Top Birdwatching Destinations: From Galapagos to Everglades
Bird Nerds Rejoice: The Top Five Birding Destinations For 2020
If you have a fondness for birds, we recommend that you kick off the upcoming decade in a thrilling manner by traveling to one of the finest locations for birdwatching in the year 2020. Our search across the globe has led us to the most captivating birding spots to visit this year, ranging from the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand to the subtropical rainforests of Brazil. However, if you find the idea unappealing, we understand and don’t hold it against you.
Birdwatching, also known as birding, is a passion shared by millions of people worldwide. These enthusiasts spend countless hours observing and studying birds, from the small and swift hummingbirds to the colorful and melodious robins. For many birders, the joy of watching these feathered creatures in their natural habitat is akin to being on a safari.
However, despite the popularity of birding, it is often derided or belittled by some segments of society. In an essay by the well-known writer Jonathan Franzen, he speaks about his own passion for birding, which he compares to his dating life. Franzen argues that birders’ intense sincerity and passion can make them seem vulnerable and off-putting.
Despite the criticism, birders continue to pursue their love of avian life with fervor. In fact, birding is a popular activity for people of all ages and backgrounds, from amateur enthusiasts to professional scientists. It offers a chance to connect with nature, learn about the environment, and observe the intricate behaviors of these incredible creatures.
Birdwatching also has a positive impact on conservation efforts, as birders often serve as advocates for preserving natural habitats and protecting endangered species. By sharing their passion and knowledge, birders can raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and inspire others to take action.
In conclusion, birding may not be for everyone, but for those who are passionate about it, it offers an incredible opportunity to connect with the natural world and contribute to conservation efforts. The undefended sincerity of birders should be celebrated, not derided, as it reflects their deep love and respect for the birds and the environment they inhabit.
The image shown is attributed to Thomas Lusth, as per Getty Images.
With a great sense of excitement, we feel the need to provide a few disclaimers before we embark on our countdown of the top birding destinations. This list is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all the best places for birding in the world. There are several other honorable mentions to be made globally, ranging from South Georgia Island in Antarctica to Cape May on the Jersey Shore. As birds are known to fly and explore various regions, the possibilities for excellent birding spots are limitless.
Are you a birding enthusiast looking for the next exciting adventure? Look no further than our list of the top birding destinations to visit in 2020. While we acknowledge that there are countless excellent birding spots worldwide, we have curated a list of some of the most captivating and diverse locations to explore at the beginning of this new decade.
Prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking colors and fascinating behaviors of birds ranging from purple gallinules to scarlet macaws, and blue penguins to blue-footed boobies (and their red-footed counterparts, too!). Our list includes destinations across the globe, from the lush rainforests of Brazil to the windswept beaches of South Africa.
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a novice enthusiast, our list has something for everyone. Take a trip to the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand, where you can witness the majestic albatross and many other seabirds in their natural habitat. Or explore the tropical forests of Borneo, where you can spot hornbills and the elusive orangutan.
Birding is a great way to connect with nature, learn about the environment, and appreciate the beauty of the natural world. By visiting these incredible birding destinations, you’ll not only have a fantastic travel experience but also contribute to the conservation efforts of these important habitats.
In conclusion, we invite you to join us on a journey through the most exciting birding destinations of 2020. Whether you’re a hardcore birder or simply enjoy observing these winged wonders, these locations are sure to leave you in awe and wonder. So pack your binoculars and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
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The image displayed is credited to Fred Chaveton, as per Getty Images.
The Amazon Rainforest
For those seeking to encounter the most incredibly exotic birds found on Earth, the Amazon Rainforest should be at the top of your bucket list. A highly recommended approach is to book a trip aboard the Motor Yacht Tucano with Amazon Nature Tours, which will take you on a voyage up the Rio Negro and deep into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Brazil is home to the largest portion of the Amazon and houses a plethora of bird species, making it one of the most biodiverse regions globally.
Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest
The image displayed is credited to Holger Leue, as per Getty Images.
