Belize is a country with a low population density, home to dazzling natural landscapes such as beaches, islands, jungles, rainforests, and mountains. The vast majority of Belize is still virgin country where unusual, exotic, and interesting wildlife flourish, including rare and endangered species found nowhere else on the planet. This eco-diversity is one reason why Belize is nicknamed “The Jewel.” The diverse habitats offer a flourishing environment for hundreds of species of birds and interesting animals such as jaguars, monkeys, and giant iguanas.
Because of this incredible diversity, it’s often easier to think of the jungle and rainforest in terms of layers. At ground level, you can find interesting animals like peccaries (wild pigs), gibnuts, deer, crocodiles, and Baird’s tapir (Belize’s national animals). And there are five different big cat species that prowl the rainforest floor, including pumas, margays, ocelots, jaguarundis, and the king of the jungle himself, the elusive jaguar.
Farther up, a completely different group of animals and birds thrive. Flocks of scarlet macaws, toucans, and giant iguanas make their home on the tree branches. And further up still, it’s easy to spot birds like the enormous harpy eagle and animals like the black howler monkey, one of the loudest animals in the world. Indeed, black howler monkeys produce louder sounds than your average rock concert and can be heard up to three miles (five kilometers) away, even through thick jungle foliage.
On the coast, a completely different ecosystem can be found. Shorebirds, frigate birds, and Jabiru storks hunt in the rich coastal waters. Just offshore, enormous tracts of seagrass are home to manatees and dolphins. And the islands of the Belize Barrier Reef are home to a colorful array of fish, sharks, five kinds of sea turtles, and rays. The islands are also home to interesting birds like kites, kingfishers, and frigate birds.
Belize is a true paradise for bird watchers with more than 500 species having been recorded in the country. Even first-time bird watchers can usually dozens different species with the help of local guides. Belize is home to beautiful birds of all sizes and types, including tiny hummingbirds, colorful toucans and macaws, the majestic blue-crowned motmot, and rare and endangered species like the ocellated turkey and the yellow-headed parrot.
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