If you’re a birder, then you already know that Belize is a hotspot for both amateur and professional birders from around the globe. Depending on the source, there are somewhere between 574 and 618 identified species of birds flitting around the country. Not only that, but an average of five new bird species are discovered every year.
Birding isn’t just for old folks either. It’s become one of the globe’s hottest hobbies – an activity that appeals to all ages. Millenials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are all grabbing their binoculars, signing up for birding tours and heading out into the wild to continue to add more sightings to their growing collections of avians.
Ready to join them? Read on.
Where To Go
In a country lush with jungles and preserves, and less people than you find anywhere else, there are some spectacular places to go and spy a feathered friend.
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary run by the Belize Audobon Society is one of them. This preserve comprises six lagoons in 16,000 acres with about 260 recorded species. It’s one of the best spots to see the giant and rare Jabiru Stork.
In the west of Belize in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Preserve, you’ll discover the beautiful King Vulture Falls. Here you could find the elusively nocturnal Stygian Owl and the rare Orange-Breasted Falcon – both of which roost in the area.
Closer in to Palm Reef Resort is the Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve. This is mainly known as a jaguar reserve, but it’s also home to a large number of tropical forest-dwelling bird species. Here you may spot the loud Scarlet Macaw, as well as several Toucan species and the imposing King Vulture.
In Caracol, which is known for its Mayan ruins, is a surrounding forest that is one of the prime bird-watching destinations. The area is replete with numerous tropical forest species, including such beauties as the Keel-Billed Motmot, Violaceous Trogon, Ocellated Turkey, Crested Guan, and the Great Curassow. Some visitors have even spotted the Harpy Eagle there.
Popular Belize Birds
With over 500 species flitting around you won’t lack for birds to spot and classify, but here’s a few birds to keep an eye out for that call Belize home.
Rufous Tailed Hummingbird
This a bird that loves coffee plantations and is stunning riot of brilliant greens.
A favorite of Belizean birders, this macaw can live up to 75 years of age.
A showy bird with a bright red head, the male of this species delivers a butterfly to the female in order to initiate copulation.
Red Footed Booby
A sea bird, this bird earns it name from its bright red feet.
Red Legged Honeycreeper
The male of this species is stunning with a purple blue body and turquoise head. The female is a less showy pale green.
A brilliant bright yellow, the warbler sings a sweet song and devours a large amount of pest insects.
If you have any interest in finding out more about the birds you spot, then you may want to pick up a copy of the book Birds of Belize written by H. Lee Jones and illustrated by Dana Gardner. This is the first complete guide to all the birds of Belize and it’s readily available on Amazon.
Brett Renee Stone is a managing partner and director of communications for Palm Reef Resort.