The Bottom Line
Though remote, Ecclesdown Road is a fantastic birding location in Jamaica and offers visitors the chance to see nearly all the country's endemic bird species in just a few hours. The pristine habitat is enchanting, and birders will find themselves immersed in birdsong and lush tropical foliage all along the winding road.
- Quiet, undisturbed location with little traffic.
- Uninterrupted habitat hosts diverse bird species.
- Outstanding views of local flora and fauna.
- Lacks any orientation or hospitality facilities.
- Humidity can make footing uncertain.
- Name: Ecclesdown Road
- Location: Northeast Jamaica, in Portland Parish
- Size: N/A
- Hours: N/A; best birding in the morning
- Suggested Birding Time: 3-6+ hours
Guide Review - Ecclesdown Road
One of the premier birding locations in eastern Jamaica, Ecclesdown Road is a fantastic spot for finding nearly all the nation's endemic birds in a luxuriously tropical setting. This scenic inland road winds languidly through the foothills of the John Crow Mountains in Portland Parish east of Port Antonio, offering superb opportunities to see not only endemic birds but also neotropical migrants in spring and fall. The road is smoothly paved but can become damp and slippery during rains or in high humidity; good shoes with strong traction are highly recommended. The gentle slope of the road is easy for birders of all abilities to navigate and leads to stunning views in the higher elevations.
When birding Ecclesdown Road, bug spray is a must and bringing raingear is a good precaution against sudden showers. The thick vegetation makes it impossible to spot ground-foraging birds anywhere other than alongside the road, but watch blooming trees and fruits in the canopy for delightful views of a wide number of species. More than thirty bird species, including more than a dozen endemics, can easily be seen along the road in just a few hours of birding, and dedicated birders can easily spend a full day or longer in this productive location. Hiring a local guide, either independently or through a hotel or tour company arrangement, is strongly recommended, and most guides will provide a light breakfast or lunch as well as birding expertise and comfortable transportation. Birders can choose to walk the as much of the road as they like or can rely on their guide's expertise and advice to explore only the stretches of road with the most avian diversity.
While exact sightings vary by season, time of day and local conditions, birds regularly seen along Ecclesdown Road include the crested quail-dove, Jamaican tody, black-billed streamertail, white-chinned thrush, orangequit, Jamaican blackbird, bananaquit, yellow-billed parrot, turkey vulture, Jamaican crow, black-billed parrot and dozens of other species.