The Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) is a large bird of prey found throughout Central and South America, including Belize. Adults have a blackish plumage with a slightly paler head and neck, and yellow legs. They have a wingspan of about 120 cm (47″) and weigh around 900 grams (2 lbs.).
In Belize, the Common Black Hawk inhabits riparian forests and mangrove swamps along the coast, but they can also be found in forested areas inland. They are a common sight around rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, where they hunt for fish, crabs, and other aquatic prey.
These birds are typically solitary, and pairs maintain a territory of up to several kilometers in size. During the breeding season, which runs from February to June, they build nests of sticks and twigs in tall trees near water. Females lay one to two eggs, which both parents incubate for around 40 days. The chicks fledge at around 50-60 days old and stay with their parents for several months after that.
Common Black Hawks are powerful and agile flyers, capable of capturing prey on the wing or diving into the water to catch fish. They are also known for their distinctive calls, which are a series of high-pitched whistles and screams. While they are not considered threatened, the destruction of their natural habitats through deforestation and development can affect their populations.
>> Next Post on Tuesday, 5/9/2023 – Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
The Spot-breasted Wren (Pheugopedius maculipectus) is a small, brown-colored bird that inhabits the dense undergrowth and thickets of the lowland forests of Belize. They have a distinctive white throat and breast speckled with small, dark spots, which gives them their name.
Spot-breasted Wrens are active, social birds that are often seen in pairs or small groups. They are known for their loud, musical songs and calls that can be heard throughout the forest. They feed on insects and other small invertebrates, which they forage for on the ground and in the lower levels of the vegetation.
Breeding season for the Spot-breasted Wren in Belize typically runs from March to August. During this time, males will perform elaborate courtship displays to attract a mate. The female will then construct a small, cup-shaped nest made from twigs, leaves, and other plant material. The female will lay 2-4 eggs, which she will incubate for about two weeks. Both parents will then feed and care for the chicks until they fledge at around 14 days old.
Overall, the Spot-breasted Wren is an important and charismatic species in the forests of Belize. Despite being relatively common, their populations have been affected by habitat loss and fragmentation, making it important to protect their remaining habitats to ensure their continued survival in the region.
>> Next Post on Sunday, 5/7/2023 – Common Black Hawk
The Yucatan Jay is a striking bird species found in Northern Belize, Mexico, and parts of Guatemala. This bird is known for its vibrant blue feathers and its impressive vocalizations, which can be heard echoing through the forests of the Yucatan Peninsula. Yucatan Jays typically live in flocks of 4-12 individuals, and they are known to be highly social and intelligent birds.
Yucatan Jays are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of insects, seeds, fruits, and small vertebrates. They have also been known to scavenge for food around human settlements, making them one of the few bird species that have successfully adapted to living in close proximity to humans.
During breeding season, Yucatan Jays build large, cup-shaped nests out of sticks, grasses, and other plant materials. Females lay 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for approximately 18 days.
Yucatan Jays are an important part of the ecosystem in Belize and the surrounding regions. As seed dispersers, they play a crucial role in maintaining the health and diversity of the forests they inhabit. However, habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as hunting and trapping, have threatened Yucatan Jay populations in recent years. Efforts to protect these birds and their habitats are ongoing, and they serve as a reminder of the importance of conserving the natural world around us
>> Next Post on Friday, 5/5/2023 – Spot-breasted Wren
The Cinnamon-bellied Saltator is gray above and grayish or buffy/”cinnamon” below, with a strong whitish eyebrow and black malar stripes that boarder a white throat.
Cinnamon-bellied Saltators prefer to live in wooded areas and forest edges, where they forage for insects, seeds, and fruit. They are known to be territorial birds and will defend their territories aggressively against other birds of their own species. Their breeding season typically begins in March and lasts until August, during which time they construct nests from twigs and grasses.
While the Cinnamon-bellied Saltator is not considered to be globally threatened, it is a species of conservation concern in Belize due to habitat loss and degradation. Efforts are being made to protect the remaining habitat of this species, and ecotourism can play a role in promoting the conservation of the Cinnamon-bellied Saltator and its habitat. Visitors to Belize can enjoy observing this beautiful bird in its natural habitat, while also contributing to its conservation
The White-whiskered Puffbird (Malacoptila panamensis) is a small bird species found in the tropical lowlands of Belize and other Central American countries. These birds have a distinctive appearance with a mostly brown body, white underparts, and a conspicuous white stripe over their eyes that resembles a pair of bushy eyebrows.
White-whiskered Puffbirds are insectivorous birds and mainly feed on large insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars, which they catch by sallying out from a perch or hovering in mid-air. They are also known to eat small vertebrates, including lizards and frogs.
These birds are generally solitary and monogamous, with pairs defending a territory throughout the year. They breed in tree cavities, with the female laying two or three eggs. The chicks are fed by both parents until they fledge, which typically takes around 18-21 days. White-whiskered Puffbirds are common and widespread in Belize, and their populations are considered to be stable. They can be observed in various habitats, including lowland forests, secondary growth, and even gardens and parks.
>> Next Post on Sunday, 4/30/2023 – Cinnamon-bellied Saltator
Brown Jays (Cyanocorax morio) are relatively large, and predominately are dark brown with a pale buff brown or pale white vent and belly. They are found throughout Central America, including Belize. Brown Jays are highly social and form tight-knit groups of up to 20 individuals that work together to defend territories and locate food.
In Belize, Brown Jays are found in a variety of habitats, from open woodlands and savannas to dense forests. They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of fruits, insects, and small vertebrates.
During the breeding season, which typically occurs from March to June, Brown Jays build cup-shaped nests in trees or shrubs and lay up to five eggs. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young. Despite being common and widespread, the Brown Jay is a beautiful and fascinating bird that plays an important role in the ecology of Belize.
>> Next Post on Friday, 4/28/2023 – White-wiskered Puffbird
The Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena) is a stunning bird species that is found in the tropical forests of Central America, including Belize. It is a medium-sized trogon, with a distinctive slaty-blue tail, a bright red belly, and a green back. The males have a metallic green head and upperparts, while the females are duller with a brownish-black head and upperparts.
Slaty-tailed Trogons are typically found in the understory of lowland and foothill forests, where they feed on a variety of insects, fruits, and small vertebrates. During the breeding season, which typically occurs between February and August, the males perform elaborate courtship displays to attract females. They build nests in tree cavities, usually using decaying wood, and lay 2-3 eggs per clutch. Both parents share the responsibility of incubating the eggs and caring for the young.
Despite their striking appearance, Slaty-tailed Trogons are generally not threatened and are considered to be of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, they do face some threats from habitat loss and fragmentation due to deforestation and human activities, which can impact their availability of food and nesting sites.
Family: Phasianidae – Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies
Order: Galliformes – Gallinaceous Birds
About this Bird
One of only two Turkey species worldwide. The Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) is a large bird species found in Belize. It is a member of the turkey family and is distinct from the more familiar wild turkey species found in North America.
The Ocellated Turkey is known for its striking plumage, which includes iridescent feathers in shades of blue, green, and bronze, as well as bold eye-shaped spots (ocelli) on its tail feathers. Males are larger and more brightly colored than females and can grow up to 4 feet in length.
These turkeys are primarily forest-dwelling birds, inhabiting tropical rainforests and other dense woodlands. They are omnivorous and feed on a variety of plant and animal matter, including fruits, seeds, insects, and small reptiles.
The Ocellated Turkey has a fascinating social behavior, with males engaging in elaborate courtship displays to attract females during the breeding season. These displays involve fluffing their feathers, puffing out their chests, and making a series of gobbling, clucking, and purring sounds. Females will lay 8-15 eggs in a ground nest, and both parents will take turns incubating the eggs.
>> Next Post on Sunday, 4/23/2023 – Slaty-tailed Trogon
The Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) is a small, colorful passerine bird that is commonly found in the winter in the forests of Belize. Males have a striking black throat and olive-green upperparts, while females have a yellow-green head and back, and a yellow throat. They are a migratory bird species that breed in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada and winter in Central America and the Caribbean.
In Belize, the Black-throated Green Warbler can be found in the country’s forests, particularly in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. They are often found in the understory and mid-story of the forest, flitting about in search of insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.
>> Next Post on Friday, 4/21/2023 – Ocellated Turkey
The Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) is a species of bird found in Belize and other parts of Central and South America. As its name suggests, it has a distinctive broad and flattened bill that is shaped like a boat, which it uses to catch insects in flight. The Boat-billed Flycatcher is a medium-sized bird, typically measuring around 20 centimeters (8″) in length, and has a dark grey or brownish-grey body with a yellowish belly and a black crest on its head.
In Belize, the Boat-billed Flycatcher is found in a variety of habitats including forests, woodlands, and scrublands, and is a resident species, meaning it is present year-round. It is known to be an opportunistic feeder, feeding on a wide range of insects, fruits, and even small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs.
During the breeding season, which typically occurs between March and August, the Boat-billed Flycatcher constructs a cup-shaped nest out of grasses and other plant materials, which it lines with feathers and spider webs. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 16-18 days, after which the chicks hatch and are cared for by both parents until they fledge at around 15-16 days old.
>> Next Post on Tuesday, 4/18/2023 – Black-throated Green Warbler