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Which place to visit for good bird photography oppertunities? (1 Viewer)

Arie G

Hi all,

Last year I went to Sulawesi and West Papua for birding. In general Sulawesi had very good oppertunities for bird photography, especially the Kingfishers which were not shy at all. Light was quite bad but there was often time to use a tripod so those pictures turned out quite well. In contrast West Papua was quite difficult (Arfak Mountains/Waigeo), the hides for birds of paradise were nice but it was hard to take decent pictures while walking; vegetation is quite dense, light is bad, birds are usually far away and often there's backlight.

So I'm looking for another destination to do a couple of weeks of birding. I know from experience that Africa has a lot of easy to photograph birds (I've been to Kenya/Uganda), but I do prefer exotic birds and having done Asia last year I'm leaning more towards central or south America. I've been to Panama/Costa Rica like 5 years ago, I do like the 'more wild' feeling compared to Asia, wasn't really into bird photography at that time but there were some others who were complaining about a lack of birds and generally dark conditions, it was wet season though). Two years ago I went to Peru/Bolivia/Chile, didn't go into the Amazon so didn't get to see the same amount of 'into the wild' feeling like in Panama/Costa Rica (love the cloudforests), but got a nice taste of hummingbirds in Arica, Chile and around Machu Picchu (Blue-Naped Chlorophonia, several nice species of Tanagers).

Some random thoughts :)

- I would like to see the resplendent Quetzal as I didn't get a good view five
years ago. Still there are other species of Quetzal in South America which
would suffice as well, I like trogons in general. Also like hummingbirds, especially the exotic ones.
- I'll probably go independent, maybe I'll try to find a companion on
Birdforum or join one. I don't speak Spanish, and (guiding) costs are a
consideration. Probably higher compared to Indonesia?
- I'm leaning towards Ecuador. Colombia seems good as well but I don't
speak Spanish so that's probably not a good idea. Same for some countries like Guatemala, what about Belize?
- I also like diving, if affordable would be a big plus

Hope my rambling makes any sense, help would be appreciated!
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Maroon Jay

Belize is a good choice. Lots of birds there and everyone there speaks English. Check the Belize Birding Network on Facebook. Also nice beaches. Not wildly know but Belize also has a couple of Caribbean Islands. You can get there by boat from Belize City. Many people also go there for diving. Belize has the second largest coral reef in the world after Australia. One of my favourite countries.


Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
If going independently with no Spanish, then northern Ecuador (lodges around Mindo plus Tandayapa, Bellavista, Refugio Paz de las Aves) just to mention a few places. Most interesting birds are in forest environment, and you will see clouds and rain (sometimes be inside the clouds) but that is part of the deal. Take a look at threads in this section of birdforum: https://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=563

In southern Ecuador, birds are also great but you need to have at least a little spanish if traveling independently.


Arie G

Thanks for the help. Ecuador sounds like the best choice. I would love to visit the Galapegos for diving and birding as well, but it seems I'll have to rob a bank before doing that x)
Belize doesn't look bad, but I'm afraid I'm a bit spoiled after diving in Indonesia, Raja Ampat. And it's probably quite touristy. Beaches do look good but wildlife is more important for me.
Guess I need to start saving!

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