Birding Factoids

721 species
in 61 families
No endemics 
6 of the 21 species 
endemic to 
Central America are 
represented here.
No endangered species.
4 endangered species

Checklist of Guatemalan BirdsConservation, Biodiversity and the EnvironmentTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Country Information

Guatemala Specialities
Resplendant Quetzal - National Bird of Guatemala - Photo by Steve Bird
Photo copyright Steve Bird

For more information on the resplendant quetzal, go to this link from Costa Rica! It's a QuetzalCam!

Russet-crowned Motmot - Photo copyright Manuel Grosselet

Photo copyright Manuel Grosselet

Crowned Woodnymph - Photo copyright James Ownby

Photo copyright James Ownby

Olivaceous Woodcreeper - Photo copyright Anke Poggel
Photo copyright Anke Poggel

Crested Owl - Photo copyright Steve Metz

Photo copyright Steve Metz
    ....Natural Guatemala - this site identifies the nature
      zones and nature reserves in which birds congregate in Guatemala
    ....Birding Sites in Guatemala - courtesy of Cayaya Birding. You can 
      click on the map description, slide show, and species list of the best Guatemala  birding sites!
    ....Ecotourism: Our Natural Bounty - Occupying the northernmost
      position in Central America, Guatemala offers one of the most exciting natural history destinations in the Americas. This site provides brief birding information about the varius eco-destinations in Guatemala.
    ....Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve - by Richard Mahler 
      Because of its geographic isolation, forbidding terrain, and wide range of elevation (from 15 feet to 10,050 feet above sea level), the Sierra is home to at least 885 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles--fully 70 percent of all the species from these groups that are known to exist in Guatemala and neighboring Belize. 
    ....Quetzal Biotope - San Carlos University, in its interest
      to preserve the quetzal's natural environment, established the Mario Dary Rivera Nature Reserve (Biotopo del Quetzal), located 160 kilometers from Guatemala City, in the northern highlands. It is easily accessed by paved road. Even though sighting a quetzal is a rare event, the area is a paradise not to be missed.
    ....Guatemala's Protected Areas - provides useful information 
      about visiting the following areas in Guatemala: 
      • Biosphere Reserves (especially Sierra de las Minas)
      • National Parks (all are great for birding)
      • Protected Biotopes (especially Laguna el Tigre and the Quetzal Biotope)
      • Wildlife Refuges (especially the Polochic Delta) 
    ....Guatemala - Directory of Wetlands of International Importance
      includes information on all Guatemala's Ramsar designated sites, including:
      • Laguna del Tigre
    ....Guatemalan Birding Resource Center - There are few places like
      Guatemala that pack such a rich diversity of birding habitats and species into such a small area. The Guatemalan Birding Resource Center was founded precisely to help birdwatchers take full advantage of the opportunities to explore this country’s dizzying variety of          birdlife and many unique species. Everything you wanted to know about birding in Guatemala!
    ....How I was robbed in Guatemala and the lessons I learned - By Bob
      Hansen. In Antigua, Guatemala, on January 13th ( my second day of a 17 day birding vacation to Guatemala and Belize), I was assaulted and robbed of my binoculars, digital camera, guidebooks, passport and money. Total value lost in about 40 seconds was $2,800. As a result of this event and other events like it that were related to me, I decided to convey my story to others, particularly those birders who are considering a birding trip such as I planned to Guatemala.
    ....Trip Report: Yucatan Peninsula (incl. Tikal – Guatemala)
      by Daniel Kronauer and Frank E. Rheindt. From Dec 14 through 22, 2000, we traveled around on the Yucatan Peninsula on what we term a "combined birding and herping" trip. The reason we opted for Yucatan is its high endemism and easy accessibility from the U.S. One of us (DK) is a passionate herpetologist, while the other (FER) is an avid world birder, but fortunately the areas of interest for both animal groups coincide well, so we could each just concentrate on the respective group upon arrival at the sites. Information is provided on:
      • Felipe Carrillo Puerto
      • Tikal
      • Cobá
      • Isla Cozumel
      • Rio Lagartos
    ....Mexico - Yucatan, Chiapas and Tikal Trip Report - February, 1997
      by Mark van Kleunen. In February 1997, we took a three week trip to Southern Mexico including a two day excursion to Tikal, Guatemala. Our daily  activities mainly consisted of birdwatching. We wanted to see as many of the Yucatan and Cozumel endemics as possible, but we also visited the lowland rainforest, highlands and pacific slope of Chiapas.
    ....Guatemala Trip Report - August - October, 1997 - by Martin Birch. 
      I visited Guatemala to undertake a short period of Spanish language instruction. A large proportion of the time was based in Quetzaltenango, a city in the west of Guatemala with a large indigenous Mayan population. The timing and period of the visit also provided an opportunity to visit many of the recognised birding sights in Guatemala. This report can be found in the trip report section of this website.
    ....Trip Report: Central America (A birding travel report on: Mexico,
      Guatemala and Belize) - 16 March - 12 April 1991, by Michiel de Boer. This is a report of a birding holiday of four weeks in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. We didn't book anything in advance (except for the flight) didn't rent a car and still visited all the good spots we wanted to visit. It was a great pleasure and a terrific experience, we would recommend to any birdwatcher or nature-lover. The planning of this trip relied on sources like travel-reports. By writing this report I hope I can contribute to the planning of trips of other people.
    ....Guatemala Trip Reports - Blake Maybank's great trip report archive
      holds a number of  trip reports from birders who have visited Guatemala. 

