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Puerto Vallarta a Birdwatching Paradise

Hylocharis leucotis

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful place that not only offers an immensity of species within its waters, in its thick jungles, but it is also the home to beautiful birds that soar through the skies and can be seen and enjoyed at any time of year.

So if you are thinking of traveling to this beautiful harbor, bring your bird watching gear along and don’t miss the opportunity to meet some of the more than 350 different bird species found in the various regions and ecosystems surrounding Vallarta.

You will have the opportunity to find beautiful birds like the San Blas Jay, also called Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas), the largest measure between 10 to 12 inches long. The Green Jay is the only jay in Mexico. Usually, we see them in the Pacific slope from Nayarit to the south, on the slopes of the Gulf of Mexico from the lower Rio Grande Valley to the south and east of Mexico through the Yucatan Peninsula.

Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas)

We may also find a bird called the Yellow-winged Cacique (Cacicus melanicterus) a thin bird with a black and yellow crest and white beak or pale green. It has a bright yellow patch on the wing, back-end and much of the tail, their eyes are also yellow. They generally feed on insects, debris, small fruits, and aquatic fauna.

Another very interesting bird that we find in Puerto Vallarta is the Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysogenys), this species is found in a limited region of western Mexico, stretching from southern Sinaloa to Oaxaca.

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysogenys)

These birds have a very strong straight beak and they use it as a chisel to drill into tree trucks with heavy blows in search of insects and grubs which they catch with their long tongues that have spines on the tip which allows them to hook their food. Some woodpeckers use the sounds they make when hitting the trees to communicate with other birds of their species. The tail feathers are really strong and they use them as support when climbing the trees and as support when sleeping too.

Archilochus alexandri

One of the most interesting places for bird watching is undoubtedly the national park Los Arcos in front of which you can also spot beautiful white herons. This is one of the great egrets, one of the larger specimens can have a wingspan of just under 5 feet. The male is usually slightly larger than females. You can also see pelicans, gulls and frigatebirds are usually found flying near the islands rarely going inland and show their grace and acrobatics in the air.

In the mountain area, you can find many bird species including parrots, a species that today is seriously endangered and in some cases on the verge of extinction. Natural habitat destruction and illegal trade are the main reasons that have caused the decline of wild populations of the local parrots. That is why if we visit Puerto Vallarta we must admire the birds and help to raise awareness on issues of preservation and the need to avoid their extinction.

Pyrocephalus rubinus

We will also be able to see hummingbirds and motmots (Momotidae) among others. The latter are medium-sized birds that live in the dense jungles and can only be found in the tropical Americas. These birds have a long tail, which moves from side to side. In most bird species the central tail feathers are longer near the end and have an area without feathers.

Vallarta is not only sun and beach, but it also offers a wide variety of options, especially for those who enjoy natural attractions. Let nature delight your senses and enjoy a unique opportunity to witness the wonders that inhabit the surroundings of beautiful Puerto Vallarta.

A Field Guide List of Mexican Birds

American Coot / Gallareta Americana (Fulica americana)
American Coot / Gallareta Americana
Fulica americana
14-16 in (35.5-40.5 cm)

American Kestrel / Cernícalo Americano (Falco sparverius)
American Kestrel / Cernícalo Americano
Falco sparverius
10-11.5 in (25.5-29 cm)

American Redstart / Chipe Flameanta (Setophaga ruticilla)
American Redstart / Chipe Flameanta
Setophaga ruticilla
4.7-5.2 in (12-13 cm)

Anhinga / Pato Aguja o Aning Anhinga anhinga
Anhinga / Anhinga Americana (Pato Aguja o Aning)
Anhinga anhinga
33-37 in (84-94 cm)

Baird's Sandpiper / Playerito de Baird (Calidris bairdii)
Baird's Sandpiper / Playerito de Baird
Calidris bairdii
6.5-7 in (16.5-17.5 cm)

Bare-throated Tiger Heron / Garza Tigre Mexicana (Tigrisoma mexicanum)
Bare-throated Tiger Heron / Garza Tigre Mexicana
Tigrisoma mexicanum
28-32 in (71-81 cm)

Bat Falcon / Halcón Murcielaguero (Falco rufigularis)
Bat Falcon / Halcón Murcielaguero
Falco rufigularis
9-11 in (23-28 cm)