While we can’t tell what exactly the image depicts, it is always fascinating to explore the world through photography. The art of photography has the power to transport us to faraway places and capture moments that we may have never experienced otherwise.
Photography can be a powerful medium for storytelling, bringing us closer to people, cultures, and environments that are different from our own. It allows us to see the world through a different lens and gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity and beauty of our planet.
From stunning landscapes to vibrant cities and intriguing people, photography offers endless possibilities for exploration and discovery. Whether you are a professional photographer or just enjoy taking snapshots with your smartphone, there is always something new to discover and capture.
So the next time you come across a captivating image like the one credited to Holger Leue, take a moment to appreciate the artistry and the story behind it. And who knows, it may just inspire you to pick up a camera and start your own photography journey!
If you’re an avid birdwatcher, you’ll understand the excitement that comes with spotting a new species or observing a unique behavior. It’s a thrill that can only be experienced in the wild, and what better place to do so than the Amazon Rainforest?
Booking a trip aboard the Motor Yacht Tucano with Amazon Nature Tours is a sure way to enhance your birdwatching experience. The crew is comprised of indigenous people who have lived in the rainforest for generations, and they possess an unrivaled knowledge of the area’s birdlife.
The crew’s expertise is an asset that adds to the thrill of birdwatching, as they can identify the most peculiar features of different bird species. They know where to look, how to listen, and can easily pick out birdcalls and songs that may elude less experienced birdwatchers.
The end of each day is marked by checking off the species encountered on one of the daily expeditions into the wild. For the most obsessive birdwatchers, this means keeping a record of all the birds they’ve seen on the trip.
With the Tucano crew’s guidance and expertise, even the most neurotic of birdwatchers will feel at ease knowing their sightings are being given the respect they so rightfully deserve. They can relax and enjoy the experience, knowing that they’re in good hands with the experts in the rainforest.
Booking a trip with Amazon Nature Tours is not just a chance to explore the Amazon Rainforest but also an opportunity to learn from the experts and experience birdwatching in a way that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
The image credit is for tiger_barb from Getty Images.
New Zealand is our top pick for several reasons. Not only can you observe unique and remarkable bird species in the various Pacific islands that make up this beautiful country (more on that later), but it’s also a general rule that New Zealand should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you don’t agree, we’ll assume you haven’t visited yet. However, the main reason why New Zealand is our top pick is that it represents the ultimate paradise and spiritual home for bird enthusiasts of all backgrounds and nationalities.
New Zealand was a bird-lover’s paradise before human arrival 1,000 years ago. The country was exclusively occupied by birds, making it a dream destination for ornithologists. Unfortunately, human activities have caused the extinction of several bird species and greatly impacted the environment. However, ardent conservationists are working towards the restoration of such ecosystems as Zealandia, located in the capital city of Wellington. The ultimate goal is to bring back the idyllic environment that once existed in New Zealand. One fascinating aspect of the country’s history is that it had no land animals, which led to the evolution of flightless birds like the national icon, the kiwi. Today, New Zealand is still a bird-watching haven, and visitors can witness the unique and fascinating bird species that have managed to survive.
New Zealand is a country that boasts an incredible variety of unique bird species, many of which can be found nowhere else on the planet. This is due to the nation’s geographic isolation, which allowed for the evolution of distinct bird populations over time. One of the most well-known of these is the kiwi, which has become a symbol of New Zealand and its conservation efforts.
But the kiwi is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the country’s avian diversity. In fact, New Zealand is home to over 200 species of birds, many of which are endemic to the islands. These include the kākāpō, the world’s heaviest parrot, as well as the takahē, a flightless bird that was once thought to be extinct.
One of the unique aspects of birding in New Zealand is the opportunity to explore various ecosystems, from rugged coastlines to lush rainforests to high-altitude alpine areas. And with a number of protected reserves and conservation areas throughout the country, birders can witness these amazing creatures in their natural habitats.
