Are You An Early Bird? Then Go Birdwatching on Ambergris Caye

by Dion Vansen

Ambergris Caye off the northeast coast of Belize is not only popular for its beaches and its proximity to the second largest barrier reef in the world, but also because it is a haven for birds. Avid birders don’t need to head deep into the mainland to see these feathery beauties. With a local club and tours available on the island, your birding adventure can’t go wrong. So, bring your binoculars and cameras to check out the birds of Ambergris Caye.

One of the options to start such an activity is by booking a birding tour with Victoria House Resort & Spa. This trip begins at around 7:30 am and entails a 40-minute boat ride to the leeward side of the island to spot indigenous species. In total, the tour is a half-day adventure and takes you through mangrove areas home to coastal birds, alongside residents and migrant birds. The sightseeing ride ends around 11 am.

Birdwatching on the island itself is also possible and because of the vast green areas throughout Ambergris Caye, during the early months of the year, your mornings will be serenaded by the chirping of hundreds of birds. Early in the morning are the best times to spot these cheerful creatures as they welcome the new day.

Tour with the locals

A good way to coordinate your birding activity is by getting information at your respective lodging on the island on how to join local birdwatching groups. Usually, small parties would gather at certain points of the town and drive to different areas south or north of the island for birdwatching. The route can include the beach, heading north, where you may spot shorebirds such as Snowy Egrets, Sandpipers, and sometimes Yellow Warblers darting in the (coconut) tree tops. When you move more inland within the island you can expect Reddish Egrets, White Ibis, Parrots, and Blue Herons, among many more local and visiting species. 

Blue Heron. Photo by Bob Walker on Unsplash

If you head south of the island, you will marvel at Roseate Spoonbills, Bobolinks, and Clapper Rails. Every day is a new experience and some species you may have not spotted the day before may appear on your second or third birdwatching adventure. 

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