A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

GUATEMALA: SHADE-GROWN BIRDING 2023 (including Tikal & Guacamayas Extension)

March 30-April 8, 2023 with Jesse Fagan guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Evening light on Volcan Agua in the colonial city of Antigua. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

For most in the group, this tour started on the Caribbean side in the steamy lowlands of the Peten. We spent two nights at Las Guacamayas which included several outings by boat on the San Pedro River and its small tributary, Rio Sacluc. The mix of riverine habitat and upland birding was a good way to see a lot of species including local specialties like Agami Heron, Scarlet Macaw, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Pheasant Cuckoo, and Rose-throated Chat. The other two nights were spent at the spectacular ruins site of Tikal NP. Thankfully, our lodging is very near the entrance to the park and birding around the grounds is some of the best in Central America. Thanks are due to our local guide, Miguel, for all of his shared knowledge on the Mayan people and culture. We spent time wandering between temples, and climbing them, while taking advantage of an Orange-breasted Falcon zipping by or a perched Slaty-tailed Trogon cackling in the treetops.

We returned to the capital, Guatemala City, where the second half of the tour began. We started off with a bang, birding hummingbird feeders above the city at Cabana Suiza where the NCA-endemic Rufous Sabrewing put in an appearance. From there we descended into the Antigua Basin for two nights. The city is flanked by three large volcanoes: Acatenango, Fuego (constantly belching smoke), and Agua. We birded our first morning at Finca El Pilar with panoramic views of the impressive landscape, plus some excellent pine-oak woodland birding which included species like Rufous-collared Thrush, lots of Gray Silky-Flycatchers, Brown-backed Solitaire, and Blue-and-white Mockingbird. In the afternoon, our local guide, Leonel, took everyone on a city tour that was well received.

After Antigua, we moved west along the Pacific lowlands to our next destination, Finca Los Tarrales, located at the base of the looming Volcan Atitlan. Finca Los Tarrales is well known as a popular birding destination in Guatemala, since it has excellent local guides and a variety of habitat types. Our first full morning was spent at La Isla, but in order to get there we left pre-dawn and climbed an hour in a 4x4 vehicle before stopping in the shaded coffee finca. The dawn chorus at La Isla included White-throated and Clay-colored thrushes, Chestnut-capped Warblers, and lots of Yellow-green Vireos, which had just arrived from wintering grounds in South America. In the afternoon, we birded closer to the lodge, finding Turquoise-browed Motmot, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, and evening flights of Yellow-naped Parrots. At dawn the next morning we said good-bye to Finca Los Tarrales and Freddie, crossed Lake Atitlan by boat, had lunch on its shores at Hotel Atitlan, then climbed out of the large caldera basin and made our way to Quetzaltenango, affectionately known as Xela.

The area around Xela within the central highland pine-oak belt is probably one of the more productive areas for seeing NCA endemics. Indeed, on our first morning at Fuentes Georginas, we arrived early to find a very responsive pair of Fulvous Owls, followed in quick succession by memorable views of Pink-headed Warbler (aka Frosty-headed Warbler), Unicolored Jay, Mountain Trogon, Ruddy-capped NIghtingale-Thrush, and for those who ventured further up the ridge, Highland and Horned guans! We didn't stop there, however, and after a nice sit-down lunch in the colonial area of Xela, we spent the afternoon in the cloud forest at Chicabal where we stayed until dark for some owling. Chicabal was fantastic birding. Your guide (me!) had only his second view ever of Maroon-chested Ground-Dove, which was a lifer for several participants! There were also repeated views of a close Pink-headed Warbler, and new encounters with Guatemalan Junco, Yellow Grosbeak, and Ruddy Foliage-gleaner. Near dusk we studied a Whiskered Screech-Owl that wasn't sure what time it was. On our final morning, our local guide, Daniel, told us about a spot where we had a chance to see Azure-rumped Tanager, a rare and local Tangara that was still eluding us. We spent a couple of hours here, and had just about given up, when this striking species decided to put in an appearance and we left the highlands in "high" spirits.

