Birding the Caribbean


Caribbean Birding—An Overview

The Caribbean is an extensive and varied region. It has several hundred islands in 28 territories arranged in an arc that demarks the boundary of the Caribbean Sea—the islands extend over 3,218km (2,000mi) miles from the Bahamas and Cuba, in the northwest, to Trinidad and Tobago in the southeast, i.e., from 10°N to 25°N and 60°W to 86°W. It has a wide range of habitats from a 10,000ft mountain, to highlands, lowlands, valleys, karst landscape, cays, islets, rainforests, mangroves, swamps, plantations, grasslands, &c.

The region boasts 752 bird species including a substantial number of migratory birds and 172 endemic species. Particularly, amongst its birds are 38 species of hummingbirds, 14 of which are endemic species—most are found in the Greater Antilles. South American hummingbird species are found in the islands of the southern Caribbean, chiefly Trinidad and Tobago. Three migratory and/or incidental species to the Caribbean islands, the Green-breasted Mango, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Rufous Hummingbird, occasion the Greater Antilles.

Birding the Caribbean can be an itinerary and scheduling challenge given the number of destinations, the region's extensiveness, and the variety of bird species. N.B. further complications, not insurmountable, may set in due to the want of timely air-travel schedules, infrastructure, and ground support, and varying trip durations (as little as two days on a small island like St. Lucia, 7-10 days on Trinidad and Tobago, or 10-17 days on a large island like Jamaica or Cuba). Yet, one itinerary possibility is the "Hummingbird Circuit" which involves the least number of islands that gives the opportunity to observe the 38 hummingbird species of the Caribbean, along with other bird species: Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic or Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago. Another is the "Hummingbird Endemics Circuit" which affords the birder the opportunity to observe the 15 endemic hummingbird species of the Caribbean plus two migratory species: Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic or Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Yet, another is the "Trinidad and Tobago Circuit" which best showcase a microcosm of the Caribbean's South American hummingbirds, up to 22 species, along with some other continental bird species.


Cuba Hummingbirds—Selected Hotspots

Select Birding Hotspots of Cuba
Birding Spot Location See Map Terrain Vegetation Select Species

Alejandro de Humboldt National Park (AHPN)

Provinces of Holguín and Guantánamo

GPS: 20.444722,-74.769516

Notes: Alejandro de Humboldt National Park is in eastern Cuba.

Mountain

Forest

Other Birds
  • Cuban Crow,
  • Cuban Kite,
  • Cuban Parakeet,
  • Cuban Parrot,
  • Giant Kingbird,
  • Gray-fronted Quail-dove,
  • Gundlach's Hawk,
  • Ivory-billed woodpecker,
  • Masked Duck, and
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Bermejas Wildlife Refuge/Refugio de Fauna Bermejas

Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata

GPS: 22.140268,-80.936558

Lowland

Forest

Other Birds
  • Cuban Nightjar,
  • Cuban Screech-Owl,
  • Cuban Tody,
  • Quail-Dove species, and
  • Fernandina’s Flicker.

Cayo Coco (Coco Cay)

Jardines del Rey, Ciego de ?vila Province

GPS: 22.509600,-78.407673

Note: Jardines Del Rey (King’s Gardens) is an island chain on the north coast

Low-elevation, sand beaches, tidal flats, and saltwater lagoons,

Mangrove, scrubs, Secondary forest

Other Birds
  • Key west Quail-Dove,
  • Oriente Warbler, and
  • Piping Plover.

Cayo Guillermo

Jardines del Rey, Ciego de ?vila Province

GPS: 22.592928,-78.673701

Note: Jardines Del Rey (King’s Gardens) is an island chain on the north coast

Low-elevation, sand beaches, tidal flats, and saltwater lagoons

Mangrove, scrubs, secondary forest

  • Cuban Emerald.
Other Birds
  • Bahama Mockingbird.

Cayo Paredon (Paredon Cay)

Jardines del Rey, Ciego de ?vila Province

GPS: 22.451839,-78.17099

Note: Jardines Del Rey (King’s Gardens) is an island chain on the north coast

Low-elevation, sand beaches, tidal flats, and saltwater lagoons

Mangrove, scrubs, low secondary forest

Other Birds
  • Cuban Gnatcatcher and
  • Thick-billed Vireo.

Cueva De Los Portales

Pinar del Río Province

GPS: 22.669048,-83.479378

Note: a short distance north of La Guira National Park. A former hideout for 'Che' Guevara

Mountain and lime stone outcrops (mogotes)

Vines are prevalent.

  • Cuban Solitaire and
  • Cave Swallow.

La Boca

Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata

Note: La Boca is south of La Turba.

Recreational land (park) around a lake and pond

Other Birds
  • Cuban Crows,
  • Northern Jacana,
  • Purple Gallinules, and
  • Warblers.

La Guira

La Guira National Park, Western Cuba

GPS: 22.702018,-83.362159

Note: (a.k.a. Hacienda Cortina) Until 1959 it was the estate of José Manuel Cortina, a wealthy landowner and politician, who was forced into exile.

Mountain and ponds

Gardens and forested spots of Cuban Pine and broadleaf trees

Other Birds
  • Cattle Egret,
  • Cuban Martin,
  • Cuban Solitaire,
  • Cuban Trogon,
  • Cuban Tody,
  • Olive-capped Warbler,
  • Pied-billed Grebe,
  • Snowy Egret, and
  • Turkey Vulture.

Las Salinas wildlife sanctuary (a.k.a La Salinas)

Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata

Note: This site is more than 20km to the south southwest of Playa Larga.

Tidal flats

Mangrove

  • Black Skimmers,
  • Cuban Black-Hawk,
  • Ducks,
  • Herons,
  • Ibises, and
  • Waders.

La Turba

Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve

GPS: 22.444,-81.169

Note: This site is at the northern section of the reserve, south of Jaguey Grande, near the reserve's entrance.

Flat with dyke-top and swamps

Forest

Other Birds
  • Great Egret Ardea alba,
  • Green Heron,
  • Osprey,
  • Purple Gallinule,
  • Red-shouldered Blackbird,
  • Zapata Wren,
  • Zapata Sparrow, and
  • Zenaida Dove.

Mural de la Prehistoria

Vinales National Park, Western Cuba

GPS: 22.653859,-83.716153

Note:this site is north of Pinar del Rio

Rocky hills (limestone outcrops or mogotes) with flats around them

Garden and forest

  • Warblers (including the endemic yellow-headed warbler) and
  • Yellow-faced Grassquit.

Palpite

Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata

Note: this site is close to Playa Larga within 10 kilometres to the northeast.

Lowlands

Forest

Other Birds
  • Cuban Parrot,
  • Cuban Tody,
  • Cuban Trogon,
  • Cuban Vireo,
  • Green Heron,
  • Laughing Gull,
  • Warblers, and
  • Whimbrel.

Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata (a.k.a. Gran Parque Natural Montemar)

Zapata Peninsula, Matanzas, Cuba

GPS: 22.301770,-81.604879

Notes: Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp National Park) is contained within the overlay of the designated preserves of Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO's World Heritage Site, and Ciénaga de Zapata Ramsar Site. It is about 150km (93mi) southeast of Havana.

The park is irregular shaped (est. 1,300km2) with two main protuberance extending westward from Playa Larga into the Ciénaga de Zapata Peninsula.