Berylline Hummingbird / Colibrí Berilo (Amazilia beryllina)
Berylline Hummingbird / Colibrí Berilo
Amazilia beryllina
3.7-4 in (9.5-10 cm)

Black-bellied Whistling Duck / Pijiji Albiblanco (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Black-bellied Whistling Duck / Pijiji Albiblanco
Dendrocygna autumnalis
18-20 in (45.5-50.5 cm)

Black-bellied Plover / Chorlo Gris (Pluvialis squatarola)
Black-bellied Plover / Chorlo Gris
Pluvialis squatarola
10.5-11.5 in (26.5-28 cm)

Black-capped Gnatcatcher / Perlita Sinaloense (Polioptila nigriceps)
Black-capped Gnatcatcher / Perlita Sinaloense
Polioptila nigriceps
4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm)

Black-necked Stilt / Candelero Americano Himantopus mexicanus
Black-necked Stilt / Candelero Americano
Himantopus mexicanus
14-16 in (35.5-40.5 cm)

Black-throated Magpie Jay / Urraca Hermosa Cara Negra Callocita colliei
Black-throated Magpie Jay / Urraca Hermosa Cara Negra
Callocita colliei
23-30 in (58.5-76.5 cm)

Black Vulture / Zopilote Negro Coragyps atratus
Black Vulture / Zopilote Negro
Coragyps atratus
22-26 in (56-66 cm)

Blue-black Grassquit / Semillero Brincador Volatinia jacarina
Blue-black Grassquit / Semillero Brincador
Volatinia jacarina
4-4.3 in (10-11 cm)

Blue-winged Teal / Cerceta Aliazul Anas discors
Blue-winged Teal / Cerceta Aliazul
Anas discors
15-16 in (30-40.5 cm)

Boat Billed Heron / Garza Cucharón Cochlearius cochlearius
Boat Billed Heron / Garza Cucharón
Cochlearius cochlearius
18-21 in (45.5-53 cm)

Bonaparte's Gull / Gaviota de Bonaparte Chroicocephalus philadelphia
Bonaparte's Gull / Gaviota de Bonaparte
Chroicocephalus philadelphia
13-13.5 in (33-34.5 cm)

Bright-rumped Attila / Atila Attila spadiceus
Bright-rumped Attila / Atila
Attila spadiceus
7.8-8.5 in (19.5-21.5 cm)

Broad-billed Hummingbird / Colibrí Pico Ancho Cynanthus latirostris
Broad-billed Hummingbird / Colibrí Pico Ancho
Cynanthus latirostris
3.5-4 in (9-10 cm)

Bronze-headed Cowbird / Tordo Cabeza Café
Molothrus ater
6.3-7.3 in (16-18.5 cm)

Bronzed Cowbird / Tordo Ojo Rojo
Molothrus aeneus
7.5-8.5 in (19-21.5 cm)

Brown Crested Flycatcher / Copetón Tirano
Myiarchus tyrannulus
8-9.2 in (20.5-23.5 cm)

Brown Pelican / Pelícano Café
Pelecanus occidentalis
44-54 in (112-137 cm)

Caspian Tern / Charrán Caspica
Hydroprogne caspia
20-22 in (51-57 cm)

Cattle Egret / Garza Ganadera
Bubulcus ibis
18-21 in (45.5-53 cm)

Cinnamon Hummingbird / Colibrí Canelo
Amazilia rutila
4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm)

Citreoline Trogon / Trogón Citrino
Trogon citreolus
10.5-11 in (26.5-28 cm)

Colima Pigmy Owl / Tecolotito Colimense
Glaucidium palmarum
5.5-6 in (14-15 cm)

Collared Forest-Falcon / Halcon selvático de Collar
Micrastur semitorquatus
21-22 in (53.5-56 cm)

Common Black Hawk / Aguililla Negra Menor
Buteogallus anthracinus
18-21 in (455-53 cm)

Common Moorhen / Gallineta Común
Gallinula galeata
13-14 in (33-35.5 cm)

Common Nighthawk / Chotacabras Mayor
Chordeiles minor
9-9.5 in (23-24 cm)

Common Tern / Charrán Común
Sterna hirundo
11.5-12.5 in (29-31.5 cm)

Common Tody-Flycatcher / Espatulil Común Todirostrum cinereum
Common Tody-Flycatcher / Espatulil Común
Todirostrum cinereum
9.5 cm

