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Honduras’ Birding Highlights Tour - 12 Days

Honduras’ Birding Highlights Tour

This 12-day tour takes you to all corners of the country looking for some of Honduras’ prize birds: Ocellated Quail, Honduran Emerald, Keel-billed Motmot, Bushy-crested Jay and Resplendent Quetzal.

Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival at Tegucigalpa airport and birding around the hote

The tour begins with afternoon birding around Hotel Los Gloriales. Here we can find higher elevation species such as the Blue-and-white Mockingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Blue-crowned Motmot, White-breasted Hawk and more. After nightfall, we enjoy chatting and getting to know each other during a hearty welcome dinner.

Day 2
Day 2 - Birding in La Tigra NP

La Tigra National Park offers great birding and a wide array of hummingbirds such as the Wine-throated Hummingbird, Greenbreasted Mountain-gem, Green Violet-Ear and Sparkling-tailed Woodstar. We won’t only look out for hummers as there are obviously other interesting species we might encounter too, including the Emerald Toucanet, Singing Quail, Resplendent Quetzal, Mountain Trogon, Spotted Woodcreeper, Barred Forest-Falcon, Mountain Elaenia, Rufous-browed Wren, Slate-colored Solitaire and many more.

Day 3
Day 3 - Birding around Cerro de Hula and transfer to Gracias

This morning we go birding around Cerro de Hula, an area south of Tegucigalpa which is mostly known because of the windfarms. However, there are also some excellent birding spots around.

The pine forests interspersed with fields of flowering “pie de niño” and “red salvia” here attract lots of hummingbirds, and if we are lucky we may even see the elusive Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird or Slender Sheartail! There will also be Olive Warblers, Rufous-browed Peppershrikes, Bushy-crested Jays, Buff-breasted Flycatchers, Ocellated Quail, Crested Bobwhite and many other species to observe.

Afterwards, we drive to the small colonial town of Gracias, Lempira, situated at the foot of Parque Nacional Celaque, which boasts the highest peak of Honduras.

Our hotel is located amidst pine forest, woodland and coffee plantations. In this bird-rich area, we are likely to encounter species such as the Mesoamerican endemic Bushy-Crested Jay, Laughing Falcon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, some resident warblers such as the Common Yellowthroat and Rufous-capped Warbler, and other birds like the Altamira Oriole, Black- headed Saltator, Mountain Trogon, Flame-colored Tanager and Yellow-backed Oriole.

Day 4
Day 4 - Birding at Honduran Emerald and Ocellated Quail locations

Today we search for the only endemic bird of Honduras so far: the Honduran Emerald!

The region is also home to many other drier-country birds, amongst others the Elegant Trogon, Striped Cuckoo, Turquoise-browed Motmot and many more.

Along the Río Grande, we will also see some water birds such as Green Herons, Black Phoebes and different Kingfisher species.

In the afternoon, we drive up into Celaque National Park to get one of our targets birds: the elusive Ocellated Quail. A hard bird to get, but Celaque NP offers some excellent opportunities, so keep your fingers crossed that you are one of the lucky few to get a glimpse of this shy quail.

Other species we may see up here are King Vulture, Crested Bobwhite, Azure-crowned Hummingbird and many more.

Day 5
Day 5 - Birding in Celaque NP & transfer to La Esperanza

This morning we walk the lower elevation trails of Celaque National Park. We will be looking out for Chestnut-capped and White-naped Brushfinch, Brown-backed and Slatecolored Solitaire, Green-throated Mountaingem, White-eared Hummingbird and Olivaceous Woodcreeper.

We then head to La Esperanza, or rather to the twin cities of La Esperanza and La Intibucá.

La Esperanza is the newer capital of the Intibucá department with a mainly ladino population, whereas Intibucá used to be a small indigenous Lenca community. However, due to expansion of the cities over time, the two are now merged and are impossible to tell apart.

La Esperanza-Intibucá is the highest city in Honduras, offering a cool – or in winter even cold – climate.

Depending on our time of arrival, we may bird a little around the hotel, or take some time for relaxing.