Our last two nights were spent in the warm lowlands in the small town of Pajapita. This is the closest lodging place to a relatively new birding destination, Tamashan. Tamashan was made famous a few years back when it was discovered that the (at the time) Mexican endemic, Giant Wren, was also found here. Fortunately, Tamashan has A LOT of other birds around including many shorebirds which feed in the shrimp empoundments. It took some effort sorting through lots of Rufous-naped Wrens, but we eventually found a Giant Wren (a lifer for the guide!), and good numbers of shorebirds including Pectoral Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs. It was a fun morning, but we all wished we could have spent a little more time at this birdy spot. We ended the tour with one final dash back up into the fog and rain of the Pacific highlands to look for Resplendent Quetzal. Not only was this species revered by Mayan royalty and today gives its name to the Guatemalan currency, it is also a spectacular bird. We were fortunate to find, with the help of several enthusiastic local guides, a nesting pair feeding chicks at a cavity. Smiles and high-fives all around.

We visited a number of amazing places on this tour and enjoyed a variety of cool birds, and we got to meet some nice people along the way. Thanks for spending time with me in Guatemala, a place I hold very close to my heart. I wish you good birding in 2023 (and beyond) and look forward to more adventures somewhere down the road.

—Jesse Fagan aka Motmot (from Lima, Peru)

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

Tinamidae (Tinamous)

GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) [*]

THICKET TINAMOU (Crypturellus cinnamomeus) [*]

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

A rare wintering visitor to this region. At least four were seen in the containment ponds at Tamashan.

RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)

Fairly rare in NCA. We scoped a pair near Flores in the Peten.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

PLAIN CHACHALACA (Ortalis vetula)

WHITE-BELLIED CHACHALACA (Ortalis leucogastra)

CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens)

A pair were seen well at La Isla above Finca Los Tarrales. There was a rescued bird hanging around the lodge, too, that we couldn't count!

HIGHLAND GUAN (Penelopina nigra) [E]

A lot of heard birds on this tour, however, we managed a few looks at Finca Los Tarrales and Fuentes Georginas.

HORNED GUAN (Oreophasis derbianus) [E]

We had to work a little to see this one. A rare and local NCA endemic that we managed to find in the large oak trees at Fuentes Georginas thanks to our local guide, Daniel.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

BUFFY-CROWNED WOOD-PARTRIDGE (Dendrortyx leucophrys) [*]

SINGING QUAIL (Dactylortyx thoracicus) [*]

SPOTTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus guttatus) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our group enjoying photographing monkeys or birds at Las Guacamayas during breakfast. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

OCELLATED TURKEY (Meleagris ocellata)

Always fun to see this one even if they are walking around the parking lot at Tikal!

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

Not super common, just a few in the Peten area.

RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris)

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris)

Very nice looks at a bird that responded well and sat in the open for scope looks while birding the entrance road at Tikal NP.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

Only recently (within the last 10 years) found in the Peten region of NCA, but we also had 2 birds in the Pacific lowlands near Tamashan, an indication that it is continuing to expand its range.

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

BLUE GROUND DOVE (Claravis pretiosa)

MAROON-CHESTED GROUND DOVE (Paraclaravis mondetoura)

Incredible encounter with a singing male at Chicabal. Only the guide's second time seeing this species, and a lifer for most in the group.

RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana)

One was walking along the old airstrip in the evening at Tikal NP.

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

GRAY-HEADED DOVE (Leptotila plumbeiceps)

Nice looks in the scope of a bird sitting on the trail at Las Guacamayas.

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

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris)

STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) [*]

PHEASANT CUCKOO (Dromococcyx phasianellus)

Fantastic encounter with a very vocal and responsive bird on the trail to El Peru, Las Guacamayas. A very difficult bird to see.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (MIDDLE AMERICA) (Piaya cayana thermophila)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Nice looks during our night walk at Tikal, but also again very close in the evening at Finca Los Tarrales.

YUCATAN POORWILL (Nyctiphrynus yucatanicus)

We watched one in the headlamp flying around us, but it never settled. Still, a good bird to see and an NCA endemic.

MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae vermiculatus)

One sat for us in the light at Chicabal.

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

NORTHERN POTOO (Nyctibius jamaicensis)

Another nightbird seen during our nighttime boat ride at Las Guacamayas.

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila)

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

Several over the forest at dusk at Tikal NP.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris)

STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)

We had a singing bird on an exploded lek check us out in the forest understory while returning from our hike at El Peru.

GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii)

RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens)

LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris)

GREEN-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis viridipallens) [E]

This NCA endemic we first observed at Finca El Pilar and better looks at Chicabal and Fuentes Georginas.



