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00o00´/00o00´ ha 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (22nd to 25th & 28th December 2006)


Birding Site Guide

December 22: Villahermosa to Palenque: Was a relatively quiet day, spent mostly on the road getting to Palenque, getting a place to stay and relax a bit. After checking the rough guide we ended up picking “El Panchan” right next to the entrance of the Palenque site. It was a dump. The only good things to be said about it is the restaurant next door called “Don Mucho’s” which had excellent food, and that it’s located at the entrance of the site and that it’s dirt cheap. This is probably the worst place I’ve ever had the misfortune to stay at. Didn’t help that they had a (real crap) live band on the night we arrived which didn’t know when to quit. We didn’t get any sleep that night. The place has some birds on its grounds though. A short walk around netted us Wedge-tailed Sabrewings, several species of North American warblers, several spot-breasted wrens which showed well for a change and an Ochre-bellied Flycatcher. A raucous cacophony of calls turned out to be a group of Howler Monkeys. 

December 23: the ruins of Palenque: As we were awake anyway we got up before dawn and headed out to the ruins. We weren’t allowed past the museum, but upon request and having to promise we wouldn’t go up to the ruins, we were allowed to bird the road past the museum and the trail leading to some waterfalls (Cascade trail). The parking area and forest/scrub edge around the museum was quite birdy and netted us a male violaceous trogon, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Lesser Greenlets and Scrub and Yellow-throated Euphonias. A Bat Falcon was sitting on the radio antenna on top of the museum. Along the trail to the right just after where the road crosses the stream, which leads through the remaining forest at the foot of the hill we saw Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Violet Sabrewing, Long-tailed Hermits, an obliging White-breasted Wood-Wren, a single Green-backed Sparrow, and a pair of Green Honeycreepers. Being the holidays the ruins were already packed with people by the time we got to them, though there was still bird activity around some of the fruiting trees. The lovely Golden-hooded Tanager and an obliging pair of Black-cheeked Woodpeckers were new for the trip. The “temple of inscriptions” trail is unfortunately still closed off, and is being guarded for trespassers. The heat and the lack of sleep got to us in the end and we retired to our “lodgings” for a long siesta and planning the next day. 

December 24: more Palenque and Usumacinta marshes: Up at dawn and straight back to the museum area. Less activity than the day before, though a new species of trogon was seen: a fine male Black-headed Trogon, then on to the ruins to get there as the first visitors. As it was a Sunday entrance was free. We headed straight for the area near the back of the main square but found the area quiet and went for the cascade trail instead. A Chestnut-collared Woodpecker showed well, and then we heard a Mexican Antthrush calling close by. It never showed itself however, though at one point it can’t have been more than 5 meters away from us. We’d hear it again later on in Bonampak and Yaxchillan, but never set eyes on one. Once the ruins started to fill up with people, we headed out and decided to bird the La Libertad road on the way to the Usumacinta marshes. It being the afternoon we didn’t see much along the road excepting a Laughing Falcon perched in on an open branch. A couple of ponds near to Emiliano Zapata held a good variety of wading birds as well and some wildfowl including Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. There are extensive marshes on the near (Palenque) side of the bridge, but with no space to park and lots of traffic speeding past a fleeting glimpse of a Black-collared Hawk, was all we got. The fields along the Playa Larga road described in Howell were mostly dry, yielding little in the way of birds. The first stretch of the Balancan road was dry as well, but about 8-10 kilometers in we hit a large number of flooded fields and meadows, holding thousands of ducks and waders, shorebirds and a bonanza of raptors: both species of Night Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, 5 Jabirus, 2 Snail Kites, a Great Black-Hawk perched by the side of the road, a single White-tailed Hawk, 2 Aplomado Falcons, peregrine, a laughing falcon... Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures were common. Other new birds were Ringed Kingfisher, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Tropical Mockingbird. No Pinnated Bittern though. We birded the road and several side tracks until dusk and decided to come back at dawn and try again for the bittern in the morning. 
December 25: Usumacinta marshes: Back to the Playa Larga road. Just before we crossed the Usumacinta bridge a Bare-throated Tiger-Heron lazily flew across the road. Activity was good along the Playa Larga Road. It being Christmas we had it all to ourselves. Plain-breasted Ground-Dove and Grassland Yellow-Finch were foraging on or along the road; a crane hawk perched on the utility wire and remained there right above our parked car. Purple Gallinules were out feeding and again herons everywhere, but not the bittern and near noon we reluctantly headed back towards the highway to start the long drive to Rio Bec Dreams, about halfway along the road between Francisco Escarcega and Chetumal from where we would explore Calakmul for the next 3 days.

