NW Pacific

Nicaragua's northwest Pacific region is comprised of the departments of León and Chinandega. The region is characterized by dry, lowland Pacific forest, seacoasts, mangroves, large inland estuaries, and a chain of volcanoes that runs parallel to the Pacific coast some 30 kilometers inland, from Lake Managua (Lago Xolotlán) in the south to the Cosigüina peninsula in the far northwest. Some of these volcanoes rise to more than 1,000 meters above sea level, and several are still active. The majority of the region is flat, and due to its rich volcanic soil, is dedicated to intensive agricultural use, primarily sugar cane, peanuts, and sorghum. Cotton and plantains were also once grown on a large scale. The predominant agricultural practices of years past have left much of the region deforested, and the soil and water contaminated by pesticides and other agrochemicals. In some areas, however, such as on the slopes of the Cosigüina Volcano, there are still remnant tracts of healthy tropical dry forest.

Listed below are the most common and widespread species found in the northwest Pacific region, which the visiting birder can expect to find without much concerted effort. These species are generally not otherwise mentioned in the specific site accounts that follow:

Year-round Resident Species:
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Lesser Scaup
Crested Bobwhite
Wood Stork
Magnificent Frigatebird
Neotropic Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Tricolored Heron
Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
White Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Crested Caracara
Spotted Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Royal Tern
Rock Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Inca Dove
Orange-fronted Parakeet
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Groove-billed Ani
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Vaux's Swift
Canivet's Emerald
Cinnamon Hummingbird
Black-headed Trogon
Turquoise-browed Motmot
Hoffmann's Woodpecker
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Social Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Tropical Kingbird
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Rose-throated Becard
White-throated Magpie-Jay
Gray-breasted Martin
Mangrove Swallow
Rufous-naped Wren
Banded Wren
Clay-colored Thrush
Tropical Mockingbird
Yellow Warbler ("Mangrove" race is resident)
Blue-gray Tanager
Grayish Saltator
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater
Stripe-headed Sparrow
Melodious Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Spot-breasted Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Streak-backed Oriole
Montezuma Oropendola
House Sparrow

Winter or Seasonal Visitors:
Black-necked Stilt*
Least Sandpiper*
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher*
Barn Swallow*
Baltimore Oriole*

Coming Soon...
  • Isla Juan Venado
  • Salinas Grandes
  • Padre Juan Ramos Estuary
  • Volcán Cosigüina
  • Estero Real