If you have a passion for birds, wildlife or eco-tourism, you must visit Red Bank Village for resident Scarlet Macaws! Located in the Stann Creek District, Red Bank is home to the largest gathering of scarlet macaws in Southern Belize. These gorgeous birds also migrate locally from their nesting grounds of Chiquibul to the South for feeding season.
Colorful Seasonal Visitors
Every year from December through March, these brightly colored birds flock to the village to feed. The native trees in Red Bank are home to the fruits and nuts which are the birds’ favorite foods, like Annato and Polewood. After finishing their stay in Red Bank Village, they head back to Chiquibul National Park for their breeding season.
Macaws are large birds related to parrots. Their bodies are red, and their wings are blue, white, black and yellow. You can often spot them flying in pairs, as they monogamously mate. When you spot them in Red Bank, you’re likely to also see parrots, toucans, and herons.
Any birder will be enthralled to see hundreds of these birds flocking above at the banks of the river. Though not endangered, our local Scarlet Macaws are at risk for poaching and habitat loss. Although poaching is now illegal, the birds reproduce slowly since monogamous. Red Bank, and neighboring Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, is an important part of conservation efforts to monitor and preserve habitats for these beautiful birds.
A Community Coming Together
Additionally, the story of the scarlet macaws is an amazing example of community conservation efforts. Belize has a history of these community initiatives including the Community Baboon Sanctuary and the establishment of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. These were all community efforts that are now recognized as major conservation successes.
Red Bank is a Maya village located 39 miles southeast of Belmopan and 37 miles west of Placencia. With the help of the Belize Audubon Society, the village residents have established a system of counting, monitoring and protecting these endangered birds. In return, birding tours help bring money to the village. The project has been successful for both villagers and the macaws.
Visit the Maya and the Macaws
Visiting this rural village is also an opportunity to experience an authentic Maya life. Namely, because the area is wild and unspoiled. If you plan to visit Red Bank to see the birds, you should hire a local resident to guide you through the dense jungle to the river. Be ready for a hike to reach the macaw feeding area. We recommend wearing hiking boots, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and plenty of insect repellent. And, don’t forget your camera!
Enjoy a Rare Opportunity
If you’re interested in this incredible opportunity to see scarlet macaws, contact your tour company to make arrangements. Visiting Red Bank during scarlet macaw season is an unforgettable experience that every bird lover should have.
Written by Larry Waight