Playa Larga is a popular staging point for ecotours on the park and wider peninsula and it is the location of the park's headquarters.

Birding locations within the Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata or on its fringes are:

Other birding locations within the greater Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve are:

The Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, size and location, relations to Zapata Swamp, Zapata Peninsula, and its preserves are:

  • Zapata Peninsula—GPS: 22.30,-81.3833
  • Zapata Swamp (4,354.3km2,)—GPS: 22.400,-81.567
  • Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve (6,281.72km2)—GPS: 22.03000,-80.33333
  • Zapata Swamp Ramsar Site (4,520km2)—at its core are five protected areas, including the national park—GPS: 22.02 to 22.671388—80.58805 to 82.15833

Lowland (max height 10m above sea level), wetland (rivers, lagoons, swamps, channels and artificial canals)

Semi-deciduous forests, mangroves, flooded savannahs, and grasslands.

Other Birds
  • American Kestral,
  • Blue-Winged Teal,
  • Cuban Green Woodpecker,
  • Cuban Pygmy-Owl,
  • Great Blue Heron,
  • La Sagra's Flycatcher,
  • Neotropic Cormorant,
  • Wood Stork,
  • Yellow-Headed Warbler,
  • Zapata Sparrow,
  • Zapata Rail, and
  • Zapata Wren

Rancho La Belén

La Belen Najasa, Sierra de Najasa, Camagüey Province

GPS: 21.377775,-77.922234

Note: Sierra de Najasa is located in the southern part of the municipality of Najasa.

The established locale for bird watching is on the 'Path of Birds' (por el Sendero de las Aves)

Within reach is a fossil forest—the frozen remains of trees from 3 million years ago

Mountain

Deciduous Forest and secondary forest

Other Birds
  • Blue Heron,
  • Cuban Palm-Crow,
  • Cuban Parakeet,
  • Cuban Tody,
  • Finch,
  • Giant Kingbird,
  • Mockingbird,
  • Owls,
  • Parrot,
  • Plain Pigeon,
  • Quail, and
  • White-winged Dove.

Soroa

Artemisa Province

GPS: 22.775845,-83.001761

Note: this site is in western Cuba, 85km west of Havana.

It is part of the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve.

The Cuban national bird, the Tocororo, can be observed at this site.

Nearby, there is an orchid garden, Orquideario de Soroa, boasting thousands of specimens.

Mountains and ponds

Forests: broadleafed and Cuban Pine

Other Birds
  • Blue-headed Quail-Dove,
  • Cattle Egret,
  • Cuban Pygmy-Owl,
  • Cuban Trogon (a.k.a. Tocororo),
  • Great Lizard Cuckoo,
  • Grey Kingbird, and
  • Olive-capped Warbler.

Soplillar

Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata

Note: this site is within ten kilometres east of Playa Larga.

Lowlands

Forest

Other Birds
  • Antillean Nighthawk,
  • Blue-head Quail-Dove,
  • Cuban Tody,
  • Cuban Trogon,
  • Cuban Vireo,
  • Great Lizard-Cuckoo,
  • Greater Antillean Nightjar, and
  • Warblers.

Las Terrazas

Sierra del Rosario, Artemisa Province

GPS: 22.845257,-82.944202

Note: this site is located in Western Cuba, 85km west of Havana

Mountain

Secondary Forest

Other Birds
  • Blue-headed Quail-Dove,
  • Cuban Green Woodpecker,
  • Cuban Pygmy-Owl,
  • Cuban Tody,
  • Great Antillean Grackle,
  • Olive-capped Warbler,
  • Red-legged, Honeycreeper, and
  • West-Indian Woodpecker

Vinales

Vinales National Park, Western Cuba

GPS: 22.625350,-83.800925

Note: Vinales National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage Site in the far west of Cuba.

Accessible, in the park, is the, six kilometer, five hour, rocky Maravillas de Vinales Trail that leads gradually up into the forest.

A karst landscape that is surrounded by mountains, with the occasional concave limestone outcrop (mogotes), reaching up to 300m.

Forest

Other Birds
  • Cuban Grassquit,
  • Cuban Tody,
  • Cuban Trogon,
  • Cuban Bullfinch,
  • Cuban Solitaire,
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk,
  • Smooth-billed Anis, and
  • Warblers.

The most notable trait about birding the island of Cuba, aside from the 25+ endemic bird species, is its huge size—unlike most Caribbean islands. Cuba's land areas is 109,884 km2 (42,426 sq mi)—the Caribbean has over 700 islands in 28 territories, and succeeding Cuba in size are Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti) 76,40km2 (29,529 sq mi), Jamaica 10,991km2 (4244 sq mi), and Puerto 9,104 (3515 sq mi). Cuba is 1,250 km (780 mi) long by 191 km (119mi) across its broadest points making distances between birding sites a challenge. In addition, there are numerous satellite islands the largest being the Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) in the southwest, with an area of 2,200 km2 (850 sq mi). Some destinations on the classic birding tour, e.g., Cayo Coco, La Guira, Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, Rancho La Belén, Najasa, and Vinales are separated by hundreds of miles. The driving distance from Vinales National Park, west of Havana, to Rancho La Belén, Najasa towards the eastern end of the island is 790km (490mi), a nine and one-half hour drive, and the driving distance from Cayo Coco, on the northern coast, to La Guira National Park is 660km (410mi), a seven and a half hour drive. Therefore particular attention must be paid to accommodation, transportation, routes/schedules, and, possibly, tour guides.

Three species of hummingbirds embellish Cuba's bird population. They are the bee hummingbird and the Cuban emerald, both endemic species, and the ruby-throated hummingbird, a migratory species from North America. Due to habitat loss the bee hummingbird's range has become patchy but the Cuban emerald can still be observed throughout Cuba. Observation of the ruby-throated hummingbird is more of a "hit and miss" experience.

A tourist visa card is a requirement for access. However, citizens of a few countries have visa-free access, e.g., some states of the Caribbean islands, some states of the former Yugoslavia and from the former Eastern Bloc, and a few others—in all, less than two dozen. Conventionally, flights to the island originate in Europe, Mexico and Canada. Recently, some flights have become available from the US. Havana, the main entry point, is served by Jose Martí International Airport. Whilst Antonio Maceo Airport at Santiago de Cuba, in the southeast, is another major point of entry.

Viñales Valley, Cuba



Dominica Hummingbirds—Selected Hotspots

Select Birding Hotspots of Dominica
Birding Spot Location See Map Terrain Vegetation Select Species

Botanical Gardens

Bath Road, Roseau

GPS: 15.297106,-61.382938

Notes: a sanctuary for parrots and small animals is on site.

Opening Hours: 6am–7pm

Lowland

Gardens

Other Birds
  • Caribbean Elaenia,
  • Caribbean Martin,
  • Imperial Parrot (Sisserou),
  • Red-necked Parrot (Jacko),
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Lesser Antillean Flycatcher,
  • Lesser Antillian Saltator,
  • Lesser Antillean Swift,
  • Mangrove Cuckoo, and
  • Tropical Mockingbird.

Cabrits National Park

St. John Parish

GPS: 15.583232,-61.473141

Notes: the park is located on the headland just north of Portsmouth in the northwest corner of the island, to the west of Morne Aux Diables, to the north, and Morne Diablotin, to the south.

There are hiking trails and an 18th-century English garrison called Fort Shirley.

