Parrot Lover’s Cruise – Belize Bird Rescue Excursion‏

This email came in a couple weeks ago but I was traveling with very limited access to the internet so I am just getting around to blogging about it.  I must say, it makes me very happy to see Belize Bird Rescue offering visits to cruise ship passengers!  The dedicated volunteers are so caring about birds and deserving of more attention……not to mention funds to carry on their work!  This shore excursion provides you with an excellent opportunity to see the rescued wild parrots up close and personal as many of the released parrots hang around the grounds, so you can be assured of great photo ops as well!

I was lucky enough to visit this very worthy conservation-minded organization last year, it was an amazing experience!

I have more details about the Parrot Lover’s Cruise here.

Remember to book your cruise with the official organizer:

Carol’s Travel Time

Parrot Lover's Cruise 2014

Have you booked your ticket yet for the Parrot Lover’s Cruise?

If not, we’ve another exciting shore excursion to tempt you with!

We are excited to announce the opportunity to visit the wondrous Belize Bird Rescue, a non-profit Avian Rehabilitation Centre and Sanctuary owned by Belizean residents Jerry Larder and Nikki Buxton.

While there you’ll have the exclusive opportunity to meet the Yellow-headed Amazon (A.o. belizensis), a subspecies unique to Belize and the focus of conservation at the sanctuary. Parrots are a particular concern for Belize Bird Rescue, as the local pet trade and ever-increasing human encroachment on nesting sites reduces population numbers of several of Belize’s parrot species to potentially unsustainable levels.

Along with a buffet luncheon served on site and time to stroll the amazing grounds of the facility, guests will have the opportunity for some shopping at the Art Box, a venue for local artists to show and sell their works.

A fun-filled day awaits – book your excursion today!

My Top Twenty-Five Bird Sightings Of 2013

Following on from last year’s post in which I highlighted only parrot sightings, this year I have expanded to all bird species.  There were just so many birds who made a major impression on me!  I have also increased the number to 25 since we did 3 birding trips this year.  I didn’t always get good shots so I will put my own photo when I got one.  Some of them were pretty quick!  They are being presented in chronological order.

1.  Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) – seen at Nimbokrang & Waigeo, Indonesia; March 2013

Palm Cockatoo2.  Lesser Bird-of-paradise, (Paradisaea minor) – seen at Nimbokrang, Indonesia; March 2013

I couldn’t get a photo as he stayed in the trees so here’s one taken in Jurong Bird park, Singapore.



3.  Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) – seen at Nimbokrang, Indonesia; March 2013

Victoria Crowned Pigeons, Nimbokrang

Victoria Crowned Pigeons, Nimbokrang

4.  Western or Arfak Parotia (Parotia sefilata) – seen at Siyoubring, Indonesia, March 2013  I’ll never forget this feathered Lord of the Dance trying so hard to woo 3 aloof females!

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves.  There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

One female Western Parotia comes in for a closer look while the male shows his best moves. There were a couple other females higher up in the branches.

5.  Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis inornata) – seen at Siyoubring, Indonesia, March 2013

OK lady Bowerbirds, come and check out my awesome bower!

OK lady Bowerbirds, come and check out my awesome bower!

6.  Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) – seen near Nimbokrang and on Waigeo Island, Indonesia, March 2013

IMG_78677.  Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, (Cicinnurus respublica) – seen on Waigeo Island, Indonesia in March 2013.   This little guy played hard-to-get with the camera.
Wilson's Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

8.  Red Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rubra) – seen on Waigeo Island, Indonesia , March 2013.

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), Waigeo- dancing in the trees

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), Waigeo- dancing in the trees

9.  Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis) – seen at Crooked Tree, Belize, Tikal, Laguna del Lagarto, Carara, Soberania, August 2013.  This was the first parrot we saw after arriving in Central America so I chose him to represent all the Amazon species seen all over Central America.