Additionally, New Zealand has a rich cultural history that is intertwined with its bird life. The Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, have long revered birds as sacred and many of their myths and legends involve these winged creatures. This cultural connection adds another layer of richness to the birding experience in New Zealand.
Overall, whether you are a seasoned birder or simply someone who appreciates the natural world, New Zealand should be high on your list of must-visit destinations. With its incredible diversity of birds and unique cultural history, it is truly a bird-lover’s paradise.
Getty Images – CreativeNature_nl
New Zealand is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, and not just because of its unique bird species. Before humans arrived in New Zealand 1,000 years ago, the islands were occupied exclusively by birds. Today, New Zealand still boasts an incredible variety of birds, with 245 species identified as originating from the islands.
One of the most notable aspects of New Zealand’s birds is their size. Many of the prehistoric birds were enormous, with the recent discovery of the largest parrot to ever live, nicknamed Squawkzilla, being a prime example.
For birdwatchers, New Zealand offers the opportunity to see a variety of unique and awe-inspiring bird species. The national icon, the kiwi, is a flightless bird that scavenge the forest floor, and it’s just one of many fascinating bird species that can be found in New Zealand.
Whether you’re interested in spotting as many bird species as possible or simply want to immerse yourself in the incredible biodiversity of New Zealand’s birds, there’s something for every bird lover in this stunning country.
You should not miss the opportunity to explore both the North Island and the South Island of New Zealand, as well as the Subantarctic Islands if you have a chance. Kapiti Island is a must-see on the North Island, while the Oamaru blue penguin colony and the yellow-eyed penguins of Dunedin are highlights of the South Island. And if you love penguins, don’t forget about the erect-crested penguin, which can be found on the Subantarctic Islands. Once you set foot in New Zealand, you’ll never want to leave, whether you’re a birder or not.
New York City may not be the first place you think of when it comes to birdwatching, but the Big Apple is actually home to some of the most impressive bird species in the world. From the bald eagle to the peregrine falcon, the city boasts an array of feathered residents that are sure to thrill bird enthusiasts of all levels.
One of the best places to spot birds in NYC is Central Park, which is home to over 275 species of birds. Some of the most notable birds you may see include the red-tailed hawk, the eastern screech-owl, and the great blue heron. The park also has a dedicated birding team that offers free guided bird walks throughout the year, providing visitors with an expert’s insight into the birdlife that calls the park home.
Another excellent spot for birding in New York City is the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, which is located in Queens. This area is a protected habitat for many bird species, including the glossy ibis, the American oystercatcher, and the osprey. Visitors can explore the refuge on their own or join one of the many guided tours that are available.
If you’re interested in seeing birds of prey, head to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which has a resident pair of red-tailed hawks that can be seen perched on the spires of the cathedral. The hawk pair is so beloved that they even have their own names – Norman and Madeleine – and a dedicated team of birdwatchers keeps an eye on them to ensure their safety.
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just looking for a new hobby, New York City is a great destination for birdwatching. With its diverse bird population and knowledgeable guides, the city offers a unique and exciting opportunity to see some of the world’s most fascinating birds up close.
The next destination on our list takes us from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and it’s the often overlooked Central American country of Belize. This lush and tropical paradise is not just a winter retreat for humans, but also for a variety of bird species, with 618 different types of birds residing in the country year-round, and only 20% being migratory. It’s not hard to see why they choose to call Belize home, with its diverse range of ecosystems that stretch across a land area roughly the same size as the state of New Jersey. From coastal mangroves and wetlands to interior pine forests that surround the Mayan Mountains, Belize offers a wide range of habitats for bird enthusiasts to explore.
A bird of the Egret species spotted in Belize.
