For you birdwatchers, who enjoy getting a glimpse of a new bird. Here are a few of the birds, which have been spotted in and around Belize Budget Suites.
Magnificent Frigate Bird - Seen Overhead
Great Tailed Grackle
White Winged Dove
Great Horned Owl
Green Breasted Mango Hummingbird
Great Black Backed Gull - Seen Overhead
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Scissor-tailed flycatcher is a type of kingbird that belongs to the tyrant flycatcher family. It can be found in North, Central & South America. Scissor-tailed flycatcher inhabits savannas with scattered trees, fields, pastures, areas near the towns, golf courses and scrublands. Unlike for many other birds, deforestation is beneficial for scissor-tailed flycatchers because they prefer open areas. Climate changes, severe storms and tornadoes are the greatest threats for the survival of nearly hatched birds. Scissor-tailed flycatchers are numerous and widespread in the wild. They are not on the list of endangered species.
Royal Flycatcher Facts
Scissor-tailed flycatcher can reach 8.7 to 14.6 inches in length and 1.3 to 2 ounces of weight. Scissor-tailed flycatcher has grey head and back, white throat and belly, dark brown wings with white edges and salmon-pink flanks, lateral sides of the body and bottom parts of wings. Scissor-tailed flycatcher has medium-sized body, short, black bill and very long, forked tail. Males have much longer tail than females and juvenile birds. Long tail facilitates acrobatics in the air. Scissor-tailed flycatcher performs sharp twists and turns while it catches insects in the midair.
Royal Flycatcher - Diet
Diet of scissor-tailed flycatcher is based on insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, beetles and fruit (red mulberry and hackberry). Scissor-tailed flycatchers are welcome in the fields and gardens because of their ability to eliminate pest. Scissor-tailed flycatcher carries large insects to the fence wires and tree branches and beats them against the perch to make sure they are dead and "safe" for consumption.
Royal Flycatcher - Mating & Reproduction
Royal Flycatcher - Natural Enemies
There is all kinds of reasons to visit Belize. There is an abundant supply of natural beauty, from stunning beaches, islands (or Cayes), Mayan ruins, snorkeling, diving, a barrier reef, rainforest, rivers, rolling mountains, national parks, and birds. Belize has some of the most exotic birds in the world. There are more than 590 species of birds living witin the Belize borders. Here is (14) birds, worthy of a closer view.
1. SCARLET MACAW
Scarlet Macaw - One of 17 species of macaws, the scarlet macaw is one of the most beautiful members of the parrot family and one of the largest Neotropical parrots. Scarlet macaws prefer life in the rainforest. With wide strong wings and hollow bones that aid flight, they can reach speeds of 56 kilometers (35 miles) per hour. There are two subspecies of scarlet macaw that can be found in Mexico and Central and South America. Scarlet macaw inhabits rainforests, woodlands and forested areas near the rivers. Deforestation and illegal collecting from the wild (due to pet trade), are responsible for the sharp decline in the number of scarlet macaws in some parts of their range. Luckily, global population of scarlet macaws are still large and stable and these birds (presently), are not on the list of endangered species.
2. Kelled-Billed Toucan
Keel-Billed Toucan - Is large South American bird that belongs to the family of toucans. It can be found from southern Mexico to northern Columbia. Keel-billed toucan inhabits tropical and subtropical rainforests (from the lowlands to the altitude of 6.200 feet). Major threats for the survival of keel-billed toucan are habitat destruction and uncontrolled hunting (because of the meat & beak). Despite these factors, keel-billed toucan is still widespread and numerous in the wild.
3. ROYAL FLYCATCHER
Royal Flycather - This is a type of kingbird that belongs to the tyrant flycatcher family. It can be found in North & South America. It inhabits savannas with scattered trees, fields, pastures, areas near the towns, golf courses and scrublands. Unlike for many other birds, deforestation is beneficial for scissor-tailed flycatchers because they prefer open areas. Climate changes, severe storms and tornados are the greatest threats for the survival of nearly hatched birds. Flycatchers are numerous and widespread in the wild. Presently these birds are not on the endangered species list.
4. OCELLATED TURKEY
Ocellated Turkey - This is a large, distinct & spectacular gamebird found on the tropical rainforest floor, near brushy fields, and adjacent clearings. Rarely seen away from protected areas, where it can be fairly common and tame. Note the orange head ‘warts,’ copper-colored wing panel, and iridescent blue-and-gold eyespots. It feeds in groups on the ground, and roosts in the trees.
5. MAGNIFICENT FRIGATE
Magnificent Frigatebird - The magnificent frigatebird is a large (lightly built sea bird), with brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. The male has a striking red gular sac, which he inflates to attract a female. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a white breast and belly. Frigatebirds feed on fish taken in flight from (other birds), and sometimes indulge in harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food.
6. JABIRU STORK
Jabiru Stork - The Jabiru stands five (5) feet tall with wings spanning nine (9) feet, and is considered one of the larger birds found in Belize. The Jabiru Stork is a very rare bird and is endangered throughout it's range. It's habitat range, extends from southeastern Mexico to northern Argentina. Its heavy bill is about 12-inches long and is perfectly designed for catching fish, frogs and snakes. It is the tallest flying bird found in South America. They arrive in Belize from Mexico in November and nest in the tall pines of the savannas and marshes of the Belizean lowlands. They remain in Belize until June or July, flying north with the first rains.
7. HARPY EAGLE
Harpy Eagle - This is a massive bird of prey, restricted to mature forest and very rare. They have enormous talons. Adult birds are dark gray (as seen above), paler below, with obvious dark breast band. Note more obvious black-and-white barring on wings in flight to help separate it from Crested Eagle. They feed on monkeys & sloths. Usually seen perched in the canopy or flying across a road or river.
