For our tour description, itinerary, past triplists, dates, fees, and more, please VISIT OUR TOUR PAGE.
See this triplist in printable PDF format with media only on page 1.
Yellow-billed Parrots were definitely the more common of Jamaica's two endemic parrots, with big, noisy flocks seen on several days. Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
In the middle of a chilly northern winter, there's nothing like a trip to the Caribbean to bring a smile to the face of a North American birder. Instead of ice and snow, a profusion of flowers bloom. The warblers that have abandoned northern woodlands flit through tropical forests dripping with vines and epiphytes, sharing branches with the exotic year-round locals. Add in the excitement of searching for a bundle of endemic species (27 found only on Jamaica, plus a handful of others limited to just a few Caribbean islands), a comfortable lodge (Green Castle Estate, which is abbreviated as GCE in the following report), pleasant and helpful staff, and some fine local cuisine, and you have a very pleasant way to spend a "winter" week!
Our time in the field was spent largely in the island's less trammelled (and more forested) northeast, principally in the John Crow and Blue Mountains. With the exception of our first soggy day and a half, we had delightful weather -- including a few days warm enough to make our lodge's pool seem awfully inviting! And we found plenty to watch and enjoy during our six days of birding. The endemics cooperated wonderfully -- with one notable exception (we're talking to you, Crested Quail-Dove!!) everybody saw all of them very well.
Tiny Jamaican Todies flitted from branch to branch, shouting big challenges for such a little bird. A point-blank Northern Potoo did its best "Don't mind me, I'm just a tree stump" imitation just over our heads, while another wide-eyed bird hunted moths from a telephone pole behind our lodge. A Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo made a slow, methodical search of a huge bromeliad right beside the road, giving us fine views of all sides as it poked and prodded through the cracks and crevices, pulling out tasty morsels. Yellow-billed Parrots wheeled overhead in big, noisy flocks, while our only Black-billed Parrots lurked in a ridge top tree, quietly nibbling fruits. Handsome Caribbean Doves trundled around the Rocklands patios, gobbling up the grain spilled for them.
Orangequits glowed blue against the foliage, Bananquits spun on sugar feeders, and a male Yellow-shouldered Grassquit preened over our heads. A well-hidden Jamaican Owl snoozed on its dayroost. A Blue Mountain Vireo foraged at eye level along the roadside. A Jamaican Crow rummaged through a big bromeliad on a hillside below us (while its flock mates gabbled in the distance) and a Jamaican Blackbird did the same through several smaller bromeliads along a branch -- before popping out to sit right over the road for a bit of a preen. A huge Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo bounded through a tree like an overgrown squirrel, calling gruffly. A Rufous-tailed Flycatcher bounced down the road mere yards from our toes, carefully peering at the underside of roadside vegetation. And who will soon forget the Red-billed Streamertails that sat on our fingers to drink sugar water from little bottles?!
Thanks so much for joining us for a week away in (mostly) sunny Jamaica. It was good fun sharing some adventures with you! I hope to see you again soon in another far-flung locale. Until then, good birding!
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
AMERICAN WIGEON (Anas americana) [b]
The handsome Zenaida Dove was one of the most regularly seen of the tour's doves. Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) [b]
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) [b]
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens)
Is there anything cuter than a Jamaican Tody? Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
BROWN PELICAN (SOUTHERN) (Pelecanus occidentalis occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) [b]
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) [b]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
RED-TAILED HAWK (JAMAICENSIS) (Buteo jamaicensis jamaicensis)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus)
This tiny Vervain Hummingbird had built her equally tiny lichen-encrusted nest right over the track up to the microwave tower at the Vinery. Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
CARIBBEAN COOT (Fulica caribaea)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) [b]
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) [b]
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa violacea)
The fabulous Red-billed Streamertail was a real hit -- particularly those that perched on our fingers at Rocklands! Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) [b]
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) [b]
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus) [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON (Patagioenas leucocephala)
RING-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas caribaea) [E]
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina jamaicensis) [E]
CRESTED QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon versicolor) [E]
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana)
CARIBBEAN DOVE (Leptotila jamaicensis jamaicensis) [E]
