Set amongst the lush countryside and coast near the Essequibo River, Lake Mainstay offers a glimpse of coastal plains of the north. It allows for great access to birding sites along the Atlantic Ocean and the Essequibo and Pomeroon Rivers.
Formerly a ranch, which has now become a popular eco-lodge endorsed by the likes of Gerald Durrell and David Attenborough, Karanambu is synonymous to conservation. Well-known for river otter conservation, it is also a great place for birding in the surrounding savannah grasslands, riversides and dense forests
Iwokrama River Lodge
If you’re starting your birding adventure in the North Rupununi, the first location should be Iwokrama River Lodge. Centrally located in the heart of the rainforest, Iwokrama is ideal for birdwatching whether it is from the lodge, across the river from Indian Island or on a hike to Turtle Mountain.
The city hotels are great to settle into if you’re intent on exploring Georgetown’s green patches and viewing a sampling of more than 200 species of birds. Day trips to Mahaica and Abary can also be arranged from here.
Caiman House Field Station
Dedicated to wildlife conservation and found in the Yupukari village, Caiman House is one of the top places to stay for birders who want to access both the savannahs and Kanuku Mountains. The eco-lodge partners with local and international biologists, herpetologists, and entomologists to support its conservation efforts.
Atta Lodge lies at the edge of the Iwokrama Forest in the heart of the country. Perched 100 feet off the ground, one of the highlights is the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. The four metal rope bridges with viewing platforms are perfect to spot high canopy birds.
Also known as the Sun Conure, the Sun Parakeet is a brightly coloured bird, native to South America. The golden-yellow plumage and orange-flushed face and belly make it one of the most striking birds to view in Guyana. As social birds, they live in flocks, but mate monogamously throughout their lifetime. They choose high canopies of tropical forests where fruit, nuts, seeds and insects are in abundance. Trapping these birds for plumage and the pet trade in the last few decades has made their population plummet. The birds are now considered endangered, therefore it is a fortunate moment if you spot one. But this has also given rise to conservation groups with a special focus on the sun parakeet. As a result, they can be found in the dense rainforest areas of Guyana and are often sighted in the village of Karasabai.
Rio Branco Antbird
The severely threatened Rio Branco Antbird (Cercomacra) is endemic to the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist shrublands of Roraima in Brazil and parts of southwest Guyana along the Ireng River. These birds prefer the dense forests with vines and river islands, and are usually observed in pairs. Its plumage (black in males) suggests that it forms a species group with other antbirds found in the same habitat.
The now endangered Red Siskin was once found in abundance in parts of the Caribbean and tropical South American regions. In 2003, some hope was restored when large numbers were discovered in southern Guyana, amongst the Rupununi grasslands. But still, the total number of Red Siskins on earth is not likely to be more than 6000. Open country with pale grasslands, circled by forests and shrubs is the perfect habitat for these birds. Insects are abundant in the grasslands and provide a safe hideout amongst the nearby trees. The male Red Siskins can be identified by their deep red bodies, and contrasting black head, throat, feathers and tail tip. The females have grey heads, breast, and upper parts, apart from a red rump and upper tail. Reddish flanks on their grey breast makes them distinguishable from the males. Ever since the Red Siskin’s population dropped, Guyana has been the research hotspot for many experts from around the world who are focused on saving it from extinction.
The Hoatzin or the Canje Pheasant (as it is commonly called in Guyana) is Guyana’s National Bird and a rare looking species that is believed to offer a direct link to archaeopteryx, the first known bird in the world. The Hoatzin, whose average adult length is 22 inches, has a stocky, pear shaped body, reddish-brown feathers streaked white around the shoulders, and a pale brown underside. Long tail feathers and an elongated neck flank the plump body. These are normal attributes, but aren’t the characteristics that draw birders from around the world. The Hoatzin’s blood red eyes peer forth from a ring of bright-blue skin set on a tiny head that seems more diminutive, thanks to an unruly crest of long feathers. The chicks are born with two prehistoric claws protruding from their wings; the same claws are seen in archaeopteryx fossils. The bird call comprises of hoarse cries, hisses, and grunts. Birders often travel to Mahaica and Abary regions, and other low coastal plains to see this unique bird.