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Top 10 Birding Hotspots in Jamaica

Where to Go Birding in Jamaica

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Jamaica is a fabulous birding destination, with an astonishing 28 endemic birds despite its small size. A range of different habitats from marshlands to mountains contribute to Jamaica's diverse avifauna, and birders who know the country's top birding hotspots can plan a trip to see not only all the endemic birds, but also many other bird species. While the exact bird species seen at each location will vary depending on season, climate, habitat condition, migration, and other factors, each of these locations offers superb birding opportunities for many of Jamaica's outstanding birds.

1. Ecclesdown Road

Ecclesdown Road
Melissa Mayntz
Running from Manchioneal to Reach at the eastern end of the island, this isolated rural road winds through the foothills of the John Crow Mountains. Here birders can see many of the country's endemic birds, including the black-billed streamertail and the endangered Jamaican crow.

2. Hardwar Gap

Hardwar Gap
Melissa Mayntz
Mature forests deep in the mountains of eastern-central Jamaica give Hardwar Gap wonderful cover for many of the country's more elusive bird species, such as the timid crested quail-dove and the Blue Mountain vireo.

3. Hope Gardens

Hope Gardens
Melissa Mayntz

This extensive park and gardens in Kingston is an idea urban birding location, and the meadows, pond, and flower gardens are home to smooth-billed anis, Jamaican mangos, and both yellow-billed and black-billed parrots, as well as many other species.

4. Cockpit Country

Located in the central northwestern part of Jamaica, the wet limestone forest and karst habitat of Cockpit Country is home to both of Jamaica's endemic parrots and the Jamaican crow, plus an abundance of songbirds, warblers and migrants.

5. Marshall's Pen

A private reserve in central Jamaica, Marshall's Pen has recorded sightings of 23 of the country's endemic birds, including the Jamaican owl. Rich forests and open pasture give this region an astonishing bird diversity.

6. Rocklands Bird Sanctuary

Located near Anchovy and convenient to Montego Bay, this private sanctuary offers visitors the enchanting experience of hand-feeding hummingbirds such as the red-billed streamertail and Jamaican mango. The forested grounds are also home to a wide range of other endemic birds and migrants.

7. Black River Morasses

The extensive habitats around the Black River in southwestern Jamaica are the country's largest wetland and an ideal location for seeing ducks, herons, rails, waders and other water-loving birds.

8. Parottee Ponds

These extensive but shallow ponds are popular spots for wading birds, terns and shorebirds, as well as migrant waterfowl. Parottee Ponds is located in the southwest, and the best birding is when water levels are low.

9. Negril Royal Palm Reserve

At the western tip of Jamaica, this extensive wetland features a boardwalk that offers good views of ducks, shorebirds and rails, including the elusive yellow-breasted crake and other shy waders.

10. Portland Bright Cays

These offshore islands, as well as other cays near southern Jamaica, are ideal for spotting nesting seabirds such as brown noddies and a variety of terns and gulls. Sixty miles offshore, the Pedro Cays are the only breeding location in the country for masked boobies.

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