Field Guide to the Birds of Suriname

Revised and Updated Second Edition


Suriname, located on the Atlantic coast of northeastern South America, is a relatively small country compared to most other South American countries. It nevertheless has a rich avifauna. By the end of 2017, 751 species (including 765 subspecies) were known to occur in Suriname. Most of the land area of Suriname is still covered with tropical rainforest and the country should be a must-visit for birdwatchers. Suriname is even mentioned as being the best country to spot certain neotropical species. Surprisingly, few birders visit Suriname. The main reason given is the lack of a handy pocket guide that can easily be carried in a backpack. This (revised and updated) edition of the Field Guide to the Birds of Suriname (with its 109 color plates) tries to fill this gap. In addition to species accounts, data on topography, climate, geology, geomorphology, biogeography, avifauna composition, conservation, and hotspots for bird watching are given. So, why delay your trip to this beautiful and friendly country any longer? Suriname with its rich avifauna awaits you!

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Dr. Arie L. Spaans (1937) lived in Suriname for five years during the 1970s, where, on behalf of the Suriname Forest Service, he studied the distribution and ecology of coastal birds. Since then, he has regularly returned to Suriname for short field trips. He is the author of Coastal Birds of Suriname (2003) and (with Otte Ottema and Jan Hein Ribot as co-authors) has also published an Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Suriname (2009). Since 2002, he is chairman of the Foundation Friends of Nature Conservation in Suriname.

Otte H. Ottema (1952) lived in French Guiana for nine years during the 1990s, running a school for children of Surinamese refugees and working for a French nature conservation organization. In 1999, he moved to Suriname where he worked for the Foundation for Nature Conservation in Suriname (STINASU). Since his retirement in 2010, he has worked as a freelance bird guide. He is the author of Wild Birds of Paramaribo (2007) and was a co-author of the Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Suriname.

Dr. Jan Hein J.M. Ribot (1949) lived in Suriname from 1978 until 1985, working as a lecturer in physics at Anton de Kom University of Suriname. From 1985 until his retirement in 2014, he worked at the University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. He regularly returns to Suriname. He is a co-author of the Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Suriname and maintains a website on Suriname birds (, which he started 20 years ago.
"RECOMMENDATION: The page count has increased from 633 (1st) to 642 (2nd). Currently the only bird field guide available for the country." - Ian Paulsen, in:, published on Wednesday, February 20, 2019
"[...] le volume compact et pratique de ce guide le rendent utile, non seulement por le Surinam, peu visite par les tour-operateurs, mais aussi pour le Guyane, que attire la suele version a jour du statut des especes dans ce pays." - (JMT) in: Ornithos 26(4): 194 (2019)
"De tweede druk van de Field Guide to the Birds of Suriname is [...] een nog bruikbaarder veldgids geworden dan de eerste druk. [...] Het is een 'must' voor iedereen met interesse voor vogels die naar Suriname afreist." - in: het Vogeljaar 67 (3) 2019, pp. 142

"der Feldführer [enthält] eine ausgesprochen umfangreiche und sehr gute Einleitung zu Klima, Topographie und zur Biogeographie (mit guten Fotos) sowie zu den besten Beobachtungsplätzen und die Informationen sicher „up to date“ sind. [...] Den Autoren ist zu
danken, dass sie sich die Mühe gemacht haben, ein so umfangreiches Werk über die Vogelfauna eines in Europa weitgehend unbekannten
Landes zu erstellen" - (tb), in: Der Falke 9/2017, p. 46
"Auteurs Arie Spaans, Otte Ottema en Jan Hein Ribot zijn dé autoriteiten op het gebied van de avifauna van het land: er zijn geen andere hedendaagse ornithologen die hier zo veel vogelonderzoek hebben gedaan. [...] De inleidende pagina's gaan in op de geografie, de ecologische zones en habitats, de samenstelling van de avifauna en vogelbescherming. Heel bruikbaar voor een eerste indruk bij het plannen van een reis zijn de beschrijvingen van vogelplekken [...]. Ik heb in 2011 goede plekken gemist omdat ik niet wist dat ze bestonden, zo veel is wel duidelijk. [...] Deze Nederlandse productie, met assistentie uit Vlaanderen, is niet perfect, maar wel zeer goed bruikbaar. De soortteksten zijn kort, bondig en relevant en in combinatie met de illustraties bieden ze een prima handvat voor determinaties." - Vincent van der Spek, in: Dutch Birding (2016) [Full review]
"Het zal mij niet verbazen als dit werk de Surinaamse pendant wordt van de moeder van de Nederlandse vogelgidsen: de Kist (Petersons Vogelgids). Zeer aanbevolen!" – in: Het Vogeljaar 64/1 (2016), p. 44-45
"So does this field guide achieve its principal aim of inspiring me, a foreign birder, to visit Suriname? It certainly does, although I suspect that other countries or areas that I have not yet visited [...] remain higher up the pecking order. Next question: if and when I visit Suriname, will I take this guide with me, rather than regional alternatives such as Restall et al. (2006)? The answer, again, is affirmative—and this time there is no caveat. [...] this is a relatively portable, admirably concise and wellillustrated field guide to the birds of Suriname. And I bet it works for much of Guyana and French Guiana too." – James Lowen, in: Neotropical Birding 18 (2016), p 54-56
“Guide indispensable donc aux résidents comme aux visiteurs de Guyane française qui pourront pousser avec profit une excursion dans le Surinam voisin, grâce au travail soigné des hollandais qui continuent de l’étudier.” – (JMT), in: ORNITHOS, 23-4 (2016)
"This guide does lack range maps, but birders will still find it useful." - in: Birdbooker report 2016


Geology and Geomorphology
Birds of Suriname
The Avifauna of Suriname in Numbers
Where to Watch Birds in Suriname
Introductory Remarks to the Species Accounts
Species Accounts and Plates

Appendix 1

Appendix 2


The Field Guide to the Birds of Suriname is primarily written for bird students and nature lovers from Suriname and for visitors from abroad who like to identify the birds they spot in the country.
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