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Birding Northern Belize 8-Day

Laughing Falcon BelizeBelize is the best location to begin your tropical birding travels! Located only a few hours from the USA, Belize is home to over 600 species of birds. Easy trails, comfortable climate and easy access to great birding locations make Belize a very special place to learn the tropical families.

 

Belize is one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the Americas. Thanks in part to its small population, over 60% of its 23,000 sq. kms. have been protected. This protection has allowed the birds and wildlife to continue to flourish. Over 600 bird species have been recorded within its borders and along its reef! Belize is the last Central American stronghold of the majestic Jabiru which nests in the savannas and wetlands of the north. Regional endemics such as Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Flycatcher and Yellow-lored Parrot may also be found in the savannas. The rare Orange-breasted Falcon and Stygian Owl can be found in the Maya Mountains alongside many of the northern migrants. The broad-leaf rainforest holds more target species including many forest raptors the rare and local Keel-billed Motmot.

 

TOUR FOCUS: BIRDS

  • Tour Cost
  • Trip Length (number of days)

    8-days/7-nights

     

    2017/2018 Cost

    $2500 from Belize City

     

    Prices are per person double occupancy. If a single room is preferred or a suitable roommate is not available a single supplement fee of $350.

     

    Included in the Tour Cost:

    All ground transportation from Belize City airport. All accommodations. All meals from dinner on arrival day through breakfast on departure day. All entrance fees and guide fees. Tips for meal service.

     

    Not Included in the Tour Cost:

    International air travel, passport fees, luggage fees, trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, departure taxes, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.

     

  • Itinerary
  • Brief Itinerary

    Day 1 - Arrive/Rio Bravo
    Day 2 - Rio Bravo
    Day 3 - Rio Bravo
    Day 4 - Crooked Tree
    Day 5 - Crooked Tree
    Day 6 - Crooked Tree
    Day 7 - Crooked Tree
    Day 8 - Home

     

    Full Itinerary (the order in which we visit each location may vary)

     

    Day 1 - Arrive Belize / Rio Bravo Conservation Area
    Arrive and transfer to he Rio Bravo Conservation Area (RBCA) with birding along the way. The RBCA covers 5% of Belize's land area and is a privately held wildlife sanctuary and research area. The La Milpa Station, named for the ancient Mayan ruins found on the site, offers great food a excellent accommodations in the same forest as the famous (and much more expensive) Chan Chich Resort. The birding is incredible with Crested Eagle being seen regularly! This is also the area Belize chose to release a pair of Harpy Eagles donated from the breeding program in Panama.

     

    Day 2 - Rio Bravo
    Birding the property around Rio Bravo is a great experience a dawn to dusk, and beyond, offers a multitude of species. Collared Forest Falcons, Ocellated Turkeys, Northern Potoos and a multitude of tanagers, honeycreepers and hummingbirds may be seen.

    Night spotlighting may offer Spectacled Owl, Mottled Owl, Black-and-White Owl and a number of roosting passerines. We have also seen Jaguar, Margay, Jaguarundi, Kinkajou, Tapir and other mammals while spotlighting!

     

    Day 3 - Rio Bravo
    Todays birding will take us to the La Milpa ruins where the forest remains little disturbed and the birding is often interrupted by Black Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys! We always hope for an ant swarm here to bring in a number of tanagers and woodcreepers. More spotlighting will extend our day!

     

    Day 4 - Drive to Crooked Tree Sanctuary / Crooked Tree Lodge
    
After breakfast we will depart for Crooked Tree having lunch along the way. Birding stops will keep us busy and we will arrive at Crooked Tree Lodge late afternoon.

    Crooked Tree Lodge sits quietly along the edge of the freshwater, seasonal lagoon. Here we can watch a multitude of wading birds, shorebirds and waterfowl. The surrounding savanna and wetlands offer excellent birding with many Yucatan Endemics.

     

    Day 5 - Crooked Tree Sanctuary
    
We will explore the Crooked Tree Lagoon and Spanish Creek by boat in search of the many species of birds which inhabit this beautiful sanctuary. With low canopy logwood, turtlebone, provision tree and mangrove, good views of Yellow-tailed Oriole, Mangrove Vireo and Rufous-browed Peppershrike are very possible. The endangered Black Howler Monkey and Morelets Crocodile are also found here.

    After lunch back at Crooked Tree Lodge, we will explore the upper end of the island, a pine-oak savanna. Yellow-lored (Yucatan) Parrot, Yucatan Woodpecker and Yucatan Jay can be found in this open habitat.

     

    Day 6 - Crooked Tree Sanctuary
    
Today we will boat up the New River to the Mayan ruins of Lamanai. We will see many bird species along the water’s edge (Jabiru, Norther Jacana, Black-collared hawk) as well as along the trails of the gallery forest surrounding Lamanai. The ruins of Lamanai are some of the best examples of the Mayan civilization. It was the last stronghold of this ancient civilization of which we know relatively little about. Here we have found Slaty-tailed and Collared Trogons, Double-toothed Kite, and Brown-hooded Parrot.

     

    Day 7 - Crooked Tree Sanctuary
    This morning we will have another chance to find any Yucatan endemics we may have missed as we explore the many trails throughout the sanctuary. Lunch back at the lodge with a relaxing afternoon to enjoy the breeze and hammocks!

     

    Day 8 - Depart for home

  • Accommodations
  • Birding Areas and Accommodations

    Rio Bravo Conservation Area - La Milpa Research Station
    Located in northwestern Belize, the Rio Bravo Conservation Area covers 5% of the country's land area! Lush, tropical dry forest covers ancient Mayan ruins where Howler Monkeys move through the trees and Jaguars silently roam the trails, rarely seen. The lodging at the La Milpa Research Station offers spacious cabanas with en suite facilities. Excellent meals are served family style in their large dining room.

     

    Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary - Crooked Tree Lodge OR Birds Eye View Lodge
    Both lodges are set along the Crooked Tree Lagoon on the edge of the Creole settlement of Crooked Tree Village. This town of about 900 people offers incredible wildlife viewing as well as a very friendly atmosphere. Smiling faces will greet us everywhere in the village. The lodges offer private rooms or cabanas with en-suite bath and their own dining room to serve our guests. The down-home treatement at each lodge, including delicious Creole style meals and desserts are always a hit!

  • Additional Info
  • Birds of BelizeRecommended Field Guide:

    Birds of Belize

    (University of Texas Press, 2003)

    by H. Lee Jones