Birds of Palo Alto, Guatemala

Seen during Summer 2022

By Pete Sole


This page is a very informal summary of about 30 bird species seen, heard and identified during my Summer 2022 trip to Palo Alto, Guatemala. Time frames were from July 13th through July 24th, and July 29th through August 4th. Specifically, the page lists bird species identified in "Palo Alto", originally a small farm about 11 miles or 18km from the center of Guatemala City, in Guatemala, Central America. As of 2022, Palo Alto is a compound with about 10 houses, surrounded by denser housing developments, a six lane road, shopping and more.


The habitat is mixed. It includes a few acres of second growth pine/mixed tree forest on a steep slope, plus about 1/2 square kilometer with homes, gardens and small older fruit tree orchards, on mostly flat or gently slopped terrain. There are some overgrown shrubs and trees in between some properties. As to be expected, most birds were seen in the gardens, or at the edge of the forest or in the overgrowth. Species were sparcer deeper in the forest. The elevation of the compound is about 4900 feet or ~1.4km above sea level.


The weather was a mix of rain and partial sunshine. It rained roughly every other day, at times quite heavily. (I saw more rain in Palo Alto in 2 weeks, than I saw all spring and summer of 2022 in Soquel, California where I live.) Temperatures were quite pleasant. Rarely below 55 F or 12.8 C, and rarely above 75 deg F or 23.9 C. On a few days, there was mist or fog in the morning.


  1. This is an informal survey of the birds seen during the specified time, documented with the assistance of eBird, books, Merlin, family help, and photos.
  2. Numerous birds were vocal around 5:30am, close to dawn. It then quieted down, with less seen or heard, especially when misty or raining. Between 8:30 and 10am the birds were more active, especially if sunny.
  3. I observed all of the species listed, except one, which was seen by a family member.
  4. There were at least 5 additional species/taxa seen or heard that were not conclusively identified.
  5. All of the photos on this page were captured in Palo Alto by Pete Sole, the author of this page.


Note: clicking the column name will resort the table by the selected column.

Species Name Family or Genus Abundance Date First Seen Notes

Hairy Woodpecker
Woodpecker Single observation 2022-08-03 Smaller, darker Guatemala subspecies compared to US subspecies. Seen at the north-east
edge of Tia Laly's property about 200 feet from the "positos".

Painted Redstart
Warbler Single observation 2022-08-01 Seen by Gemma at the north east edge of Tia Laly's property about 200 feet from the "positos".

Black-headed Saltador
Saltator Single observation 2022-08-01 Seen between Maria's and Tia Laly's house.

Black-vented Oriole
Oriole Single observation of 2 individuals 2022-08-01 Seen on the bottlebrush tree by Tia Laly's bedroom.

Squirrel Cuckoo
Cuckoo Single observation of 2 individuals 2022-07-21 Followed from Ana Luisa's and Pepe's house to Renata's house. Seen in a previous trip to Palo Alto many years ago. Also seen by my cousin Maria more recently. Resident in the area?

Turkey Vulture
Vulture Single observation, overflight 2022-07-20 Overflight of a bird high above the compound.

Boat-billed Flycatcher
Flycatcher Seen twice 2022-07-18 Seen in front of Tia Blanca's house and possibly the same pair of flycatchers seen down below closer to the "positos".

Red-tailed Hawk
Hawk Single observation 2022-07-18 Three individuals photographed circling overhead.

Lesson's Motmot
Motmot Single observation 2022-07-18 Single bird photographed very close to Jeanne's house in dense forest.

White-napped Brushfinch
Brushfinch Resident, small numbers 2022-07-16 Likely 2 different pairs seen. One pair near Pepe's house, a second pair close to Maria's house and on her feeders.

Black Vulture
Vulture Abundant, flyovers 2022-07-14 The most common vulture seen. Recorded flyovers of multiple birds on 5 different days during my 2 week visit.

