Guyana, South America Undiscovered is perfectly positioned where the Guiana shield- one of the four pristine tropical forests left in the world- converges with the Amazon Basin. This topography has created ideal habitats for a diversity of birds, ranging from coastal waters, to mangroves, marshes, savannahs, mountains and forested areas; 878 species have been recorded in Guyana, making it a true birdwatchers paradise
Vast pristine stretches of verdant South American rainforest, interspersed with meandering rivers and streams characterise Guyana’s landscape.
Referred to as South America’s “Hidden Gem”, the destination shares borders with Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname and is itself, the only official English speaking countries on the continent.
With a history steeped in colonialism and indentureship, Guyana’s unique cultural makeup has produced a blend of one of the most hospitable people in the world, with the majority of the 750,000 residents living on the country’s coastline.
Covering an area of 83,000 square miles, 80 percent of the landmass is untouched and mostly un-inhabited, although there are many Amerindian villages scattered across the length and breadth of the country.
The Hoatzin is a strange primitive bird. The Hoatzin’s plump body and reddish-brown feathers may not appear antediluvian, but the bird’s blood-red eyes set in patches of bright blue skin and unruly crest of long feathers are throwbacks to another time. Hoatzins are also born with two prehistoric claws protruding from their wings, a characteristic that lead many to believe that it’s a direct link to the Archaeopteryx, the first known bird. Hoatzins are found along rivers and creeks in the Upper Demerara River-Berbice area in Guyana, and are easily seen because they often live in large groups and rarely stray far from their principal locals, probably due to the fact that they’re poor fliers. Indeed, Guyana’s national bird is such a bizarre species that it was put in its own order, the Opisthocomidae.
In Guyana, 878 bird species from 74 different families have been documented and there are still many more species that remain unidentified. Guyana’s coastal capital city, Georgetown, hosts 284 of these species from 39 families alone.
The families include many sought after bird species in the Neotropics (the area including Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America). Guyana’s larger families include:
- Herons (17 subspecies)
- Eagles (36 subspecies)
- Caracaras (15 subspecies)
- Rails (16 subspecies)
- Sandpipers (23 subspecies)
- Skimmers (15 subspecies)
- Parrots (29 subspecies)
- Nighthawk, Nightjar (10 subspecies)
- Swifts (11 subspecies)
- Hummingbirds (38 subspecies)
- Woodpeckers (20 subspecies)
- Ovenbirds (28 subspecies);
- Woodcreepers (18 subspecies)
- Typical Antbirds (49 subspecies)
- Tyrant Flycatchers (111 subspecies)
- Cotingas (16 subspecies)
- Emberizine Finches (25 subspecies)
- New World Blackbirds (24 subspecies)
Of the 104 species endemic to the Guiana Shield, 73 have been identified in Guyana. Highlights of known species include Blood-colored Woodpecker, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Toco Toucan, Crimson Fruitcrow, Caica Parrot, Little Shearwater, Little Chachalaca, Sun Parakeet, Red-shouldered Macaw, Roraima Screech-Owl, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Racket-tailed Coquette, Green Aracari, Black-spotted Barbet, Guianan Piculet, Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Rio Branco Antbird, Guianan Streaked Antwren, Olive-green Tyrannulet, Guianan Red Cotinga, Crimson-hooded Manakin, Cayenne Jay, Finsch’s Euphonia, and Rose-breasted Chat Warbler.