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A Report from

Los Tarrales Private Reserve, Guatemala, November 2006,

Daniel R. Schneider

Los Tarrales Private Reserve is a world class birding preserve located on the Pacific slope of Vulcan Atilan in Guatemala.   With 3 life zones and a huge elevation gain of nearly 13, 500 ft, the bird diversity is amazing with 22 species of hummingbird possible.

If you need a guide, Josue de Leon knows this area very well and will be a great benefit on your birding adventure.  He can be contacted by visiting the Las Tarrales website.


113; in 1 and 1/2 days (1/2 day with guide;$10)

98; 1 day high tally

*****  It really doesn't get any better than Las Tarrales. With a huge elevation gain and great trails that aren’t that hard to hike it is a birder’s paradise.

The Reserve has a great trail system that cut their way through the shade-grown coffee and surrounding forest.

Western Central Guatemala. Between Cocales and San Lucas Toliman

How Do I get there:
There are many buses and several trucks that go in-between Cocales and San Lucas Toliman. You could also probably take a rent-a-car.

Las Tarrales offers nice rooms for around $20.  Or you can pitch a tent next to the lagoon for $6 (recommended). You can leave your valuables at the office if you need to. They also have furnished tree houses for around $20.

Not  much else in the vicinity besides these choices.

What to bring:

Good flashlight/headlamp, it gets pretty dark in town and on the walk to the lagoon.

Food, it’s a bit pricey there ($8 average), but is largely organic. There are a few tiendas in the neighboring village but it would be easiest to bring from the get-go.

Tent (there are actually quite a few places to camp in Guatemala) But bring a lock. 

Field notes from Las Tarrales:

Tennessee Warblers were by far the most common warbler from the states but as you went higher in elevation it became more diverse with several Worm-eating warblers seen at the highest/ steepest portions of the trail. Mixed flocks dominated by North American migrants were common with Red-legged honeycreepers being the most frequent resident within the flocks.  Swainson’s thrushes were found equally on the ground and in the trees and were by far the most frequent turdidae, besides Clay-colored robins (resident) which were seen at the lower elevation levels.  Saw many more Baltimore Orioles on the 1st than the 2nd. 

Flycatchers favored newly planted, less shade grown coffee, while few other birds were seen in non-shade grown coffee (except a few Magnolia and Chestnut-capped warblers). Heavily shaded coffee was generally very good birding with very high diversity.

The following list was compiled on November 1-2, 2006. 113 species seen.

1. Little Blue Heron                                 Egretta caerulea
2. Cattle Egret                                       Bubulcus ibis

3. Black Vulture                                      Coragyps atratus
4. Turkey Vulture                                    Carthartes aura
5. King Vulture                                       Sarcoramphus papa

6. Blue-winged Teal                                 Anas discors

7. Gray Hawk                                          Asturina nitida
8. Broad-winged Hawk                              Buteo platypterus
9. Short-tailed Hawk                               Buteo brachyurus

10. Collared Forest-falcon                        Micrastur semitorquatus
11. Northern Crested Caracara                  Caracara cheriway

12. Crested Guan                                     Penelope purpurascens

13. Red-billed Pigeon                                Columba flavirostris
14. Band-tailed Pigeon                              Columba fasciata
15. Inca Dove                                         Columbina inca
16. White-tipped Dove                             Leptotila verreauxi

17. Pacific Parakeet                                 Aratinga strenua
18. Orange-fronted Parakeet                     Aratinga canicularis
19. Orange-chinned Parakeet                     Brotogeris jugularis

20. Squirrel Cuckoo                                 Piaya cayana
21. Groove-billed Ani                                Crotophaga sulcirostris

22. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl                       Glaucidium brasilianum
23. Mottled Owl                                     Ciccaba virgata

24. Lesser Nighthawk                              Chordeiles acutipennis

25. White-collared Swift                         Streptoprocne zonaris
26. Vaux’s Swift                                     Chaetura vauxi

27. Violet Sabrewing                               Campylopterus emileucurus
28. Berylline Hummingbird                        Amazilia berylline
29. Blue-tailed Hummingbird                     Amazilia cyanura
30. Cinnamon Hummingbird                        Amazilia rutila
31. Long-billed Starthroat                        Heliomaster longirostris
32. Ruby-throated Hummingbird                 Archilochus colubris
33. Magnificent Hummingbird                    Eugunes fulgens
34. Blue-throated Sapphire                       Hylocharis eliciae

35. Violaceous Trogon                              Trogon violaceus
36. Collared Trogon                                 Trogon collaris

37. Tody Motmot                                      Hylomanes momotula
38. Blue-crowned Motmot                        Momotus momota

