CAYAYA BIRDING Guatemala Birding Guides

CAYAYA BIRDING was founded in 2003 by Knut Eiserman and Claudia Avendaño. Both are active field ornithologists in Guatemala since the 1990ies. Knut and Claudia lead birding tours in Guatemala since 1998.

Cayaya Birding founders
CAYAYA BIRDING founders.

Knut and Claudia support ornithology, birding, and conservation throughout the country. With the PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program they produced the first fully referenced annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala, published in 2007 by Lynx Edicions (Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala).

Both coordinated the identification of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Guatemala, under the roof of BirdLife International and the Ornithological Society of Guatemala.

Claudia and Knut have successfully supported the development of birding sites including Los Tarrales; through professional advise, teaching local birding guides (e.g. Los Tarrales), and publicity (web sites, printed publications).

Through Christmas Birds Counts and support of eBird, they help to promote birding as hobby among Guatemalans.


Knut Eisermann, birding guide GuatemalaKnut Eisermann, Engineer for Nature Conservation.

Knut leads birding tours in Guatemala since 1998. He speaks fluent English, German, and Spanish. You may read more about his activities on his personal web site Ornithological research and wildlife photography in Guatemala.

Knut was born in 1973 in Chemnitz, Germany and spent his childhood years there. His interest in nature began at ten years of age when his father took him out to observe the local avifauna, later also bats, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and others.

When he was a bit older, Knut joined the Saxon Ornithologist’s Association where he dedicated six years to the research and conservation of the Jackdaw.

Knut later attended the University of Applied Sciences, Eberswalde, Germany, where he studied Engineering of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation. He wrote his thesis on the avifauna of a cloud forest site in Guatemala. Knut lives in Guatemala since 1997. His ornithological studies throughout the country focused on distribution, natural history, and conservation, resulting in numerous papers in ornithological journals and magazines, book chapters, and an annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala (Lynx Edicions). He served as country coordinator for the compilation of bird records in Guatemala, published in "North American Birds" from 2004 to 2015.


Claudia Avendaño, birding guides GuatemalaClaudia Avendaño, Biologist.

Claudia leads birding tours in Guatemala since 1999. She speaks fluent English and Spanish.

Claudia was born in 1974 and grew up in Guatemala City, Guatemala. She studied Chemistry and Biology at San Carlos University in Guatemala and wrote her thesis on the avifauna of Laguna Lachuá National Park in Guatemala’s northern, tropical rainforest.

During the two years of her thesis research, Claudia acquired an ample knowledge of Guatemalan avifauna and the culture of the Maya Q’eqchi’ indigenous population of the country. Based on these experiences Claudia taught three Q’eqchi’ farmers from the community of Rocjá Pomtilá a method of scientific bird counts, as part of the PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program.

Claudia has been dedicated to studying birds since 1996 through numerous short-term studies and excursions in national protected areas around the country. She co-authored several publications on the distribution, natural history, and conservation of birds in Guatemala, including an annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala (Lynx Edicions).

She also is involved in environmental education among farmer's children in several communities. At Los Tarrales she supported a bird festival organized by the Guacamaya Foundation (Holland), and co-organized a bird day within the II Symposium of Loros Mesoamericanos.


What birders say who traveled with Knut and Claudia:

"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 and Claudia 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. (February 2013)

"My experience in Guatemala could not have been better. Knut is a very accomplished guide who knows the birds beyond field guide information." Mark Lockwood, Alpine, TX, USA. (April 2014), senior author of The TOS Handbook of Texas Birds.

"Claudia and Knut 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. (December 2007)

"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. (June 2015)

"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. (December 2014), Co-authors of: A bird-finding guide to Panama.

"Birding with Knut and Claudia 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. (March 2012)

"We found Knut 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. (April 2013)

More testimonials ...

List of publications with participation of Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño:

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2015) Los búhos de Guatemala. 381-434 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Los búhos neotropicales: diversidad y conservación. ECOSUR, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México.

Enríquez, P. L., K. Eisermann, J. C. Motta-Junior & H. Mikkola (2015) Una revisión de la taxonomía y sistemática de los búhos neotropicales. 29-38 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Los búhos neotropicales: diversidad y conservación. ECOSUR, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México.

Eisermann, K. (2013) Vocal field marks of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl. Neotropical Birding 13: 8-13.

Eisermann, K., C. Avendaño & P. Tanimoto (2013). Birds of the Cerro El Amay Important Bird Area, Quiché, Guatemala. Cotinga 35: 81-93.

Eisermann, K. (2013) Noteworthy nesting record and unusual bill coloration of Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno. Cotinga 35 (OL): 74-78.

Enríquez, P. L., K. Eisermann & H. Mikkola (2012) Los búhos de México y Centroamérica: necesidades en investigación y conservación. Ornitología Neotropical 23, Suppl.: 247-260.

Schulz, U. & K. Eisermann (2012) Morphologische Unterscheidung von Guatemala-Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno und Costa-Rica-Quetzal P. costaricensis anhand der Schmuckfedern. Ornithologischer Anzeiger 51: 70-74.

Eisermann, K. & S. N. G. Howell (2011). Vocalizations of the Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium cobanense). Journal of Raptor Research 45: 304-314.

