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Signature Birding Tours by Roni

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Signature Birding Tours by: Roni

 

Among the many amazing creatures of the tropics, Belize is the home of over 500 native avian species.  The master of all birders in the “jewel” is Roni Martinez- a native of Belize and an avid conservationist since 2009. He has become recognized for his extensive knowledge, professionalism and love for nature and birding in Belize. He actively promotes the conservation of endangered species including the colorful and illusive Scarlet Macaw’s for which the “Scarlet Six Biomonitoring Program which encourages tourism and other conservation partners to participate in a 10 day monitoring in the remote Chiquibul National Park of Belize to ensure the protection and preservation of the beautiful birds’ nests from illegal poaching.


Roni works with a number of hotels and resorts throughout the country and there is hardly a square mile of our beautiful
country that he has not trekked through, following bird calls and the rustling of wings. Join Roni as he shares is passion for birds, nature and our beautiful Belize on a collection of well-planned and tested birding tours for an unforgettable experience in paradise!


About Roni Martinez

I was born in Belize and took it personally to explore every corner of this Jewel. I wanted to see every bird in its habitat and understand why it was there. Over the years I have volunteered, helped or led birding expeditions to remote areas of Belize, be it to some of the highest mountains or the last little islands before the barrier reef. These travels have given me a first-hand experience of the country, and that's what I want to share with you. Read more...
 

How This Works

 

Step 1:  Select the birding tours that you like most and we will match them from hotel bases with ideal properties that we have hand-pick and vetted for quality, value and excellent service standards.


Step 2: We will then provide you with a fully detailed itinerary that includes your tours and other services.


Step 3: Once you are satisfied with your itinerary, your agent will provide you with the confirmation details to lock in your dates, booking arrangements and finalize the details for a complete travel plan for Belize.

 

Birding Encounters & Tours (These tours are areas only in Belize)

 


Suggested Hotel Accommodations to Match

 

If you have a hotel choice not listed above, let us know and we will book your selection for you to include as your itinerary.

 

 

Caves Branch & Blue Hole National Park

Along the banks of the Caves Branch River is an area of Belize that is rich in wildlife, birds and natural effects which include the maze of underground caves and limestone cliffs.


This is a true birding hotspot and it is a given fact that during your trek through the area, you will easily tick off 100 species between dawn and breakfast.


The mix of riparian habitat, dense broadleaf forest and a botanical garden, give way to a wide variety of feathered friends. Closer to the river we will search for Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Black Phoebe and Amazon Kingfishers. Hidden in between the orchid collection and palms, we can find White-collared Manakin, Red-capped Manakin, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Long-billed Hermit and a variety of Tanagers and Trogons.


Along the access road we will look for White Hawk, Double-toothed Kite and Collared Forest-Falcon. We will keep an eye out for the extravagant Royal Flycatcher and the cautious Great Antshrike. Several species of Woodcreepers and Woodpeckers live here too. Lineated Woodpecker and Black-cheeked Woodpecker are easily found. Ivory-billed Woodcreeper and Ruddy Woodcreepers can also be found here. With luck we will also encounter the Nightingale Wren, a master songster!

 

At the nearby orchards, Orange-breasted Falcon, Black Hawk-Eagle and Striped Cuckoo vocalize constantly during the drier months. Limpkin and Bare-throated Tiger-Heron sometimes take a stroll among the orchards too. Above, Red-lored Parrots and Olive-throated Parakeets mix in with Lesser swallow-tailed and White-collared Swifts. At the end of the day, after all the birding is done and the dust settles down, we have time for a dip into the refreshing inland Blue Hole.

 

Tour Includes:

Breakfast & Lunch at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge


Best Destinations for this tour:

San Ignacio and Belmopan

 

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

This massive wetlands under the Ramsar Convention which manages the site was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary many years ago due to the importance it holds for waders and shorebirds.


The main lagoon is fed by a small creek which pumps in water during the rainy season and drains out water during the dry season.  As water levels fluctuate, waders can become very abundant.  We will take a slow boat ride to search for all our target species.


Here we search for Black-collared Hawk, Jabiru, Sun grebe, and the huge Ringed Kingfisher.  Along the more solitary creeks we will be looking for the ultra-elusive Agami Heron and the shy Boat-billed Herons.  On the mud flats, sometimes Roseate Spoonbills gather in the hundreds and mingle with Purple Gallinule and Northern Jacanas.  Snail Kites and Great Black-Hawks are also commonly found along the creeks.


As we exit this site, we have chances of spotting Crane Hawk and Yellow-headed Parrots along the savannahs.  This is also a good spot for Vermilion Flycatchers and Fork-tailed Flycatchers.  Look above for soaring White-tailed Hawks and Wood Storks.

 

Tour Includes:


Best Destinations for this tour:

San Ignacio, Belize City and Belmopan

 

El Pilar Maya Forest (Archaeological Site in Western Belize)

Pack your day pack & binoculars- we are going to the jungle!  We leave San Ignacio town 6:00am and head to this archaeological site tucked under the Maya Forest quite near to the border with neighboring Guatemala.  


Along the way, we will be looking for Bat Falcons, Gartered Trogons, Black-crowned Tityras and Green-backed Sparrows.  We can stop along the forest road for our packed breakfast and coffee, while listening out for Collared Forest-Falcon and Laughing Falcons.


At the site, we will roam along the ancient trails left behind by the Maya, in search of Tody Motmots, Lesson’s Motmot, Royal Flycatcher and Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher.  On the tall trees, we will seek Lineated and Pale-billed Woodpeckers.  Several forest raptors perch in the canopy.  We can expect Gray Hawk, Black Hawk-Eagle and White Hawk and occasionally get distracted by the Howler Monkeys along the branches.