These birds can weigh up to 20 pounds and have a 7-foot wingspan making them a formidable predator. In Belize the population is declining due to deforestation, shooting, and nest destruction, resulting in near extinction of this species. However projects like the "Belize Harpy Eagle Restoration Project", in collaboration with Sharon Matola (Founder & Director of The Belize Zoo & The Peregrine Fund) both strive to re-establishment the harpy eagle within Belize.
8. RED-FOOTED BOOBY
Red Footed Booby - The red-footed booby is a large sea bird of the booby family. As suggested by the name, adults always have red feet, but the colour of the plumage varies. They are powerful and agile fliers, but they are clumsy in take offs and landings. These birds are famous inhabitants of Half Moon Caye, a natural monument found here in Belize. Nesting starts around mid-December and the young hatch around March. Chicks are full grown in a matter of months and then its off to the open sea. Flying fish are their favourite food, caught at night when the fish are nearer the surface.
9. KING VULTURE
King Vulture - The King Vulture, known as "King Jan Kro", and is the largest and most colorful of the four species of vultures found in Belize. The extremely thick and strong bill is well adapted for tearing, and the long, thick claws for holding the meat. The King Vulture inhabit the forested lowlands of Belize. They will sometimes fly over savannas searching for dead meat. Their extremely keen eyesight and sense of smell, allows them to locate potential food sources easily. They will often locate food by the presence of the other vulture species. Once the King Vulture lands, other birds scatter.
10. COLLARD TOUCAN
Collard Toucans - The Collared Aracari Toucan is brightly marked and has a large bill. The adult is typically 15.5–16 inches long and weighs 6.7–9.7 ounces. Both sexes are alike in appearance, with a black head and chest, with yellow and red underparts. The Collared Aracari Toucan, is a near-passerine bird which breeds from southern Mexico to Panama.
11. BLUE CROWNED MOT-MOT
Blue Crowned Mot-Mot - The Blue Crowned Mot-Mot can be seen throughout Belize. Its habitat is mainly just below the canopy (or top), of the rainforest. The length of the Blue-Crowned Mot-Mot is between 11 & 18 inches (to include the tail). The one feature that most distinguishes almost all motmots is their long tails. Close to the tip of the tail, the barbs are missing for about one inch or more. This gives the appearance not unlike that of a tennis racket.
12. LINEATED WOODPECKER
Lineated Woodpecker - They are identified by their flaming red heads, protrouding beaks, and black & white wing feathers. One species of this group lives on Ambergris. Males have a red moustache (as seen in the picture above), this adds to their dramatic, somewhat comical appearance. These are large ‘woody woodpeckers’ of tropical littoral forest in lowlands and foothills. Also ranges into semi-open areas with tall trees, mangroves, and other lightly wooded habitats.
13. GREAT CURASSOW
Great Curassow - Very large game bird of tropical forested areas, eliminated mainly from hunting. It can now only be rarely found in protected parks or very remote areas. It is usually seen on the forest floor, singularly or in small groups, feeding among trees. Males often try to impress females by sining high in the canopy, with a very low-pitched, subliminal, booming sound. Both sexes have distinctive curly crest and plumage which varies from colorful to black.
14. YELLOW-HEADED PARROT
Yellow-Head Parrot - The Yellow-head parrot is a subspecies unique to Belize. The most distinctive features of this primarily green parrot, it it's yellow head and the red & yellow patch on each wing (prominent with adult birds). There is also dark blue tips to the flight feathers and yellow tips to the tail feathers. It has a hooked beak, which is used for cracking nuts & seeds, as well as grasping & climbing. It feet are very adapted at grasping, with two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward. Their ability to mimic, is what has made them the victims of the illegal pet trade.
The Cinnamon Hummingbird is primarily a bird found in Mexico & Central America. The Cinnamon Hummingbird is unique throughout its range as the only hummingbird with completely cinnamon underparts. It is fiercely territorial.
A Cinnamon Hummingbird can be identified by having a bronze green with some green iridescence feathers - just below and over the eye, across the crown and down the back, where the green blends into a rufous/reddish-brown tail. The underbelly is cinnamon-colored, from below the eye, down the throat & chest, to the tail. Their long slender curved bill, has a black tip.
NESTING & BREEDING
Depending on the geographical region, their breeding season varies. Some cinnamon hummingbirds, breed throughout the year.
Hummingbirds are solitary in all aspects of life other than breeding. The male's only involvement in the reproductive process is the actual mating with the female. Hummingbirds do not live or migrate in flocks, and there is no pairing or bonding of this species.
Male Cinnamon Hummingbirds like to court females, by flying in a U-shaped pattern in front of them. After copulation, the male will then separate from the female. It is likely, that males will mate with several females and females will mate with several males. Only females, choose where the nest location will be, for raising baby chicks.
The female will build a cup-shaped nest, made from plant fibers woven together and green moss on the outside for camouflage. These nests will be well protected located often in shrubs, bushes or trees. A female hummingbird will line the nest with soft plant fibers, animal hair and feather down, which strengthens the structure of the nest. This spider like webbing, coupled with other sticky material, gives the nest an elastic quality, so it can stretch in size as the baby chicks begin to grow. The nest is typically found on a low, thin horizontal branch.
The average egg clutch for one female hummingbird to watch over, typically consists of two white eggs. She will incubates these eggs alone, as the male defends his territory and the flowers he feeds on. Baby Cinnamon Hummingbirds are born blind, immobile and without any down.
The female alone (without her male counterpart), will protect and feed the chicks by regurgitated food, this consists of mostly partially digested insects. A female hummingbird will push the food down the baby chicks throat (into the stomach) with their long bill.