Crested Caracara / Caracara Común
Caracara cheriway
19-23 in (48-58.5 cm)

Crested Guan / Pava Cojolita
Penelope purpurascens
32-36 in (81-91 cm)

Dickcissel / Arrocero Americano
Spina americana
5.8-6.3 in (14.5-16 cm)

Elegant Quail / Codorniz Elegante
Callipepla douglasii
9-10 in (23-25.5 cm)

Elegant Tern / Charrán Elegante
Thalasseus elegans
14.5-16 in (37-41 cm)

Elegant Trogon / Trogón Elegante
Trogon elegans
11-12 in (28-30.5 cm)

Flame-coloured Tanager / Tangara Dorso Rayado
Tyrannus verticalis bidentata
7-7.5 in (18-19 cm)

Flammulated Flycatcher / Copetón Jaspeado
Deltarhynchus flammulatus
6-6.5 in (15-16.5 cm)

Fulvous Whistling Duck / Pijiji Canelo
Dendrocygna bicolo
19-21 in (48.5- 53.5 cm)

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker / Carpintero Cachete Dorado
Centurus chrysogenys
7.5-8.5 in (19-21.5 cm)

Golden-crowned Emerald / Esmeralda Mexicana
Chlorostilbon auriceps
3.7 in (9.5 cm)

Golden Vireo / Vireo Dorado
Vireo hypochryseus
4.7-5.2 in (12-13 cm)

Gray Hawk / Aguililla Gris
Buteo nitidus
16-18 in (40.5-45.5 cm)

Great Blue Heron / Garza Azul Ceniza
Ardea herodias
40-50 in (101.5 127 cm)

Great Egret / Garza Grande
Ardea alba
33-39 in (84-99 cm)

Great Kiskadee / Luis Bienteveo
Pitangus sulphuratus
9-10 in (23-25.5 cm)

Green-backed (Green) Heron / Garcilla Verde Butorides virescens
Green Heron (Green-backed Heron) / Garza Verde
Butorides virescens
115-17 in (38-43 cm)

Green Kingfisher / Martín Pescador Verde
Chloroceryle americana
7.5-8.2 in (19-21 cm)

Groove-billed Ani / Garrapatero Pijuy
Crotophaga sulcirostris
12-13.5 in (30.5-34.5 cm)

Happy Wren / Saltapared Rufiblanco
Pheugopedius Felix
5-5.5 in (12.5-14 cm)

Heermann's Gull / Gaviota de Heermann
Larus heermanni
18-20 in (45.5-50.5 cm)

Hermit Thrush / Zorzal Cola Rufa
Catharus guttatus
6-7 in (15-17.5 cm)

Hooded Oriole / Calandria Encapuchada
Icterus cucullatus
7.3-7.8 in (18.5-20 cm)

House Finch / Gorrión Mexicano
Haemorhous mexicanus
5.5-6.3 in (14-15.5 cm)

Inca Dove / Tortola Colilarga
Columbina inca
8-9 in (20.5-23 cm)

Killdeer / Chorlito Tildio
Charadrius vociferus
9.5-10 in (24-25.5 cm)

Lark Sparrow / Gorrión Arlequin
Chondestes grammacus
6.6.5 in (15-16.5 cm)

Laughing Gull / Gaviota Reidora
Leucophaeus atricilla
15-17 in (38-43 cm)

Least Grebe / Zambullidor Menor
Tachybaptus dominicus
8.5-9.5 in (21.5-24 cm)

Least Tern / Charrán Menor
Sternula antillarum
8-9 in (20.5-23 cm)

Lesser Goldfinch / Dominico Dorso Oscuro
Spinus psaltria
4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm)

Lilac-crowned Parrot / Perico Corona Lila
Amazona finschi
12-13.5 in (30.5-34.5 cm)

Little Blue Heron / Garceta Azul Egretta caerulea
Little Blue Heron / Garceta Azul
Egretta caerulea
20-24 in (51-61 cm)

MacGillivray's Warbler / Chipe de Tolmie
Geothlypis tolmiet
4.7-5.2 in (12-13 cm)

Magnificent Frigatebird / Fragata Magnífica
Fragata magnificens
35-42 in (89-107 cm)

