Water Birds of Belize and Guatemala

The bird on the right is an immature White Ibis, the bird on the left might be an immature Little Blue Heron.

heron and immature white ibis
great egret

great egret

Great Blue Heron

green-backed heron

A green-backed heron going about its business near a busy road.

green-backed heron
Northern jacana

Dig those giant feet! This is a Northern Jacana, one of a group of about 8 birds whose habitat stretches around the globe from Australia to the Americas. Their speciality is using those feet to walk around on floating plants, as in this picture.

Now here's a bird I know, and here's a lucky story, too.   This is a roseate spoonbill, a relative of the flamingo (hence the pink color).   They're not common, and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to photograph it.   I was on a boat trip going North of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye; we did a snorkel and then headed to Rocky Point for a barbecue.   While everyone else sat around the boat, I walked half a mile up the beach, and got several good photos of birds in the trees.   Then here comes the spoonbill towards me and passes straight above me and my 400mm lens with a clear blue sky behind.   Five minutes later black clouds close in and a drenching tropical shower hits.

roseate spoonbill

...on the beach...

reddish egret in its dark phase

reddish egret in the dark phase

brown pelican and terns

brown pelican with tern friends

Magnificent frigatebirds, like this female, are common,
cruising up and down the beach at San Pedro.

female magnificent frigatebird
nesting red-footed booby

Frigatebirds are heavily into fish theft, and here's one of their main victims, a red-footed booby. The frigatebirds wait until a booby has caught a fish and is carrying it home, and then they swoop down on the booby, force it to drop the fish, and then the frigatebird catches the fish in mid-air.  Beats having to work for your food.

The red-footed boobies in the colony at Halfmoon Caye are unusual.  These boobies usually have brown plumage, and this colony is one of only two in the world whose inhabitants have white plumage.  As you can see, this chick doesn't have its red feet yet.

red-footed booby chick
magnificent frigatebirds and booby

And hey, just because frigatebirds and boobies are sworn enemies, who says they can't live in perfect love and harmony in the same colony? And besides which, there's probably not much the boobies can do to get rid of their irritating neighbors.

The frigatebird on the left, with a red pouch under its chin, is a male. During the courting season they blow the pouch up with air and show off to the females.