As is the case with other hummingbird species, the chicks are brooded only the first week or two, and left alone even on cooler nights after about 12 days - probably due to the small nest size. The chicks leave the nest when they are about 20 days old.
DIET & FEEDING
Cinnamon Hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs and epiphytes.
They favor flowers with the highest sugar content (often red-colored and tubular-shaped), this is why they make excellent birds for feeders.
They aggressively protect, flowers which contain their high energy nectar. They will use their long (straw-like) tongue to to lick up the nectar (13 times per second), now that's fast.
Many local flowers and plants, relay on these birds for their pollination. Tubular-shaped flowers (exclude most bees and butterflies), from feeding on them so they rely on the hummingbird for pollination.
From time to time, you may see these little birds in your hummingbird feeders. They like to feed on the sugar water (or) drink from bird baths. They may perch themselves on the edge - just for a moment, and then off they go.
During breeding season, hummingbirds will take small spiders and insects (important protein sources), to feed their young chicks. Insects are often caught in flight, snatched off leaves or branches or are taken from spider webs.
Cinnamon Hummingbird males are very territorial. They want to only feed on flowers and plants in their territory. They will fiercely and aggressively chase away other hummingbirds and insects (often larger), such as bumblebees, butterflies and hawk moths. They may use aerial flights and intimidating displays to defend their territories.
Cinnamon Hummingbirds can be found from northwestern Mexico to Costa Rica. They are typically found in semi-open subtropical or tropical dry forest, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, often around deciduous or semi-deciduous forests. They can also be found in habitats which have been rather extensively modified by man, such as plantation lands and grassy or brushy agricultural areas.
Did you love all the birds when you came to Belize? We have over 590+ species of birds, 20% of them mirgrate from the Northern States during winter. At Belize Budget Suites, you'll find the trees full of birds. You may be thinking, how can I create my own back yard bird habitat? Here are some suggestions, of some things you can do.
When to Place Boxes
Make sure that your boxes are installed well before the breeding season begins. Don’t be discouraged if birds don’t begin nesting in them immediately; sometimes it takes time for the birds to discover them.
How to place your nest box
Whichever method you choose to install your boxes, be sure that they are secure enough to withstand high winds and severe weather. The best way to put up small nest boxes is on free-standing metal poles. These pipes offer several advantages:
(7) Types of Bird Feeders
1. Hopper - If I were only able to have one bird feeder in my yard, then I would choose a hopper style. Hoppers are perfect for holding a general mix of bird food that appeals to a wide variety of species. If you were starting to create a bird feeding station, a hopper works well as a centerpiece that you can build other feeders around. Hopper feeders are characterized by a seed chamber that continually dispenses food at the bottom as birds eat, along with a functioning roof to prevent water from ruining your seed. Lastly, this feeder style usually provides some sort of ledge on both sides for birds to perch upon, although this is not a requirement as some hoppers have perch bars instead of a shelf. Hopper feeders can either be hung or mounted permanently to a pole. If you decide to suspend it in the air, make sure whatever you hang the feeder from is extremely strong and sturdy because hoppers can get heavy when filled with seed.
2. Tray / Platform Feeders - This is the best way we have found to feed birds. They are one of the most popular feeders. They tend to appeal to a WIDE variety of species. Many birds, enjoy having lots of space to move around as they eat. Tray/platform feeders come in dozens of different shapes and styles. They can be hung, mounted on a pole, or placed onto the ground. Trays can be added to tube feeders. Some platform feeders have built-in roofs installed overhead. Certain trays are plastic, and others are wooden. It attracts many ground-feeding birds along with many species of mammal. Along with having four legs that extend to sit on the ground, it can be easily hung in the air or mounted permanently to a pole.
3. Tube Feeders - Tube feeders are what many people picture when they think of feeding birds. As the name suggests, these types of feeders look like a long tube, but with feeding ports and perches spaced out on the tube which allow the birds to eat. Food and seed are filled from the top and slowly lower as it’s consumed through the ports. Tubes come in all sizes, from very short to extremely long. The material can be metal or clear plastic, and there can be two feeding ports or twelve. Tube feeders attract many types of birds, except for larger birds. By adding a tray to the bottom, you provide a place for ALL birds to eat. In a way, you are combining a tube feeder with a tray feeder. The attached tray offers a landing spot for larger birds.
4. Nyjer/Thistle Feeders - Nyjer feeders look very similar to tube feeders, and I almost lumped the two together under one category. In the end, I decided against it because there is one thing that is very different between the two types. Because it’s so small, nyjer seed can fit through openings that other foods can’t, which is why nyjer bird feeders were developed. Nyjer feeders are tube-shaped feeders, but the food ports are tiny so that only nyjer seed can fit through. If you try to put sunflower seeds in a nyjer feeder, you are going to have some hungry birds! You may also know nyjer seed as “thistle,” which it’s sometimes called, even though it has no relation to actual thistle. Nyjer seed is tiny and black, and is popular to use because it’s a favorite food for goldfinches! A few other birds will also eat nyjer, such as House Finches, chickadees, doves, and House Sparrows.
5. Suet Feeders - In case you don’t know, suet is the hard fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle and other animals. Birds enjoy eating it because it provides them with healthy fats they need for energy. Suet is especially helpful during cold winter months when insects are not available, which are what most birds eat to obtain their fats naturally.
Woodpeckers are typically the most common birds that appear on suet feeders, but other species also enjoy the healthy fats that suet provides, such as wrens and starlings. Suet feeders come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The type of suet feeder that you choose for your backyard depends on the style of suet you want to use.
