El Triunfo Reserve

Arrival to this region takes place through Mexico City as no international airport serves this region at the moment, though the Tuxtla Gutierrez Airport was dedicated an international airport in March 2008. This route begins and ends in Tuxtla Gutierrez, though a custom route could choose to conclude in Oaxaca City.

The El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve is located entirely within the Sierra de Chiapas. Because the continental divide runs the length this range, and continues south to Volcan Tajumulco and Lake Attilan in Guatemala, there are NO endemic birds to be found within the reserve - all birds are shared with at least Guatemala. However there are a number of MUST-SEE BIRDS: Horned & Highland Guans, White-faced Quail-Dove, Fulvous Owl, Rufous Sabrewing, Emerald-chinned, Wine-throated, Sparkling-tailed & Blue-tailed Hummingbirds, Green-throated Mountain-gem, Resplendent Quetzal, Blue-throated and Tody Motmots, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, Scaled Antpitta, Paltry Tyrannulet, Yellowish Flycatcher, Long-tailed Manakin, Black-throated Jay, Black-capped Swallow, Rufous-browed & Rufous-and-white Wrens, Spotted Nightingale Thrush, Black & Mountain Robins, Azure-rumped Tanager, White-eared Ground-Sparrow, Prevost's [White-faced] Ground-Sparrow, and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia.

Other good birds often seen before into the reserve [one day] from Tuxtla Gutierrez include: Singing Quail, Lesser Roadrunner, Slender Sheartail, Flammulated & Belted Flycatchers, Gray-collared Becard, Blue Seedeater, and Bar-winged Oriole.

In addition we thoroughly bird the coastal plain of Chiapas for two days after descending the Pacific slope out from the reserve. These two days add a number of key birds to the trip list, including Mangrove Black-Hawk, White-bellied Chachalaca, Pacific Parakeet, Yellow-naped Parrot, Pacific Screech-Owl, Striped and Black-and-white Owls, Green-fronted Hummingbird, Giant Wren, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, and Rose-bellied Bunting.

The strategy for this region involves one essential aspect - the TIMING of the trip! The male Horned Guan gives a deep grouse-like humming call throughout the dry season, and only up until the spring rains arrive. Without hearing the male call the chances of seeing this rare bird drop to almost zero. We plan our annual open-tour into the reserve during February or early March to ensure success with this one species.

As for the trip itself, horses pack all of our gear up and down the mountain, we stay at the biological station while in the core-zone of the reserve, cooks prepare three mails daily, and we camp two nights during our descent of the Pacific Slope [tents and food prepared by local staff]. We are essentially free to focus our personal energy toward birdwatch the entire trip. It is a wonderfully magic location, likely the only place of its kind in Mexico.