Cabrits is the remains of two volcanic craters and was once a separate island.

A mix of hills and wetlands.

A mix of dry tropical forest, mangroves, and grasses.

Other Birds
  • American Redstart,
  • Bananaquit,
  • Belted Kingfisher,
  • Black-whiskered Vireo,
  • Carib Grackle,
  • Caribbean Elaenia,
  • Caribbean Martin,
  • Grey Kingbird,
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Lesser Antillean Pewee,
  • Lesser Antillean Flycatcher
  • Lesser Antillean Swift,
  • Magnificent Frigatebird,
  • Mangrove Cuckoo,
  • Mangrove Warbler,
  • Northern Waterthrushes,
  • Plumbeous Warbler,
  • Scaly-breasted Thrasher,
  • Scaly-naped Pigeon,
  • Sora Rail, and
  • Streaked Saltator.

L'ilet

200m off shore from Boetica Village in St. Patrick Parish.

GPS: 15.297387,-61.243720

Notes: The isle is an important breeding site for seabirds. It accessible by boat or swimming.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park is within 5 km from L’Ilet.

Almost 200m2, rocky low-lying islet, reaching to 30m.

Tropical forest

Other Birds,
  • Black Noddy,
  • Bridled Tern,
  • Brown Booby,
  • Brown Noddy,
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Magnificent Frigatebird, and
  • White-tailed Tropicbird.

Middleham Trails

Morne Trois Pitons National Park

GPS: 15.347937,-61.328858 (at Waterfall)

Notes: The more frequented trail runs between Laudat and the waterfall, which takes an hour. An alternate route is from Cochrane to the waterfall, which is less steep and courses through more pristine rainforest.

Mountain

Rain Forest

Other Birds
  • Bananaquit,
  • Black-faced Grassquit,
  • Broad-winged Hawk,
  • Brown Trembler,
  • Caribbean Elaenia,
  • Gray Kingbird,
  • House Wren,
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Lesser Antillean Flycatcher,
  • Lesser Antillean Pewee,
  • Lesser Antillean Saltator,
  • Little Blue Heron,
  • Plumbeous Warbler,
  • Ruddy Quail-Dove
  • Scaly-breasted Thrasher,
  • Scaly-naped Pigeon,
  • Smooth-billed Ani, and
  • Spotted Sandpiper (migratory).

Morne Diablotin

Morne Diablotin National Park, St. Andrew Parish

GPS: 15.52380460,-61.42027614 (Syndicate) to 15.500426,-61.399951 (Peak)

Notes: Start the trail at the Syndicate Visitors Centre in the Parish of St. John. The trails finishes in the Parish of St. Andrew although passing through the Parish of St. Peter. Hiking to the mountain's summit takes 2-3 hours, one-way.

Access to the visitor centre is gained via the road to Portsmouth, north form Roseau. Turn east onto the the secondary road just north of the village of Dublanc but before Morne Espagnol. Continue, up, to an elevation above 1,700ft, for 6.8km through banana plantations until the route levels; then, make a left.

Highland/Mountain

Tropical Forest

Other Birds
  • Antillean Euphonia,
  • Brown Trembler,
  • Forest Thrush,
  • Imperial Parrot (Sisserou),
  • Lesser Antillean Flycatcher,
  • Lesser Antillean Pewee,
  • Lesser Antillean Saltator,
  • Lesser Antillean Swift,
  • Pearly-eyed Thrasher,
  • Red-necked Parrot (Jacko),
  • Rufous-throated Solitaire, and
  • Scaly-breasted Thrasher.

Morne Macaque (a.k.a. Morne Micotrin)

Parish of St. George

GPS: 15.337253,-61.331491 (Trail Head) 15.333498,-61.333333 (Peak)

Notes: A trail loops around the peak and passes two small lakes of volcanic origin (Freshwater Lake (3.1km from Laudat) and Lake Boeri (4.5km from Laudat).

From Roseau take the roads northeast toward Fond Cani and Laudat (8.11km) and then bird the dirt road around Morne Macaque.

Mountain (trail altitude at and above of 800m).

Montane thicket, cloud forest

Bromeliads, gingers, heliconias and orchids are found around the lakes. Otherwise, mountain palms, ferns, mosses, scrub, and dwarf trees are to be found.

Other Birds,
  • Antillean Euphonia,
  • Bananaquit,
  • Black-faced Grassquit,
  • Broad-winged Hawk,
  • Caribbean Elaenia,
  • Forest Thrush,
  • Green Heron,
  • House Wren,
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Rufous-throated Solitaire,
  • Scaly-naped Pigeon,
  • Streaked Saltator, and
  • Zenaida Dove.

Point Des Foux (a.k.a. Pointe Des Foux)

St. Patrick Parish

GPS: 15.2125,-61.202666

Notes: It is a breeding site for six species of seabird.

Located on the Atlantic coast, the site is between Scotts Head and Grand Bay, at the southmost tip of Dominica.

Access is by boat ride originating at Roseau.

Rocky cliffs, rugged terrain

Woodland, shrub

Other Birds
  • Antillean Euphonia,
  • Bridled Tern,
  • Brown Booby,
  • Brown Noddy,
  • Caribbean Elaenia,
  • Lesser Antillean Flycatcher,
  • Lesser Antillean Saltator,
  • Magnificent Frigate Bird,
  • Plumbeous Warbler,
  • Scaly-breasted Thrasher, and
  • White-tailed Tropicbird.

Scott’s Head (Cachacrou Peninsula)

St. Mark Parish

GPS: 15.213134,-61.370858

Notes: Scotts Head is located within the Soufriere-Scott’s Head Marine Reserve (SSMR)–it includes the villages of Scott’s Head, Soufriere up to Anse bateau, and the Soufrière Bay, an extinct volcanic crater—which is on the south-western tip of the island of Dominica.

It is a peninsula with a hilly section and lowland spit.

Grove, scrub, grasses

  • Spotted Sandpiper (migratory),
  • Magnificent Frigatebird,
  • Tropical Mockingbird,
  • Barn Swallow, and
  • Caribbean Martin.

Segment-7 (Hatton Garden to First Camp)

Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT), St. Andrew Parish

Notes: Hatten Garden is located approximately 2 miles south of the village of Marigot off the Dr. Nicholas Liverpool Highway.

This WNT segment consists of Congorie Hole as well as Walter Williams Orchard (an area with potential for parrots).

Moderate hike of 12.6 km, duration: 6 hrs.

Mountains (a climb to 381 metres or 1,250ft)

Rain Forest, plantations

Other Birds
  • Imperial Parrot (Sisserou) and
  • Red-necked Parrot (Jacko).

Segment-10 (Colihaut Heights to Syndicate)

Waitukubuli National Trail, St. Peter Parish

Notes: Easy hike of 6.4 km, lasting 2-3 hrs.

Mountain

Secondary forest & cultivation

Other Birds
  • Bananaquit,
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler (migratory),
  • Broad-winged Hawk,
  • Brown Trembler,
  • Imperial Parrot (Sisserou),
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Plumbeous Warbler,
  • Red-necked Parrot (Jacko),
  • Rufous-throated Solitaire, and
  • Scaly-naped Pigeon.