Emerald-chinned Hummingbird
Hummingbird TBD 2022-07-15 Needs more research on id and photos.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Woodpecker Resident, 3? pairs 2022-07-15 At least 2, possibly more family groups on the compound. Frequently seen on the trees near the front of Elvira's and Tia Blanca's house. Seen on previous trips.

Northern Emerald-Toucanet
Toucan Resident pair? 2022-07-15 1 to 2 birds seen 4 different days over the course of 2 weeks. Seen around 8:30am, on a tree next to the power substation. Seen feeding on small fruit fairly high up (> 15m?) in the canopy.

Tit, long tailed. Resident? 2 family groups? 2022-07-15 Seen foraging on trees between Maria and Tia Laly's house as well as between Jeanne's and Ana Luisa / Pepe's house. In Palo Alto saw the Melanotis group subspecies which has a masked black face.

Slate-throated Redstart
Warbler Resident 2? resident pairs 2022-07-15 Seen foraging near Pepe's house, Jeanne's house, around Tia Laly's gardens, and other densely vegetated areas.

Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer
Flowerpiercer Resident 2? resident pairs. 2022-07-15 Seen foraging near Pepe's house, Jeanne's house and around Tia Laly's gardens.

Mountain Elaenia
Flycatcher Seen twice 2022-07-14 Seen foraging in fruit trees in Tia Laly's gardens close to the old fence by the road near Tia Blanca's car port.

Band-backed Wren
Wren, large Resident breeder, abundant, 3? family groups 2022-07-14 Seen foraging in trees around several properties. Noisy. At one point, feeding young. Seen on previous trips.

Green-throated Mountain-gem
Hummingbird Resident? One to two birds seen multiple days. 2022-07-14 Seen foraging near Tia Laly's house with Maria and Jose. Suspect it may be more common than initially thought, but need more data. Confirmed observations via photographs

Azure-crowned Hummingbird
Hummingbird Abundant, resident 2022-07-14 The most common hummingbird seen in Palo Alto. At least a half dozen individuals observed. Seen in previous trips. Photographed.

Northern Flicker
Woodpecker Resident, 2? pairs or family groups on compound. Seen almost daily. 2022-07-14 Central American ("Guatemalan Flicker") subspecies of the Red-Shafted Northern Flicker. Seen in the "positos" and various locations throughout the property. Seen on previous trips.

Bushy-crested Jay
Jay Resident, 1 or 2 pairs 2022-07-14 Seen at the edge of the forest near Jeanne's house and Ana Luisa's/Pepe's house. Most often seen at eye level or higher in trees where there is denser vegation.

House Wren
Wren, small Abundant, resident 2022-07-14 Found around multiple homes on the compound. Half dozen or more individuals present, but tough to see. Heard more than seen. Coloring is uniformly darker brown than subspecies seen in USA.

Clay-colored Thrush
Thrush Resident breeder, at least 2 to 3 family groups 2022-07-14 One of the more common birds on the compound. Quiet. At least one family group of 4 birds seen with young being fed.

Rufous-collared Sparrow
Sparrow Resident breeder, 2 to 3 family groups seen. 2022-07-14 A common bird on the compound called "el coronadito" Seen feeding young. Also seen at Maria's and Tia Blanca's feeders.

Great-tailed Grackle
Grackle Abundant, common resident breeder. 2022-07-14 "Sanate". Seen feeding young close to Pepe's house. Multiple family groups on compound. By far, the most common bird. Seen establishing a roost of over 75 birds on a tree on the compound.

Melodious Blackbird
Blackbird Single observation. Uncommon? 2022-08-03 Seen once. Expected to be much more common. Perhaps confused with larger Sanates or outcompeted by Sanates?

Rufous-collared Robin
Thrush Single bird. Seen multiple days 2022-07-14 Same bird seen multiple days (same molt pattern).

Common Chlorospingus
Chlorospingus Resident? multiple birds seen multiple days. 2022-07-14 Seems to forage in deeper vegation, often between Pepe's and Jeanne's house. Tough to see at times. Formerly known as Common Bush-Tanager. Small bird.