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
ZENAIDA DOVE (Zenaida aurita)
For most of the trip, we only heard the distinctively mournful calls of these shy doves echoing from the forests. Then came Rocklands, where we got fabulous views of a half-dozen lured out by the piles of corn. Photo by Kevin Heffernan.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED CUCKOO (Coccyzus pluvialis) [E]
JAMAICAN LIZARD-CUCKOO (Coccyzus vetula) [E]
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
BARN OWL (AMERICAN) (Tyto alba furcata)
It was a rather drippy, rather early morning, and this Barn Owl looked about as excited about its prospects as we did. Fortunately for us, the weather cleared -- and we had a fine view of a mighty close owl en-route! Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
JAMAICAN OWL (Pseudoscops grammicus) [E]
NORTHERN POTOO (CARIBBEAN) (Nyctibius jamaicensis jamaicensis) [E]
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris pallidifrons)
ANTILLEAN PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis phoenicobia phoenicobia)
JAMAICAN MANGO (Anthracothorax mango) [E]
VERVAIN HUMMINGBIRD (Mellisuga minima minima) [E]
STREAMERTAIL (RED-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus polytmus) [E]
STREAMERTAIL (BLACK-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus scitulus) [E]
JAMAICAN TODY (Todus todus) [E]
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
JAMAICAN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes radiolatus) [E]
The snazzy Jamaican Flasher was among the butterflies we spotted during the tour. Photo by participant Mary Nelson.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (HISPANIOLAN) (Falco sparverius dominicensis)
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BLACK-BILLED PARROT (Amazona agilis) [E]
YELLOW-BILLED PARROT (Amazona collaria) [E]
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (JAMAICAN) (Eupsittula nana nana) [E]
The Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo is enormous -- which made its calling, flapping arrival into a nearby tree quite a spectacle! Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
JAMAICAN ELAENIA (Myiopagis cotta) [E]
JAMAICAN PEWEE (Contopus pallidus) [E]
SAD FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus barbirostris) [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus validus) [E]
STOLID FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus stolidus stolidus) [E]
LOGGERHEAD KINGBIRD (LOGGERHEAD) (Tyrannus caudifasciatus jamaicensis) [E]
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
JAMAICAN BECARD (Pachyramphus niger) [E]
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
JAMAICAN VIREO (Vireo modestus) [E]
BLUE MOUNTAIN VIREO (Vireo osburni) [E]
BLACK-WHISKERED VIREO (Vireo altiloquus altiloquus) [E]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
JAMAICAN CROW (Corvus jamaicensis) [E]
CAVE SWALLOW (CARIBBEAN) (Petrochelidon fulva poeciloma) [E]
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
RUFOUS-THROATED SOLITAIRE (RUFOUS-THROATED) (Myadestes genibarbis solitarius) [E*]
The sweeping view from the veranda at Green Castle Estate includes a stunning view of the Blue and John Crow Mountains. Photo by participant Mary Nelson.
WHITE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus jamaicensis) [E]
WHITE-CHINNED THRUSH (Turdus aurantius) [E]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum) [b]
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) [b]
The only way we could have gotten any closer to the Rufous-tailed Flycatcher that foraged along the Vinery track ahead of us is if it had actually landed on somebody! Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
ARROWHEAD WARBLER (Setophaga pharetra) [E]
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) [b]
CAPE MAY WARBLER (Setophaga tigrina) [b]
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (GOLDEN) (Setophaga petechia eoa) [*]
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens) [b]
PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor) [b]
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) [b]
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
BANANAQUIT (CARIBBEAN) (Coereba flaveola flaveola) [E]
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus olivaceus)
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris bicolor marchii)
ORANGEQUIT (Euneornis campestris) [E]
GREATER ANTILLEAN BULLFINCH (Loxigilla violacea ruficollis) [E]
YELLOW-SHOULDERED GRASSQUIT (Loxipasser anoxanthus) [E]
JAMAICAN SPINDALIS (Spindalis nigricephala) [E]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
JAMAICAN BLACKBIRD (Nesopsar nigerrimus) [E]
GREATER ANTILLEAN GRACKLE (Quiscalus niger crassirostris) [E]
The White-winged Thrush is locally known as "Hopping Dick" -- an apt name, as we regularly saw it bouncing along the island's roadways. Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
JAMAICAN ORIOLE (Icterus leucopteryx leucopteryx) [E]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
JAMAICAN EUPHONIA (Euphonia jamaica) [E]
NORWAY (BROWN) RAT (Rattus norvegicus) [I]
SMALL INDIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes auropunctatus) [I]
The lovely Jamaican Mango was the least common of the hummingbirds found on Green Castle Estate. Photo by participant Kevin Heffernan.
Totals for the tour: 103 bird taxa and 2 mammal taxa