Day 6
Day 6 - Birding in El Consejero private reserve & transfer to Lake Yojoa

Close to La Esperanza, in Yamaranguila, Beaks and Peaks is working with the local Bu family in a small ecotourism project. This very humble family has created a hummingbird garden, which already attracts 8 different types of highland hummingbirds. We will see Magnificent Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird etc. We may even see Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird on their feeders. During migration this is a stop for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds coming from the United States. Other species of interest here are Rufous-collared Robin, Bushy-crested Jay, Steller’s Jay, White-naped Brushfinch or Band-tailed Pigeon.

After our morning birding, we drive to Lake Yojoa, home to the biggest variety of bird species in Honduras.

We have lunch at a restaurant on the Lake which offers splendid view over the lake and the surrounding wetlands and marshes. Here we can spot water birds such as Pale-billed Grebes, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Bare-throated Tiger- Herons, Ringed Kingfishers, Snail Kites, Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures and so on.

After lunch, we drive up to our hotel PANACAM Lodge.

Once we are settled, we have time for afternoon birding around the Lodge in search for the Black-crested Coquette, Barred Forest- Falcon, Collared Araçari, Keel-billed Motmot, Blue-crowned Motmot, Masked Tityra, Crimson- collared Tanager, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, White-throated Thrush, Long-billed Hermit, Violet Sabrewing and more.

Day 7
Day 7 - Birding in Santa Barbara NP and visit to La Fuente de Vida project

This morning we drive up to Santa Bárbara National Park. We visit the La Fuente de Vida ecotourism project that Beaks and Peaks is supporting. The communities up here are trying to protect a beautiful patch of forest for the future. They have decided to make the change from exclusive coffee growing to providing sustainable tourism services including building a series of beautiful trails that offer excellent birdwatching opportunities

Very early in the morning, we drive up to the community which takes us about an hour.

Upon arrival we enjoy breakfast with one of the local families and after that we start looking for birds such as the Prevost- ground Sparrow, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Resplendent Quetzal, Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, White-breasted Hawk, Green- throated MountainGem, Buffy-crowned Woodpartridge, Slate-colored Solitaire, Rusty Sparrow, Collared Trogon, Spotted Woodcreeper, Ruddy Foliage-Gleaner, Scaly- throated Foliage-Gleaner, Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner, Black-headed Nightingale- Thrush, Chestnut-capped BrushFinch, White-naped Brushfinch and Spot-breasted Wren.

Day 8
Day 8 - Birding in Lake Yojoa wetlands and transfer to Pico Bonito NP

Today we do some early morning birding around the Lake, searching for more great species such as the Masked Duck, Least Bittern, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Blackcrowned Tityra, Green-backed Sparrow, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, Grey-breasted Crake and others.

We then have a long drive ahead of us, all the way to Pico Bonito on Honduras’ north coast, in the Nombre de Dios mountains.

Upon arrival, it will be time for dinner and a good night’s sleep so we are fit again the next morning for yet more birding at our last destination.

Day 9
Day 9 - Birding in Rio Santiago Nature Resort

We get up early in the morning to hike the beautiful trails of Rio Santiago Nature Resort. Here, we will have the chance of seeing some stunners such as White Hawk, Olive-backed Euphonia, Golden-hooded Tanager, Keelbilled Toucan, Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, Black-crested Coquette, Spectacled Owl, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Royal Flycatcher, Sunbittern and many more.

After our hike, we spend the rest of the day ‘lazy birding’ around the dining area. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t see plenty of birds.

Rio Santiago is also known as Honduras’ ‘Hummingbird Paradise’. Up to 22 different species of hummingbirds have been recorded here, and many of them come to the feeders at the restaurant: White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violet-Ear, Crowned Woodnymph, Blue-throated Goldentail, Blue-tailed Hummingbird, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Stripe-throated Hermit and Long-billed Hermit.

Day 10
Day 10 - Birding in Cuero y Salado mangroves

On the schedule today is a visit to Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge. We board the only train that is still functioning in Honduras – it dates to the times of the ‘Banana republic’ and was indeed used to transport bananas. What remains now is are two rickety little wagons racing over crooked rails. Lots of fun with excellent birding opportunities along the way: Glossy Ibis, Bat Falcon, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Black-cowled Oriole, Crested Caracara. At the visitor centre, we board a motorboat that will take us onto the rivers and canals of the Cuero y Salado Mangroves. Top species that we will try to get good looks at here include Agami Heron, White-necked Puffbird, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Black-crowned Antshrike and more. Lunch will be prepared by a local family upon our return from the boat ride.

Day 11
Day 11 - Birding at Pico Bonito Lodge

Pico Bonito Lodge combines the adventure of the outdoors, the beauty of the rainforest, and the personal service of a boutique hotel.

In this luxurious setting, we enjoy yet another splendid birding day, as the area offers an incredibly varied array of bird species such as Brown-hooded, White-fronted and White-crowned Parrots, Little and Great Tinamous, Grey-chested Doves, Olive-throated Parakeets, Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Wedge-billed and Cocoa Woodcreepers, Paltry Tyrannulets, Guatemalan Screech-Owls, Great Potoos, Violetheaded Hummingbirds, Purple-crowned Fairies, Slaty-tailed, Gartered and Collared Trogons, Red-capped Manakins, White- and Grey-breasted Wood-Wrens, White-throated Thrushes, Olive-backed Euphonias, Kentucky Warblers, Giant Cowbirds, Red-throated and Red- crowned Ant-Tanager, Keel-billed Motmot, Green Shrike-Vireos and Black-faced Grosbeaks. And those are just a few examples.

Day 12
Day 12 - Transfer to San Pedro Sula Airport

Your trip unfortunately has come to an end and we will drive you to San Pedro Sula international airport in time for your flight. We hope you enjoyed the tour and wish you a safe journey home. And who knows… hasta la próxima?

Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 3  reviews
  1. Honduras\' Birding Highlights 2016
    Amy Richards23 Apr 2016







    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
  2. Birding Tour Extraordinaire
    Tracy McLellan16 Jan 2018







    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.
  3. 125 Life Birds in Honduras Highlights Tour
    Judy Lincoln13 Apr 2016







    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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Why book with Beaks and Peaks?

Beaks and Peaks is an ethically and ecologically responsible birding and adventure tour company based in Gracias Lempira, Honduras. Sustainability, authenticity and diversity are the core values our company is built on. In combining the extensive knowledge and experience of Honduras’ very best guides and naturalists with the hospitality and authenticity of the local communities we strive to create a successful, productive partnership that benefits all. Living here we have in-depth knowledge of local politics, economics and culture. We are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the country and the society we live in. In the first place we aim at showing you those strengths: the unspoilt natural beauty, the charming local people, the stunning flora and fauna. But we also need to protect that natural beauty and aim at bettering the lives of the people. We therefore try to involve local communities, businesses and guides into our tours where possible and we support several projects which we believe will contribute to raising the standard of living and protecting our natural resources. Beaks and Peaks does not just offer tours. We seek to offer experiences — unique, authentic, unforgettable experiences. We want to create memories you will want to share with your friends, colleagues and family back home. And in doing so we hope strive to change the world… your world, our world, our people’s world. Honduras is a beautiful, remarkably diverse country that has an extraordinary range of experiences to offer to the adventurous traveler, from discovering the amazing avifauna or visiting spectacular mountains and forests to exploring the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and having a taste of the true Hondureño culture. We at Beaks and Peaks make it our mission to reveal Honduras’ stunning, vibrant true colors to adventurous travelers. And what better way to experience this beauty than by spotting colorful exotic birds, hiking through virgin cloud forests or listening to the enthralling stories of the local people?

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Tour Dates Tour Availability Price Spaces Left
11/11/2019 - 22/11/2019 guaranteed USD 3,350
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12 Days

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Operator Review Summary

4.91 Based on 13 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Set-Departure
  • Set-Departure-Tour
  • Birds
  • 12 Days
  • Tegucigalpa airport
  • San Pedro Sula Airport