Syndicate Nature Trail

Morne Diablotin National Park

GPS: 15.519417,-61.423442

Notes: Access to the visitor centre is gained via the road to Portsmouth, north form Roseau. Turn east onto the the secondary road just north of the village of Dublanc but before Morne Espagnol. Continue, up, to an elevation above 1,700ft, for 6.8km through banana plantations until the route levels; then, make a left.

The trail is a 1.77km (1.1mi) lasso shaped loop that can be completed in 6o minutes, at a casual pace.

Mountain

Tropical Forest

Other Birds
  • Bananaquit,
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler (migratory),
  • Broad-winged Hawk,
  • Brown Trembler,
  • Imperial Parrot (Sisserou),
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Plumbeous Warbler,
  • Red-necked Parrot (Jacko),
  • Rufous-throated Solitaire, and
  • Scaly-naped Pigeon.

Boeri Lake Trek

Morne Trois Pitons National Park

GPS: 15.352231,-61.320882 (Lake)

Notes: The trail has a round trip of 1.71 miles. Trail head is located after Freshwater Lake on the Morne Macaque (a.k.a. Morne Micotrin) trail (see above).

Mountain (trail altitude above 800m)

Montane thicket, cloud forest

Bromeliads, gingers, heliconias and orchids are found around the lakes. Nearby are mountain palms, ferns, mosses, scrub, and dwarf trees.

Other Birds
  • Bananaquit,
  • Black-faced Grassquit,
  • Brown Trembler,
  • House Wren,
  • Lesser Antillean Bullfinch,
  • Plumbeous Warbler, and
  • Rufous-throated Solitaire.

Dominica is a small island, just 47km (29mi) by 26km (16mi), of volcanic origin--it is the youngest of the islands of the Lesser Antilles with 7 of the region's 19 volcanoes[1]-- and roughly midway between Martinique and Guadeloupe. Substantially of mountains and highlands, rugged and steep, the terrain rises to 1,447m (4,747ft), at Morne Diablotins--the second highest peak of the Lesser Antilles--a dormant volcano, in less than four short miles. It is popularly recalled that Christopher Columbus described the island as "... completely covered with mountains with nary a flat spot."

Access to Dominica is slightly challenging, resulting from small airports, again, due to the terrain, as there are only indirect flights from international points of origin in Europe and North America. International visitors can gain direct flights to Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and Guadeloupe, and then access connecting regional flights, on smaller aircrafts, to Douglas-Charles or Canefield Airport in Dominica.

Nature trails are profuse in Dominica. Those better suited for the bird watcher should be rated easy or medium level of difficulty—on the other hand, the birder would go for every extreme--and the round trip should be three to six hours (a half day). In addition to other spots and trails, two segments of the Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT)--segment seven and ten of 14 segments that course from Scott's head, at the bottom of Dominica, to Capucin Cape, at the top of the island, and then on the Cabrits National Park--are recommended for birding. Segment seven goes from Hatton Garden to First Camp--about six hours--and segment ten goes from Colihaut Heights to Syndicate--about four hours.

Dominica has an estimated 194+ bird species[2], a great part of which are migratory, two bird species are endemic to the island, i.e., the Imperial Parrot (Sisserou) and Red-necked Parrot (Jacko), a further two are endemic to the region--one of which is the blue-headed hummingbird, also found on Martinique--and five species were introduced. The birder should expect hiking terrain and rainy conditions--the island has one of the highest annual rainfall in the world, averaging up to 9,000mm (354in) on exposed mountains and typically surpassing 5,00mm (196in) on the windward coast. The rainiest time of the year is from June through October.

Hikes cross many rivers/streams, with slippery rocks, and streams can experience flash flooding. The birders gear should include a waterproof poncho, camera carrying case and boots. Due to high humidity wear shorts or light pants. A hat or cap may be an asset as well as insect repellant.

Birding this island can be done in less than a week. But with the rain forest, lush vegetation, waterfalls, sulphur springs, breathtaking vistas, and unique island culture there will be excursion creep.

Works Cited

1Volcanoes. Seismic Research Centre. [Online] Seismic Research Centre, 2011. [Cited: October 8, 2016.] http://uwiseismic.com/General.aspx?id=46.
2Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World, Dominica. Avibase - The World Bird Database. [Online] Avibase, Denis Lepage, 2003. [Cited: 10 8, 2016.] http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/checklist.jsp?lang=EN&p2=1&list=clements&synlang=®ion=DM&version=text&lifelist=&highlight=0.


Morne Trois Pitons National Park (UNESCO/NHK)




Jamaica Hummingbird—Selected Hotspots

Select Birding Hotspots of Jamaica
Birding Spot Location See Map Terrain Vegetation Select Species

Abbey Green

Abbey Green Estate, St. Thomas Parish, Blue Mountains, Eastern Jamaica

GPS: 18.00856,-76.604958

Notes: An operating tropical coffee plantation; The best visiting time is prior to harvesting, March to June, when the beans are ripening.

Access to the estate, via Radnor Road, is a trial. It is a narrow, twisty, and hazardous dirt road, with steep sections. However, the roadside offers further opportunities for birding. Abbey Green is about an hour's drive from Forres Park Nature Resort and Spa. Arrangements to visit Abbey Green can be made at the Spa.

Mountain, 1,524 meters above sea level

Tropical Forest, Coffee Plantation

Other Birds
  • Arrow-headed Warbler
  • Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo
  • Crested Quail Dove
  • Grey Kingbird
  • Jamaican Blackbird (Wild Pine Sergeant)
  • Ring-tailed Pigeon
  • Rufous-throated Solitaire
  • White-collared Swift
  • White-eyed Thrush

Ecclesdown Road

John Crow Mountains, Portland Parish, Northeast Jamaica

GPS: 18.04462,-76.31488

Notes: Ecclesdown Road twist through the foothills of John Crow Mountains. Birders should expect sudden showers, marauding insects, the absence of hospitality facilities and uncertain footing in humid conditions.

Three to six hours in the morning is the best birding time.

There are no hospitality facilities. Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, 30km away, is accessible by car from this location.

Hilly

Tropical Forest

Other Birds
  • Arrow-headed Warbler
  • Bananaquit
  • Black-billed Parrot
  • Crested Quail-dove
  • Jamaican Blackbird
  • Jamaican Crow
  • Jamaican Spindalis
  • Jamaican Tody
  • Orangequit
  • Quail-dove
  • Turkey Vulture
  • White-chinned Thrush
  • White-eyed Thrush
  • Yellow-billed Parrot

Hardwar Gap

Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, St. Andrew Parish.

GPS: 18.08333,-76.71666

Notes: Difficult driving conditions due to landslips, potholes, deep ruts, steep inclines make access to the best birding spots demanding.

The south side of the gap can be reached from Kingston in an hour. First head for Papine from their take Gordon Town Road (for a mile and a half) to New Castle Road then follow New Castle Road to New Castle, from there proceed another half mile.

Do not expect hospitality facilities.

The best birding is in the morning in the foliage along the road; venturing off the road is dangerous.

Mountain, 1,524 meters above sea level

Tropical Forest

Other Birds
  • Crested Quail-dove
  • American Kestrel
  • Arrow-headed Warbler
  • Black-whiskered Vireo
  • Blue Mountain Vireo
  • Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo
  • Greater Antillean Bullfinch
  • Jamaican Elaenia
  • Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo
  • Jamaican Pewee
  • Jamaican Woodpecker
  • White-chinned Thrush

Hope Gardens

Hope Botanic Gardens, Kingston

GPS: 18.02269,-76.74924

Note: The best birding time is early in the morning as birds are more active then and there is less chance of disruption by crowds and social events. The recommended birding duration for the site is 2-3 hours.

