Birding Todos Santos Cuchumatán
The Sierra Los Cuchumatanes is the Central American mountain range with the most extensive continuous area above 3,000 m (9,800 ft) elevation, with peaks reaching 3,800 m (12,460 ft). The tableland is characterized by an impressive landscape shaped by glaciers during the late Quaternary (115,000-12,000 years ago).
The Parque Regional Municipal Todos Santos Cuchumatán is the largest nature reserve in the area, protecting approximately 70 km2 of the western part of the tableland including steep slopes falling off to the south and to the west.
We at CAYAYA BIRDING have been investigating the birds of Sierra Los Cuchumatanes since 2012. The highest parts are dominated by open grassy and rocky areas, and open pine and juniper woodlands. These are home to Goldman's Warbler, a resident form of the Yellow-rumped Warbler complex, as well as a local subspecies of Pine Siskin. Rufous-collared Robins, Yellow-eyed Junco, Spotted Towhee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, and Steller's Jay are common. Broad-tailed, White-eared, and Magnificent Hummingbirds are common hummers in the area. Grassy areas harbor Eastern Meadowlarks and a local subspecies of Savannah Sparrow. We discovered a resident population and documented the first evidence of nesting of this subspecies (Eisermann et al. 2017). With some good luck Common Raven may be seen. Ravens were once common in the Guatemala, but nowadays the Cuchumatanes are the last refuge.
More humid fir and broadleaf forests on the steep slopes harbor a different set of birds, including Pink-headed Warbler, Rufous-browed Wren, and Amethyst-throated Hummingbird. The area is poor in raptors, but Red-tailed Hawk, White-breasted Hawk, a resident form of American Kestrel, as well as wintering Sharp-shinned Hawks and northern American Kestrels may be seen.
Accommodation: There are several options available to stay near the Parque Regional Municipal Todos Santos Cuchumatán, including hotels in Todos Santos Cuchumatán, and the Unicornio Azul Lodge. All visits to the park must be reserved.
When is the best time for a visit to Todos Santos Cuchumatán? Any time of the year.
How do you support conservation and development in the Cuchumatanes?: With your entrance fee to the Parque Regional Municipal Todos Santos Cuchumatán you support the conservation efforts of several village involved in the park management. The park is part of Cuchumatanes Important Bird Area (IBA GT005). The identification of IBAs in Guatemala was coordinated by Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING.