A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Mexico: Enchanted Chiapas 2024

January 28-February 6, 2024 with Micah Riegner and Jorge Montejo guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our group birding the cloud forest slopes of Volcan Tacana, where we saw Azure-rumped Tanagers, Blue-throated Motmots, Blue-crowned Chlorophonias and Hooded Grosbeaks. Photo by Micah Riegner.

Our second run of this rich circuit through Chiapas was full of great birds, gorgeous forests and, as is the case on all our Mexico tours, excellent food. We started in Tuxtla Gutierrez and after a rough morning of birding at Reserva El Ocote due to horrendous weather, we drove up to San Cristobal where we spent two days exploring some gorgeous bromeliad-filled forest on the outskirts of town, mainly at Reserva Montetik. The Belted Flycatcher, Pink-headed Warbler, Blue-throated Motmot, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Yellow-backed Orioles, Strong-billed Woodcreepers and Bearded Screech-owls were among the more memorable species we saw up there. Then, we dropped down in elevation to bird the unassuming dry forests of the Central Depression of Chiapas at Cañon del Sumidero which, to our surprise, was just teaming with birds! Among the many orioles, Green Jays and wintering warblers, we saw Fan-tailed Warbler, Rose-breasted Chat, and a regal Russet-crowned Motmot posing nicely along the side of the road. The roosting Middle American Screech-Owls were a nice bonus.

In the dry forests above Arriaga, we saw both Rose-bellied and Orange-breasted Buntings, Citreoline Trogon, Banded Wrens, Masked Tityras, White-lored Gnatcatchers and a Long-tailed Manakin at a fruiting fig tree. From Arriaga we continued south along the coastal plain finding Yellow-naped Parrots, Giant Wrens, Spot-breasted Orioles and loads of Northern Potoos around Mapastepec. We spent a very productive morning at El Paval, a coffee plantation in the foothills of Reserva El Triunfo where we picked up White-eared and White-faced Ground Sparrows, Lesson’s, Turquoise-browed and Tody Motmots, an Ivory-billed Woodcreeper and Gray-crowned Yellowthroat. We were trying to call out a Rufous-and-white Wren when the Tody Motmot zipped into view and understandably stole the show!

Our morning at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde started out with great views of Spot-breasted Orioles and Cinnamon Hummingbirds pollinating pink Kapok flowers. We then loaded into the canoes and paddled through a narrow channel in the towering mangrove forest where we saw several Agami Herons, White-necked Puffbirds, American Pygmy Kingfishers and a cooperative pair of Mangrove Vireos.

Our final chapter of this Chiapas adventure found us birding the cloud forest slopes of Volcan Tacana, where we enjoyed Hooded Grosbeaks, White-winged Tanagers, Blue-crowned Chlorophonias, Brown-backed Solitaires, both Ruddy and Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaners and eye-level Azure-rumped Tanagers above the picturesque little town of Union Juarez with Guatemala just a stone’s throw away. In the hummingbird department, we saw Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Rufous Sabrewing, lots of Blue-tailed Hummingbirds and last but not least, Slender Sheartail. Many people helped make this tour another success. We'd like to thank Ruth in our office for all the pre-tour arrangements, Jorge's friend Valente for taking us out that afternoon at San Cristobal, and Doña Morayma for hosting us at Union Juarez. The two Jorges and I would like to thank you all for joining us on this adventure and we look forward to birding with you again soon!


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)

We saw big flocks of these near Mapastepec.

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We were trying to call out a Red-breasted Chat at Sumidero Canyon when this stunning Fan-tailed Warbler scooted into view! Not a bad alternative. Photo by Micah Riegner.

MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)

Seen on our canoe trip in the mangroves.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

WHITE-BELLIED CHACHALACA (Ortalis leucogastra)

We had numerous encounters with this diminutive chachalaca on the road from Mapastepec to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

HIGHLAND GUAN (Penelopina nigra) [*]

We heard them frustratingly close, but they just wouldn't come into view. Darn.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

BUFFY-CROWNED WOOD-PARTRIDGE (Dendrortyx leucophrys)

We heard them below Chiquihuites and some folks saw them bolt across the road.