Species seen 

  • Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus
  • Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
  • Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus platypterus
  • Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis rufigularis
  • Aztec Parakeet Aratinga astec
  • White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
  • Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
  • Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl tzacatl
  • Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus hemileucurus
  • Wedge-tailed Sabrewing Campylopterus curvipennis
  • Western Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris
  • Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
  • Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
  • Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
  • Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
  • Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
  • Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus yucatanensis
  • Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker Celeus castaneus
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
  • Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
  • Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
  • White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta
  • Spot-breasted Wren Thryothorus maculipectus
  • Mexican Antthrush Formicarius moniliger
  • Wood Thrush Catharus mustelinus
  • White-throated Thrush Turdus assimilis
  • Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
  • Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
  • Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
  • Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
  • White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
  • Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
  • Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
  • Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia
  • Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
  • American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
  • Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorus
  • Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
  • Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
  • Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla
  • Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus
  • Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina
  • Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
  • Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
  • Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
  • Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi
  • Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
  • Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
  • Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
  • Green-backed Sparrow Arremonops chloronotus chloronotus
  • Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris



  • Thicket Tinamou Crypturellus cinnamomeus
  • Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus mexicanus
  • Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
  • Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
  • Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
  • Great Egret Egretta alba egretta
  • Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens rufescens
  • Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
  • Snowy Egret Egretta thula thula
  • Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis ibis
  • Green Heron Butorides virescens
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violaceus
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli
  • Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
  • Wood Stork Mycteria americana
  • Jabiru Jabiru mycteria
  • White Ibis Eudocimus albus
  • Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
  • Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
  • Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor
  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis autumnalis
  • Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
  • Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
  • Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
  • Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
  • Black Vulture Coragyps atratus atratus
  • Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura aura
  • Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus burrovianus
  • Osprey Pandion haliaetus carolinensis
  • Marsh Harrier Circus hudsonius
  • Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
  • Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis nigricollis
  • Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
  • Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus platypterus
  • Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus fuliginosus
  • Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus albonotatus
  • Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
  • Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans cachinnans
  • American Kestrel Falco sparverius
  • Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis septentrionalis
  • Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis rufigularis
  • Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
  • Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinicus
  • American Coot Fulica americana americana
  • Limpkin Aramus guarauna dolosus
  • South American Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
  • American Avocet Recurvirostra americana
  • Killdeer Charadrius vociferus vociferus
  • Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa
  • Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
  • Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
  • Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
  • Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
  • Stilt Sandpiper Micropalama himantopus
  • Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis palidicrissa
  • Red-billed Pigeon Patagioenas flavirostris
  • Plain-breasted Ground-Dove Columbina minuta interrupta
  • White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
  • Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
  • Russet-crowned Motmot Momotus mexicanus
  • Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota coeruliceps
  • Ivory-billed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus flavigaster
  • Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
  • White-bellied Wren Uropsila leucogastra
  • Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
  • Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans nigricans
  • Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
  • Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla
  • Grassland Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteola
  • Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
  • Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
  • Blue Grosbeak Passerina caerulea
  • Audubon's Oriole Icterus graduacauda
  • Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
  • Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus


Species seen Rio Bec 25.12.2006

  • Great Curassow Crax rubra
  • Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
  • Yucatan Woodpecker Melanerpes pygmaeus
  • Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus sylvia
  • Yucatán Jay Cyanocorax yucatanicus
  • Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis


For a full Excel species trip list please contact the authors:

Regis Nossent: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Filip Beeldens: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.