Birding in Belize is a tremendously satisfying endeavor for people of all ages, degrees of interest and physical mobility. In fact, visitors who never expressed much interest in birds before, become positively enthralled at the sight of colorful and abundant parrots and toucans transiting our skies.
It is estimated that Belize has approximately 550 species and it is not unusual for serious birders to log hundreds of different sightings. Belizeans have a long history of serious birding. The Belize Audubon Society manages several reserves around the country, which are considered amongst the most prolific birding destinations in Central America.
Birding is everywhere. From the moment you land at International Airport (vermillion flycatcher) and no matter where you go, you can be birding. Even in Belize City (roseate spoonbill). Or in a vehicle (common roadside hawk). People of limited mobility can simply plant themselves on the verandah at a jungle lodge (blue crowned mot mot) or opt for a river or lagoon boat rides to find theirs (kingfishers and jabiru storks). Others may want to exert more effort to locate some of the rarer, more elusive breeds (scarlet macaws).
What makes Belize so ideal for birding, is the staggering amount of species found within our borders. This is due to the fact that 60% of our forests are still pristine and intact and to the different ecological regions and the variations between each. They are distinguished as such: northern hardwood forest, southern hardwood forest, mountain pine ridge, coastal savannahs and pine ridges, and mangroves and beaches. Each area has it's own specific year round residents and migratory visitors. If you have a specific bird you yearn to see or want to know what birds you might see in a certain area during a certain time of year, just ask. Our birding guides are passionate in their pursuit and could delight the serious ornithologist and casual birder with their knowledge of our local birds.
The two most birding specific destinations in Belize are the Audubon managed Jaguar Preserve/Cockscomb Basin and the Crooked Tree Bird Sanctuary, both vastly different in their scope and nature.
Crooked Tree is a friendly old time village on a vast lagoon, 40 minutes from the International Airport. It's chief agricultural product is cashews-roasted, stewed, wine and every other way it can be utilized. Far more important though, Crooked Tree is where you'll find jabiru stocks, which at a height of 5 feet and with a wing span of up to ten feet, make this the largest flying bird in the Western Hemisphere. Crooked Tree is a Mecca for water birds. The boat tours are a wonderful way to explore the lagoon and the creeks, which also sport healthy populations of the morlets crocodile and both howler and spider monkeys. The variety of species to be found here, coupled with the ambiance of the village, makes this a delightful destination.
The 102,000 acre Cockscomb Basin/Jaguar Preserve is perhaps the densest and most vital forest with well maintained trails and other basic infrastructure in Belize. The proliferation of fauna and flora is staggering and draws naturalists from around the world. The Preserve sports all five species of cats, over 290 species of birds, 35 species of reptiles and many mammals. It is home to one the oldest geological formations in Central America, the 4 million year old. 3,675-foot Victoria Peak.
Great birding is not limited to these two areas and you’ll find wonderful varieties throughout Belize.
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