Guyana: A Bird Watcher’s Dream Come True

December 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Not many people know much about Guyana. This sleepy little country shares its borders with Venezuela, Suriname and Brazil. Despite the fact that its neighbors are well-known, Guyana tends to stay rather isolated from commercial endeavors. And perhaps that is a good thing – for it may well be the reason why this small part of South America is a birder’s paradise!

On arrival you may notice that the past history of the country has had a strong influence on its current inhabitants and way of life. It has a strong English colonial heritage and so the current culture is closer to that found in the Caribbean rather than the Latin culture that flourishes elsewhere in South America. The little strip of beach that can be found here is not the sort of place that is frequented by sun-lovers and water-sport enthusiasts. The muddy shores serve birders and local inhabitants much better. One of the most interesting things about Guyana is that 90 percent of the country’s inhabitants live along the coast. That leaves much of the forested interior completely unpopulated and undisturbed.

Little wonder then that there are just over 800 species of birds living in Guyana. The wonderful climate and topography provides suitable habitats for a wonderful variety of birds. Coastal waters give way to mangroves and marshes before turning into tropical rainforests that become interspersed with savannahs and mountains. This is the point where the legendary Guiana Shield (one of only four pristine tropical rainforests in the world) meets the Amazon Basin and you can be sure that there is plenty of plant, animal and bird life worth seeing here!

The roughly 800 species of birds found in Guyana come from as many as 72 different bird families, so there is plenty of variety for the birding enthusiast. Hardcore birders will be pleased to know that there are even more species living here that have yet to be identified. Some of the bird families you can expect to find in Guyana include herons, hawks, eagles, falcons, rails, sandpipers, caracaras, gulls, skimmers, terns, swifts, parrots, hummingbirds, ovenbirds, woodpeckers, nighthawks, nightjars, woodcreepers, cotingas, tyrant flycatchers, typical antbirds, emberizine finches and new world blackbirds. Clearly there is no shortage of great birding sights here! The country’s capital city, Georgetown, is a great place to start your birding activities since it is home to more than 200 of the various species found in the country. So if you’re looking for a great birding holiday, look no further than Guyana. You’ll find your stay cost effective and the bird life will be unforgettable!

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