Sustainable Development and Wild Nature Conservation in NICARAGUA
Gaia Birdwatching Tours
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.
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.
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
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 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
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.
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
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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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.
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
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.
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.