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Field Guides Tour Report
Belize: Tropical Birding, Short and Sweet 2019
Mar 23, 2019 to Mar 30, 2019
Dave Stejskal

We were fortunate to see several American Pygmy Kingfishers near Lamanai. This is the New World's smallest kingfisher. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

Short and sweet is right! This one-week tour had everything going for it this year – great birds, great weather, and a terrific group of enthusiastic and engaged birders. Throw in some fine meals, excellent support staff and local guides, and an intriguing Mayan archaeological site at Lamanai, and I just couldn't have asked for more!

I had done many prior tours to Belize with Field Guides over the years, starting in the late '80's when we used to drive into Belize from the Petén of Guatemala (!), but this was my first trip back to this lovely Central American country since 1996! Things had certainly changed since my last visit, mostly in terms of an improved infrastructure. But the habitats have changed since then, too. Lamanai has seen some habitat loss due to agricultural pressures and to hurricanes, and the forests on Mountain Pine Ridge were really hit hard by pine bark beetles and fire over the years. But, despite those changes, we did really, really well with the birds!

We spent most of this short tour at lovely Lamanai Outpost Lodge on the banks of 'Crabcatcher Lagoon' on the meandering New River. Based here in comfort, we were able to sample the fine variety of habitats a short drive, boat ride, or walk from our rooms. Highlights here were numerous, with a few that stand out in my mind like that imm. Agami Heron and the beautiful Gray-throated Chat along Dawson's Creek, Jabiru on an active nest, face-to-face encounters with both Tody Motmot and White-whiskered Puffbird along the trails into the Mayan ruins, a couple of brief Sungrebes along Irish Creek, beautiful Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and striking Barred Antshrikes, a soaring adult Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and, for me especially since I hardly ever get to see them, all of those beautiful migrant Eastern wood-warblers!

Mountain Pine Ridge held a different set of specialties for us, and none of us will soon forget our final hour Orange-breasted Falcon, all of those wonderful King Vultures, a fine collection of hummingbirds at Green Hills Butterfly Ranch, beautiful White Hawks, a rare Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, and so many others.

I need to thank Eduardo, our very keen local guide at Lamanai, and Marvin, our able driver and guide at Hidden Valley Inn. They both made my job on this tour a lot easier! And thank you to all of you for joining me on this quick tour to Belize! The more I do this, the more I come to realize that your travel companions make all the difference to the success of any tour. I dare say that this was a very successful tour because of all of you and I look forward to the opportunity to travel with you all again in my final year and a half of guiding professionally. Dave

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

These birds are quite scarce throughout their wide range in the Neotropics, so we were lucky to see this immature Agami Heron fishing in the open early one morning. Photo by participant Nancy Barnhart.

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) [*]
SLATY-BREASTED TINAMOU (Crypturellus boucardi) – The only tinamous that we heard during our week of birding in Belize were both this and the previous species on the same trail (Slate Creek overlook) on the same morning. [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – A flyby in the savanna across the lagoon from Lamanai was our only one this trip.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) [b]
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
PLAIN CHACHALACA (Ortalis vetula) – A common early morning voice (and pretty common sight) at both Lamanai and at Mountain Pine Ridge (MPR). The same species makes it all of the way north to south Texas.
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – We heard something walking on the ground next to Irish Creek on our final morning at Lamanai – a closer inspection yielded some pretty decent views of this species as it worked higher up into the vegetation.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – A brief look for some on a wide stretch of creek near Hidden Valley Inn.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – A common species along the New River and the lagoon.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – Most of our birds were flybys, but most folks did see at least one of these fancy pigeons perched at Lamanai.

Even surrounded by stunning Mayan architecture at Lamanai (the Temple of the Jaguar here), we couldn't help being distracted by the birds at the edge of the clearing. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – The largest of the pigeons on this tour.
SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris) [*]
PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE (Columbina minuta) – We had decent looks at this tiny ground-dove as we drove around the agricultural fields near Indian Creek.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – We heard this one almost every day, but only got glimpses of a couple of quick flybys.
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana) [*]
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Seemingly in every habitat.
GRAY-HEADED DOVE (Leptotila plumbeiceps) – We all got to see one of these shy forest doves walking along the trail at Lamanai one afternoon.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – A common roadside/creekside sight.

