Uxmal, Photo of House of the Birds

The House of the Birds

Between the Pyramid of the Magician and the Nunnery lies a closed courtyard which once formed the western approach to the Pyramid of the Magician in its later stages.

Pollock believes that this court and its surrounding buildings were originally built as a low quadrangle, of which the relatively early Temple I of the Pyramid of the Magician formed the east side. This suggests a common date for both the House of the Birds and Temple I. A radiocarbon date of 570 AD has been obtained from samples of a wooden lintel from Temple I.

The House of the Birds in this photo is immediately to the left of the archway building. This complex of buildings has only been recently reconstructed.

Uxmal, House of the Birds

The House of the Birds is exuberantly decorated with feather and crescent mouldings, and birds and feathers decorate the upper facades.


Uxmal, House of the Birds

Charming representations of a variety of birds grace this building. I believe I see two quetzals, possibly a pelican, a turkey, a parrot, and maybe a vulture.


The frieze of the House of the Birds showing feather and crescent moldings with birds and feathers decorating the upper facade

It is disheartening to see that the birds in the frieze in this photo from June 2004 appear to have darkened noticeably from photos taken earlier in February of 1996.


Uxmal, Photo of El Adivino

There are many interesting acoustical effects associated with the area between the House of the Birds and the Pyramid of the Magician. For example, guides will tell you that a handclap from the House of the Birds will echo-return from the pyramid as a birdcall. It's true!


Archway and adjorning room leading into the court by House of the Birds

This area between the House of the Birds and Temple I of the Pyramid of the Magician has been called by some "The Quadrangle of the Birds".

The figure in the next photo was found on an altar in the room to the right of this archway which leads into this courtyard where the Temple I of the Pyramid of the Magician once formed the southern building.


Uxmal, Figure from Magician's Courtyard

"This figure from the Uxmal museum was uncovered while clearing the courtyard to the West of the Temple of the Magician. It was found as a center altar-piece to the Northern Building on the West side of this mini quadrangle.

The caretaker said that it came from the the building to the right of the house of the birds, and to the right of the archway, but facing the house of the magician. This would make sense because that group of buildings has only been reconstructed for around four years. Its late discovery may be why the monument is not mentioned anywhere." (David Hixson, personal communication, Feb. 1998)

I would love to know if anyone has translated the glyphs on the niche yet.


Uxmal, Pyramid of the Magician

Detail of the figure in the hieroglyphic niche, Uxmal Museum, June 12, 2004


Uxmal, Photo of House of the Birds

Entrance Archway through House of the Birds, February 15, 1997