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Parrot-watching in Central America

Parrots magazine 170, March 2012

Seeing parrots in the wild, in an exotic and unspoilt tropical setting, is an overwhelming, humbling and life-changing experience. And, now that specialist parrot-watching tours are geared to all budgets, parrot lovers everywhere, with a great sense of adventure, should put a parrot-watching experience at the very top of their list of ‘must-dos.’

Central America is home to many wild parrots, and offers countless parrot-watching opportunities, and the number of tours and bird-watching trips in the region is proliferating annually. But, ecotourism is very different from mass tourism, and the accent is very strongly on not changing the environment, and using it in a positive way to save the wild parrot populations and their ever decreasing habitats. Locals, previously focused on trapping, trading or even hunting parrots, along with indiscriminately cutting down the forests, are being enlisted as guides and lodging staff, thereby providing whole communities with an alternative income.

This massive turn-around means that locals no longer consider parrots a commodity, and their existence in the wild is now unquestionably revered. Involving locals also means that visitors benefit directly from their unique and in-depth knowledge of the birds and their surroundings, and finding and seeing the different species of parrots is almost guaranteed! Specialist tours devoted to viewing parrots, macaws, toucans and other exotic birds in their natural habitat, in some of the most unspoilt and stunning scenery in the world, are currently part of the fastest growing sector of the travel industry.

Here I set out briefly what each individual country has to offer, and our chart shows at a glance, the parrots that you can expect to see.

Read more in the magazine…

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