Masked Tityra / Titira enmascarada
Tityra semifasciata
8.5-9.5 in (21.5-24 cm)

Mexican Parrotlet / Periquito Catarina
Forpus cyanopygius
5-5.5 in (12.5-14 cm)

Mexican Woodnymph / Ninfa Mexicana
Thalurania ridgwayi
3.5-4 in (9-10 cm)

Military Macaw / Guacamaya Verde
Ara militaris
27-30 in (68.5-76 cm)

Nashville Warbler / Chipe de Nashville
Oreothlypis ruficapilla
4.3-4.7 in (11-12 cm)

Neotropical Cormorant / Cormoran Neotropical Phalacrocorax olivaceus
Neotropic Cormoran / Cormorán Neotropical
Phalacrocorax brasilianus
25-27 in (63.5-68.5 cm)

Northern Shoveler / Pato Cucharón Norteño
Anas clypeata
17-20 in (43-50.5 cm)

Northern Jacana / Jacana Norteña
Jacana spinosa
8.5-9.5 in (21.5-24 cm)

Northern Rough-winged Swallow / Golondrina Aliaserrada
Stelgidopteryx serripennis
5-5.5 in (12.5-14 cm)

Orange-breasted Bunting / Colorin Pecho Naranja
Passerina leclancherti
4.5-5 in (11.5-12.5)

Orange-crowned Warbler / Chipe Corona Anaranjada
Oreothlypis celata
4.6-5 in (11.5-12.5 cm)

Orange-fronted Parakeet / Perico Frente Naranja
Aratinga canicularis
9-10 in (23-25.5 cm)

Orchard Oriole / Calandria Castaña
Icterus spurius
6-6.8 in (15-17 cm)

Osprey / Aguila Pescadora
Pandion haliaetus
22-26 in (56-66 cm)

Painted Bunting / Colorin Siete Colores
Passerina ciris
4.8-5.3 in (12-13 cm)

Pauraque / Tapacaminos Picuyo
Nyctidromus albicollis
11-12 in (28-30.5 cm)

Plain-Capped Starthroat / Colibri Corona Oscura
Heliomaster constantii
4.7-5 in (12-13 cm)

Purple Gallinule / Gallineta Morada
Porphyrio martinicus
12-13 in (30.5-33 cm)

Red-billed Pigeon / Paloma Morada
Patagioenas flavirostris
12-14 in (30.5-35.5 cm)

Red-tailed Hawk / Halcón Cola Roja
Buteo jamaicensis
19-23 in (48.5-58.5 cm)

Red-winged Blackbird / Tordo Sargento
Agelaius phoenicius
8.5-9.5 in (21.5-24 cm)

Roseate Spoonbill / Espátula Rosada
Platalea ajaja
28-31 in (71-79 cm)

Ruddy-breasted Seedeater / Semillero Pecho Canela
Sporophila minuta
3.7-4 in (9.5-10 cm)

Ruddy Duck / Pato Tepalcate
Oxyura jamaicensis
14-16 in (35.5-40.5 cm)

Ruddy Ground-dove / Tortola Rojiza
Columbina talpacoti
6.5-7 in (16.5-18 cm)

Rufous-backed Robin / Primavera Dorso Rufo
Turdus rufopalltatus
8.5-9.5 in (21.5-24 cm)

Rufous-bellied Chachalaca / Chachalaca Vientre Castaño
Ortalis wagleri
23-27 in (58.5-68.5 cm)

Russet-crowned Motmot / Momoto Corona Café
Momotus mexicanus
12-14 in (30.5-35.5 cm)

Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow / Rascador Nuca Rufa
Melozone kieneri
6-7 in (15-17.5 cm)

San Blas Jay / Chara de San Blas
Cyanocorax sanblasianus
12.5-13.5 in (32-34.5 cm)

Scrub Euphonia / Eufonia Gorjinegro
Euphonia affinis
3.7-4.2 in (9.5-10.5 cm)

Semipalmated Plover / Chorlo Semipalmeado
Charadrius semipalmatus
65-7 in (16.5-17.5 cm)

Sinaloa Wren / Saltapared Sinaloaense
Thryophilus sinaloa
5-5.5 in (12.5-14 cm)

Snowy Egret / Garza Nivea
Egretta thula
119-23 in (48.5-58.5 cm)

