Xaman Ha Aviary
Day trip to see tropical indigenous birds in a natural open-air sanctuary
A keel billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) keeps an eye on his surroundings.
Xaman Ha Aviary is a wonderful natural habitat for some 60 species of tropical birds who populate the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula.
Here you can see roughly 200 individual birds living in harmony with one another, all within an open-air sanctuary that has paths and trails leading to the birds' preferred nesting areas. These birds live, eat, fly and reproduce within Xamana Ha's little Mexican jungle, and they intermingle with many of the non-winged species of Quintana Roo; like iguanas, butterflies, squirrels, and the turtles and fish found in the cenotes of the Riviera Maya and Yucatan.
Kids love this place! Xaman Ha is one of the only places where children are certain to see some of the most spectacularly colored birds of the jungle and hopefully develop a sense of repect for them and their natural habitat.
And Xaman Ha is a great find for adults too, and a unique opportunity to practice your photography skills. Both still and video cameras are allowed in Xaman Ha Aviary, and for those bird lovers who like to use a tripod to steady their camera, these are also allowed at no additional fee (unlike many of the Maya ruin sites of the peninsula).
below- A wooden walking bridge over the natural terrain
Stone paths meander through the greenery.
below left- Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) are fish eating migratory birds that populate the saltwater estuaries of the peninsula. This bird is large, white and has a yellow bill and dark legs. Range: US through Central America, West Indies to S. Argentina. Mexico: nearly throughout, mainly lowlands.
below right- Brown pelicans (Pelicanus occidentalis) float in the tannic stained waters of a pond where they hunt for fish. These birds are huge, dark and have a long bill with a pouch. Range: Coasts of Southern US, West Indies, Central American to north and west South American. Mexico: Entire length of Pacific Cost including the Gulf of California breeding locally on offshore islands. Also found on the entire length of the east coast Gulf of Mexico.
Great Egret and Brown Pelicans
below- A Yellow Tailed Oriole (Icterus mesomelas) enjoys a lunch of fruit. Many of the tropical song birds are fruit eaters. Field marks: Adult: A yellow crown with 3 mostly yellow outer tail feathers. Throat, back, wings (except coverts) and central tail feathers black. Immature: similar to adult but largely yellowish olive above, lemon-yellow below; may or may not have a black bib. Similar species: Other yellow or orange-crowned orioles have all black tails. Voice: A loud clear whistle of two phrases, repeated chee-wow, chee-wow, or gee-wow, gee-wow. A loud repetitious chant: wur-chip-chewoo, wur-chip-chewoo, wur-chip-chewoo, repeated. Range: SE Mexico to Western Peru. Mexico: Gulf slope from south Veracruz through N Chiapas, Tabasco and Yucatan. Habitat: Second growth, humid forest borders.
Yellow Tailed Oriole
3 photos below- Polly want a cracker? ... There are many species of parrots.
below- White-fronted Parrot (Amazona albifrons) Field marks: A green Amazon parrot with a white fore-crown read wing patch. Distinguished from Yellow-lored Parrot by red lores. Greener. Lacks dark ear patch. Female shows some white on the forehead, red lores. Almost no red in the wing. Similar species: 1. Yellow-lored Parrot, found in the Yucatan and Honduras, and 2. White-crowned Parrot which is dark blue. Voice: A noisy yapping, ak-ak-ak or yap-yap-yap. Range: Mexico to Costa Rica. Mexico: Pacific slope, foothills from South Sonora to Chiapas; Gulf lowlands from SE Veracruz east through lower Yucatan Peninsula. Habitat: Dry country, open woodlands, scrub; also border of humid forests in lower Yucatan.
below- Another fruit eater, the Keel Billed Toucan (aka the "fruit loops" bird) is one of the most photogenic. Field marks: This, the largest Mexican toucan and can be identified by its bright yellow cheeks and chests and huge brightly colored bill (green, blue, red and orange) which gives it the nickname "banana bill". Rump white; under tail coverts scarlet. Flight: 2 labored flaps and a glide. Similar species: Collares Aracari is smaller, has a solid black head, red rump, and a smaller, less colorful bill. Voice: A monotonously repeated scratchy krrk or grrik, very frog like. A very often repeated gaab. Range: S Mexico to N Columbia, NW Venezuela. Mexico: from Oaxaca, Publa, Veracruz, south and east. Habitat: Lowland forests and forest borders to 200 ft.
Keel Billed Toucan (aka the "fruit loops" bird)
below- Snowy Egrets get along well with their brightly colored neighbors, the pink flamingos. Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula) range: US through Central America, W Indies to Chile, Argentina. Mexico: Nearly throughout all of the country, mainly in lowlands.
below- Long, lean and colorful, pink flamingos otherwise known as Caribbean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber) have no problem falling asleep while balanced on one skinny leg. These extremely slender, gregarious pink wading birds fly with their necks extended. The bill is sharply bent and flamingos feed with their heads in an inverted position. They eat algae, diatome, mollucks, crusteanceans, etc. Range: Caribbean, South America, Galapagos Island and Africa. There are six species of flamingos in the world and this one species is in Mexico; located mainly on the coast of the Yucatan. They may wander west to Southern Veracruz and east to the Caribbean coast.
Pink Caribbean Flamingos
The pirates' companion, scarlet macaws have a dazzling combination of colors and love to squawk! Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) Field marks: Unmistakeable; very large long tailed scarlet parrot exhibiting a wing pattern of red, yellow and blue. Voice: Harsh calls - rrraaaa. Range: East Mexico to Bolivia, Brazil. Mexico: Tropical lowlands of South Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas, rare local. Recorded also in South Tamaulipas, South Campeche. Habitat: Tall deciduous trees of lowland forests, savannas and watercourses.
Finding Xaman Ha Aviary
Xaman Ha Aviary is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, midway between Cancun and Tulum. Their address is: Paseo Xaman Ha S/N Fraccionamiento Playacar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. To get there drive highway 307 south past Playa del Carmen and Playacar. Then take the left "retorno" lane (U turn lane) to head north on highway 307 staying in the extreme right lane. Pass the first Playacar entrance, go up the hill and then make a right turn into the next Playacar entrance. Go past the guard gate and continue straight to a traffic circle and bear right taking the first off-shoot lane to the right. Xaman Ha Aviary will be a short distance on your right. If you reach the golf course or Plaza Playacar you've gone too far. Entry fee: $150.00 pesos per adult, one child under 12 free with a paying adult. Hours: daily 9am-5pm.