Common Birds of Kumankaya

For the ancient Mayans, birds were highly respected and revered creatures. In fact, they were the physical manifestation of many of their gods. Their feathers were used to denote the hierarchy of their great leaders and shamans. Birds could transit both heaven and earth, and their calls were the songs of the heavens. Bird symbols adorn Mayan temples, pottery and art, some depicting real-life animals and others mythological. The most highly valued feathers were those of the quetzal, cotina or curassow, and birds that represented different aspects of reality: the sun or light, such as the macaw, hummingbird or eagle, and birds of the night or darkness, such as owls and vultures.

To watch the birds of the Yucatan is an amazing experience. Many of the birds are seasonal to mark a new phase. For example, the large toucan and parrot are migratory and have a distant call that can only be heard 2-3 months out of the year, normally during the winter. The smaller toucan can be heard all throughout the year. Our most precious bird here, and one of the highly valued birds of the ancient Mayans, the toh (or clock bird) is here all year around.


At Kumankaya, people can see the toh, but this shy bird is difficult to spot. In the early morning, if one hears his distant call, a person might receive the rare opportunity to see him. We also have two owls, whom we hear late at night / early morning calling to each other, and brilliant colored hummingbirds all year around.


Last year, we received the chance to have a professional ornithologist, who spent two weeks watching and identifying some of the birds around Kumankaya. At the end of his stay, he provided us with a document to have here for all nature enthusiasts. Click on the PDF to learn more. We have binoculars in the lounge so you can observe the array of different birds we have here!

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