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Republic of Honduras

Passerine
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia Chlorophonia occipitalis ©Birding Ecotours Website

Birding Honduras

The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Honduras spans about 112,492 km2 and has a population exceeding 9 million. Its northern portions are part of the Western Caribbean Zone, as reflected in the area's demographics and culture. Honduras is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, coffee, tropical fruit, and sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market.

Honduras, may be Central Americas best kept natural secret. A mid 1990s estimate put Honduras at having the largest percentage of forest covered land in all of Central America, more even than our famous neighbours Costa Rica and Belize. The Honduras geography means that these forest areas cover a wide range of eco systems. Over 30 cloud-forest areas can be found in Honduras, more than in any other Central American country. Honduras is also home to many areas of tropical rainforest, pine forest, savannas, mangroves and coastal lagoons. A lot of the larger forested areas of Honduras have been made into National Parks or Protected Areas over the last 10 years.

Honduras is home to 766 bird species that cover 58 families, and we are still counting. The wide range of forested areas in Honduras offer something for the novice, experienced birders or even the most adventurers. There are though, a few hot spots that should not be missed and these are set out below.

Not only is the birding good, but tourist facilities and services in Honduras provide something for everyone. Honduras is also home to some top rate birding guides. For more information on birding, birding tours and accommodation in Honduras see the links below.

Top Sites

La Tigra National Park

Satellite View

La Tigra National Park is one of the most popular cloud-forests in Honduras. The park is home to 171 species, 42 of which only live in cloud-forests and 27 migratory species. Some of these species are endangered or threatened, as is the case with the great curassow and numerous species of the trogon family, which includes the Resplendent Quetzal. Visitors interested in viewing the Quetzal will have better luck in the breeding season between March and May. They are normally completely hidden in the dense vegetation of the cloud forest, but, during this time both the males and females are very active.

Pico Bonito National Park

Satellite View

Pico Bonito National Park is one of the most visually spectacular places in Honduras, in recent years tourist developments, which haven`t affected the surrounding environment, have made this area one of the most comfortable and enjoyable places to visit in Honduras. A large variety of species are found in and around Pico Bonito including hawks, eagles, kites, doves, parrots, motmots, hummingbirds, wood-creepers, swallows and loons, which all inhabit the park and surrounding area. Also you will find Keel Billed Tucans, Highland Guan, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Blue-crowned Motmot, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, White-collared Manakin, Slaty-tailed trogon, and many others.

Rio Platano Biosphere

Webpage

Satellite View

On a more adventurous note the Rio Platano Biosphere offers what may be one of the best nature experiences in all Central America. The Biosphere makes up, with neighbouring national parks and forested areas, one of the largest areas of unfragmented tropical forest north of the Amazon. The Rio Platano vicinity is home to over 500 bird species. Many migratory birds are found in the area as are many rare species which are hard, if not impossible, to find in any other area of Honduras, Harpy Eagles, Aplomado Falcon, Great Green and Scarlet Macaws, Green and Rufous Kingfisher, Chestnut-mandible Toucan, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Jabiru and the Black and White Hawk Eagle are just a few of the special species found in the Biosphere.

Tela Bay

Satellite View

Tela Bay and the nearby Lancetilla Botanical Gardens are a must for all birders. Punta Sal and Los Micos Lagoon which are located on Tela Bay, offer excellent birding for lagoon, mangrove and coastal species. These wetlands are a haven for large numbers of Ibis, Herons, Gulls, Egrets, Terns, Sandpipers and the impressive Roseate Spoonbills. The Lancetilla Botancial Gardens are one of the largest tropical gardens in the world, and are home to a wide variety of trees from all over the world and a protected nature reserve. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the gardens and surroundings, toucans, tanagers, orioles, trogons, motmots, antbirds, ovenbirds and a variety of colourful parrots are but a sample of the rich bird diversity.

