Caribbean brown pelican

There are a total of 6 species of Brown Pelican across tropical North and Central and South America. Caribbean Brown Pelicans are daily visitors to our island at Glover’s Reef. The adult Caribbean Brown Pelican is a large grey-brown water bird with white about its head and neck. Immature birds often have darker heads which lighten as they mature.

Full grown adult Caribbean Brown Pelicans, although the smallest of the Pelican family, are still relatively large birds and can reach up to 8 pounds; larger individuals have wing spans of over 7 feet.

Birding in Belize-pelicans

In adult Pelicans plumage plays a significant role in communication. During the breeding season, prior to nesting the back of the neck becomes a brighter brown-red color. The remainder of the year mature Pelicans have mainly white heads and necks. Young birds take approximately 3 years to gain their adult plumage.

Hey breed from March to November. The Caribbean Brown Pelican begins nesting between May and August, with the peak nesting season in September through November. The islands off the coast of Belize provide a perfect protected habitat for nesting Pelicans. Nests are often built in mangrove trees over or near the water. A typical clutch will consist of 3 eggs, the male and female share the brooding of the chalky white chicks.

In the 1960’s and 70’s a dramatic decline in Pelicans throughout the America’s occurred due the extensive use of pesticides and their eventual presence in fish. This caused egg shells to thin and as a result the loss of clutches. Happily restrictions on pesticides put in place in the 70’s and subsequent restrictions have over time decreased the environmental residues and the Pelican population has recovered.

Generally Pelicans are social birds; they often gather on our sand bank or perch on our dock posts in the morning.

Brown pelican in Belize

Brown Pelicans are true marine birds and feed by diving into the water from flight. We often see the Pelicans feeding up close from our beach on Long Caye, they dive from height into the shallows near the beach in our lagoon, taking the fish into their gular pouch and throwing their head back to swallow. At sunset the Pelicans are regularly feeding in the shallow water at the western end of the island. A Pelican feeding in the calm water is a very special and beautiful slight as the sun sets over the horizon with the silhouette of the other islands in the atoll as a backdrop.

Article and photos contributed by Meg Griffiths, our Belize kitesurfing instructor.

Best of Belize

So, I spent 6 days in Belize on a swift tour of lodging options in the country. I’ve worked in Belize for 26 years, but I had never done anything even close to that before. Usually I fly down, meet a group of our guests at the Biltmore, take them out to our island, stay 5 or so weeks to hang with almost 150 of our guests, and then fly directly home. I wasn’t super familiar with other places in the country. This trip made quite an impression on me as you can see if you read my posts over the past 2 weeks. We really saw a huge range of what is available in Belize for visitors, but still we only experienced a tiny portion of what’s out there.

All of this has percolated since I got back, and now I am ready—drum roll please—to present the Best of Belize awards! This is just MY opinion, mind you, but it’s an informed opinion nonetheless. And by the way, if you see something you like let me book it for you if you go!

Best Lodge in Belize
Chaa Creek
Unbelievable place. Don’t miss it. Definitely one of those ‘do before you die’ places.

Best Single Accommodation
Ian Anderson’s Treehouse Suites
You have to be in decent shape to get up to them, but it’s well worth it. You can’t imagine a better view.

Best Belize Restaurant
Ka’ana Boutique Resort
Get the Sere soup or the salmon on a plank, or both.

Best Belize Travel Agent
Barb’s Belize
Barb was one of the agents on our tour. She knew EVERYTHING. She was more of a guide than our guides.

Best Bathroom
Machaca Hill
All the high-end lodges in Belize have fancy bathrooms, but Machaca Hill beat them all. Check out the photos elsewhere on this blog. Best craftsmanship we saw, and we saw a lot of amazing stuff!

Most Adventurous Inland Tour Guide
Bruno Kuppinger of Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours
Bruno is still exploring, get him to take you to a cave he hasn’t been to yet.

Most Over-the-Top Villa
Villa Verano
It’s somewhat embarrassing to even give them an award, this place is so excessive. Stay here if you never want to go outside, but just want to look at the Caribbean.

Best Deal on a Villa
Five Sisters Lodge River Villa
Bring your own food and you will save a ton of money and get a private house and creek to boot.

Best Budget Lodge in Belize
Garbutts Fishing Lodge
You don’t have to fish to stay here. Right in Punta Gorda, a really good deal and run by nice guys.

Best Two-Track Biking
Hidden Valley Inn
They have 90 miles of private roads to spectacular overlooks and waterfalls.

Best Birding Location
Duplooys Jungle Lodge
Their boardwalk hangs out over the Macal River valley

Best Botanical Gardens
Ian Anderson’s Jungle Lodge
Check out the photos elsewhere on this blog. He has a spectacular orchid collection.

Best Place for a Big Party
Las Terrazas suite terrace, Ambergris Caye
My camera was dead that morning so I didn’t get a picture. You’ll have to take my word for it. Great view, wonderful outdoor sky-space.