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Experience Wild Bird Watching In Belize

Sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala which cover the north and south frontiers respectively, Belize is a tiny Central American nation and definitely a paradise for tourists. Being a part of Mesoamerican belt implies that this country shares a number of common points with its neighbors in terms of history and geography, the latter being gorgeous beaches, flora and fauna and the former being ancestral heritage like the Maya.

Thus for a tourist who wishes to experience a little more than the vibrant Belize City and a variety of thrilling aquatic activities, there is another way to relive the Mayan era namely bird watching.

Ever since the commencement of the study of the ancient Mayan civilization, a fact which is plainly apparent even to casual observers is that the Maya held winged creatures in high regard. Central America has been home to exotic species of birds since time immemorial and some of the varieties which are present even today are pelicans, eagles, owls, vultures, quetzals and macaws to mention a few.

Given the hieroglyphic script which the Mayans had evolved, each of these birds was depicted by a glyph and enjoyed an elevated status with the leaders of the tribes.

At its zenith, the Mayan civilization made liberal use of glyphs depicting birds by transcribing them on vases, murals, ceramics and on walls of temples and caves. Leaders of the tribe used to sport gloriously colorful and intricate head-dresses made from feathers of these winged creatures while bird-like designs on garments indicated unquestioning authority of the wearer.

Since Belize was one of the Maya settlements, it is just a matter of paying a visit to the excavation and ceremonial sites to realize how important the birds were for the Mayans.

Of course, a mandatory component of the travel kit while going to Belize would be a strong mosquito repellent and its usage is not just limited to bird watching trips to swamps and wooded areas. Other recommendations from experienced ornithologists are boots, binoculars and a guide pertaining to birds.

Wisdom decries keeping as much portion of the skin covered and one of the ways of achieving this would be to opt for full sleeved shirt, lightweight trousers. Although optional, a scarf to cover the lower portion of your face and neck leaving just your eyes visible could also turn out to be protective.

Macaw has been a native of this region since as far back as the Mayans and one of the best locations to see this bird would be a quaint Maya village named Red Bank located in south Belize. To see these bright scarlet birds in action, meaning feasting on the fruits of the native annatto tree, a visit should be planned between the months of January and March.

Likewise hiking through the rainforests covering the Maya Mountains could prove to be a rewarding bird watching experiences as these are home to owls, swallows, kites and the colorful painted bunting.

Motmot of ‘toh’ as it was called by the Mayans is a multicolored bird sporting a turquoise crown, brown feathers and prominent black circumferences surrounding the eyes. Because these are cave dwelling species, they might have co-existed with the Mayans given their deep attachment to caves.

In Belize, Lamanai is the area where they can be spotted amidst the Mayan ruins. While in the area, you can also look out for certain Central American variations of jacanas, kingfishers and woodpeckers.

Because Belize features microclimates and mini habitats, it is home to certain rare species as well like cotinga and ocellated turkey which is known to the Mayans as ‘kutz’. Vibrantly colored with yellow, violet, indigo, blue, green and white plumage, these reside on treetops and hence can be spotted during bird watching only after careful scrutiny.

About the Author

I like to travel and take pictures of nature. I am engaged in design and illustrations

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