We have lunch on site at a designated Picnic spot at the edge of the forest.  We often see Coatis and other tropical mammals darting from tree to tree while having lunch.  To end the trip, we head back slowly and picking up other species like Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Gray-headed Tanager, Black-throated Shrike-Tanager and Thicket Tinamou.  Along our drive, we might even encounter Great Curassow and Crested Guan.  Packed Breakfast and Pack Lunch are included in Tour price.

 

Tour Includes:


Breakfast and Lunch at Cheers


Best Destinations for this tour:

San Ignacio and Belmopan

 

Laguna Aguacate & Spanish Lookout Area


Pickup from your hotel and passing through either San Ignacio town or Belmopan, we depart by 6:00am towards the Mennonite farmlands of Spanish Lookout.  This mosaic of agricultural lands, open fields, riparian habitat and patches of forest, help create a diverse mix of birds.


Aguacate Lagoon- located just down the road from the center of Spanish Lookout- is a favorite birding destination- with the highlight being the mineral rich lagoon. In this area we find a pristine broadleaf forest with species such as Slaty-tailed Trogon, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Ruddy Woodcreeper and Strong-billed Woodcreeper.  Here the forest merges into a small lake where Blue-wing Teals, Wood Storks, Least Grebes and Yellow-crowned Night Herons can be found.  Above the canopy, look out for White Hawks and Gray-headed Kites.


Leaving the lagoon, we head to the open fields, playgrounds for Aplomado Falcons and Crested Caracaras and where White-tailed Hawks soar, looking for a meal.  These fields are also excellent for brilliant feathered friends such as the Vermilion Flycatcher, Blue Ground-Dove, and Black-cowled Orioles.  Towards the end of the day, we will spend some time near the river, for species like Mangrove Swallow, Amazon Kingfisher and perhaps even the elusive and super-cute American Pygmy Kingfisher.

 

Tour Includes:


Packed breakfast & lunch in Spanish Lookout


Best Destinations for this tour:

San Ignacio and Belmopan

 

Mountain Pine Ridge and Bald Hills


Prepare for a visit to one of Belize’s most iconic locations- filled with a wealth of birds and incredible vistas. We will pick you up from your hotel and head through either San Ignacio or Belmopan by 6:00am to what is perhaps one of the most interesting habitats- the majestic and vast Mountain Pine Ridge of Belize.  As we move through the transition zone where the broadleaf forest slowly transforms into pine forest- something you may not expect in a tropical country like Belize.  This ecotone however, offers the best of both worlds.


We will be scanning for Rufous-capped Warblers, Grace’s Warbler and Black-headed Siskin.  Keeping it on the low we will also trek through to more reliable spots for Lovely Cotinga and Stygian Owl!


As we continue our way up the hills, we will be on the lookout for Rusty Sparrow, Cabanis’s Wren and Hepatic Tanager.  Along the Northern Escarpment, locally known as “Raptor Central” we will visit a historical Orange-breasted Falcon eyrie.  This is also a great vantage point for King Vulture, Black-and-White Hawk-Eagle and even the ultra-rare Solitary Eagle.


We have our packed lunch here, while we enjoy the stunning view of the highest waterfall in Central America, known as Thousand-foot Fall (1600 feet really).   We bet no other restaurant has this view!


After lunch, we proceed to the Bald Hills.  This area, geologically speaking, is a true “oldie” and perhaps the only land mass which was above water when the rest of Central America was under a shallow sea- centuries ago.  Being exposed to the elements, the soil is barren and only a few scattered and stunted pine trees provide a break in the sea of green meadows stretching out for miles around.  This however, provides amazing views of the surrounding Maya Mountains in the distance.  This area is home to some near-endemic subspecies of Sedge Wren, Red-tailed Hawk, Plumbeous Vireo and Red Crossbill.

 

Tour Includes:

Packed Breakfast and Lunch for a fabulous picnic in the wild!
 

Best Destinations for this tour:

San Ignacio and Belmopan

 

Pooks Hill & Actun Tunichil Muknal


Departing from either San Ignacio or Belmopan by 6:00am we head towards the Teakettle area of the Cayo District.  A 20-minute drive off-road takes us to the jungle-covered paradise of Pook’s Hill Lodge.  Here we are met by White-necked Jacobins before having coffee and breakfast.  We will spend some time birding around the Palapa at the lodge and the small Maya plaza looking for Band-backed Wrens, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Purple-crowned Fairy and Green-breasted Mango.


Next, we will explore “the meadow”, a large opening in the forest where we find species such as Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Passerini’s Tanager, Central American Pygmy Owl and Spectacled Owl, a true highlight in this area!  Above this opening, Montezuma Oropendolas, Great Black-Hawks, Double-toothed Kites and Hook-billed Kites soar.  After walking all this area and trails, we head back to the Palapa for lunch, after which we have a little time to relax on the hammocks upstairs.


Lastly, we head to the Roaring River via a forest trail.  We are likely to encounter Barred Antshrike, Dusky Antbird, Dot-winged Antwren and Limpkin.  While at the river we expect Amazon Kingfisher and Ringed Kingfisher and perhaps even an elusive Agami Heron at the slow-moving creek.  There is time to take a refreshing dip in the river before heading back to your hotel.

           

 

Tour Includes:

Breakfast and Lunch at Pook’s Hill Lodge
 

Best Destinations for this tour:

San Ignacio and Belmopan

Package Includes: