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Hidden Valley's "Big 5" for Bird Watching

a woman looking at the scenery with binoculars

It’s believed by conservationists that the Hidden Valley Reserve is home to approximately half of Belize’s "avifauna," a term used to describe birds specific to a region. Among the several species of birds you’ll find, there are five rare birds that we call the Hidden Valley "Big 5" that serve as the spotlight for all our bird-watching guests. Here’s your quick and easy guide to the "Big 5" and where to find them: 

The Orange Breasted Falcon

If you see a flash of bright orange swoop by, you may have just crossed paths with the Orange Breasted Falcon. The species is currently at a dramatic decline, so even the slightest sighting of this bird is a special one. On your journey through the reserve, keep your eyes open for this bird around the 1,000-foot falls, one of their favorite nesting spots. These can also be found near and around King Vulture Falls

The Stygian Owl

A challenge for the die-hard bird watchers, as this Owl is hard to spot during the day, and nests in both the trees and on ground. You’ll know you’ve spotted it from its large, ear tufts and large yellow eyes. They prefer a home of dense forests during the day, and open vegetation at night.

The Solitary Eagle

The rarest and least known bird on the list, The Solitary Eagle has been seen by Tiger Creek Falls. This beautiful bird can be identified by the white and gray markings on its tail, although sightings are extremely rare. If you’re going to set out for this bird, patience is our main advice.

The Black and White Hawk Eagle

This large and distinctively marked raptor is a hard one to miss. The Black and White Hawk Eagle has bright orange eyes, a white neck and body, and a black back and wings. Your best chance to spot this bird is by visiting the King Vulture Falls.

The King Vulture

The King Vulture can be found near the waterfall that it’s named after. Its colorful markings make it easily distinguishable from other vultures that live on the Hidden Valley Reserve.

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