Birding Sibinal and Tacaná Volcano with CAYAYA BIRDING

Sibinal is a small town nestled in a 2500 m (8200 ft) high valley in the western highlands of Guatemala. The skyline around town is shaped by 3000 m (9840 ft) high ridges of the Sierra Madre, the 4100 m (13440 ft) tall Tacaná volcano, and at the distance Tajumulco volcano, with 4200 m (13760 ft) the tallest peak of Central America.

Pink-headed Warbler
Pink-headed Warbler belongs to the common bird species around Sibinal.

Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING have been supporting the development of Sibinal as birding site since 2011

We discovered Sibinal as a birding site for international birders. We know that off-the-beaten track site very well, because we have been researching the birds of Sibinal since 2011 and have operated numerous tours to the area since then. We have been teaching local guides about their special birds. Noteworthy ornithological findings were published in:

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.
More on our bird research in Guatemala ...

immature Horned Guan
Immature Horned Guan in the cloud forest near Sibinal.

Mountain slopes around Sibinal are covered with patches of pine-fir forest, alder woodland, humid broadleaf forest (cloud forest), scrub, small scale corn and vegetables fields, and savannah-like pastureland for sheep. Several sites near Sibinal offer great birding and hiking in an impressive landscape.

Black-capped Siskin
Juvenile Black-capped Siskin in the surroundings of Sibinal.

The area is home to a set of bird species endemic to northern Central America and the Sierra Madre mountain range (Mexico and northern Central America), including Horned Guan, Ocellated Quail, Pink-headed Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Black-headed and Black-capped Siskin, Black-throated Jay, Amethyst-throated, Garnet-throated, and Wine-throated Hummingbird, Blue-throated Motmot, Pine Flycatcher, Black-capped Swallow, Rufous-browed Wren, Rufous-collared Thrush, Brown-backed Solitaire, Blue-and white Mockingbird, (Guatemalan) Yellow-eyed Junco, Hooded Grosbeak, Yellow Grosbeak, Golden-browed Warbler, and Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl.

(Guatemalan) Yellow-eyed Junco
(Guatemalan) Yellow-eyed Juncos are common in all open areas around Sibinal.

Access and accommodation: Sibinal is off the beaten track, but basic tourist services such as hotels and small restaurants have evolved recently. A paved road connects Sibinal to San Marcos, but the access to some of the nearby birding destinations requires a 4-WD vehicle. A camping-style shelter (simple rooms, shared, sometimes non-functional bathroom) is available in Vega del Volcán.

Tacaná volcano
Tacaná volcano is the second tallest peak of Central America.

When is the best time for a visit to Sibinal? Birding in Sibinal is promising all year round.

How do you support conservation and development in Sibinal? Sibinal is part of the Important Bird Area Tacaná-Tajumulco (IBA GT013). With your visit to help to develop an alternative, non-destructive land use in the area.

Chiapan Malachite Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus smaragdinus
Sibinal harbors not only special birds, but also reptiles with small ranges, such as Chiapan Malachite Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus smaragdinus), endemic to high-elevations of southern Mexico and Guatemala.

Images from Sibinal birding sites

Birding Sibinal
Birding in cloud forest near Sibinal.
Golden-browed Warbler
Golden-browed Warbler.
Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer
Immature male Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird.
Wine-throated Hummingbird
Male Wine-throated Hummingbird.
Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee.
More photos ...

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