Social Flycatcher / Luis Gregario
Myiozetetes similis
6.7-7.2 in (17-18.5 cm)

Solitary Sandpiper / Playero Solitario
Tringa solitaria
8-8.5 in (20.5-21.5 cm)

Sora / Polluela Sora
Porzana carolina
8-8.5 in (20.5-21.5 cm)

Spotted Sandpiper / Playero Alzacolita
Actitis macularius
6.5-7 in (16.5-18 cm)

Squirrel Cuckoo / Cuclillo Canela
Piaya cayana
16-19.5 in (40.5-50 cm)

Streak-backed Oriole / Calandria Dorso Rayado
Icterus pustulatus
7.5-9 in (19-23 cm)

Stripe-headed Sparrow / Zacatonero Cabeza Rayada
Peucaea ruficauda
6-7.7 in (15-19.5 cm)

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher / Papamoscas Vientre Amarillo
Myiodynastes luteiventris
7.5-8.5 in (19-21.5 cm)

Tricolored Heron / Garceta Tricolor
Egretta tricolor
22-26 in (56-66 cm)

Tropical Kingbird / Tirano Tropical
Tyrannus melancholichus
7.8-9.3 in (19.5-23.5 cm)

Turkey Vulture / Zopilote Cabeza Roja
Cathartes aura
26-30 in (66-76.5 cm)

Varied Bunting / Colorin Morado
Passerina versicolor
4.5-5 in (11.5-12.5 cm)

Vaux's Swift / Vencejo de Vaux
Chaetura vauxi
4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm)

Vermillion Flycatcher / Mosquero Cardenal Pyrocephalus rubinus
Vermillion Flycatcher / Mosquero Cardenal
Pyrocephalus rubinus
5-5.7 in (12.5-14.5 cm)

Violet-crowned Hummingbird / Colibri Corona Violeta
Amazilia violiceps
(4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm)

Violet-green Swallow / Golondrina Verdemar
Tachycineta thalassina
4.5-5 in (11.5-12.5 cm)

Warbling Vireo / Vireo Gorjeador
Vireo gilvus
4.7-5.2 in (12-13 cm)

Western Kingbird / Tirano Occidental Tyrannus verticalis
Western Kingbird / Tirano Occidental
Tyrannus verticalis
20 cm

West Mexican Chachalaca/ Chachalaca Mexicana
Ortalis poliocephala
23-27 in (58.5-68.5 cm)

Whimbrel / Zarapito Trinador
Numenius phaeopus
14-17 in (35.5-43 cm)

White-collared Seedeater / Semillero Collarejo
Sporophila torqueola
4-4.5 in (10-11.5 cm)

White-collared Swift / Vencejo Cuello Blanco
Streptoprocne zonaris
8-8.5 in (20.5-21.5 cm)

White-faced Ibis / Ibis Cara Blanca
Plegadis chihi
20-24 in (51-61 cm)

White-throated Thrush / Primavera Gorjiblanco
Turdus assimilis
9-10 in (23-25.5 cm)

White-winged Dove / Paloma Ala Blanca
Zenaida asiatica
10.5-12 in (26.5-30.5 cm)

White Ibis / Ibis Blanco
Eudocimus albus
21-25 in (53.5-63.5 cm)

Willet / Playero Pihuihui
Tringa semipalmata
12.5-14 in (32-35.5 cm)

Wood Stork / Cigueñón  Mycteria americana
Wood Stork / Cigüeña Americana (Cigüeñón)
Mycteria americana
35-40 in (89-101.5 cm)

Yellow-breasted Chat / Gritón Pecho Amarillo
Icteria virens
6.5-7 in (16.5-18 cm)

Yellow-crowned night heron / Pedrete Corona-Clara
Nyctanassa violacea
20-23 in (51-58.5 cm)

Yellow-green Vireo/ Vireo Amarillo Verdoso
Vireo flavoviridis
5.5-6 in (14-15 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warbler / Chipe Coronado
Setophaga coronata
5-5.5 in (13-14 cm)

Yellow-winged Cacique Cacicus melanicterus
Yellow-winged Cacique / Cacique Mexicano
Cacicus melanicterus
12-13 in (30.5-33 cm)

Yellow Grosbeak / Picogrueso Amarillo
Pheucttcus chrysopeplus
8.5-9.5 in (21.5-24 cm)

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