Birding in southern Belize is great fun and very productive, with many exotic specimens just waiting to show you their colors. We spent lots and lots of time looking for and watching birds on this seven-day trip and got quite a few new additions to our life lists, even though we certainly didn't get photos of all of them. We also saw many birds we'd seen before but never mind seeing again, like the exotic Montezuma Oropendola, this time hanging from its very interesting pendulous nest. This was right outside Hickatee Cottages
, and very easy to spot, thanks to its distinctive call, appearance, and size. This is a BIG bird!
Montezuma Oropendola and nest
While we were at Hickatee Cottages
, Ian, the proprietor, presented us with a very thorough list of the birds of the Toledo district, keyed by whether each bird was a full-time resident, whether it had been previously sighted at Hickatee, and the likelihood of seeing it. This list was very helpful, especially if we were trying to determine a bird identification and were torn between two similar species, some with a very high likelihood of being seen, and some with a very low or nil likelihood.
But let's back up a bit. Here are the birds we identified at Mama Noots
or Mayflower Bocawina National Park, on the first half of our trip, in the Stann Creek District of Belize. Starred birds are new for our life lists. Photos we managed to catch are included below. Sure wish we'd gotten more!Black-Cowled Oriole* ~ Black-Headed Saltator* ~ Stripe-Throated Hermit ~ Chestnut-Colored Woodpecker* ~ Brown-Crested Flycatcher* ~ Purple-Crowned Fairy* ~ Ivory-Billed Woodcreeper* ~ Violacious Trogan ~ Great Kiskadee ~ Social Flycatcher ~ Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird ~ Smoky-Brown Woodpecker* ~ Buff-Throated Saltator* ~ Emerald Toucanet* ~ White-Collared Manakin* ~ Long-Billed Hermit ~ Yellow-Winged Tanager ~ Crimson-Collared Tanager(*Barry) ~ Masked Tityra* ~ Golden-Hooded Tanager(*Barry) ~ Blue-Black Grassquit* ~ Olive-Backed Euphonia*
Blue-Black Grassquit (female)
Chestnut Colored Woodpecker
Smoky Brown Woodpecker
Stripe Throated Hermit
Violaceous Trogan -- love his turquoise back!
And here are the birds we identified at Hickatee Cottages or nearby in the Toledo District. Once again, starred birds are new for our life lists, and when we got photos, they are included below.
Golden-Hooded Tanager(*Emily) ~ American Pygmy Kingfisher ~ Barred Antshrike* ~ Bat Falcon* ~ Black-Headed Saltator ~ Brown Jay ~ Montezuma Oropendola ~ Red-Legged Honeycreeper* ~ Grasshopper Sparrow* ~ Red-Lored Parrot ~ Blue-Black Grassquit ~ Eastern Meadowlark* ~ Muscovy Ducks ~ Common Pauraque* ~ Little Hermit* ~ Lesser Greenlet* ~ Long-Billed Hermit ~ Masked Tityra ~ Orchard Oriole ~ Spot-Breasted Wren* ~ Roadside Hawk ~ Bank Swallow* ~ Ochre-Bellied Flycatcher* ~ Plain Chachalaca ~ Olive-Throated Parakeet ~ Northern Waterthrush ~ Black-Headed Trogan ~ White-Necked Jacobin* ~ Thick-Billed Seed Finch* ~ White-Collared Manakin ~ many Seedeaters ~ Sulphur-Bellied Flycatcher ~ Yellow-Green Vireo* ~ Yellow-Faced Grassquit*
American Pygmy Kingfisher
Barred Antshrike (female)
This photo is blurry, but since it includes both the male and female in the same shot (so rare), I wanted to include it. Interestingly, unlike with most birds, the female is more showy than the black and white male.
Barred Antshrikes (pair)
I had to include several photos of the beautiful Black-Headed Trogan. They were singing madly on the grounds of Hickatee Cottages, and at one time we saw four in the same tree! I love their Carolina blue eyes and brilliant yellow breast.
Blue-Black Grassquit (male)
Eastern Meadowlark -- this guy posed for us for a long time along the road on our bike ride, and sang and sang!
Little Hermit enjoying the nectar of the "Hotlips" plant
A tree full of dangling Montezuma Oropendola nests along the road on our bike ride -- condo living!
There was a Plain Chachalaca nest in a tree right outside our cottage. Ian was sure it was a Brown Jay nest, but we saw her coming and going. Definitely a Chachalaca!
Red-Lored Parrots -- we saw three close together in the same tree, so it must have been a family!
Thick-Billed Seed Finch (female)
White-Collared Manakin (female)
White-Collared Manakin (male)
White-Necked Jacobin -- so beautiful!
And, just for completeness, this precious little Ochre-Bellied Flycatcher on her nest on the grounds of Hickatee Cottages that I'd already shared in a previous post:
Please stay tuned for the final post from this trip -- bug bites!