Hours: Mondays–Sundays: 5.30am to 6.00pm (October–February)

Hours: Mondays-Sundays: 5.30am to 6.3opm (March–September)

National Labour Day: Closed
National Heroes's Day: Closed

Tel: 927-1257

Gentle slope on 60 acres at the foot of the Blue Mountains

Meadows and Cultivated Flower Gardens

Other Birds
  • A variety of doves
  • Black-billed Parrots
  • Cattle Egrets
  • Smooth-billed Anis
  • Tricolored Herons
  • Yellow-billed Parrot

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill

Port Antonio, Portland Parish

GPS: 18.167617, -76.412820

Notes: Ecclesdown Road, the birding hotspot 30km away, is accessible from this location via the A4.

Hotel staff can arrange birding tours and drivers upon request.

Mountain, Steep trails on 6.5 acres

Tropical Forest

Other Birds
  • Bananaquit
  • Black-billed Parrot
  • Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo
  • Common Ground-Dove
  • Jamaican Euphonia
  • Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo
  • Jamaican Oriole
  • Jamaican Tody
  • Jamaican Woodpecker
  • Orangequits
  • Ring-tailed Pigeon
  • Rufous-tailed Flycatcher
  • Sad Flycatcher
  • several Warbler species
  • Jamaican Spindalis
  • White-chinned Thrush

Marshall's Pen

Mandeville, Manchester Parish

GPS: 18.0596,-77.53143

Notes: A cattle ranch and private nature reserve in Central Jamaica that is near Mandeville.

The forest and pasture are linked by a complex of trails.

Visits by the public, in groups of six to ten, are allowed only by appointment.

Hilly

Tropical Forest, Open Pasture, & Gardens

Other Birds
  • American Kestrel
  • American Redstart
  • Arrow-headed
  • Bananaquit
  • Black-and-white
  • Black-throated Blue
  • Greater Antillean Bullfinch
  • Caribbean Dove
  • Cave Swallow
  • Common Ground-dove
  • Crested Quail-dove
  • Green Heron
  • Jamaican Crow
  • Jamaican Euphonia
  • Jamaican Lizard-cuckoo
  • Jamaican Oriole
  • Jamaican Owl
  • Jamaican Parakeet
  • Jamaican Spindalis
  • Jamaican Tody
  • Jamaican Woodpecker
  • Loggerhead Kingbird
  • Mangrove Cuckoo
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Northern Parula
  • Northern Potoo
  • Orangequit
  • Ovenbird
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Ruddy Quail-dove
  • Sad Flycatcher
  • Sapsucker
  • Smooth-billed Anis
  • White-chinned Thrush
  • White-crowned Pigeon
  • White-eyed (heard) Thrush
  • White-winged Dove
  • Worm-eating Warbler
  • Yellow-bellied
  • Zenaida Dove

Mystic Mountain

Mystic Mountain, Ocho Rios

GPS: 18.41413,-77.12597

Notes: Mystic Mountain overlooks Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal, which is only 5 minutes away; Dunn's River Falls is also close by.

Other attractions at this site include a butterfly garden, mountain and seascape views, hiking, cycling, Sky Explorer, a chairlift that soars above the mountain treetops on ascent but weaves through the canopy on the descent; Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica, a 1000 meter sledge through a tropical forest; and Zip-Line that jets the rider, attached by a body harness to overhead cables, through the forest canopy.

Tel: 974-3990

High hill, 213 meters (700 feet)

Tropical Forest, Cultivated Gardens

Rocklands Bird Sanctuary (a.k.a. Rockland's Feeding Station)

Rockland's Bird Sanctuary Anchovy, Montego Bay, St. James

GPS: 18.42613,-77.94132

Directions: Follow the main road (A1) west from Montego Bay (towards Negril), after passing the town of Reading, 3 miles out, take the Long Hill Road (B8) south that passes through Long Hill Gorge. After a mile the signs to the sanctuary will be visible.

Posted hours of operation: 2-5 pm.

Tel: 952-2009

Hill

Tropical Forest, Cultivated Gardens

Other Birds
  • American Redstart Warbler
  • Bananaquit
  • Black-faced Grassquit
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Caribbean Dove
  • Common ground-Dove
  • Greater Antillean Bullfinch
  • Jamaican Becard
  • Jamaican Euphonia
  • Jamaican Oriole
  • Jamaican Tody
  • Jamaican Vireo
  • Jamaican Woodpecker
  • Loggerhead Kingbird
  • Northern Parula Warbler
  • Orangequit
  • Rufous-tailed Flycatcher
  • Sad Flycatcher
  • White-chinned Thrush
  • Yellow-faced Grassquit

Windsor Great House and Windsor Research Centre

Cockpit Country, Trelawny

GPS: 18.3564,-77.64693

Tel: 997-3832

Email: windsor@cwjamaica.com

Rugged, hilly, limestone bluffs, hollows, and salt ponds

Tropical Forest

Other Birds
  • American Redstart
  • Black-bellied Plover
  • Black-billed Parrot
  • Black-crowned Night Herons
  • Black-throated Blue
  • Black-whiskered Vireo
  • Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo
  • Common Ground Dove
  • Great Egret
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Grey Kingbird
  • Jamaican Becard
  • Jamaican Crow
  • Jamaican Owl
  • Jamaican Stripe-headed Tanager
  • Jamaican Vireo
  • Jamaican Woodpecker
  • Least Sandpipers
  • Little blue Night Herons
  • Loggerhead Kingbird
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Mourning Dove
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Northern Parula
  • Olive-throated Parakeets
  • Orangequit
  • Ovenbird
  • Potoo
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Reddish Egrets
  • Rufous-tailed Flycatcher
  • Sad Flycatcher
  • Smooth-billed Anis
  • Snowy Egret
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Western Sandpipers Willet
  • White-crowned Pigeon
  • White-eyed Thrush
  • White-winged Dove
  • Yellow-billed Parrot
  • Zenaida Dove

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean measuring 235km (146mi) by 84km (52mi) at its extremes; many cays to its south add to its size. The island, situated 190km (118mi) to the west of Haiti and 140km (90mi) south of Cuba, is remarkably mountainous and largely made up of highland, as more than half of the island is above 300 metres. Beware, birding Jamaica involves hiking as most recognized birding sites are on inclines, highlands or mountains, e.g., Abbey Green, Hardwar Gap, Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, and Rocklands Bird Sanctuary.

Nevertheless, the island offers 324 bird species, amongst which a substantial proportion are migratory, 15 were introduced, and 28 are endemic-- three of which are hummingbirds, the Jamaican mango, red-billed streamertail and black-billed streamertail. In addition to the endemic hummingbird species, there is a potential three other species of hummingbirds: the vervain hummingbird, the ruby-throated hummingbird, a migratory visitor, and the bee hummingbird, an incidental visitor from Cuba.

There are various visa requirements for access to Jamaica ranging from none for citizens of the US, Canada, and the Commonwealth, with some exceptions, to visa requirements for citizens of other countries. Visitors may be required, at a minimum, to produce a valid passport, ID, or birth certificate. There are international flights from North America and Europe to the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and the Donald Sangster International Airport at Montego Bay.


