Birds of Honduras: Species To Watch For

The following lists containing 77 species may exist in Honduras and have not been reported to date. Their wintering or breeding ranges occur close to one of Honduras´ borders. This is not a complete list as some birds may accidentally stray into Honduras(e.g. Large-billed Tern) while other species may "show up" as large range extensions (e.g. Great Jacamar and Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant). Others continue to expand their breeding ranges either northward or southward for various factors (Tricolored Munia and Shiny Cowbird) and may eventually turn up in Honduras.

The following are species that have been recorded to the west, north or south of Honduras and should be found here as more field work is done.

  1. Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) Should be looked for in marsh habitats such as Cuero Y Salado W.R., Jeanette Kawas N.P., Lake Yojoa or La Mosquitia
  2. Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris) Should be looked for in same areas as Black Rail
  3. Yellow-breasted Crake (Porzana flaviventer) Should be looked for in same areas as Black Rail.
  4. Tawny-collared Nightjar (Caprimulgus salvini) In Mexico and one record from Nicaragua. Arid to semi humid woodland, thorn forest and scrub.
  5. Black-whiskered Vireo (Vireo altiloquus) Would be transient along Caribbean coast or Bay Islands.
  6. Blue-and-white Swallow (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca) Should be looked for in w. highlands from May to July.
  7. White-browed (Carolina) Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) Recorded in n.w. Nicaragua.
  8. Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata) Would be a rare transient on Bay Islands or Swan Islands.
  9. Connecticut Warbler (Oporornis agilis) Would be a rare transient on Bay Islands or Swan Islands.
  10. Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) Found in c. Panama and spreading northward.
  11. Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) Breeds in w. N.A. A few records from W. Indies, Costa Rica and Panama.


The following are either Pacific or Caribbean transients, wintering visitors or pelagic species that should be looked for. Many of the pelagic species listed were taken from the range maps depicted in National Geographic´s "Field Guide to the Birds of North America" and could be found in Honduran waters in the Caribbean (see Skua sp. In "Field Work" section under "Rio Platano Bioshpere Reserve". As no real pelagic Caribbean surveying has ever been done for Honduras any number of these species (or others) could eventually turn up. Some surveying has been done however (See Shoch and Canfield, Sept. 2005 "An inventory of colonial seabirds in the Islas de Bahia, Honduras")

  1. Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  2. Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  3. Cory´s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  4. Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) Pacific coast.
  5. Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus) Pacific coast.
  6. Greater Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  7. Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  8. Audubon´s Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  9. Wilson´s Storm-Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  10. Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (Oceanodrama castro) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  11. Black Storm-Petrel (Oceanodrama melania) Pacific.
  12. Least Storm-Petrel (Oceanodrama microsoma) Pacific.
  13. White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) Pelagic. Caribbean.
  14. Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) Pelagic. Caribbean or Pacific.
  15. Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica) Would be a rare Pacific transient. Coastal lagoons.
  16. Surfbird (Aphriza virgata) Transient or winter visitor in Gulf of Fonseca. Rocky areas.
  17. Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) Would occur as a winter visitor in Gulf of Fonseca.
  18. Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicaria) Would be a rare visitor along Pacific coast.
  19. Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) Pelagic. Caribbean or Pacific.
  20. Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) Coastal. Caribbean in n.w. Honduras.
  21. Sabine´s Gull (Larus sabini) Pelagic or coastal. Gula of Fonseca.
  22. Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) Coastal. Caribbean in n.w. Honduras.
  23. Elegant Tern (Sterna elegans) Coastal. Gula of Fonseca.


The following list of birds are known to winter or have a breeding range from Mexico down to Belize, Guatemala or El Salvador close to the Honduran borders and may turn up or are species that have turned up to the south of Honduras.

