Belize and Tikal

20 January - 3 February 2004

Neil Arnold

Edward Allen


Sunny weather, sunny wildlife and sunny company: what more can a leader want?

I am grateful to you all for making this such a good holiday. I am especially thankful to Ed and his counterparts in Tikal for being on such good form and giving us an insight into their countries.

I hope we'll meet again soon.

Best wishes,

Neil Arnold

February 2004

Trip Diary


After a straightforward flight we spent a night in Miami.



Sadly there was no time to mount a systematic birdwatch in Miami. We did however 'fall across' a number of bird species including a fine Merlin.

Once again our journey to Belize City was untroubled. En route we enjoyed splendid views of Key West, Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

We were greeted on our arrival by Ed, our guide.

Once settled into our beachside hotel we had time to explore before dinner. We discovered bird species ranging from Brown Pelican to the diminutive Vermilion Flycatcher.



WEATHER Moderately cloudy, hot, NE 2

The day was spent at Crooked Tree. In fact the day was dominated by those species which thrive in or near water. Soon after we arrived at the reserve we set off in a boat to explore the open water and shoreline of the vast local wetland. Herons were everywhere, the most notable species being Boat-billed Heron which was seen at roost, one individual venturing out into the open giving us great views. Storks, ibis, Limpkin, wildfowl and American Coot also graced the scene. Neotropical Cormorant and Pied-billed Grebe were also noted. As might be expected birds of prey were abundant, including Snail Kite and Black-collared Hawk, both denizens of the marshes.

We also discovered six species of reptile including a rather small Morelet's Crocodile.

After a fine lunch we took a short walk which brought us into contact with a variety of landbirds, including Yellow, Black and White and Magnolia Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush and Northern Parula.

On the way back to the city Ed drew up at the side of the road and we enjoyed good views of a Keel-billed Toucan in a tall tree.

We had made a good start to our holiday.



WEATHER A cold front greeted us in the early morning when 8/8 Cumulus, cool NE 3. It brightened in the afternoon.

The whole day was devoted to a boat trip. Ed met us at Fort George Quay and drove us to Gale's Point, a small settlement on a peninsula in South Lagoon.

The day was bisected by a delicious local meal at Gentle's Cool Spot, Gale's Point.

So what was the event of the day? Was it seeing Yellow-crowned Night Herons at roost, Long-nosed Bats under a road bridge, hearing the 'whoosh' as four Caribbean Manatees came to the surface to breath or a sparkling Green Kingfisher perched on a branch underneath which were a pair of Grey-necked Wood-Rail?

As far as I'm concerned it was none of these; it was watching a nesting colony of Boat-billed Herons.

We were speeding across the open waters of North Lagoon when Ed turned in behind an isolated, well-vegetated island. As we nosed slowly beneath an open arching Red Mangrove there was a flurry of wings as about twenty Boat-billed Herons moved further into cover. The interior of the tree was so well lit, however, that we had absolutely wonderful views of this very secretive bird. The majority were adults who looked down on us through their huge black eyes. There were also a good number of immature birds, which resembled rather dumpy bitterns. As we continued to search around the rather fragile looking nests we discovered three chicks. They were still in down on their bodies and head but their wings seemed well developed. Even at this age their bills already resembled a somewhat slender boat. The juveniles moved rather clumsily around the branches. One individual ventured too near to an adult and was 'seen off' with a sharp call and a prod of the beak. To underline its authority the adult raised its black head plumes, something I had never seen before. Needless to say the juvenile uttered a high-pitched cry and beat a hasty retreat. It was hard to tear ourselves away.

This was one of those experiences that you know you'll remember for ever.



WEATHER 2/8 Cu, sunny, 0

After a brief walk around the hotel grounds we left Belize City to drive to Lamanai Landing. The bright weather seemed to inspire action amongst the birds. We were lucky enough to see a male Northern Cardinal, Yucatan Jay and a Laughing Falcon before reaching the Landing.

One again we boarded a boat and Ed drove us along the New River to the Mayan site at Lamanai. En route we encountered three Lesser Nighthawk at roost in riverside trees, Purple Gallinules and a very smart Bare-throated Tiger-heron. We also watched a Jabiru on its nest but distance did not lend enchantment in this case. Eventually by constantly adjusting the telescope on the rocking boat some sort of view of the adult emerged.