For example, suet is typically purchased in these four common styles:
6. Nectar Feeders - The main reason anyone puts up a nectar feeder is simple; they want to attract hummingbirds! Watching hummingbirds visit your backyard is pretty cool. These small, colorful birds are full of personality and incredibly unique. It’s no wonder everyone wants more in their garden! Because of their popularity, nectar feeders come in all different shapes, sizes, and construction materials. Some are as simple as a plastic dish with a top (which I think work the best!), others look similar to a bottle (see picture above), and many feeders are so unique and artsy they make better garden decorations than actual hummingbird feeders!
A few things to remember before purchasing a nectar feeder:
7. Specialty & Unique - The types of bird feeders we have covered so far will satisfy most of the birds that visit your backyard. But we have barely scratched the surface of all the different bird feeder types that are available for purchase. Countless styles would make unique additions to your garden or feed a specific food (such as mealworms).
10 Questions To Ask When Choosing a Bird Feeder
1. What birds am I hoping to attract?
I like to think about how a feeder will fit into my backyard feeding station. What types of bird food will be used? What species does the feeder cater towards?
2. Easy to fill?
This becomes especially important as you obtain more and more feeders. A feeder that is easy to refill is especially beneficial during freezing temperatures!
3. Are the birds visible?
I want to provide my backyard birds with feeders they enjoy using, but I also want to be able to see them myself from the house! I try to think if there are any blind spots where the birds can’t be observed.
4. Easy to clean?
I look for hard to clean areas or if any part of the feeder comes apart to make cleaning easier.
5. Sturdy construction materials?
I want to know what the feeder is made from; is it metal, wood, hard recycled plastic? Or is it some cheap plastic material that will probably break in a few months.
6. Who is the manufacturer?
I have purchased many feeders over the years, and I have had good experiences with certain companies, which makes me more likely to buy from them again. These include Droll Yankees, Woodlink, & Aspects, to name a few. I also like to check if there are any warranties included.
7. Is the feeder squirrel-proof or squirrel resistant?
If squirrels are a problem, this could be the most important question you ask yourself!
8. Is the food kept dry?
It’s nice to walk to my feeding station after a big thunderstorm and see my food is still dry. It’s not possible with every feeder type but is something to think about. Proper drainage is also essential!
9. Will the birds like the feeder?
Maybe this should be the first question you ask? If birds don’t feel comfortable on the perches or trays, then nothing else matters. Some bird feeders opt to look “cute” instead of being functional.
10. Can I easily see the seed level from my house?
If I can avoid walking out to my feeders on a cold winters night to find out that the feeder didn’t need refilling, then that is a good thing!
BIRD BATH BOWL
Once you’ve got feeders set up, perhaps the best way to make your backyard more attractive to birds is to just add water. Birds need a dependable supply of fresh, clean water for drinking and bathing. Putting a birdbath in your yard may attract birds that don’t eat seeds and wouldn’t otherwise come to your feeders. (Other ways to attract birds are to supply a roost box and to provide nest material.)
Traditional concrete birdbaths sold in garden shops make nice lawn ornaments, but they aren’t the best type for birds—they’re often too deep, glazed ones may be too slippery, and they’re often hard to clean. Also, they may crack if the temperature drops below freezing. The best birdbaths mimic nature’s birdbaths—puddles and shallow pools of water in slow streams; they’re shallow with a gentle slope so birds can wade into the water. Look for one that won’t break and is easily cleaned.
Birds seem to prefer baths that are set at ground level, where they typically find water in nature. While birds are bathing they can be vulnerable to predators, especially to cats. If you have a cat, please keep it indoors. If cats are at all likely to be lurking in your neighborhood, make sure there is a fairly wide open area between your birdbath and the nearest thick shrubbery, so birds have a better chance to detect and get away from a cat in time.
Place your birdbath in the shade if possible, to keep the water cooler and fresher. Having trees nearby will also provide branches on which they can preen. Arrange stones (or branches) in the water so birds can stand on them to drink without getting wet (this is particularly important during freezing weather).
The water should be no deeper than 0.5 to 1 inch at the edges, sloping to a maximum of 2 inches deep in the middle of the bath. One of the best ways to make your birdbath even more attractive is to provide dripping water. Many birds find the sight and sound of moving water irresistible. You can use a commercial dripper or sprayer, or make your own by recycling an old bucket or plastic container. Punch a tiny hole in the bottom, fill it with water, and hang it above the birdbath so the water drips into the bath.
Winter Bird Baths
This so much isn't a problem for Belize, but if you are from the North, you will need to consider this. Birds will come to birdbaths year-round, and fortunately keeping yours ice free in winter is not as critical as many people believe. Birds have several physiological mechanisms for conserving water, and can usually get plenty from snow or dripping icicles.
The simplest way to provide water in winter is to set out a plastic bowl at the same time each day, and bring it in when ice forms. If you do want to keep a birdbath ice-free during subfreezing days, manufacturers now offer birdbaths with built-in, thermostatically controlled heaters. Immersion heaters are also available at most places bird feeders are sold. Most new models turn off if the water in the bath dries up. Ideally, plug your heater into a ground-fault interrupted circuit (available from hardware or electrical supply stores) to eliminate the chance of electric shock.
Never add antifreeze to the birdbath—it is poisonous to all animals, including birds. Don’t use glycerin, either: it can saturate and matt a bird’s feathers leaving it susceptible to hypothermia.
Maintaining your Bird Bath
When the temperature is above freezing, it’s a good idea to keep your birdbath full at all times to attract the widest numbers and variety of birds. But to provide a safe drinking and bathing environment, it’s important to change the water every day or two. Bathing birds may leave behind dirty feathers and droppings, making the bath increasingly unsanitary for other birds. Grackles often drop their nestlings’ fecal sacs into birdbaths, another cause of filthy water. Algae grows much more quickly when the water isn’t cleaned frequently. Also, the species of mosquitoes most likely to transmit West Nile virus often lay their eggs in bird baths. By frequently changing the water, you won’t give the eggs time to hatch or for the larvae to emerge.
