Dos Lunas Airport Bed & Breakfast/Hostel

Our address: 21 Calle 10-92 zona 13 Aurora II, Guatemala City.    Reservations: +(502) 2261-4248 or +502 2309-8000


Guatemalan coffee

One of the finest coffees in the world
Written by: Lorena Bleker
Edited and revised by Ailsa Naismith. Bristol, UK

Photo: Philadelphia Farm, Antigua Guatemala

Coffee is a personal taste, yet, there are ways to appreciate a good coffee.

Guatemalan coffee is rated by many experts as one of the best coffees in the world.  The coffee varies from region to region and harvested from different altitudes and that is why the flavors of Guatemalan coffee are so special and complex.

The flavor of Guatemalan coffee is medium to full-bodied, it is perfectly balanced in its acidity and in most harvests, you can appreciate the individual tones; we could say in general that; a cup of Guatemalan coffee will carry the chocolate, smoky and spicy tones. 

Some of the Guatemalan´s finest coffee is produced in the farms around Antigua Guatemala and the slopes of the volcanoes nearby.  If you go to Antigua Guatemala you can visit a few farms like Philadelphia Coffee or la Azotea Farm, which also holds a Coffee Museum. Coffee from Cobán is a high-quality acidic coffee, due to its altitude. The most famous representative of Cobán coffee is Kaffee Dieseldorf. The Huehuetenango coffee is noted for its finest acidity and unique flavors and the best coffee of this area, according to experts, is the one coming from El Injerto Farm.

Guatemala still holds old species of trees such as bourbon, thanks to sponsored programs that are enabling coffee producers to continue cultivating high quality trees for the gourmet market.

How did the coffee boom start in Guatemala?

The Germans in the 19th century introduced coffee to Guatemala. Their immigration to Guatemala began with the socio-economic crisis in Germany, during the transition to the industrial era. The first Germans arrived at the Belgian colony which was settled in Santo Tomas, Puerto Barrios, Guatemala in the 1840s,

Guatemalan Coffee

After their first arrival in Guatemala, the Germans also settled in the capital and in many other parts of the country and devoted themselves to their profession in crafts, business and commerce. This immigration increased significantly in the last decades of the 19th century due to the industrial and commercial expansion of the German Empire as well as the opportunities in Guatemala under the liberal regimes which favored concession of land to foreigners especially those from Europe and North America. The Germans introduced the cultivation of coffee and developed a big industry with trade and export. At the end of the century they controlled one third of the coffee production in Guatemala and exported two thirds of its production to Germany.

By the end of the 19th century about one thousand Germans lived in Guatemala, and by 1920s, the number grew to up to 3,000. The Germans founded associations, clubs, schools, a Protestant church and a German newspaper. Through these institutions they preserved the characteristics of their nationality, language and culture.

By 1940 the German community was a visible and influential force in Guatemalan society and its economy. During the World War II, under the strong economic and political pressure from the United States, the Guatemalan government confiscated all the assets and properties from them.  Many Germans were deported back to Germany, just a few were left behind in Guatemala and kept their farms.  It has been said that the ones left; claimed to be Jewish Germans, therefore they could stay.   The Dieseldorff is one of the German families, allowed to stay, and their farms near Coban are still producing good quality coffee.

According to the German embassy, nowadays there are approx. 5000 Germans registered and living in Guatemala and an unknown number of descendants from the earlier immigration.  Guatemala currently has a strong community of Germans who make up the majority of European immigrants in the country, and it is also the most populous German communities in all Central American countries.

Where to buy good coffee in Guatemala City?

 There are a few places in zone 13 where you can buy good coffee to take home.

The coffee you enjoy at Dos Lunas, comes from Antigua Guatemala. We also sell coffee in portions of 200 grams. In beans or ground.

