Free and Sovereign State of Puebla

Collared Trogon Trogon collaris ©Hector Bottai - Wikimedia
Birding Puebla

The state of Puebla is one of Mexico’s most fascinating regions. It is located in the southeast part of central Mexico, with Mexico City and Morelos to the west, Veracruz to the east, Oaxaca and Guerrero to the south, and Tlaxcala and Hidalgo to the north. The best way to describe Puebla is to say that it is “diverse.” Snow-capped mountains are flanked by humid jungles, the driest of dry seasons give way to monsoon-like rains, and wealth and modernization coexist with poverty and antiquity. Although mostly unknown outside of the state, the birds of Puebla – as well as the places to see them – are beautiful, numerous, and must sees.

Puebla is located in a transition zone between the temperate north and the tropical south. Warm fronts come up from the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the south, and clash with cold fronts coming down from the high plains of the Mexican Altiplano. Much of the state is dry during the winter and wet during the summer. Dominant vegetation types in Puebla include, among others; alpine meadows, pine forests, and oak forests on higher mountains; tropical deciduous forests (dry forest) and cactus scrublands (xeric scrubland) in middle elevations in southern Puebla; and montane cloud forests and tropical humid evergreen forests (rainforest) in lower elevations in northeast and southeast Puebla. Puebla has several large rivers, volcanic crater lakes, large seasonally wet lakes, and several large reservoirs. Puebla is home to four of the five tallest mountains in Mexico, including the tallest at 5,636 meters above sea level, Pico de Orizaba, while also having regions with altitudes just barely above sea level.

The state of Puebla is home to at least 595 species of birds, approximately 54% of the 1,096 species registered in Mexico, and, due to continued studies, more are seen in Puebla every year. (Jiménez Moreno, et al. 2011) Only three states in Mexico have a higher diversity of bird species and each of these states includes coastal areas; Oaxaca (734), Veracruz (687), and Chiapas (647). (Jiménez Moreno, et al. 2011) Puebla has several internationally designated Important Bird Areas, including the Valle de Tehuacán, Cuetzalan, La Malinche, Volcanes Iztaccihuatl – Popocatépetl, and the Sierra de Huautla.

This diversity of bird species is due to several factors. First, as mentioned above, the state has a variety of different ecosystems, each with different characteristic birds. Second, the state is located in an important migratory flyway through the center of Mexico and each winter many migrant and transient species visit the region. And third, according to BirdLife International, Puebla forms part of three endemic bird areas; Balsas Region and Interior Oaxaca, Sierra Madre Occidental and Trans-Mexican Range, and Southern Sierra Madre Oriental. At least 55 species of birds in the state of Puebla are endemic to Mexico. (Jiménez Moreno, et al. 2011

There are some excellent special birding places – some of which are listed below…

Top Sites
  • Cuetzalan Cloud Forest

    Satellite View
    In the beautiful cloud forests of Cuetzalan you will find unchanged pre-Hispanic cultures and colorful birds like the Violet Sabrewing, Collared Trogon, and Blue-crowned Motmot.
  • Oriental Basin Lakes & Volcanoes

    The volcanic crater lakes and the ephemeral lakes in the Oriental Basin offer some of the best chances to see shorebirds in central Mexico, including the Long-billed Curlew, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, and Snowy Plover.
  • Paso de Cortés - Parque Nacional Izta-Popo

    Satellite View
    The Paso de Cortés in Parque Nacional Izta-Popo where you can see one of the world’s most active volcanoes, see endemic species like the Red Warbler and Strickland's Woodpecker, and hear the eerie call of the Brown-backed Solitaire through a dense, central-Mexican pine forest.
  • Reserva de la Biosfera Tehuacán Cuicatlán

    Satellite View
    The Reserva de la Biosfera Tehuacán Cuicatlán is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful cactus forests in the world. You can also easily find endemic bird species like the West Mexican Chachalaca, Dusky Hummingbird, Gray-breasted Woodpecker, Boucard’s Wren, and Bridled Sparrow, as well as a large colony Military Macaws (on the Oaxaca side).
  • UMAs - Sierra de Huautla

    The UMAs (community tourism projects) in the Sierra de Huautla offer you a chance to see rare tropical deciduous forests, bird species from Mexico
  • Valsequillo Reservoir

    Satellite View
    The Valsequillo reservoir, located just south of the city of Puebla in the newly designated Parque Estatal Humedal de Valsequillo, fills with thousands of migrating waterfowl each winter, a phenomenon paralleled by few places in central Mexico.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 595

    (Including at least 55 Mexican endemics)
  • Club de Observadores de Aves de Puebla

    A Guide to the best places to see birds in the state of Puebla, with descriptions, photos, maps, directions, and bird lists from each site. - Una gu

Abbreviations Key

  • BR Tehuacán-Cuicatlán

    InformationSatellite View
    The importance of Tehuacán-Cuicatlán lies in the great floristic diversity of the area. Contrary to what is popularly believed, the dry tropical regions that abound in southeastern Mexico are not poor in biological diversity. Among the vertebrates, 14 fish species, 83 reptile species (10% of the total of Mexico), 28 species of amphibians are estimated and up to now there is a record of 102 species of mammals, of which one third are bats.
  • NP Izta-Popo Zoquiapan

    InformationSatellite View
    The park protects nearly 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) surrounding Mexico's second- and third-highest peaks, the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes, as well as the areas of the Hacienda de Zoquiapán and its annexed areas of Zoquiapan, Ixtlahuacán, and the Río Frío de Juárez river.
Guides & Tour Operators

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