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Birding in Jamaica: 28 Endemics – 5 Bird Watching Tips

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Blackbilled Streamer-tailed Hummingbird with her chicks

Before you book your bird watching holiday in Jamaica, here are our 5 tips to ensure that from the moment you get off the plane you enjoy a quality Caribbean birding tour and get to see all of Jamaica’s endemic birds.

1. Employ a Local Guide

To increase the likelihood of seeing all the Jamaican endemic birds even seasoned birdwatchers are recommended to employ a local guide.  Experienced bird guides in Jamaica will be familiar with breeding locations and know where they have recently been sighted.

2. Ensure your Local Guide is a Birder

A local tour guide may be cheaper but their birding interest will be superficial, they won’t have the depth of knowledge of a ‘birder’ who is employed by the Jamaican National Parks and performs counts of Jamaica’s birds for them.

3. Bird Watch in Comfort

Although Jamaica is a small island, 10 times smaller than Cuba for example, its roads can be challenging especially in rural area and the time taken to travel between bird watching sites considerable.  Comfortable, air conditioned 4×4 vehicles are a necessity and in case of an emergency it is preferable to have a driver and a birding guide escorting you.

4. Accidents Can Happen

Does your bird watching guide carry spare binoculars? It would be sacrilege to travel to Jamaica and be left hopping mad as you lose valuable birding opportunities as you have to share a pair of binoculars with your birding guide as your own binoculars become damaged.

5. Avoid Crime in the Caribbean

Although Jamaica does have a high incidence of crime, this is reserved to the inhabitants of its larger cities rather than affecting tourists and visitors to the island.  Book your bird watching stay in an area like Portland, in Jamaica’s North East and you can enjoy one of the lowest crime rates in the entire Caribbean.

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