Best time to travel to Guatemala

Birdwatching in Guatemala 2025

Guatemala's rich avifauna boasts the fairy-like quetzal and over 700 more species

Best time: February–April

Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching

There are nearly 720 species of local birds in Guatemala. One of the prominently sought after species is the colourful quetzal considered the national bird and a symbol of liberty and love. Bright colours, splendid wings, and its exuberant elongated tail make it look like a fairy firebird. Both species are endangered. Guatemalan highlands contain endemic to the North Central American Highland birds including Green-throated Mountain-gem, Highland Guan, Wine-throated Hummingbird, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, and Rufous-browed Wren. Most birdwatching hotspots are located in the central to southern parts of the country, in the highland areas, though some excellent birding sites may also be found in the northern lowlands. Picturesque Antigua (Wallings Reservoir) is one of the favourite birding locations. At the same time, some unique species may be found only in western Guatemala, namely such birds as Azure-rumped Tanager, Horned Guan, Bearded Screech-Owl, Pink-headed Warbler, and Black-capped Siskin. Check out Biotopo del Quetzal and Lake Atitlan to watch these amazing birds. Besides endemic species, a warm tropical climate of Guatemala provides the perfect habitat for a wide range of migratory birds that coinhabit the region with local birds. Companies offer the birdwatching tours throughout the entire year. However, the nesting season​ between February and April is the best. The only drawback of the season must be seasonal fire smokes which may worsen the sceneries a little.

Practical info

What unique endemic bird species can be found in Guatemala's highlands?

Visitors to Guatemala's highlands can observe various unique endemic bird species such as the Green-throated Mountain-gem, Highland Guan, Wine-throated Hummingbird, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, and Rufous-browed Wren. Knowledgeable guides may assist in spotting these distinctive species while exploring the region. By doing so, tourists can experience the beauty and singularity of these endemic birds in their natural habitat. Show more

Where can the endangered bird species of quetzal be found in Guatemala?

Quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala, is located in the central to southern regions of the country, specifically in the highland areas. Birdwatching enthusiasts may have a chance encounter with the elusive bird in flight, displaying impressive elongated tails and splendid wings resembling a fairy firebird. Some of the famous birdwatching sites where the quetzal can be spotted are Antigua (Wallings Reservoir), Biotopo del Quetzal, and Lake Atitlan. Show more

When is the best time to visit Guatemala for birdwatching?

The ideal time to explore Guatemala for birdwatching is between the months of February to April. The period is the nesting season, and birds display vibrant colours and behaviours. Additionally, migratory birds appear during this season, adding to the excitement. Potential visitors should be aware that some areas in Guatemala may have smoke due to seasonal fires, which could decrease the ambiance. Tourists should work with travel advisors for guided tours or recommendations to ensure optimal birdwatching experiences. Show more

What are the other bird species that can be spotted in Guatemala aside from Quetzal and endemic birds?

Guatemala has almost 720 bird species, including migratory birds, endemic birds, and brightly coloured quetzal, among others. Some familiar bird species found in the region are bees, hummingbirds, raptors, warblers, and flycatchers. Furthermore, herons, egrets, and cormorants can be observed in Lake Izabal. The western region is home to some distinctive species such as Azure-rumped Tanager, Black-capped Siskin, Bearded Screech-Owl, Horned Guan, and Pink-headed Warbler. Show more

What are the birdwatching tour options available in Guatemala?

Various tour operators in Guatemala provide birdwatching tours with expert bird guides knowledgeable about the behaviour, identification, and habitat of birds. Travellers can choose to embark on this experience at their convenience all year round. By taking these tours, bird enthusiasts can explore various parts of the country and witness rare and stunning bird species, providing opportunities to take photographs. Potential visitors can liaise with travel advisors or tour operators to access many options to book a tour. Show more

Ask a question
Last updated: