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Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave

Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda ©Rolando Chavez Website

Birding Veracruz

Veracruz is the largest state of Mexico, representing 3.7% of Mexico's overall area. Its landscape has many types of habitat, from tropical rainforest to highland grasslands. Maybe because of this Veracruz has more than 689 bird species (approximately 66% of the Mexico list). Veracruz is located in the East of Mexico, by the Gulf of Mexico.

In spite of many conservation efforts, much of Veracruz is deforested, and this has consequences for the bird populations. For example, in Veracruz, before 1886, there are records [including skins] of migratory individuals of the extinct Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorios) and of Harpy Eagle. However, Veracruz has, still, many easily accessible birding areas where birdwatchers can see interesting bird species. For example, near to Xalapa, the state capital, it is possible to see many of the endemic and endangered species such as Mexican Sheartail Hummingbird (Doricha eliza) and to see the autumn migration of millions of birds (including many raptors). In the highlands the near extinct Golden–cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) still manages to hang on.

Veracruz is easily accessible by air through Heriberto Jara Corona International airport (Veracruz City) or Xalapa municipal airport. Whether you have just a few days or more there are ample birding opportunities. The sections below highlight the most productive birding areas in the state.

Top Sites

Altamira Wetlands

Satellite View

Altamira Wetlands is the only place with a viable population of Altamira Yellowthroat (Geothlypis flavovelata).

Alvarado Wetlands

Satellite View

Here a birder can see nesting birds of prey such as Snail Kite (Rosthramus sociabilis); Black collared-Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis); Common Black-Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus); and Great Black-Hawk (Buteogallus urobitinga); and aquatic mammals as the Manatee.

Cardel - Autumn Migration

Satellite View

On the right day in October, a bird watcher can witness the awesome spectacle of the River of Raptors, when more than a million Swainson's and Broad-winged Hawks may pass overhead in a single day during the annual migration to Central and South America…

Central Veracruz

Around 236 migratory bird species use Veracruz to nest or travel through towards their wintering grounds. There are 12 endemic or geographic restricted bird species, four bird species registered in the red data book, and 34% of the Mexican bird species considered as endangered. You can see, in the ravine of Naolinco, the northeast population of the Mexican Sheartail Hummingbird (this population is considered to be endangered, and some researchers say that it population represents a different species to that of Yucatan)

Los Tuxtlas

Satellite View

The Sierra de los Tuxtlas is a range of volcanic peaks that run right down to the Bay of Campeche on the coast of Veracruz. Rugged volcanic ridges reach from sea level up to about 6000 feet in elevation. Nestled among the peaks is Lake Catemaco, formed from the calderas of several extinct volcanoes. This wide range of geological features, from beach to crater to steep-walled canyons, coupled with the moist, tropical climate leads to a wide range of different habitats for birds and an incredible diversity of bird species (up to 568 by some counts) within a small area.

Uxpanapa Tropical Rainforest

Satellite View

There are 519 bird species reported here. Especially interesting are the forest remnants with karstic rock which hold endangered and endemic species such as Long-tailed Sabrewing (Campylopterus excellens) and Nava's Wren (Hylorchilus navai).


Raúl Ortiz-Pulido

Editor-in-Chief of HUITZIL, Journal of Mexican Ornithology


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 734

As at June 2018

Useful Reading

Fieldguides, CDs etc.

For a selection of appropriate fieldguides and CDs etc see the general Mexico page of Fatbirder…

La ornitofauna veracruzana

La ornitofauna veracruzana: una revision bibliografica. By Juan Esteban Mart?nez G?mez Published by Universidad Veracruzana, Journal La Ciencia y el hombre 22:19-48

Site Guide to the Birds of Veracruz

by Robert Straub published by Pronatura Veracruz - 2007. Available at ABA Sales etc.


Club de Observadores de Aves de Xalapa

Facebook Page

Uno de los principales objetivos del Club de Observadores de Aves de Xalapa (COAX) es disfrutar y promover la observación, estudio y conservación de las aves en México, ocupando el Estado de Veracruz nuestro principal objetivo… They are always happy to have visitor and new members for their outings.



