Channel-billed Toucan Ramphocelus vitellinus ©Ian Montgomery Website
Birding French Guiana

The Guianese shield or plate constitutes an area of South America located on the north-eastern coast. It is a geological formation dating from Precambrian between 2.5 and 1.9 billion years ago. It represents one of the oldest solid land masses on planet.

The Guianese shield extends across 5 countries. From west to east:

– Venezuela, where the plates are delimited in north by the Orinoco. It is in this part of the shield that the national parks of Canaima and Kaieteur are located.

– Guyana

– Suriname

– French Guiana.

– The north of Brazil delimited by the Amazon.

The area is covered by the largest wet tropical virgin forest not yet the victim of relentless deforestation. The Guianese forest is, by its nature, similar to that of Amazonia, which it is an extension of. The various biotopes it contains are:

1. Forest. 2. Scrub and forest edges. 3. Rivers and ravines. 4. Marshes. 5. Mangroves and lagoons. 6. Savannas and pastures. 7. Cities and gardens. 8. The coast.

It can appear paradoxical to say that in Guyana it is often difficult to observe birds when it is known that not less than 684 species are present there! However, while the species are numerous, the numbers of individuals are less so. Certainly some, like the Harpie Eagle, are ‘naturally’ scarce because of their immense territory: nearly 10’000 hectares for each pair! Moreover, many species flock and move together. These movements are known as waves. Thus, it is possible to go hours in the forest without seeing anything, then suddenly be confronted with a bewildering array of species, which will make you try and turn your head in all the directions at once!

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 698

    (As at May 2019)
  • Number of endemics: 1

    Cayenne Nightjar Caprimulgus maculosus
  • Checklist

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

  • Birds of Northern South America

    | Volume 1: Species Accounts An Identification Guide | by Robin Restall, Clemencia Rodner & Miguel Lentino | 2006 | Paperback | ISBN: 9780713672428 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of French Guiana (Les Oiseaux de Guyane)

    | by Tanguy Deville | 2018 | Hardback | 324 pages, 200 colour photos | French | ISBN: 9782366622041 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • Background Information for travellers

    See the Lonely Planet website

    Birds of French Guyana, 1000 pictures, sounds, travel
  • Guyane Association Ornithologie

    An organisation of people animated by the same passion (breeding and reproduction of exotic birds) in order to preserve endangered species and promote them by competitions; allow cultural exchange with bordering countries (Brazil, Surinam, Georgetown).
  • Guyane Association Ornithologie - Lorti

    Facebook Page
    La G.A.O Section Lorti a pour but d'entretenir et développer des relations amicales entre ses différents membres,ayant la passion du Lorti
  • Le Pou D'Agouti

    Created in February 1990, the Pou d'Agouti is an association (law 1901) for the protection of the environment that works in close collaboration with the populations, Black and Amerindian black organizations of western French Guiana.
  • SEPANGUY - Société d'Étude, de Protection et d'Aménagement de la Nature en GUYane

    SEPANGUY is a non-profit organization working for the protection of the environment in French Guiana. Created in 1964 by Father Barbotin under the name of Zoological Society, it is the oldest of its kind in the region.

Abbreviations Key

  • NNR La Trinité

    InformationSatellite View
    It protects 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of tropical rainforest in the communes of Mana and Saint-Élie.
  • NP Guiana Amazonian Park

    InformationSatellite View
    It cannot be accessed from the sea-shore or by any other means other than by airplane or pirogue. The protected area covers some 20,300 square kilometres (7,840 sq mi) for the central area (where full protection is enforced) and 13,600 square kilometres (5,250 sq mi) for the secondary area. Thus, the overall protected area represents some 33,900 square kilometres (13,090 sq mi) of rain forest.
  • NR Reserve Naturelle Ile du Grand-Connetable

    WebsiteSatellite View
    La protection réglementaire des milieux naturels de la réserve ne peut, à elle seule, garantir leur maintien à long terme. La présence, sur le terrain, d'une équipe de gestionnaires, et un suivi scientifique rigoureux, sont nécessaires pour mener à bien la mission première d'une réserve naturelle : la conservation de ce patrimoine naturel….
  • NR Tresor and Kaw Nature Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Spread over nearly 2,500 hectares of the southwestern flank of the mountain of Kaw, the regional nature reserve (RNR) Trésor lays between a provincial road uphill and the Orapu River downhill.
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Observations ornithologiques en Guyane

    Mailing List
    List to disseminate, exchange and centralize ornithological observations in particular and naturalistic in general made in French Guiana.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Jal Voyages

    Tour Operator
    ...created for more than 30 years and based in Cayenne, invites you to discover all the touristic sites of French Guiana: Kaw Marsh, Maroni, Approuague, Oyapock, Kourou River, Gabriel Creek, Islands of Salvation
Trip Reports
  • 2012 [08 August] - John J Borg

    PDF Report
    ...In the late morning we drove out of Petit Saut towards Kourou where we first went to the Space Station to book a visit and then we went to the beach and with low tide the place was full of herons (Tricolored and Little Blue as well as Snowy Egrets) several waders. The highlight was a group of about 80 Black Skimmers some of which were patrolling and skimming the water a few metres offshore....
Other Links
  • Preliminary Checklist Of The Birds Of Central French Guiana

    This list is a compilation of both published observations and species observed on expeditions led by Scott Mori. The names used in this list follow the taxonomy of Hoyo et al. (1999) and Ridgely and Tudor (1989, 1994).

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Skip to content