Quetzaltenango is Guatemala's second largest city, situated on a plain at 2400 m in the Sierra Madre mountain range. Yet higher reaching volcano peaks to the south and mountain ridges to the north tower over the city. At the heart of the Endemic Bird Area "North Central American Highlands", and as part of the Santiaguito Volcano Important Bird Area (IBA GT014), the surroundings of Quetzaltenango are home to numerous regional endemic bird species.
Although much of the landscape surrounding Quetzaltenango is used for agriculture, several accessible birding sites offer a variety of natural habitat including cloud forest, pine-oak forest, coniferous forest, and scrub.
Humid forests are the habitat of Pink-headed Warbler, Black-throated and Unicolored jays, Green-throated Mountain-gem, Blue-throated Momtot, Golden-browed Warbler, Black Thrush, Wine-throated Hummingbird, and Highland Guan, to name a few of the regional endemics. With some good luck also Horned Guan can be seen.
Less humid pine-oak forests and woodlands, as well as coniferous forests are home to Black-capped Siskin, Pine Flycatcher, Singing Quail, Olive Warbler, and Golden-crowned Kinglet. The latter reaches in Guatemala the southernmost edge of its range. Open areas are used by Yellow-eyed (Guatemalan) Junco.
Access and accommodation: Quetzaltenango is easily accessible on the Panamerican road and has a variety of hotels and restaurants.
Best time for a visit to Quetzaltenango: Any time of the year.
How you support conservation and development in Quetzaltenango: With your entrance and guide fees you support the conservation of the municipal and private forests in the surroundings of Quetzaltenango. The surroundings of Quetzaltenango are part of the Important Bird Area Santiaguito Volcano (IBA GT014), designated by BirdLife International. The identification of IBAs in Guatemala was coordinated by Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING.