Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo

Yucatán Jay Cyanocorax yucatanicus ©Gábor Orbán Website
Birding Quintana Roo

he State of Quintana Roo is named after Andres Quintana Roo, Yucatan’s first poet. In a fateful paradox, this was the first landfall of the Spanish conquistadors (1517); but the last part of Mexico to be conquered. It was designated a federal territory on 1902, but it was not until 1974 that it became a fully-fledged Mexican state, just in time to build Cancun.

Quintana Roo has a population of almost 1 million people living in several cities (Cancun, Chetumal, Cozumel, Carrillo Puerto, Isla Mujers and Playa Del Carmen); and many little Mayan towns throughout the state. The climate is hot and humid inland but ocean breezes cool the coastline. It rains in the summer.

The vegetation is mainly low and medium jungle, with a big section of mangroves and some savannah. The whole of the state is rich in both marine and land wildlife; we have part of the second largest coral reef in the world and a big Biosphere reserve where many animals and plants find shelter from development.

Our main protected areas are: Siankaán, Holbox, El Eden, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel reefs and Isla Contoy where ecotours are available so one can enjoy the wildlife. Furthermore, Quintana Roo has probably the friendliest people of all of Mexico (together with all the Yucatan in general).

Top Sites
  • Siankaan Biosphere Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Siankaán was established as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and incorporated into UNESCO`s list of natural world heritage sites in 1987. Covering more than 1.5 million acres along the central coast of the State of Quintana Roo, it is one of the largest protected areas of Mexico. The reserve is composed equally of semi evergreen tropical forest, wetlands & savannas and marine habitat.The Yucatan peninsula has over 527 bird species in 62 families of which 12 are endemic with 4 subspecies, 2 morphs and 14 hipotetical registers. Siankaán itself is home to more than 345 bird species, including over 1 million wintering migratory songbirds from the US and Canada and the rare Jabiru stork.The challenge in the area is to promote rational and sustainable use of the natural resources that is compatible with the conservation of the reserveand at the same time beneficial to the local inhabitants; integrating environmental policy into regional development planning.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 578

    (As at June 2018 for whole peninsula)
  • Number of endemics: 7

    Yucatan Nightjar Antrostomus badius Cozumel Emerald Chlorostilbon forficatus Yucatan Jay Cyanocorax yucatanicus Yucatan Wren Campylorhynchus yucatanicus Cozumel Thrasher Toxostoma guttatum Rose-throated Tanager Piranga roseogularis Orange Oriole Icterus auratus
  • Pronatura Península de Yucatán

    Facebook Page
    Our mission is to conserve the flora, the fauna and the priority ecosystems, promoting the development of the society in harmony with Nature.

Abbreviations Key

  • BR Sian Ka'an

    WebsiteSatellite View
    A sublime area of natural beauty, Sian Ka'an is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, which is why the region became a designated Biosphere Reserve in 1986. A year later, Sian Ka'an was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and it remains the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Possibly the most astonishing part of the Yucatan peninsula, it is located 2 hours south of Cancun near the small town of Tulum.
  • NP Arrecifes de Cozumel

    InformationSatellite View
    The Cozumel reef system is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest coral reef system in the world. Even though almost the entire island of Cozumel is surrounded by coral reefs, the park only encompasses the reefs on the south side of the island.
  • NP Isla Contoy

    InformationSatellite View
    Four species of turtle find a safe haven for nesting on the beaches of the island, namely the loggerhead turtle, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, and the leatherback turtle. The reserve is also a sanctuary to approximately 152 tropical marine birds, like the frigate bird, brown pelican, and the double-crested cormorant.
  • NP Reef of Puerto Morelos

    InformationSatellite View
    Running alongside the Yucatan Peninsula is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is the second-largest coral reef in the world.
  • NP Tulum

    InformationSatellite View
    The park contains trhe biosphere reserve of Sian Ka'an.
  • NR El Eden Ecological Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Welcome to the Home on the Web for the El Eden Ecological Reserve. Here you can learn about research projects in progress at the reserve, available facilities, and details of the different habitats of the Yucatan Peninsula…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Ecocolors

