A Field Guides Birding Tours Report


February 22-March 3, 2023 with Micah Riegner and Jorge Montejo guiding

It’s been many years since Field Guides has done any tours in Chiapas. John Rowlett and his wife, Abbie, led a few back in the early 90s followed by a few trips led by Rose Ann Rowlett along with Dale Zimmerman but, after that, Chiapas was dropped from our schedule. So, when Jorge Montejo reached out to me a few years ago to ask if I wanted to pick it up again, it didn’t take much arm-twisting to do so! Before long, I was with Jorge and his partner, Amy, running around Chiapas and getting acquainted with its fabulous birds, butterflies, habitats, and delicious food. One of the neat things about Chiapas is that there are so many different habitats crammed within its borders. You can be in cool pine-oak forests and, within just a couple hours of driving, in hot tropical deciduous forest and see a totally new set of birds. I was really pleased with how this itinerary flowed—every day we were birding a brand-new habitat and the driving times weren’t excessive.

We started out in Tuxtla Gutierez, the capital city of Chiapas, and for our first morning of birding we went to Reserva El Ocote, about a 40-minute ride from town. After a picnic breakfast among chattering Black-headed Saltators and Black-faced Grosbeaks, we continued birding the main road. A Green Shrike-Vireo and Golden-hooded Tanagers got our attention shortly before we heard the loud, rich, whimsical song of Nava’s Wren, our primary target for the morning. The bird hopped down a limestone slope and sang right in front of us for several minutes—we couldn’t have asked for more!

From Tuxtla we drove up in elevation to San Cristobal where we birded Reserva Montetik, a community-owned property protecting some gorgeous bromeliad-filled pine/oak forest. Here we saw Pink-headed Warbler, Blue-throated Motmot, Rufous-collared Robin, Gray Silky-Flycatchers and a Garnet-throated Hummingbird before having lunch downtown near the Zocalo. Other highlights from the San Cristobal area were Band-backed Wrens, a handsome Buff-breasted Flycatcher and a day-roosting Bearded Screech-owl.

Canyon del Sumidero was our next birding venue. We spent a full morning working the dry bamboo-dominated forest along the main road that winds along to the various overlooks. At one point we heard the soft “chur” of a Belted Flycatcher from low in the bamboo. It took some effort to see it, until it suddenly shot up right in front of us, crest raised and tail up! What a stellar little bird! Dropping down in elevation from Sumidero, we birded the foothills above the town of Arriaga, where we saw both Rose-bellied and Orange-breasted Buntings, Cinnamon-tailed Sparrow, Green-fronted Hummer, Banded Wren and our first of many Orange-fronted Parakeets. Continuing south towards Mapastepec, we began to get into a totally new set of birds along the coastal plain of Chiapas. Here, we had great looks at Giant Wrens, Yellow-naped Parrots, White-bellied Chachalacas, Turquoise-browed Motmots, Double-striped Thick-knees, a roosting Northern Potoo, and Spot-breasted Orioles nectaring at pink flowering Pseudobombax trees. Along our canoe ride through the mangrove forest at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde, we saw no fewer than four Agami Herons, Boat-billed Herons, all five of Mexico’s kingfishers, White-necked Puffbirds, Smoky-brown Woodpecker and a couple Sungrebes scooting along through the mangrove prop roots.

El Paval is a coffee ranch right at the foothills of Reserva El Triunfo. It’s one of the birdiest places I’ve visited in Mexico—in just a couple hours, it’s possible to see over 100 species! Some of the highlights from our morning there were Lesson’s and Tody Motmots, which were the final two motmots we hadn’t seen, White-eared and White-faced Ground-Sparrows, a Long-billed Starthroat snatching insects over the river, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Streak-headed and Ivory-billed Woodcreepers, Rufous-and-white Wren and Long-tailed Manakins in a cartwheel display. We then continued south to the foothills of Volcan Tacana, that sits right at the Mexico/Guatemala boarder. Some of the highlights from our two days of birding the cloud forest above Union Juarez were a close and cooperative Blue-and-white Mockingbird, Hooded and Yellow Grosbeaks, Bar-winged Oriole, Black-capped Swallows, Ruddy and Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaners, Rufous Sabrewing, and a Highland Guan that shot up into view just 10 feet away from us!

We finished the tour by driving back down the volcano to Tapachula where we said goodbye to Jorge and our driver Arturo. We’d like to thank you all for joining us on this run through Chiapas—see you on the next adventure!


