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Tikal Guatemala: Gran Plaza. Photo showing Tikal Temple 1 (Templo del Gran Jaguar) on left.
Central Acropolis (a palace complex) in center. Tikal Temple 5 (unrestored in 1984) at right in background. 
Seen hanging from several slender branches are old nests of the colorful Icterid, the Montezuma Oropendola 
(Oropéndola de Moctezuma) Psarocolius montezuma, a bird species common in Tikal 

© 1984 Peter W. Wendelken

Tikal: Gran Plaza, Temple 1, Temple 5 and Central Acropolis seen from north

Tikal National Park, in the Peten Department of Guatemala, is one of my favorite destinations in the world. Tikal is a spectacular birding locale and is host to a very large variety of neotropical birds including many that migrate to North America. Tikal sports 3 species of toucan, one of which, the Emerald Toucanet, is rare in Tikal, although fairly common in parts of the highlands of Guatemala. You can see 5 species of parrot and one parakeet, and 8 species of woodcreeper. I have seen 11 species of hummingbird here. On my second day in Tikal, on May 8, 1982, I saw my first Orange-breasted Falcon perched on a snag in the Gran Plaza featured in this photo. I have seen 14 other raptors in Tikal and the King Vulture as well. I have observed 24 species of wood warbler here, all but 3 of which migrate to North America. I have seen the Golden-winged Warbler in Tikal more frequently than I have seen it in the US. In addition to the bird life, Tikal is home to the Yucatan Black Howler monkey and the Central American Spider Monkey. Where else can one combine a day of outstanding bird watching with walks among the towering pyramids in Tikal which is perhaps the most impressive accessible site for viewing large scale Mayan Ruins.


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