• Water Lily

    Why is there a Mayan “water lily Jaguar”?

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  • Boated-Billed Heron

    Discovery of a boat-billed heron, in the Canal de Chiquimulilla, near Monterrico

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  • Scarlet Macaw

    Four good places to study the scarlet macaw, Ara macao, are AutoSafari Chapin, Las Guacamayas Biological Station, Copan Ruinas, and Macaw Mountain (all in Central America).

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  • Jaguar Cub

    Learning about Jaguars in Guatemala

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Keel-billed toucan, Ramphastos sulfuratus is a logo-like symbol of the Neotropical seasonal rain forests of Mesoamerica and adjacent areas (and hence a common corporate logo).



We will have a page related to Owls soon.



We will have a page related to our squirrels art soon.



The Scarlet macaw was a logo for the Maya 1400 years ago.

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Helping school children learn about plants and animals in the three languages spoken in their country

Animal Species Spanish Qeqchi English

We are preparing Q’eqchi’ Mayan – English – Spanish dictionaries, by subject. FLAAR Mesoamerica and the MayanToons team are doing this because when we visit the schools in remote mountain areas, the teachers ask for material in all three languages. The teachers say they can get Spanish-English or Spanish-Q’eqchi’ Mayan material, but never all three in the same poster or book. Lots of the kids in the school class also ask us to help them learn English. So here is a start: we still need to find the word for amphibian classification in Q’eqchi’.


Spanish is spoken in most parts of Guatemala. Garifuna is spoken in Izabal area (plus Spanish). Xinca and 21 Mayan languages are registered. In other words, in most areas it helps if the children learn at least three languages: Spanish, English, and their local native language. It is easier for them to learn as children than to make time to learn later in life.


Is bamboo in Guatemala from ancient Maya? Or is all bamboo from Asia?

Bamboo unknown green Rio Cienega Izabal


95% or more of the bamboo you see along the highways and roads of Guatemala was brought from Asia, mostly during the last hundred years. But there are several species of native bamboo of Guatemala. So yes, the ancient Maya did have bamboo available. We have not yet identified the bamboo in this photo but we believe it is native. This research of ours helps us be able to prepare books for children to teach them about their own country and the plants they can be proud of protecting.

School presentation in mountain area above Rio Cahabon


After walking across the impressive swinging hammock bridge, we hiked up the hill to donate educational material to the schools along the Rio Cahabon, Alta Verapaz..

Getting to know pollinators other than just bees

We have so many species of different flowering plants in the FLAAR Mayan Ethnobotanical Research Garden that we see pollinators almost every day.

Pollinators-butterfly-wasp-bee-mosquito-or-fly-small-plant-FLAAR-garden Pollinators-butterfly-wasp-bee-mosquito-or-fly-small-plant unknown_mosquito_or_fly_pollinator_FLAAR_garden

Bee or wasp? We are interested in finding and photographing wasps which are pollinators and then finding nests of “honey wasps.”

Yes, some wasps in Mexico, Guatemala and nearby countries make honey.

What is the world is this insect?

Whatever it is, it's on the same flowers at same time of day as both bees and wasps.

Sure has big eyes.

Is this a male mosquito? Or a “mosquito fly”?

Sure is nicely posing for the photo (because it is busy harvesting nectar).

Waterbirds in another part of Guatemala

The bird I most want to see in the wild is a king vulture: it is a majestic bird. I also am eager to find the Laughing Falcon, since this is an important bird character in the Mayan mythical saga of the Popol Vuh.

But waterbirds the are species (along with parrots and macaws) most often pictured in Classic Maya art. Waterbirds are common since Mayan cosmology is focused on the Surface of the Underwaterworld.

Black-crowned-Night-Heron boat-billed-heron

Here are the drawings of waterbirds to help teachers provide visual material for the students. We do the illustrations in a zoologically accurate manner but with children friendly expressions on the birds, especially the eyes of the bird and their body language.


So in mid-February we spent several days studying as many waterbirds as we could find from the Rio Polochic through Bocas del Polochic, then the Lake Izabal, then El Golfete and finally the Rio Dulce. We will need more time to do Amatique Bay another visit (and the coastal area also).



We do children’s books on birds to help children learn not to shoot them with slingshots, not to dump garbage in the rivers and lakes, and to use less soap when washing dishes and clothes in the rivers and lake shores.