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

10.  Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – seen at Crooked Tree, Belize, Tikal, Selva Verde, Laguna del Lagarto, Soberania, August 2013


11.  Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) – seen at Selva Verde & Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013

IMG_951112. Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013.


13.  Brown-hooded Parrot (Pyrilia haematotis)  – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013.


14.  Collared Araçari (Pteroglossus torquatus) – seen at Selva Verde, Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, Soberania.  August 2013.

IMG_982415.  Hummingbirds (all of them) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Monteverde, Savegre, Soberania.  There is no way I can single out one species, they are all spectacular!


IMG_1486 IMG_1483 IMG_149616.  Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker (Celeus castaneus) – seen at Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica, August 2013

IMG_969917.  Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) – seen at Monteverde (Curi Cancha) & Savegre.  I will never forget both sightings of this stunning bird!  The first one because I found him by myself and the 2nd one because there were several of them and they hung around a while so I could watch them.


IMG_1092a18.  Sulphur-winged Parakeet (Pyrrhura hoffmanni) – seen at Savegre, Costa Rica, August 2013


I haven’t started the India & Sri Lanka series yet, we only got back a few weeks ago and I have been playing catch-up.  These birds will be covered first thing in the New Year.  The photos are a sneak-peek!

19. Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides) – seen in Coorg, India; Nov. 2013.  This time there were only fleeting glimpses of a flock flying overhead so the photo is one I took in 2011 in Kerala.

Malabar Parakeet A20.  White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) – seen at Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.


21.  Layard’s Parakeet (Psittacula calthropae) – seen at Kithulgala & Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  They were swift flyers and refused to perch & pose.


22.  Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus) – seen at Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  At least he posed, albeit with the sun behind him!



23.  Alexandrine Parakeet – (Psittacula eupatria) – seen at Kithulgala & Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.


24.  Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) – seen at Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.  He only let me get one shot before turning his back.


25.  Sri Lanka Blue Magpie or Ceylon Magpie (Urocissa ornata) – seen at Sinharaja, Sri Lanka. Dec 2013.

I didn’t get a photo of them since they stayed in the trees so here’s one from Wikipedia.




White-fronted Parrot (Amazona albifrons)

The White-fronted Amazon (Amazona albifrons) also known as the White-fronted Parrot, or adopted slang term Spectacled Amazon is found throughout most of Central America.


We saw them in Belize at Belize Bird Rescue, Tikal National Park and Laguna del Lagarto in Costa Rica.

IMG_9335 IMG_9189The White-fronted Amazon, at about 25 cm (10 in) long, is the smallest of the Amazon parrots. This species is named for the bright white patch of feathers on their foreheads, although the amount of white varies from individual to individual. They have mostly green plumage with some blue colouring on their outspread wings. They have bright red coloring around their eyes (in some individuals almost like spectacles) and blue coloring behind the patch of white on their foreheads.

They can be found in a variety of wooded areas and open country with trees such as moist, seasonal semi-evergreen and deciduous forest, pine woodlands, gallery forest, ranchland with stands of open woodland, savanna and arid tropical scrub with cacti. Up to 1850m (6068 ft).



World Parrot Trust



I had a hard time finding footage of this bird in the wild, this one is short but you can hear what they sound like.

Belize Bird Rescue

One of the best things about eco-tourism is the chance to show local communities the value of keeping wild birds wild.  In a perfect world, no bird would leave his home except as an image in a digital camera, the locals would have secure jobs in lodges, restaurants and as guides.  But we all know this world isn’t perfect and many birds do end up being captured by poachers.  Some of these poor birds will die in tiny cages, some will be shipped around the world and some will be recovered by the authorities before the poacher gets too far with them.  Thanks to places like Belize Bird Rescue, these birds have a 2nd chance to go home, be free and hopefully tell all the other birds what happened so they can avoid capture.