Photo: Finca el Injerto

The Guatemalan coffee, ranked best worldwide, comes from the Finca el Injerto in Huehuetenango.   You can enjoy a cup of their best harvest for Q30.00 (approx. USD4.00 cup) A pound of this coffee cost Q140.00 or approx. USD18.50

For more information visit their website:

And their list of products:

If you want more information about Dieseldorff Kaffee, find them at:

Guatemalan Coffee

Between Dos Lunas and the airport there is one Coffee Roasting company called Godoy’s coffee.  They also have a coffee tour and you can taste their coffee while there.  For more information visit their website:

A few more places are good options for a nice cup of coffee:

If you visit the Historic Center, these are a few places where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee:

  1. Café León”.   8a. ave. 9-15, zona 1.
  2. Café del Centro.  8ª- Avenida 9-12 zona, 1
  3. La Tacita de Plata.  11 calle 6-11 zona 1.  @latacitadeplataguatemala
  4. Café de Imeri.  6ª calle 3-34, zona 1.  @deimeri.caferestaurante

If you are interested in where some of the best coffee in the world comes from, this book is for you.  “The history of coffee in Guatemala”, by Regina Wagner.

 English version is available in

Bird Watching in our Neighborhood Aurora II



By Lorena Bleker

With the help from a guest that is a professional birdwatcher and biologist from Sweden, we have made a list of some of the birds that you can find, observe and enjoy in our small neighborhood Aurora II.

The observation was made in the months of February and March, but many of these birds can be appreciated most of the year and some others start to immigrate from the north around august or later…

Despite the severe biodiversity loss due to airport, massive urbanization, pollution, invasive species, habitat loss and climate change, we still enjoy of some beautiful birds in our area.  We would like to help to re-connect our guests and neighbors with the natural world and raise awareness of the seriousness that biodiversity loss represents and how it affects them directly and to all of us.

For those who are birdwatchers, if you are visiting our neighborhood, and you identify another type of bird that is not on the list, please let us know and send us details so we can add it to this list.


Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific Name: Oreotriplys Peregrina
Name in Spanish: Chipe Peregrino


The Tennessee Warblers loud, staccato song often signals the peak of spring songbird migration in eastern North America. Described by Alexander Wilson in 1811 from a migrant specimen on the banks of Tennessee’s Cumberland River, its common name belies the fact that its breeding range is restricted almost entirely to the boreal forest zone of Canada, extending into southeastern Alaska and the extreme northern fringe of the United States. Most migrants move along the eastern seaboard east of the Mississippi Valley, crossing the Gulf of Mexico to and from wintering grounds in Central and northern South America. *

*Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

Copyright: ©Brian Small/VIREO

Scientific Name: Sethopaga Petechia
Name in Spanish: Chipe amarillo


The aptly named Yellow Warbler is found throughout much of North America in habitats briefly categorized as wet, deciduous thickets. Most resident populations in the Caribbean and in Central and South America breed in mangroves, although at some sites they also occur in coastal scrub or even in montane forests. The Yellow Warbler is the most strikingly yellow among North American wood-warblers. *

This bird Migrates mostly at night. Fall migration is very early, with many moving south during August.

*Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific name; Icterus Spurius
Name in Spanish: Bolsero castaño


Most common in the Midwest and South is this small oriole. It favors open areas with scattered groves of trees, so human activities may have helped it in some areas, opening the eastern woodlands and planting groves of trees on the prairies. Orchard Orioles often gather in flocks during migration. The black-throated young male, sitting alone in a treetop and singing his jumbled song, is often confusing to beginning birders. Migrates in flocks; many move north across the Gulf of Mexico in spring. Fall migration begins very early, with some southbound by late July.



Photo by National Audubon Society
Copyright: ©Brian Small/VIREO

Scientific name: Icterus Galbula
Scientific name: Icterus Galbula
Name in Spanish: Bolsero de Baltimore


One of the most brilliantly colored songbirds in the east, flaming orange and black, sharing the heraldic colors of the coat of arms of 17th-century Lord Baltimore. Widespread east of the Great Plains, Baltimore Orioles are often very common in open woods and groves in summer

Migrates in flocks. Fall migration begins early, with many birds departing in July and August from North America to Central and South America.


Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific name: Melanerpes Aurifrons
Name in Spanish: Carpintero frentidorado


A sedentary species whose distribution straddles the temperate and tropical regions of Middle America, the Golden-fronted Woodpecker ranges into the United States only to Texas and southwestern Oklahoma. *

*Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Brian Sullivan Macaulay Library ML66383931

Scientific Name: Thraupis Episcopus
Name in Spanish: Tángara azul-gris


The Blue-gray Tanager is one of the most widespread, and ubiquitous, birds of the humid lowland neotropics. At almost any location between southeastern Mexico and central South America, it is a familiar presence at forest edge, in second-growth, along roads and rivers, in plantations, and even in urban parks and gardens. 

Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific name: Turdus Grayi 
Name in Spanish:  Mirlo o Censontle


From eastern Mexico to northern Colombia, this plain gray-brown thrush is very common in lowland habitats, including parks and gardens. In recent years it has become a regular visitor to southernmost Texas, especially in winter, and it has even nested there several times. It was formerly called Clay-colored Robin.


Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific Name: Passer domesticus
Name in Spanish: Gorrion


Permanent resident over most of its range, including throughout North America. One of the most widespread and abundant songbirds in the world today. Tough, adaptable, aggressive, it survives on city sidewalks where few birds can make a living; in rural areas, it may evict native birds from their nests.


Scientific Name:  Recurvirostra avosetta
Name in Spanish:  Paloma


Feral pigeons are descended from the rock dove which was originally domesticated to provide food. Feral pigeons are now found all over the world

Rock doves have blue-grey under and upperparts and a white patch on their rumps. There is an iridescent band of green and purple on their necks and they have grey wings with two black wing-bars. Their eyes and legs are red.

Source and Photo:     

Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific name: Quiscalus mexicanus
Name in Spanish:  Zanate

Description: Mostly migratory in northern parts of its range; however, it has recently become a permanent resident in some areas where it formerly occurred only in summer.  Wherever it occurs, this big blackbird is impossible to overlook — especially the male, with his great oversized tail and incredible variety of callnotes.


Photo Christoph Moning Macaulay Library ML70597071

Scientific name:  Hylocharis leucotis
Name in Spanish: Colibri oregiblanco


White-eared Hummingbird occupies montane pine-oak, oak, and pine-evergreen forests from the extreme southwestern United States south to Nicaragua. These are territorial hummingbirds spend most of their time at the lower and middle levels of the forest, where they are particularly common near banks of low flowers. Both males and females have a dark cheek bordered by a long white stripe behind the eye, and both have some extent of red on the bill. Their metallic chipping song also helps identify them from similar species. *

*Arizmendi, M. d. C., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and T. S. Schulenberg (2015). White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Photo Manfred Bienert Macaulay Library ML102565501

Scientific name: Cyanocorax melanocyaneus
Name in Spanish: Shara Centro Americana


The Bushy-crested Jay is one of four species of black-and-blue jays found in Central America. It is the only one of these four species with black tarsi and bluish underparts.  This species lives in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and northern Nicaragua, a distribution which does not overlap with that of any of the other blue-and-black jays.  This adaptable jay lives in many kinds of forests and disturbed habitats, such as coffee plantations.  Bushy-crested Jays lives in family groups up to 15-20 individuals and eat insects, seeds, and fruit. The entire flock helps to rear three to six eggs in a twig nest. *

*Molfetto, D. (2010). Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

© Brian Sullivan   Macaulay Library ML27313331

Name:    INCA DOVE (R)
Scientific name: Columbina Inca
Name in Spanish:  Tortolita


A small dove of Mexico, northern Central America, and the southwestern United States, the Inca Dove has extended its range both north and south over the past 100 years. A conspicuous urban resident, it commonly occurs at bird feeders and on lawns and other short grass habitats. This species was originally confined to arid habitats, and its affinity to human dwellings was attributed to the easy availability of water. It continues to spread into wetter areas, retaining its attachment to towns and cities for no obvious reason. *

* Inca Dove (Columbina inca), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S.    Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Fernando Farias   Macaulay Library ML85106131

