Birding

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International Expeditions guests Bill and Pam Daws just returned from our February Guyana tour, and were kind enough to share their favorite experiences. Nature travel often brings with it the unexpected, and Mr. and Mrs. Daws share what it is like when tour plans don’t go 100% according to plan.

February 23, 2012

Marshland Birds of the Amazon

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Travelers on Amazon River cruises will see thousands of beautiful colors that make up this neotropic ecozone. While those splendid sights are what many come to experience in South America, the shades of black and white may be just as interesting.

While cruising on smaller excursion boats upriver toward the confluence of the Ucayali and Maronon Rivers, travelers are likely to see black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant.

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All of the Monteverde Reserve is a gorgeous paradise, but one species there may be especially eye-catching to birders on International Expeditions’ Costa Rica tours.

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While most people on a custom Kenya safari are there for a chance to spot the “Big Five” – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard – birders are flocking to Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park for something a little smaller. The park boasts nearly 500 species of winged wildlife!

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Venturing into Caro Lake on International Expeditions’ Amazon River tour, visitors are likely to spot some of the 13 species of primates that call this region home. Looking closely after the monkeys, however, offers an interesting opportunity for birders. Trailing behind are often flocks of greater ani, a distinctive black bird.

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The largest of the parrot family, the hyacinth macaw is almost certain to impress nature travelers, who are likely to see it soaring through the canopies of the Pantanal like a blaze of sapphire light.


The bold, cobalt blue plumage is by far this bird's most distinguishing factor. Its overall body color contrasts with the citron yellow ring around its eye and the yellow patch of skin next to its lower bill.

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Even for those used to greeting each day to the gently lilting songs of the local birdlife, waking up at Trinidad’s Asa Wright Nature Center is a one of a kind nature travel experience.

The sound of the crested oropendola is a jingling mix between a clicking washboard, sing-song chimes and a kazoo. Visitors who are lucky enough to visit the area during breeding or nesting seasons will hear the birds' unique calls as they find their partners or communicate messages of territory. During other times of the year, the bird is nearly silent.

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On a Uganda safari, travelers can enjoy a entirely new side of the legendary river at Murchison Falls National Park. Although Uganda is best known for its incredible populations of gorillas and chimpanzees, this park’s abundant bird life is giving nature enthusiasts even more reason to visit the beautiful country. Situated in the northern part of the Albertine Rift Valley, the national park is one of the nation's ancient areas. Just 20 feet wide, the gorge where the waters of the Nile channel through is a fascinating miracle of nature.

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Andean condors offer the ultimate in viewings for avid birders and amateurs alike. The massive birds are some of the largest flying creatures in the world, and are a highlight of nature travel through the Andes. A particularly good place to spot these awesome animals is at Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

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Panama is full of fascinating sights, both man made and natural. And while exploring the historical and engineering wonders of the canal is a highlight for many first-time visitors to Panama, nature travel enthusiasts will want to check out Soberanía National Park for a different kind of excitement.

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