CAYAYA BIRDING Specialized birding tours in Guatemala since 2003
Photo of the Month January 2024Guatemala is an attractive birding destination in Central America with more than 770 bird species and a high diversity of ecosystems. CAYAYA BIRDING offers top quality birding tours and day trips - private and for small groups - designed for birders, led by Knut Eisermann, Claudia Avendaño, and knowledgeable local guides. Knut and Claudia are passionate birders and guides, live and study birds in Guatemala and have published numerous contributions to Guatemalan ornithology, including an Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Guatemala (Lynx, 2007). Since more than 20 years, they enjoy showing Guatemalan birdlife to world birders (what birders say about CAYAYA BIRDING).
we operate small group birdwatching tours to guarantee the best
possible birding conditions, to keep our impact on the natural environment
as low as possible, and to ensure personalized service. We lead tours in
English, German or Spanish.
we organize all ground travel using minibuses or coasters and, where necessary, 4-wheel-drive-vehicles.
We stay in beautiful
and peaceful eco-lodges and hotels, where you see birds even during your rest.
Vegetarian meals and other special diets are always made available upon request.
we have been successfully organizing and leading expert birding tours in Guatemala since 2003. Our knowledge on birds, people, and country is based on more than 20 years of ornithological field research, travelling, and conservation work. We reside in Guatemala, and when not leading birding tours, we are in the field finding out new things about special birds, training local guides, supporting the development of birding lodges and areas, finding new and exciting birding hotspots, and supporting conservation initiatives.
Start here planning your birding trip to Guatemala, using our online form or by telephone/WhatsApp: (502) 5308 5160:
Recent photographs by CAYAYA BIRDING tour participants:
Closeup of a calling Fulvous Owl Strix fulvescens in a cloud forest in the Guatemalan highlands.
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Fully referenced checklist of the birds of Guatemala
Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING published the first annotated and fully referenced checklist of the birds of Guatemala in 2007. The checklist is bilingual (English/Spanish) and was published by Lynx Edicions, Barcelona (ISBN 84-96553-40-X). More of our contributions to the ornithology of Guatemala.
Update on the inventory, distribution, and residency status of birds in Guatemala
Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING published in 2018 a major update on the inventory, distribution, and residency status of birds in Guatemala: Knut Eisermann & Claudia Avendaño (2018) An update on the inventory, distribution and residency status of bird species in Guatemala. Bulletin British Ornithologists' Club 138: 148-229.
"CAYAYA BIRDING ... resident specialists with unmatched knowledge of birding hot-spots."
Rough Guide to Guatemala, 5th edition (2012), p.26, by Iain Stewart.
"You could easily center your entire Guatemala vacation around birding, Guatemala's best birding outfitter is CAYAYA BIRDING."
Moon Handbooks Guatemala, 2nd edition (2007), p.23, by Al Argueta.
Comparative book review in BIRDING magazine: Eisermann, K. (2019) New field guides for birding Central America: a review of Birds of Central America, by Andrew C. Vallely and Dale Dyer, and of Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Northern Central America, by Jesse Fagan and Oliver Komar. Birding 51(3): 66-68.
A more extensive version of this book review is online at the American Birding Association's Blog
Knut Eisermann & Claudia Avendaño (2018) An update on the inventory, distribution and residency status of bird species in Guatemala. Bulletin British Ornithologists' Club 138: 148-229.
Knut Eisermann & Claudia Avendaño (2017) The owls of Guatemala. 447-515 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Neotropical owls: diversity and conservation. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
Knut Eisermann, Claudia Avendaño & Esteban Matías (2017) Nesting evidence, density and vocalisations in a resident population of Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis wetmorei in Guatemala. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 137: 37-45.
Knut Eisermann, Esteban Matías & Claudia Avendaño (2017) Primer registro de anidación de Psiloscops flammeolus en Guatemala. Cotinga 39: 53-59.
Knut Eisermann (2013) Vocal field marks of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl. Neotropical Birding 13: 8-13.
"Superb tours, CAYAYA BIRDING offers some of the best birdwatching tours in Central America. They tailor their tours to their customers needs. They are some of the most renowned bird experts in the region, so they can lead high level tours, but they also are great for taking more casual birders and photographers. Highest recommendation."
John Larrea, United States
"Claudia and Knut are amazing scientists, naturalists and birders. They gave us a very engaging two-hour tour to our large family group at Finca El Pilar outside of Antigua. They engaged with all members of our group, from the grandmother to the eight-year-old. Everyone especially enjoyed the hummingbirds, and the whole group got to see many other birds in the spotting scope, including a pair of beautiful Black-vented Orioles. In the past, Knut and Claudia have taken me on serious birding outings, and they are the best in the country for that as well. I could not recommend them more highly for both serious birding and for more casual nature tours."
Kevin Omland, Baltimore, MD
"As most experienced guides, Knut Eisermann was able to identify all birds by call as well as song and sight. However, he was exceptionally good at getting his clients on the bird of interest. He was also incredibly committed to finding target birds and to meet his clients' objectives. Birding aside, Knut (and Claudia) were terrific company. Finally the logistics and communications about the trip were exceptionally clear, timely and relevant."
Magnus Persmark, United States
"Guatemala with CAYAYA BIRDING - far from the longest bird-list I've ever had, nor perhaps equalling the great wild-life spectacles of East Africa, but this was one of the very best birding trips I've ever been on. The leader is key on any sort of wild-life trip and I make no apology for the emphasis that I place on this area. We picked up all the "marquee" species and had many extra surprise bonus birds. All this is because Knut Eisermann has to be one of the world's very top bird leaders. His ability as a bird-finder must be unrivaled and he has the unique ability to get scope views of rainforest rarities. This alone makes a huge difference. He also has an unrivaled knowledge of the country's avifauna and has an extensive array of contacts, including local guides, to smooth the finding of rarities. Our list of owls, photographed as well as seen, was amazing. A bird leader also needs lots of "softer" skills and once more Knut excels - multi-lingual, resourceful, and with an excellent sense of humour. It really was like going birding with an old friend. There was always flexibility and a Plan B if necessary. To literally wet your appetite, the food and accommodation were absolutely superb. If you are thinking of a bird trip to Guatemala, and you should, then I'm afraid that there is no alternative to CAYAYA BIRDING."
Mike Thompson, UK
"The trip was absolutely the best. I have been on many guided trips to a number of countries, but none were more well organized and thought out than yours."
Dennis Shirley, Utah, USA.
"CAYAYA BIRDING are the Guatemala experts. For expert guiding, logistics planning and knowing where the birds are, you can't beat the team of Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño! Thanks for a great trip, guys!!"
Mark Conrad, Arizona, USA.
"A much anticipated return to this wonderful country after a several year break. A huge thanks to Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño, for yet another absolutely fantastic trip. The whole thing meticulously planned and operated. Exceptionally knowledgeable, focused, patient and kind, the CAYAYA BIRDING team are the natural choice for birdwatching in Guatemala. Already planning our next visit!"
Harry Barnard, UK and Costa Rica
"My wife and I spent a wonderful day with Claudia Avendaño birding at the end of a weekend stay in Antigua. We have gone birding with world class guides in Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica and Panama, and I can say without hesitation that Claudia is in that class. Given that she and Knut Eisermann are the longest running bird guiding outfit in Guatemala, it is to be expected that she knows and can find the birds of Guatemala better than anyone else. That she is a professional ornithologist, and active in conservation only makes recommending CAYAYA BIRDING that much easier. Most importantly, she was able to take account of our age (early 70s), infirmities (altitude impact) and conditioning to give us the measured activity that allowed us to enjoy our day and see what we came to see. She is as quick to line birds up in her scope as anyone I've birded with, and knows the birds of Guatemala and where to find them from her more than 25 years of study, field research and leading trips all in Guatemala. Claudia is a delightful, charming and interesting woman who clearly enjoys doing what she does so well."
Joel Rosenthal, Miami, Florida, USA
"We spent 14 unforgettable days with Knut Eisermann birding in various locations within 3 hours drive of Guatemala City. Apart from being the most impressive birder we have been with - identifying and making sure that we had good looks at every bird we recorded - Knut and his partner Claudia Avendaño had every last detail of our trip totally organized - right down to coffee at 5:00 in the morning for our many early starts. Hikes up volcanoes and through a variety of habitats were most impressive.
Every lodging they had booked us into were beyond our expectations and top quality. Claudia's follow up phone calls to make sure we had met up with our drivers to get to and from airport were most appreciated.
Equally impressive as Knut's birding knowledge and locations to bird, was his concern about all things to do with Guatemala and birding. He is a true ambassador for all things Guatemala and a shining example of what a bird guide should be.
We will be going back to Guatemala with Claudia and Knut of CAYAYA BIRDING."
Rose, Bernie and John Diebolt, Canada
"The whole arrangement was excellent with a good mix of habitats, ensuring that we ended up with a very nice trip list (386 species, of which 13 were heard only). Knut Eisermann was a splendid guide, very keen to find our targets and with excellent knowledge of all the birds occurring in Guatemala. A slightly unexpected bonus was his special interest in owls, which meant that owling was an almost nightly exercise. Our final trip list included nine species of owls and they were all seen!"
Tomas Hedmark, Sweden
"Four of us went to Guatemala in the hope of photographing the regional endemics. Thanks to Knut's expertise, we saw and photographed almost all on our wish list. I would recommend CAYAYA BIRDING company for anyone birding or pursuing serious photography in Guatemala. Knut Eisermann not only knows the birds and how to find them, but is an accomplished photographer himself, so he knows just what a photographer needs when in the field. We can't wait to come back." Richard Greenspun, Florida, USA,
"Five days in the company of Knut Eisermann birding the hills and valleys of the countryside surrounding Antigua, Guatemala was an absolute delight. Knut is as much an ornithologist, with a special interest in owls, as he is a birder and this made the trip extra special. I am a serial guide user in the Americas and Knut is up there with the best of them."