The thin, strongly decurved bill of this young Snail Kite is unique among the possible raptors in the Lamanai area. Photo by participant Shirley Ellis Devan.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – There's really nothing else like this one within its range in Central America!
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – A couple of close day-roosting birds along the New River on our very first afternoon were fun to see.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Outstanding views of a couple of close perched birds in the spotlight near Lamanai.
YUCATAN NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus badius) – Very close – but he wouldn't budge! [*]
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
NORTHERN POTOO (Nyctibius jamaicensis) – Those super-reflective eyes make spotting this one easy! We ended up with a couple of great views of perched birds along the New River near Lamanai one evening.
Apodidae (Swifts)
SWIFT SP. (Cypseloides sp.) – A few of these smaller swifts flying around with the more common, larger White-collared Swifts at King Vulture Falls on Mountain Pine Ridge were left unidentified – but were very likely the rare White-chinned Swift.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – This one would dwarf any other swift in Belize and is one of the largest in the world. The various falls on Mountain Pine Ridge are great places to see them.
CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica) – This one seems to be rare but regular as a migrant in the Belize lowlands at this season. [b]
VAUX'S SWIFT (RICHMOND'S) (Chaetura vauxi richmondi) – This is the resident race found here and southward to Panama.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – A small one, but distinctly different than the similarly-sized Chaetura swifts.

This curious Tody Motmot paid us a visit along the trails at Lamanai during the first portion of our short tour. It's the smallest of the several species of motmots, a family confined to the Neotropics. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – I think that this was easily the most common hummingbird species coming to the feeders at the Butterfly Ranch.
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris) – Eyeball-to-eyeball views of this one as it fed at the feeders.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – Back in the day, this one used to be called the Little Hermit – before Little Hermit was split into three or four species.
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii) – A few fancy males at the feeders at the Butterfly Ranch. We also had a female with a couple of recently-fledged juvies near Indian Creek. [N]
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) – A couple of migrants at Lamanai headed northward. [b]
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – Large and dull, this one doesn't have much in the way of fancy colors going for it. A few at the Butterfly Ranch feeders.
WEDGE-TAILED SABREWING (Campylopterus curvipennis) – We had several of these big, dull hummers at the feeders at the Butterfly Ranch
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – It's always a shock to see one of the males come in for a feeding - it's not every day that you get to see a huge purple hummingbird!
WHITE-BELLIED EMERALD (Amazilia candida) – Not very common on this tour, but we did have some nice looks at the Butterfly Ranch.
AZURE-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia cyanocephala) – This seems to be the default hummer up in the pine habitat on Mountain Pine Ridge.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – The only hummer that we saw nearly daily on this tour. Always within sight from the restaurant at Lamanai.
CINNAMON HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia rutila) – One of these feeding in the flowers across the road at Indian Creek was a nice surprise there.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
RUSSET-NAPED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides albiventris) – Bold and conspicuous along the shores of Crabcatcher Lagoon. A recent split from the Gray-cowled Wood-Rail farther south.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica) – A few lovely adults on our boat ride on the first afternoon of the tour.
RUDDY CRAKE (Laterallus ruber) – Shirley spotted this one for us as it snuck through the marsh vegetation near Lamanai.
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica) – A couple of birds on our final morning along Irish Creek didn't do a very good job of sticking around! Glimpsed by most, but a few folks never connected with them.

Normally a rather skulking species, this Green-backed Sparrow performed nicely for us at Lamanai. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – Recorded daily while at Lamanai.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
UPLAND SANDPIPER (Bartramia longicauda) – A scarce migrant here, most folks got a brief look at this bird in one of the mostly barren agricultural fields near Indian Creek. [b]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – Just after we saw one adult fly across the New River late one afternoon, Eduardo got us onto a distant nest with another adult standing guard. [N]
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus) – A single immature bird hanging around the Lamanai dock was a very unusual bird there. [b]
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LEAST BITTERN (Ixobrychus exilis) – Shirley spotted one of these tiny herons for us as it clambered through the marsh vegetation at the edge of Crabcatcher Lagoon across from Lamanai.
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – A couple of fine adults on our very first afternoon of the tour shortly after arriving in the country.

Our first Keel-billed Toucan at Lamanai wasn't very close, but it still impressed the heck out of the group! Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
AGAMI HERON (Agamia agami) – We spotted a close immature bird hunting at the edge of Dawson's Creek early one morning before breakfast.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – Seemingly scarce away from the immediate coast.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – These distinctive herons were seen well a few times while we were based at Lamanai. These northern birds are much grayer than the birds you see in S. America.

We almost missed this stunning Black-collared Hawk on our arrival day at Lamanai. Photo by participant Nancy Barnhart.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Great looks at this one, including at least 18 birds at King Vulture Falls (where else?) one afternoon and another bird perched close to the road at Rio Frio Cave.
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – Most of the low-flying vultures that we saw near Lamanai turned out to be this savanna specialist.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – A few in the open country around Lamanai.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – One of the most elegant of all raptors.
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – A nice surprise was hearing, and then seeing, an adult bird soaring above the Lamanai Mayan site late one morning.
BLACK-AND-WHITE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus melanoleucus) – An even rarer find was this adult bird soaring off in the distance near our overlook perch at the end of the Slate Creek Trail near Hidden Valley Inn. Of the three species of Hawk-Eagles in the New World, this one is the toughest to find.

I expected to see these lovely Fork-tailed Flycatchers out in the savanna near Lamanai, not up on Mountain Pine Ridge, where these two were photographed by participant Shirley Ellis Devan.

BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis) – A single adult bird was seen at exceedingly close range on our first afternoon as we boated to Lamanai.
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis) – Fewer at Lamanai than I expected.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus) – A single high-flying bird at the Slate Creek overlook. It looks a bit like an Accipiter with its tail tightly closed.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – We had a couple of birds at Lamanai, but they were much more common once we got to Mountain Pine Ridge.
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus) [b]
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – The very similar Common Black Hawk is pretty much restricted to the coastal mangroves in Belize.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – A common voice at Lamanai. This widespread raptor is quite variable throughout its huge range (n.e. Mexico south to central Argentina).
WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) – A couple of high-flying, distant birds near Lamanai. Note that this one is no longer a Buteo.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – Our best looks were at the Slate Creek overlook. A really lovely hawk!
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – This is the same species that ranges north to s. Texas and s. Arizona, but it gets replaced by the similar Gray-lined Hawk in Costa Rica.

This is a lovely shot of the translucent flight feathers in the wing of this Rufous-tailed Hummingbird at Lamanai. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – A few sightings of mostly light-morph adults.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – Having this one nesting on the Lamanai grounds was a special treat! [N]
Strigidae (Owls)
MIDDLE AMERICAN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops guatemalae) [*]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – Pretty common once we got up onto Mountain Pine Ridge.
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) [*]
Trogonidae (Trogons)
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – Outstanding looks of a couple of close birds at the Lamanai Mayan site. The largest of the few trogon species here.
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus) – This was our most common trogon species of the tour.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – This one was called the Violaceous Trogon until it was split into three species rather recently. Very similar to the above Black-headed, but the eye-ring color, calls, and undertail pattern differ between the two.
Momotidae (Motmots)
TODY MOTMOT (Hylomanes momotula) – Eduardo knew exactly where to go to try for this retiring forest understory species. We all came away with fantastic looks!
LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii exiguus) – It took a few tries, but we finally got into a spot where we could see this one on the trails behind Lamanai. Formerly called the Blue-crowned Motmot, but it was recently split into several species.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – The largest of the New World kingfishers.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – This and the above Ringed seemed to be around in about equal numbers in the Lamanai area. [b]
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – We came away with a few great views of this tiny kingfisher, the smallest in the New World, in the Lamanai area.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Even found up on Mountain Pine Ridge this year.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)
WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis) – We enjoyed a close encounter with this retiring species at the Lamanai Mayan site.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – We had our best looks on the morning that we toured the Lamanai Mayan site. Like a giant green and rufous hummer!
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – Doug spotted our first one perched across the airstrip at Lamanai late one afternoon. What a gaudy bird!
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – We found a bird likely wintering in the pines near Hidden Valley Inn one morning. Pretty scarce this far south. [b]

