Belize is home to some 618 species of resident and migratory birds. With varied ecosystems ranging from coastal mangroves and swamps; to isolated barrier-reef cayes; to dense tropical rainforest and clear, open savannahs, Belize is a wonderful destination for avid bird-watchers and amateurs alike.
- Half Moon Caye National Monument (Northern Cayes and Atolls): This isolated wildlife and marine reserve is a major nesting site for the red-footed booby. Thousands of these birds can be spotted on the island at any one time, an amazing sight. In addition, you can also spot a wide range of resident and migratory sea birds here.
- Man-O-War Caye (Southern Belize): This small caye is a government-monitored bird sanctuary and major nesting site for the magnificent frigate, or man-o-war. Circling the island in a small boat, you'll see hundreds of these large seabirds roosting on and hovering above the tiny caye. In addition to the frigates, the island also is home to a large community of brown boobies.
- Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve (Southern Belize): In addition to its jaguar reserve, the Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve is home to a large number of tropical forest-dwelling bird species. This is one of the best sites in Belize to spot the large and loud scarlet macaw, as well as several toucan species and the imposing king vulture.
- Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (Northern Belize): This rich wetland is perhaps the top bird-watching site in Belize. Home to hundreds of resident and migrant species, it is one of the best spots to see the giant and rare jabiru stork, especially during the dry season. You can spot various heron and kingfisher species here, as well as the yellow-lored parrot and Yucatán jay.
- New River Lagoon (Northern Belize): This wide-open lagoon is reached via the winding and narrow New River, and branches off into a network of narrow canals, streams, and marshlands, the perfect and preferred habitat for a wide range of bird species. Common species sighted include the black-collared hawk, northern jacana, and purple gallinule. You can combine a bird-watching trip here with a visit to the Lamanai Mayan ruin, which also has wonderful opportunities for bird-watching all along its trails and from the peaks of its pyramids.
- Shipstern Nature Reserve (Northern Belize): Covering some 8,903 hectares (22,000 acres), including several distinct ecosystems, Shipstern Nature Reserve is home to over 250 bird species. You can explore the area on foot, as well as in little dugout canoes and flat-bottomed boats.
- Caracol (Cayo District and Western Belize): Also a major Mayan ruin, Caracol and its surrounding forest are prime bird-watching destinations. The area is replete with numerous tropical forest species, including such beauties as the keel-billed motmot, violaceous trogon, ocellated turkey, crested guan, and great curassow. Some visitors have even spotted the harpy eagle here.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.