Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by Nancie
See a cool bird while visiting Mexico? Wondering what it is? Here are some pictures to help.
Several years ago, we visited Mexico in late November for the first time. I already posted about the birds we saw on that trip. The following summer, we went back to the Yucatan and saw a few more really cool birds. This group includes birds we saw in three places in the Yucatan: Merida, Playa Del Carmen (between Cancun and Tulum) and Tulum.
2023 Update: After visiting Merida again a few years later, I added a few more birds to the Merida section of this post.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
We were in Mexico this time for a wedding, so again it was what I call “birding around the edges” and not a birding trip. But when you are someplace very different than your usual birding habitat, even birds that are everyday birds to the local folks can be pretty fascinating. I highlighted a few of birds in my previous post but I got some nice new pictures of some of them and a few are birds we didn’t see on our first trip.
Birds of Merida
The houses where we stayed in Mexico were inside small walled yards. So whenever we stayed somewhere, I would try to get up on the roof to watch the birds in the early morning while everyone else was still asleep. This lovely White-Winged Dove was sitting up on the wires near the house where we stayed in Merida.
Here is a Tropical Mockingbird sitting on top of PVC water tubes on a neighboring rooftop in Merida. They seem to like to sit up somewhere high early in the morning.
Note: On our last visit to Merida and the nearby beach town of Progresso, we also saw Ruddy Ground Doves, Rock Pigeons, Great-Tailed Grackles, Magnificent Frigate Birds, Brown Pelicans and Double-Crested Cormorants.
In November of 2023, we returned once again to visit family living in Merida. In their neighborhood, I saw many of the same common birds from past trips, but there was also this lovely little Yellow-throated Warbler busy looking for bugs in their back yard.
Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows and Northern Rough-Winged Swallows
Another surprising type of bird on the November 2023 trip were the swallows. Here in Maryland I’m used to seeing swallows soaring around over ponds and fields. In this small Merida neighborhood, Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows and Norther Rough-Winged Swallows would arrive to sit on the tubes on the roof tops and do endless early morning circles up and down the paved neighborhood street while I watched them from an upstairs balcony only a few feet away.
Birds of Playa Del Carmen
The wedding was at a resort in Playa Del Carmen (south of Cancun and about an hour north of Tulum.) One morning I was sitting on the hotel room’s balcony and I caught sight of a bird in the foliage on the other side of the small lawn. It moved like a hummingbird but was much larger than the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds I’m used to.
This neotropical hummingbird is a Green-Breasted Mango. The female and immature mangos have a dark stripe down the center of their throat and breast and the immatures also have some rusty mottling along the throat and breast edges and there is a bit of that here, so I think this one is an immature.
The resort had a lot of water winding between various public buildings and these were spots to look for birds. Neotropic Cormorants look a lot like the Double-Creasted Cormorants we see up our way, but they are a bit smaller with a longer tail and some white bordering the orange chin. The brown on this one indicates a juvenile.
This mature Neotropic Cormorant was hanging out under a stairway and bridge that crossed one of the waterways. We saw the cormorants every morning on our way to breakfast.
Note: We also saw Double-Crested Cormorants at the resort this time as well as in the waters of Progresso on our previous visit to Mexico.
Birds of Tulum
The Yucatan Jay was another new bird for me on this trip. We saw them several places in Tulum, always in trees. This one was part of a group of jays that were busy in the trees in the shaded walk that leads you into the ruins of Tulum. I also saw a couple in the trees behind the house we were staying in near Tulum where they were eating berries.
Out in the open areas of the ruins, Bronzed Cowbirds were industriously poking around in the grass. Check out the bright red eyes. (Their eyes are red in breeding season and orange in non-breeding.)
Apparently Bronzed Cowbirds like to puff up their neck feathers. I think it makes him look very top heavy or like he is wearing a Dracula cape.
The Tropical Kingbird is another bird that we saw at the Tulum ruins. They like to sit out on a perch in an open area and sally out to hawk insects so they are hard to miss.
If you visit the Yucatan, you really need to visit at least one cenote. This is one of many Cave Swallows flying around inside Tulum’s Gran Cenote. They had built nests all around the walls with mud.
Can you blame me for choosing the Turquoise-Browed Motmots as my favorite birds of this trip? They are gorgeous and look at that tail! A group of motmots sat in the trees on the outside edges of the Gran Cenote near Tulum looking very regal. Apparently cenotes are a good spot to find them.
Note: On our previous visit to Tulum, we also saw Green Jays, Yellow-Backed Orioles, Yucatan Woodpeckers, Great Cachalacas, Great Kiskadees and Sanderlings.
The Yucatan is full of beautiful and fascinating birds. Even if you can’t get to one of the nature reserves to go birding, you can still see interesting birds if you pay attention around the edges!
Learn More About Birds of Mexico
Need to identify a bird you are seeing in Mexico? I have four suggestions for smartphone apps in my post on Apps to ID Birds in Mexico.
To see more pictures of Mexican Birds, see my post on Birds Seen in Mexico.
All About Birds Website: (This Cornell Lab of Ornithology website’s focus is U.S. birds but there is overlap with Mexico where birds can be found in both countries.)
Neotropical Birds Online (This is another Cornell Lab website, this time focusing on Neotropical birds. The amount of information available on specific birds is often not as extensive as on the All About Birds website, but there is still interesting information to be found here about birds not included on the former’s site.)
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