Belize has long been a birder’s best-kept secret. In fact, some people say that if you’re not a birder when you arrive in Belize, you’ll be one by the time you leave.
Almost half of the land in Belize is managed as reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and protected habitats. Many are managed by the Belize Audubon Society and these protected areas provide a rich diversity of natural ecosystems where birds thrive.
Southern Belize is the primary location for bird lovers looking for keel-billed toucans, ringed and pygmy kingfishers, pale-billed woodpeckers, squirrel cuckoos, pygmy owls, hummingbirds, keel-billed motmots, scarlet macaws and every species of parrot and parakeet imaginable. And don’t forget our local chachalaca birds, purple gallinules, spotted sandpipers, black catbirds and the list goes on and on.
What’s more, you’ll see all of these marvelous birds in settings that are breathtakingly beautiful. The following are some prime birding spots in southern Belize.
Red Bank Village
Red Bank is a Maya village located near Placencia. The community is a favorite hangout of vivid, fast-flying scarlet macaws that flock here to find food. For the past 10 years, the village has cooperated with conservation groups to monitor and protect the macaws. Sadly, scarlet macaws are endangered, so this is a rare opportunity to spot these beautiful birds in their natural habitat.
Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary protects more than 6000 acres of wetlands ecosystems. Getting there requires a two-hour hike from the village of Laguna in Toledo District. In the lagoons, you’ll see egrets, herons, wood storks, flycatchers, ibis and kingfishers. You might see jabiru storks, another rare and endangered species. It’s a good idea to visit Aguacaliente with a guide.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s first jaguar preserve and an important watershed conservation area. You’ll see a huge variety of animals, plants, and birds here, including white-collared manikins, crimson-collared and masked tanagers, bat falcons and more.
Sir Thomas at Toucan Sittee
Sir Thomas at Toucan Sittee is located in southern Belize. It is s privately-owned bird sanctuary where one birder reported seeing 100 different species in an hour. The top birds you will encounter at this location include kingfishers, hummingbirds, toucans, and parakeets.
If you’re already packing your bags and binoculars, make sure you book your stay at Chabil Mar. Our resort offers luxury accommodations in Placencia Village and our “Treasures of the Sky” Belize birding package provides guided tours led by local experts to top birding spots in the country.