Bird watching in Guyana: A lifetime ticket to the theatre of nature
Observing the beauty and grace of birds is perhaps one of nature’s greatest pleasures to mankind. And in Guyana, bird watching is as they say an absolute lifetime ticket to the theatre of its rich, pristine nature.
In fact, eighty percent of Guyana’s 83,000 sq miles is covered with tropical rainforest. And weaving throughout the nation’s lush forests are homes for hundreds of species of birds.
In fact, Guyana has over 815 migrant and resident bird species for visitors to enjoy. Whether one is a beginner or a keen birder, watching magnificent species of birds unreservedly soaring overhead and whistling is truly an unforgettable experience.
In Guyana, there exists a range of parrots, toucans, the harpy eagle, Guiana Cock-of-the-Rock, Blood-Coloured Woodpecker, Crimson Fruit crow, and the Elusive Rufus-Winged Ground-Cuckoo. Being a safe haven for these species and more, Guyana is indeed a bird heaven and a place where birders should always visit.
Furthermore, bird watching in the Guyana’s rainforest has been featured in Birdwatch, Waterlife, Condé Nast Traveller, Guardian Unlimited, and the Sundowner; all of which are a testimony to the nation’s unique bird-watching qualities.
And if that is not enough, Guyana has also been ranked beside Peru, also on the South American continent, which is considered the best destination in the world for birding.
Geographers note that Guyana is divided into three beautiful and distinct areas. They are the Coastlands, the Rainforest and the Savannahs. Each of the three areas offers its own mesmerizing collection of species.
In fact, there are a number of gorgeous bird hotspots for all to visit and enjoy.
A country’s capital city may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a birding trip, but Georgetown, with its location at the convergence of the Demerara River and the Atlantic Ocean, is flooded with Neo-tropical bird species, local bird experts contend.
In fact, out of Guyana’s 800-plus species of birds, more than 180 from 39 different families have been recorded there.
According to the experts from Guyana’s bird watching society, the Georgetown-based Guyana Amazon Tropical Birds Society (GATBS), one of the best bird watching locations in the city, is the Botanical Gardens.
The Botanical Gardens dates back to 1877 when British Guiana’s Court of Policy granted the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society permission to create a Botanical and Horticultural Garden in Georgetown.
To facilitate the process, the government purchased 276 acres of the backlands of an old coffee plantation called Vlissingen. Roughly 185 acres of this land were set aside for the gardens.
The gardens are also decorated with manmade monuments and structures, some of which still serve as centerpieces today.
The main ornithological highlight there is the Blood-colored Woodpecker, an astonishingly colorful Veniliornis found only in the three Guianas. Local bird experts say that within its range, the bird is almost wholly limited to the narrow coastal plain, and the gardens are one of the best places in Guyana to find it. Also present are the Great Horned Owl, Green Ibis, Golden-spangled Piculet, White-bellied Piculet, Black-crested Antshrike, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, and Wing-barred Seedeater.
Around the garden’s ponds are healthy populations of Great, Snowy and Cattle Egret along with Pinnated Bittern, Black-capped Donacobius, Wattled Jacana, Black-crowned Night, Tri-Colored and Little Blue Heron. Raptors can include Peregrine Falcon, Snail and Gray Kite and Yellow-headed Caracara.
Red-and-green Macaw, Red-shouldered Macaw and Brown-throated Parakeet are also present, as are all five species of Amazonian parrots found in Guyana: Festive, Mealy, Blue-cheeked, Orange-winged and Yellow-crowned. A Toco Toucan or two have also been known to show their flashy bills.
Other bird watching havens include the Kaieteur National Park, Guyana’s lush Rupununi, the Essequibo region, and the Coastline areas.