SINGING QUAIL (Dactylortyx thoracicus) [*]

Heard near San Cristobal and above Union Juarez.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)

These we saw at the very end of the canoe ride at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris)

We had nice views in good light along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

Several flew overhead above Union Juarez.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

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This Tody Motmot was at a site called El Paval at the foothills of Reserva El Triunfo. We were actually not expecting to see it at that particular spot. Finding it early on saved us hiking up a narrow side trail. Photo by Micah Riegner.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris)

LESSER GROUND-CUCKOO (Morococcyx erythropygus)

Heard above the Arriaga overlook and at El Paval.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

We saw huge numbers flying at dusk near Mapastepec.

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

We flushed some off the road on the drive to El Paval.

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

NORTHERN POTOO (Nyctibius jamaicensis)

We saw one at night and numerous roosting in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Apodidae (Swifts)

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

A screaming flock passed us at Chiquihuites. We also saw some distant flocks at El Paval.

VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)

Seen at El Paval and at our hotel in Tapachula.

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)

The swifts we saw above Montetik.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)

Heard and seen briefly at El Ocote during the cold front we endured.

MEXICAN VIOLETEAR (Colibri thalassinus)

We had our best views along the road to Chiquihuites on Volcan Tacana.

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Belted Flycatchers are always tough to see. They stay low in the undergrowth and rarely pop into view. Luckily, this one near San Cristobal sat in a little window long enough for everyone to get a view. Photo by Micah Riegner.

RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens)

A couple sat in the open at Montetik near San Cristobal.

LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris)

Seen at El Paval and above Union Juarez at Volcan Tacana.

PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster constantii)

The starthroats we saw at Sumidero Canyon.

GREEN-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis viridipallens)

The population in Chiapas shows very little green on the throat. We saw a few on Volcan Tacana.


Wow! We had great views of both males and females visiting the Mano de Mono Trees at Montetik. Gorgeous!

SLENDER SHEARTAIL (Doricha enicura)

We had brilliant scope views of a female on Volcan Tacana.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris)

A common winter visitor to Chiapas. Most of the birds we saw were females.

CANIVET'S EMERALD (Cynanthus canivetii)

Several seen at Sumidero Canyon.

WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD (Basilinna leucotis)

Seen at Montetik.


Sweet! One came into view in response to our pygmy-owl whistle at Volcan Tacana. What a great bird!


We saw at least three different individuals of this easily overlooked hummingbird at Volcan Tacana.

GREEN-FRONTED HUMMINGBIRD (Ramosomyia viridifrons)

The hummingbirds we saw in the dry forest above Arriaga.

AZURE-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia cyanocephala)

Seen at our hotel in San Cristobal and at Volcan Tacana.

BERYLLINE HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia beryllina)

We saw a few at Sumidero Canyon.

BLUE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia cyanura)

Fairly common right above Union Juarez on Volcan Tacana.

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White-eared Ground-Sparrows are also tough to see. This one was right out in the open at El Paval. Photo by Micah Riegner.


The hummers coming to the pink Kapok flowers at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

WHITE-BELLIED EMERALD (Chlorestes candida)

Heliornithidae (Finfoots)

SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica)

Some were lucky enough to see one during our canoe trip at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Hesperoburhinus bistriatus)

Karen spotted one for us along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

We saw a pair along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde, which is the only site in Mexico where they're known.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) [*]

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

One flew over the road near Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)

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Rose-bellied Bunting routinely gets voted favorite bird of the trip. You can see why. We saw numerous males like this one on the road above Arriaga. Photo by Micah Riegner.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum)

Common at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)

We saw a few in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

AGAMI HERON (Agamia agami)

During our canoe trip through the mangroves we had multiple encounters with this elusive and spectacular heron. It was cool to watch them hunt so close to the water.

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

All the following herons we saw at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)

ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)

Seen along the road at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Here's a short video capturing some of the color of Chiapas. Filmed and edited by Micah Riegner.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis)

Seen along the road at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)

One of these "regular" sharpies flew over us our first afternoon of birding below San Cristobal.

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

What a striking bird! Seen in flight at Montetik and near Chiquihuites. It's hard to believe they're still lumped with Sharp-shinned Hawk.

COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus)

We saw both adult and juvenile in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga)

A juvenile flew overhead in a thermal with a bunch of vultures at Comedor el Quetzal.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Strigidae (Owls)

MIDDLE AMERICAN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops guatemalae)

We saw a pair roosting in a vine tangle at Sumidero Canyon.