Scientific name.  Columbina Talpacoti
Name in Spanish: Columbina colorada


Ruddy Ground-Doves are appropriately named after the bright ruddy-colored plumage of the male, which makes them distinctive from males of other ground-doves. There are four subspecies ranging from northern Mexico south to eastern Peru and northern Argentina. Some geographic variation in plumage occurs with individuals in drier western areas being paler than those in wetter eastern areas. Given their flexibility in habitat use and rapid reproduction, Ruddy Ground-Doves are common throughout their range and are in the lowest threat category recognized by Bird Life International. *

*Hart, J. A. (2011). Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

© Raúl Padilla Calderon

Scientific Name:  Colaptes rubiginosus
Name in Spanish:  Pájaro carpintero dorado


The Golden-olive Woodpecker is one of the most geographically widespread woodpeckers of the Neotropical region. It ranges through a wide variety of wooded habitats and over much of Middle America, from eastern Mexico just south of the US border to western Panama, and over much of highland northern and western South America. Given this broad range, it is perhaps unsurprising that some authors recognize up to 19 different subspecies. *

*Golden-olive Woodpecker (Colaptes rubiginosus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Ian Davies Macaulay Library ML66283951

Scientific name:  Myiozetetes similis
Name in Spanish:  Mosquero social


Social Flycatcher is a widespread and familiar member of the avifauna throughout much of the Neotropics. It can be quite common near water in forest and edge habitats ranging from northern Argentina north to Mexico. Like other stocky yellow, black and white flycatchers, Social Flycatcher is medium sized with brown upperparts and tail, a short, decurved bill, bold black and white striped head, and yellow underparts that run from the white throat to the undertail coverts. The species is easily detected, sits out in the open and gives loud, harsh and sometimes chattering calls. *

*Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific name:  Vireo solitarius
Name in Spanish: Vireo solitario


This vireo is common in summer in mixed forest, where conifers and deciduous trees grow together. When feeding, it works rather deliberately along branches, searching for insects. Its nest, a bulky cup suspended in the fork of a twig, is often easy to find. This bird was formerly lumped with the western Plumbeous and Cassin’s vireos under the name Solitary Vireo.


Photo By National Audubon Society

Scientific name: Vireo Olivaceus
Name in Spanish: Vireo de ojos rojos


One of the most numerous summer birds in eastern woods. It is not the most often seen, because it tends to stay out of sight in the leafy treetops, searching methodically among the foliage for insects.

Migrates mostly at night. Peak migration periods in most areas are May and September. Those breeding in Northwest apparently move east in fall before turning south. *


Photo: G. McElroy/Vireo

Scientific name:  Vireo Gilvus
Name in Spanish: Chipe vireo o gorgoreador


The Warbling Vireo is a common summer bird in leafy groves and open woods from coast to coast. Because it avoids solid tracts of mature, unbroken forest, it is probably more common and widespread today than it was when the Pilgrims landed.

Migrates mostly at night. Most eastern breeders apparently travel north and south via Texas and Mexico, rather than flying across Gulf of Mexico. *


© Ken Langelier   Macaulay Library ML24592831

Scientific name:  Thraupis abbas
Name in Spanish: Tángara aliamarilla


This species and the Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) are the northernmost representatives of the genus Thraupis; both reach well into northeast Mexico, but whereas the Blue-gray Tanager is also widespread in South America, Yellow-winged Tanager reaches its southern terminus in Nicaragua, although there are recent records from northernmost Costa Rica. The species is easily identified by its largely bluish to dusky plumage, relieved principally by the bright yellow blaze at the base of the remiges. Like other Thraupis species, it is usually found at edges and in semi-open areas, and it is rather sociable, being occasionally reported in flocks numbering up to 50 or more individuals. It ranges to at least 1800 m on the Atlantic slope. *

*Yellow-winged Tanager (Thraupis abbas), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

Photo: Glenn Bartley/Vireo

Scientific name:  Piranga Ludoviciana
Name in Spanish: Tángara aliblanca

A western counterpart to the Scarlet Tanager, this species occurs in summer farther north than any other tanager — far up into northwestern Canada. Western Tanagers nest in coniferous forests of the north and the high mountains, but during migration they may show up in any habitat, including grassland and desert; the bright males often draw attention by pausing in suburban yards in late spring.

