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Bird Watching in El Salvador


There are 540 species of birds that have been recorded in El Salvador. The most spectacular of them include the Highland Guan, the White-breasted Hawk, the Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, the Muscovy duck and the Great Curassow amongst others.

We have several types of habitats here including cloud forests in the biggest mountains; dry forests in some valleys, mainly in the northeastern part of the country; tropical mountain forests in the middle mountains; mangroves; swamps and some coastal forest.

Our thanks to Ricardo Ibarra Portillo for his information and photographs about birding in El Salvador.

Boat-billed heron, El Salvador. © Ricardo Ibarra Portillo

Among the most important nesting records are the biggest nesting colony in the country of the Boat-billed heron, located in Barra de Santiago, the biggest nesting colony in the country of Black skimmers in Isla de San Sebastian, , Usulutan; and the biggest nesting colony of Wilsons plovers located in Bahia de Jiquilisco, Usulutan.

There are a two important wetland sites due to the number of birds at a single location; Cerron Grande, located in Chalatenango and Cuscatlan, the countries premier wetland location for ducks and water birds; Laguna El Jocotal, in San Miguel, contains the widest range of water birds in El Salvador, including the Ruddy and Yellow-breasted crakes, Limpkin and the American White pelican.

A recent study of the Salvadorian birds has identified the key habitats that many of these birds rely on. Among the most important sites for conservation are:

  • Montecristo National Park, Santa Ana
  • El Imposible National Park, Ahuachapan
  • San Diego y La Barra National Park, Santa Ana
  • Bahia de Jiquilisco, Usulutan
  • Nancuchiname, Usulutan
  • Laguna El Jocotal, San Miguel
  • Barra de Santiago, Ahuachapan
  • Additionally there are at least eighteen sites located along the coast composed of mangroves, swamps, river forests and sandy plains.
Sharp-shinned hawk, El Salvador.  © Ricardo Ibarra Portillo