39. Green Kingfisher                                Chloroceryle Americana

40. Collared Aracari                                Pteroglossus torquatus

41. Golden-fronted Woodpecker                 Melanerpes aurifrons
42. Golden-olive Woodpecker                     Piculus rubiginosus
43. Lineated Woodpecker                          Dryocopus lineatus
44. Pale-billed Woodpecker                       Campephilus guatemalensis

45. Rufous-breasted Spinetail                   Synallaxis erythrothorax

46. Barred Antshrike                               Thamnophilus doliatus

47. Greenish Elaenia                                Myiopagis viridicata
48. Common Tody-flycatcher                     Todirostrum cinereum
49. Yellow-olive Flycatcher                      Tolmomyias sulphurescens
50. Tropical Pewee                                  Contopus cinereus
51. Western Wood-pewee                       Contopus sordidulus
52. Least Flycatcher                               Empidonax minimus
53. Yellowish Flycatcher                          Empidonax flavescens
54. Buff-breasted Flycatcher                   Empidonax fulvifrons
55. Pacific-sloped Flycatcher                    Empidonax difficillis
56. Dusky-capped Flycatcher                     Myiarchus tuberculifer
57. Great Kiskadee                                  Piangus sulphuratus
58. Boat-billed Flycatcher                        Megarynchus pitangua
59. Social Flycatcher                               Myiozetetes similes
60. Rose-throated Becard                       Pachyramphus aglaiae
61. Grey-collared Becard                       Pachyramphus major
62. Masked Tityra                                   Tityra semifasciata

63. Cassin’s Vireo                                   Vireo cassinii
64. Yellow-throated Vireo                        Vireo flavifrons
65. Warbling Vireo                                  Vireo gilvus
66. Rufous-browed Peppershrike             Cyclarhis gujanensis

67. White-throated Magpie-Jay                Calocitta formosa

68. Gray-breasted Martin                            Progne chalybea
69. Northern Rough-winged Swallow           Stelgidopteryx serripennis

70. Rufous-naped Wren                            Campylorhynchus rufinucha
71. Rufous-and-white Wren                       Thryothorus rufalbus
72. Spot-breasted Wren                           Thryothorus maculipectus
73. Plain Wren                                        Thryothorus modestus
74. Gray-breasted Wood-wren                   Henicorhina leucophrys
75. White-breasted Wood-wren                 Henicorhina leucosticte

76. Long-billed Gnatwren                          Ramphocaenus melanurus
77. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                        Polioptila caerulea

78. Orange-billed Nightingale-thrush         Catharus aurantiirostris
79. Swainson’s Thrush                              Catharus ustulatus
80. Clay-colored Robin                              Turdus grayi
81. White-throated Robin                         Turdus assimilis

82. Tennessee Warbler                            Vermivora peregrine
83. Bay-breasted Warbler                        Dendroica castanea
84. Yellow Warbler                                 Dendroica petechia
85. Magnolia Warbler                              Dendroica magnolia
86. Townsend’s Warbler                           Dendroica townsendi
87. Blackburnian Warbler                         Dendroica fusca
88. Black-throated-green Warbler Dendroica virens
89. Black-and-white Warbler                    Mniotilta varia
90. American Redstart                             Setophaga ruticilla
91. Worm-eating Warbler                         Helmitheros vermivorus
92. Ovenbird                                          Seiurus aurocapillus
93. Wilson’s Warbler                               Wilsonia pusilla
94. Slate-throated Redstart                     Myioborus miniatus
95. Fan-tailed Warbler                            Euthlypis lachrymose
96. Golden-crowned Warbler                  Basileuterus culicivorus
97. Chestnut-capped Warbler                 Basileuterus delattrii

98. Summer Tanager                                Piranga rubra
99. White-winged Tanager                        Thraupis episcopus
100. Yellow-winged Tanager                  Thraupis abbas
101. Yellow-throated Euphonia                Euphonia hirundinacea
102. Red-legged Honeycreeper               Cyanerpes cyaneus

103. White-eared Ground-sparrow              Melozone leucotis

104. Painted Bunting                                Passerina ciris
105. Black-headed Saltator                       Saltator atriceps
106. Rose-breasted Grosbeak                 Pheucticus ludovicianus

107. Melodious Blackbird                          Dives dives
108. Great-tailed Grackle                         Quiscalus mexicanus
109. Spot-breasted Oriole                        Icterus pectoralis
110. Altamira Oriole                                Icterus gularis
111. Baltimore Oriole                               Icterus galbula
112. Yellow-billed Cacique                     Amblycercus holosericeus

113. Lesser Goldfinch                               Carduelis psaltria

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