Wine-throated Hummingbird Photo: Steve Howell
Honduras is one of the least-known countries in the Americas, and remains stubbornly off the beaten track. However, with speciality birds such as Resplendent Quetzal, Lovely Cotinga, Keel-billed Motmot, Wine-throated Hummingbird, and the endemic Honduran Emerald, plus comfortable lodges and beautiful scenery, visitors will quickly realize that the country provides a great introduction to Neotropical birding.
Boasting more square miles of protected area than Costa Rica, the national parks and preserves of Honduras shelter over 700 species of birds. Our tour will cover a wide selection of these protected habitats, from the misty cloud forests of La Tigra National Park to the marshes of Lago de Yojoa and the lowland coastal jungles of the Caribbean coast.
Day 1: Our tour begins mid-afternoon at Tegucigalpa Airport, followed by a short drive to our hotel in the foothills outside the city. Time permitting, we’ll have some late afternoon birding around our hotel, where birds can include Bushy-crested Jay, Yellow-backed Oriole, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, and Yellow-throated [White-naped] Brushfinch. Night near Tegucigalpa.
Day 2: La Tigra National Park offers excellent mountain birding virtually on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa and we’ll spend most of the day in this beautiful area. The network of roads and trails will enable us to see many of Central America’s higher-elevation species. These include a fine variety of hummingbirds, such as Wine-throated Hummingbird, the range-restricted Green-breasted Mountain-gem, and possibly Garnet-throated Hummingbird. Other species we might encounter include Emerald Toucanet, Resplendent Quetzal, Mountain Trogon, Spotted and Strong-billed Woodcreepers, Barred Forest-Falcon, Mountain Elaenia, Rufous-browed Wren, Slate-colored Solitaire, Rufous-collared Thrush, and Golden-browed Warbler. Night near Tegucigalpa.
Day 3: We’ll spend the morning birding near our hotel before driving northwest to Panacam Lodge at the edge of Cerro Azul Meámbar National Park on the east side of Lago de Yojoa. The lodge grounds are rich in birds, and we’ll be looking specifically for the scarce and local Keel-billed Motmot. The hummingbird mix here is somewhat different from that at La Tigra and may include the beautiful little Black-crested Coquette. Night at Panacam Lodge.
Days 4-5: We’ll have two full birding days based out of Panacam. One day we’ll drive to a recently-discovered site for the endemic Honduran Emerald, which has a very localised distribution in scattered rain-shadow habitats. These dry habitats have an interesting mix of species that also include Lesser Roadrunner, Spot-bellied Bobwhite, Elegant Trogon, Yellow-tailed Oriole, and Green Jay. We’ll also visit nearby Lake Yojoa, where we should see an array of waterbirds including Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Northern Jacana, and perhaps Ruddy and Gray-breasted Crakes. The boardwalk at the Los Naranjos archaeological site offers excellent birding, with species such as Laughing Falcon, Gartered Trogon, Green-breasted Mango, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, White-throated Flycatcher, and a wide range of wintering North American migrants. The grounds of Panacam and the entrance road are home to species including Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Northern Barred and Wedge-billed Woodcreepers, Crimson-collared Tanager, Green-backed Sparrow, Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow, and perhaps even a Northern Royal Flycatcher or Mayan [Black-faced] Antthrush. Nights at Panacam.
Day 6: We’ll have a last morning to bird around Panacam before heading north to the coastal lowlands for our last three nights and a different suite of habitats and birds. Species possible on the grounds of our lodge include Limpkin, Red-lored Parrot, Montezuma Oropendola, Spot-breasted Oriole, and numerous North American migrants at this season, including Scarlet Tanager and sundry warblers including Prothonotary, Hooded, and perhaps even Cerulean. Apart from the superb accommodation, there is a fine pool to cool off in during the hot periods of the day. Night near Tela.
Days 7–8: Several excellent birding locations lie within easy reach of our lodge. One morning we’ll visit Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, home to a rich selection of forest and edge birds including Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Black-headed Trogon, Great Antshrike, Uniform Crake, Chestnut-colored and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Long-billed Hermit, White-collared and Red-capped Manakins, Long-billed Gnatwren, Scarlet-rumped and Golden-hooded Tanagers, and Olive-backed Euphonia. We’ll keep a careful eye on the sky for various raptors, that might include include the fancy White Hawk and impressive King Vulture. Another site we’ll visit is Laguna de Los Micos, where a boat trip through the coastal wetlands can produce Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Sungrebe, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Western Slaty-Antshrike and perhaps even a roosting Northern Potoo. One afternoon we’ll visit the Rio Santiago resort to watch hundreds of hummingbirds of a dozen or so species. These will likely include the stunning Violet Sabrewing and White-necked Jacobin, dazzling Crowned Woodnymphs and, with luck, the distinctive Band-tailed Barbthroat, plus there’s always a chance to see Lovely Cotinga or roosting Spectacled Owl. Nights near Tela.
Day 9: Depending on our flight departure times, there may be a chance to enjoy another morning birding near the lodge before we depart for San Pedro Sula airport, where the trip concludes.
Updated: 17 November 2020