Steps To Cleaning Your Bird Bath
WHAT TO DO ABOUT PREDATORS
Next boxes can also make birds easy targets for predators. Common predators of nests in nest boxes include raccoons, cats, snakes, and squirrels. Try to protect your nest boxes by using predator guards. Here are some tips to help you thwart these common next box predators.
Raccoons and Domestic Cats
Raccoons and cats are abundant in both rural and suburban areas. Raccoons are especially difficult to deter because they are very intelligent. Once they learn that nest boxes are good sources of food, these nocturnal creatures have been known to destroy nests in entire groups of boxes. Similarly, cats can quickly learn that nest boxes can be the source of an easy meal. When raiding nest boxes, both raccoons and cats will leap to the top of a box, sit on the roof, and “dip” into the entrance hole with their front paws to grab the eggs or young birds inside.
Ways to prevent raccoons and cats from raiding your boxes:
Snakes are an occasional predator of eggs and nestlings, especially in southern states. A conical metal collar mounted below the box will prevent most snakes from climbing up from below, but very large snakes can occasionally circumvent these barriers. In this case, it is helpful to have a Noel predator guard installed as a backup. Also, nest boxes should be placed away from trees to prevent snakes from accessing them from overhead branches.
In some regions, squirrels do great damage to nest boxes. By chewing at entrance holes to enlarge them, they make it easier for themselves and other predators to enter. If squirrels are common in your area, simply cut a hole the same size as the nest box entrance hole in a rectangular piece of sheet metal and attach it to the front of the nest box so that both holes line up.
Fire ants, common in the Southeast, can be attracted to active nests. To prevent them, add a baffle to your freestanding pole. Then, caulk the area between the baffle and the pole to prevent the ants from getting in between them and add petroleum jelly to the pole just below the caulk. The baffle keeps the petroleum jelly from washing away in the rain and the petroleum jelly prevents the ants from getting a good grip on the pole. If you don’t have a box on a freestanding pole (like on the side of a house or on a tree), you might not be able to fully prevent the ants from accessing the box. If you decide to move the nest box, make sure you wait until breeding season is over.
1. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
While visitors rarely see a jaguar, the many ecosystems of Cockscomb support a rich and varied bird fauna - forest species, pine woodland and savanna species, species restricted to riverine areas, and birds associated with higher elevations.
2. Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
In 1998, this protected area was declared Belize's first Ramsar site based on the wetland's international significance for many migratory and non-migratory wetland bird species. Large numbers of wading birds flock into the lagoons during Belize's dry season (February through May) when food is hard to find in other places.
3. Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary
These wetlands in the Toledo District attract a number of very visible birds forming the principal attraction for visitors. Aguacaliente protects important breeding colonies for the Wood Stork and Boat-Billed Heron. There are a few birds in Toledo District that can't be found elsewhere in Belize.
4. Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
Raptors cruise the valleys of the Pine Ridge and it is the most likely place in Belize to see the rare Orange-breasted Falcon.
5. Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker
Of all the habitats in Belize, the littoral forest on the Cayes is the most endangered due to development. Caye littoral forests benefit the Black Catbird and White-crowned Pigeon, both are listed as near-threatened species. The mangrove habitat also attracts many other birds.
6. Caracol Archaeological Reserve
Caracol is one of the last outposts where the Keel-Billed Motmot, a globally vulnerable species is relatively common. Other notable birds seen at Caracol include Ocellated Turkey, Crested Guan, and Great Curassow. While admiring the largest Maya site in Belize, you may also see colorful toucans and trogons.
7. Half Moon Caye Natural Monument
Declared a crown reserve bird sanctuary in 1928, the Red-Footed Booby colony of Half Moon Caye is the oldest site for wildlife protection in Belize. Half Moon Caye's population, an estimated 4,000 birds, is made up almost entirely of White Booby Birds with black on the trailing edge of the wings.
8. Red Bank Village
The unmistakable Scarlet Macaw flocks to the small Maya Village of Red Bank in South Stann Creek seasonally. As many as 100 birds gather near the village (primarily from January to March), to feed on the sweet ripe fruits of the annato trees.
Found only on Half Moon Caye, they live there for about 10 months of the year. Nesting starts around mid-December and the young hatch around March. Chicks are full grown in a matter of months and then its off to the open sea. Flying fish are their favorite food, caught at night when the fish are nearer the surface. Most of Half Moon's Boobies are white, instead of the more normal brown color found in and around the Caribbean.
In 1928, part of Half Moon Caye was reserved by the crown, as a bird sanctuary under the Crown Land Ordinance to protect the habitat of the Red-footed Booby. It is Belize’s oldest site designated for protection of wildlife. Over 120 different species of birds can be seen on Half Moon Caye.
The Half Moon Caye colony is made up of about 4,000+ birds nests, amidst Orange-flowered Ziricote trees. Red-footed Boobies prefer Orange-flowered Ziricote trees for nest building and raising chicks. In return, the booby colony supports the forest’s stability by providing guano as fertilizer. This beautiful relationship will endure for many years to come if left relatively undisturbed.
On Half Moon Caye, the bird population is almost entirely made up of white-colored birds with black on the railing edge of their wings. The Red-footed Booby, unlike other seabirds, displays a variety of color morphs. Elsewhere they are dull brown. Look carefully, somewhere in the crowd you may see a white-tailed brown morph or a Red-footed Booby that is entirely brown. Despite plumage differences, all adults have the characteristic red feet.
