Birdwatching Tours

Birds in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a great country for bird enthusiasts, as a wide range of bird species can be encountered here. Some live in Nicaragua year-round, while others are migratory. Some of the migratory species regularly return to Nicaragua, while others are more accidental visitors.


According to Bird Checklists of the World, the avifauna of Nicaragua included 783 species as of May 2021. This number includes the small number of species introduced to the Nicaraguan wild from abroad through human actions, such as the House sparrow (Passer domesticus), Rock pigeon (Columba livia), and Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto), and Tricolored munia (Lonchura malacca).

The turquoise-browed motmot is the national bird of Nicaragua

The turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) is the national bird of both Nicaragua and the neighbouring country El Salvador. In Nicaragua, it is commonly known as the Guardabarranco, which is Spanish for ravine guard. These birds excavate long tunnels in earth banks along ravines and similar environments to deposit their eggs, and are also known to nest in abandoned quarries and fresh-water wells.

This is a colourful and attention grabbing medium-sized bird that is well-known throughout its range. It is fond of semi-open habitats – such as scrubland, gallery forest, and forest edges – and can quite frequently be seen perched on fences and powerlines along the roads in Central America. From these advantageous locations, the turquoise-browed motmot looks for suitable prey, such as insects and small reptiles.

The body is adorned with various shades of grey-blue, blue, greenish and turquoise, with contrasting rufous patches on the back and belly. The upperside of the tail is bright blue, and the tip of the tail looks like a detached racket. Both male and female turquoise-browed motmots look very striking.

In Mexico, this bird is known as pájaro reloj (“clock bird”) due to its habit of wagging its tail like a pendulum. The middle section of the tail is bare. From a distance, it therefore looks like the bottom part – which is racket shape – is detached from the rest of the bird. Both sexes exhibit this trait and frequently wag their tails from side to side.

Birds in Nicaragua

Birds belonging to the following categories have been identified in Nicaragua and are considered to occur regularly in the country.

  • Anhingas
  • Antpittas
  • Antthrushes
  • Barn-owls
  • Boobies and gannets
  • Cardinals and allies
  • Cormorants and shags
  • Cotingas
  • Crows, jays, and magpies
  • Cuckoos
  • Dippers
  • Ducks, geese, and waterfowl
  • Falcons and caracaras
  • Finches, euphonias, and allies
  • Finfoots
  • Frigatebirds
  • Gnatcatchers
  • Grebes
  • Guans, chachalacas, and curassows
  • Gulls, terns, and skimmers
  • Hawks, eagles, and kites
  • Herons, egrets, and bitterns
  • Hummingbirds
  • Ibises and spoonbills
  • Jacamars
  • Jacanas
  • Kingfishers
  • Limpkin
  • Manakins
  • Mitrospingid tanagers
  • Mockingbirds and thrashers
  • Motmots
  • New World and African parrots
  • New World quail
  • New World sparrows
  • New World vultures
  • New World warblers
  • Nightjars and allies
  • Northern storm-petrels
  • Old World sparrows
  • Olive warbler
  • Osprey
  • Ovenbirds and woodcreepers
  • Owls
  • Oystercatchers
  • Pelicans
  • Pigeons and doves
  • Plovers and lapwings
  • Potoos
  • Puffbirds
  • Rails, gallinules, and coots
  • Royal flycatcher and allies
  • Sandpipers and allies
  • Shearwaters and petrels
  • Skuas and jaegers
  • Stilts and avocets
  • Storks
  • Sunbittern
  • Swallows
  • Swifts
  • Tanagers and allies
  • Thick-knees
  • Thrushes and allies
  • Tinamous
  • Tityras and allies
  • Toucans
  • Treecreepers
  • Trogons
  • Tropicbirds
  • Troupials and allies
  • Typical antbirds
  • Tyrant flycatchers
  • Vireos, shrike-babblers, and erpornis
  • Waxbills and allies
  • Waxwings
  • Woodpeckers
  • Wrens
  • Yellow-breasted chat