Managua Birdwatching Tours




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Sustainable Development and Wild Nature Conservation in NICARAGUA

Gaia Birdwatching Tours

birdwatching Nicaragua

The Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) is common in open areas with trees as well as in forested areas. It can be seen throughout Managua. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.

Nature lovers have much to do in Nicaragua, and even their time in Managua can be satisfying. Over seven hundred bird species have been documented in Nicaragua. Many of those species are found within the urban center of Managua. Lots of green space with interesting birds can be found in different points in the city, especially along the shores of Lake Managua and three volcanic crater lakes, parks and several neighborhoods in the southern part of the city. Among the many cosmopolitan birds, green spaces and waterfronts provide opportunities to see numerous species of both migratory and resident birds which depend on more natural environments.

Chiroxiphia linearis

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis) in Laguna de Tiscapa. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.

While the best birdwatching and nature tourism lies in protected areas outside the capital, you can still enjoy some very interesting and unique wildlife found right in Managua. Greenspaces are found throughout the city, in private properties such as hotel grounds and wooded areas, in municipal parks, around volcanic crater lakes, and along the shoreline of Lake Managua.

Birdwatching Nicaragua

The Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) and its less-common relative, the Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota) nest in horizontal holes carved into steep dirt banks, and are found in several parts of Managua. Photo Joe Taylor.

Birdwatching Guides

You can hire a professional bird researcher for a birding tour in Managua, We have trained, capable, professional birding guides available to help you learn the most while birdwatching, and can provide your guiding experience in English. Our guides know the birds, plants and geography of the city. Their knowledge comes from professional training and from work on bird reseach throughout Nicaragua. We are in the field studying birds weekly all year long, so we know the local birds better than anyone. Additionally, all our guides have experience in bird research projects in several areas in the country. No other bird guide service in Nicaragua can provide guides with as much experience, knowledge, or accomplishment. Our staff have co-authored several scientific publications on the birds of Nicaragua.

Birdwatching Nicaragua

Birdwatching tours with our GAIA bird experts can be made in accordance with the physical capicity of each person participating, from strenuous hikes to flat, paved surfaces. Photo Lesley Eisenberg.


GAIA offers two options for a birdwatching tour in Managua. Both options include door-to-door service to and from your hotel or other location in urban Managua. Two hours of birdwatching plus approximately forty-five minutes round trip should be planned for the activity.

Crater lake birds

In the center of the city is a small volcanic crater, surrounded by a rich forest, a small oasis for the birds of the area. There, one can easily find the typical seasonal migratory terrestrial birds, especially Tennessee Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird; austral migrants in season include the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, which nests there. As a small refuge without heavy human traffic, some of the egrets can be seen practically year-round, and Green-backed Heron nests there. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Neotropic Cormorant, Spotted Sandpiper, and Northern Jacana are often seen there.

Lake Managua Shoreline

The birdwatching prize for most trips to the shore of Lake Managua is the Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis), a rare endemic always near its much more common relative, the Great-tailed Grackle, for comparison. Shorebirds, Osprey, Black Tern, Neotropic Cormorant, and even the Magnificent Frigatebird can be spotted here. Another specialty among some segments of the lakeshore is the Yellow-headed Vulture soaring low over flat, coastal terrain, sometimes difficult to distinguish from the more common relative, Turkey Vulture. Also, shorebirds can be abundant along Lake Xolotlán in season.

Reserving a Birdwatching Tour

Our scientific staff at GAIA would be happy to take you birdwatching. Additionally, we are eager to discuss our biodiversity research program with scientists, science students, and potential longer-term volunteers who want to study the birds of Nicaragua with us. Volunteers interested in mist-netting can learn the birds and help us study and protect the wildlife of Nicaragua by collecting valuable field data. Whether you are a scientist or a passionate bird lover, please contact us for a birding tour!

Would you like to arrange a birdwatching tour in Managua? Please contact us to arrange a birdwatching excursion.

Animals of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve

Birdwatching in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve

Birdwatching in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua I

Birdwatching in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua II

Birdwatching in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua III


Bird Population Monitoring in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua


Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua

Nesting Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua

Aquatic birds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua

Terrestrial birds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua

Bird monitoring in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve

Resident Birds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua

Tropical Kingbird

Shorebirds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve

Our blog entry 1 on variegated squirrels

Our blog entry 2 on variegated squirrels

You can help us keep nature wild in Nicaragua, by volunteering your time with us or making a small donation to support our projects in wild nature conservation.


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birdwatching Nicaragua


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Laguna de Apoyo

The Lesser Ground-Cuckoo (Morococcyx erythropygus) inhabits brushy areas in outlying areas around Managua, but is heard more often than seen. Too bad, as its facial markings are worthy of ancient Egyptian royalty. It is known locally as the "pájaro reloj" or clock-bird. Photo Joe Taylor.


Laguna de Apoyo

The Lake Managua Shoreline is an excellent birdwatching site, where the endemic Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis) can be seen, along with numerous species of shorebirds. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.



The Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve harbors a poorly documented population of Olive Sparrows (Arremonops rufivirgatus), which the GAIA staff at Estación Biológica Laguna de Apoyo are studying. Photo Joe Taylor.


birdwatching Nicaragua

The most common bird species captured in our mist netting studies in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve is the Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis). Photo Joe Taylor.


birdwatching Nicaragua

Bird populations are monitored in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve by the staff and volunteers of Estación Biológica Laguna de Apoyo. Photo Joe Taylor.



The Rufous-naped Wren is among the more common birds in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, and is present in several urban and suburban areas of Managua. Photo Joe Taylor.



Two motmot species-the Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) and the Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota)-are found in outlying areas of Managua. Photo Joe Taylor.



Pacific Screech-Owl (Megascops cooperi) is common and is heard every evening in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve Photo Ineke van Beek.



GAIA Scientists at Estación Biológica Laguna de Apoyo conduct surveys of wildlife, including resident and migratory birds. Photo Wendy van Kooten.



Low in the forest near Estación Biológica, the Chestnut-capped Warbler (Basileuterus delattrii) can always be found. This is the only resident warbler found in the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo Romaine de Jaegere.



Animal rescue at Estación Biológica Laguna de Apoyo. Here, Gaia Director Jeffrey McCrary is accompanied by a rapidly healing variegated squirrel that was severely injured by illegal poachers. Photo Anne Sutton.



The Grey-headed Tanager (Eucometis penecillata) is an uncommon treat for birders in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo Joe Taylor.