Meet the Birds of Belize

Pictures of birds of Belize
Reading Time: 8 mins

With over 590 bird species, it is safe to say that Belize is a paradise for birdwatchers. Interestingly, even regular folks who aren’t really into bird watching are drawn to this recreational activity when in Belize — maybe it’s because birds are so easy to spot here.

Most of the birds in Belize are local species and approximately 20 percent are migrants who fly down to Belize during the harsh winter months in North America. With almost half of Belize’s land made up of protected areas, it doesn’t matter if you are inland or on the cayes, you will encounter numerous beautiful birds.

I recommend visiting the jungle lodges in western Belize, it is especially easy to spot birds there. At many of those resorts, in the morning you can have your breakfast while you’re treated to a ceremonial chatter of several types of birds. Another option is waking up early and going to the Mayan sites — the ruckus of the rainforest there is absolutely amazing.

60 birds you are likely to see in Belize and the 8 best locations to see them

1. Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker in Belize

The Acorn Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a unique face pattern: red crown, pale yellowish forehead and throat, and pale eyes. Fairly common from western North America through Central America to Colombia.

2. Agami Heron

Agami Heron in Belize

The Agami Heron is a medium-sized heron that is a resident breeding bird from Central America to Peru and Brazil. As an adult, their plumage is dark with a beautiful silvery spray of lacy neck plumes. When immature, they are browner overall, without the neck plumes.

3. American Pygmy Kingfisher

American Pygmy Kingfisher

The American Pygmy Kingfisher is a tiny kingfisher that occurs in the American tropics. It is oily green above, with a yellow-orange collar around the neck, rufous underparts, and a white belly. The female has a narrow green breast band that the male lacks.

4. Anhinga

Anhinga bird in Belize

The Anhinga aka snakebird, darter, or water turkey, is a large long-necked water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. Males are black with white on their wings and females are similar but with brownish necks and heads.

5. Azure-crowned Hummingbird

Azure-crowned Hummingbird

The Azure-crowned Hummingbird is a medium-sized hummingbird found in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Both sexes typically look alike.

6. Bare-throated Tiger Heron

Bare-throated Tiger Heron

The Bare-throated Tiger Heron is a large but rather short-legged, primal-looking heron of mangroves and freshwater marshes in tropical lowlands. It can be found from Mexico to northwestern Colombia.

7. Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

The Black-and-white Warbler is distinctive due to its bold black-and-white stripes. It is a species of New World warbler that breeds in northern and eastern North America, and winters in Florida, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America.

8. Black-collared Hawk

Black-collared Hawk

The Black-collared Hawk is an attractive chunky hawk of marshes and wetlands. It has a wide range of presence, from western Mexico to Uruguay.

9. Black-crowned Tityra

Black-crowned Tityra

The Black-crowned Tityra is a medium-sized passerine bird that is mostly silvery gray with a black cap. It can be found from Mexico to Argentina, in tropical lowland forests and adjacent semi-open areas with taller trees.

10. Black-headed Trogon

Black-headed Trogon

The Black-headed Trogon is a medium-sized, yellow-bellied trogon of tropical lowlands. Both sexes have a complete blue-gray eye-ring, and the underside of the tail is marked with big blocks of white. It is found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

11. Blue-diademed Motmot

Blue-diademed Motmot

12. Brown Jay

Brown Jay

13. Caspian Tern and Gull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern and Gull-billed Tern

14. Collared Aracari

Collared Aracari

15. Couch’s Kingbird

Couch's Kingbird

16. Crimson-collared Tanager

Crimson-collared Tanager

17. Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Fork-tailed Flycatcher

18. Gartered Trogon a.k.a. Violaceous Trogon

Violaceous Trogon

19. Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

20. Gray-necked Wood Rail and Limpkin

Gray-necked Wood-Rail and Limpkin

21. Great Black Hawk

Great Black Hawk

22. Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

23. Great Egret

Great Egret

24. Green Heron

Green Heron

25. Slaty-tailed Trogon

Slaty-tailed Trogon

26. Green Jay

Green Jay

27. Green Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher

28. Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

29. Laughing Falcon

Laughing Falcon

30. Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture

31. Lineated Woodpecker

Lineated Woodpecker

32. Long-billed Hermit

Long-billed Hermit

33. Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

34. Mangrove Swallow

Mangrove Swallow

35. Northern Jacana

Northern Jacana

36. Pale-billed Woodpecker

Pale-billed Woodpecker

37. Purple-crowned Fairy

Purple-crowned Fairy

38. Red-lored Parrot


39. Ringed Kingfisher

Ringed Kingfisher

40. Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

41. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

42. Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Rufous-tailed Jacamar

43. Rusty Sparrow

Rusty Sparrow

44. Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

The above photo was not taken in the wild. It’s at The Belize Zoo.

45. Snail Kite

Snail Kite

46. Spectacled Owl

Spectacled Owl

47. Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

48. Thick-billed Seed Finch

Thick-billed Seed Finch

49. Keel-billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan in Belize

50. Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

51. Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

52. Violet Sabrewing

Violet Sabrewing

53. White-collared Manakin

White-collared Manakin

54. White-fronted Parrot

White-fronted Parrot

55. White-necked Jacobin

White-necked Jacobin

56. White-whiskered Puffbird

White-whiskered Puffbird

57. Wood Stork and Snowy Egret

Wood Stork and Snowy Egret

58. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

59. Yellow-headed Parrot

Yellow-headed Parrot

60. Yellow-throated Euphonia

Yellow-throated Euphonia

If you made it to the end of this post, it means that you’re really into birdwatching and will be interested in knowing where to go birding in Belize. Below are a few spots that the Belize Audubon Society recommends.

Places to go Birdwatching in Belize:

1. Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

In 1998, this protected area was declared Belize’s first Ramsar site based on the wetland’s international significance for many migratory and non-migratory wetland bird species. Large numbers of wading birds flock into the lagoons during Belize’s dry season (February through May) when food is hard to find in other places.

2. Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Raptors cruise the valleys of the Pine Ridge and it is the most likely place in Belize to see the rare Orange-breasted Falcon.

3. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

While visitors rarely see a jaguar, the many ecosystems of Cockscomb support a rich and varied bird fauna – forest species, pine woodland and savanna species, species restricted to riverine areas, and birds associated with higher elevations.

4. Caracol Archaeological Reserve

Caracol is one of the last outposts where the Keel-billed Motmot, a globally vulnerable species is relatively common. Other notable birds seen at Caracol include Ocellated Turkey, Crested Guan, and Great Curassow. While admiring the largest Maya site in Belize you may also see colorful toucans and trogons.

5. Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary

These wetlands in the Toledo District attract a number of very visible birds forming the principal attraction for visitors. Aguacaliente protects important breeding colonies for the Wood Stork and Boat-billed Heron. There are a few birds in Toledo District that can’t be found elsewhere in the Belize

6. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker

Of all the habitats in Belize, the littoral forest on the Cayes is the most endangered due to development. Caye littoral forests benefit the Black Catbird and White-crowned Pigeon, both are listed as Near-Threatened species. The Mangrove habitat also attracts many other birds.

7. Half Moon Caye Natural Monument

Declared a crown reserve bird sanctuary in 1928, the Red-footed Booby colony of Half Moon Caye is the oldest site for wildlife protection in Belize. Half Moon Caye’s population, an estimated 4,000 birds, is made up almost entirely of white morphs with black on the trailing edge of the wings.

8. Red Bank Village

The unmistakable Scarlet Macaw flocks to the small Maya Village of Red Bank in South Stann Creek seasonally. As many as 100 birds gather near the village, primarily from January to March, to feed on the sweet, ripe fruits of the annatto trees.

Let me know if I listed any of your favorite birds and if you have a photo of a bird I should add, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

All pictures were taken in Belize by Joe Schelling.



Reader Interactions


  1. Mike Charlton says

    Hi..passed through very briefly recently with a camera that gave up on me!

    I had a couple of unidentified birds.,are you able to help please? Nothing too exciting!

    I can sen copies to your email?
    Take care..

  2. Chaz Creger says

    I am I am on Ambergris now. Really enjoying the birds here! With this resource, I hope to identify many of these spectacular birds! Thank you.

  3. Debbi says

    Going to Belize in August! I can’t wait to look for these exquisite birds!!

  4. Maria says

    I just love all those cute little birds and I CANNOT wait to visit belize someday!!!

  5. Mike says


    I am going to be in Belize one short day on a cruise soon. I would really like to see and maybe get some photos of some of the local hummingbirds. Do you have any suggestions of somewhere in or close to Belize City that I may be able to see some of them?

    Thank you in advance,

  6. Jenn Turnbull says

    Beautiful pictures of beautiful birds! I had no idea half of the land in Belize is protected. That’s awesome. Belize has been on my list for a long time for snorkeling. Hoping to get there soon!

  7. Jocelyn Plowey says

    did not realized there were so many beautiful birds in Belize… my sister-in-law would love this, she is an environmentalist.

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