers.
Entrance Fee:
To Be Determined
Venue:
National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds
Address:
Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize
Start Date:
Saturday, 27 Oct, 2018
District:
Cayo
Tours/Activities
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
Hopkins
This tour begins just before daybreak with a drive through Sittee River where the lush vegetation attracts many species of birds in Belize. Be sure to keep your eyes open and your ... morebinoculars handy as you are bound to encounter spectacular plumage, stirring calls, and the steady drumming of a hummingbird’s wings.

Some of the tropical birds often spotted in the area are keel-billed toucans, fork-tailed flycatchers, tropical kingbirds, and Amazon kingfishers, blue crowed mot-mot and harpy eagle.
$
135
/ Adult
Departs From:
Belize City
View some Belize of the most beautiful birds in the tropical wetland; Birding-by-Boat Cruise At The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect location Birds in Belize. This incredible ... morewetland ecosystem that is the largest of its kind in northern Belize is 30 miles north of Belize City. Mother Nature has designed this huge lagoon just for birds. It’s home to most of Belize 574 species of birds found in the country, including One the largest flying Bird in the Americas Jabiru Stork, different species of Birds Like egrets and herons and even the magnificent Northern Jacana just to name a few. But birds aren’t only animals you can see on this cruise. On this cruise will have high possibility To see Morlet crocodiles, green as well as spiny tail iguanas and even howler monkeys.
$
1,249
/ Person
Day 1: AIRPORT/CRYSTAL PARADISE You will be met at the airport by your Belizean bird guide and transferred to your jungle lodge accommodations. Optional stop to visit the Belize Zoo ... more(entrance fee not included, US$15/pp). We check into our accommodations at Crystal Paradise after a short orientation.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. /D

Day 2: MACAL RIVER CANOEING – morning or afternoon
Canoeing on the Macal River. While canoeing we have the chance to see Neotropic Cormorants, Mangrove Swallows, Kingfishers, Gray-necked Wood-rails and other wildlife that frequent the riverbanks such as iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks and trees.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 3: EL PILAR
We will make an afternoon visit to El Pilar, a Maya site, and flora/fauna reserve. It is excellent for birding, hiking, and provides an insight to Belize’s sub-tropical forests. We will make stops along the way to view such birds as the Collared Manakins and Honeycreepers an array of flycatchers etc. We will then return to our accommodations after witnessing a Belizean sunset.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 4: Mountain Pine Ridge/Rio on Pools/Rio Frio Caves
The Cayo District’s principal town of San Ignacio is the gateway to some of Belize’s most precious ecological gems. After breakfast at the hotel, we will experience the wonders of Mountain Pine Ridge.

Bring along your walking shoes, swimwear and adventurous mind for a full day of activity. The reserve is teaming with hills and valleys, rivers and falls, swimming holes and caves, all surrounded by the majestic beauty of Pine Forests. Our main stops will be at the Rio Frio Caves, Rio on Pools and weather and road conditions permitting, you’ll get a chance to see the 1000 ft. Hidden Valley Waterfalls. Bring along your binoculars, as there is much to see in the line of exotic flora and fauna, endemic only to this extremely rugged, but beautiful part of the county. Lunch is included before returning back to Crystal Paradise Resort. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 5: Spanish Lookout & Laguna Aguacate
A 45-minute drive north of Crystal Paradise through rolling green hills brings you to Spanish Lookout, a modern-day Mennonite settlement reminiscent of Pennsylvania farmlands. Several different habitats in the area make it a favorable birding destination. The area consists of Savannah, open farmland, and subtropical forest around the lake. In the open land and pastures, it is easy to find Vermillion Flycatchers, Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-Tailed Kites and Hawks, Laughing Falcons, Meadowlarks, Swallows, Herons, Jabiru storks just to name a few. Aguacate Lagoon Reserve is located about 20 minutes beyond the community and provides a birdwatcher’s paradise. In the forest around the lake common sighting may include Jacamars, Trogons, Puff-birds, Crested Guans and Great Curassows. Other birds may include Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Night Herons, rails, and Crakes. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 6: DEPARTURE
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Belize City/Belize Airport.B/

** itinerary is subject to change once here due to weather conditions or unforeseen events***
$
95
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
INLAND BLUE HOLE BIRDWATCHING Belize is a birdwatcher’s paradise! As many as 587 birds have been recorded in Belize and, of these, approximately 20 percent are migrants from North ... moreAmerica. Every year new species are being documented. Eight new records were accepted in 2007, including the Crested Caracara, Canada Goose, and Spot-breasted Oriole. For those interested in exploring the diversity and beauty of the avifauna of the diverse habitats MayaWalk expert birdwatching guides will point out tiny iridescent hummingbirds, impressive raptors, and various migratory and endemic songbirds. One of the best places to go on a Belize birding tour is St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, a beautiful protected area along the scenic Hummingbird Highway.

This small park covers 575 acres and has two natural features open for touring, St. Herman’s Cave: a beautiful crystalline cave in the limestone hills and the Blue Hole: a clear sinkhole filled with turquoise waters, perfect for a swim. A series of lovely hiking trails over various landscapes take visitors into the jungle where the foliage, tropical flowers, and rainforest canopy are the feeding and nesting grounds for hundreds of species of birds. For those interested in finding out more about the amazingly diverse avifauna of Belize we recommend purchasing Birds of Belize (University of Texas Press) by H. Lee Jones, illustrated by Dana Gardner-- a must-have for serious birders. Published in 2003, this is the first complete guide to the identification of all to the birds of Belize and it is beautifully illustrated and complete with habitat information. Our birding guides will be equipped with binoculars and a spotting scope to make the most of your birding experience. Enjoy the serene trails of the park and end the day with a lovely swim in the Blue Hole.
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
CAHAL PECH BIRDWATCHING Cahal Pech was the ancient palatial compound of an elite aristocratic Mayan family. The site name is Maya for “House of Ticks” (given in the 1950s when the ... morearea was used for grazing cattle) and it is situated on the highest hill overlooking modern-day San Ignacio town. This is a serene jungle setting close to the town, and the 2-acre compound is not only rich in ancient artifacts and structures, but also in wildlife. Cahal Pech is an excellent place for birding in Belize. This is a fascinating site for birdwatching as the morning mist rises over the various temples and courtyards, which were built over several centuries spanning from 1000 BC to 800AD. Belize birding tours at Cahal Pech will offer birders a chance to see a vast variety of tropical bird species, including hummingbirds, parrots, birds of prey, and many colorful migratory birds. Your bird watching vacation in Belize is not complete without a morning spent in this otherworldly environment, where the jungle allows glimpses of the cultural past of this ancient landscape.
$
100
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
An opportunity to view some of Belize's most beautiful birds. There are close to 600 species of birds, including approximately 20 to 25% migrants. Cayo District is an excellent place ... morefor bird watching with locations such as El Pillar, Mountain Ridge, Spanish Lookout etc. In addition for avid bird watchers packages can be customized to include other excellent locations in other parts of the country such as the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Lamanai, Blue Hole National Park, Baboon Sanctuary, Jaguar Reserve, Guanacaste National Park and Gra Gra Lagoon and other locations. Bird watching tours can also be combined with other tours for eg mayan sites and nature walks.

AuthorPicture

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell grew up watching birds in Niagara Falls, NY. His passion for birding eventually took him to the Neotropical Region and he moved to Costa Rica in 2007. A biologist by training and a professional birding guide, he also writes about birds, ecotourism, and sustainability, and works on birding apps including the Belize Birds Field Guide app. Some of his writing can be seen at his blog, Costa Rica Living and Birding.

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