Migration: Protracted migration lasts late in spring and begins early in fall, with some birds seen away from breeding areas as late as mid-June and as early as mid-July*


Photo: Brian E. Small/Vireo

Scientific name: Oreothlypis ruficapilla
Name in Spanish: Reinita o chipe de cabeza gris


Pioneer birdman Alexander Wilson encountered this bird first near Nashville, Tennessee, and it has been called Nashville Warbler ever since — even though Wilson’s birds were just passing through in migration, and the species does not nest anywhere near Tennessee. This small warbler is common in both the east and the west, often seen foraging in thickets and young trees, flicking its short tail frequently as it seeks insects among the foliage.


Birds from both eastern and western breeding populations winter mainly in Mexico. Unlike many warblers, does not migrate north across Gulf of Mexico in spring; instead, travels around Gulf, then spreads northeastward to easternmost breeding areas.


Scientific name; Campylotepterys Rufus
Name in Spanish: Fandanguero rufo

Rufous Sabrewing is restricted to the highlands of northern Central America where it is most abundant above 1300 meters. It frequents the interior and edge of rainforests, and is also found in plantations, partially wooded canyons, and humid pine-oak forests. These hummingbirds are most active at lower levels, especially in the dense understory and in partially open areas. Both sexes are similar and possess cinnamon colored underparts

*Arizmendi, M. d. C., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). Rufous Sabrewing (Campylopterus rufus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

© John van Dort   Macaulay Library ML30768081

Scientific name:  Amazilia Cyanocephala
Name in Spanish: Colibri coroniazul


Azure-crowned Hummingbird is a common species throughout many forested habitats from Mexico south to Nicaragua. Even though this hummingbird occupies a wide variety of habitats, in both pine and broadleaf forests from sea level up into the mountains, specific factors limiting the range of the species have not been satisfactorily identified.; generally, this species is blue crowned with a greenish iridescent hindneck, white throat, brownish back and wings, and a thin, red bill with a dark tip. Azure-crowned Hummingbird usually announces its presence with a series of sharp “chup” notes*

*Arizmendi, M. d. C., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, T. Johnson, and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). Azure-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanocephala), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

© Brian Sullivan     Macaulay Library ML27308101

Scientific name:  Pitangus sulpuratus
Name in Spanish:  Luis grande


The Great Kiskadee is a large and strikingly colored flycatcher that inhabits much of Central and South America. It has a black crown with a yellow coronal patch and a broad white supercilium that extends from its forehead to its nape.  The kiskadee’s olive-brown wings are set off by cinnamon wing coverts and bright yellow underparts.  Great Kiskadees reside in a variety of habitats from forest edges to grasslands to busy residential areas.  These birds can often be seen hawking insects from an open perch or dropping to the ground feeding on insects and small reptiles. 

*Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Nate Brown Macaulay Library ML50670281

Scientific name:  Dives Dives
Name in Spanish: Zanate Cantor


The Melodious Blackbird is a rather unique and vociferous all black icterid of Mexico and Central America. It has a relatively thick and long bill, but most noticeable is that the legs and feet look a size too big on this mid-sized blackbird. Pairs appear to be year-round territorial and they likely keep their pair bond for multiple seasons. Melodious Blackbirds pairs perform a unique duetting display where they sing to each other while bobbing up and down as if doing push-ups. The most distinct and easy to recognize note in their song display is a loud “Whit –Tcheeewwww!” that reminds one of a call of a Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), although much louder and more emphatic.

Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Dorian Anderson   Macaulay Library ML80975751

Scientific name:  Zonotrichia Capensis
Name in Spanish: Coronadito,

The Rufous-collard Sparrow is a ubiquitous resident of lowland and montane scrub from Mexico south to Tierra del Fuego.  Rufous-collared Sparrows have a gray head with two broad black crown stripes and a blackish line through the eye, prominent rufous collar, rufescent upperparts streaked black and white underparts with black patches on either side of the chest.  The sparrows are very tolerant to human presence and are a common sight in settlements across South America.  Rufous-collard Sparrows are often encountered hopping on open ground as they forage for seeds and insects or singing from a prominent perch on a shrub or rock*

*Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Oliver Komar Macaulay Library ML51036661

Scientific name. Colaptes auratus
Name in Spanish: Carpintero escapulario


The Northern Flicker is a common, primarily ground-foraging woodpecker that occurs in most wooded regions of North America. Its taxonomic status has been debated because of hybridization among subspecies groups, each readily distinguished by plumage coloration. Two other subspecies of the Northern Flicker are allopatric; the Cuban Flicker (C. a. chrysocaulosus) occurs on Cuba and Grand Cayman Island, and the Guatemalan Flicker (C. a. mexicanoides) occurs in the highlands of southern Mexico south to northwestern Nicaragua.

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Patrick V   Macaulay Library ML36067321

Scientific name: Cyclarhis gujanensis
Name in Spanish: Vireo cejirrufo


The Rufous-browed Peppershrike is one of the largest species of the vireo. It inhabits a wide range of open and semi-open habitats throughout tropical and subtropical Central and South America.

The song is equally as variable but is generally a series of rich musical phrases that is repeated seemingly without end.

Rufous-browed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis gujanensis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© David Hollie Macaulay Library ML29972881

Scientific name:  Zenaida asiatica
Name in Spanish: Paloma aliblanca


This large, semitropical dove ranges from the southernmost U.S. and Mexico (where it is partially migratory) south through Central America and much of the West Indies. The majority of White-winged Doves are seasonally migratory. They overwinter in Mexico and Central America and come to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in April to breed, departing again in September. *

*White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Mario A. Espinosa

Scientific name: Icterus wagleri
Name in Spanish:  Bolsero de Wagler


The Black-vented Oriole is widespread in Middle America, between western and central Mexico south to Nicaragua; it inhabits open woodland and scrubby areas, from sea level to 2500 m at least. This species is typically found in pairs, which remain together year-round, and sometimes in small groups, but it is rarely conspicuous*.

*Black-vented Oriole (Icterus wagleri), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

© Mike Charest Macaulay Library ML90753541

Scientific name:  Sporophila moreletti/torqueola
Name in Spanish: Semillero collarejo


The White-collared Seedeater is identifiable by the broad white collar, white rump, and black hood. The species occurs from southern Texas south to the western Panama and is the only member of the widespread genus Sporophila that is confined solely to Mexico and Central America. There are four subspecies of White-collared Seedeater, and the species is split into two species by some authorities. *

*Adel, F., K. J. Burns, J. C. Eitniear, and T. S. Schulenberg (2010). Morelet’s/Cinnamon-rumped Seedeater (Sporophila morelleti/torqueola), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

© Chris Wood  Macaulay Library ML29972651

Scientific name: Myoborus pictus
Name in Spanish: Pavito aliblanco


The Painted Redstart is among the most attractive and festive looking of all Parulids. It is largely black, but shows a large white wing patch, extensive white on the outside of the tail, a bright red belly and a surprisingly noticeable white crescent below the eye. It is a bird of Pine-Oak forests found as far north as the Southwest of the United States, south to northernmost Nicaragua. *

*Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

Scientific name: Melanotis hypoleucus
Name in Spanish: Censontle pechiblanco


A highly distinctive bird within its relatively small range, the strikingly long-tailed Blue-and-white Mockingbird is just that. The entire upperparts are deep blue, except for the black mask, while below the bird is all white, except for the blue gray flanks and vent. *

*Soberanes-González, C. A., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, M. d. C. Arizmendi, G. M. Kirwan, and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). Blue-and-white Mockingbird (Melanotis hypoleucus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

© Brian Sullivan Macaulay Library ML27312541

Scientific name: Troglodytes aedon
Name in Spanish: Saltapared sureño


Looking at the distribution of the House Wren it is easily one of the most widely distributed of all New World songbirds. However, the truth is certainly much more complex. In the past this species has been separated into three groups, with the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico being a division line between two of these, the southern and northern House Wrens. There has not been a modern genetic study of this species, but surely the reality of how many species level units are in the House Wren complex will be much more complicated. *

*House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:


M= Migrant Birds
R= Resident birds
T= Birds in transit
E= Introduced from Europe

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25 Stunning And Beautiful Birds You Should Know About!