Howell, S. N. G. & K. Eisermann (2011) Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium cobanense is a good species. Neotropical Birding 9: 74-76.

Eisermann, K. (2011) Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi: from ornithological enigma to conservation flagship. Neotropical Birding 9: 44-50.

Eisermann, K. (2011) Citizen science in the ornithology of a developing country: Christmas Bird Counts in Guatemala. Birding 43: 38-47.

Eisermann, K., S. Arbeiter, G. López, C. Avendaño, J. de León Lux, A. Burge, A. de León Lux & E. Buchán (2011). Nesting ecology of the Endangered Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi) in Guatemala. Ornitología Neotropical 22: 39-57.

Eisermann, K., S. Arbeiter, G. López, C. Avendaño & J. d. León Lux (2011) Distribution, habitat use, and implications for the conservation of the globally threatened Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi in Guatemala. Bird Conservation International 21: 423-437.

Eisermann, K., G. López, J. Berry, J. de León Lux & A. Burge (2011) Vocalisations and juvenile plumage of the Azure-rumped Tanager. Cotinga OL 33: 46-49.

Eisermann, K. (2010) Citizen Science: Bestandserfassungen in Guatemala. Falke 57: 202-207.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Guatemala. Pp. 235-242 In: C. Devenish, D. F. Diaz Fernández, R. P. Clay, I. Davidson & I. Y. Zabala (eds.) Important Bird Areas Americas, priority sites for biodiversity conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series 16. Birdlife International, Quito, Ecuador.

Eitniear, J. C. & K. Eisermann (2009) Status and recent sightings of Ocellated Quail. International Journal of Galliformes Conservation 1: 85-93.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Conservation priority-setting in Guatemala through the identification of Important Bird Areas. Proceedings of the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference, Tundra to Tropics: 315-327.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Important Bird Areas of the Neotropics: Guatemala. Neotropical Birding 5: 4-11.

Eisermann, K. (2009) Abundance of shorebirds on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Waterbirds 32: 337-344.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2007) Lista comentada de las aves de Guatemala - Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Eisermann, K. (2007) Vogelreichtum in Guatemala: endemische Arten, IBAs und nachhaltige Bewirtschaftung. Falke 54: 385-391.

Eisermann, K. & K. Omland (2007) Coloration anomaly of a male Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris). Acta Zoológica Mexicana (n.s.) 23 (2): 197-200.

Eisermann, K., A. Burge & G. López (2007) Nesting records of Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus) on Atitlán volcano, Guatemala. Bulletin of the IUCN / BIRDLIFE / WPA Cracid Specialist Group 23: 13-24.

Eisermann, K. (2007) Important Bird Areas in Guatemala. Winging It 19, no.5: 11.

Eisermann, K. & D. M. Brooks (2006): Unusual and noteworthy nesting records for Guatemala. Cotinga 26: 48-51.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2006): Diversidad de aves en Guatemala, con una lista bibliográfica. Pp. 525-623 In: E. Cano (Ed.) Biodiversidad de Guatemala, Vol. 1. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala.

Eisermann, K., N. Herrera & O. Komar (2006): Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra). Pp. 85-90 In: D. M. Brooks (Ed.) Conserving Cracids: the most threatened family of birds in the Americas. Miscellaneous Publications of the Houston Museum of Natural Science 6.

Eisermann, K. (2005): An observation of foliage-bathing by an Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus) in Tikal, Guatemala. Wilson Bulletin 117: 415-418.

Eisermann, K. & U. Schulz (2005): Birds of a high-altitude cloud forest in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Revista de Biología Tropical 53: 577-594.

Eisermann, K. (2005): Noteworthy bird observations in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Bull. British Ornithologist’s Club 125: 3-11.

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2004): American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos in interior Guatemala. Cotinga 22: 98-99.

Eisermann, K. (2004): Status of Great Curassow (Crax rubra) in Punta de Manabique, Guatemala: habitat, population size and human impact. Bulletin of the IUCN / BIRDLIFE / WPA Cracid Specialist Group 18: 4-14.

Eisermann, K. (2003): Status and conservation of the Yellow-headed Parrot Amazona oratrix "guatemalensis" on the Atlantic coast of Guatemala. Bird Conservation International 13: 359-364.

Eisermann, K. (2003): First records of the White-crowned Pigeon (Columba leucocephala), the Rufous-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides axillaris), and the Snowy Cotinga (Carpodectes nitidus) for Guatemala. Ornitología Neotropical 14: 127-128.


Recent publications

bird Guatemala with CAYAYA BIRDING

Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2015) Los búhos de Guatemala. 381-434 in P. L. Enríquez (ed.) Los búhos neotropicales: diversidad y conservación. ECOSUR, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México.

Eisermann, K. (2013) Vocal field marks of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl. Neotropical Birding 13: 8-13.

Eisermann, K., C. Avendaño & P. Tanimoto (2013). Birds of the Cerro El Amay Important Bird Area, Quiché, Guatemala. Cotinga 35: 81-93.

Eisermann, K. (2013) Noteworthy nesting record and unusual bill coloration of Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno. Cotinga 35 (OL): 74-78.


Checklist of the Birds of Guatemala
Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala by Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño, published by Lynx (2007).
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