Top Ten Nicaragua Adventures

Birding in Miraflor Nature Preserve
By Joshua Berman & Randy Wood

It is difficult to find words to describe the experience at Miraflor, mostly because there is not much with which to compare it. Perhaps this is what Costa Rica's Monteverde was like 40 years ago when residents first conceived the idea of inviting visitors to come and experience the natural beauty of their home. Miraflor was declared a protected natural reserve by the government in 1990 and in 1999 its denizens began developing the basic infrastructure to host curious guests. The results, while still in progress, are enchanting.

Miraflor president and chief birder, Francisco "Chico Períco" Muñoz, has identified 236 bird species so far (60 of which are migratory, traveling south between October and April), belonging to 46 different families. If Chico's data are correct, then 37 percent of the identified bird species in all of Nicaragua are observable in the 206 square kilometers of Miraflor! This includes four species of the elusive quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), toucans, the ranchero (Procnias tricaruntulata) with its three dangling chins, and the Nicaraguan national bird, the guardabarranco.

Text © 2003 by Joshua Berman and Randy Wood. Used by permission of Moon Handbooks. All rights reserved. Book is available through local bookstores and online booksellers.


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