The Red-footed Booby and Magnificent Frigatebird share a unique relationship, they have both reside together peacefully in nesting colonies on land. Conflicts occur over the open sea, when the Magnificent Frigatedbird chases and attacks the Red Footed Booby Bird to give up its food. The Red-footed Booby has learned to dive, catch its food and swallow it almost immediately before the Magnificent Frigatebird has a chance to steal it from them. This behavior of stealing food is called kleptoparasitism.
Half Moon Caye - Lighthouse Reef Atoll
The Half Moon Caye Natural Monument (HMCNM) is located at the southeast corner of Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Lighthouse Reef Atoll is the furthest of Belize’s three atolls from the mainland, and one of only four such atolls in the Western Hemisphere. The atoll is an asymmetric rimmed platform, entirely surrounded by a fringing reef rising to the surface. Inside this fringing reef is a lagoon speckled with hundreds of coral patches which is known for its high density and diversity of corals and fishes.
There are about 348 species of hummingbirds in the world, with 26 species zipping through the airways of Belize.
The Hummingbird is a very small species and one that many people are familiar with. There are 348 species, that have been identified. They live in regions found all over the world both in North & South America. With such a large number of species it ranks them as the second largest bird family in the world.
The size of these Hummingbirds does vary though based on the species. To give you a good idea of their overall dimensions the smallest species is about 2.2 grams and the largest is about 20 grams. The smallest is the Bee Hummingbird and it is also noted to be the smallest bird in the world (found mainly in Cuba).
These charming birds get their names from the fact that the rapid movement of the wings make a humming sound. This is actually the smallest of all birds in the world. They are also the smallest type of animal in the world that has a backbone so they are often studied intensely by researchers.
Another reason that the Hummingbird is so well loved and researched has to do with the fact that it has the ability to move in ways that other birds can’t. It is the only species of bird that is able to fly in all directions. This includes backwards and even upside down. It is quite the sight to see!
Hummingbird Facts - Did You Know?
There are some wonderful facts out there about the Hummingbird to learn. These are definitely some of the most fascinating birds in the world.
At the same time many people find it is a great joy to have this type of bird in their yard, so it is an exchange that works well for humans and nature to benefit from. The life span for the Hummingbird is often very short. The majority of them won’t make it past their first year of life. Those that do will typically only live up to 4 years. In many locations these Hummingbirds are having trouble surviving due to their habitat being taken away. Problems with trees being removed, a lack of food, and even chemicals and other elements in their environment has resulted in some serious drops in numbers for some of the species. Even with education and conservation efforts though it may be very hard to get those numbers back up.
Hummingbird Species - Here are a few found in Belize
You can expect a little rocket science from hummers – they have the biggest brain of all birds. Although their brains are 7,000 times smaller than ours, their brain to body weight ratio is 4.2% versus 2% for that of a 150-pound person.
Hummingbirds remember every flower visited and how long it takes the plant to replenish pollen and nectar. While most birds seek out food sources by means of the visual spectrum only, hummingbirds can also detect ultraviolet patterns in flowers. The ultraviolet reflectance acts like a neon sign, advertising the location of pollen and nectar in the flower. Hummingbirds are great pollinators.
There are about 348 species of hummingbirds in the world, with 26 species zipping through the airways of Belize. If you’re a birder and long to see a Green-breasted Mango, Purple-crowned Fairy or Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, pack your binocs and book a trip to Belize.
For a chance to view some of Belize’s hummingbirds – sit in the gardens at Belize Budget Suites. You’ll see them whizzing through the trees of these beautiful gardens. You might even be lucky enough to view their dazzling, dive-bombing display.
This diminutive little hummingbird, is absolutely fabulous. Often covered in iridescent features, and an astounding mode of locomotion, is certainly one of Belize's special treats.
These tiny birds, some only being 2" inches tall, have a metabolic rate which is astronomically high; they must feed throughout the day, from dawn to dusk. A female hummingbird under the additional stress of caring for her young must take in more than her body weight worth of nectar each day, with a supplement of insects for extra energy.
When in action, the wings of a hummingbird beat madly about 50-80 flicks per second! In a figure 8 movement whereby the tilt of the wing is continually adjusted so that each stroke, both back and forth, forces the air down - and the bird up. Not only are hummingbirds able to hover "motionless" in midair, but they rise on the wing rather than push off as do most other birds, and they can fly backwards as well as forwards - at up to 71 m.p.h.
All hummingbirds feed on nectar, and are important pollinators. Some hummingbirds have long, curved bills, while others have shorter and straighter bills. Most of the hummingbirds in Belize, have the longer bill. As they poke their beaks down these petal-formed tubes to get at the nectar at the base, pollen from the stamens sticks (on the flower) attache to their chin feathers and then to the next flower. The more pollen they collect, the more flowers they pollinate, and then my sister Christina has more flowers, she has to write about. And so it goes.
The hummingbird does not exactly drink, they sip their nectar. Instead, it has a long, extensible tongue which forms grooves up its sides through which the nectar is drawn by capillary action.
Although I have see dozens of hummingbirds dining together at the same time, hummingbirds are naturally territorial about their food sources and a male can become quite aggressive about maintaining the privacy of his patch. We've often seen a fight or two at grandpa's cabin, over who is going to get to drink next.
Belize officially claims only 26 of the over 348 species of hummingbirds as her own, but who knows how many other hummingbirds cross our air space each day? Although as a genus they range far and wide, most species very definitely have tropical dispositions.
Brightly colored and mesmerizing, hummingbirds are some of the most interest of the nearly 10,000 bird species in the world. If you live in the United States, you probably seen them fluttering around during the summertime. Perhaps you've have fed them, too the name hummingbird comes from the buzzing sound of their fast-flapping wings.
Hummingbirds are native species of the New World and are not found outside of the Western Hemisphere except in a few zoos or aviaries. There are no hummingbirds found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, or Antarctica. These tiny, feathered creatures are astounding to even the most experience birders.
Hummingbird Physical Characteristics
Hummingbird Diet & Feeding Habits
There are many types of food that Hummingbirds consume. They mainly will consume sugar and sap. They also consume pollen and they will eat small insects as a way to get protein. These birds can eat up to 3 times their own weight in food every single day. There are rumors about Hummingbirds hibernating but many people dismiss them. This is something though that has some truth to it.
Feeding habits are very interesting for this species of bird. They can feed up to 8 times an hour. Each time that they feed the duration is from 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time.
These birds have the highest natural metabolism of all animals in the world.
The main sources of food for the Hummingbird is sugar, sap, pollen, and insects. They will consume up to 3 times their body weight in food daily.
There are many types of food that Hummingbirds consume. They mainly will consume sugar and sap. They also consume pollen and they will eat small insects as a way to get protein. These birds can eat up to 3 times their own weight in food every single day. There are rumors about Hummingbirds hibernating but many people dismiss them. This is something though that has some truth to it.
While these birds don’t have a typical season for hibernating they will do so if they need to conserve energy due to a lack of food. Then their metabolism slows down to an extremely small speed and they can continue to survive. Many people offer bird feeders in their yards where Hummingbirds come to feed. It is a great way to help these birds to thrive.
Mating & Reproduction
Hummingbird harems (or leks), are the hippy communes of the bird world. Up to 100 males congregate in the lek colony and carve out their turf – which may simply be a perch on a petal. Then, the singing begins – both solo and chorus performances – with the sole aim of attracting females into the lek.
After singing their praises, the male hummers then dance for the apple of their eye. Flashing their gorgets (colourful patch of throat feathers), the courtship continues. With avian swagger, they puff out their chests, bop their heads from side to side and “dance” in the air, showing off their tail feathers.
If the female is impressed, the mating ritual is consummated. While hummingbird breeding occurs year round in Belize, the height of breeding takes place when flowers are in profusion. Look for hummingbird leks in Belize on the forest floor, in a clearing or on a slope under the canopy. As few as 3 male hummingbirds may form a lek so you have to be eagle-eyed to spot a hummer harem. Belize’s Western Long-tailed Hermits are an example of lek-breeders. Research evidence shows that leks are formed just before sunrise – so the early bird gets the bird.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, one of the hummingbird species found in Belize, is not a lek-breeder. The males do mate with more than one female hummer, but not in Belize. They reserve their mating cycle to the spring and summer months in North America.
However, the courtship rituals of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird – and many other Belize hummingbirds – are a sight to behold. In a flamboyant display of artistry and skill, males skyrocket up to 50 feet in the air and then dive downwards up to 60 mph, with wings flapping up to 200 times per second, registering a G-force almost nine times that of gravity. They put on the brakes and pull a sharp U-turn upwards just before contact. This U-turn wooing is repeated again and again.
When they’re not pulling U-turns or humming in their harems, hummers are out scouting for food – efficiently and intelligently.
18 FUN FACTS - I BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT HUMMINGBIRDS
It's the time of year when the magnificent hummingbirds begin their long journey north to enjoy the spring and summer months in North America. Let's celebrate the hummingbirds by learning more about them. Here is a list of interesting hummingbird facts to brush up on before they make their way to your area!
Hummingbird Highway in Belize
Hummingbird Highway is one of the four major highways in Belize. It connects the George Price Highway outside of Belmopan (Cayo District), to the Southern Highway outside of Dangriga (Stann District). It partially follows, and sometimes uses the infrastructure of, the former Stann Creek Railway.
A paving project was completed in 1994. All the citrus produced in Belize travels along this highway to the two major processing plants in Stann Creek district. There are quite a few small villages along the highway. A new bridge was completed over the Sibun River in 2004, and a new bridge inaugurated in 2006 across Silver Creek; however, there are still quite a few one-lane dilapidated bridges over numerous creeks and streams.
The traffic along the Hummingbird Highway has been on the increase lately due to an increase in demand for eco-tourism and the passage of petroleum trucks, which use the highway as a shortcut en route to the George Price Highway (which terminates at the Guatemala border). The Hummingbird Highway is the only highway in Belize which cuts through the mountains of Belize. The highway rests in a valley which comprises citrus orchards in the lowlands and the untouched jungle habitat on the outskirts and beyond.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN - The Keel-Billed Toucan is the national bird for Belize. It is a large South American bird, that belongs to the family of toucans and can be found from southern Mexico to northern Columbia. Keel-billed toucan can survive 15 to 20 years in the wild.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN - Beak
The beak (or bill) is about 4.7 to 5.9 inches long (nearly 1/3 of body length). Even though it is very large, the actual bill is not heavy. It is made of light-weight protein called keratin and its internal structure is spongy. The large size of this bill doesn't affect stability of the bird. It probably plays an important role during the mating season and serves as a weapon against predators.