    Tour Operator
    Explore the fascinating Maya World, refuge of great biodiversity, exhuberant jungles, the second largest coral reef in the World, natural springs (cenotes); the most important archeological sites of the ancient Maya and impressive colonial cities - This unique eco-tour is specially design for bird watchers. We will be able to visit the main protected areas in theYucatan peninsula such as Sianka`an, Holbox, Coba, and El Eden, as well as Guatemala and Belize rainforest. Mexico has around 1,040 different bird species, just in the Yucatan peninsula there are 509 different species in 62 families, from which 12 are endemic, with 4 subspecies, 2 morphos and 14 hipotetical registers. Belize and Guatemala have also more than 550 species of birds.
  • Motmot Tours

    Tour Operator
    Offering tours in the Yucatan peninsular...
Trip Reports
  • 2011 [01 January] - Brian & Isabel Eady

    ..After downloading a Clements “Yucatan Peninsular” checklist from “Avibase”, it became apparent that quite a few of the 546 bird species would not be new sightings for us, having previously visited Trinidad, Tobago and Costa Rica where we had picked up a total 261 of them. However it still left us with a sizeable number of species which could be available for us to swell our life list, and of course re- familiarise us with species we had seen before…
  • 2012 [05 May] - Chris Drysdale

    …It takes a few kilometres to get into the taller trees, where activity subsides. It’s worth staying out of the trees for a little while if you are trying to separate Blue from Ruddy Ground-Doves – both found moving carefully in the nearby scrappy fields - often together, and Olive from Green-backed Sparrow…
  • 2016 [02 February] - Gabor Orban

    PDF Report
    We saw our first endemic birds: Yucatan Jay, Orange Oriole and Rose-throated Tanager. Our list grew rapidly with Green and Brown Jays, Bronzed Cowbird, Hooded Oriole, Smooth-billed Ani, Mangrove and Yellow-throated Vireos, Grey-collared Becard, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Aztec (Olive-throated) Parakeets, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Great Kiskadee, musical Melodious Blackbird, Yellow-bellied and Social Flycatcher and a swift glimpse of a Squirrel Cuckoo.
  • 2016 [04 April] - Nick Crouch - Yucatan Peninsular

    PDF Report
    At the start of April 2016 I travelled to Mexico with my new wife, Amy, for our honeymoon. We’d settled on the Yucatan Peninsular as providing the ideal mix of beach, jungle and activity, and weren’t disappointed with our fortnight stay. Plus, it would be my first taste of New World birding.
  • 2016 [08 August] - Ross & Melissa Gallardy

    PDF Report
    Birding the Yucatan Peninsula is very straight forward. All of the birding spots are easily accessible, the roads are wide, paved, and in great condition, and people (away from the super touristy areas) are very friendly. Although it took us 10 days to cover this area, a dedicated birding trip covering all areas could be completed in a few less days...
  • 2017 [11 November] - Chris Benesh & Cory Gregory

    We had a lot to be thankful for on such a fun tour of Cozumel and the Yucatan Peninsula. We enjoyed an array of colorful and fascinating birds, awesome Mayan cultural sites, gorgeous scenery, and even some good Mexican cuisine. The weather was great, the birding was superb (~230 species worth!), and the group was downright fun.
  • 2019 [01 january] - Peter Collaerts

    PDF Report
    Yucatan has a lot of endemics and regional endemics, and on top of that, many North American wintering birds. We recorded 261 species, including all possible known endemics at the time.
Places to Stay
  • Amigo's B&B - Cozumel

    Cozumel bed and breakfast, Amigo's B&B, started back in 1998 with the opening of Cozumel bed and breakfast, Amigo's B&B Cozumel.Here you will find three cottage style units, all with private bath and complete kitchenettes. A large swimming pool is most refreshing after a day Scuba Diving the famous reefs of Cozumel…
  • Baldwin's Guest House

    What a wonderful place to stay. Your accommodations and hospitality are first class
  • Ride Into Birdland

    Bird photography travels in the Yucatan Peninsula on a classic BMW F650 motorcycle… A bilingual blog (English-Spanish) about bird photography and bird observation in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Created by writer-photographer Ivan Gabaldon.

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