With huge tracts of protected forest and jungle and more than 400 species of birds that either live in or pass through these areas it’s almost impossible not to turn into a bird watcher while you’re traveling in Belize.
Karen Birdwatching at La Milpa Field Station where we saw 50 different species of birds we’d never seen before in just two days.
During our nearly three months in Belize we saw hundreds of species we’d never seen before in stunning natural places like Chan Chich Lodge and La Milpa Field Station in the vast Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. That’s where we met guide and naturalist Vladimir and dubbed him the bird ninja. Then there’s Lamanai Outpost Lodge and the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Some birds simply appeared by the side of the road.
We saw the flashy colors of trogans and aracaris and the shimmery, orange-dotted get-up of the ocellated turkey. We learned to recognize the frog-like call of the toucan, marveled at the near-perfect camouflage of the great potoo (which still looks just like a tree limb even after you know it’s there) and tried and tried and tried to see a harpy eagle in the wild.
A few of our favorite birds of Belize
A rare orange-breasted falcon.
A ferruginous pygmy owl.
A pair of collared aracaris.
A toucan spotted at La Milpa Field Station in Belize.
A lineated woodpecker.
A great egret.
An ocellated turkey on the grounds of Chan Chich Lodge in Belize.
A pygmy kingfisher tucks in for the night near the Lamanai archaeological site in Belize.
A black-headed trogan seen in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.
A laughing falcon along a rural road in southern Belize.
A black-collared hawk heads out to hunt near the Lamanai archaeological site in Belize.
A violaceous trogan spotted in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.
A slaty-tailed trogon in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.
A red-footed booby and fledgling on Half Moon Caye Natural Monument in Belize.
A white-necked jacobin (hummingbird) in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.
A tiger heron in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.
Look close. There are two great potoos (an adult and a juvenile) sitting on that branch.
Yucatan nightjars nest on the ground where they practically disappear into the foliage.
An aptly-named roadside hawk on the grounds of Hidden Valley Inn in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in Belize.
An osprey eagle spotted in Belize.
Magnificent frigatebirds (these are courting on Half Moon Caye Natural Monument) have a seven foot wingspan and can stay in the air for weeks.
An orange oriole seen from the epic bird watching platform built 100 feet up a ceiba tree at Jungle Camp, part of Belize Lodge & Excursions.
A boat-billed heron along the river that runs through the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.
A northern jacana seen near the Lamanai archaeological site in Belize.
A great blue heron seen near the Lamanai archaeological site in Belize.
We’d hoped to see an endangered harpy eagle in the wild while in Belize but we had to settle for this one in the Belize Zoo.
A crested guan in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.
Wetlands in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary attract enormous wood storks (with the black heads), herons, egrets, cormorants and other water birds.
A chestnut-headed oropendola.
A group of rare king vultures way off in the distance on land owned and preserved by the Hidden Valley Inn in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in Belize.
An ornate hawk-eagle in deep jungle.