Once at Lamanai (Submerged Crocodile in the Mayan language) we marvelled at the ancient temples and enjoyed close views of a troupe of Black Howler Monkeys, a Yucatan Squirrel, Violaceous Trogons, a lone Red-capped Manakin and a number of other forest bird species.

By mid afternoon we set off for Chan Chich Lodge. Once again the birds seemed to be particularly active. We were soon enjoying excellent views of an Aplomado Falcon through the telescopes. A Lineated Woodpecker, American Kestrels and White-tailed Kites were also noted.

Eventually we entered the Rio Bravo Conservation Area. The presence of White-tailed Deer, Central American Agouti, Plain Chachalaca, Great Curassow, Crested Guan and Ocellated Turkeys along the roadside seemed to indicate conservation in action.

On arriving at Chan Chich Lodge we given a cheery welcome, comfortable accommodation, restful bar facilities and a great meal; what more could a weary traveller want?



WEATHER Clear, fine, a gentle breeze.

We awoke to the eerie cries of Yucatan Howler Monkeys.

A pre-breakfast walk around the lodge revealed tropical birds in all their glory.

As we emerged from our rooms Parauque were still calling in the distance, and then the air was filled with the cries of quarrelling Montezuma Oropendola. The next players to enter 'stage left' were parrots, first Aztec (Olive-throated) Parakeets and then flocks of Brown-hooded, White-crowned, Red-lored and Mealy Parrots. As if there was not enough colour in our lives Ringed Kingfisher, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Black-cheeked and Chestnut-coloured Woodpeckers joined the fray.

By contrast our walk along the River Trail was into the forest where birds were not delivered gift-wrapped, and we had to look hard to see any at all. Eventually though we discovered such gems as Dot-winged Antwren, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Black-throated Shrike-tanager, Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Purple -throated Fairy and many more. Notable sightings of the morning also included Deppe's Squirrel, Central American Agouti and a Tayra at point blank range.

In the late afternoon we walked the drive to the lodge. Colourful birds continued to be the order of the day. Between us we saw Tody Motmot, Yellow-throated Euphonia and Collared Aracari. Equally attractive but less flamboyant species included Short-billed Pigeon and Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher. We also had great fun watching two troupes of Central American Spider Monkeys, especially the antics of the young ones.

The theme of the day though seemed to be colour, colour, colour.



The morning colour was provided by parrots, Lineated Woodpecker and Collared Aracari.

We left the lodge at 09.15, driving to Belize Zoo and then on to Five Sisters Lodge in the Mountain Pine Range Forest Reserve.

En route to our first stop at Lamanai Landing we noted a Kildeer, two King Vultures, a Laughing Falcon and Barn Swallows.

We passed through an area farmed by the Amish. It was obvious that they were still farming in an organic way, relying on little machinery. We were pleased to see them driving their two horse buggies whilst wearing their traditional bib and brace overalls, blue shirts and white stetson hats. The ladies were wearing patterned dresses and headscarves. It was fascinating to glimpse their way of life.

The zoo was most entertaining. It only included animals found wild in Belize. Consequently we were able to take time to look at species we had seen in the wild like the Agouti, Tayra, Spider and Howler Monkeys. We also had close views of Common Black Hawk, a variety of parrots and Jabiru. Many rarer animals such as the cat species were of special interest. Our viewing was not confined to captive animals, though: we saw a variety of wild birds including Plain Chachalaca, Common Tody Flycatcher and Ovenbird. Whilst watching the crocodiles we heard a Pygmy Kingfisher but it completely eluded us, sadly.

One of the highlights was the chance to see Harpy Eagle in all its glory.

Amazingly just as we neared the Forest Reserve a sleek, jet-black Jaguarundi crossed the road in front of our vehicle. A lucky few whose turn it was to sit in the front had a clear, but brief, view of this fine animal. Ironically we had only been watching one just an hour before.

We arrived at Five Sisters Lodge just as the sun formed a blazing ball over the western ridges of the mountain.



WEATHER a.m. 0/8, sun, 0. p.m. 2-3/8 Cu. Sun, a breeze.

A pre-breakfast walk in the garden revealed a host of Acorn Woodpeckers, Yellow-faced Grassquits, Yellow-backed Oriole, Rufous-caped Warbler and a lone Ferruginous Pygmy Owl sitting in bright sunlight.

As we left the Lodge we saw a very colourful Variable Coral Snake in the road.

The local butterfly farm was our first port of call. The tour around the farm was very informative and the garden was host to White-vented Euphonia, a Blue-crowned Motmot, which was only glimpsed, and a fine immature King Vulture sitting in a tree.

En route to the 'Thousand Foot Falls' we came across a flock of Black-faced Grosbeak and a Grey Hawk.

Whilst at the waterfall we saw two more King Vultures and a variety of woodland species.

Lunch was taken at the Rio On waterfalls and then we pressed on to the magnificent limestone Rio Frio Cave, a tall, cave which had been sculptured by the river. In the lush forest around the cave we found a party of Dot-winged Antwren and a Ruddy Woodcreeper.

A brief evening walk enabled us to reinforce our knowledge of the local birds.



WEATHER A cold front again. 8/8 Cu. Light rain at times.

Black-headed Saltator was the star of the morning walk.

Our drive down the mountain was punctuated by close sightings of Golden-fronted Woodpecker and White -fronted Parrot.

As we arrived at Xanantunich a Least Grebe emerged from the depths of the river. The walk around the Mayan site was illuminated by Ed's clear commentary. The expected wildlife failed to appear, except for a single White-bellied Emerald. As we returned to the main road a flock of Scrub and Olive-backed Euphonia caught our eye.

Lunch was taken at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel which not only provided a good meal but the chance to watch a variety of birds including a Bright-rumped Attila.

As we passed Xanantunich on our way to the Guatamalan border we had great views of a pair of Amazon Kingfishers.

The border crossing was very efficient so we soon found ourselves on the way to Tikal.

The roadside marshes which can be full of waterbirds were dry so the drive was not as eventful as usual.

Even a stop at the Laguna Penitch proved disappointing.

By 17.00 we settled into Jungle Lodge and then went out for a brief walk. Spider and Howler Monkeys, Agoutis and a Deppe's Squirrel greeted us, as did a selection of birds. We were especially impressed by the small reservoir by the Lodge which was home to a number of very confiding waterbirds. Little-blue Heron, Green Heron, American Purple Galinule, Northern Jacana and two Grey-necked Woodrail were watched at close range. It was an enchanting way to end the day.



WEATHER 8/7 Cu, dull,0 Brighter p.m.

The early morning walk was very productive, revealing a wide range of forest birds.

At 08.30 we met Luis, our park guide for the morning. He led us through the forest to the wonderful archaeological site, the pride of the whole Mayan kingdom. The dull weather gave us less chance of seeing birds but Luis's historical narration and ecological insights kept us engaged.

We inspected the houses of the nobles, games courts, altars, open courtyards and the massive temples. It was obvious that a great deal of time, effort and money had been spent in excavating and restoring the site.

Some brave souls climbed the steep steps to the top of Temple Five and were rewarded by a splendid view over the forest.

Later we all climbed to the top of Temple Four and benefited not only from the panorama but from a good view of a perched Orange-breasted Falcon, one of the most elusive raptors in Central America.

On our way back to the Lodge Luis found a Blue-crowned Motmot for us.

The early afternoon was spent visiting the museums or walking quietly in the forest.

Later in the afternoon we took to the park once again. A Common Yellowthroat, a Lineated Woodpecker and a male Purple-crowned Fairy provided a spectacle. As we wandered back to the lodge we found a very active pack of Coatis whilst overhead Purple Martins, Lesser Swallow-tailed and Vaux's Swifts hawked for insects. As dusk approached a Bat Falcon flashed across the sky.

Later in the evening as we returned to our rooms a Black and White Owl hooted from the nearby trees. Try as we might we were unable to set eyes on it!



WEATHER cloudless, sunny,still.

At 06.30 we met Miguel, the most experienced wildlife guide in the park. During our walk we discovered fifty species of birds including Black-headed Trogon, Golden-fronted, Golden-olive Chestnut-coloured and Lineated Woodpeckers. We also noted five species of mammals including a Grey Fox.

After lunch we set off for Flores international airport. As we waited for the plane we saw Purple Martins and a distant American Swallow -tailed Kite.

The trip in a Cessna 'Caravan' to Belize City and then on to San Pedro, Ambergris Cay was exhilarating. Soon after we left Flores we were able to detect the temples at Tikal glinting in the distance. We also had a wonderful bird's eye view of the Cays.



WEATHER 8/8 Cu, dull,still

The early morning walk revealed Yucatan Woodpecker, Orange Oriole and Black Catbird.

As we were eating breakfast a Bottle-nosed Dolphin cruised past the lodge.

The morning was spent at sea. We moved slowly through the canal to the western side of the Cay and on to the 'Twin Islands'. The islands hold colonies of nesting waterbirds. Neotropical Cormorants, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Brown Pelicans and herons were busily breeding. The star bird was the very local Reddish Egret. We returned to the dock at Ramon's Village via the tip of the peninsula. In an area of quiet water we were able to watch Spotted Eagle Ray in the sea and Caspian Tern at rest on a sand bank.

The occasion was only slightly interrupted by one of the clients receiving mobile phone updates on the progress of the Watford v West Bromwich Albion match. The fact that the favoured team lost was soon put behind us, however.

The afternoon was spent swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling.

A walk in the mangroves later revealed seven species of heron, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Blue-winged Teal, White Ibis and a very large American Crocodile



WEATHER Rain overnight cleared to give a hot, sunny day.

The general mood was one of hedonism; there was much resting, snorkelling, looking at fish from a glass bottomed boat and a little drinking.

Anyone would think that we were on holiday!

A return to the mangroves brought us in close contact with the birds. A small pool held a Black-necked Stilt, a Killdeer, a Greater Yellowlegs, two Western Sandpipers, twenty-one Snowy Egrets, a Little Blue Heron, a juvenile Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Tri-coloured, Green and Great Blue Herons. Ten White Ibis and three Blue-winged Teal completed the picture. More wetland species were seen as we walked deeper into the mangroves.

On the walk back to the lodge we were thrilled to find a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker busily feeding. It made a fascinating end to the morning.

Those who ventured out to the reef were rewarded with sightings of a Leatherback Turtle, Nurse Sharks, squid and Spotted Eagle-ray, Yellow and Southern Stingrays.

Ramon's Village was a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon.



WEATHER Hot and clear.

Sadly we had to go home - via Belize City, Miami and Heathrow, London.




Belize (B)

Guatamala (G)

GREBES Podicipedidae

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps Two Crooked tree, one Lamanai (B) and one Laguna Penitch (G)

Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus One Xunantunich (G)

DARTERS Anhingidae

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga Scattered records mainland and Ambergris Cay (B)

CORMORANTS Phalacracoracidae

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus Two Ambergris Cay (B)

Neotropic (Olivaceous) Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus (olivaceus) Common on the coast and on inland wetlands (B)

PELICANS Pelicanidae

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Common on the coast (B)


Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens Common on the coast (B)


Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Widespread in wetlands (B)

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Only noted in grasslands, usually near domestic animals. (B)

American Great White Egret Casmerodius albus Common (B)(G)

Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens Twenty individuals noted Ambergris Cay (B)

Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor Widespread but only in small numbers, peak count twenty-three, Ambergris Cay (B)

Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea Recorded almost daily (B)(G)

Snowy Egret Egretta thula Widespread, peak twenty three, Ambergris Cay (B)

Green Heron Butorides virescens Widespread, peak count twenty Crooked Tree (B) (G)

Yellow-crowned Night-heron Nyctanassa violacea In freshwater locations (B)

Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax Thirteen records on inland waters (B)

Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius Thirty- six records Crooked Tree and North Lagoon roosts (B)

Bare-throated Tiger-heron Tigrisoma mexicanum One Juv near Belize City, one adult Lamanai and one juv Ambergris Cay

STORKS Ciconiidae

Wood Stork Mycteria americana Five inland waters and three Ambergris Cay

Jabiru Jabiru mycteria One at a nest Lamanai

IBISES & SPOONBILLS Threskiornithidae

American White Ibis Eudocimus albus Inland records and at least thirty-eight Ambergris Cay

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus Three Crooked Tree (B)

Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaia Thirteen Ambergris Cay

WHISTLING-DUCKS Dendrocygnidae

Black-bellied Whistling-duck Dendrocygna autumnalis One near Belize City and two Crooked Tree (B)


Blue-winged Teal Anas discors Two Crooked Tree, one Lamanai and four Ambergris Cay (B)


Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Very widespread (B) (G)

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus Widespread in lowland (B)

American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Common except in the cays (B) (G)