The largest of the trogons that we saw on this tour was this female Slaty-tailed Trogon at Lamanai. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – We found a few of these out in the savanna near Lamanai, but they were easy to find up in the pine woodland on Mountain Pine Ridge.
YUCATAN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pygmaeus) – A miniature version of the next species, but this one with some actual golden feathering around the base of the bill (instead of red).
GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (VELASQUEZ'S) (Melanerpes aurifrons dubius) – There's absolutely nothing 'golden-fronted' about this race of Golden-fronted Woodpecker in Belize!
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Dryobates scalaris) – A scarce bird here in the light woodland of the savanna.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus) [*]
PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis) – We had one particularly great view of this one in Indian Church village adjacent to Lamanai Outpost. A close relative of the extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – Including an active nest at the Lamanai Mayan site! Closely related to our familiar Pileated Woodpecker. [N]
CHESTNUT-COLORED WOODPECKER (Celeus castaneus) – Man, what a beauty! We had super views in the scope on the back trail behind Lamanai one morning. All of these Celeus woodpeckers are stunners.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – Nicely on the grounds of Hidden Valley Inn.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – This snake-eating falcon was seen perched a couple of times near Lamanai.

Nightbirds were a little tough to come by on the tour this year, but we really nailed this male Common Pauraque at Lamanai! Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – A quick flyby on our first morning at Lamanai. Quite scarce here. [b]
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – A pair of these beautiful falcons performed very well for us in the light pine woodland of the savanna near Lamanai.
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – We had some very nice views of this handsome falcon from the boat en route to Irish Creek on our final morning at Lamanai.
ORANGE-BREASTED FALCON (Falco deiroleucus) – We cut it pretty close with this one! We finally found a perched adult bird on a short tree between our viewing platform and the actual falls at 1000 Foot Falls on our final afternoon at Mountain Pine Ridge. Rare throughout its wide range in the Neotropics, this is a particularly reliable area to see this special bird.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – After a few frustrating flybys, a couple of these were spotted feeding in a tree in Indian Church on our final morning at Lamanai, giving us some super scope looks.
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – One of the more common parrots at Lamanai. [N]
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – Great views of this one on our final morning at Lamanai.
YELLOW-HEADED PARROT (Amazona oratrix) – It wasn't a great look, but it was a look for some way out in the savanna near Lamanai.
WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons) – Probably the most numerous of the Amazons on this tour.
YELLOW-LORED PARROT (Amazona xantholora) – We had just been talking about this regional specialty parrot, hoping that we'd get a better look out in the savanna before we left Lamanai, when a bird landed in the tree right over our heads! Timing is everything in birding!

We had to produce a 'last-minute' save with this beautiful adult Orange-breasted Falcon at 1000 Foot Falls on Mountain Pine Ridge. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (AZTEC) (Eupsittula nana astec) – Recorded daily on this tour.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – One of the early stars of the tour was this gorgeous antshrike, which we found right in the parking lot at Lamanai Outpost Lodge!
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (MAYAN) (Formicarius analis moniliger) – Typically a very difficult bird to see, but our strategy at Lamanai worked wonderfully well.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – One of the smallest of the woodcreepers; we saw this one well a couple of times in the woods at Lamanai.
IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster) – Woodcreepers were tough to come by this year on this tour, but this one made multiple appearances.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – I was really amazed that we only saw one of these distinctive furnariids.
BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus ochrolaemus) – It was difficult to get a look at this one as it flew back and forth across the road, always landing out of sight.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
YELLOW-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Ornithion semiflavum) – I've had few looks at this species as good as the ones we got at Lamanai his year. Amazing!
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata) – A couple of nice looks at this (mostly) canopy species.

