Biological Diversity

Yaxha Nakum Naranjo National Park is an area of great natural beauty where you can enjoy the tropical rainforest, which is home to many incredibly diverse plant and animal species, the Park was designated as the fifth Wetland of International Importance by RAMSAR convention (The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance). Located within the well-known UNESCO Biosphere Reserve called “Maya” in Petén province, the Parque Nacional Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo (37,160 square hectares) is 97% covered by forested lands, either high or seasonally flooded. It also contains various rivers, lagoons and pools such as the Yaxhá, Sacnab, Juleque, Lancajá and Champoxté.

The park has 37,160 square hectares of land (twice the size of Brooklyn, New York). This megadiverse park is home species of jaguars, tapirs, pumas, as well as deer, goat kids, spider monkeys, howler monkeys and anteaters.

Many of the animals in the park are protected or endangered species. Among such species are the Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletti), the white fish (Petenia splendida), the Central American river turtle (Dermatemys mawi), spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) and the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu).


The city of Yaxhá is a great place to observe the four species of trogons (Trogonidae sp) that live in the region of Petén (Trogonidae sp) one of the species represent our national bird of Guatemala “El Quetzal”( Pharomachrus mocinno).

In the lagoons of Yaxhá and Sacnab and their tributaries, it is possible to see the five species of Amazon Kingfisher that live in Petén:


No. Family Common name in Spanish Species Scientific Name Status
1 Accipitridae Águila Pescadera Osprey Pandion haliaetus Visitor
2 Alcedinidae Martín pescador amazona Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona Resident
3 Martin pescador matraca Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata Resident
4 Martin pescador norteño Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon Visitor
5 Martin pescador verde Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana Resident
6 Anatidae Pato ala azul Blue-winged Teal Anas discors Visitor
7 Pijije Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis Resident
8 Anhingidae Pato aguja Anhinga Anhinga anhinga Resident
9 Aramidae Caracolera Limpkin Aramus guarauna Resident reproductive
10 Ardeidae Garza verde Green Heron Butorides virescens Migratory-visitor
11 Garza avetoro menor Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis Migratory-visitor
12 Garza azul Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea Visitor
13 Garzón cenizo Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Visitor
14 Garza dedos dorados Snowy Egret Egretta thula Migratory-visitor
15 Garza garrapatera Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Migratory-visitor
16 Garza pico de zapato Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius Resident
17 Garza tigre Rufescent Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum Resident
18 Garza tricolor Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor Migratory-visitor
19 Garzón blanco Great Egret Ardea alba Migratory-visitor
20 Martinete corona amarilla Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea Migratory-visitor
21 Martinete corona negra Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Migratory-visitor
22 Charadriidae Playero doble collar Killdeer Charadrius vociferus Visitor
23 Heliornithidae Pajaro cantil Sungrebe Heliornis fulica Resident
24 Hirundinidae Golondrina rabadilla blanca Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea Resident
25 Icteridae Tordo sargento Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Resident
26 Jacanidae Jacana Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa Resident
27 Parulidae Chipe alza colita Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis Visitor
28 Pelecanidae Pelicano café Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Migratory-visitor
29 Phalacrocoracidae Malache Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Resident
30 Rallidae Gallinola Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea Resident
31 Polluela rojiza Ruddy Crake Laterallus ruber Resident
32 Recurvirostridae Soldadito Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Migratory-visitor
33 Scolopacidae Playero alza colita Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius Visitor
34 Tringa solitaria Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria Visitor


The Yaxha Park has been designated as a RAMSAR site, proclaiming its bodies of water and wetlands of great ecological importance. Surrounding the Yaxhá Lagoon there has been a recorded presence of 34 species of water birds.


In addition to the resident species, Yaxha offers the opportunity to observe various species of migratory birds.


Currently on record there have been five bird species registered that migrate from South to North. These species are called Migrants of the summer, who visit Yaxhá during the months from March to June, to reproduce in this area. They reproduce in this area so they find enough food to keep themselves alive during the reproduction season (due to the climate).

Currently in the park there is a colony of nesting anhinga ducks (Anhinga anhinga). If you are lucky you might get a chance to observe the bird’s breeding plumage and reproductive habits. In Yaxhá you will also find birds of prey such as the Plumbius Kite (Ictina Plumbea) the Swallowed-tail kite (Elanoides forficatus), these are migratory birds from South America and can only be observed in summer and the Orange Breasted Falcon (Falco Deiroleucus) that are in danger of extinction and can only be observed in Tikal. There are only three couples in Guatemala. They can only be observed in Guatemala and Belize.


In Yaxha we offer bird tours tailored to your interests. Problems of the species you are looking for. We have Avitourism Guides trained by the Audubon Society and Wildlife Conservation Society as part of the Project “Strengthening Bird Watching Tourism as a tool for Conservation and Sustainable Development”.

Contact us to organize a specialized birdwatching tour (Book Now! button)



According to RAMSAR It has been estimated that over 90% of the flora in the park have not yet been studied botanically. When you visit the Park, you will have the chance to observe, first hand wide flora, while you get to learn about how the vegetation was directly linked with the Mayan culture such as the ramon seed (Brosimum alicastrum). The seed is considered a superfood due to its high content of fiber, vitamins, minerals, folic acid and essential amino acids such as tryptophan.

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