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The Hummingbird Photo Quest

4.83based on 4 reviews
Honduras 13 Days
Starting From USD 3,000 / per person

Honduras’ Birding Highlights Tour

5based on 3 reviews
Honduras 12 Days
Starting From USD 3,350 / per person
Honduran Emerald
Honduras’ only known endemic bird so far. Considered to be one of the ten rarest birds in the world. A beautiful medium-sized (4 in/10.2 cm) hummingbird with a glittering blue throat and upper chest, pale grey underparts, green upperparts, a bronze-green tail, a black upper and red lower mandible with black tip. Qualified as endangered by Wildlife International due to its restricted range and fragmented populations. Inhabits dry forest and scrub.
Ocellated Quail
The master of camouflage. Male has a distinctive black and white “harlequin” facial pattern with a coppery crown, grayish-brown upperparts with a complex pattern allowing him to disappear into the surrounding pine needles and ferns, dull grey flanks with buffy spots and reddish brown underparts with a black vent and thighs. Female is more cryptic and lacks the black and white facial pattern. Considered vulnerable by Wildlife International because of the expected population decline due to loss of habitat. Inhabits grassy understory of open pine and pine-oak woodland and brushy fields at elevations of 750-3,050 m.
Keel-billed Motmot
Probably the most sought after of Honduras’ seven (!) Motmot species. Medium-sized motmot with dark green upperparts, greenish-brown throat and chest with a black spot, brown underparts and a blue-green tail with blue rackets tipped black. Considered vulnerable by Wildlife International because of its fragmented populations in some of the most endangered habitats in Central America. Inhabits subcanopy and mid-story of mature humid rainforest. Digs burrows in river banks, ravines and crevices.
Bushycrested Jay
A regional endemic to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Metallic blue upperparts, black head and yellow eyes. Inhabits pine-oak forest, mixed forest, wooded plantations and locally humid broadleaf forest. Usually observed in loud flocks, either same-species flocks or as nucleus of mixed flocks with orioles, saltators or other jays.
Red-throated Parakeet
A hard one to spot outside Honduras as its range is restricted to eastern Guatemala and El Salvador, Honduras and North Western Nicaragua. Large bright green parakeet with a flaming orange throat – although young birds often lack the characteristic orange patch. Occurs in pine-oak and broadleaf forest and coffee plantations. Usually observed in big flocks.
Fulvous Owl
A highland owl occurring from southern Mexico to central Honduras and thus considered a regional endemic. A large wood owl with a round warm brown head without ear tufts, a yellow bill in a buffy face with a black rim, deep brown upperparts with white spots and bars, and buffy brown underparts with brown streaking. Inhabits highland pine-oak and broadleaf forest.
Winethroated Hummingbird
A tiny but extravagant hummingbird. The male has a spectacular bright pink gorget that opens up when displaying. The female’s throat is speckled with green dots and bordered by a white band along the upper chest. Has a short straight bill, small white postocular spot, green back, light rufous flanks, a white belly and rufous outer tail feathers with a black band and a white tip. Occurs in highland humid to semi-humid forest, forest borders, clearings and semi-open areas where nectar sources are available.
Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow
A strikingly patterned large sparrow, showing a rusty crown that merges into an ear patch of the same colour. The face itself is white, white and black forecrown. Brownish grey upperparts and plain, pale grey underparts. Inhabits mid-elevation dry areas, second growth, thickets and coffee plantations. As the name suggests, it forages low or on the ground.
Black-crested Coquette
An extraordinarily ornate little hummer. The male has beautiful long plume feathers extending from a bronze crown, golden dots on the otherwise white underparts, a green back with a white rump band, bronzy neck plumes and a green throat. Female lacks crown and neck plumes and green throat, but has a distinctive black facial mask. Both species have a short red bill (sometimes with a black tip). Occurs in lowland to mid-elevation rain forests and ventures to borders and into open areas. Perches high.
Blue-throated Motmot
Another interesting Motmot found in Honduras. This one lacks the raquets that characterize most Motmot species (another Motmot species that does not have raquets is the Tody Motmot, which can also be found in Honduras). Overall green with a bright blue throat, orange orbital skin and black ear patch. Blue-throated Motmots in Honduras do not have a black dot on the chest. Inhabits highland forests and lower elevation dry pine and pine-oak forests.

Beaks and Peaks support a number of conservation and development projects in Honduras by including those programmes into our wildlife tours.

One of the projects we work with is La Montaña de Vida, an ecotourism and conservation project in the Santa Bárbara mountains near Lake Yojoa. It is aimed at providing the local communities with an alternative source of income based on ecotourism. This means they no longer solely depend on coffee production and can start protecting the mountain forests instead of cutting it down for coffee growing. The communities offer several trip packages, serve food, offer accommodation and have created trails to show visitors the natural beauty of their local environment.

Another project Beaks and Peaks support is the Hospitality Training from Casa Hotel Celaque. The hotel works together with the local Vida Abundante college to teach youngsters the ins and outs of hospitality and tourism so they can create a future for themselves in this promising new sector for Honduras.

Furthermore, Hospitality Training from Casa Hotel Celaque also work with birdwatching clubs such as the Tanunas from Gracias in order to show children and youngsters the importance and beauty of their environment and hope that some of them may even take an interest in guiding themselves to pass on the legacy.

  • Time of my Life
    The Hummingbird Photo Quest
    Carole Turek, MD9 Jul 2018
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    If I had to list the best 100 days of my life, I would put all eleven days I spent with William Orellana on the 2018 Hummingbird Quest on that list. I will qualify that with the admission that I am an absolute hummingbird fanatic. My very well-planned tour of Honduras in search of birds to photograph was nothing less than phenomenal. I was able to capture many species, four of which are very difficult to find much less photograph. William knows the various Honduran territories so well that he was able to take me to areas where I was almost guaranteed to find a certain species. He has an impressive ability to spot perched hummingbirds, and he once even knew where a particular bird would land on a particular tree. This is an unbelievable advantage to a photographer and allowed me to obtain some of the finest photographs of the female Wine-throated Hummingbird in existence. The rare Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird is actually a regular visitor to the garden he planted at his own home! I met some incredible people in Honduras that love hummingbirds and are doing everything they can to preserve their habitat. These people are trying to teach both the children and adults of Honduras how important it is to conserve the beauty of their country for the birds and ultimately for themselves. The people are warm and friendly, and I always felt welcome everywhere I was taken. Both William Orellana and Katinka Domen love Honduras and will do anything and everything to send their clients home with the memories of a lifetime. Would I go back? Is tomorrow too soon?
  • Private birding tour - April 2017
    The Hummingbird Photo Quest
    Dawn Brooks13 Apr 2017
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    We visited Honduras last year for a hummingbird photography tour and were left with the feeling that there was much more to see and do. So we soon signed up for another, longer tour with Beaks and Peaks this year. We wanted to visit some different places as well as visiting a couple of our favourites from last year. Our tour started in Tegucigalpa and we then worked our way west to Copan and then north to the Caribbean coast where we stayed on Guanaja. We visited various different birding habitats and saw some great birds. This year we managed to get much better views of the wine throated humming bird, and saw a whole range of mot mots and trogons, American migrants and local rarities. We enjoyed every place we stayed for different reasons. We enjoyed our breakfasts with local families, views of migrating swallows, swifts and hawks, walking round the town of Gracias with William, and visiting the ruins of Copan. At no point did we feel threatened or unsafe, and neither did we see any trouble or experience any issues. The security issues in Honduras seem to be vastly overstated. Honduras is a great birding destination, with friendly people who have a passion and enthusiasm for their country. We stayed in some truly excellent accommodation, particularly La Villa de Soledad as an example. Once again we enjoyed Guanaja both birding and snorkelling – the island really is like paradise and there are some great people who looked after us well. It was a great way to finish holiday. I would highly recommend Beaks and Peaks as a birding tour operator. Whilst we stuck to our overall itinerary William took account of local conditions and how we felt to ensure that we got the best out of every day. William was keen to show us his country of which he is immensely proud and share his absolute passion for the birds. He always tried his best to get us onto a bird .... but there is always one to go back for. We enjoyed each and every minute of our holiday and will always remember it