King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa Two Chan Chich and three in the mountains (B)

OSPREY Pandionidae

Osprey Pandion haliaetu Common in wetlands and Ambergris Cay (B)

HAWKS Accipitridae

American Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus One Flores Airport at great distance (G)

White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus Two en route Chan Chich (B)

Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Common Crooked Tree and Lamanai (B)

Common Black-hawk Buteogallus anthracinus Two juveniles Belize City (B)

Great Black-hawk Buteogallus urubitinga Three records near Belize City (B)

Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis Four Crooked Tree (B)

Gray (-lined) Hawk Asturina nitida Three records in the mountains (B)

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Common throughout the lowlands. Twenty-two records on the journey from Chan Chich to Five Sisters (B)


Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans One en route Lamanai and one near Chan Chich (B)

American Kestrel Falco sparverius Four widespread records (B)

Merlin Falco columbarius One Miami USA

Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis Nine records (B) (G)

Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis One Lamanai (B)

Orange-breasted Falcon Falco deiroleucus One Tikal (G)


Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula Common in forested areas (B) (G)

Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens At Chan Chich and Tikal (B) (G)

Great Curassow Crax rubra One Chan Chich (B)

TURKEYS Melagrididae

Ocellated Turkey Meleagris ocellata Common Chan Chich and Tikal (B) (G)

LIMPKIN Aramidae

Limpkin Aramus guarauna Mainly in wetlands (B) but one at Tikal (G)

RAILS & COOTS Rallidae

Grey-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea Three in wetlands (B) and three Tikal (G)

American Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinicus Two Lamanai (B) and four Tikal (G)

American Coot Fulica americana Substantial flock Crooked Tree (B)

JACANAS Jacanidae

Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa In wetlands (B) (G)

AVOCETS AND STILTS Recurvirostridae

Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus At least three Ambergris Cay (B)

PLOVERS Charadriidae

Grey (Black-bellied) Plover Pluvialis squatarola Two Ambergris Cay (B)

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus One Chan Chich and at least five Ambergris Cay (B)

SANDPIPERS Scolopacidae

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca Two Ambergris Cay (B)

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia Common at coastal and inland waters (B) and one Laguna Penitch (G)

(Ruddy) Turnstone Arenaria interpres At coastal sites (B)

Sanderling Calidris alba Four Ambergris Cay (B)

Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri Two Ambergris Cay (B)

Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla Up to sixteen Belize City (B)

GULLS Laridae

American Herring Gull Larus argentatus smithsonianus Two Belize City (B)

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla Common on the coast (B)

TERNS Sternidae

Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia A flock of nineteen Ambergris Cay (B)

Royal Tern Sterna maxima Common on the coast (B)

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis Ten Belize City (B)

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbidae

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia In inhabited areas (B) (G)

Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis At Gale's Point and Lamanai (B)

Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris One Chan Chich (G)

White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica Common Ambergris Cay (B)

Common Ground-dove Columbina passerina Scattered records (B)

Ruddy Ground-dove Columbina talpacoti Very common (B) (G)

Blue Ground-dove Claravis pretiosa One Chan Chich (G)

White-tipped Dove Lepotila verreauxi Scattered records (B)(G)

PARROTS Psittacidae

Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana Widespread, except cays. (B) (G)

Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis Only at Chan Chich, where common (B)

White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis Sightings at Chan Chich, in the mountains and at Tikal (B) (G)

White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons Only noted in the west (B) and at Tikal (G)

Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis Noted from Chan Chich to Tikal (B) (G)

Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa Scarce. Two Chan Chich (B) and one Tikal (G)

ANIS Crotophagidae

Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris Noted throughout (B) except cays


Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana One Crooked Tree (B)


Black and White Owl Strix nigrolineata Heard Tikal (G)

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum One Five Sisters Lodge (B)

NIGHTJARS Caprimulgidae

Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis Three Lamanai (B)

Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis Heard Chan Chich (B)

SWIFTS Apodidae

Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi Only Belize City, Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis Several Tikal (G)


Stripe-throated (Little) Hermit Phaethornis strigularis (longuemareus) Only at Chan Chich (B)

White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora Only at Chan Chich (B)

White-bellied Emerald Amazilia candida One Xunantunich (B)

Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis One Lamanai (B)

Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila Only in Belize City and Ambergris Cay (B)

