The Audubon Society has a very active presence in Belize, and more than 590 different avian species have been recorded in the country. Approximately 20% of the birds in Belize are migratory species that overwinter in the country before returning to North America.
The Audobon Society has delineated seven Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the country:
- Blue Hole Natural Monument
- Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
- Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
- Guanacaste National Park
- Half Moon Caye Natural Monument
- St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park
- Victoria Peak Natural Monument
Bird species can be found throughout Belize, but the region of the country with the densest and most diverse bird populations is the northern Orange Walk District. A combination of pristine wetlands, unspoiled jungle, and open fields make this area of Belize a birder's paradise, especially in and around the ancient Maya ruins of Lamanai where more than 360 species have been recorded.
Some of the most unusual species recorded near Lamanai include Yucatan nightjars, endangered jabiru storks, roseate spoonbills, sun grebes, long-tailed hermit hummingbirds, and long-necked anhingas.
Other iconic birds found in Belize include scarlet macaws, toucans, the endangered yellow-headed parrot, Blue-crowned motmots, endangered golden-cheeked warblers, flamingos, and the rare ocellated turkey. Some newly-recorded species include Canadian geese, crested caracaras, and spot-breasted orioles.
Belize is also home to dozens of species of birds of prey, including black-collared hawks, orange-breasted falcons, black hawk-eagles, snail kites, enormous harpy eagles, and Northern harriers. Other distinct bird species in Belize include New World vultures like the turkey vulture, king vulture, and the lesser yellow-headed vulture.
Shorebird species include upland sandpipers, red knots, whimbrels, semipalmated sandpipers, Wilson's snipes, red-necked phalaropes, willets, and lesser yellowlegs. Belize also has a number of fish-eating bird species like laughing fulls, least terns, herring gulls, black skimmers, and brown noddies.
Belize is also home to dozens of species of pigeons, doves, ducks, geese, quail, boobies, cormorants, spoonbills, rails, coots, plovers, cuckoos, anis, owls, nightjars, kingfishers, and woodpeckers.
There are also dozens of different species of hummingbirds found in Belize, including white-necked jacobins, band-tailed barbthroats, long-billed hermits, brown violetears, purple-crowned fairies, green-breasted mangoes, long-billed starthroats, Carnivet's emeralds, scaly-breasted hummingbirds, violet sabrewings, crowned woodnymphs, azure-crowned hummingbirds, blue-throated goldentails, and stripe-tailed hummingbirds.
Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language, making it easy for bird watchers to converse with experienced local guides. Several books have been written that document the wide variety of amazing avian species that can be found in the country.
Below are 7 of the most beautiful birds in Belize. And of course, there are so much more colorful and attractive birds in the country that are not in this list.
The Scarlet Macaw
The Red-Footed Booby
The Red legged honeycreeper