  • Hummingbird Photography Tour July 2016
    The Hummingbird Photo Quest
    Dawn and Craig Brooks16 Jul 2016
    4.33
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    We took part in a 10 day tour starting in Tegucigalpa and ending in Pico Bonito Lodge, nr La Ceiba. From start to finish the tour worked as planned. Accommodation was generally very good with just one night where the accommodation was basic - we were told about this - and some nights where the accommodation was very good - at Panacam Lodge and Pico Bonito. Throughout the tour our guides William and Katinka were attentive to detail and very easy to get along with - nothing was too much trouble. We particularly enjoyed early morning breakfasts in the field, often with local food which was a nice touch, it was very good. We even had one day when in the middle of nowhere we had take out pizza - I'm not sure how they did it, but it was lovely, a nice change. We had no upset tummies as there was always hand cleaning gel available. From a bird watching perspective this tour is exactly as per the title, and we went to some lengths to see different and more specialised birds in more challenging locations, as well as some easier feeder visits. Of the just over 40 hummingbird species available in Honduras the trip recorded 31 in 10 days! We really enjoyed visiting Guanaja - the whole experience of the flight, short boat ride and laid back feel on the island. The whole experience was so good we have already booked to go back to do some more general birding!! Cannot wait.
  • Glorious Birding, Brilliant Guide
    The Hummingbird Photo Quest
    Jenny Grewal - Mythic Hippo Photography11 Jul 2018
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    I joined William from Beaks and Peaks for a Hummingbird Photography Quest. I arrived and departed from Honduras on slightly different days to the other guests for various reasons, and William could not have been more helpful in making sure I was immediately made to feel safe and welcome when I arrived. The hummingbirds we saw were incredibly beautiful, and there was ample time allowed to get used to the habitat and behaviour of each species, and to photograph them in different lights. I am a birder as well as a photographer, and William made sure that I saw (and photographed!) plenty of other species as well as the hummingbirds we were searching for. Both William and Katinka are wonderful, highly skilled and friendly guides who do their utmost to make you feel welcome in Honduras, and to ensure that each individual on the trip gets what they want out of the tour. I cannot recommend Beaks and Peaks highly enough, and Honduras is an unexpected delight to visit.
  • Honduras\' Birding Highlights 2016
    Honduras’ Birding Highlights Tour
    Amy Richards23 Apr 2016
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    I just returned from my second trip to Honduras and all I can say is that I would not be surprised if I am writing a third review in the future. Our group of ten spent 10 days at four different locations in Honduras, including William's amazing hometown of Gracias where we were fortunate to spot the Ocellated Quail and Honduran Emerald. Thank you also to El Club de Observación de Aves Tanunas. During out travels we met many different groups and individuals who are contributing to the conservation efforts and well-being of the country and people. Our trip included visits to the Abundant Life Christian School, Julio Bu's home near Esperanza where his family attracts the hummingbird I most often see in Chicago (the Ruby-throated), and the Santa Barbara La Fuente de Vida project. Our trip ran like a well oiled machine. We were greeted at the airport by William and Katinka and their love for Honduras was apparent in all aspects of the trip. We were greeted at the airport, had comfortable transportation with a wonderful driver, and shared delicious traditional meals and hospitable accommodations Safety was never a concern and we all witnessed the beauty and possibilities Honduras has to offer. Our trip – Honduras' Birding Highlights – was amazing! William and Katinka made sure everyone had a wonderful trip. Their knowledge of Honduras and guiding skills are impeccable. I was amazed at how many new birds I added to my Honduras list. Thank you William and Katinka. Love from Chicago, IL
  • Birding Tour Extraordinaire
    Honduras’ Birding Highlights Tour
    Tracy McLellan16 Jan 2018