The Guatemalan Piñatas

The Guatemalan Piñatas

Written by Lorena Bleker
Revised by Vickie Sutton

You may or may not have seen them, but in Guatemala piñatas are a strong tradition; a must have for every birthday party, especially for children.  Piñatas are among the most important part of the celebration.

If you host a “piñata” you better stuff it with candies, lollipops, chocolates, plastic toys, and you can add money if you like!  Otherwise you will be highly unpopular with the children and their parents.

For a birthday party, all the participants wait for their turn to hit the piñata with a wooden stick.  The first shot is for the birthday boy or girl.  Their eyes are covered, with the idea of making it difficult to break the piñata so that the rest of the kids have a chance to hit it.  After the poor piñata is crushed, all the candies and lollipops fall on the floor and children jump to collect them. It is funny and crazy when mothers help their children to collect the candies!  They also lay on the floor!  Prepare your camera, it is freaking hilarious!

How it all started?

The Merchant, Marco Polo, traveled from Italy to China, where he witnessed a very special celebration during the Chinese New Year.  The population used to break a clay pot covered with paper in many colors, as part of the festivities!

Marco Polo liked it so much, that he imported this tradition to Italy.  The Italians called it “pignatta”, which means “pot”.   Of course, they changed the date and meaning, and they started to break the pignatta during the Roman Catholic Easter holiday that is a period of fasting and prayer, called Lent (Cuaresma).  This  is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar  begins on Ash Wednesday and ends  before Easter Sunday or the last day of the Holy Week.  The Catholics in Italy used to break the piñata during this period as a symbol of breaking from sin.  In Guatemala we don’t break piñatas during the Lent.

How they ended up in America?

The pignatta traveled to Spain as part of the Catholic tradition during Easter.  Spanish priests that came with the conquerors, brought this tradition to the Americas.  But instead, they made the piñata clay pot as a star with 7 sides, replacing it as a symbol of the 7 capital sins.  It is at this time that they started to stuff the clay pot with sweets.   The spiritual connotation was that when we break from the 7 sins, gifts are falling from heaven.

Piñatas were made of clay and they are still made in Mexico in the same way.  In Mexico, they also use the star piñata during the “Posadas”, celebrated before Christmas.  Posada is a Pilgrimage procession of Joseph and Mary looking for a shelter, going every night from home to home hoping to find a place to rest and wait for the birth of Jesus, the Son of God.  Every house hosting Joseph and Mary organize a prayer ritual, sing Christmas songs with the guests, and prepare snacks for the participants of the procession. The last posada happens one night before the Christmas celebration.

The Guatemalan Piñatas

In Guatemala, we have the same “Posada” tradition around Christmas Celebrations, but without a piñata.  However, we do use a piñata with the form of the devil during the 7th of December celebration called “Burn the Devil Day”.  Oh yes, we burn the piñata, but we stuff it with fireworks instead of candies!  This tradition of burning the devil comes from the colonial times but we started using a devil piñata at from early 90´s.  Before we used to collect dry wood and leaves called “Chiribisco”, to burn it.

 Every 7th of December, at 6pm It is a preparation to clean the houses from bad elements and burn them in fire, in order to be spiritually ready before the “Immaculate Conception” day on the 8th of December.  The best place to enjoy the festivities around those days is in Ciudad Vieja, near Antigua, Guatemala.   Antigua, Guatemala, is also famous for burning a giant devil piñata.  The locals and tourists also go around the fire at 6 pm.  On the Burn the devil day, is when Christmas festivities begin in our country.

The revolution of the piñatas

During the 70’s, the way of making pinatas in our country, has changed.  Now they are made without a clay pot, but by shaping wires and covering them with colorful paper.  They are mainly copying cartoon characters from popular TV shows or movies, and crazy politicians!  People use customized piñatas also as a form of protest in demonstrations.  For example, if you want to protest corruption, you make a piñata in the form of a rat!

