Belize Birding

Belize bird watching is fun not only for avid birders, but for the casual observer as well. The country is home to more than 500 different species of birds, some resident, others migratory. Though Belize is small in size, it certainly offers an array of ecosystems and landscapes, which offers itself nicely to the Belize birding scene. When birding in Belize, you'll have the chance to look for different species in the rainforest, in open savannahs, on isolated cayes, and among the country's many swamps and mangroves. Since some of the best Belize bird watching sites are found close to other great Belize attractions, coupling your birding adventure with other fun pursuits is always a possibility. Belize birding tours can easily be arranged for destinations all over the country, so planning your outings won't involve a lot of stress. Should you book one of the extended Belize birding tours that visit different regions, it can be a most excellent way to see the country as you go. Some of the operators of Belize birding tours can customize the trip to fit your wants and needs. Perhaps you'll be up for birding for a few days in the Cayo District before you head out to the cayes to enjoy an entirely different experience. Perhaps you'll want to go birding one day, and caving the next. It's really up to you, what you want to do, and how much time you are willing to devote to your Belize birding experience.

Just about 30 miles northwest of Belize City, you'll find what is arguably the top Belize bird watching destination. The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is made up mostly of wetlands, and especially during the dry season here, you'll have a good chance of spotting one or more jabiru storks. These impressive birds are the largest flying specimens in the "New World", and they can have a wing span of 10-12 feet! Boat-billed herons, kingfishers, and black-collared hawks are just some of the other species of birds you can expect to see at Crooked Tree among the hundreds of migrating and resident classifications. The New River Lagoon is another excellent northern Belize destination for those looking to enjoy some of the best birding in Belize. This lagoon is the largest lake in all of Belize, and among the bird species you'll spot here are snail kites, northern jacanas, jabiru storks, and even a few different kinds of parrots. You can reach the New River Lagoon by heading up the New River by boat, which is a great experience, and since the Lamanai Mayan ruins are so close, you'll definitely want to include at least a quick visit there.

Should you be hanging out in northern Belize in the town of Corozal, the nearby Shipstern Nature Reserve is an excellent place to enjoy a little birding in Belize. There are a few different ways to get around this 22,000-acre reserve. You can opt for a dugout canoe, try a flat-bottomed boat, or go by foot. White-winged doves, reddish egrets, yellow-lored parrots, and roseate spoonbills are just some of the more than 250 bird species that can be found at Shipstern. Back towards Belize City, you might check out the Baboon Sanctuary, not only for its howler monkeys, but also for its 200 species of recorded birds, such as hook-billed kites, acorn woodpeckers, and plumbeous kites. In central Belize, enjoying a little birding as you canoe down the Macal River is a great way to go. Social flycatchers, mangrove swallows, and kingfishers are among the species that you can expect to see when Belize birding on the Macal River. In central Belize's Mountain Pine Ridge region, you can view an array of birds as well, not to mention enjoy some of the best hiking in Belize. While you're hanging out in Mountain Pine Ridge, you might also take the chance to visit the Rio Frio Cave. It's one of the easiest Belize caves to explore.

Much like the aforementioned Lamanai Mayan ruins, the west-central Belize Mayan ruins of Caracol are also a great birding spot. The surrounding forest at Caracol is full of tropical bird species. In southern Belize, those looking to arrange Belize birding tours will want to find ones that head to the Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve. King vultures, toucans, and scarlet macaws are just some of the bird species you will have the chance of seeing at Cockscomb, which is also a jaguar reserve. For offshore southern Belize birdwatching, you can consider heading to Man-O-War Caye, which is a bird sanctuary. Man-O-War birds, or frigates, nest here, and you'll also likely spot plenty of brown boobies. Among the northern cayes and atolls, the Half Moon Caye National Monument is a good bet for awesome Belize birding trips. All kinds of seabirds can be spotted at this marine reserve, including the red-footed booby. Whether your Belize birding tour lasts just a few hours, or a few days, the memories will likely last a lifetime. If you've never gone birding before, chances are that should you try a little Belize birdwatching, you'll be hooked for life.

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