BEARDED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops barbarus)

We had a successful night of owling above San Cristobal finding a pair of these highly range restricted owls. One was a rufous morph and one was a gray morph.

PACIFIC SCREECH-OWL (Megascops cooperi)

It took about 20 seconds for a pair to fly in on the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

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Our morning in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde we saw Mangrove Vireos, Agami Herons, White-necked Puffbirds and numerous kingfishers. Photo by Micah Riegner.

FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)

We had great views at El Paval.

MOTTLED OWL (Strix virgata) [*]

Heard at Volcan Tacana.

Trogonidae (Trogons)

CITREOLINE TROGON (Trogon citreolus)

We saw one along the road above Arriaga.

GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)

Seen at El Paval.

MOUNTAIN TROGON (Trogon mexicanus)

We had nice prolonged views of one along the road at Montetik.

COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris)

Through the mist and fog we could make one out during our first morning of birding at El Ocote.

Momotidae (Motmots)

TODY MOTMOT (Hylomanes momotula)

I was blown away when one showed up unsolicited at El Paval. We were trying to call in a Rufous-and-white Wren, when the motmot shot across the trail and onto an open branch.

BLUE-THROATED MOTMOT (Aspatha gularis)

This is one of my favorite birds of the tour. We saw one at Montetik, then we had even better views at Volcan Tacana.

RUSSET-CROWNED MOTMOT (Momotus mexicanus)

We had unbelievably good views of this showy motmot along the road at Sumidero Canyon.

LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii)

We were trying and trying to call some into view, then all of a sudden, Karen spotted one in a dense vine tangle and it sat for long enough for everyone to get scope views.

TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (Eumomota superciliosa)

This in itself is a reason to visit Chiapas. The combination of electric blue facial markings and outlandish tail make this one of my favorite birds of the tour.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

We saw the following kingfishers during our canoe trip at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

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Want to see Agami Heron? The Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde is THE place to visit if you want to see this stunning heron. We saw several during our morning canoe trip. Photo by Micah Riegner.

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)


GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)

We saw two pairs in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. It's always fun to see these robust canopy puffbirds.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

NORTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) [*]

COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)

We had great views of a group at our hotel in Tapachula. It was actually the last bird of the tour!

KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) [*]

Picidae (Woodpeckers)


ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes aurifrons)

Common in the lowlands along the Pacific Coast.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

These smoke-colored Hairy Woodpeckers were at Montetik.

SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus)

Seen high up in the canopy at El Paval and heard at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis) [*]

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)

We had great scope views at El Paval and at our hotel in Tapachula.

NORTHERN FLICKER (GUATEMALAN) (Colaptes auratus mexicanoides)

These Guatemalan flavored flickers were at Montetik.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

Nice close views along the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

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Azure-rumped Tanagers live at a narrow band of elevation along the Pacific Slope of Chiapas and neighboring Guatemala. We coincided with a flock at Volcan Tacana right as it was getting dark one afternoon. Photo by Micah Riegner.

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

We had nice scope views at a pair perched at the top of a big tree on the way to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

MONK PARAKEET (Myiopsitta monachus) [I]

Introduced to Tuxtla Gutierrez.

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)

These compact little guys were common around Mapastepec.

RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis)

Seen from the hotel in Tuxtla Gutierrez.

YELLOW-NAPED PARROT (Amazona auropalliata)

I was blown away by our views of a trio perched atop a big tree at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. One showed an unusual amount of yellow around the neck.

WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons)

The most common parrot seen on the tour starting in Tuxtla all the way to the end of the tour in Tapachula.

ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEET (Eupsittula canicularis)

GREEN PARAKEET (Psittacara holochlorus)

The taxonomy of Green and Pacific Parakeet is still in flux and will most likely result in these two taxa being lumped into one. At any rate, we saw these birds multiple times at Volcan Tacana.

PACIFIC PARAKEET (Psittacara strenuus)

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

Wow, great close views of a female at El Ocote.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)

Seen too at El Ocote.

STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus)

This was a Chiapas lifer for me! What a thrill to watch it forage in that feeding flock along with Yellow-backed Orioles and Unicolored Jays.

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Nearly endemic to Chiapas, Giant Wrens can be seen in the lowlands around Mapastepec. They often hang out in small groups. Photo by Micah Riegner.

IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster)

We called one into view at El Paval, a nicely marked bird.

SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis)

Seen at Montetik and at Volcan Tacana.

SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia variegaticeps)

We had great close views of this gorgeous foliage-gleaner at Volcan Tacana.

RUDDY FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis rubiginosus)

Not as cooperative as the Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner, unfortunately. Most of us just saw it zip by from tree to tree.

Pipridae (Manakins)

LONG-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia linearis)

Karen spotted us a male with nice long tail feathers along the road above Arriaga. We later saw one at El Paval.

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

We saw a pair along the road above Arriaga.

ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae)

Regularly encountered along the coast.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

STUB-TAILED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus cancrominus) [*]

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

Seen at El Paval.

NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare)

One shot in right above us at Sumidero Canyon.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

YELLOW-OLIVE FLATBILL (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)


GUATEMALAN TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus)

Seen at the edge of Chiquihuites. Formerly Paltry Tyrannulet.

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The Green-throated Mountain-gems here in Chiapas, have a white throat. The ones farther south like in Costa Rica get more green on the throat. We saw this one at Volcan Tacana. Photo by Micah Riegner.

BELTED FLYCATCHER (Xenotriccus callizonus)

This was one of my top birds of the tour! We had outstanding views of one outside of San Cristobal.

TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus)

GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax)

The ones on this side of the isthmus don't say "Jose-Maria." They just say "Jose." What happened to Maria?

NORTHERN TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus bogotensis)

Seen at El Paval.

YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris)

Also at El Paval.

LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus)

Common in the lowlands along the Pacific Coast.

HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii)

Seen at Montetik and Volcan Tacana.

YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens)

We watched one inspecting a nest site at Volcan Tacana.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

NUTTING'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus nuttingi)

We saw the dry forest type above Arriaga and heard the coastal type at our hotel in Tapachula.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

Seen in the dry forest above Arriaga.

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

There were good numbers in the dry forest above Arriaga.


We saw several in the open fields around Mapastepec.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)


Seen at El Paval.

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This gorgeous Turquoise-browed Motmot was near Mapastepec. Photo by Micah Riegner.

CHESTNUT-SIDED SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius melitophrys) [*]

Heard at Volcan Tacana.

LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)

WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)

We had a couple close encounters with this skulker.

MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens)

We had an amazing experience with this species at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. They came right out to the edge of the mangroves!

HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)

PLUMBEOUS VIREO (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Vireo plumbeus montanus)

The montanus subspecies here in southern Mexico has a lot of yellow like a Cassin's Vireo.

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)


Abundant in the lowlands.

BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio)

GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas)

We had great views along the road at Sumidero Canyon. Also heard at El Paval.

STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)

UNICOLORED JAY (Aphelocoma unicolor)

We had great views of this gorgeous jay at Montetik.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

Flying high over Montetik.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

Common in the lowlands. We saw a big flock over Arriaga.

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

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Continuing the motmot theme, here's Blue-throated Motmot we saw at Reserva Montetik above San Cristobal. It's a tough bird to spot among the big oak leaves. Photo by Micah Riegner.

BLACK-CAPPED SWALLOW (Atticora pileata)

These high elevation swallows were zipping around Montetik and Volcan Tacana.

CAVE SWALLOW (Petrochelidon fulva)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) [*]

Heard at El Paval.

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

WHITE-LORED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila albiloris)

The common gnatcatchers seen on the way down to Arriaga. We saw some males with dark hoods.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

NAVA'S WREN (Hylorchilus navai)

We had really rough weather they day we went to El Ocote and only had brief views of Nava's Wren as it zipped across the road. Hopefully next year we have better weather.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

RUFOUS-BROWED WREN (Troglodytes rufociliatus)

The diminutive wren we saw on the road to Chiquihuites at Volcan Tacana.

GIANT WREN (Campylorhynchus chiapensis)

This species is almost endemic to Chiapas--a few spill over into neighboring Guatemala.

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

We watched one dismantling a large grasshopper at El Paval.

SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus)

Always a tough bird to see. We saw one zipping back and forth over the trail at Sumidero Canyon.

BANDED WREN (Thryophilus pleurostictus)

We eventually got great views of this handsome wren above Arriaga.

RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus)

We got side-tracked by the Tody Motmot while trying to call this wren into view.

