Birds are everywhere but it’s easier to watch our winged friends in some places more than others. Have a backyard? There are probably more birds than you think but if you live in an urban area, the number of species will be limited. Don’t have a backyard? There will be birds in local parks, but there will be much more in the nearest wetland, forest preserve, national park, or any other area with natural habitat.
No matter where you go, the same rule holds for birding; find good areas of habitat and you will find lots of birds. However, if those areas of habitat are on isolated mountains or far from the beaten track, getting there can be nothing short of an adventure. In some places, connecting with a number of species requires hours of bumpy rides on rocky and muddy roads, long bleary-eyed hikes before the break of dawn, and crouching in a hide as you carefully wait for the birds to show.
A rocky road can have fantastic birding but getting there isn’t exactly easy nor for everybody.
Although a birder could go for such expedition-style birding in Belize, it’s far from necessary. On the contrary, if anything, birding in Belize is excellent and easy-going, these are some reasons why:
Habitat, and Lots of It!
As always, habitat is key for seeing more birds and this is the main reason why the birding in Belize is fantastic. Thanks to protected areas and a rather small population, there are large areas of tropical forest, large areas of wetlands, and plenty of other wildlife habitat. Basically, this makes it easy to see more birds in more places without too much effort.
Tropical Birding Means Lots of Birds
Another key reason why Belize is great for birding is because this small nation is located in the tropical zone. As with other places that lack any significant cold weather, biodiversity in Belize is substantially higher than in northern climes, birds included. Around 600 species are on the Belize bird list including the likes of fancy, classic Neotropical birds like the Keel-billed Toucan,
tanagers such as the beautiful Red-legged Honeycreeper,
Photo courtesy of Eugene Pierce Jr.
the striking White Hawk,
hummingbirds like this Azure-crowned Hummingbird, and many more.
Good Populations of Rare Birds
Large areas of intact habitat also equate to healthier populations of uncommon and rare birds. This is why although Belize might not have as many species as some other countries in Latin America, this small birdy nation is still one of the best places to lays eye on a number of widespread yet rare or uncommon birds such as the Jabiru, various raptors including Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Keel-billed Motmot, Orange-breasted Falcon, and others.
Good Tourism Infrastructure
Lastly and vitally, Belize also has a good set of roads, a number of quality lodging options, and experienced guides that make the excellent birding that much easier.
As of August 15th, Belize will also be open for tourism! Start planning your dream birding trip trip today and use the Belize Birds Field Guide app to see which of 600 bird species wait to be seen in Belize!