We caught up with a few perched in various places at Fuentes Georginas.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris)

WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD (Basilinna leucotis)

WEDGE-TAILED SABREWING (Pampa curvipennis)

A frequent visitor to the hummingbird feeders at Las Guacamayas.


This NCA endemic was seen at the Cabana Suiza feeders on our first afternoon in Guatemala City.


VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
An evening boat ride on the Rio Sacluc near the ecolodge Las Guacamayas. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.


Several singing in forest clearings during our walk to El Peru in the Peten.

AZURE-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia cyanocephala)

BERYLLINE HUMMINGBIRD (SUMICHRAST'S) (Saucerottia beryllina devillei) [E]

BLUE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia cyanura guatemalae) [E]

Fairly common at Finca Los Tarrales.



WHITE-BELLIED EMERALD (Chlorestes candida)

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

RUSSET-NAPED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides albiventris)

Seen more than a few times during our time at Las Guacamayas. There rollicking call was often heard at dusk.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

RUDDY CRAKE (Laterallus ruber) [*]

Aramidae (Limpkin)

LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)

One was hanging around the small pond at Tikal NP.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis dominica)

There was a small group at Tamashan. This species is a rare migrant through Guatemala.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus)

Another rare migrant seen at Tamashan in the Pacific lowlands.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)

We counted roughly 250 at Tamashan, an incredible number for this rare NCA migrant.


WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor)

A small number in the impoundments at Tamashan.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum)

Seen a number of times at Las Guacamayas, several during our boat outings.

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

AGAMI HERON (Agamia agami)

We had a nice long encounter with one on the Rio Sacluc.

BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)

One on the Rio Sacluc (Las Guacamayas), but several were nesting in the aguada at Tikal NP.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)

At least four were seen at Tamashan, a good bird for the area.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)

Seen in the Peten where expected, but also soaring above Finca Los Tarrales where rare and local.

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

A very nice flyover was experienced at La Isla (Finca Los Tarrales).

PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)

Good numbers in the Peten, and returning migrants were seen on the Pacific side at Tamashan.

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)

CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens)

Nice looks at one during our drive to Las Guacamayas on the first day.

GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga)

One high soaring bird was spotted at Vuelos Extremos.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus)

This raptor though wide spread in the Americas is local and rare in the Peten where we spotted one while leaving Las Guacamayas.

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

A small number of high flying migrants where seen at Takalik Abaj.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Strigidae (Owls)

WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis)

Awesome looks just before dusk at Chicabal of a very close bird.

FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)

MOTTLED OWL (Strix virgata)

Day roosting at Finca Los Tarrales.

BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Strix nigrolineata)

Also, day roosting birds were seen at Finca Los Tarrales.

FULVOUS OWL (Strix fulvescens)

Tremendous bird seen at Fuentes Georginas just at dawn.

Trogonidae (Trogons)

RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno)

We made a special effort in the rain to see a nesting pair. Our perseverance paid off and we were rewarded with a nice experience of a male and female feeding young at a cavity.

SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena)

The next three species of trogons were seen or heard most days while birding the Peten.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Miguel Marin explains something incredilbe at Mundo Perdido in Tikal NP. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus)

GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)

MOUNTAIN TROGON (Trogon mexicanus)

Seen in the highlands at Fuentes Georginas.

COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris)

Momotidae (Motmots)

BLUE-THROATED MOTMOT (Aspatha gularis) [E]

Uhfff, always difficult, but we managed good sightings at Fuentes Georginas and Chicabal. It took some time though!

LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii lessonii)

TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (Eumomota superciliosa)

Best bird ever? :-)

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)


We eventually caught up with this species at Las Guacamayas.

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) [*]

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)

A nice showing during our walk through the Tikal ruins.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

NORTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (EMERALD) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus virescens)

Seen a number of times on the Pacific side.

COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)

KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

Their croaking call was a common feature of the Peten forest. We did see them well, too!

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

ACORN WOODPECKER (ACORN) (Melanerpes formicivorus lineatus)

YUCATAN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pygmaeus)

This local NCA endemic was seen along the entrance road to Las Guacamayas.

GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (VELASQUEZ'S) (Melanerpes aurifrons dubius)

Subspecies on the Caribbean side.

GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (VELASQUEZ'S) (Melanerpes aurifrons santacruzi)

Subspecies on the Pacific side.