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Belize is a great destination for birdwatchers, and even if you’re not actively looking for them, you’re sure to spot many of the country’s avian inhabitants. However, there are seven top birding sites in Belize that you don’t want to miss. These include Man-o-War Caye, the Caracol Mayan Ruins, and the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. To see them all, you will need to tour the country, but fortunately, it’s easy to do so. You can start by staying at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Jungle Lodge in Cayo, where you can explore the jungle before moving on to the Lodge at Jungle Reef in Hopkins Village and then to Ambergris Caye. Don’t miss the chance to visit the beautiful Secret Beach just off the coast, which is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
Floreana’s Punta Cormorant, Galapagos Islands
Getty Images, Westend61
The Galapagos Islands
If you’re a bird lover, Ecuador is definitely a place you should visit. This small country in South America boasts a staggering number of bird species, with over 1,660 recorded to date. But that’s not all – Ecuador is also home to the fascinating Galapagos Islands, where you can see a variety of unique and fascinating wildlife, including penguins.
The Galapagos penguins are the only penguins found north of the equator, and they are certainly worth seeing. These adorable creatures are adapted to living in the warmer waters of the Galapagos, and they can often be seen swimming and hunting for fish along the shores of the islands.
But the Galapagos Islands are not just about penguins – they are also home to a wide variety of other bird species, including the blue-footed booby, the magnificent frigatebird, and the Galapagos hawk. In fact, the islands are known for their incredible biodiversity, and are a popular destination for nature lovers from all over the world.
So if you’re looking for a bird-watching adventure, consider adding Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands to your travel itinerary. With so many species to see and so much natural beauty to explore, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.
The Galapagos Islands are home to a vast array of avian species that are a world unto themselves, and they are quite famously known for their uniqueness. Thanks to their historic isolation from the rest of the world, the islands spurred Darwin’s theory of evolution, and this uniqueness still exists today. Although the Galapagos has fewer bird species than many other regions, it compensates for it by the charming peculiarity of its inhabitants. The island is home to Magnificent frigates, Caribbean flamingos, red-footed boobies, and blue-footed boobies. If you are an amateur birdwatcher, you may want to check out a helpful guide created by the local birding club in the Galapagos Islands.
The Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) is a fascinating bird species found in tropical regions around the world. These birds are known for their striking red feet and their ability to dive into the water at high speeds to catch fish. Here are some interesting facts about this unique bird:
- The Red-footed Booby is one of six species of booby birds found in the world. It is the smallest of the booby species, measuring around 70 cm in length and weighing between 500-1000 grams.
- Red-footed Boobies have a distinctive appearance with their bright red feet, blue-grey beaks, and white and brown plumage. Juvenile Red-footed Boobies have brown plumage which changes to white as they mature.
- These birds are found in tropical regions around the world, including the Galapagos Islands, the Caribbean, and the western coast of South America.
- Red-footed Boobies are known for their impressive diving abilities. They can dive up to 30 meters into the water to catch fish and other prey. They also use their wings to swim underwater, making them very efficient hunters.
- These birds are colonial nesters, meaning they breed in large groups. They nest in trees, bushes, or on the ground, depending on the habitat. They lay one to three eggs, which are incubated for around 40 days.
- The Red-footed Booby is not considered to be a threatened species, although populations have declined in some areas due to habitat loss and hunting.
If you are interested in seeing the Red-footed Booby in the wild, the Galapagos Islands are a great place to start. These islands are home to many unique bird species, including several species of booby birds. Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or just starting out, seeing these birds in their natural habitat is sure to be a memorable experience.
Donyanedomam/Getty Images is a popular contributor on various stock image websites, and their work often features breathtaking landscapes, stunning natural wonders, and unique cultural experiences.
One of the most striking aspects of their photography is the way they capture the essence of different places around the world. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Bali, each image is a window into a new world, full of color and life.
Donyanedomam’s work is not just visually impressive, but also tells a story. They manage to capture the essence of a place in a single image, making viewers feel like they are right there, experiencing it firsthand.
Their work can inspire travel and exploration, as viewers are transported to different parts of the world through their photographs. Whether it’s the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands or the vibrant markets of Marrakech, Donyanedomam’s images are a true celebration of our planet’s diversity.
In a world where we are often disconnected from nature and the beauty around us, Donyanedomam’s work reminds us of the wonder and magic that exists in every corner of the globe. It is a testament to the power of photography to inspire, connect, and unite us, no matter where we are in the world.