Yojoa Lake

Satellite View

The habitat of Yojoa Lake, it's surrounding tropical forest and the forested mountains of Santa Barbara and Cerro Azul Meambar are home to over 500 species of birds. The area offers some of the best accessible birding in Honduras. Once an avid bird watcher reportedly was shocked when over the time span of a few hours he was able to sight as many as 37 species in one tree, all from the comfort of his deck chair on his hotel room lake-front terrace!

Contributor

Dean Milverton

Travel-to-Honduras.com

Honduras

dean@travel-to-honduras.com

http://www.travel-to-honduras.com/

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 776

(As at October 2018)

National Bird: Scarlet Macaw Ara macao

Endemics

Number of endemics: 1

Honduran Emerald Amazilia luciae

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

Annotated Checklist to the Birds of Honduras

By Robert J Gallardo | Robert Gallardo | 2011 | Spiralbound | 22 pages, 1 colour map |

ISBN: #208650

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Central America

(Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama) | By Andrew Vallely & Dale Dyer | Princeton University Press | 2018 | Paperback | 560 pages, 260 plates with colour illustrations; 1190+ colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780691138022

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guide to the Birds of Honduras

By Robert J Gallardo, John Sill, Michael DiGiorgio & Ian Griffiths | Robert Gallardo | 2015 | Paperback | 554 pages, 11 plates with 33 colour photos, 73 plates with 1000 colour illustrations; b/w distribution maps, 1 fold-out colour map |

ISBN: 9789992649961

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guide to the Birds of Panama with Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras

by R S Ridgely & J A Gwynne | Princeton University Press | 1992 | paperback | 534 pages, 48 colour plates, 53 line illustrations |

ISBN: 0691025126

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

ASHO - Honduran Association of Ornithology

Website

The ASHO - Honduran Ornithology Association , was born on July 17, 2010, as an initiative of biologists, birdwatchers, photographers and conservationists, to promote scientific research and conservation of the birds of Honduras; Also seeks to encourage birdwatching tourism and encourage birding among Hondurans.

Birdlife Honduras

R Sherry Thorne, c/o Cooperacion Tdcnica, Apdo 30289 Toncontin, Tegucigalpa Honduras. + 504 341869; pili@ns.unah.hondunet.net

Friends of Celaque National Park

We hope to attract ecologists, biologists, and other scientists interested in studying the park's ecosystems, restoring degraded surrounding areas, and linking it to nearby natural areas through green corridors…

Patuca Foundation

The Patuca Foundation's mission is the conservation and sustainable development of the remaining tropical forests in Honduras, cooperating with local non-profit organization Grupo Ecológico Olancho (GEO).

Prolansate

Website

Mejorar la calidad de vida de los pobladores de las cuencas hidrográficas de la Bahía de Tela, a través de la conservación de los recursos naturales, agroforestales, el desarrollo comunitario, el ecoturismo, la concientización ambiental y el cambio de políticas en manejo sostenible de las áreas protegidas, utilizandos metodologías participativas.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

BR Río Plátano

Webpage

Satellite View

Located on the watershed of the Río Plátano, the reserve is one of the few remains of a tropical rainforest in Central America and has an abundant and varied plant and wildlife. In its mountainous landscape sloping down to the Caribbean coast, over 2,000 indigenous people have preserved their traditional way of life. Thirty-nine species of mammals, 377 species of birds and 126 of reptiles and amphibians have been recorded. Threatened species include giant anteater…

NP Capiro Calentura

Information

Satellite View

It covers an area of 50 square kilometres.

NP Celaque

Information

Satellite View

Many bird species, particularly migratory ones, reside in the pine-oak forest between September and May. These include several species of warbler, woodpeckers, vultures, vireos, the American swallow-tailed kite…

NP Cerro Azul de Copán

Information

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The park was established on 1 January 1987 and covers an area of 154.6 square kilometres. It has an altitude of between 1,800 and 2,285 metres.

NP Cerro Azul Meámbar

Information

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The park covers an area of 300 square kilometres. It has an altitude of between 1,800 and 2,047 metres.

NP Cusuco

Information

Satellite View

Cusuco National Park is a 23,400 hectares (58,000 acres) protected area in the Merendon mountains of northwest Honduras. Cusuco supports exceptional biodiversity. Some of the key features of the park include the globally threatened taxa which the park protects - especially amphibians.

NP Jeanette Kawas

Information

Satellite View

You step off the boat over the seaweed-filled water and onto the sandy beach of Punta Sal. With every step you take, crabs scatter away, trying to avoid being stepped on…

NP La Muralla

Information

Satellite View

Nature abounds and if you're lucky you'll see a great diversity of wildlife. The most common bird life are the local Central American species, but the area also attracts North American migrants. The resplendent quetzal is a year-round resident. Some people say quetzals are more abundant and more easily observed here than in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica. Quetzals are most observable February-April when they are breeding and raising their chicks…

NP La Tigra

Information

Satellite View

The magic of the cloud forest, combining the complexity of a mixed pine, oak and liquidambar forest, is the main attraction in this unique protected area. The park has a wide variety of flora and fauna and plays a major role in water production for the capital city and surrounding communities…

NP Montaña de Comayagua

Information

Satellite View

The park is home of many waterfalls. The Río Gavilán has a 50 metre high water fall called the Cascada de los Ensueños.

NP Montaña de Yoro

Information

Satellite View

t was established on 1 January 1987 and covers an area of 154.8 square kilometres. It has an altitude of between 1,800 and 2,245 metres.

NP Montaña Santa Bárbara

Information

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It was established on 1 January 1987 and covers an area of 121.3 square kilometres. It has an altitude of 2,777 metres.

NP Montecristo Trifinio

Information

Satellite View

The Montecristo massif is an area where the borders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador meet, and its protection was a joint initiative of these three countries, which resulted in the creation of the national parks in Honduras and El Salvador, as well as the Guatemalan Trifinio biosphere reserve.

NP Patuca

Information

Satellite View

The park covers an area of 3755.84 square kilometres.

NP Pico Bonito

Information

Satellite View

Pico Bonito National Park is a bird watcher's paradise. Nearly 200 species of birds have been identified. Who can ever forget the hanging nests of the Montezuma Oropendola. Giant black cowbirds are often seen around oropendola colonies. The bright red and black of the Scarlet-Rumped Tanager is a sight never to be forgotten. When you hear a loud wing-snapping noise strain your eyes to see the White-Collared Manakin.

NP Pico Pijol

Information

Satellite View

Pico Pijol covers an area of 122.1 square kilometres. It has an altitude of between 1,800 and 2,282 metres.

NP Punta Izopo

Information

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This is a national park located in the municipality of Tela, on the northern Caribbean coast of the Atlántida department of Honduras. It has an altitude of 118 metres.

NP Sierra de Agalta

Information

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Sierra de Agalta National Park covers an area of 207.85 square kilometres. It has an altitude of between 1,800 and 2,354 metres.

NR Macaw Mountain

Website

Satellite View

Located on ten acres of forested terrain in a stream-fed valley, our multifaceted eco-tourism project is only 10 minutes away by vehicle from the central square of Copán Ruinas, Honduras. Our mission is to educate and to connect our visitors with the rescue, rehabilitation and release programs for the birds under our care, to promote the conservation of our cultural and natural heritage and to lobby for an environmentally responsible society.

Wetlands of International Importance

Webpage

Honduras currently has 10 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 271,767 hectares.

WII IBA Lake Yojoa

Information

Satellite View

The west side of the lake is bordered by steep mountains and Santa Bárbara National Park while the east side is adjacent to Cerro Azul Meambar National Park. Lake Yojoa is a popular fishing destination and the surrounding area has a rich biodiversity—almost 400 species of birds and 800 plant species have been identified in the region. However, it also is threatened by deforestation, cattle ranching, and development.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Coco Tours

Tour Operator

Tour operator in Honduras. Birding, trekking and rainforest packages…

Honduran Birds

Tour Operator

We are the first official Honduran nature travel company for Birding, the leading birding and nature specialists for Honduras.