HAIRY WOODPECKER (SOUTH MEXICAN) (Dryobates villosus sanctorum)

SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus)

PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis)

Always a treat to see large woodpeckers. The double-rapping always signals that this species is nearby.

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)


Good studies in the forest near Temple IV.

GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)

NORTHERN FLICKER (GUATEMALAN) (Colaptes auratus mexicanoides) [E]

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

The smaller cousin of the next species seen perched on the hilltop above Las Guacamayas.

ORANGE-BREASTED FALCON (Falco deiroleucus)

An impressive flyby with cackling sound while we stood on top of Temple IV was memorable.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)

BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis)


Both this species and the next were the most common psittacids found in the Peten region.

RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis)

YELLOW-NAPED PARROT (Amazona auropalliata)

Seen well at Finca Los Tarrales, but also again at Tamashan.

WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons)

MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)

A pair were in the big Ceiba tree at Tikal NP.


ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEET (Eupsittula canicularis)


We had a nice experience with several nesting pairs at Las Guacamayas.

PACIFIC PARAKEET (Psittacara strenuus) [E]

Good numbers at Finca Los Tarrales.

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)

RUDDY WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla homochroa) [*]

TAWNY-WINGED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla anabatina)

Nice, close views along the trail to El Peru.

IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster)

Common on both slopes, especially by voice, the long descending call much like a Canyon Wren.

SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius)

SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

RUDDY FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis rubiginosus)

RUFOUS-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis erythrothorax)

We called up a responsive bird at Finca Los Tarrales.

Pipridae (Manakins)

LONG-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia linearis)

WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) [*]

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae)

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus)

Fantastic views of a nest building bird in the forest at Tikal NP.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

STUB-TAILED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus cancrominus)

This tiny flycatcher with no tail was seen at Las Guacamayas during our hike to El Peru.

NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare)

Another understory flycatcher seen in the forest near El Peru. We had good looks and were able to see the bent bill, indeed! It also has a strange frog-like call, so more often heard than seen.

SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia)

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

EYE-RINGED FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris)

The heavy triangular shaped bill on this one is unmistakeable for a "flatbill." Seen well in the forest at Tikal NP.

YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)

YELLOW-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Ornithion semiflavum)


GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii)

GUATEMALAN TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus) [E]

In fact, this is now an NCA endemic giving the recent split from Paltry Tyrannulet. Good numbers were heard/seen on the Pacific side.

TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus)

GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax)

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

Seen well, but confirmed with its call.

NORTHERN TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus bogotensis)

YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris)

One of the common wintering empids in the Peten region.

WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii)

One was calling and then seen in the thick second-growth scrub at Tamashan.

LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus)

HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii)

This species and the next were seen in the highlands. Yellowish Flycatcher is a resident, however.

YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens)

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Guides Daniel and Mot having fun and giving thanks at Fuentes Georginas.

RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra)

Good looks in the tall forest at Tikal NP.

YUCATAN FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus yucatanensis)

Seen along the entrance road to Las Guacamayas in the dry forest. Heard/seen along the old airstrip at Tikal, too.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) [*]

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

COUCH'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus couchii)

Overlaps with the previous species in the Peten region. The call is the only sure way of separating them.


A striking flycatcher: elegant with a nice color combination. Thankfully, they were fairly common in the savanna around Las Guacamayas.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)


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

GREEN SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius pulchellus)

We managed to see this canopy species really well during our walk down from La Isla at Finca Los Tarrales. It's "peter, peter, peter" call reminds some people of a titmouse.

TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps)

LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)

WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)

MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens)

Several subspecies involved with this taxon. We saw the semiflavus subspecies. Watch for potential splits here.

HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) [*]

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)

PLUMBEOUS VIREO (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Vireo plumbeus montanus)

The resident Plumbeous Vireo was seen at La Isla. This isn't really a Plumbeous Vireo, so watch for potential splits in the future. More studies are needed of Solitary-type vireos in Mexico and Central America.

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys)

RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)

A migrant was seen at Tikal NP.

YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis)

This species had just arrived as a summer breeder in late March and early April. There were a number singing at La Isla. They will depart for South America in the fall.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BLACK-THROATED JAY (Cyanolyca pumilo) [E]

Awesome looks at Chicabal.


BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio)

GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas)

BUSHY-CRESTED JAY (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus) [E]

YUCATAN JAY (Cyanocorax yucatanicus) [*]

STELLER'S JAY (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Cyanocitta stelleri ridgwayi) [E]

UNICOLORED JAY (Aphelocoma unicolor)

Another good jay to find was this species at Fuentes Georginas. They responded well, giving us a show, which included sitting on tops of the trees and giving various calls.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLACK-CAPPED SWALLOW (Atticora pileata) [E]

This NCA endemic was seen at Finca El Pilar and again (super well) at Fuentes Georginas.

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (RIDGWAY'S) (Stelgidopteryx serripennis ridgwayi)

The resident subspecies seen in the Peten.

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

Migrants were passing over the forest at Tikal NP.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea)

BARN SWALLOW (AMERICAN) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus)

RUFOUS-BROWED WREN (Troglodytes rufociliatus) [E]

We struggled at times trying to see this wren, but eventually it just showed itself without much effort. Sometimes it is better not to try to hard!

CAROLINA WREN (WHITE-BROWED) (Thryothorus ludovicianus albinucha) [*]

BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus)

GIANT WREN (Campylorhynchus chiapensis)

A lifer for the guide and several other people in the group! This bird is restricted to the lowlands around southern Chiapas and just over the border in Guatemala. It was only discovered in the country as recently as 2012. Thanks to everyone for giving this one a shot., though Tamashal was an excellent birding site all around. Great work, team!

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

SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus)

RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus)

A pair showed well at Finca El Pilar climbing up into the tree tops which is quite unusual.

CABANIS'S WREN (Cantorchilus modestus)

Excellent views at Finca Los Tarrales though it was frequently heard at several other spots. Always a tough one to show a group since they like to stay hidden in the thick scrub. This species was part of the old Plain Wren complex.

WHITE-BELLIED WREN (Uropsila leucogastra) [*]

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

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

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

BLUE-AND-WHITE MOCKINGBIRD (Melanotis hypoleucus) [E]

This NCA endemic was seen a few times a various highland spots on the Pacific side.

GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)


Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis)

BROWN-BACKED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes occidentalis)

Remember the flushing-wind-chimes-down-the-toilet sound?

ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus aurantiirostris) [*]


Spectacular, close views of this often difficult to see understory thrush at Fuentes Georginas. It was literally at our feet a few times near the parking lot.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)

WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina)

MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus)

WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis)

Good numbers at Finca Los Tarrales.


BLACK THRUSH (Turdus infuscatus)

These were around feeding on fruiting trees at Fuentes Georginas.

RUFOUS-COLLARED ROBIN (Turdus rufitorques) [E]

Good views at Finca El Pilar and again at Fuentes Georginas. An NCA endemic.

Bombycillidae (Waxwings)

CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)

This has been the THE year for erupting Cedar Waxwings in Central America.

Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)

GRAY SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys cinereus)

Fairly common at various sites on the Pacific side.

Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)

OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) [*]

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

ELEGANT EUPHONIA (Chlorophonia elegantissima)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Now you know what to do in case of lightning! Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

BLUE-CROWNED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia occipitalis) [*]

SCRUB EUPHONIA (Euphonia affinis)

YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea)


HOODED GROSBEAK (Coccothraustes abeillei)

It was really good to catch up with this species at Tepepul near the shores of Lake Atitlan.

BLACK-HEADED SISKIN (Spinus notatus)

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (MIDDLE AMERICA) (Chlorospingus flavopectus postocularis)

GREEN-BACKED SPARROW (Arremonops chloronotus)

One showed quite well in the viny understory along the trail to El Peru (Las Guacamayas).


YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (GUATEMALAN) (Junco phaeonotus alticola) [E]

A responsive bird was seen at Chicabal.

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

WHITE-EARED GROUND-SPARROW (GRAY-CROWNED) (Melozone leucotis occipitalis) [*]


Very good views near Hotel Atitlan in Panajachel.

RUSTY SPARROW (Aimophila rufescens)

We called up a couple of birds in the brushy understory at Cerro de la Cruz above Antigua.

SPOTTED TOWHEE (MACULATUS GROUP) (Pipilo maculatus repetens)

WHITE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (YELLOW-THROATED) (Atlapetes albinucha gutturalis)

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)

YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) [*]

MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma)

BLACK-VENTED ORIOLE (Icterus wagleri)

BAR-WINGED ORIOLE (Icterus maculialatus) [E]

This uncommon and local NCA endemic was seen a few times at Finca Los Tarrales where a pair appeared to be nest building.

BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas)

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas)

Always good to find this species, and we had a number of them during our first days drive to Las Guacamayas in the dry forest.

SPOT-BREASTED ORIOLE (Icterus pectoralis)

Fairly common on the grounds at Finca Los Tarrales.

ALTAMIRA ORIOLE (Icterus gularis)

BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)


GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla)

WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum)

Singles at Las Guacamayas and Tikal NP.

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera)

Always good to find this species. We had a female along the old airstrip at Tikal NP.


PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)

CRESCENT-CHESTED WARBLER (Oreothlypis superciliosa)

Seen a few times in the pine-oak highlands.

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

NASHVILLE WARBLER (RIDGWAYI) (Leiothlypis ruficapilla ridgwayi)

GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala)

MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei) [*]

KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa)

Fairly common in the dark understory of the Peten forest. Usually detected by their distinctive chip notes.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina)

One at Finca Los Tarrales hanging around the clearing with big branches was a bit of a surprise.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia)

One of the more common wintering warblers on this trip.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica)

TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi)

Common in the pine-oak highlands.


CHESTNUT-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus delattrii)

Seen around La Isla at Finca Los Tarrales.

GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)

RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons)

One at Finca El Pilar was a good find.

PINK-HEADED WARBLER (Cardellina versicolor) [E]

Star of the show? Wow. What a bird! We had nice close encounters and photos of birds at Fuentes Georginas and Chicabal.

SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus)

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

ROSE-THROATED TANAGER (Piranga roseogularis)

Incredible sighting along the old airstrip at Tikal NP. It took some work, and this species is often missed, so we were super excited to have such exceptional views of the pair.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata)

Good views near Hotel Atitlan along the shores of Lake Atitlan.

WHITE-WINGED TANAGER (Piranga leucoptera)


Both Habia ant-tanagers were seen at Las Guacamayas and Tikal NP, but Red-crowned is the less common species.


YELLOW GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysopeplus)

Another great bird for Guatemala seen at the entrance to Chicabal, and thanks to Daniel for putting us onto the exact spot! This population is disjunct from northern birds and a potential split.

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

GRAY-THROATED CHAT (Granatellus sallaei) [E]

This NCA endemic was singing and showing well along the trail to El Peru. A flash of color in the darker vine tangles!

BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia cyanoides)

BLUE BUNTING (Cyanocompsa parellina)

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris)

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)


Fantastic views of a close male inside the Tikal forest during our ruins walk.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of our targets at Tamashan, Giant Wren! Thanks to David Prescott for the capture.


AZURE-RUMPED TANAGER (Poecilostreptus cabanisi) [E]

Whoaaa, we had to work (and wait) for this one, but it sure paid off, BIG TIME. Lovely views of a perched bird were had at Vuelos Extremos near Xela.



BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)


MORELET'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila morelleti)

A common seedeater found on both slopes.

BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps)




Nice sounds from this species at Las Guacamayas and over the cabins at Tikal NP.


Daily visits at Las Guacamayas.

EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)

MEXICAN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus aureogaster)

Seen in the highlands around Antigua and Xela.

YUCATAN SQUIRREL (Sciurus yucatanensis)

One was seen at Las Guacamayas. This species is endemic to the Yucatan as the name implies.

VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides)

Similar to Yucatan Squirrel, but found on the Pacific side. We saw one at Finca Los Tarrales.

DEPPE'S SQUIRREL (Sciurus deppei)

A small squirrel found in the pine-oak forest.

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)

GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

One around the kitchen area at Las Guacamayas.

WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)

Fairly common on the grounds of Tikal NP.

JAGUARUNDI (Puma yagouaroundi)

Too fast to photograph! One crossed the road in front of our vehicle as we were leaving Las Guacamayas.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)


A few other critters seen on the tour:

1) Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)

2) Morelet's Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) = Seen in the river at Las Guacamayas, and also at the aguada in Tikal NP. This species is essentially a Yucatan endemic, but also found up the Gulf coast into Tamaulipus.

3) Striped Basilisk (or Brown Basilisk; Basiliscus vittatus) = We had one at Finca Los Tarrales. Also known as the "Jesus Christ Lizard" for its ability to walk on water.

Totals for the tour: 362 bird taxa and 12 mammal taxa