To make the most of your exploration around the Galapagos Islands, consider booking a stay at the Pikaia Lodge. This eco-friendly five-star property is situated in Santa Cruz, and offers an elegant and comfortable setting for your adventures. During your trip, you’ll get to explore both land and sea, with luxury yacht trips that provide a smooth sailing experience. If you want an expert guide, be sure to request Luis Rodriguez, who is known as the ‘Galapagos Champ’ due to his vast knowledge and experience in the area. As you explore the islands, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a David Attenborough documentary, which you can even watch each night at your accommodation in Pikaia.
The Galapagos Islands of Ecuador are renowned for their unique wildlife, and one of the most fascinating aspects of visiting the islands is the lack of fear that the animals exhibit towards humans. Blue-footed boobies and frigate birds will observe visitors from nearby rocks or ride along on the bow of the yacht, while penguins swim and dive without even noticing the khaki-clad visitors. The experience is almost like being in a David Attenborough documentary.
For birdwatchers, this is an ideal destination as it eliminates all the work of traditional birding, such as squinting and using binoculars to identify a species. Instead, visitors can simply enjoy the stunning sights of these beautiful creatures up close. Although some snobbish birders may find this too easy, the majority of us will be in awe of the opportunity to get so close to such magnificent animals.
To make the most of your visit to the Galapagos, it is recommended to stay at Pikaia Lodge, an eco-friendly five-star property located in Santa Cruz. Visitors will have the chance to explore the islands by land and sea, aboard a luxury yacht to help mitigate any seasickness. Additionally, Luis Rodriguez, also known as the “Galapagos Champ,” can be requested as a guide and is legendary among tourists. The lodge also screens a David Attenborough documentary every night, adding to the surreal sensation of feeling like you’re part of the wildlife documentary.
The bird species known as the Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)
Getty Images photo by Donyanedomam.
The final destination on our list brings us back to the rainforest, this time to the Everglades National Park in Florida. While it may seem like a departure from our previous focus on South American destinations, we believe it’s just as important to appreciate the majesty and wilderness of the North American rainforest, especially in light of the current environmental and political climate.
The Everglades is home to over 300 different bird species, including the striking roseate spoonbill with its distinctive pink plumage. These birds wade through the park’s swamps and wetlands in search of prey, giving birdwatchers plenty of opportunities to observe and admire them in their natural habitat.
To make the most of your visit to the Everglades, we recommend staying at one of the lodges or campsites within the park. You can also take a guided tour to learn more about the various bird species and other wildlife that call the Everglades home. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera to capture the beauty of this unique ecosystem.
Flight of the blue heron.
Getty Images user niknikon captured this stunning image of a Blue Heron in flight.
If you’re a bird lover, the Everglades National Park in Florida is one of the best places to visit. With over 300 different species of birds, there’s no shortage of sights to see. The dry season from December to March is the ideal time to visit, as it causes birds to settle around stable bodies of water. But even if you miss the dry season, you can head south to the Florida Keys in the fall to catch the migration of thousands of Peregrine Falcons and other hawks. The Keys Hawkwatch reported over 19,000 raptors in just two months during the fall of 2019, so the chances of spotting one are high.
If you do decide to visit the Everglades, there are plenty of guided tours available to help you explore the area. You can go on an airboat tour, rent a kayak, or even go on a birding-specific tour. And if you prefer to explore on your own, there are plenty of hiking trails and boardwalks to follow. Just make sure to bring plenty of water and insect repellent, as the mosquitoes can be quite persistent.
If you make it down to the Florida Keys, you’ll have the chance to not only see the hawks but also experience the laid-back island lifestyle. You can relax on the beach, go snorkeling or scuba diving, or simply take in the stunning sunsets. And of course, there’s no shortage of fresh seafood to try.
So, whether you’re a seasoned birder or just starting out, make sure to add the Everglades and the Florida Keys to your bucket list. Happy birding!