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A Report from

Field notes from Biotopo del Quetzal Guatemala. November 2006 ,

Daniel R. Schneider

We birded lightly on the 6th in the afternoon before it becaome too cloudy to bird, a common problem here in the afternoon.

We started at 6:00 on the 7th at our hostel (Hospedaje Ranchito del Quetzal, $13.00 a night for two in a comfy bed and private bath) and stayed there until around 8:30 because there was a male Respendent Quetzal above our breakfast table !

Bring some food along if you doing it on the cheap, its aways to town and  the food is a bit pricy.

The day’s highlight had to be at the highest pint of the trail (the long loop) were we found a huge fruiting tree containing 20 or so species, including at least 7 male Resplendent Quetzals. Lauren had 3 in her view at once !  It was also a very thrushy day with 6 turdidae species being seen, none more than a few time though.  The most common species were the Common Bush-tanager, Golded-browed, Wilson’s and Black-throated-green Warblers.  Shinning Honeycreepers were in good sized flocks (20+).  Had great looks at the Highland guans near the top of the trail. 


48; in one afternoon and 1 morning (no guide)


****  Cloud-forest birding is always a real treat. It was so mystical and the birds were amazing. We actually had 7 Resplendent Quetzals males in one tree ! The nightingale-thrushes were also a real treat.


They do have one really nice trail at the Biotopo but I didn’t see many others; meaning anything more than a day and your doing circles.


Central Guatemala, between Guatemala City and Coban.

How Do I get there:

3 or so hours from Guatemala City by bus. Make sure you tell the bus driver to let you of at the entrance of the Biotopo !  I believe there are also direct shuttles from Antigua and Guatemala City. You could also probably take a rent-a-car .


No tenting is available, or at least that we found.  Hospedaje Ranchito del Quetzal, $13.00 a night for two in a comfy bed and private bath.  This is the closest place to the Biotopo and the only one that I saw in walking distance.

Special Note: There was a male Resplendent Quetzal eating its breakfast in the trees above as we were eating ours.

What to bring:

Good flashlight/headlamp
Food, there are no tiendas within walking distance (besides the snack shop in the biotope). The food at the Hospedaje Ranchito was around $4-5 a meal. 
Camera with a descent zoom, to get the great shots of the Quetzals (take a look at the photo on the right).

The following list was compiled on evening of November 6th and morning and early afternoon of the 7th, 2006.

1. Highland Guan                                      Penelopina nigra

2. Band-tailed Pigeon                               Columba fasciata

3. Green-throated Mountain-Gem               Lampornis viridipallens

4. Resplendent Quetzal                            Pharomachrus mocinno

5. Emerald Toucanet                                Aulacorhychus prasinus

6. Hairy Woodpecker                               Picoides villosus
7. Golden-olive Woodpecker                      Piculus rubiginosus

8. Black-banded Woodcreeper                    Dendrocolaptes picumnus
9. Spotted Woodcreeper                           Xiphorhynchus erythropygius

10. Tufted Flycatcher                              Mitrephanes phaeocercus
11. Yellowish Flycatcher                           Empidonax flavescens
12. Greenish Elaenia                                Myiopagis viridicata
13. Grey-collared Becard                          Pachyramphus major
14. Eye-ringed Flatbill                             Rhynchocyalus brevirostris

15. Brown-capped Vireo                            Vireo salitarius
16. Blue-headed Vireo                               Vireo leucophrys

17. Azure-hooded Jay                               Cyanolyca cucullata
18. Unicolored Jay                                   Aphelocoma unicolor

19. Southern House Wren                         Troglodytes musculus
20. Gray-breasted Wood-wren                   Henicorhina leucophrys

21. Clay-colored Robin                              Turdus grayi
22. Mountain Robin                                  Turdus plebejus             
23. Black Robin                                       Turdus infuscatus
24. Slate-colored Solitaire                       Myadestes unicolor
25. Ruddy-capped Nightingale-thrush          Catharus frantzii
26. Black-headed Nightingale-thrush          Catharus mexicanus

27. Townsend’s Warbler                           Dendroica townsendi
28. Black-throated-green Warbler Dendroica virens
29. Black-and-white Warbler                    Mniotilta varia
30. Wilson’s Warbler                               Wilsonia pusilla
31. Slate-throated Redstart                     Myioborus miniatus
32. Chestnut-capped Warbler                    Basileuterus delattrii
33. Golden-browed Warbler                       Basileuterus belli
34. Chestnut-chested Warbler                  Vermivora superciliosa
35. Golden-winged Warbler                       Vermivora chrysoptera
36. Tennessee Warbler                            Vermivora peregrine

37. Blue-crowned Chlorophonia                  Chlorophonia occipitalis
38. Flame-colored Tanager                        Piranga bidentata
39. Common Bush-tanager             Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
40. Shinning Honeycreeper                        Cyanerpes lucidus

41. Chestnut-capped Brush-finch                Atlapetes brunneinucha
42. Blue Seedeater                                  Amarospiza concolor

43. Painted Bunting                                 Passerina ciris
44. Black-headed Saltator                        Saltator atriceps
45. Rose-breasted Grosbeak                      Pheucticus ludovicianus

46. Chestnut-headed Oropendola                Psarocolius wagleri
47. Baltimore Oriole                               Icterus galbula

48. Hooded Grosbeak                                Coccothraustes respertinus


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