Ornithology in Guatemala and Middle America
Bird Monitoring Program (updated in November 2015 © PROEVAL RAXMU)

PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program focuses on bird studies in Mesoamerica, with an emphasis on Guatemala, including evaluation of local avifauna, the natural history of birds, evaluation of the status of threatened species, and identifying critical areas for conservation. The program helps to develop awareness towards nature conservation among local people and provides information for conservation projects.

Bird Diversity
Natural History
Threatened Species
Population Monitoring
Owls of Guatemala
Resplendent Quetzal
Important Bird Areas
Bird Sounds
Citizen Science
Community Outreach
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Unspotted Saw-whet Owl

Paper on Owl diversity in Guatemala published as chapter "Los búhos de Guatemala", pp. 381-434 in P. L. Enríquez (Ed.) Los búhos neotropicales, diversidad y conservación. ECOSUR, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México. (posted: Nov 2015)

Paper on the birds of IBA Cerro El Amay, Quiché, Guatemala, published in Cotinga 35: 81-93 (posted: Aug 2013)

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (posted: Aug 2013)

Owls of Guatemala (posted: Dec 2012)

Morphology and nesting ecology of Resplendent Quetzal (posted: Sep 2012)

Comprehensive natural history of Highland Guan (posted: Aug 2012)

Bearded Screech-Owl uplisted from Near Threatened to Vulnerable in 2012 IUCN Red List (posted: July 2012)

10 years PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program (posted: July 2012)

Vocalizations of Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl (posted: Dec 2011)

Assessment of the avifauna of the Cerro El Amay Important Bird Area (IBA GT006) (posted: Sep 2011)

Results of PROEVAL RAXMU studies on the Endangered Azure-rumped Tanager published in several journal articles (updated: Aug 2011)

birds of Guatemala
Cover painting by Albert Earl Gilbert
Book available at:
Buteobooks, US.
Lynx Edicions, Spain.
nhbs Environment Bookstore, UK.

Program Director

Knut Eisermann


• Assess the status of threatened species.
• Assess the distribution of local avifauna.
• Develop a natural history of bird species.
• Identify critical areas for conservation.
• Assess long-term bird population changes.
• Conserve important habitat.
• Build local capacity and provide public education.
• Promote citizen science.

Summary of accomplishments to date:

Assessments of local avifaunas and bird distribution:
• Birds in Guatemala (Eisermann & Avendaño 2006, 2007). more
• Distribution and conservation of owls (Strigiformes) in Guatemala. more
• Avifauna at Cerro El Amay Important Bird Area (IBA GT006). more
• Shorebirds on the Guatemalan Atlantic coast (Eisermann 2009).
• Avifauna of the high-elevation cloud forest at Montaña Caquipec, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala (Eisermann & Schulz 2002, 2005).
• Several smaller contributions to the knowledge of bird distribution in Guatemala, such as hawk migration (Heinrichs et al. 2006), Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis in Tikal (Grijalva & Eisermann 2006), noteworthy bird records in Alta Verapaz (Eisermann 2005b), American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos in interior Guatemala (Eisermann & Avendaño 2004), noteworthy records from Punta de Manabique (Eisermann 2003c), and others.
• The project director served as the country coordinator to compile noteworthy bird records from Guatemala published in North American Birds from 2004 to 2015, and as editor of eBird Guatemala from 2008 to 2015.

Natural history of bird species: more
• Comprehensive natural history of the Highland Guan Penelopina nigra (Eisermann et al. 2006, Eisermann 2012). more
• Natural history of the Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno (Eisermann 2013, Schulz & Eisermann 2012). more
• Vocalizations of Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium cobanense (Eisermann & Howell 2011, Howell & Eisermann 2011). more
• Vocalizations of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl Aegolius ridgwayi (Eisermann 2013). more
• Nesting ecology, juvenile plumage, and vocalizations of Azure-rumped Tanager (Eisermann et al. 2011a,b,c). more
• Nesting of Horned Guan at Atitlán volcano (Eisermann et al. 2007).
• Noteworthy nesting records of several species, including the first nesting record for the Azure-hooded Jay Cyanolyca cucullata in Guatemala (Eisermann & Brooks 2006).
• Coloration anomaly in the Collared Trogon Trogon collaris (Eisermann & Omland 2007).
• Indication of altitudinal migration of Slate-colored Solitaire Myadestes unicolor and Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus in the Montaña Sacranix (Eisermann 2005).
• Foliage-bathing behavior of an Orange-breasted Falcon Falco deiroleucus (Eisermann 2005a).

Threatened species status assessments: more
• Evaluation of the status of the Bearded Screech-Owl Megascops barbarus which led to the species being upgraded from Near Threatened to Vulnerable on the BirdLife/IUCN Red List of globally threatened bird species in 2012.
• Evaluation of the status of the endangered Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi in Guatemala (Eisermann 2011a,b, Eisermann et al. 2011a,b). more
• Evaluation of the tatus and recent sightings of the Ocellated Quail Cyrtonyx ocellatus (Eitniear & Eisermann 2009).
• Evaluation of the status of the Highland Guan Penelopina nigra (Eisermann et al. 2006); the Great Curassow Crax rubra in Punta de Manabique, Izabal, Guatemala (Eisermann 2004); and the Yellow-headed Parrot Amazona oratrix on the Guatemalan Atlantic coast (Eisermann 2003 a, b).
• Contributions to BirdLife International’s assessments of the Highland Guan, Horned Guan Oreophasis derbianus, Ocellated Quail, Yellow-headed Parrot, Keel-billed Motmot Electron carinatum, Pink-headed Warbler Cardellina versicolor, Azure-rumped Tanager, Bearded Screech-Owl, and Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus.

Identification of critical areas for conservation:
• Data of the PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program were one of the main sources for identifying Important Bird Areas in Guatemala (Eisermann 2007a,b, Eisermann & Avendaño 2009a,b,c). more

Habitat conservation:
• This program provided funding for the expansion of the Chelemhá cloud forest reserve, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala (Eisermann 2008). more
• The program provides data to PROEVAL RAXMU’s and other conservation projects. more

Local capacity building and public education:
• Farmers in Maya Q’eqchi’ villages along an altitudinal gradient from 300–2500 m learned how to identify birds by voice and sight and how to conduct bird counts. more
• The program has supported Christmas Bird Counts in Guatemala since 2006 (Eisermann 2010, 2011c). more
• The program regulary publishes in non-technical popular magazines (Eisermann 2003b, 2007a,b, 2008, 2010, 2011a,c, Eisermann & Avendaño 2009c, Howell & Eisermann 2011, Schulz & Eisermann 2001).
• The program informs local villages about the study results in public slide presentations and posters. more

Long-term monitoring of bird abundance at selected sites in Guatemala: more
• Continuous-effort monitoring of bird abundance in three Important Bird Areas in Alta Verapaz.
• Standardized bird counts in the cloud forest at Montaña Sacranix (IBA GT007) from 2004–2012 revealed a negative population trend of 36 (16 on a statistically significant level) of the 41 most common species.
• Monitoring of bird communities on the Guatemalan Pacific slope.

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