  1. Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Could turn up in the Gulf of Fonscea or Rio Lempa are.
  2. Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) Ranges along Yucatan to n. Belize. May turn up along n.w. Honduras coastline.
  3. White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) Winters s. to El Salvador. Could turn up in marshes around Gula of Fonseca.
  4. American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus rubber) Occurs along the Yucatan Peninsula. Could turn up along coast in n.w. Honduras.
  5. Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola) Breeds in Guatemala. Perhaps found at Lake Yojoa.
  6. Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) Numerous reports in Costa Rica. May be breeding there. Savannas and grassy areas along either coast.
  7. Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) Recorded in Costa Rica. May be expanding range. Open areas.
  8. Greater Ani (Crotophaga major) Found in n.w. Costa Rica. Could occur in extreme n.e. La Mosquitia
  9. Bearded Screech-Owl (Megascops barbarus) Breeds in highlands of Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala. To be looked for in western highlands.
  10. Unspotted Saw-Whet Owl (Aegolius ridgway) Found in highlands just over the border in El Salvador. Should be looked for in Depts. of Ocotepeque, Intibuca and La Paz.
  11. Rufous Sabrewing (Campylopterus rufus) Possible in s.w. highlands.
  12. Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) Possible in pine/oak forests in w. and s.w. Honduras.
  13. Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis) Possible in n.w. Honduras.
  14. Russet-crowned Motmot (Momotus mexicanus) Occurs near Guatemala/Honduras border. Likely to occur in the Depts. of Copan or Santa Barbara.
  15. Couch´s Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii) Could occur in n.w. Honduras.
  16. Virginia´s Warbler (Vermivora virginiae) Could occur in n.w. Honduras.
  17. Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata) One found in Costa Rica. Probable in w. highlands.
  18. Gray-throated Chat (Granatellus sallaei) Possible in n.w. Honduras.
  19. Yellow Grosbeak (Pheucticus chrysopeplus) Possible in s.w. Honduras.
  20. Varied Bunting (Passerini versicolor) Population close to Honduran border. Should occur in n. Dept. of Copan and Santa Barabara.
  21. Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii) One reported in Costa Rica in Feb. 2004. Would show up along Pacific Coast.


The following list are species that occur from Nicaragua southward and are likely to turn up in the Dept. of Gracias A Dios, Olancho, El Paraiso or Choluteca. This is just a list of probables and it is more than likely that other "surprises" will turn up. Our finding of the Great Jacamar in the Tawahka-Asangni B.R. in 2004 was one of those surprises. It was then subsequently found in Nicaragua in 2005. Readers should refer to R.S. Ridgely´s "A Guide to the Birds of Panama with Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras", second edition, 1989, for more information.

  1. Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii) Found in open areas.
  2. Tiny Hawk (Accipiter superciliosus) Humid forest and second growth woodland.
  3. Paint-billed Crake (Neocrex erythrops) Colombia to Panama with records from s. U.S. Could occur in the vast wetlands of La Mosquitia.
  4. Purplish-backed Quail-Dove (Geotrygon lawrencii) Found in s. Mexico and Costa Rica to e. Panama. Possible in rainforests of La Mosquitia.
  5. Violaceous Quail-Dove (Geotrygon violacea) Possible in rainforests of La Mosquitia.
  6. Crimson-fronted Parakeet (Aratinga finschi) Woodland borders and even cleared areas.
  7. Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus geoffroyi) Reported by locals as occurring in Rio Platano B.R.
  8. Black-bellied Hummingbird (Eupherusa nigriventris) A bird seen briefly, but up close in the Malacate area of Sierra de Agalta may well have been this species. The bird was all dark in front with the brown wing patch and white in the tail. Ranges from Costa Rica to w. Panama.
  9. Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerottei) Possible in extreme s.w. highlands.
  10. Lanceolated Monklet (Micromonacha lanceolata) Ranges from Costa Rica southward, but given its small size and habits it may have gone unnoticed in Nicaragua such as occurred with the Great Jacamar.
  11. Cinnamon Woodpecker (Celeus loricatus) Rainforest and edge.
  12. Striped Woodhaunter (Hyloctistes subulatus) Lower growth of rainforest.
  13. Black-striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) Rainforest subcanopy.
  14. Wing-banded Antbird (Myrmornis torquata) Forest floor.
  15. Yellow Tyrannulet (Capsiempis flaveola) Thickets and overgrown pastures.
  16. Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant (Myiornis atricapillus) Ranges from Costa Ricato S. America. Its diminutive size and habits make this a species that may have been overlooked in Nicaragua.
  17. Bay Wren (Thryothorus nigricapillus) Undergrowth near streams. Heliconia thickets.
  18. Tawny-faced Gnatwren (Microbates cinereiventris) Undergrowth of humid forest.
  19. Slate-throated Gnatcatcher (Polioptila schistaceigula) See notes in "Field Work" section, "Tawahka-Asangni B.R."
  20. Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum) Clearings and forest borders. Palms.
  21. Blue-and-gold Tanager (Bangsia arcaei) See notes in "Field Work" section, "Tawahka-Asangni B.R."
  22. Nicaraguan Seed-Finch (Oryzoborus nuttingi) Damp shrubby or grassy areas.