Honduras Travel & Vacation Guide

Tour Operator

You have come to the right place if you are: planning travel to Honduras on vacation; thinking of a scuba diving Honduras vacation in Roatan, a Bay Island off Honduras north coast, or simply need more Honduras travel information to decide if a Honduras vacation is right for you. I am glad you are here. Welcome…

La Moskitia Ecoaventuras

Tour Operator

Birdwatching or birding has become one of the favorite activies for outdoor enthusiasts. The rainforest jungles, secondary forests, pine forests, beaches, marshes and mangroves of Honduras provide an opportunity to see many of the hundreds of bird species that inhabit these spectacular Central American ecosystems. La Moskitia Ecoaventuras - located in La Ceiba, Honduras - can take you to the areas with the best possibilities for seeing such birds as: parrots, toucans, macaws, quetzals, oropendulas, fly catchers, trogons, motmots, jacamars, pelicans, sandpipers, ibises, frigatebirds, roseate spoonbills, storks, etc. Join us on one of our specialized birding expeditions or ecotours in the Caribbean coast of Honduras…

Mesoamerica Travel

Tour Operator

Mesoamérica Travel is an incoming Tour Operator with its head office in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. We organize and manage trips for individual travelers or small groups as well as incentive trips all tailored to service your needs. Our trips vary in length and focus, from one-day adventures and tours to longer, all-terrain and multihabitat itineraries. Our offer includes nature and adventure travel exploring one of the world`s most magnificent wildernesses: the jungles, mountains, forests, rivers, and coastlines…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2013 [02 February] - Simon Thompson

Report

…we saw a great selection that morning, including Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireos, Magnolia, Black-and-white and Golden-winged Warblers and lots of Gray Catbirds..

2013 [03 March] - Jesse Fagan

Report

…The Honduran Emerald also took top honors for its threatened status, unique habitat, and the experience of getting to the Aguan Valley to see it…

2014 [01 January] - John Coons & German Martinez

Report

…On the morning trip we had wonderful views of several Bare-throated Tiger Herons, close looks at Boat-billed Herons, and a pair of Bat Falcon among kingfishers, Collared Aracaris, and woodpeckers….

2014 [06 June] - Gary & Marlene Babic

Report

...Arriving at the park, we took a short trail and came upon noisy but skulking Singing Quail, a White-fronted Quail-dove, a confiding Rusty-capped Nightingale-thrush, and Spot-crowned Woodcreeper. While enjoying our lunch we had a nice male Green-breasted Mountain-Gem, which is a near-endemic. We then hiked the 2 km road (every step uphill) to the site for Wine-throated Hummingbird, but sadly had no luck. We took the La Esperanza trail down, and came upon two groups of Resplendent Quetzal, a male Mountain Trogon, a great view of Rufous-browed Wren, and an unexpected Black-throated Jay...

2015 [12 December] - Chris Sharpe

PDF Report

...By the time we reached the start of the pine-oak forest, our picnic breakfast stop provided an early highlight in the form of a flock of 20 Bushy-crested Jays. These gorgeous regional endemics were Joyce's 5000th world bird! At the same spot we saw one of the morning's 8 Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls and had fabulous looks at a male Collared Trogon. Our final bird of the morning, at the highest point on our trip, was Brown-backed Solitaire...

2016 [01 January] - Diego Calderon

PDF Report

...Euphonias coming to the melastome fruits on the garden. Brown Jays (locally known as “bush police”) were everywhere as well as Melodious Blackbirds, Montezuma Oropendolas, and the lovely medium size rodents known as Central American Agouti in the garden offering great photo opportunities for Alan and Sheila...