Actualmente Pronatura sostiene cuatro programas de conservación en Veracruz… Pronatura is a Mexican non-profit organization whose mission is the conservation of flora, fauna and priority ecosystems promoting society's development in harmony with nature.


Abbreviations Key

Los Tuxtlas Field Station


Satellite View

The research station permanently protects a sample of the tropical rain forest ecosystems. During 30 years scientific research has been carried out successfully on various aspects of the tropical ecosystem generating a substantial volume of literature. Such unique bank of information places Mexico in the vangard of scientific information regarding tropical rain forests.

NP Cofre de Perote


Satellite View

Cofre de Perote is an extinct volcano located in the Mexican state of Veracruz, at the point where the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, home to all of Mexico's highest peaks, joins the Sierra Madre Oriental. With an elevation of 4,282 metres (14,049 ft) above sea level, Cofre de Perote is Mexico's eighth highest mountain summit.

NP Veracruzano Coral Reef System


Also known as Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano National Marine Park, is a national marine park .

Guides & Tour Operators

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

David McCauley - The Incorrigible Birder

Tour Operator

I stumbled upon birding eight years ago and have been stumbling ever since. It's a helluva lot of fun. I live in Veracruz, Mexico where I struggle to make a living as a nature photographer/digiscoper. I also conduct birding tours. I despise "elitism" especially in birders. I love nature,cooking and a cold beer. I am a hawkwatch junkie…

Discover Veracruz Tours

Tour Operator

Veracruz is home to over 550 different species of birds. In October each year, millions of hawks, vultures (Raptors) fly south over the state.


Tour Operator

…Without witnessing one of the planet's greatest natural phenomena it is hard to imagine the 'Rio de Rapaces', the spectacular migration of millions of raptors at the Veracruz coastline….

Merlin Birding Tours

Tour Operator

Each fall 4-6 million raptors of 30 species are counted from two observation points in central Veracruz, Mexico, including up to 2 million Broad-winged Hawks! As these majestic birds migrate south they are funneled into a narrow bottleneck between the Sierra Madre Orientale Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico. This busy flyway also harbors amazing concentrations of other migrants: White Pelican, Wood Stork, White-faced Ibis, Anhinga, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and much more. This flyway actually holds the most visible and concentrated raptor migration on Earth! Remarkably, over 95% of the global populations of Swainson’s Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, and Mississippi Kites pass through this narrow flyway each fall.

Mexico-Birding Tours

Tour Operator

Birding Veracruz - the nine day tour...

Pronatura Veracruz

Tour Operator

Pronatura is a Mexican non-profit organization whose mission is the conservation of flora, fauna and priority ecosystems promoting society`s development in harmony with nature. It also is a tour operator, with birding, butterfly, and cultural tours, and as specialists for the River of Raptor birding tours.

Trip Reports

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


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.

2007 [10 October] - Scott Bowers


I took a last minute flight to Veracruz to do some photography of warblers and tropical species…

2013 [09 September] - Kathi Borgmann


Los Tuxtlas and the Tuxtla Quail-Dove chase - After the Bearded Wood-Partridge chase we were headed for yet another chase of a secretive endemic bird of montane forests. We arrived in Ruiz Cortines late in the afternoon, not really knowing what to expect and we needed to find a place to camp for the night.


David McCauley - The Incorrogible Birder


Welcome to my blog. I stumbled upon birding eight years ago and have been stumbling ever since. It's a helluva lot of fun. I live in Veracruz, Mexico where I struggle to make a living as a nature photographer/digiscoper. I also conduct birding tours. I despise "elitism" especially in birders. I love nature,cooking and a cold beer. I am a hawkwatch junkie…

Veracruz Hawkwatch


For birders and raptor enthusiasts everywhere; a weblog about Spring and Fall raptor migrations in Veracruz. Each fall millions of migrating raptors pass though a narrow corridor in central Veracruz Mexico. Enjoy links to photos of this migration spectacle or read accounts by other hawkwatch observers…

Other Links

Aveoptica - Xalapa


The first Veracruz the first birding store in Veracruz…

Birding Laguna Catemaco


…I leave the state of Oaxaca and enter the state of Veracruz. Now the flat land between villages and cities is occupied by banana and sugarcane plantations, and weedy pastures with Zebu cattle attended by lots of Cattle Egrets…