If you wish to visit the place where these funny piñatas are made, the artisans are based around Parque Colon in zone 1, not too far away from Central Market. 


All Saints’ Day and Day of the Dead Celebration

By Lorena Bleker
Reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Moore

A meal we eat during Día de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead), in Guatemala, has a lot of meaning in our culture. Called Fiambre, it creates a magical bond between the living and the ancestors. It is a sacred food that symbolizes this bond. Rituals and sacrifices honoring the dead, were popular in pre-Hispanic times, the symbolic meal offered to the deceased in Mesoamerica were celebrated in the month of July when the Mayan New Year began.

This commemoration was lost but it reappeared in the sixteenth century, already syncretized with the catholic traditions, when the Spanish arrived, back in the colonial Guatemala, they celebrated all Saint´s day with special meals cold meats and vegetables, that were cooked with culinary techniques that they inherited from the time of the Arab occupation of Spain.

With the process of mixing the indigenous culture with that of the Europeans and bringing together cultural and religious elements, the colonial Guatemalan population of the late sixteenth century, created that magical dish, The Fiambre. It is served cold and enjoyed on November 1 and 2 in celebration of the All Saints’ Day, together with the Day of the Dead, to close the cycle of festivities.

This dish is mentioned in conventual recipes of the early seventeenth century and in the chronicles of Tomas Gage between 1625 and 1638. The Fiambre meal is a symbolic and exquisite food for its baroque style and cooking methods. It expresses cultural heritage, the world view and the way of seeing the Guatemalan world made up of Spanish, Mestizo and Maya influences. It is truly a representative element of multi-culturalism in our country.

By preparing Fiambre, we are putting together the multi-ethnic identity of the Guatemalan: The use of local vegetables and seasoning that are Mayan, thus of pre-Hispanic heritage: the use of different types of meats and sausages of Spanish descent and the use of cheeses, capers, artichokes, olives and other spices from the Arab  influence, and as a special touch, it hides the culinary secrets of the Guatemalan cooks  (or Guatemalan kitchen)

This meal is prepared for the Day of the Dead, relatives together with the closest friends of the “finados”, (dead) are taking the fiambre, to the “Campo Santo” (Cemetery) and share between the them. It is tradition to spend the 1st. of November together in the cemetery and bring flowers, offerings and serenades to their death relatives and friends.

Photo by Chef Claudia Artola

During the celebration, all cultural elements are mingled together, such as the use of water, fire and vegetables.  According to pre-Hispanic beliefs, this mingling is expressed as water carried to the deceased, smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol in the “Campo Santo”, preparing meals and use all these elements as offering to the deceased, and presenting it on top of their graves.  In some places the sky becomes filled with color as people fly giant kites as symbol of connection with the deceased, like the famous Sumpango Kites or Santiago Sacatepéquez kites,

Thus, Guatemalan Fiambre begins as an offering and sacrificial food as well as a means of communication with the ancestors. (for the Catholics, the Day of the Dead is a day of prayers, for those who are waiting in the purgatory for redemption)

The preparation of the Fiambre’s cold cuts is an activity that bring families together and this is how the tradition is passing from generation to generation, that occurs during preparation when cutting vegetables, sausages and other ingredients. Guatemala has different types of cold cuts according to the regions or culinary variants of the cooks.

The Fiambre is an ancestral heritage and not an improvisation of some nuns or cooks as was previously speculated. This dish is one of the most important meals the country has brought to the world, probably one of the most exquisite in Latin America for its unique form of creativity, demonstrated by the incorporation of products so different to the palate and of such diverse origins.

The Fiambre is a sort of salad, that has more than 50 ingredients, depending on the region where is prepared.  It has a mix of vegetables, cold meats, artichokes, capers, pickles, cheese, etc. seasoned with vinegar, olive oil and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc,

Colorful, tasty, unique.  Fiambre is the intangible patrimony of Guatemala.  There is nowhere else in the world where you can taste this dish.