2016 [02 February] - Sally Wearing

Report

...Despite the park being full of people, we started to see birds immediately: stunning woodpeckers, Band-backed Wren, a flock of Bushy Crested Jays, Turquoise-browed Motmot – they just kept coming; 12 species in less than an hour within one minute of the car park...

2017 [03 March] - Robert Gallardo

PDF Report

...A pair of the stately Pale-billed Woodpecker was also seen and our first Green-breasted Mountaingem made, but a brief showing as it gleaned insects amidst the thick foliage. The flute-like songs of the Slatecolored Solitaires echoed throughout the forests. Inside the forest itself, it was quiet and we got brief....

2018 [03 March] - Erik Bruhnke

PDF Report

Every day of our Honduras Pico Bonito tour was a unique birding adventure from the moment we arrived until the end of the last afternoon. The staff at Pico Bonito welcomed us with open arms and fruitful drinks. In addition to delectable dining experiences every day, our top-notch local guide, Olbin Benjarano, took extraordinarily good care of us. The entire visit to Honduras was above and beyond, and it all started with our first footsteps at the lodge entrance.

2018 [04 April] - Robert Gallardo

PDF Report

This year marked Naturalist Journeys’ inaugural buBerfly and bird tour to Honduras with four spirited adventurers from Canada. The slow paced tour included visiting only two areas: the Lake Yojoa region and the north coast centered around a large river abuJng Pico Bonito N.P.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birds and Beaches: Unique Lodgings in Honduras

Accommodation

Two unusual eco-lodges; distinctly different from each other, offer visitors a true Honduran experience…

D&D Brewery Lodge & Restaurant

Accommodation

We’re the first microbrewery in Honduras, located near picturesque Lake Yojoa in central Honduras. Our draft beer, hand-crafted on site, is a refreshing change from the bottled stuff you find elsewhere in Honduras! Our accommodations feature 3 private cabins, 6 standard rooms, a mixed dorm, and camping–all tucked away inside of lush jungle vegetation. Amenities include a swimming pool, free WiFi, netbook rental, laundry service, book exchange, full-service restaurant, and of course, our tap room!

Eco-Hacienda San Lucas

Accommodation

…a natural mystical place…

Pico Bonito Lodge

Accommodation

Honduras offers the birdwatcher, amateur and professional alike, an incredible opportunity to observe its avian fauna in a wide variety of habitats. To date, at least 740 bird species have been recorded here. The country is dotted with national parks and reserves which alone harbor most of the species at one time or another throughout the year…

Other Links

Community Cloud Forest Conservation

Website

In traditional Q'eqchi' Maya expression it is said "the forest catches the clouds (li kiche' naxchap li choq)." This is exactly what a cloud forest does. Cloud forests catch clouds. Or in the parlance of biologists, cloud forests filter clouds in a process called lateral cloud filtration. Clouds blow in among the trees as moisture from the ocean moves inland, encountering mountains. Water droplets (like the one pictured below) collect on the leaves of the trees of these forests through the process of lateral cloud filtering. In many cases, cloud filtration accounts for more than half of the annual precipitation in cloud forests.

Hondubirding

Website

Some sightings in Honduras…

Honduran Birds

Website

We are the first official Honduran nature travel company for Birding, the leading birding and nature specialists for Honduras.

Mayan Birding

Website

Mesoamerica is a big destination for foreign birdwatchers. It forms the bridge between the largely temperate species of North America and the tropical species of South America. It is home to a large number of endemics, many of which are much sought after by the bird watching connoisseur, such as the Resplendent Quetzal and the Horned Guan. However, the majority of birders visiting Mesoamerica confine their birding to Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and Panama, leaving Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua as relative birding backwaters. This is a terrible shame as there is some fantastic birding to be had. Throughout the 1980s three of these countries suffered from civil wars which put off many visitors, but now the countries have stabilized it is time for birders to return and find out what they have been missing.