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    The birds were fantastic on the trip to Honduras in January 2018, as arranged through the Cayuga Bird Club Beaks and Peaks Birding and Adventure Tours of Honduras. The two of us were met at the airport in the capitol, Teguicgalpa by Katinka Domen, one of the Beaks and Peaks owner/guides. We travelled for 11 days from cloud forest to the Caribbean Sea, then a third member joined us for the Lake Yojoa Birding Blitz. It is not easy to point to a single highlight—there were so many. We started the trip with a hike at La Tigra National Park, a high elevation cloud forest. We saw white-faced quail dove, mountain trogon, mountain thrush, several wrens, brushfinches, and a blue and white mockingbird, among others. The unusually cold and windy weather made us go to a lower elevation sooner than planned. We then went to the northern coast to see birds in forests, gardens, mangroves and at the beach. Collared and semipalmated plovers, magnificent frigate birds, many herons and egrets, kingfishers, trogons and a great potoo delighted us. We were interested in having the time to take photographs, and the birds and the guides were obliging. An agami heron in an area with mangroves on the north coast gave us a half hour to photograph it. Resplendent quetzals in the mountain near Lake Yojoa feed on the fruits of a tree that shades a coffee plantation. We spent a morning with two quetzals, and male and a female. The owner of the area has planted 500 trees of the three species that quetzals utilize in the area, as well as rescuing a great number of orchids from land that was being cleared. Motmots and trogons are very good at posing for photographs, as are hummingbirds and honeycreepers at feeders. Our area shares many species of birds with Honduras, but Honduras has more than twice as many species overall. The only species wholly endemic to the country is the Honduran Emerald, a small hummingbird of dry forests. The Lake Yojoa Birding Blitz attracted 40 Honduran birders from birding clubs around the country and five from the US. It was held at Panacam Lodge in a national park near the largest body of fresh water in the country. Three days of intensive birding in this biologically rich area yielded sightings of over 300 species. Evening meetings included testimonials about the number of life birds seen. One of our members had the record with 55 lifers on his first full day in Honduras. Many of the participants were young birders, some of whom had done a course in forestry management sponsored by the US Forest Service. The enthusiasm and the energy in the group were contagious. Plans are to make this an annual birding festival, with the aim of attracting more birders from outside the country. I attended the final segment of the trip with William Orellana, the other Beaks and Peaks owner/guide, and a couple from Washington state. We travelled to the western side of the country to the town of Gracias and the Mayan ruins of Copan, with a combination of birding and interesting cultural tours. Scarlet macaws at the ruins were a big hit, as were white throated magpie jays and more views of the Honduran emerald. We felt safe at all times. Many infrastructure projects, including improvement to the main roads and a new airport, are in progress. The couple running Beaks and Peaks are dedicated to expanding tourism and conservation in the country. On many of our trips we were joined by local birders. The grassroots conservation initiatives, like the quetzal trees, hummingbird gardens, and birding trails that we enjoyed, ensure future birding opportunities. We share a lot more than the birds that migrate between our areas; getting to know some of the local people gave the trip an added depth and a connection with the country.
  • 125 Life Birds in Honduras Highlights Tour
    Honduras’ Birding Highlights Tour
    Judy Lincoln13 Apr 2016
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    Beaks and Peaks' William and Katina were diligent in choosing inspiring locales for us to see a very nice variety of birds - mostly up close and sharing the beauty of Honduras. Their flexibility and attention to details and logistics in both food and lodging were also very pleasing. The van was comfortable in all aspects and their driver amazing. We also had the honor of meeting local people and sharing their dreams for a better future. We enjoyed our guides' work ethic, efficient yet gentle guiding and sense of humor, a pleasure for everyone. I would highly recommend a return trip with them anytime. The trip was over before we knew it. If I had sharper eyes I would have seen closer to 140 new birds. What a delight!
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    4.9 Based on 7 reviews
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