Jamaica Bird Watching Holiday

Jamaica is a tropical island with a wide range of habitats including lush jungle, majestic mountains and beautiful coastlines. It is a haven for birdlife with over 300 species recorded.

Linstead Town Jamaica

However, you won’t have to venture very far from your hotel to have an amazing bird watching experience; many species can be found darting about hotel gardens. But if you want to go further afield the best way to do it is to join an organized tour with a local guide who will be able to point out some of the more unusual and elusive species

Tailor-make your dream bird watching holiday to Jamaica with our guide on where to stay, what to do and the bird species to look out for.

5 Birds To Look Out For

Red-Billed Streamertail

Red-Billed Streamertail

The national bird of Jamaica, the red-billed streamertail, is known locally as the Doctor Bird. It is mentioned in Ian Fleming's James Bond short story For Your Eyes Only. The opening line of the book describes it as "The most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world." Red-billed streamertails can be found across all of Jamaica except the most eastern part of the island.
Jamaican Tody

Jamaican Tody

Jamaican todies can be difficult to spot due to their small size. They are known locally as Rasta Birds or sometimes the Jesus Bird due to the patch of red on its breast which it is said it acquired from a drop of blood that fell onto it after pulling a nail from Jesus's hand after he was crucified. Once spotted, it is not a shy bird and happily sit for extended periods of time allowing for close observation.
Orangequit

Orangequit

Orangequits are small finch-like birds that can be found in a wide variety of habitats in Jamaica particularly in the canopies of evergreen forests and shade coffee plantations. They travel in pairs or mixed flocks feeding mainly on nectar or fruits. The orangequit has a number of local nicknames including Blue Blaize, Blue Badas, Blue Gay, Long Mouth Quit, and Swee, after its thin, high-pitched call.
Chestnut-Bellied Cuckoo

Chestnut-Bellied Cuckoo

Chestnut-bellied cuckoos are more often heard than seen so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled to spot one of these relatively uncommon birds. They are resident throughout Jamaica in montane evergreen forest moving to lower altitudes during the winter months. They are surprisingly stealthy, running between vegetation or sitting still for long periods of time. Locally, they are known as Old Man Birds, Rain Birds, Hunters or May Birds.
Yellow-Billed Parrot

Yellow-Billed Parrot

One of two species of parrot endemic to Jamaica, the yellow-billed parrot, otherwise known as the Jamaican amazon, is found up to 1200m on the island and is abundant in the John Crow Mountains, on Mount Diablo and in the Cockpit Country. Head to Hope Botanical Gardens to see flocks of these green birds chattering noisily in the trees overhead. Its local nickname is Yellowbill.

Where To Stay

Hotel Mockingbird Hill

Hotel Mockingbird Hill is set on a hilltop on Jamaica’s northeast coast between the Blue Mountains and the Caribbean Sea. It is famous for the number of birds that inhabit its tropical gardens which are mentioned in the ornithologist James Bond’s book, Birds of the West Indies.

Enjoy a leisurely meal of slow cooked food with a Jamaican twist on the terrace as you watch hummingbirds, streamertails and parrots flying amongst the lush greenery. A number of bespoke bird watching tours can be arranged through the hotel.

5 Things To Do

Rockland Bird Sanctuary Tour From Montego Bay

Located in the hills of the community of Anchovy, the Rockland Bird Sanctuary offers inner peace and tranquility as you get up close and personal with Jamaica’s national bird the red-billed streamertail, locally called the doctor bird. There is an optional add-on to the tour which includes a visit to Montego Bay’s “Hip-Strip” for duty-free and craft shopping.

Scenic Blue Mountain Tour From Kingston

Explore the majestic Blue Mountains by taking a hike up Jamaica’s tallest peak. This area boasts many spectacular scenic views and diverse flora and fauna and an abundance of bird species including the national bird of Jamaica, the doctor bird. This trip is a must-do for anyone who loves nature and is visiting Jamaica.

Barney's Hummingbird Garden

Take some time to relax at Barnaby’s Hummingbird Garden in the rocky west end of Negril. Wander through the tropical gardens to see several different species of birds, including native hummingbirds, and sit quietly as they feed on sweet nectar from the palm of your hand. Then let loose with live reggae music and drinks (own expense) during a sunset stop to see the cliff divers at Rick’s Cafe.

Flora and Fauna of Jamaica Safari from Negril

Get close to native Jamaican culture in this fun filled trip through the wildlife preserve. Explore the unique habitats of three natural flora and fauna environments: the wetlands, rainforest and grassland. From the boardwalks, see native crocodiles, iguanas, tortoises, snakes and plenty more animals. Visit the natural lakes and spring ponds and watch wading birds in their natural habitats.

Mayfield Falls Nature Walk

Get out in the nature of Westmoreland on this half-day private tour from Negril. You’ll be able to enjoy the scenery around Mayfield Falls as you will leave the beach travel along the plains, through the towns, pass by sugar can fields up into the picturesque mountain range. Jump in the cool clear waters of this hidden treasure.  This will be your escape from the hustle and bustle of commercial living. Relax into a beautiful natural valley filled with fresh mountain air, indigenous flowers and the musical melodies of exotic birds.

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