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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

There were a few out in the flooded fields on the way to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

These northern migrants were also along the drive to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

PLAIN CHACHALACA (Ortalis vetula)

The Chachalacas around the Hotel Palmarecas in Tuxtla and at Cañon del Sumidero.

WEST MEXICAN CHACHALACA (Ortalis poliocephala)

The chachalacas that were along the road to Arriaga.

WHITE-BELLIED CHACHALACA (Ortalis leucogastra)

The third chachalaca species for the tour! These were abundant around Mapastepec and Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. They were at our hotel in Tapachula as well.

CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) [*]

Heard calling above El Paval. Paval is actually the local name for Crested Guan.

HIGHLAND GUAN (Penelopina nigra)

This one blew me away! We heard one calling from below the road on Volcan Tacana, so I put the bluetooth speaker right at the edge of the road and we backed up to the other side. I played the call and within a few seconds the bird was right in front of us! It jumped onto a branch, turned around then sailed down into the valley bellow.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

SINGING QUAIL (Dactylortyx thoracicus) [*]

Jorge pointed out the voice of this one at Volcan Tacana.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)

We had decent looks at these on our canoe trip at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris)

These were abundant around Mapastepec and fairly common around Union Juarez.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

A flock flew over us our final morning of birding at Tacana.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)

COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

We actually got one in the scope right above Union Juarez.

WHITE-FACED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon albifacies) [*]

We heard its low, mournful call along the road to Chiquihuites.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris)

STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) [*]

Heard at El Paval.

LESSER GROUND-CUCKOO (Morococcyx erythropygus) [*]

Heard on the road above Arriaga. Unfortunately it didn't come into view.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

Several took flight right at dusk on the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. What a spectacle!

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

NORTHERN POTOO (Nyctibius jamaicensis)

We found one sleeping along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)

We had nice looks at these medium sized swifts over Union Juarez. Most didn't actually have the chestnut collar.

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

We saw an enormous flock circling high over El Paval.

VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)

These fast-flapping bullets zipped by at El Paval.

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)

A small flock flashed by at Reserva Montetik.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

LONG-TAILED HERMIT (Phaethornis superciliosus) [*]

MEXICAN VIOLETEAR (Colibri thalassinus)

Seen at Reserva Montetik and Volcan Tacana.

RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens)

This enormous hummer was at Volcan Tacana.

LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris)

We saw one catching insects over the stream at El Paval.

PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster constantii)

The starthroat in the dry forest on the road to Cañon del Sumidero.

GREEN-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis viridipallens)

We saw just a few of these on Volcan Tacana.


We saw one in the lush bromeliad forest of Montetik.


One of my favorite hummers in Mexico. We watched one hovering and catching insects at Montetik.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris)

CANIVET'S EMERALD (Cynanthus canivetii)

We saw a female on the road to Cañon del Sumidero.

WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD (Basilinna leucotis)

Seen at Montetik and Volcan Tacana.

WEDGE-TAILED SABREWING (Pampa curvipennis)

This used to be Long-tailed Sabrewing, but it was recently lumped. Seen attending flowers at Reserva el Ocote.


Though not entirely cooperative, we had a couple views of this large hummer of foothill forest at Volcan Tacana.


One buzzed in briefly at Volcan Tacana.


One came in to distract us while we were focused on the Nava's Wren at Reserva el Ocote.

GREEN-FRONTED HUMMINGBIRD (Leucolia viridifrons)

The hummer we saw on the highway down to Arriaga.

AZURE-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia cyanocephala)

We scoped one at Volcan Tacana.

BERYLLINE HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia beryllina)

We saw one early on at El Paval.

BLUE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia cyanura)

One buzzed around a Cecropia above Union Juarez.


It was delightful to watch them at the flowering Pseudobombax trees on the way to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

WHITE-BELLIED EMERALD (Chlorestes candida)

One was attacking a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl at El Paval. Bold move!

Heliornithidae (Finfoots)

SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica)

We saw one from the dining area at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus bistriatus)

We stopped at a spot along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde and there they were! Great scope views.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

We saw some on the drive to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde, one of the few places in Mexico to see it!

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus)

We saw a pair out on the mud flats at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

A small flock whirled in the distance along the road to Arriaga.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum)

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)

Any day with an Agami is a good day, so four Agamis makes for a really good day! We saw them from our mangrove boat ride at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)

Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde is a great place to see this rather elusive heron. We saw and heard several!

