Local words used in Guatemala for owls


To learn about owls of the Maya and other cultures you will want to do Google searches with local Spanish words for owl. So we help get you started with three words to include in your searches on the Internet: buho, lechuza, and tecolote.


Buho is one kind of owl; lechuza is another kind of owl of Mesoamerica. In English only one word is used for all species: owl. Buhos have raised feathers that stick up diagonally from their head. Buhos have yellowish eyes. Lechuza have dark eyeballs.


Tecolote is a more generic word used in Guatemala and Mexico, based on the Nahuatl (Aztec) word tecolotl. There is a town along the main highway CA9 named Teculutan (Zacapa, Guatemala). I would prefer to discuss with an ornithologist and a Nahuatl linguist as to whether the Aztecs distinguished between yellow-eyed diagonal upward feathered owls as a group (buho in Spanish) and dark-eyed owls (lechuza in Spanish). An original name for parts of Verapaz was Tecolotlan, Land of the Owls.


Pertinent articles or books that discuss or picture artifacts that show owls


  • HEADRICK, Annabeth
  • 2007
  • The Teotihuacan Trinity: The sociopolitical structure of an ancient Mesoamerican City. University of Texas Press. 226 pages.
  • HEADRICK, Annabeth
  • 2007
  • The Teotihuacan Trinity: The sociopolitical structure of an ancient Mesoamerican City. University of Texas Press. 226 pages.


General bibliography on owls


  • CHANDLER, David
  • 2011
  • Barn Owl. Firefly Books. 128 pages.
  • DUNCAN, James
  • 2013
  • The Complete Book of North American Owls. Thunder Bay Press. 192 pages.
  • JOHNSGARD, Paul A.
  • 1988
  • North American Owls, Biology and Natural History. Smithsonian Institution Press

  • 2002
  • North American Owls : Biology and Natural History, 2nd Edition 2nd edition. 298 pages.
  • Konig, Claus, Weick, Friedhelm and Jan-Hendrick Becking
  • 2008
  • Owls of the World, 2nd edition. Helm, London.
  • LYNCH, Wayne
  • 2007
  • Owls of the United States and Canada: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior. Johns Hopkins University Press. 264 pages.
  • MIKKOLA, Heimo
  • 2012
  • Owls of the World, a Photographic Guide. 2nd edition, Christopher Helm, London.
  • ROGERS, Denny and Lori Corbett
  • 2006
  • Illustrated Owl: Barn, Barred & Great Horned. Fox Chapel Publishing. 237 pages.



Books on birds of a country or area of a country,
which should show any and all toucan species in this specific area.



  • ALVAREZ del Toro, Miguel
  • 1971
  • Las Aves de Chiapas. 2nd edition. Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas (UNACH). 272 pages.
  • BEAVERS, Randell A.
  • 1992
  • The Birds of Tikal: An Annotated Checklist for Tikal National Park and Peten, Guatemala. Texas A&M University Press. 153 pages.
  • 2006
  • Southern Mexico: The Cancun Region, Yucatan Peninsula, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Tabasco. Travellers' Wildlife Guides, Interlink Pub Group. 487 pages
  • 2010
  • Belize & Northern Guatemala. Travellers’ Wildlife Guides. Interlink Books. 477 pages.
  • CEBALLOS, Gerardo, et al
  • 2009
  • Fauna Mexicana: Esplendor de la Naturaleza. Telmex. 303 pages.

    Photo album; not a book with technical information, but most of the photos are good.
  • CRUZ, Pacheco
  • 1958
  • Diccionario de la fauna yucateca. Merida. 379 pages.
  • DAVIS, L. Irby
  • 1972
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Central America. University of Texas Press. 264 pages.
  • EDWARDS, Ernest Preston and Edward Murrell BUTLER
  • 1988
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Adjacent Areas: Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador, Third Edition. University of Texas Press. 292 pages.
  • EISERMANN, Knut and Claudia AVENDAÑO
  • 2006
  • Diversidad de aves en Guatemala, con una lista bibliográfica. Pp. 525-623 In: E. Cano (Ed.) Biodiversidad de Guatemala, Vol. 1. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala.
    On Guatemala alone they have found more than 1200 publications on the birds of Guatemala.
  • EISERMANN, Knut and Claudia AVENDAÑO
  • 2007
  • Lista Comentada de las Aves de Guatemala/Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala. Lynx Edicions. 175 pages.
  • FRENZ, Bert
  • 2012
  • A Birders Guide to Belize. Perfect Paperback. American Birding Association. 374 pages
  • HELLMUTH, Nicholas, Da'COSTA, Daniela and Illena GARCIA
  • 2012
  • Birds in the Mayan civilization: The Owl. REVUE Magazine, Oct. 6, 2012
  • HORWICH, Robert and Jon LYON
  • 1990
  • A Belizean Rain Forest: The Community Baboon Sanctuary. 3rd edition, Orang-utan Press. 420 pages.
  • HOWELL, Steve N. G. and Sophie WEBB
  • 1995
  • A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. 1010 pages.

    I do not yet have this book (but I am trying to get it). Amazon says it has 1010 pages which is entirely unlikely, but at over 850 pages (that Google Books reveal) this is the largest book on this subject in this area for the last 30 years (that I know of). Most books on birds are meant to be portable handbooks (hence tend to not be very long).
  • JONES, H. Lee
  • 2004
  • Birds of Belize. Corrie Herring Hooks Series, University of Texas Press. 317 pages.
  • KRICHER, John
  • 1999
  • A Neotropical Companion. Princeton University Press. 451 pages.
  • LAND, Hugh C.
  • 1970
  • Birds of Guatemala. Harrowood Books.
  • MARTINEZ G., Milton
  • 2013
  • Aves de Guatemala: Birds of Guatemala (El Quetzal, Trogones y Colibrs) (Volume 1). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 116 pages.
  • MYSKA, Petr
  • 2007
  • Viva Natura: Field Guide to the Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. Viva Natura. 248 pages.
  • PETERSON, Roger Tory
  • 1999
  • A Field Guide to Mexican Birds: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador (Peterson Field Guides). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 320 pages
  • SCHLESINGER, Victoria
  • 2001
  • Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya: A Guide. University of Texas Press. 351 pages.

    E xcellent drawings but noticeably weak on knowledge of which plants and animals were really part of Ancient Maya life and beliefs. The book is well intentioned, but, for a university press, especially a university such as Texas at Austin which has such a decades-long track record in quality university research, this book is a disappointment. However for some animals, the coverage is acceptable, so the author does cover the scarlet macaw acceptably.

    Also the black-and-white line drawings are of better-than-average quality: fully professional drawings. And the creatures she does cover are a good start. But a student (and any iconographer, epigrapher, ethnobotanist, or ethnozoologist) needs more than the incomplete number of species of the Maya civilization.
  • SIBLEY, D. A.
  • 2000
  • The Sibley guide to birds. Knopf. National Audubon Society, New York. 545 pages.

    This covers birds of North America, but is helpful for Guatemala because many birds of North America migrate to Central America.
  • SMITHE, Frank B. and R. A. PAYNTER
  • 1963
  • Birds of Tikal, Guatemala, 1963, Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College, Volume 128, Number 5 : pages 245-324 with 1 plate.    
  • SMITHE, Frank B.
  • 1966
  • The Birds of Tikal. Natural History Press. 350 pages.
  • Van PERLO, BER
  • 2006
  • Birds of Mexico and Central America. Princeton University Press. 336 pages.
  • WHEATLEY, Nigel and David BREWER
  • 2002
  • Where to Watch Birds in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Princeton Field Guides, Princeton University Press. 448 pages.



Web sites on birds of pertinent parts of Mesoamerica













Good for birds of Guatemala.


Posted mid-November, 2016.