Birding Double Whammy! Coba, Mexico (April and May 2014)

UPDATED – 9/27/15 – When I first began bird blogging (and bird watching) my aims were much different than they are now. Due to this I decided to head back and update my posts with more species information and more photos. The goal is to create a more complete and thorough look at my birding experience in each location. It really is amazing how much of a difference my birding behaviors have become in such a short period of time! For this particular post I mixed the old with the new and added in new photos to the original post. 

Coba, Mexico is one of the most easily accessible birding hot spots in the Mayan Riviera/Yucatan. Besides providing pretty decent bird watching, it also offers entertainment and enjoyment for the kind of people who only think birds are factories for pooping on their possessions. I like to call any destination that twitchers and non twitchers alike can enjoy a birding “Double Whammy”.
Is the only way your going bird watching by convincing your wife your doing something the rest of the family can enjoy? Take your wife and teenagers to Coba. Are you only going bird watching if your significant other has to tag along? This is your spot.


Coba is a decently sized group of Mayan ruins a short distance from Tulum. Its easily and cheaply (10-20USD round trip) reachable by ADO bus from Cancun, Playa and Tulum. Its a great alternative to Chicin Itza for those who don’t have to the extra time to visit there. Its an excellent place to spend a day, climbing ruins and having a brief interlude with nature. Once you are inside the “park” you walk, ride a bike, or hire a bike cab to traverse original white Mayan roads in between the different ruins. The apex of all of this is the largest ruin, which offers beautiful unobstructed views of the jungle and nice opportunities for selfies. At least this is what Ive been told, every time I go there I end up bushwhacking around smaller trails and skip the biggest ruin completely.


 Many of the other ruins are partially or completely un-excavated, some are being swallowed up by vines and have trees growing out of them. This always leaves a very primal impression on me. I then spend a great deal of time thinking about how we may win the battle, but one day the jungle will win the war and swallow everything whole again. This thick vegetation may not provide the best opportunities for bird photographs, but if you stick around long enough something should land in your lap. My favorite examples of this are with this Gartered Trogon, who ive named the Kate Moss of Birds. I really should have paid this bird, because it just posed for me for a good 30 minutes.




But now that ive dragged on about this wondrous place, a warning! DO NOT HIRE AN ALL INCLUSIVE TOUR TO TAKE YOU HERE. Once you arrive there are many more cost effective guides already here if you’d like to hire someone. Ive heard some people have paid over 100USD a person to be taken here, and you can do it for 1/4 of the price yourself. Now that Ive give you a warning! A tip! If you can try exploring many of the smaller trails around the area. Some of my favorite memories from Coba were made this way. As always if you are planning a trip here feel free to email or comment!



Species Seen (But Not Limited To):
  • Trogon: Gartered and Black Headed
  • Turquoise Browed Mot Mot
  • Jays: Green, Yucatan and Brown
  • Limpkin
  • Woodcreepers: Ivory Billed and Ruddy
  • Yellow Throated Warbler
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Pale Billed Woodpecker
  • Flycatchers: Sulpher Bellied, Brown Crested
  • Green Heron
  • Gray Headed Tanager
Bottom Line: Double whammy! Provides excellent potential for a day of bird watching and site seeing with family (not including very young children) or friends. 

Yucatan Jay: 


Brown Jay: 
Pale Billed Woodpecker: 


Ivory Billed Woodcreeper: 



Ruddy Woodcreeper: 


Blurry Magnolia Warbler:


And last but not least! Certainly not least! Two of my favorite bird pictures I have ever taken. I still have no idea what this bird is so any help is always appreciated!








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2 thoughts on “Birding Double Whammy! Coba, Mexico (April and May 2014)

  1. Tom

    Nice! I was there yesterday & found this article trying to distinguish which birds I’d seen. I also saw a small toucan, a vulture’s shadow flying over the canopy near some ruins & some kind of small green parrot! As well as two/three of the ones you mentioned 😊


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