Tag Archives: fauna

Tocororo – The Cuban National Bird

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some bird photos 🙂

Got to see the Cuban national bird – a Trojan called the Tocororo – a few times during my trip.  Another gorgeous bird whose colours are reflected in the colours of the Cuban flag.

Tocororo – The Cuban National Bird

Tocororo – The Cuban National Bird

Wildlife of the Finca Esperanza Verde

One of the many fabulous things about the Finca Esperanza Verde is the opportunity to spot a wide variety of wildlife.   For example, if you want to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with hummingbirds – this is a wonderful spot!

finca esperanza verde hummingbirds

But hummingbirds (colibri) are not the only birds here – not by a long way!

finca esperanza verde birds

As I described in my last post, I fulfilled a childhood dream and saw my first 2-toed and 3-toed sloths here at the Finca.

finca esperanza verde sloths

Monos Congos (Howler Monkeys) are very common and act as a natural alarm clock most mornings.  Was lucky enough this time to see some with their babies.

finca esperanza verde howler monkeys

The Finca also has an extensive garden (flowers and vegetables) and grows a large amount of the food that guests eat.  This is the perfect spot to see a wide variety of butterflies.

finca esperanza verde butterflies

The best way to see the wildlife is to go on a hike with Omar or Umberto – they are amazing at being able to spot everything.   Or keep your own eyes open as you walk around.  You’ll see the hummingbirds at very least 😉  They are pretty hard to miss!

Río Frio birdwatching

Another of our adventures at La Esquina del Lago Jungle River Lodge was to head up the Río Frio to the border with Costa Rica spotting birds and other animals.   We left very early in the morning (Jackson was again our guide) with a beautiful mist over the river.

Río Frio Los Guatuzos Reserve

The following are just a selection of the birds that we spotted, including: Anhinga (Pato Aguja), Ringed Kingfisher, Snowy Egret, Passerinis’s Tanager, Great Kiskadee amongst others.

Río Frio Nicaragua birds

Loved the Bare-Throated Tiger Heron with the truly impressive neck stretch.

Río Frio Nicaragua birds

And the Great Egret – which seems to be the most common bird in these parts.

Río Frio Nicaragua birds

We also saw 2 of the 3 species of mokey in Nicaragua – Howler Monkeys (top) and White-headed Capuchins (bottom).

Río Frio monkeys

And an iguana.

riofrio-1034 - Copy

But it was more than just animals.   We also passed several homes and people going about their daily business.

Río Frio Nicaragua rier life

In total, we were out on the river for almost 3 hours, and although it would have been better without the noise of the motor – it did allow us to travel quite some distance!  Beautiful morning 🙂

Caiman night tour

One of the things Caite and I did at La Esquina del Lago Jungle River Lodge was the Caiman (reptile similar to an alligator) night tour.   We headed out in a boat with no running lights (nobody has running lights down here yet they all move around at night) with Jackson on the front with the headtorch spotting and one of Champa’s sons (aged about 8) driving.

This is what we were searching for, though this one was only a baby.  Apparently they can grow up to 5 metres and one of the biggest ones they’ve spotted hangs out near the Lodge itself!


While Caite and I were enjoying the beautiful night sky, Jackson was shouting instructions to his novice driver over the sound of the motor and absolutely determined to catch a caiman for us.  Which he eventually succeeded in doing!


Several times in fact, and getting larger and larger each time.

He took great delight in getting us to hold them (I don’t think he thought we’d do it) and I was surprised at how warm and soft their skin was.


They were quite funny actually – after putting up a very brief struggle (one or two wriggles, 3 for the largest one he caught) they reverted to “deer-in-headlights” mode until we released them back into the water.


Birds of La Mariposa – Nicaragua Fauna

Some more pictures of wildlife taken from the patio where we eat our meals at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel.    Apart from the Blue-Crowned Motmot, we also have the following regular visitors:

Blue-grey tanager

Blue-grey Tanager

Hoffmann’s Woodpecker

Hoffmann’s Woodpecker (female)

Tennessee Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Clay coloured Robin

Clay Coloured Robin


Variegated Squirrel – Fauna of Nicaragua

Another very regular inhabitant of the gardens around La Mariposa Escuela de Español is the Variegated squirrel.  This is a tree squirrel endemic to southern Mexico and Central America.

Again taken from where we eat our meals at the school/EcoHotel.

squirrel la mariposa escuela de espanol

squirrel from La Mariposa spanish school

squirrel from La Mariposa spanish school

variegated squirrel at la mariposa escuela de espanol

One more motmot photo…

Couldn’t resist – these birds (Blue-Crowned Motmots) are so beautiful!

Look who brought a friend to visit me this morning at La Mariposa Spanish School and EcoHotel.   This branch is just outside my bedroom window.

blue-crowned motmots

Guardabarranco vs Blue-Crowned Motmot – the difference

After catching many glimpses over the past weeks, I finally had a wonderful view of a Guardabarranco, the national bird of Nicaragua, this morning.    It was just outside my bedroom window at La Mariposa Spanish School and EcoHotel and I managed to get a fairly good picture of it (see below on the right).

Many visitors to Nicaragua confuse the Blue-crowned Motmot (image on left; taken from the eating area at La Mariposa) with the Turquoise-browed Motmot (the Guardabarranco) so I thought I’d show that there are actually quite a few differences.

guardabarranco (turquoise browed motmot) vs blue-crowned motmot

The easiest to spot at a distance is the difference between the tail feathers – the Guardabarranco has a large gap between the tail feathers and the tip of the tail, the Blue-crowned Motmot does not.   The colouring is also quite different (though harder to spot at a distance).

Really thrilled to have had a really great view of this wonderful bird 🙂

Releasing Rescued Grey Foxes

About 2 weeks ago, 4 orphaned grey foxes were dropped off at La Mariposa Escuela de Español after their mother had been shot.   They were nursed back to health at the school with the aim of releasing them once they were strong enough.

A couple of days ago, we set them free in the Cañada Honda – a 140 acre private reserve that was established by La Mariposa with the help of Asociación Tierra to prevent deforestation and provide a safe haven for wildlife.

releasing rescued grey foxes in Cañada Honda

Pedro, Ismael and Herman hiking into the reserve to release the grey foxes.  We wanted to release them away from other animals (e.g. local dogs) that might have harmed them.

releasing rescued grey foxes in Cañada Honda

Pedro was the primary carer for the grey foxes when they were at the School

releasing rescued grey foxes in Cañada Honda

Free, and just about to scurry into the undergrowth

Fingers crossed that they found each other again after scurrying off in different directions, and that they grow to a ripe old age!

Blue-crowned motmot – Fauna of Nicaragua

Another regular visitor to the garden around La Mariposa Escuela de Español is the Blue-crowned motmot.   This guy looks a lot like the Turquoise-browed motmot (also called the Guardabarranco – the Nicaraguan national bird) but is distinct.

The head colouring is different but the easiest way to tell them apart is through the look of the tail.  The tail feathers of the Blue-crowned motmot extend all the way down to the tip, the tail feathers of the Guardabarranco are short so there is a noticeable gap to the tip of the tail.

These photos were taken from where we have our meals at the school.

blue crowned motmot nicaragua

blue-crowned motmot at La Mariposa Escuela de Espanol