Kevin Buckley, New Jersey, USA
"We had an extremely good trip. Everything was organized with an incredible attention to detail; we saw a huge amount without feeling rushed; and the food and accommodation were far better than we had expected. Knut Eisermann is an excellent guide with an incredible knowledge of the birds, wildlife and culture of his adopted home. He is also very pleasant company in the field. Very highly recommended."
Graham Tebb, Vienna, Austria
"I was able to organize a 10 day trip with Claudia Avendaño for an 11 person group I was leading for Atlanta Audubon. We had a spectacular time! We were able to visit the western highlands as well as the lowland forests at Tikal National Park. In addition to finding life birds and seeing amazing places, this trip had a special focus on shade grown coffee and the Wood Thrush. CAYAYA BIRDING did a great job helping us create a customized itinerary that balanced birding, culture, conservation, and educational opportunities. Claudia was skillful at noticing the needs and desires of each particular group member and adjusting accordingly. She was well prepared and researched and understood what our group desired. The lodging, transportation, and local guides all met or exceeded expectations. I cannot recommend CAYAYA BIRDING and Claudia Avendaño enough and absolutely plan on birding with them again in the future. We were able to see 275 species in 10 days and everyone left happy and healthy."
Adam Betuel, Atlanta Audubon Society
"Knut Eisermann provided my son and I with a wonderful week of birdwatching in Guatemala. He is warm, friendly and fun! His birding skills are second to none. We had a wonderful time and I can't say enough good things about our time with him."
Michael Robinson, Washington, USA
"CAYAYA BIRDING is outstanding: they not only offer world-class guides, but remarkably comfortable accommodation. They have taken care to ensure good relations with the communities they visit, which means you will not only see a long list of endemics and rarities, but also learn a lot about Guatemala's cultural diversity." Matthew Koch, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
"Our guide, Knut Eisermann was excellent! I was impressed by his bird knowledge, phenomenal eyes and ears, and on how well he took care of us. He was charming at all times, attuned to all of our needs both birdwise and otherwise, and extremely patient and considerate. He is lightning-fast on getting a bird in the scope! He is also a very safe driver. We had a delightful time. Claudia Avendaño was very prompt on her responses to all of our queries. Her pre-trip information was comprehensive and very clear. I would highly recommend that anyone interested in birding Guatemala contact them first." Lorna L. Engleman, MD, and Dodge Engleman, MD, San Antonio, TX.
Co-authors of: A bird-finding guide to Panama.
"A fantastic tour! Very well-organized, with friendly, enthusiastic, and expert guides that knew where to find the birds we wanted to see. They made sure we were well taken care of, and they worked hard to ensure that everyone in our group saw the birds we were targeting. All lodging was highly satisfactory and we never missed a meal. Extremely pleasant and highly recommended!"
Paul Sunby, Austin, TX, USA.
"My experience in Guatemala could not have been better. Knut Eisermann is a very accomplished guide who knows the birds beyond field guide information."
Mark Lockwood, Alpine, TX, USA. Senior author of The TOS Handbook of Texas Birds.
"I highly recommend CAYAYA BIRDING! My trip to Guatemala was the birding trip of a lifetime for me. It was relaxing and fun and I was astonished by the number of birds I was able to observe in 6 days. Our guide, Knut, was fabulous! He had keen senses and in-depth knowledge of the local birds. He was able to get a scope focused on hard to see birds in a flash! Knut is not only an outstanding bird guide, but also has an easy going personality with a great sense of humor. The trip was very well organized and went smoothly."
Melannie Hartman, USA.
"We found Knut Eisermann an extremely knowledgable, enthusiastic, patient and attentive leader. He knows the birds, the locations, the people. He involves local guides that he trained himself wherever possible - we were impressed by this. His sense of humour is also an asset."
Ian D. Harrison, Aberaeron, UK.
"It was a delightful trip from beginning to end. Communication was clear in the planning stages and throughout the entire trip. And, most especially, Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño were 'over-the-top' birders! We loved their total friendliness and cheerfulness and their skills at hearing, seeing and identifying Guatemalan birds was amazing."
Ann and John Reichhardt, Colorado, USA.
"Birding with Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño is a double benefit. Not only do you get the best birding experience and expertise, but you are also supporting conservation and habitat/ecological awareness efforts through their programs with locals. Teach the local people about birds, employ them as paid citizen scientists, increase awareness about caring for the earth and support the local economy."
Ruth Stewart, Vermont, USA.
"Claudia Avendaño organised our trip perfectly. We had some terrific birding in the highlands and at Tikal, with a good insight into the highland region and the chance to explore the great ruins at Tikal. We should have stayed longer!"
Marcus I'Anson, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK.
"Claudia Avendaño and Knut Eisermann organized a one week custom tour for Pacific slope bird specialties and the cultural attractions of colonial Antigua and Lake Atitlán. Knut was an outstanding guide and personable companion. His knowledge of the birds is encyclopedic, and his sharp eyes and perseverance were greatly appreciated."
Robert Orenstein, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.