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)

Seen from the canoes at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)

Hovering over the fields near Mapastepec.

HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus)

This was truly unexpected! We were birding the cloud forest above Union Juarez on Volcan Tacana when one sailed right overhead.

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

One flew super low right over us at El Paval.

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (WHITE-BREASTED) (Accipiter striatus chionogaster)

One shot overhead a couple times as we headed up the road at Reserva Montetik. This white breasted form occurs in the highlands of Chiapas and Northern Central America.

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus)

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus)

We saw a few on our way down the mountain to Arriaga.

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)

We saw both juveniles and adults around El Paval.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

We saw one along the highway to Arriaga.

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

It was cool to see a migrant string flying north from our hotel in Tapachula.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Strigidae (Owls)

MIDDLE AMERICAN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops guatemalae)

Jorge amazingly spotted a pair roosting way inside a vine tangle at Canyon del Sumidero. Way to go Jorge!

BEARDED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops barbarus)

Seeing a day-roosting rufous morph near San Cristobal was just awesome. Few people can say they've seen this bird roosting in the daytime.

PACIFIC SCREECH-OWL (Megascops cooperi)

Our third day-roosting screech-owl of the tour! This one was near Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (GUATEMALAN) (Glaucidium gnoma cobanense) [*]

FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)

Trogonidae (Trogons)

BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus) [*]

CITREOLINE TROGON (Trogon citreolus)

We saw both male and female along the highway to Arriaga.

GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)

Seen by some at El Paval.

MOUNTAIN TROGON (Trogon mexicanus) [*]

Heard at Montetik.

COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) [*]

Momotidae (Motmots)

TODY MOTMOT (Hylomanes momotula)

This is one of my favorite birds in Chiapas...maybe all of Mexico for that matter. We saw one at a narrow drainage at El Paval. We even saw it drop to the ground, probably persuing an insect!

BLUE-THROATED MOTMOT (Aspatha gularis)

Another really cool motmot. This one is found at high elevations. We saw one extremely well at Reserva Montetik and then Jorge spotted another while we were birding Volcan Tacana.

RUSSET-CROWNED MOTMOT (Momotus mexicanus)

We saw one right outside our hotel and on the way up to Cañon del Sumidero.

LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii)

We saw a couple at El Paval.

TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (Eumomota superciliosa)

Watching two along the road near Mapastepec was something I'll never forget! Just magnificent!

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)

We saw all the Mexican kingfishers on our canoe trip through the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. So cool.

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)


I was blown away by how many we saw in the mangrove forest. We got great views of several.

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)

The mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde are one of the few places to see this species in Mexico.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

NORTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus prasinus)

We watched one scarfing down a Tacana Arboreal Alligator Lizard, a lizard known only from Tacana!

COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)

We finally saw one our final day at Tapachula.

KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

Quite vocal but difficult to see at El Ocote. One showed briefly along the road.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)


We saw one our final morning above Union Juarez on Volcan Tacana.

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes aurifrons)

Highly variable throughout its range. We saw some with golden crowns, and around Mapastepec they had red crowns!

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus)

We saw one in the mangrove forest at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

Rather abundant around Mapastepec.

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)

We saw one from the overlook above Arriaga right after our picnic breakfast. Heard at El Paval and Volcan Tacana.

NORTHERN FLICKER (GUATEMALAN) (Colaptes auratus mexicanoides)

We had nice views of one the afternoon we birded below Reserva Montetik.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

MERLIN (Falco columbarius)

One blasted by on the way to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

It was kind of strange to see one in the mangrove forest at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

MONK PARAKEET (Myiopsitta monachus) [I]

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)

The compact parakeets we saw around Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde and Tapachula.

RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) [I]

There's an introduced population around Tuxtla. We saw some from the hotel.

YELLOW-NAPED PARROT (Amazona auropalliata)

WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons)

The most common parrot of the tour. Seen most days we were in the lowands.

ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEET (Eupsittula canicularis)

We scoped some on the way down to Arriaga.

GREEN PARAKEET (Psittacara holochlorus)

The parakeets at Volcan Tacana. There's really no difference between this species and Pacific Parakeet. We expect they'll be lumped eventually.

PACIFIC PARAKEET (Psittacara strenuus)

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

We watched a cooperative male at Reserva el Ocote.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)

Seen at Reserva el Ocote and El Paval.

IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster)

The last woodcreepers we saw at El Paval before we loaded into the vans.

STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)

The first woodcreepers we saw early on at El Paval.

SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis)

We saw one right above our picnic spot at Montetik.

SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia variegaticeps)

One conveniently climbed up a vine right in front of us on Volcan Tacana. What a fancy little ovenbird!

RUDDY FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis rubiginosus)

This one took a bit more work, but we all managed to get at least a piece of it in the bins.

Pipridae (Manakins)

LONG-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia linearis)

Watching them cartwheel display at El Paval was just awesome!

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae)

The male Rose-throated Becards in this part of the world are dark gray, almost black and show very little pink on the throat.

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

ROYAL FLYCATCHER (Onychorhynchus coronatus)

Seeing one at Reserva el Ocote was a real treat.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

STUB-TAILED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus cancrominus)

Some saw it at El Paval. We also heard one at Reserva El Ocote.

NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare)

The tiny kinglet-sized flycatcher we saw at Reserva el Ocote.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)


GUATEMALAN TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus)

One sat out for several minutes near our van at El Paval.

BELTED FLYCATCHER (Xenotriccus callizonus)

One of my favorite birds of the tour! Seeing one pop out of the bamboo at Cañon del Sumidero with its crest raised and tail cocked was just outstanding.

TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus)

We saw a few at Montetik.


We saw one on the road above Talquian on Volcan Tacana.

GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax)

These sound totally different from the ones on the other side of the Ithsmus of Tehuantepec.

TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)

We had nice close views at El Paval.

YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris)

These were spending the winter in the humid forest at El Paval.

LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus)

We saw one among a bunch of wintering warblers at Cañon del Sumidero.

HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii)

YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens)

Common in the cloud forest at Volcan Tacana.

BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons)

This was rather unexpected at Reserva Montetik. It's a difficult bird to find in Chiapas.

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) [*]

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

We saw one at El Paval.

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)

Seen at El Paval and the road above Arriaga.

NUTTING'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus nuttingi)

The Myiarchus along the road to Cañon del Sumidero.


We saw one above Arriaga.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

These were also on the road above Arriaga.

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris)

We saw one at El Paval, fresh from its wintering grounds in western Amazonia.

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)


Seen at Sumidero and the road to Arriaga.

GREEN SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius pulchellus)

I was pleased to see this so well at Reserva el Ocote.

LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)

We saw one at EL Paval.

WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)

MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens)

One of the first birds we saw one our canoe ride through the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. A future split from the ones on the Atlantic coast.

HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)

In the feeding flocks at Reserva Montetik.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)

We saw one our final morning of birding at Volcan Tacana.

YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis)

One of these recent arrivals was eating fruits off the Bursera trees at El Paval.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)


We delighted in many views of this spectacular corvid throughout the tour.

BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio)

GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas)

Heard at multiple places throughout the tour. We had fine views of a pair mobbing something at Cañon del Sumidero.

STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Several popped into view at Reserva Montetik.

UNICOLORED JAY (Aphelocoma unicolor)

Somewhat skittish, we had fleeting views as they darted through the trees at Motetik.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLACK-CAPPED SWALLOW (Atticora pileata)

This dapper little swallow is only found in the highlands of Northern Central America. We saw some above Union Juarez. They were flying back and forth under a bridge.

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) [*]

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

WHITE-LORED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila albiloris)

In crisp breeding plumage! We saw them on the road above Arriaga.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

NAVA'S WREN (Hylorchilus navai)

I was totally blown away when it showed up right in front of us, belting out its song at Reserva el Ocote. This strange wren only occurs in limestone hillsides near the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Sumichrast's Wren occurs in similar habitats farther west into Oaxaca. Both are among my favorite birds in Mexico.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

RUFOUS-BROWED WREN (Troglodytes rufociliatus) [*]

Heard at Montetik and Volcan Tacana.

BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus)

It was always great to run into these noisy canopy wrens. We had great look our first afternoon of birding around Montetik.

GIANT WREN (Campylorhynchus chiapensis)

This wren is almost endemic to Chiapas. They do spill over into neighboring Guatemala a bit. We had several great looks along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (RUFOUS-BACKED) (Campylorhynchus rufinucha nigricaudatus)

SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus)

We called one into view near our picnic spot at Reserva El Ocote.

BANDED WREN (Thryophilus pleurostictus)

The wren we saw near the picnic spot on the road above Arriaga.

RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus)

We saw this species in the coffee plantation at El Paval. Gorgeous voice!

