beautiful birds of Central America

Friday, May 09, 2014

A little over five years ago hubby (boyfriend then) and I spent five months backpacking through Central America. We started out in Mexico City and hitched, walked and caught chicken buses all the way down to Peru passing though many a beautiful country.

Prior to this backpacking travel extravaganza I never would have described myself as a 'bird person', but during this time I fell madly and truly in love with the wondrous bird life Central America had to offer - in particular Honduras and Costa Rica.

Here are some of my favourite birds and pics from our Central America adventure...

Toucan - Copan, Honduras

This guy was super friendly and actually flew down and attacked my wrist watch. Needless to say my plastic watch did not survive, and I was pretty stunned!

Red Macaw - Copán Ruinas, Honduras

Wild Red Macaws - Copán Ruinas, Honduras

The Macaw's were abundant in Copán, and we spent many an hour walking around and trying to get some good photos. Here's hubby snapping some cheeky Red Macaws in a tree just outside of the Ruinas.

Wild Red Macaw - Copán Ruinas, Honduras

Honduras is also home to the amazing Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve - which takes in and cares for rescued and endangered birds of the American tropics. All the birds here are free to roam in a huge space and are very friendly. Macaw Mountain does an amazing job and is worth visiting if you're ever in Honduras.

Scarlet and Green Winged Macaw - Macaw Mountain, Honduras

Olive Throated Conures - Macaw Mountain, Honduras
Olive Throated Conures - Macaw Mountain, Honduras

me with a friendly Blue and Gold Macaw - Macaw Mountain, Honduras
me with a friendly Blue and Gold Macaw - Macaw Mountain, Honduras

White Crowned Parrot - Macaw Mountain, Honduras
White Crowned Parrot - Macaw Mountain, Honduras

Another bird we spied a lot during our trip was the beautiful Hummingbird. In fact we would normally hear them first - as the flutter or 'hum' of their wings is unmistakable once you recognise the sound. Hummingbirds are particularly drawn to bird feeders - and I took these pics while sitting in a restaurant in Chiapas, Mexico one day...

Hummingbird flying to a bird feeder, Mexico
Hummingbird flying to a bird feeder, Mexico

Hummingbirds feeding, Mexico
Hummingbirds feeding, Mexico

Another fantastic bird watching spot we discovered was Lake Yojoa in Honduras, where we made friends with a keen local who took us out for a spin in his row boat...

White Heron - Lake Yojoa, Honduras
White Heron, also known as a Great Egret - Lake Yojoa, Honduras

Locals out fishing on Lake Yojoa, Honduras
Locals out fishing on Lake Yojoa, Honduras

Tiger Heron, Honduras
I think this is some type of Tiger Heron but I'm not sure. If you know please let me know!

In Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica we were also spoilt with the variety of wild bird life. One day we went for a short boat ride down Tortuguero's canals to do some wildlife spotting (which to this day is still one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced!) and I snapped the following...

Heron - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Heron - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Heron - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Heron - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Heron in flight - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Heron in flight - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Yellow-crowned Night Heron - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Yellow-crowned Night Heron - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Northern Jacana - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Northern Jacana - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Pink Flamingos - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Pink Flamingos - Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Finally, the highlight of all our bird spotting happened on a farm in Costa Rica, where we spent a day camping quietly out under a avocado tree silently hoping we might set our eyes on the notoriously famous Resplendent Quetzal

Ironically Quetzals are the national bird for many countries in Central America but are extremely hard to see due to their popularity. They are a 'near threatened bird species' known for the male's long iridescent green tail feathers that were symbols for spring plant growth to the ancient Aztecs and Maya civilisations, and also viewed as the 'god of the air'. Because of this rulers and nobility from that time wore headdresses made from Quetzal feathers, which you can see in several Central American museums today.

My proudest moment came when after hours of waiting I managed to snap this photo. It looks just like a painting doesn't it?

Quetzal, Costa Rica
Quetzal, Costa Rica

Quetzal, Costa Rica
And another - see how the Quetzal's tail feathers are blowing in the wind?

Amazing! Thanks to Mel from The Nectar Collective for inspiring me to dig out all these pics for her 'photo hunt' link up.

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21 comments

  1. Those birds are so colourful and beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Kiki. Gorgeous aren't they!

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  2. Hi, i came here because I read Central America jeje I am From El Salvador but now I am in Costa Rica.
    Love your photography

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    1. Thank you very much. I really loved Central America - such a vibrant part of the world. Hope you are enjoying your time in Costa Rica.

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  3. Wow, these are some fantastic shots! The very first one looks almost unreal. Great theme!

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  4. Such pretty birds! I'd love to travel to Central America to sketch them one day :)

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    1. What a great idea. I'm not much of an artist but if I could draw these birds would definitely be on my list :)

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  5. Amazing photos, those birds are stunning!

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  6. Wow, these photos are incredible! The Quetzal was definitely worth the wait - what an amazing set of tail feathers! I don't much love birds, but all your photos definitely make me like them a whole lot more, haha!

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    1. Ha ha thanks Jessica. Yep, many years later and I am still rather proud of my Quetzal shot. They really are amazing birds!

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  7. I love this, I'm such a bird watcher and get excited to see birds I've never seen before, so it would be amazing to go around Central America.

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    1. You should defo add it to your travel bucket list. Central America is just full of amazing bird life :)

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  8. im freaking out. now i want a toucan! or really, any one of these beauties! sheesh.

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    1. :) They are beautiful aren't they? But much better to see in the wild or a sanctuary if you can... I can't recommend Central America enough as a destination for bird spotting.

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  9. Beautiful photos! I love the one of the White Heron, that's one amazing photo!

    Love, Midsommarflicka

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  10. Soooo gorgeous!! I'm super impressed with your hummingbird photo capturing skills..,And you really saw a quetzal?!? Now I may be sliiiightly jealous. I love seeing nature through the lens - I just linked up with a photo series on fungi :)

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    1. Thanks Lis-ita. Yep I really saw a Quetzal - several actually as they tend to hang out in groups. But it did take a day of patience for about 20 minutes of amazingness!

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  11. Lovely photos! I actually really like birding

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