Belize Bird Rescue goals for 2012 education campaigns

• To emphasise the link between Belize’s tourism industry and its wildlife

• To diminish or halt the trade in wild-caught parrots

• To improve living conditions and thereby prolong the lifespan of captive parrots

• To open the hearts and minds of young Belizeans to the plight of their indigenous avian species

Belize Bird Rescue is located on the outskirts of Belmopan, about an hour’s bus ride from Belize City or San Ignacio.  They are not currently open to the public but as a fellow conservationist networking on social media, my husband and I were invited for a private visit to the facility.   Nikki Buxton showed us around the facility, let me take photos of the birds, then we sat on the verandah chatting and watching some playful Amazon parrots frolic in the bushes.  Rehabiliating a rescued bird isn’t as simple as just letting it go.  The whole procedure is outlined on their website.  Don’t miss this heart-wrenching video!  Some birds are injured to the point where they can never be released and Belize Bird Rescue cares for them in lovely spacious aviaries with healthy diets and plenty of enrichment.  If I were a few years younger and single, I would seriously think about being a volunteer there!  Please help them with a donation if you can!

Here are some of the photos of our visit!

IMG_9136 IMG_9140 IMG_9142 IMG_9143 IMG_9145 IMG_9146 IMG_9147 IMG_9149 IMG_9152 IMG_9155 IMG_9151 IMG_9156 IMG_9157 IMG_9158 IMG_9160 IMG_9161 IMG_9163 IMG_9166 IMG_9167 IMG_9170a IMG_9174 IMG_9178 IMG_9179 IMG_9180 IMG_9184 IMG_9185 IMG_9186 IMG_9187 IMG_9189 IMG_9190 IMG_9191If you are ever in Belmopan, please consider staying at the Hibiscus Hotel and eating at their restaurant, it supports the rescue!

IMG_9132One of the more bizarre sights of Belmopan is this “witch’s house”!



Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

The Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis) is a species of Amazon parrot, native to tropical regions of the Americas, from eastern Mexico south to Ecuador, with a disjunct population in central Brazil, where it occurs in humid evergreen to semi-deciduous forests up to 1,100 m altitude. It is absent from the Pacific side of Central America north of Costa Rica.


For those wishing to see them in the wild, there are several options.  We saw a few at Crooked Tree Sanctuary in Belize, also a few at Tikal National Park, Laguna del Lagarto in Costa Rica and Soberania National Park in Panama.  You can use your miles for a Central America award to all of these countries.

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)

Red-lored Amazon or Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis)


There are four subspecies:

  • Amazona autumnalis autumnalis (Linnaeus, 1758). Caribbean coasts from eastern Mexico south to northern Nicaragua.
  • Amazona autumnalis salvini (Salvadori, 1891). Northern Nicaragua south to Colombia and Venezuela.
  • Amazona autumnalis lilacina (Lesson, 1844), the Lilacine Amazon. Western Ecuador.
  • Amazona autumnalis diadema (Spix, 1824), the Diademed Amazon. Lower Rio Negro area, central Brazil.

In some areas, notably parts of Mexico and Venezuela, the Red-lored Amazon has become rare through trapping for the cagebird trade. On the other hand, it seems to be able to adapt to human-altered habitat to a considerable degree


World Parrot Trust



IUCN Redlist


They never pose like this for me!

Yellow-headed Parrot (Amazona oratrix)

The Yellow-headed Amazon (Amazona oratrix), also known as the Yellow-headed Parrot and Double Yellow-headed Amazon, is an endangered amazon parrot of Mexico and northern Central America. Measuring 38–43 centimetres (15–17 in) in length, it is a stocky short-tailed green parrot with a yellow head. It prefers to live in mangrove forests or forests near rivers or other bodies of water. It is sometimes considered a subspecies of the Yellow-crowned Amazon.


The best place to see Yellow-headed Parrots is in the Crooked Tree Sanctuary, Belize because it is easily accessible and pretty reliable.   This map from has their full range.  If you are using airline miles, the requirements would be for a Central American award.