The Birds of Jamaica




Tobago Hummingbirds—Selected Hotspots

Select Birding Hotspots of Tobago (see map)
Birding Spot Location See Map Terrain Vegetation Select Species

Adventure Farm

Arnos Vale Road, Plymouth

GPS: 11.22142,-60.76469

Adventure Farm, situated near Plymouth, on Tobago's northwest coast, is a nature reserve and orchard on 12 acres. The site is renowned for birds, butterflies, citrus and mangoes.

Hours: Monday-Friday: 7am to 5.45pm

Hilly

Rainforest

  • Black-throated Mango
  • Copper-rumped Hummingbird,
  • Ruby-topaz Hummingbird,
  • Rufous Breasted Hermit, and
  • White Necked Jacobin.
Other Birds
  • Bananaquits
  • Barred Antshrikes
  • Cocoa Woodcreeper
  • Red-crowned Woodpecker,
  • Trinidad (Blue-crowned) Motmot, and
  • White-lined Tanager.

Bon Accord Ponds/Lagoon
(Ramsar Site)

North of Milford Rd, Bon Accord, St. Patrick

GPS: 11.16166, -60.82308

Notes: On the eastern side, adjacent to the mangrove forest, there is a freshwater marsh.

Wetland

Mangrove

  • Ruby-topaz Hummingbird
Other Birds
  • Black-bellied Whistling Duck,
  • Blue-winged Teal,
  • Brown-crested Flycatcher,
  • Caribbean Martin,
  • Cocoa Woodcreeper,
  • Great Blue Heron,
  • Greater Yellowlegs,
  • Green Heron,
  • Grey Kingbird,
  • Least Grebes,
  • Little Blue Herons,
  • Little Egrets,
  • Moorhens,
  • Purple Gallinules,
  • Ring-necked Duck,
  • Snowy Egrets,
  • Solitary Sandpipers,
  • Spotted Sandpipers,
  • Whimbrels,
  • White-cheeked Pintails,
  • White-fringed Antwren, and
  • Yellow-bellied Elaenia.

Cuffie River Nature Retreat

Runnemede valley, Main Ridge

GPS: 11.245390,-60.698540

Directions: from Scarborough: head north on Bacolet Extention Rd toward Sargeant Cain Rd (550 m), follow Northside Rd (10.9 km), then (2.6 km)

Notes: Cuffie River Nature Retreat is an eco-lodge, with accessible nature trails, at the edge of Tobago's Main Ridge Forest Reserve.

Hilly

Rainforest

  • Black-throated Mango,
  • Copper-rumped Hummingbird,
  • Ruby-topaz Hummingbird,
  • Rufous-breasted Hermit
  • White-necked Jacobin, and
  • White-tailed Sabrewing.
Other Birds
  • Blue-headed Parrot,
  • Blue-backed Manakin,
  • Collared Trogon,
  • Common Potoo,
  • Gray-rumped Swift,
  • Gray-throated Leaftosser,
  • Green-rumped Parrotlet,
  • Olivaceous Woodcreeper,
  • Orange-winged Parrot,
  • Striped Owl,
  • Trinidad (Blue-crowned) Motmot,
  • White-fringed Antwren,
  • White-tailed Nightjar,
  • Yellow-bellied Elaenia,
  • Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, and
  • Yellow-legged Thrush.

Gilpin Trace (a.k.a. Gilpin Trail)

Main Ridge Forest Reserve, off Roxborough to Parlatuvier Road

Notes: The trail head begins at the 35.5km marker on the Roxborough to Parlatuvier Road.

Gilpin Trace is a circuit of 7.6km (4.7mi) that winds through a tropical forest. At the trailhead there is a lookout of the Forestry Division—limited parking is possible there. The trail descends sharply at first proceeding to the north northeast, despite minor diversions. Where the trail's main direction turns to the east south east it incorporates part of the abandoned Roxborough-Bloody Bay Old Road—running roughly west-northwest to east southeast. It rejoins and continues along the Roxborough to Parlatuvier Road—there is cabin of the Forestry Division at this point—heading west southwest until the lookout of the Forestry Division.

In the rainy season—June to December—this trail is very muddy.

Mountain

Rainforest

Other Birds
  • Blue-backed Manakins,
  • Broad-winged Hawk,
  • Cocoa Woodcreepers,
  • Cocrico (Rufous-vented Chachalaca),
  • Common Black Hawk,
  • Golden-olive Woodpecker,
  • Gray-rumped Swift,
  • Great Black-Hawk,
  • Ochre-bellied Flycatcher,
  • Plain Antvireo,
  • Rufous-tailed Jacamars,
  • Stripe-breasted Spinetails,
  • Trinidad Motmots,
  • White-necked Thrush,
  • White-winged Becard, and
  • Yellow-legged Thrush.

Grafton Caledonian Bird Sanctuary
(a.k.a. Grafton Caledonia Wildlife Sanctuary)

Grafton Road, Stonehaven Bay

GPS: 11.19886,-60.78589

Notes: Until 1963 the site was a cocoa and coconut estate.

Hilly

Rainforest

Other Birds
  • Bananaquits,
  • Bare-eyed Robins,
  • Blue-backed Manakin,
  • Trinidad (Blue-crowned) Motmot,
  • Blue-gray Tanager,
  • Cocrico (Rufous-vented Chachalaca),
  • Fuscous Flycatcher,
  • Olivaceous Woodcreeper,
  • Red-crowned Woodpecker,
  • Ruddy Ground-Doves, and
  • White-fringed Antwrens.

Little Tobago
(a.k.a. Bird of Paradise Island)

North East Tobago

GPS: 11.299815,-60.504606

Notes: Little Tobago is an uninhabited island that is a seabird refuge. In 1909 the greater bird of paradise, from New Guinea, was introduced. But, in 1963 the island was hit by Hurricane Flora and it is presumed that none of the birds of paradise survived.

The island is 3.01km east, across Tyrell's Bay, from Speyside. It is accessible from a marina at Speyside—a 15 minute boat trip. There is a berth on the western side, a visitor centre near the jetty and four observation posts at highpoints.

Over one-square kilometre, it stands 37 metres (121 ft.) at its highest point; and, lengthwise, the island stretches from the northwest to the southeast. It is bisected by bilateral prominences one to the northeast and the other to the southwest, off centre to the northwest—the jetty is at the corner in the northwest quadrant.

There are over 14km (8.7mi) of trails. They reach all the extremities of the islands. The trek from the jetty to the visitor centre is less than ten minutes uphill. From the jetty the furthest point is to the south east, nearly 1.5km.

Hilly island

Dry Forest

  • Audubon's Shearwaters,
  • Blue-gray Tanager,
  • Broad-winged Hawks,
  • Brown Booby,
  • Brown Noddy (Tern),
  • Brown-crested Flycatchers,
  • Crested Oropendolas,
  • Laughing Gull,
  • Magnificent Frigatebird,
  • Peregrine Falcon,
  • Red-billed Tropicbird,
  • Red-footed Booby,
  • Sooty Tern,
  • Tropical Mockingbirds,
  • White-tailed Nightjar, and
  • Yellow-bellied Elaenias.