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Only in Belize City, Chan Chich and in the mountains (B)

Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti Wonderful views Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

TROGONS Trogonidae

Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena Three Chan Chich (B)

Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus One Tikal (G)

Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus One Lamanai (B) and three records Tikal (G)


Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata Common (B)

Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon Very common and widespread (B)

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona A pair at a nest Xunantunich (B)

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana Only on the waterways near Belize City (B)

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea One heard Belize Zoo (B)

MOTMOTS Motmotidae

Tody Motmot Hylomanes momotula One Chan Chich (B)

Blue-crowned Motmot Motmotus momota One glimpsed in the mountains (B) and one Tikal (G)

JACAMARS Galbulidae

Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda One Chan Chich (B)

TOUCANS Ramphastidae

Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus Common Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus Widespread (B) and common Tikal (G)


Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus One record near Belize City, otherwise common in the mountains (B)

Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani Five Chan Chich (B)

Yucatan Woodpecker Melanerpes pygmaeus One Ambergris Cay (B)

Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons Confined to the west and cays (B) and Tikal (G)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius One female Ambergris Cay (B)

Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus One Chan Chich (B)

Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus One Tikal (G)

Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus Two Chan Chich (B) and six sightings Tikal (G)

Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus At Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis One Lamanai (B) and one Tikal (G)

WOODCREEPERS Dendrocolaptidae

Ruddy Woodcreeper Dendrocincla homochroa One Rio Frio (B)

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorrhynchus soirurus One Chan Chich (B)

Ivory-billed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus flavigaster Three Chan Chich (B)

OVENBIRDS Furnariidae

Plain Xenops Xenops minutus One Chan Chich (B) and one Tikal (G)


Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis Two Chan Chich and a party Rio Frio (B)


Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata One in the mountains (B)

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus One Chan Chich (B)

Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum One Belize Zoo (B)

Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobus sulpheureipygius One Chan Chich (B)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris One Tikal (G)

Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus Two Tikal (G)

Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans One Chan Chich (B)

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus Common in the lowlands (B)

Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus One Chan Chich and one San Ignacio (B)

Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer Two in the mountains (B)

Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus Only at Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus Only at Tikal (G)

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Common in the lowlands (B)

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Common throughout (B) (G)

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Common throughout (B) (G)

Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana Several sightings in grasslands (B)

Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata Only at Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor A pair Tikal (G)


Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis Noted at Lamanai and Belize Zoo (B)


Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea Common over water throughout lowland (B)

Purple Martin Progne subis Only at Tikal and Flores Airport (G)

Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea A huge movement over Belize City on the 23rd and then scattered records (B)

Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis Only in the waterways (B)

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Only noted in the farmland en route Belize City from Chan Chich (B)

WRENS Troglodytidae

White-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucostica One Chan Chich (B)


Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Common throughout (B) (G)

Black Catbird Melanoptila glabrirostris Three sightings Ambergris Cay (B)

Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus Common and widespread (B) (G)


Wood Thrush Catharus mustelinus Common from Chan Chich through to Tikal (B) (G)

Clay-colored Robin (Thrush) Turdus grayi Only noted at Crooked Tree, Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

GNATCATCHERS Polioptilidae

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptilia caerulea Only in the mountains (B) and Tikal (G)

Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea Only at Crooked Tree (B)

JAYS & CROWS Corvidae

Yucatan Jay Cissilopha yucatanicus One near Belize City (B)

Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio Scattered records throughout lowland (B) and Common Tikal (G)

NEW WORLD SPARROWS Emberizidae - Emberizinae

Rusty Sparrow Aimophila rufescens Only in the mountains (B)

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina One record from the vehicle in the mountains (B)

White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola Common and widespread (B) (G)

Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea Common in the mountains (B)

CARDINALS & GROSBEAKS Emberizidae - Cardinalinae

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis A fine male near Belize City (B)

Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster A flock in the mountains (B)

Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps Only in the mountains (B) and at Tikal (G)

Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens Only at Belize Zoo (B)

TANAGERS Emberizidae - Thraupinae

Black-throated Shrike-tanager Lanio aurantius Close views Chan Chich (B)

Red-throated Ant-tanager Habia fuscicauda A common forest bird (B)

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra Only in Belize City (B) and Tikal (G)

Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus Common and widespread (B) (G)

Yellow-winged Tanager Thraupis abbas At Gale's Point, in the west (B) and Tikal (G)

Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis A flock Xunantunich (B)

Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea Only at Chan Chich and in the mountains (B)

Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi Noted at Chan Chich and Xanantunich (B)

White Vented Euphonia Euphonia minuta One at the Butterfly Farm in the mountains (B)

Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus Common in forest areas (B) (G)


Northern Parula Parula americana One Crooked Tree and one Ambergris Cay (B)

Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia Common in forests and scrub (B) (G)

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Common throughout (B) (G)

Mangrove (Yellow) Warbler Dendroica petechia erithachoroides Only noted at Ambergris Cay (B) and Tikal (G)

Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica Two records Tikal (G)

Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica One Gale's Point and one Ambergris Cay (B)

Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum One Gale's Point and several Ambergris Cay (B)

Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia The commonest warbler throughout (B) (G)

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla Widespread (B) (G)

Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus Only at Chan Chich (B)

Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis In lowland wetlands (B)

Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorus One Tikal (G)

Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas At Tikal (G) and Ambergris Cay (B)

Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina Common in low lying, damp areas (B) (G)

Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons Only in the mountains (B)

VIREOS Vireonidae

White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus Only in Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons Only Tikal (G)

Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus Two Chan Chich (B)


Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma Common in forest areas (B) (G)

Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus One Crooked Tree (B)

Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater Common in the mountains (B)

Orange Oriole Icterus auratus Two Ambergris Cay (B)

Baltimore (Northern) Oriole Icterus galbula One Tikal (G) and one Ambergris Cay (B)

Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius Widespread (G) (B)

Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus One Lamanai (B)

Black-cowled Oriole Icterus prosthemelas Only in the mountains (B) and at Tikal (G)

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Flocks in grasslands (B)

Melodious Blackbird Dives dives Common and widespread (B) (G)

Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Common except at Tikal (B)

Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus Common in grassland (B) (G)


BATS - Sheath-tailed Bats Chiroptera - Emballonuridae

Long-nosed (Proboscis) Bat Rhynconycteris naso Eight Burdon Canal (B)

PRIMATES - New World Monkeys Primates - Cebidae

Yucatan Howler Monkey Alouatta pigra Common Lamanai, Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Central American Spider Monkey Ateles geoffroyii Common Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

CARNIVORES - Dogs Carnivora - Canidae

Grey Fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus Two records Tikal (G)

CARNIVORES - Raccoons Carnivora - Procyonidae

White-nosed Coati Nasua narica Common Tikal (G)

CARNIVORES - Mustelids Carnivora - Mustelidae

Tayra Lontra barbara One Chan Chich (B)

CARNIVORES - Cats Carnivora - Felidae

Jaguarundi Herpailurus yaguarondi One in the mountains (B)

CETACEANS - Marine Dolphins Cetacea - Delphinidae

Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus One Ambergris Cay (B)

SEA COWS - Manatees Sirenia - Trichechidae

Caribbean Manatee Trichechus manatus Four North Lagoon (B)

EVEN-TOED UNGULATES - Deer Artiodactyla - Cervidae

White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus Very common Chan Chich (B) one Tikal (G)

RODENTS - Squirrels Rodentia - Sciuridae

Deppe's Squirrel Sciurus deppei Noted Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)

Yucatan Squirrel Sciurus yucatanensis Noted Lamanai (B) and Tikal (G)

RODENTS - Agoutis Rodentia - Dasyproctidae

Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata Records from Lamanai, Chan Chich (B) and Tikal (G)


Green Iguana Iguana iguana Very common in the lowlands (B)

Spiny-tailed Iguana Ctenosaura similis Less common than Iguana in the lowlands and cays (B)

Striped Basilisk Basiliscus vittatus Two records lowlands (B)

Cozumel Whiptail Cnemidophorus cozumelae Widespread (B)

Yellowbelly Gecko Phyllodactylus tuberculosus One Belize Zoo (B)

American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus A large individual Ambergris Cay (B)

Morelet's Crocodile Crocodylus morelesi Only noted in freshwater (B)

Common Slider/Ornate Terrapin Trachemys scripta Common in freshwater (B)

Leather-backed Turtle Dermochelys coriacea One off Ambergris Cay

Speckled Racer Drymobius margaritiferus One Crooked Tree (B)

Variable Coral Snake Micrurus negrocinctus One near Five Sisters Lodge

© The Travelling Naturalist 2004