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Conservation, Biodiversity

and Environment

Stripe-tailed Hummingbird - Photo copyright Giuliano Gerra and Silvio Sommazzi
Photo copyright Giuliano Gerra and Silvio Sommazzi

Montezume Oropendola - Photo copyright Kent Nickell

Photo copyright Kent Nickell
    ....Golden-cheeked Warbler Project, Guatemala - Defensores de la 
      Naturaleza are working to protect critical wintering habitat for Golden-cheeked Warblers in the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala. The project will improve habitat management through an agroforestry and reforestation program. The group will also organize training workshops and develop a Geographic Information System to map habitats. Defensores will work to build awareness of conservation in communities surrounding the reserve, and develop alternative agriculture, energy, and forestry options as alternatives to habitat clearance. The project is also supported by The Nature Conservancy and by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation which will provide matching funds for donations. For more information on how to help this project contact: Mike Parr
    ....Quetzal Conservation Project, Guatemala - A project to protect a 
      key area of cloud forest in the central Guatemalan highlands. The work, which is being conducted by Proyecto Ecológico Quetzal (PEQ) will promote sustainable farming to reduce slash and burn and control erosion, while helping to conserve 72 km2 of primary forest. The group also aims to develop ecotourism to benefit indigenous communities, and to set up a new web site to promote the area. There will also be a monitoring program, aerial surveys, and a community outreach project. The region is important for the Resplendent Quetzal, and more than 20 neotropical migrants, including Olive-sided Flycatchers and Wilson's Warblers. PEQ has been successful in raising project funds, but needs $36,000 to maintain their annual core operation (they employ 25 Guatemalan conservation staff). Visitors may stay with an indigenous host family in a local village. The three hour hike to the village is strenuous and for experienced  backpackers only.  Funds raised for this project will be matched by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. For more information on how to help this project contact: Mike Parr

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Tours and Guides

>>>>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Guatemala Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Collared Trogon - Photo copyright Birding Escapes Costa Rica
Photo copyright Birding Escapes Costa Rica
    **..Birdwatching in Guatemala with Cayaya Birding - Guatemala, Central
      America, is home to more than 700 bird species. It houses a wide variety of ecosystems: Cloud forests, rainforests, conifer forests, dry shrub, mangroves, Pacific and Caribbean coast. Your guides are active field researchers and conservationists who know all the best spots for birdwatching and taking in the diverse natural beauty of Guatemala. Nature lovers, ornithologists and university students are invited to discover the natural beauty of Guatemala with CAYAYA BIRDING.

    **..Aventuras Naturales - Guatemala's Birdwatching & Ecotourism Travel

      Specialist. Colonia El Naranjo No. 53, La Antigua, Sacatepéquez. Guatemala. This company has provided a complete Guatemalan Bird Checklist for the use of visitors to this site! For more information call Adolfo Cruz at +(502) 8323328 or +(502) 2081098, or send Adolfo an e-mail
    **..Guatemala Birding with Neotropical Journeys - The tours and programs
      offered by Neotropical Journeys are designed to visit destinations with rich avifaunas, outstanding wildlife, wilderness and cultural significance at their seasonal best. Neotropical Journeys is actively involved in regional and local conservation projects and organizes tours aimed to raise funds for bird and nature conservation. 


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Central American Specialities in


Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.5. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International, and supporting data bases developed by Ian Patton, of Merlin Species Watcher.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Guatemala. 

Central American Endemic Specialities in Guatemala - No  National Endemics

___ Bushy-crested Jay
___ Grey-headed Piprites
___ Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl
___ Red-throated Parakeet
___ Ridgway's Rough-winged
___ Rufous-winged Woodpecker

Endangered Birds in Guatemala

Breeding Birds

Non-breeding Birds
___ Azure-rumped Tanager
___ Horned Guan
___ Yellow-headed Parrot ___ Golden-cheeked Warbler

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Links checked October 15, 2001