Wood Storks were numerous at times in the wetlands around Lamanai. Photo by participant Shirley Ellis Devan.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – A common voice in all of the open habitats that we visited.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – A couple of brief looks, both at Lamanai and at Mountain Pine Ridge. This is a lekking species that eats mostly fruit.
NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare) – A couple of super, close views of this inconspicuous species.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – Our only look at this tiny tyrannid was from the boat along Dawson's Creek. This one has a huge range in the Neotropics.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) – Most places where I guide in the Neotropics have multiple species of confusing Tolmomyias flycatchers – it's nice to be in a place where there's only one!
STUB-TAILED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus cancrominus) – I really had my doubts that we'd be able to see this tiny understory flycatcher from the boat on Irish Creek, but he came in for some pretty good looks!
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus) – Briefly for some on our first morning of the tour at Lamanai.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) – One of our more memorable encounters with flycatchers on this tour was seeing this sprightly little guy perched right above the road on our way into Rio Frio Cave.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius sulphureipygius) – Very redstart-like in its behavior.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) [b]

Wood-rails are typically pretty bold, and this Russet-naped Wood-Rail near Lamanai was no exception. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) – A brief look at this one at Lamanai - Eduardo saw it best. [b]
LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus) [b]
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – We found a number of these fabulous flycatchers in the Indian Creek area, including a female on a nest right next to the road. [N]
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – It took some time, but this one finally came in for some excellent views at the Lamanai Mayan site late one afternoon. This one is often heard on Neotropical tours (it's got a huge range), but we hardly ever see it.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – The only Myiarchus that we recorded daily on this tour.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – Good looks at both Lamanai and on Mountain Pine Ridge. [b]
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Another bird with a huge Neotropical range – from s. Texas and s. Arizona south to Argentina.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Very similar to the above species, but it lacks rufous in the tail and wings and has a really different voice – not to mention that big 'ol bill!
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis) – A miniature version of the Kiskadee (well, sort of).
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) – These had just arrived during our visit.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – A single bird calling on our final morning at Lamanai had just arrived, too.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
COUCH'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus couchii) – Nearly impossible to separate from Tropical Kingbird with any confidence – unless it calls.
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – We all caught up with this one on our arrival at the airport on the final day. [b]
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – I didn't really expect to get it up in the pine forest on Mountain Pine Ridge, but we got our best looks at this one there.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – All that we could manage on this trip were female-plumaged birds. Readily identified by those bright orange legs.
RED-CAPPED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra mentalis) – Nice scope views of a responsive male at the Lamanai Mayan site.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – Unlike all of the other members of this family, the Tityras are cavity nesters.
NORTHERN SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis veraepacis) – We had one of these respond reasonably well along the Slate Creek overlook trail up on Mountain Pine Ridge. Before the species was split up, this one was called the Thrushlike Schiffornis. Before that, it was the Thrushlike Manakin.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) [*]
GREEN SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius pulchellus) [*]

Our late-afternoon cruise (with refreshments!) on Crabcatcher Lagoon in front of Lamanai Outpost Lodge. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps) – Our first pre-breakfast walk on our first morning at Lamanai brought us a decent look at this forest interior species.
LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata) – Recorded daily and seen very well on multiple occasions.
WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus) – Not rare in the Lamanai area as a wintering bird. [b]
MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens) – Seen well a couple of times at Lamanai, though I'm still surprised that we didn't hear more of them.
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) [b]
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – Still a little early for the large numbers of these to be moving north from their wintering grounds in n. South America. [b]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio) – Daily on this tour.
GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas) – Good looks near Hidden Valley Inn.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis) – I wasn't really expecting this one to be more common than the Gray-breasted Martin on this tour. [b]

A nice surprise on our arrival in Belize was this roosting Boat-billed Heron along the New River near Lamanai. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Away from the international airport, we only saw this one once on the tour near Lamanai.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – A common sight long the lagoon edge at Lamanai.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) [b]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus)
CAROLINA WREN (WHITE-BROWED) (Thryothorus ludovicianus albinucha) – This distinctive resident race was heard along Dawson's Creek one morning. [*]
SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus) – Mostly heard, but we did manage a look or two at Lamanai early on.
CABANIS'S WREN (Cantorchilus modestus) – This one used to be called the Plain Wren until it was split up into three species. This is the northernmost representative of that trio of birds. Briefly seen by most of us on Mountain Pine Ridge.
WHITE-BELLIED WREN (Uropsila leucogastra) – A couple of really great looks at confiding birds.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) [*]
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – Gary spotted one of these working the ornamental plants on the Lamanai grounds one morning.

