Birds of Belize. As encountered by: Chip Floyd Keith Donahue. Birds of Belize. In Belize there are 572 species in 56 families Also, of the 21 species endemic to Central America, two of these 21 can be found in Belize. Birds of Belize.
Birds of Belize
As encountered by:
Coastal areas and on the islands: brown pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, laughing gulls, osprey, seagulls, Ruddy terns, brown boobies and on Belize's first national park, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument - the rare red-footed booby. Wetlands - Roseate spoonbills, great egrets, green, blue, the not so common boat-billed and agami herons, northern jacana, and the endangered Jabiru Stork at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. Grasslands and savannahs - the fork-tailed and vermilion flycatchers, a variety of tiny seedeaters, tanagers and the ever present roadside hawk.
Broad leaf forests - Montezuma's Oropendula with its colony of hanging nests in tall trees, blue crowned mot mot, on forest floor - great tinamou, black faced antthrush midstory; sulfur rumped flycatchers high in forest canopy - Belize's national bird - keel-billed toucan
Feeding - catch birds feeding either in the early morning, evening or at night depending on the species.
Grooming - sit back and watch birds oil their wings which needs to be groomed in order to avoid prey in flight and keep warm.
Communication - listen and watch various species as they send out a warning call to the colony or the mating dance of males in attracting females.
Mating - Most birds breed and raise their young at the end of the dry season in April to July. This period provides great opportunities to watch mating rituals, nest building, rearing of young or survival training for chicks.
Migration - The yearly migration of North American birds escaping winter in December is a good opportunity to complete your checklist or view migrant species. It is a good idea to carry your guide on North American Birds as well as Mexico and Central America as the plumage on many of the birds you may be accustomed to at home will be different while they are on their "winter holiday" in the tropics
RANGE:S. Mexico to N. Argentina
HABITAT:Savannas, coastal lagoons and marshes
FOOD:Fish and reptiles
SIZE20 inches RANGE:S. Mexico to N. Columbia
HABITAT:Lowland forests and forest borders FOOD:Fruits, insects, reptiles, bird eggs.
SIZE35 41 inches tall WING SPAN:6 - 7ft.
RANGE:Southern Mexico all the way down into Northern Argentina and Southern Brazil HABITAT:Tropical lowland forests
FOOD:Sloth, Monkeys, opossums, as well as various reptiles and other birds.
RANGE:E. Mexico to Brazil
HABITAT:Tall deciduous trees of forests and rivers.
FOOD:Tropical forest fruits
Length: 35 inches Wingspan: 90 inches
Chases other birds to steal their prey
Effortlessly glides on long, pointed wings and long, forked tail
Long, hooked bill
Entirely black plumage
Red, inflatable throat sac
Remainder of plumage black
White head and breast
Remainder of plumage black
With its huge size, long, pointed wings and forked tail the frigatebird is instantly recognizable even at long distances. It is most often seen soaring over coastal areas.
Length: 18 inches Wingspan: 43 inches
Dives into water for prey
Large tern with fairly thick orange bill
Fairly long, deeply forked tail
Spiky crest at the rear of the head
Pale underwing with dark tips to outer primaries
Takes three years to reach full adult plumage
White face, neck, breast, and belly
Pale gray back and upper wings
White rump and tail, often with dark edgings
Plumage held in Spring (March to May)
White forehead and crown
Black mask extends rearward from eye to spiky crest at rear of head
White eye ring in dark mask
Outer primaries and tail feathers darken with wear, becoming dark gray in basic plumage
When identifying terns, it is safest to use a combination of field marks instead of relying on a single characteristic. Elegant Terns are slightly smaller and slenderer, with more slender, drooping bills and, when not in alternate plumage, lack a pale eye ring in the dark mask. The Caspian can be separated from the Royal by its thicker, reddish bill, dark wedge on the outer portion of the underwing, its more shallowly-forked tail and its tendency to have an almost complete cap in basic and immature plumages. The smaller Sterna terns have slimmer, black or black-tipped bills, slimmer bodies and wings and a much more deeply-forked tail
Description 8" (20 cm). Starling-sized. Dark glossy green above, white below; male has broad rufous breast band, female has green breast band. Both sexes have white collar.
Habitat Woodland streams and pools.
Nesting 4-6 white eggs in a cavity at the end of a burrow dug in a sandy bank.
Range Resident from extreme southern Texas south into tropics. Straggles to southern Arizona and western Texas.
Voice An insect-like buzz; also low clicking notes.
Smallest of the three species found in the United States, these birds may be observed in southern Texas near shaded, forest-fringed pools and streams of clear water, where they sit for long periods on a low limb overhanging water until they spot a minnow or other small fish. They then plunge into the water after their prey. At other times, when at a considerable distance from water, they feed on small lizards or grasshoppers
The primary staple of this vulture's diet is carrion, though it is very fond of fish, and may occasionally take them alive.
The Lesser Yellow-Headed Vulture inhabits Savannas, Grasslands, and Marshes in South America. It ranges from Argentina and Uruguay, as far north as Mexico.
Unlike the open-air or ground nesting habits of its many vulture relatives, the lesser yellow-headed vulture nests in tree cavities.
Only recently was the Lesser yellow-headed vulture recognized as a separate species from the Greater yellow-headed vulture. This distinction was made official in 1964.
Habitat: The birds are very social and group their nests together in colonies. They leave before freeze-up in late September and migrate to the coasts of Florida and Mexico for the winter.
Length: 20 inches Wingspan: 38 inches
Medium-sized long-legged wading bird
Usually holds necks in "S" curve in flight
Entirely white plumage
Thin black bill and yellow facial skin
Black legs with yellow feet
Shaggy plumes on head, neck, and back in alternate plumage
Yellow stripe up the back of the black legs ,and yellow feet
With pale-based bill when they leave nest, becomes black during autumn
Lacks shaggy head, neck and back plumes
Length: 7.75 inches
Black head traversed by white postocular stripe extending down neck
Pale moustachial stripe offsets black chest and complete, thick black border to throat
Black back with faint white bars
Black wings, with white barring on flight feathers and bold white patch on wing coverts
Yellow breast fades to whitish lower belly and vent, and is streaked sparsely about the flanks
Dark tail with black and white barring on central most and outermost retraces
Very rarely shows red nape spot
Length: 4.5 inches
Small, insect-eating bird
Thin, pointed bill
Feeds very actively (even for a warbler)
Often fans tail exposing red or yellow patches
Orange-red sides of breast, wing and tail patches
Belly and undertail coverts white
Remainder of plumage black
Female and immature:
Yellow sides of breast, wing and tail patches
Olive upperparts with grayer head
Immature males begin to acquire adult male pattern in second year
Length: 10-12 inches
Very long tail
Frequently gathers in large flocks
Entirely black plumage
Entirely purple or purple and greenish iridiscence to plumage
Similar to blackbirds but larger with a much longer tail. Male Great-tailed and Boat-tailed Grackles are similar but larger with longer tails.