Discover the birds of ANTIGUA GUATEMALA
and their habitats with Knut Eisermann & Claudia Avendaño

Antigua Guatemala is located in the southern volcanic highlands of Guatemala at an altitude of 1500 m (4900 ft). The town's surroundings within 50 km range from near sea level to 3800 m (12,500 ft). More than 400 bird species occur in this area.

Birds of Antigua Guatemala
Some birds of Antigua Guatemala

The mean annual precipitation of 1000 mm (40 in) in the near surroundings of Antigua Guatemala is relatively low, compared to Guatemala's most humid rain and cloud forest areas which receive more than 4000 mm (160 in). Therefore, natural forests on the slopes around Antigua are mainly semihumid pine-oak forests and arid forests not taller than 15 meters. Cloud forests are restricted to the most humid upper slopes.

Montane forest near Antigua Guatemala
Pine-oak forest in the surroundings of Antigua Guatemala.

The landscape above 500 m (1640 ft) belongs to the Endemic Bird Area North Central American Highlands (EBA 018), which includes the South-Mexican highlands south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the highlands of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and western Nicaragua. More than 25 bird species are restricted to this area, such as Pink-headed Warbler, Bar-winged Oriole, Horned Guan, Highland Guan, and Black-capped Siskin, to name a few. Another 30 species have a wider range restricted to the highlands of northern Central America and the Sierra Madre mountain range of Mexico, such as Mountain Trogon, Brown-backed Solitaire, or Amethyst-throated Mountain-gem. Most of the regional endemic bird species are well represented in the surroundings of Antigua Guatemala.

Highland Guan
Highland Guan Penelopina nigra occurs mainly in the most humid parts of the forest ...

Some of the regional endemics are widespread and occur in any kind mountain forest, such as Rufous-browed Wren and Brown-backed Solitaire. Others occur only locally because of habitat specialization or general rarity, such as Horned Guan, Wine-throated Hummingbird, or Belted Flycatcher.

Belted Flycatcher
... while Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus prefers dry oak forests

During the boreal winter, Antigua Guatemala's avifauna is enriched by numerous Nearctic-Neotropical migratory birds. Among the earliest to arrive in fall are the waterthrushes (Northern and Louisiana), Black-and-white Warbler, Canada Warbler, Yellow-bellied and Least flycatchers. From September to April/May, large mixed flocks of warblers and vireos (Warbling, Blue-headed, Philadelphia, Brown-capped vireos) can be observed. Townsend's, Wilson's, Tennessee, and Black-and-white warblers belong to the most common wintering warblers, but also Black-throated Green, Hermit, Red-faced, and Nashville warblers often join the flocks. Once in a while also Golden-cheeked and Golden-winged warblers can be seen. Among the resident warblers, Slate-throated Redstart, Crescent-chested Warbler, Rufous-capped, Pink-headed, and Olive warblers can be seen in the mixed flocks.

MacGillivray's Warbler
MacGillivray's Warblers Geothlypis tolmiei are wintering in forests and scrub land around Antigua Guatemala.

The avifauna of Antigua Guatemala is not only interesting for keen birders looking for regional endemic birds. It is also interesting for beginning bird watchers and nature enthusiasts who simply want to enjoy a day in the woods, seeing some exotic looking birds such as toucans (Northern Emerald-Toucanet), trogons (Collared Trogon and MountainTrogon), motmots (Blue-throated Motmot, Lesson's Motmot) or hummingbirds (e.g. Violet Sabrewing or Berylline Hummingbird).

Berylline Hummingbird
Berylline Hummingbird Saucerottia beryllina showing off its beryl-green plumage.

Start here planning your birding day trip from Antigua Guatemala, using our online form or by telephone / WhatsApp / Signal: +502 5308 5160:


Publications by
Knut Eisermann & Claudia Avendaño concerning the birds of Antigua Guatemala

owls of Guatemala

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2018) An update on the inventory, distribution and residency status of bird species in Guatemala. Bulletin British Ornithologists' Club 138: 148-229.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2017) The owls of Guatemala. 447-515 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Neotropical owls: diversity and conservation. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Eisermann, K. (2013) Vocal field marks of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl. Neotropical Birding 13: 8-13.

Recent publications of CAYAYA BIRDING staff

Eisermann, K. & S. N. G. Howell (2011). Vocalizations of the Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium cobanense). Journal of Raptor Research 45: 304-314.

Howell, S. N. G. & K. Eisermann (2011) Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium cobanense is a good species. Neotropical Birding 9: 74-76.

Eisermann, K. (2011) Citizen science in the ornithology of a developing country: Christmas Bird Counts in Guatemala. Birding 43: 38-47.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Important Bird Areas of the Neotropics: Guatemala. Neotropical Birding 5: 4-11.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Guatemala. Pp. 235-242 In: C. Devenish, D. F. Diaz Fernández, R. P. Clay, I. Davidson & I. Y. Zabala (eds.) Important Bird Areas Americas, priority sites for biodiversity conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series 16. Birdlife International, Quito, Ecuador.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Conservation priority-setting in Guatemala through the identification of Important Bird Areas. Proceedings of the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference, Tundra to Tropics: 315-327.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2007) Lista comentada de las aves de Guatemala - Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Checklist of the Birds of Guatemala
Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala by Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño, published by Lynx (2007).

Eisermann, K. & K. Omland (2007) Coloration anomaly of a male Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris). Acta Zoológica Mexicana (n.s.) 23(2): 197-200.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2006) Diversidad de aves en Guatemala, con una lista bibliográfica. Pp. 525-623 In: E. Cano (ed.) Biodiversidad de Guatemala, Vol. 1. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala.

Eisermann, K., N. Herrera & O. Komar (2006) Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra). Pp. 85-90 In: D. M. Brooks (ed.) Conserving Cracids: the most threatened family of birds in the Americas. Miscellaneous Publications of the Houston Museum of Natural Science 6.

More results of our research ...


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