On our last day at Pico Bonito, we awoke before dawn, determined to carry out our mission: to search for the famous toucan.
The Pico Bonito National Park is home to a myriad of wildlife, ranging from the world famous toucan bird to the Central American aguti, the elusive jaguar and ocelot (a type of big cat). Out of the 750 species of birds that inhabit Honduras, 500 of them are found here in Pico Bonito. New species continue to be found each year. Head naturalist of the Lodge at Pico Bonito, James Adam, even goes so far to call this, “the toucan capital of the world”. Undoubtedly, we made it our mission to catch a glimpse of the toucan bird while we’re here.
Over the weekend, we had hiked around the surrounding rainforest, hopped on a boat to see howler monkeys on the Salado River, and even gone on a night hike in the jungle – but the toucan bird had eluded us. It was now our last opportunity to see a toucan bird.
Blurry eyed, we wandered through the lodge’s ground finding our way through the early morning mist. Even before leaving the grounds, the birds were already circling overhead. My excitement heightened with each bird we saw –- the yellow social flycatcher that perched on its nest, the cute crested chestnut colored woodpecker working away on a tree, the beautiful cotinga with its psychedelic blue feathers and the famous motmot with its long self-trimmed tail.
Elmer eventually led us up to the top of an observation tower that opened up to sweeping views of the Nombre de Dios mountain range. The minute I stepped foot on the platform, Elmer called out to me, “Quick, look!”
I turned to my right, and there it was: a rainbow-colored keel-billed toucan perched on the top of a tree right beside the tower. It wasn’t close enough for us to snap a good photo and didn’t even stay long enough – but through the binoculars, I got a glimpse of its gorgeous pointed beak, big eyes, yellow feathers, and brown back. It was indeed a very special moment.
Our mission was now complete but I felt as though my love affair with birding had just begun.
The stunning keel-billed toucan finally makes its appearance (Photo courtesy of head naturalist James Adam)
A bright yellow social flycatcher greets us in the morning
Beautiful blue colors of the blue cotinga
The famous motmot makes an appearance too
The Lodge at Pico Bonito is a luxury eco-lodge that specializes in birding opportunities in and around the Pico Bonito National Park. There are several viewing towers located around the property, which are excellent for birding. You are free to explore or your own or alternatively, you can book one of the birding packages with the lodge. Room rates start at US$215 per cabin.
Disclaimer: This trip was made possible by the Lodge at Pico Bonito, but all opinions expressed above are our own. Photos above were also provided by them.