This Rufous-tailed Jacamar is the northernmost member of the widespread Neotropical family Galbulidae. Photo by participant Nancy Barnhart.

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) – Belize has both wintering birds from N. America and resident birds that breed in country.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) – Decent looks of a female out in the savanna near Lamanai.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – A couple of these at Lamanai only. Wintering numbers of this species have really dropped dramatically due to habitat loss. [b]
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Recorded daily.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
BLACK CATBIRD (Melanoptila glabrirostris) – A few around Lamanai, with one seen particularly well on the 'back trail' one morning.
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) [b]
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Quite similar to our familiar Northern Mockingbird, but without the big white wing patches.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea) – Clearly the most common Euphonia along our tour route.
OLIVE-BACKED EUPHONIA (Euphonia gouldi) – Stunning views of a pair of these one morning at the Lamanai Mayan site.
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
BOTTERI'S SPARROW (Peucaea botterii) – Briefly in the savanna near Lamanai.
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus) [*]
GREEN-BACKED SPARROW (Arremonops chloronotus) – This one cooperated for some fine views. Generally in moister habitats compared with Olive Sparrow.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina) – Mountain Pine Ridge only.
RUSTY SPARROW (Aimophila rufescens) – One of the largest of the sparrows, if you don't count the Towhees as sparrows.
Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – Now in its own family. [b]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) – Generally a very difficult species to see well.
MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma) – It's still hard for me to get my head around the idea that this one and the Bobolink are in the same family!
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – This one was pretty inconspicuous up in those flowering trees with all of the migrant Orchard Orioles!
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – Probably 100's of these at Lamanai. [b]
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – Not at all common in the Lamanai area.

High on everyone's 'want list' was the Barred Antshrike. This female that we saw at Lamanai looks quite different than the boldly black-and-white barred male. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater) – Great looks near Hidden Valley Inn - even without a leader!
YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas) – Incredibly responsive on Mountain Pine Ridge.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – Small number of these amongst the above Orchard Orioles. [b]
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives) – Recorded every day on this tour and a common voice in the background just about everywhere.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) [b]
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) [b]
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera) – A couple of migrants near Lamanai. [b]

Our close proximity to this feeding Red-lored Parrot apparently didn't make any difference to the hungry parrot! Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) [b]
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – No big numbers yet, but we saw a couple of stunning individuals at Lamanai. [b]
SWAINSON'S WARBLER (Limnothlypis swainsonii) – A real treat was seeing one of these skulking around in the leaf litter at Lamanai. [b]
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) [b]
GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala) – Nice views, eventually, out in the scrubby growth of the savanna near Lamanai and on Mountain Pine Ridge.
KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) [b]
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) [b]
HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina) [b]
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) [b]
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) – Several at various spots along the way. [b]

We don't see many blue birds on this tour, so a vibrant male Red-legged Honeycreeper is always a pleasant surprise. Photo by participant Nancy Barnhart.

MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia) – It seemed like about 90% of the warblers we got onto were this species! [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Only up on Mountain Pine Ridge. [b]
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata) – A single female at Lamanai was a bit of a surprise. [b]
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica) [b]
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – Fairly numerous in the pines on Mountain Pine Ridge.
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons) – A couple of responsive birds in the pine forest understory on Mountain Pine Ridge.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – Easily seen along the road to Rio Frio Cave. This one has an enormous range in the Neotropics, occurring from n.e. Mexico south to Argentina.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – Rather easy to find once we got into the pine forest habitat.

