Saying Belize “is for the birds” isn’t an exaggeration. You probably won’t offend anyone by saying it. With nearly 600 identified bird species, and an average of 5 new species discovered annually, Belize is becoming a birding hotspot for amateur and professional birders from around the world.
What are considered rare sightings in other locations are commonplace in Belize. Boat-billed herons, highly sought by birders, are readily found around many Belizean waterways. Grey necked wood-rails are spotted along highways as they flee from approaching vehicles. You may see a Technicolor toucan, the national bird, nibbling nearby papaya tree while breakfasting at a jungle resort. Amazing hummingbirds seem to “stand” in midair or on invisible wings that hurtle them about, yet can stop in an instant. Magnificent fragrant birds soar overhead on a stretch of beach.
Birding opportunities exist for every level of birder. It’s possible to spot more than a hundred species in just a few days. Birding can be combined with other exiting activities such as visiting Maya sites, canoeing, hiking and horseback riding. Some fo the best opportunities for spotting bird life is while strolling along the beaches. A year-round activity, birding can be especially colorful during matins season from March through August.
Many resorts have excellent bird habitats and offer guided birding. Serious birders will appreciate the excellent guides and birding checklists, which often includes several rare and endangered species seen at most jungle lodges. Six distinct geographical areas and all of the country’s districts provide lush birding environments. In the coastal areas, undisturbed habitats of mangroves, beaches and cayes offer excellent chances for spotting shorebirds and waterfowl. The protected areas of the central and southern regions offer some of the best birding. Even urban areas have vibrant bird life with more than 120 species found around Belize City.