CABANIS'S WREN (Cantorchilus modestus)

We saw one in the bamboo a Sumidero Canyon.

WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) [*]

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What? Another motmot? If it's not clear already, Chiapas is the place to see these colorful and often cooperative birds. This Russet-crowned Motmot was in the dry forest at Sumidero Canyon. Photo by Micah Riegner.

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

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

BLUE-AND-WHITE MOCKINGBIRD (Melanotis hypoleucus)

This skulker just didn't want to show well this time around. We got glimpses at Sumidero Canyon and Volcan Tacana.

GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

BROWN-BACKED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes occidentalis)

We had great looks at this songster at Volcan Tacana.

SLATE-COLORED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes unicolor)

Through the fog we could make out the shape of a Slate-colored Solitaire at El Ocote. Thank goodness we weren't missing much color!


We had scope views of one singing at Volcan Tacana.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)

These migrants were common around Volcan Tacana.

HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)

WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina)

Seen on the trail at El Paval.


RUFOUS-COLLARED ROBIN (Turdus rufitorques)

These handsome thrushes were common on the slopes below San Cristobal.

Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)

GRAY SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys cinereus)

Just gorgeous! We had great views at Volcan Tacana.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

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Okay this is the last motmot photo. I promise! This Lesson's Motmot, a recent split from Blue-crowned Motmot, was at El Paval. Photo by Micah Riegner.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

ELEGANT EUPHONIA (Chlorophonia elegantissima)

We saw a small flock with both males and females at Volcan Tacana.

BLUE-CROWNED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia occipitalis)

I was pleased to see these in the cloud forest of Volcan Tacana. They were in a flock with White-winged Tanagers, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper and Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner.

SCRUB EUPHONIA (Euphonia affinis)

Seen alongside Yellow-throated Euphonias above Arriaga and El Paval.

YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea)

HOODED GROSBEAK (Coccothraustes abeillei)

Seen above Talquian on Volcan Tacana.

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) [*]

BLACK-HEADED SISKIN (Spinus notatus)

We saw one at the top of an Alder at Chiquihuites.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus)

We had good close views at Volcan Tacana.

CINNAMON-TAILED SPARROW (Peucaea sumichrasti)

This species is named after the Swiss naturalist Sumichrast who did extensive work in southern Mexico. He was married to Rosita, who the Rose-bellied Bunting is named after. Both species are endemic to the isthmus region of Chiapas and neighboring Oaxaca.

STRIPE-HEADED SPARROW (Peucaea ruficauda)

This was a nice bonus to find on the road above Arriaga.


Seen on the slopes of Volcan Tacana.

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)


We had just jaw-dropping views at El Paval. This species occupies a narrow range of elevation here in southern Mexico.


Another fabulous Ground-Sparrow at Paval. This one we saw at the very last minute thanks to Jorge who picked it out near our vehicle. It flew in and sang right in front of us.

WHITE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes albinucha) [*]

Heard at Chiquihuites.

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Jorge Montejo photographed this female Slender Sheartail at Volcan Tacana very near where we'd seen it last year.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)

We saw one singing from the top of a tree on the road to Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus)

A couple zipped by through the dense forest above Sumidero Canyon.

MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma)

BAR-WINGED ORIOLE (Icterus maculialatus)

A scarce oriole of the Chiapas highlands. We saw one on the slopes below San Cristobal.

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater)

We saw a flock of these gorgeous orioles in the pines at Montetik.

STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus pustulatus)

Fairly common in the dry forests around Sumidero Canyon and above Arriaga.

SPOT-BREASTED ORIOLE (Icterus pectoralis)

Watching them feed in those pink flowers at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde was a highlight of the tour!

ALTAMIRA ORIOLE (Icterus gularis)

Seen regularly at the lower elevations.

BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

Several migrants were seen throughout the tour.

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)

We made a rest stop at an Oxxo and found hundreds of Bronzed Cowbirds lining the wires.

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)


GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) [*]

WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum)

Seen at Sumidero Canyon and El Paval.

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)

We watched one zip back and forth across the creek near Arriaga.

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

Some saw this one in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

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This was one of several American Pygmy Kingfishers we saw during our canoe ride at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. Photo by Micah Riegner.

BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera)

Seen on various occasions in feeding flocks.


CRESCENT-CHESTED WARBLER (Oreothlypis superciliosa)

Seen in the oaks at Montetik.

