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Tony Rath's

    Places to See > Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
(information courtesy Belize Audubon Society)

Located 33 miles northwest of Belize City and just 2 miles off the Northern Highway, the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary provides an opportunity to view some of Belize's magnificent wildlife. Established in 1984 for the protection of resident and migrant birds, the sanctuary consists of a network of inland lagoons, swamps and waterways.

Great Egret at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, BelizeDuring the dry season, thousands of birds congregate here, taking advantage of the food resources, and migrants find a safe resting spot on their spring migration back to the north.

The variety of habitats in the Crooked Tree area provide food and homes for a diversity of fauna. Within the logwood swamps roost the nocturnal Boat-billed Herons as well as Chestnut-bellied Herons and Bare-throated Tiger-Herons. Our two species of ducks, the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and the Muscovy, nest in trees along the swamps. Over the open water you will find many birds feeding on the abundant food resources the lagoons provide. Snail kites, feeding exclusively on apple snails, the beautiful Snowy and Great Egrets fishing along the shoreline , all five species of Kingfishers, as well as Ospreys and Black-collared Hawks diving toward the water's surface for a catch, are only a few of the birds that can be seen. Black Creek, with its large trees, provides a home for Black Howler Monkeys, Morelet's Crocodiles, Coatimundi and several species of turtles and iguanas.

shorebirds at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

Jabiru Storks, the largest flying birds in the New World with a wing span of 10-12 feet, also find a home at the sanctuary. Belize has the largest nesting population of these great birds in all of Central America. The storks arrive in November to nest in the lowland pine savannas. Two pairs are known to nest within the sanctuary. After the young fledge and during the months of April and May, the birds from the northern and central parts of Belize congregate at Crooked Tree and Mexico lagoons. When the rains come, the birds leave to return again the following November.

Click Here for a map of the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

Within the sanctuary is the village of Crooked Tree, established during the logwood era in Belizean history. Because of its relatively easy accessibility by boat, Crooked Tree was one of the first inland villages. But until recently Crooked Tree was still only accessible by boats which traveled up the Belize River and Black Creek. A 3 1/2 mile causeway now connects the village with the Northern Highway. Crooked Tree village is famous for its large mango and cashew trees.

woodstorks at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

Other Things to See
Altun Ha Belize City
Belize Zoo Baboon Sanctuary
Crooked Tree Gales Point
Monkey Bay Offshore Cayes

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