Niplig Trail

Main Ridge Forest Reserve, off Roxborough to Parlatuvier Road

Note: Niplig—Giplin spelt backwards—was established by the Forestry Division around 1985/1986. The trail, on the south side of the Roxborough to Parlatuvier Road, is roughly opposite Gilpin Trace. The trail head begins at the 34.2km mark, further along the road from the Forestry's cabin, i.e., approximately 400m from where Gilpin Trace rejoins the road.

The trail, a circuit of 4.8km (2.98mi), incorporates part of the Roxborough to Parlatuvier Road on its last leg. But, generally, it courses through a part of the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, the oldest officially designated as such in the Western Hemisphere, which was established in 1776[1]. At the beginning, secondary forest encompasses the trail but this soon turns to woodland. It rejoins Roxborough to Parlatuvier Road just shy of the Forestry Division's lookout, further west. A great part is steep and often muddy and mosquitoes also abound in this environment—the trail is considered to be very challenging.

Parking is possible at the cabin belonging to the Forestry Division.

Mountain (450m)

Forest

Other Birds
  • Barred Antshrike,
  • Blue Backed Manakins,
  • Golden-olive Woodpecker,
  • Plain Antvireo,
  • Plain-brown Woodcreeper,
  • Red-legged Honeycreepers,
  • Venezuelan Flycatchers,
  • White-necked Thrush, and
  • Yellow-legged Thrush.

Tobago is one of the two main islands of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Situated at 11° 9' N, latitude, and 60° 40' W, it is 30km (19mi) to the northeast of Trinidad. A cigar-shaped island it is 298 sq. km. (115 sq. mi) or 41km (25.5mi) by 12km (7.5mi). Its highest point, on the Main Ridge, is 600 metres. The Main Ridge is of volcanic origin and runs from the northeast to the southwest. Southwest Tobago is flat lowlands made up of coralline limestone.

Ecosystems of interest to a birder that can be found on the island include lagoons, mangrove swamps, marshes, gardens, scrubland, broadleaf forests, dry forest, lowlands, highlands, and mountains.

Access to Tobago can be accomplished by direct flights from Europe or indirectly from Trinidad and other Caribbean islands. Additionally, an interisland ferry service, with multiple daily sailings, connects the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. There is one visa requirement for both islands of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

There are 279 bird species attributed to the island of Tobago, two of which were introduced—the carib grackle and the green-rumped parrotlet. Evidence of the greater bird of paradise, introduced on the islet of Little Tobago in 1909, have been lost since 1963. A further five species are considered extirpated or presumed so. The island's eight hummingbird species are, substantially, a subset of those found on Trinidad.

The rufous-breasted hermit, black-throated mango, ruby-topaz hummingbird, copper-rumped hummingbird, white-necked jacobin, and blue-chinned sapphire are also native to Trinidad. The white-tailed sabrewing is also found in northeastern Venezuela whilst the green-throated carib is an itinerant visitor from further north in the Lesser Antilles. Hummingbirds can be found in all the habitats on the islands. Of note is the white-tailed sabrewing predilection for the forests surrounding Gilpin and Niplig trails.

1UNESCO. Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve. UNESCO. [Online] UNESCO, August 17, 2011. [Cited: October 22, 2016.] http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5646.


Regenwald Tobago - Rainforest Main Ridge




Trinidad Hummingbirds—Selected Hotspots

Select Birding Hotspots of Trinidad
Birding Spot Location See Map Terrain Vegetation Select Species

Asa Wright Nature Center and Lodge

Northern Range, Arima

GPS: 10.71783, -61.29833

Directions: east on the Churchill Roosevelt H'way (from Uriah Butler H'way intersection) towards the town of Arima and Wallerfield (20.8km); turn north on Demerrara Rd (the first road on the left after Santa Rosa Heights, residential community); proceed north on Demerrara Rd (2.9km) to the Eastern Main Rd; cross the Eastern Main Rd directly to Arima Bypass Rd; continue on Arima Bypass Rd (3.1km) to Blanchisseuse Rd; follow Blanchisseuse Rd to the 7¾ mile mark (12.47km up the mountain); turn left onto ASA Wright Nature Centre driveway ("ASA Wright Nature Centre" sign indicates the driveway); follow the driveway to facility for ½ mile (.8km).

Notes: Located on the former Spring Hill Estate, at an altitude of 366 metres (1,200ft), this site is on 607 hectares (1,500 acres) of protected forest. It has an observation deck and several trails totaling 3km.

Tel: 667-4655

Email: reservations@asawright.org

Mountain, 360 Meters above sea level

Rainforest

  • Amethyst Woodstar,
  • Black-throated Mango,
  • Blue-chinned Sapphire,
  • Blue-tailed Emerald,
  • Brown Violet-ear,
  • Copper-rumped Hummingbird,
  • Green Hermit,
  • Little Hermit,
  • Long-billed Starthroat,
  • Ruby-topaz Hummingbird,
  • Rufous-breasted Hermit,
  • Rufous-shafted Woodstar,
  • Tufted Coquette,
  • White-chested Emerald. and
  • White-necked Jacobin.

Caroni Wildlife Reserve
(a.k.a. Caroni Swamp)
(Ramsar Site)

Caroni

GPS: 10.604895,-61.434091

Directions: from Churchill Roosevelt H'way proceed south on Uriah Butler H'way (1.8km), exit at the Caroni Flyover; continue for 220m, bear right at junction; proceed 58m south, bear right onto Caroni Flyover, continue 280m; turn south, continue south for (160m) then west for 1.13km to the centre.

From Chaguanas proceed north on Uriah Butler Highway (4.42km), exit at Caroni Flyover (200m); make abrupt south turn and continue south (160m) then west for 1.13km.

Notes: A 1.25 square-mile wildlife reserve situated within the 32 square-mile (8,398ha) Caroni Swamp, a brackish mangrove swamp.

Several types of boat tours are possible including:

  • Late afternoon tour (from 4pm): to witness returning birds, e.g., herons, egrets and Scarlet Ibis, to their roosts.
  • Photography tour: aims to discover scarlet ibises feeding in their feeding ground and their flight in flocks.
  • General bird watching tour: a wider variety of birds are sought, including hummingbirds, passerines and various water birds.

Boat tours are in open-air, shallow-bottom pirogues—tour duration usually exceeds three hours.

Tel: 469-4076

Email: caronibirdsanctuary@yahoo.com

Swamp

Mangrove

Other Birds
  • Bicolored Conebill,
  • Cattle Egret,
  • Common Potoo,
  • Glossy Ibis,
  • Little Blue Heron,
  • Neotropic Cormorants,
  • Scarlet Ibis,
  • Snowy Egret,
  • Spotted Sandpipers,
  • Striated Heron, and
  • Straight-billed Woodcreeper.

Chaguaramas National Heritage Park

North Western Peninsula

GPS: 10.686917,-61.617119

Notes: favoured birding spots are Mount Katherine, Edith Falls, Tucker Valley Road, and the Bamboo Cathedral.

Tel: 634-4312, 634-2424

Email: communications@chagdev.com

Mountain, Valley & Off Shore Islands

Rainforest,
Plantations,
Mangrove, &
Scrubland

  • Black Throated Mango,
  • Copper Rumped Hummingbird,
  • Green Hermit,
  • Little Hermit,
  • Rufous Breasted Hermit,
  • Tufted Coquette, and
  • White-Chested Emerald.
Other Birds
  • Broad-winged Hawk,
  • Common Black Hawk,
  • Magnificent Frigatebird,
  • Osprey,
  • Pearl Kite,
  • Plumbeous Kite,
  • Purple Honeycreeper,
  • Short-tailed Hawk,
  • Trinidad Mot-Mot,
  • White Hawk, and
  • Zone-tailed Hawk.

