Mexico is a bird lover's paradise, with over 1,960 bird species waiting to be explored. If you're looking for an unforgettable bird-watching experience, then Mexico's Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) should be at the top of your list. These are land and sea areas that haven't been touched by humans and are safe havens for a wide range of plants and animals.
Birds, in particular, flock to these areas to find refuge, food, rest, and mate during the winter seasons in the north or south of the continent. Because of this, Mexico is a great place to see a wide range of bird species all year in its valleys, mountains, deserts, and wetlands.
To help you plan your bird-watching adventure, we've put together a list of 7 NPAs where you can experience some of the most exclusive bird species in the world. You'll be amazed at the diversity of birds you'll encounter, many of which are found only on Mexico's coasts and wetlands.
Come and explore the natural beauty of Mexico and witness the breathtaking sight of thousands of colorful birds in their natural habitats. Get your binoculars ready and go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip through the most beautiful natural protected areas in Mexico!
Laguna Madre and Delta del Rio Bravo Flora and Fauna Protection Area
The Laguna Madre and Delta del Rio Bravo Flora and Fauna Protection Area is a natural wonderland and a must-visit for bird enthusiasts. This protected area is home to over 450 species of birds, including the majestic white pelican. This large migratory bird boasts black spots on its wings, a large and wide orange bill, and an impressive wingspan of up to three meters from wing tip to wing tip.
Each year, 15% of all migratory birds from Canada and the United States flock to the Laguna Madre and Rio Grande Delta during the winter season. Alongside the white pelican, you'll be able to spot a range of other stunning bird species, including the white-fronted goose, Canada goose, swallow-tailed duck, red-crested pochard, and blue-winged teal. As you explore this protected area, you'll be surrounded by a stunning array of aquatic, semi-aquatic, and terrestrial birds.
Los Mármoles National Park
As the second-largest Natural Protected Area (NPA) in the state of Hidalgo, Los Mármoles National Park is home to a staggering 195 bird species. Here you'll be able to spot a range of stunning birds, including hummingbirds, owls, tapacaminos, eagles, and hawks. According to a five-year study conducted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico, 137 of these bird species are classified as permanent residents, 44 as winter migrants, six as summer migrants, and eight as transients.
The most popular place to watch birds is the Pinus-Quercus forest, which has 91 species. The Juniperus forest has 64 species, and the Quercus forest has 57 species. In addition to a large number of bird species, Los Mármoles National Park is also home to 15 species that are considered endangered and 26 species that are unique to Mexico.
El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve
Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve is a breathtaking natural wonder that's not to be missed. This reserve is a safe place for many different kinds of plants and animals. It is spread out over several municipalities, including Villacorzo, La Concordia, Angel A. Corzo, Siltepec, Acacoyahua, Mapastepec, Pijijiapan, Monte Cristo de Guerrero, and Escuintla.
At the heart of this stunning biosphere reserve are its cloud forest and rainforest, which have created a unique living environment for a range of species. One of the highlights of El Triunfo is its incredible bird life, with over 141 species to spot. Six of these species are almost unique to Mexico. These include the majestic quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), the striking turkey (Oreophasis derbianus), the colorful yellow-cheeked parrot (Amazona autumnalis), the lineated woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus), and the Mexican parakeet (Psittacara holochiorus).
Isla Contoy National Park
Welcome to Isla Contoy National Park, a natural paradise for bird lovers located just 30 kilometers north of Isla Mujeres. This protected area is known as the "Island of Birds" because it is a good spot for migratory birds and has a wide range of bird species.
According to Conanp's Management Program, Isla Contoy is home to 79 migratory bird species, 50 resident species, seven non-breeding visiting birds, and three that breed in the summer. Fregata magnificens, Phalacrocorax auritus, and Pelecanus occidentalis are some of the most common species. These birds nest in the mangroves on the island.
Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve
The Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve is a must-visit destination for nature lovers in western Mexico. It is in the southern part of Jalisco, northwest of Colima, and has a large, wild landscape full of different kinds of wildlife.
The reserve is home to over 354 species of birds belonging to 44 families, which represents approximately 70% of the bird species in Jalisco and 36% of the bird species in Mexico. Among the many birds you'll see here are galliformes (such as chonchos and gallinitas), accipitriformes (diurnal raptors), strigiformes (nocturnal raptors), apodiformes (hummingbirds), and piciformes (woodpeckers).
Sótano de las Golondrinas and Hoya de las Huahuas Natural Monuments
Discover two unique natural monuments located in the municipality of Aquismón, a magical town in San Luis Potosí. Sótano de las Golondrinas and Hoya de las Huahuas are two state-protected areas that boast natural abysses of 512 and 478 meters, respectively. These caverns have been adopted as sanctuaries by numerous bird species, which thrive in the protected environment and ideal climate.
When visiting these natural wonders, you can witness the incredible nesting and flight patterns of the parakeet (Aratinga holochlora) and swift (Streptoprocne zonaris) populations. These remarkable experiences are not to be missed and are sure to be the highlight of your trip to San Luis Potosí.
Full Citation: Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Secretaría de. “7 Áreas Naturales Protegidas Donde Puedes Ver Una Gran Variedad De Aves.” gob.mx, 16 Feb. 2023, www.gob.mx/semarnat/articulos/7-areas-naturales-protegidas-donde-puedes-ver-una-gran-variedad-de-aves.