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

One of the most common wintering warblers of the tour! Seen at almost every site we visited.

NASHVILLE WARBLER (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)

GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala)

This guy put on quite a show at El Paval!

MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)

We saw an injured bird hopping around in the open below San Cristobal.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) [*]

HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina)

We saw a male at our picnic area at Sumidero Canyon.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

A male was at El Paval.

NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana)

MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia)

A regular with the feeding flocks we encountered.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata)

TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi)

Common in the feeding flocks in the highlands.

HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis)

We saw several our morning of birding at Montetik.


FAN-TAILED WARBLER (Basileuterus lachrymosus)

Wow! We were trying to call out a Red-breasted Chat at Sumidero Canyon when a Fan-tailed Warbler strutted in and stole the show.

RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons)

We had great looks on the slopes of Volcan Tacana.

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Micah with the two Jorges during the final morning of birding at Volcan Tacana. They had just seen Slender Sheartail so they were understandably very excited! Photo by tour participant David Richardson.

CHESTNUT-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus delattrii)

A recent split from Rufous-capped Warbler. Seen in the foothill forest at El Paval.

GOLDEN-BROWED WARBLER (Basileuterus belli)

We had excellent looks at a pair at Volcan Tacana.

GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)

We saw some at El Ocote, then later at El Paval.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)

RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons)

We came across a few at Montetik.

PINK-HEADED WARBLER (Cardellina versicolor)

Way to go Leslie! When she announced that she had seen a red bird with a pink head at Montetik, there was only one thing it could have been, and sure enough it was a Pink-headed Warbler!

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

We had great views of a bird at Volcan Tacana.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)

Seen in the flocks at Montetik.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

We saw a molting male at Volcan Tacana.

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata)

Wow! Fancy bird. We saw a pair in the alders at Volcan Tacana.

WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera)

Another fancy tanager. We saw two males and a female at Volcan Tacana.



YELLOW GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysopeplus)

Seen that afternoon we birded below San Cristobal.

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

RED-BREASTED CHAT (Granatellus venustus)

First we worked hard to get a view of a female at Sumidero Canyon, then that same afternoon we saw one right out in the open above Arriaga. It was hopping around flicking the tail to flush insects.

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Yellow-naped Parrots can be seen along the Pacific lowlands of Chiapas. We had stunning views of a trio at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde. Photo by Micah Riegner.

BLUE BUNTING (Cyanocompsa parellina)

We had a tough time bringing this into view at Sumidero Canyon.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

We cleaned up on the buntings of Chiapas! Indigo Bunting was seen near Arriaga and Volcan Tacana.

ROSE-BELLIED BUNTING (Passerina rositae)

This one is always voted favorite bird of the tour and for good reason. We saw several stunning males and more muted females during our morning above Arriaga.

ORANGE-BREASTED BUNTING (Passerina leclancherii)

Another stunning bunting of the dry forest above Arriaga. We had great looks at a male.

VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor)

Seen our morning we spent at Sumidero Canyon.

PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris)

Also at Sumidero Canyon. We saw a female near Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)


AZURE-RUMPED TANAGER (Poecilostreptus cabanisi)

We had just awesome views of a flock right at eye level at Volcan Tacana. It's not every tour that we run into this nomadic species.



BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)


We saw a handful in the fields near Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

MORELET'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila morelleti)

The more common seedeater we saw in the lowlands.

BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps)

Seen at El Paval and Volcan Tacana.


Seen at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.


COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis)

We saw one along the road near Mapastepec.

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We couldn't have asked for better views of White-faced Ground-Sparrow. Jorge found it just as we were leaving El Paval. Nice save! Photo by Micah Riegner.

MEXICAN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus aureogaster)

The common squirrels around Tuxtla Gutierrez. We saw a squirrel convention along the road at Sumidero Canyon.

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)

We saw these out on the lawn at our hotel in Tapachula.

NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor)

We saw one in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

One shot across the road above Arriaga.


GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana)

BLACK SPINY-TAILED IGUANA (Ctenosaura similis)

Seen in abundance around Mapastepec.

STRIPED BASILISK (Basiliscus vittatus)

Also known as Brown Basilisk. We saw some in the mangroves at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus)

These were in the ponds along the road at Centro Ecoturistico Costa Verde.

Totals for the tour: 294 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa