Honduras is a country in northern Central America with a great diversity of habitats. The country has largely a tropical monsoon climate, with pronounced wet and dry seasons (the timings of which vary slightly depending on location in the country).To the north lies the Caribbean and there are several islands that are under Honduran control. To the south lies the Pacific, though Honduras only has a small pacific coastline in the Gulf of Fonseca. Much of the interior of the country consists of highland areas that tend to be covered with pine forests, with cloud forest on the highest parts. Many of the valleys in between are very arid and are habitat to many unique birds, such as the endemic Honduran Emerald and distinctive endemic subspecies of Green-backed Sparrow and White-bellied Wren. Much of the lowlands along the north coast is covered by tropical rainforest, especially in the north-eastern part of the country where there has been relatively little disturbance.
Two of BirdLife International's Endemic Bird Areas are found in the country: The North Central American Highlands and the North Central American Pacific Slope.
The only endemic species in the country is the Honduran Emerald Amazilia luciae, which inhabits thorn forests of the dry interier valleys. Much of this habitat has been lost to agriculture and the Emerald is now classified as critically endangered. The Vitelline Warbler Dendroica vitellina is only found on the Swan Islands of Honduras and the Cayman Islands. Keel-billed Motmot Electron carinatum is only found in rainforests from south eastern Mexico to northern Costa Rica. Golden-cheeked Warblers winter in the northern highlands.
The country has not been well enough studied to fully establish the status of many of the species found. Most years, a number of new species are added to the Honduran list.
Areas of Interest
There are a number of species that are largely restricted to the two BirdLife endemic bird areas that are found in the country. The North Central American Highlands is an endemic bird area that extends from the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico to western Nicaragua. Many of the following species are confined to this area or just beyond and are found in the highlands of Honduras.
Highland Guan Penelopina nigra
Buffy-crowned Wood Partridge Dendrortyx leucophrys
Ocellated Quail Cyrtonyx occelatus
White-faced Quail Dove Geotrygon albifacies
Red-throated Parakeet Aratinga rubritorques
Fulvous Owl Strix fulvescens
Emerald-chinned Hummingbird Abeillia abeillei
Green-throated Mountain Gem Lampornis viridipallens
Garnet-throated Hummingbird Lamprolaima rhami
Slender Sheartail Doricha enicura
Wine-throated Hummingbird Atthis ellioti
Blue-throated Motmot Aspatha gularis
Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus
Bushy-crested Jay Cyanocorax melanocyaneus
Black-throated Jay Cyanolyca pumilo
Unicolored Jay Aphelocoma unicolor
Black-capped Swallow Notiochelidon pileata
Rufous-browed Wren Troglodytes rufociliatus
Slate-colored Solitaire Myadestes unicolor
Rufous-collared Thrush Turdus rufitorques
Blue and White Mockingbird Melanotis hypoleucus
Prevost's Ground Sparrow Melozone biarcuatum (mainly in coffee plantations)
White-eared Ground Sparrow Melozone leucotis (mainly in coffee plantations)
Bar-winged Oriole Icterus maculialatus (mainly in coffee plantations at mid elevations)
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia Chlorophonia occipitalis
The North Central American Pacific Slope extends from southern Mexico along the Pacific slope to north-western Costa Rica. Only a small part of Honduras extends onto the Pacific slope and the area has been largely overlooked by birders. The following Honduran species are largely confined to this region.
White-bellied Chachalaca Ortalis leucogastra
Pacific Parakeet Aratinga strenua
Yellow-naped Parrot Amazona auropalliata
Pacific Screech Owl Megascops cooperi
Blue-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia cyanura (the southern form A. c. cyanura)
Bonta, M. and Anderson, D. L. (2003) Birding Honduras: a checklist and guide. EcoArte, Honduras. ISBN 1585442496
Monroe, B. L., Jr (1968). A distributional survey of the birds of Honduras. Ornithological Monographs No. 7. AOU. ISBN 0943610079
http://tomjenner.com/mayanbirding/index.html has information on the birds and birding sites in Honduras.
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