CABANIS'S WREN (Cantorchilus modestus)

WHITE-BELLIED WREN (Uropsila leucogastra) [*]

WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta)

Seen along the road at Reserva el Ocote.

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) [*]

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

BLUE-AND-WHITE MOCKINGBIRD (Melanotis hypoleucus)

After rather frustrating views our first morning at Volcan Tacana, we tried again that afternoon above Talquian and the bird came right out. Sweet!

GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)

We saw one our first afternoon at Montetik.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

BROWN-BACKED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes occidentalis)

The Solitaires we saw on Volcan Tacana. We had great looks at one singing.

SLATE-COLORED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes unicolor)

Another amazing voice! We had great looks at one singing at Reserva el Ocote.


We pulled one into view along the road above Union Juarez.


Heard at Reserva el Ocote.


We heard one singing above Union Juarez on Volcan Tacana, but it just wouldn't come into view. Darn.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)

Rather common throughout the tour.

WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis)

Seen at El Paval and Volcan Tacana.


One of the most abundant birds in Chiapas. The ones along the coast are a rich chocolate brown.

RUFOUS-COLLARED ROBIN (Turdus rufitorques)

Our best looks were at Reserva Montetik.

Bombycillidae (Waxwings)

CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)

A flock zipped past our hotel in Tuxtla.

Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)

GRAY SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys cinereus)

Reaching the top of Montetik we saw large flocks coming down to feed at the Mano de Mono Trees (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon).

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

ELEGANT EUPHONIA (Chlorophonia elegantissima) [*]

SCRUB EUPHONIA (Euphonia affinis)

We saw them several days of the tour.

YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea)

Seen on the road above Arriaga and at Volcan Tacana.


We scoped one our first morning at Reserva el Ocote.

HOODED GROSBEAK (Coccothraustes abeillei)

The population in Chiapas has a unique double call note. We saw them from Volcan Tacana.

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)

Seen in the pines above San Cristobal.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus)

CINNAMON-TAILED SPARROW (Peucaea sumichrasti)

Formerly known as Sumichrast's Sparrow, named after the Swiss ornithologist who did work in Southern Mexico.

OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus)

We saw one hopping around on the ground at Cañon del Sumidero.


The brushfinch we saw along the stretch of road right above Union Juarez.

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)


This cool, cool towhee was up the trail at El Paval.


Seen at the ranch house at El Paval.

WHITE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes albinucha)

A pair moved through the dense understory vegetation at Volcan Tacana.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) [*]

YELLOW-WINGED CACIQUE (Cassiculus melanicterus)

MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma)

We saw a couple at Reserva el Ocote.

BAR-WINGED ORIOLE (Icterus maculialatus)

Wow! We saw two on a dry slope on Volcan Tacana.

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater)

These were the orioles we saw on our morning walk at Reserva Montetik.

STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus pustulatus)

BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)

One showed up at Volcan Tacana.

SPOT-BREASTED ORIOLE (Icterus pectoralis)

These were feeding on the pink flowers of the Pseudobombax on the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

ALTAMIRA ORIOLE (Icterus gularis)

Seen along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde and around Tapachula.

BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

We had nice looks at one at El Paval.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)

I was blown away by the numbers we saw on the way to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

We saw one close from the dining area at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.


GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum)

Wow, it was nice to see one that afternoon on Volcan Tacana.

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)

The waterthrush we saw at El Paval.

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

The waterthrush in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera)

Seen foraging alongside a Blue-winged-warbler at Volcan Tacana.

BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera)


CRESCENT-CHESTED WARBLER (Oreothlypis superciliosa)

Common at Reserva Montetik.

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

We saw quite a few coming in to drink at a pool above Talquian.

NASHVILLE WARBLER (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)

GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala)

We had great looks at one at El Paval.

MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

Seen at Union Juarez.

HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina)

There was one at our picnic spot at the entrance to Cañon del Sumidero.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia)

One of the most abundant wintering warblers we encountered on the tour.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata)

TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi)

Common at Montetik and Volcan Tacana.

HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis)

We saw a couple in the feeding flocks at Montetik.


We saw quite a few around Cañon del Sumidero.

FAN-TAILED WARBLER (Basileuterus lachrymosus)

We flushed one that was foraging on the ground at El Paval.

RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons)

CHESTNUT-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus delattrii)

A recent split from Rufous-capped Warbler. We had great looks at El Paval.

GOLDEN-BROWED WARBLER (Basileuterus belli)

One of my favorite warblers in Mexico. We had great looks at a pair on Volcan Tacana.

GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)

Seen at Reserva el Ocote.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)

RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons)

We saw one in the pine/oak forest at Montetik.

PINK-HEADED WARBLER (Cardellina versicolor)

One of the main reasons we went to San Cristobal! We had excellent views of a couple individuals on our hike up Montetik.

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

The ones at Reserva Montetik have red bellies, and the ones in the next range over begin to get orange bellies.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata)

A gorgeous orange male sang from the Alders at Volcan Tacana.

WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera)

This fancy tanager was at El Paval and Volcan Tacana.



BLACK-FACED GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes poliogaster)

A noisy group came by our picnic area at Reserva el Ocote.

YELLOW GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysopeplus)

Wow, what a stunner! We had great views of a male on Volcan Tacana.

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

RED-BREASTED CHAT (Granatellus venustus)

Nice, nice, nice! We saw a male in fresh breeding plumage at Cañon del Sumidero.

BLUE BUNTING (Cyanocompsa parellina)

We had brief looks at a male at Cañon del Sumidero.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

ROSE-BELLIED BUNTING (Passerina rositae)

After seeing a distant male waaaay up the slope our first afternoon of birding near Arriaga, we returned the next morning and had male right in front of us! What a gorgeous blue!

ORANGE-BREASTED BUNTING (Passerina leclancherii)

We saw a couple males on the road above Arriaga.

PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris)

We saw a male on the road above Arriaga and at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)


Fairly common around Tapachula and Volcan Tacana.

GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Stilpnia larvata)

A small flock sat cooperatively in a tall tree near our picnic spot at Reserva el Ocote.


They were just everywhere at El Paval, catching insects like flycatchers.


We saw a few at Volcan Tacana.

SLATY FINCH (Spodiornis rusticus)

Jorge and Rachel got on this one, but unfortunately it melted away before anyone else could see it. There are very few records for this species in Mexico.

MORELET'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila morelleti)

The hyper-abundant seedeaters along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. We saw a male too at El Paval.

BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps)

These squeaky saltators were common throughout the tour.



MEXICAN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus aureogaster)

The common squirrels seen throughout the tour.

DEPPE'S SQUIRREL (Sciurus deppei)

Seen in the cloud forest at Volcan Tacana.

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)

Some folks saw one at our hotel in Tapachula.



Black Spiny-tailed Iguana Ctenosaura similis

Brown Basilisk Basiliscus vittatus

Rose-bellied Lizard Sceloporus variabilis

Bocourt's Emerald Lizard Sceloporus smaragdiunus--The green lizard we saw on Volcan Tacana.

Matuda's Arboreal Alligator Lizard Abronia Matudai-- Getting eaten by an Emerald Toucanet on Volcan Tacana!


Sphaenothecus Magnificent Swallowtail

Narrow-banded Dartwhite

Golden-banded Dartwhite

Northern Surprising-White

Cross-barred White

Number of White and Sulphur

Mexican Cycadian

Long-dash Elstreak

Ceraunus Blue

Many species in the genus Calephelis and the Metalmark group

Lamplight Actinote

Mexican Fritillary

Mexican Silverspot

Julia Heliconia

Hecale Longwing

Isabella’s Heliconian

Mexican Heliconian

Zebra Heliconian

Number of species within the Chlosyne Genus


Few species within the Crescent group

Black-bordered Tegosa

3-4 species within the Phyciodes (Anthanassa) genus

Painted Lady

Tropical Buckeye

Banded Peacock

Orange Mapwing

Reddish Mapwing

Banded Mapwing

Rusty-tipped Page


At least 2-3 species of the Sister group

Two-eyed Eighty-eight

Navy Eighty-eight

Anna´s Eighty-eigh

Red Rim

Mexican Bluewing

Dingy Purplewing

Number of species from the genus Hamadryas (Cracker´s group)

Orange-banded Daggerwing

Many-banded Daggerwing

Black-veined Leafwing

2-3 species from the genus Doxocopa (Emperor’s group)

Common Morpho

Starred Oxeo

A number of species in the Satyr group



A number of species within the Clearwing and Ticlear groups

1-2 species of Firetips

Noctuana lactifera

Many, many species of Skippers, including species from the Longtail group, Flasher group, Bentwings, Autochton, Noctuana, Bolla

Sphaenothecus trilineatus the Longhorn Beetles we saw on the drive to Arriaga.

Totals for the tour: 311 bird taxa and 3 mammal taxa