This beautiful Ivory-billed Woodcreeper was one of the few woodcreepers that we recorded on the tour this year. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) [b]
RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda) – These understory species area always a little tricky to try to see.
BLACK-FACED GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes poliogaster) – We ran into a big flock of these along the Rio Frio Cave road one morning.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – A familiar song from home. Northern Cardinals don't get too much farther south than this.
GRAY-THROATED CHAT (Granatellus sallaei) – An inveterate skulker, we got this responsive male high into a tree next to Dawson's Creek.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia cyanoides) – These birds in Central America and in n.w. South America are now split from the birds east of the Andes in S. America (called Amazonian Grosbeak now).
BLUE BUNTING (Cyanocompsa parellina) – This one proved to be unusually tough this year, but some folks had decent luck up in Indian Church near Lamanai.
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea) [b]
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea) [b]
PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris) – A couple of lovely adult males were spied at Lamanai. [b]
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata) – Mostly heard, but Joan got a good look at one at Lamanai.
BLACK-THROATED SHRIKE-TANAGER (Lanio aurantius) – A responsive female along the Slate Creek Trail was a nice find.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
YELLOW-WINGED TANAGER (Thraupis abbas) – This attractive Central American endemic was much scarcer than the closely related Blue-gray Tanager.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – Several very fancy males, replete with turquoise crowns, were seen at close range at both venues on this tour.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Including a few displaying adult males.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) – A singing adult male along the roadside on Mountain Pine Ridge at one of our first stops of the day was a nice treat. Birds that were formerly in the genus Oryzoborus (the Seed-Finches) are prized throughout the Neotropics for their singing prowess, which makes them desirable as cagebirds. Most have suffered huge losses throughout their ranges due to trapping.
MORELET'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila morelleti morelleti) – Formerly known as the White-collared Seedeater, this is the Atlantic slope split that was so numerous on this tour. This is the one that makes it up to s. Texas.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – This attractive little finch was fairly numerous along the roadsides on Mountain Pine Ridge.
BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps) – This big finch is rarely silent.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Much less ornate than the related Black-headed Saltator above, and much less common on this tour.

LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – These were the tiny bats that we flushed during the daylight from the underside of a dead tree at the river's edge.

We were all smiles on our final afternoon at 1000 Foot Falls after finding the rare Orange-breasted Falcon! Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

GREATER BULLDOG BAT (Noctilio leporinus) – Also called Fishing Bats, we saw quite a few of these during our nighttime cruise at Lamanai.
YUCATAN HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta pigra) – Formerly known as Mexican Black Howler Monkey. Numerous great views of this one at Lamanai – and we were even treated to a midnight chorus right over our rooms :-/
YUCATAN SQUIRREL (Sciurus yucatanensis) – This was the larger of the two possible squirrel species.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – We had a couple of encounters with this large forest rodent. This one is integral in the spread of large forest trees in the region since they take seeds from existing trees and cache them in various spots within their large territory. A few of those cached seeds always germinate once cached.
PACA (Cuniculus paca) – A larger relative of the the above Agouti, we lucked out and spotted this one at night along the shores of the New River.
GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) – Seemingly the most common mammal in the Mountain Pine Ridge region!
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – Nice looks at a close old male that had been banished from his female-dominated troop.
KINKAJOU (Potos flavus) – Excellent views in the spotlights of a pair of these working in the canopy of a large tree just south of our cabins at Lamanai.
NEOTROPICAL OTTER (Lontra longicaudis) – I think Nancy was the only lucky one in the group to see this one from the Lamanai dock on the last morning there.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – Unmistakable.
STRIPED BASILISK (Basiliscus vittatus) – Very stripey with a very long tail and a crest. This is the species that 'walks' on water to escape predators.
COMMON HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus frenatus) – In all of the buildings at Lamanai. [I]
BROWN VINE SNAKE (Oxybelis aeneus) – Roosting in the marsh vegetation on our night cruise.
MORELET'S CROCODILE (Crocodylus moreleti) – All of the individuals that we saw were pretty small.
ROSE-BELLIED LIZARD (Sceloporus variabilis) – This was the small spiny lizard that we saw along the trails at Lamanai.
YUCATAN BANDED GECKO (Coleonyx elegans) – A surprise find at night at Lamanai.


Totals for the tour: 259 bird taxa and 10 mammal taxa