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Birding Tours of ChiapasBirding Tours of Chiapas and Oaxaca

This exciting tour, which we run every few years, focuses on one of the richest areas of bird endemism in Mexico: the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Beyond the endemics, the region’s unique blend of species reflects its location at the point where the Nearctic faunal realm meets the Neotropics. South of the isthmus, for example, there are no more chickadees or nuthatches, two bird families very much part of the temperate northern avifauna, but the diversity shoots up in terms of antbirds and tyrant-flycatchers, two families centered in the Neotropics.


Day 1: The trip begins this evening in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Night in Tuxtla Gutiérrez


Days 2-4: Just north of Tuxtla is the dramatic Sumidero Canyon National Park, where the Grijalva River cuts its exit from the central valley of Chiapas to drain eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll devote most of two days to this superb area, whose birds include Lesser Roadrunner, a variety of hummingbirds, Belted and Flammulated Flycatchers, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, Red-breasted Chat, Yellow Grosbeak, the bamboo specialist Blue Seedeater and the poorly known Bar-winged Oriole. We’ll also explore other areas in the vicinity of Tuxtla, among them Atlantic-slope rainforests, where we may find the very local Nava’s Wren, and highland pine-oak forests, home to the handsome Pink-headed Warbler. We’ll also visit the world-famous Tuxtla Gutiérrez zoo, where many of the birds and mammals roam freely in native forest: Great Curassows wander the trails and spider monkeys swing overhead. Nights in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.


Day 5: This morning we’ll head inland to Arriaga, on the Pacific slope of the Isthmus, starting in some Atlantic Slope rainforest before winding down through foothills that are home to one of Mexico’s most localized endemics: Rosita’s Bunting, named in honor of the wife of François Sumichrast. Having seen this bird, one may conclude that if Rosita was as beautiful as her namesake, then Sumichrast was indeed a lucky man! Other birds in the area include Canivet’s Emerald and Stripe-headed Sparrow. Night in Arriaga.


Day 6: Today we’ll explore the nearby coastal lowlands where birds include a good variety of wintering migrants as well as a suite of resident species such as the amazing Giant Wren, bounding flocks of Orange-chinned Parakeets and the enigmatic Mangrove Black-Hawk. Numbers of waterbirds here can be spectacular, the lagoons dotted with spinning flocks of Wilson’s Phalaropes, blushes of Roseate Spoonbills and blizzards of egrets. Night in Arriaga.


Day 7: This morning we’ll bird in some thorn forest near town before heading to Tehuantepec after lunch. In late afternoon we’ll look for Sumichrast’s Sparrow, a very local endemic named in honor of the pioneering French naturalist who resided for many years in the isthmus in the late 1800s. Other birds in this area include the secretive Lesser Ground-Cuckoo and the spectacular White-throated Magpie-Jay. Night in Tehuantepec.


Day 8: Today is a travel day as we make the spectacular drive through diverse cactus desert from the heat of Tehuantepec up to the temperate Oaxaca Valley. Birds change accordingly, from Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and Rufous-naped Wren to Gray-breasted Woodpecker and White-throated Towhee. Often this is a good drive for hummingbirds, and we’ll look especially for the endemic Green-fronted Hummingbird. Night in Oaxaca.


Days 9-11: We’ll spend three days visiting habitats within an easy drive of our hotel, building an idea of the avifauna in a diversity of habitats at the southern end of the Nearctic region and finding a variety of little-known endemics. Birds around Oaxaca include Beautiful Hummingbird, Pileated Flycatcher, Mexican Chickadee, Dwarf Jay, Brown-backed Solitaire, Slaty and Dwarf Vireos, Red Warbler and, of course, the very local Oaxaca Sparrow. We’ll also sample some of the tourist sights, and no trip to the city is complete without a walk in the zocalo and dinner downtown. Nights in Oaxaca City.


Day 12: The trip concludes this morning in Oaxaca City.


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Birding Tours of Chiapas


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