This beak is amazing when it comes to structural engineering. The horny outer shell is reinforced with a network of inner cellular fibers, providing strength without debilitating weight; it feels like laminated basla wood, but the serrated edges are more mindful of a stainless steel paring knife. The coloration is beyond belief: apple green, with an elongated orange triangle laid out along the lip of the upper beak and a streak of powder blue whispering across the lower beak. The beak is attached to the toucan's head by a black, patent leather strap.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN - Body
Keel-billed toucan can reach 17 to 22 inches in height and 4.7 to 8.8 pounds of weight. Keel-billed toucan has a black body, yellow face & throat with green skin around eyes. The tip of its tail is red and the feet are blue in color. Keel-billed toucan's have beautifully colored bills, which are a combination of green, yellow, orange and red color, hence the nickname rainbow-billed toucan. The Keel-Billed Toucan is not a very good flyer. They move by hopping (from branch to branch). Keel-Billed Toucans make loud, frog-like calls (that can be heard 0.5 mile away) to communicate with one another. Their natural enemies are birds of prey and humans.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN - Diet
The Keep-Billed Toucan is an omnivore, it feeds mostly on fruit and berries. From time to time, its diet does include eggs, insects, lizards and frogs. With its beak, it rips off a chunk from the fleshly portion (of a berry); it then juggles the morsel with the tip of its bill (until it is positioned just so) and then, with a toss of its head, flips the food into the air and catches it. It drinks water in a similar fashion, dipping its bill below the surface, then lifting it high (making like a gutter), allowing the water to drain toward the throat.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN - Habitat
The Keel-Billed Toucan prefers larger trees, in open areas. They live in trees holes made by other birds (i.e. woodpeckers), which they then enlarge to fit their needs. Keel-Bill Toucan's inhabit tropical & subtropical rainforest (from the lowlands to the altiutde of 6.200 feet)
Typically 5 to 6 birds will nest together. They all sleep with their bills tucked under the body to make room for other birds in the group. Keel-Billed Toucan's are very social, playfrul birds. They travel through the jungle in groups of 6 to 8 birds, throw fruit into the mouth of other birds and use their beaks to fight with their playmates.
Major threats for the survival of keel-billed toucan are habitat destruction and uncontrolled hunting (for their meat & the beak). Despite these factors, Keel-Billed Toucan's are still widespread and numerous in the wild.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCANS - Mating & Reproduction
Keel-Billed Toucans are monogamous birds, which mate from March to June. The remale lays 1 to 4 eggs in the cavities of trees. Both male and female take part in the incubation of eggs that lasts 16 to 20 days. The nesting stage is prolonged, lasting up to nine week.
Hatchlings are naked and blind at birth. Both parents provide food for their chicks until they become ready to leave the nest at the age of 8 to 9 weeks. Keel-Billed Toucans reach sexual maturity at the age of 3 to 4 years.
January is the time of year when the jabiru stork begins refurbishing last year's nursery in preparation for this year's brood. No mean feat; constructed of large sticks intertwining, the jabiru nest is a platform as many as 8 feet across! It perches high in a tall, often dead, usually lone tree within a pine ridge or above the jungle bush. This over exposure of its whereabouts made this otherwise shy bird an easy target in the pre-protection days when the jabiru was a commodity in the markets of Belize. Luckily today Belize boasts the healthiest breeding population of these storks within its eight country habitat (Central American and Mexico), although destruction of some nesting and feeding areas have inevitably occurred.
The largest flying bird in the Americas, the jabiru is four and a half to five feet in height with a wingspread of nine feet. In Spanish it is known as el re de ellos, or "king of them all". In Belize it is demoted to filly mingo, or even to turk! Aside from the obviousness of its out-size, its appearance is also unmistakable. Its plumage is all white, its head all black - including the heavy-duty bill; these are connected by a loose-skinned black neck bordered below by a bright red band, comprising a simple but tasteful ensemble - all things considered. No one ever implied that the jabiru is just a pretty face!
The in-mature jabiru is an appropriate brownish gray. These storks feed in wetlands, around swamps and ponds, sometimes flying several miles in search of a favored food. There are many to choose among: fish, frogs, and snails, reptiles and small mammals. Snakes seem to be high on the list of yummy things to eat, perhaps because of the appetite which is worked up in the process of preparation. The jabiru will take a 6' snake and shake it, throw it up into the air and catch it, thrash it and bash it and finally tear it to pieces, which it then eats.
Jabirus come in solitary pairs which share the duties of parenthood but, when the nestling season is over, they fly north with their young (2-4) to join up with the flocks of southern Mexico.
Trent S. Turley
My name is Trenton S. Turley, and I am a Belizean citizen who has now been living in the country of Belize for the past 15 years. I am also an environmental activist. Our family moved to Belize, when I was 8 years old. I speak English, Spanish, Kriol and American Sign Language. I have a true love for the eco-system of Belize, with regards to preserving this beautiful countries resources.
I'm now a licensed Tour Guide
Book Your Belize Adventure Today!
Is located on the island of Ambergris Caye, directly across from the Belize Barrier Reef, off the mainland coast of Belize. The property is nestled in a cluster of Australian Pine trees, backed to a littoral jungle, and surrounded by tropical gardens. It's about a one minute walk from the property to the beach, and a 10-15 minute drive from the island airstrip to the property.
We offer one bedroom suites (455 s.f.) of living area to include: livingroom, kitchenette, private bathroom and bedroom.
We are also about a one minute walk from one of the best restaurants on the island serving (breakfast, lunch & dinner). Within walking distance you can find:
(3) blocks is Robyn's BBQ
(4) blocks is 2 fruit stands
(5) blocks local grocery store
IF YOU'RE COMING TO BELIZE TO...............
If you're coming to Belize to dive the Blue Hole, descend the shelf walls at Turneffe, snorkel the Barrier Reef, explore Mayan ruins, rappel into a cave, kayak along the river through caves, zip line through jungle tree tops, hike through a cave to see an ancient human skeleton, swim with sharks, listen to Howler Monkey's, hold a boa constrictor, feed a jaguar, horseback ride through the jungle, canoe through a cave, rappel down a waterfall, sail around an island, enjoy cocktails & dinner to a sunset, climb 130' feet to the top of a Mayan ruin, rip up the jungle trails on an ATV, float through a series of caves on a tube, and sip on a rum punch.....
then this is the place for you.
Belize Budget Suites, offers you clean, affordable, attractive, accommodations, at prices that allow you to do all the things just mentioned.
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10 Coconut Dr.
San Pedro, Belize
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