Belize is a Bird Watcher’s Paradise
Travel champion Frommer’s has nominated Belize as one of the best bird watching destinations in the world. It isn’t hard to figure out why, with more than 570 species of resident and migratory birds frequenting this beautiful Central American country. The varied ecosystems found here provide homes to a striking variety of birds making it a true bird watching mecca.
As with most places, wildlife sanctuaries are usually the best places to go bird watching in Belize and there are several stunning sanctuaries for you to choose from. The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in northern Belize and is characterized by rich wetlands. This wonderfully moist climate provides the perfect home to hundreds of resident and migrant species, making it arguably the best bird watching spot in the country. Some birds you might expect to see here are the yellow-lored parrot, the Yucatan jay and the rare jabiru stork. Another place worth visiting in northern Belize is the New River lagoon. Excellent bird watching opportunities are available if you take a canoe and an experienced guide and travel up and down the narrow canals, streams and marshlands in search of some exquisite specimens. You might expect to see black-collared hawks, northern jacana and purple gallinule, amongst others. The nearby Lamanai Mayan ruins provide a great addition to any bird watching trips into the area and offer plenty of great sightings en route to and at these ancient pyramids.
The Shipstern Nature Reserve is also situated in northern Belize and includes several distinctly different ecosystems. The area can be explored on foot or by water and is home to more than 250 bird species. The Half Moon Caye National Monument is a wildlife and marine reserve that will add a bit more salt to your bird watching expeditions. The reserve is a major nesting site for the red-footed booby and you will be stunned at the number of birds which gather here all during the year. If you slip over to the southern side of Belize, you’ll find the Man-O-War Caye, the Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve and the Caracol reserve. Each have something lovely to offer the average bird watcher, but the Caracol is known for being a prime bird watching spot. Keel-billed motmots, ocellated turkeys, great curassows, crested guans and violaceous trogons are just some of the exciting birds you might find in the reserves lush tropical forests.
So make a turn at Belize the next time you want to go birding a little further a field. You will be pleasantly surprised at the wonderful abundance of birds this birding destination has to offer!