Welcome to Birdquest

HISPANIOLA & PUERTO RICO with JAMAICA & THE BAHAMAS

Sunday 26th March - Thursday 20th April 2017

Mark Van Beirs

Red-billed Streamertail (Mark Van Beirs)

Red-billed Streamertail (Mark Van Beirs)

Our recent Greater Antilles island hopping tour produced all the single island endemics of Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and The Bahamas (with the exception of the very recently split Inagua Woodstar of the southern Bahamas) and all the participants on this sun-drenched tour saw these specialities very well. The highlights of the Jamaica pre trip included the gorgeous Red-billed Streamertail, Jamaican Owl, the exquisite Crested Quail-Dove and the charming Jamaican Tody. The main part of the tour visited the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico where the splendid Ashy-faced Owl, La Selle Thrush, Ridgway’s Hawk, Puerto Rican Amazon and the cracking White-winged Warbler (or Xenoligea) took our fancy. The Bahama extension produced superb views of Bahama Woodstar, Cuban Parrot, Great Lizard Cuckoo, Bahama Swallow and Bahama Yellowthroat. Next to the endemics we observed a great variety of multi island endemics, water and marshbirds (including Yellow-breasted Crake and Spotted Rail), a good selection of migrant warblers and for the first time ever we found Audubon’s Shearwater and Black-capped Petrel while sea-watching off one of the southern capes in the Dominican Republic. One of the main attractions of this tour is the occurrence of two endemic Caribbean bird families: the incredibly endearing Todies (Todidae), of which we observed four of the five species and the boisterous Palmchat (Dulidae), which is the only member of its family and is restricted to Hispaniola. Recently however, some authorities have created three other families that are restricted to these islands: the Phaenicophilidae which contains the White-winged and Green-tailed Warblers and the Black-crowned and Grey-crowned (Palm) Tanagers (all endemic to Hispaniola), the Calyptophilidae, which harbours the two Chat-tanagers (also endemic to Hispaniola) and the Nesospingidae, which was created to hold just one species, the unusual Puerto Rican Tanager (endemic to Puerto Rico). It is worth mentioning that three Critically Endangered (by BirdLife International) birds were seen very well: Ridgway’s Hawk, Puerto Rican Amazon and Bahama Oriole! Every island that we visited oozed a very different atmosphere, had a totally different mentality and offered different food. Next to the birds we observed quite a variety of reptiles, amphibians and butterflies and collected a fair number of endemic beers…

Hispaniolan Woodpecker (Mark Van Beirs)

Hispaniolan Woodpecker (Mark Van Beirs)