Emperor Valley Zoo

Royal Botanic Gardens, St. Clair, Port of Spain

GPS: 10.674971,-61.516662

Notes: The zoo has a hummingbird garden, an open air exhibit, for the purpose of attracting hummingbirds. The garden is roughly 14 by 22 metres and is the focal point of the zoo's greater green zone.

Tel: 622-3530, 622-7808

Email: info@zstt.org

Bottom of a foothill of the Northern Range

Gardens with Secondary Forest nearby

At least 5 species
  • Black-throated Mango,
  • Copper-rumped Hummingbird,
  • Green Hermit,
  • Little Hermit,
  • Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, and
  • White-chested Emerald
Other Local Birds
  • American White Ibis,
  • Cocrico,
  • Pink Flamingo,
  • Purple honeycreeper,
  • Scarlet Ibis,
  • Short-tailed hawk,
  • Turquoise Tanager, and
  • White hawk.

Mount St. Benedict—Bird Watchers Circuit

Northern Range, St. Augustine

GPS: 10.662753,-61.395198

Directions: from the Eastern Main Road, in St. Augustine, travel north on St. John's road until the private road (1.88km), on the left, to Mount St. Benedict. Continue on the private road, climbing the mountain, passing a vocational school and playing field on the left. After two switchbacks and avoiding any right turns continue until Benet Hall, at the end of the road (3.46km).

Notes: The bird watchers circuit, 3.2km (2mi), begins at the end of Mount St. Benedict's private road (after Benet Hall) and continues west northwest for a few paces and then sharply turns north, climbing through woodland, retracing the nascent route towards the earlier monastery ruins, at 294m, on Mount Tabor (671m). After exiting the woodland it proceeds along a ridge then follows the east (right) prong at a fork in the trail (the left prong goes to Mt. Tabor). From that point the trail descends, with a few switchbacks and skirting a spur on its right, and the direction is generally south. After the southerly direction is reaffirmed, it continues until some stairs on the right that ascend to Benet Hall.

Information about the various sites, in the vicinity, to observe birds can be obtained at Pax Guest House, located at the monastery. Birding tours and nature walks, of the surrounding trails, also, can be arranged there.

Abbey: 662-2259, 662-5286

Email: mountstbenedict@gmail.com

Pax Guest House: 662-4084

Email: stay@paxguesthouse.com

Mountain

Gardens, Secondary Forest, & Lower Montane Forest

  • Black-throated Mango,
  • Blue-chinned Sapphire,
  • Copper-rumped Hummingbird,
  • Green Hermit,
  • Ruby-Topaz,
  • Tufted Coquette, and
  • White-chested Emerald
Other Birds
  • Gray Hawk,
  • Black Vulture,
  • Magnificent Frigatebird,
  • Peregrine Falcon,
  • Turkey Vulture,
  • White Hawk,
  • White-shouldered Tanager,
  • Yellow-headed Caracara, and
  • Zone-tailed Hawk.

Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary
(Ramsar Site)

Nariva Swamp (East Coast)

GPS: 10.41611,-61.06633

Directions: From Sangre Grande, continue southeast on Eastern Main Road to Manzanilla-Mayaro Road (11.6km); continue south on Manzanilla-Mayaro Road (11.5km) till a lengthy concrete bridge that crosses the Nariva River (the Nariva River parallels the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road on the right); after crossing the bridge proceed another 1.2km to a smaller bridge where there is a Nariva Swamp sign and a small house just beyond. From here a 10-minute boat ride to the sanctuary can be arranged.

At the sanctuary there is a boat-landing on its north eastern end, a forestry house, and several kilometres of trails. For the most part the trails run along the spine of the peninsula from north-northeast to south-southeast. Also, there are fire traces, sometimes very faint, at the dry wet boundary on the eastern edge that are sometimes passable.

An entry permit is necessary for access. Contact the Wildlife Section of the Min. of Agriculture or a tour operator.

Forestry Division: 225-3837 (Wildlife), 227-3792 (National Parks)

TTITOA: 633 1403, 782 1791(c)

Email: info@touroperatorsassociationtt.com

Wetland

Marsh, Mangrove, & Palm Forest

Other Birds
  • Anhinga,
  • Aplomado Falcon,
  • Azure Gallinule,
  • Barn Owl,
  • Blue Heron,
  • Blue-and-Yellow Macaw,
  • Cattle Egret,
  • Glossy Ibis,
  • Great Egret,
  • Jabiru Stork,
  • Limpikin,
  • Red-billed Whistling Duck,
  • Savanna Hawk,
  • Snowy Egret,
  • Tropical Screech Owl,
  • Wattled Jacana, and
  • Yellow-headed Caracara.

Yerette

Valley View, Maracas Valley, St. Joseph

GPS: 10.685600,-61.410122

Notes: Valley View is on the eastern foothills of the Maracas Valley, in the Northern Range, 4.11km (2.56mi), north, on the left, off the Maracas Royal Road.

Yerette has and art gallery on site.

A complimentary morning or afternoon photo slide show is an option.

Visits by appointment only. Tel: 663-2623, 373-1379, or 397-3724.

foothill, Valley

Garden

  • Amethyst Woodstar,
  • Blue-chinned Sapphire,
  • Blue-tailed Emerald,
  • Brown Violetear,
  • Copper-rumped Hummingbird,
  • Long-billed Starthroat,
  • Ruby Topaz,
  • Rufous-shafted Woodstar,
  • Tufted Coquette, and
  • White-chested Emerald.

The twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost of the Caribbean's archipelagic island chain. It is merely 11km (6.8mi) off the northeast coast of Venezuela. Direct access, by air, to the Republic is possible from North America, South America, Central America, Europe, and other Caribbean islands. The main points of entry are Piarco International Airport, Piarco, Trinidad and Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport, Crown Point, Tobago.

Rectangular, Trinidad is 4,768 sq. km (1,841 sq. mi), roughly 80km (50mi) by 59km (37mi) and has three mountain ranges, running east to west. Mountainous and cigar-shaped Tobago is 298 sq. km. (115 sq. mi), 41km (25.5mi) by 12km (7.5mi). Trinidad is 30km (19mi) to the southwest of Tobago. Travel to and fro between any birding site and any population centre on either island can be accomplished in less than half a day. However, a full day must be reserved for travel—either by aircraft or ferry—between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Republic's bird species, mainly, are a microcosm—481 species, including migratory species, 4 introduced species, almost two dozen hummingbird species, and two endemics—of South America due to the continent's proximity and intertwined natural history.

The island of Trinidad is credited with 459 bird species. Amongst them the Trinidad piping-guan is endemic to the island of Trinidad whilst the Trinidad motmot is endemic to the region, i.e., Trinidad and Tobago. The island of Trinidad claims 21 species of hummingbirds one-third of them—rufous-breasted hermit, black-throated mango, ruby-topaz hummingbird, copper-rumped hummingbird, white-necked jacobin, blue-chinned sapphire, and green-throated carib—it shares with Tobago.


Trinidad & Tobago Bird Photography Workshop 2016









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