Birds of Paradise: The Many Birds of Jamaica

Are you a lover of our feathered friends? Are you heading to Jamaica? Are you hoping to do some birding in between dips in the ocean in Negril and lazy hours poolside at the Sunset at the Palms? If so, then you’ll want to come to this beautiful tropical paradise with a basic knowledge of the island’s incredible variety of endemic aviary species.

By “endemic,” we mean species that are unique to a certain place. That’s right – while visiting Negril, you can see dozens of birds that don’t exist anywhere else in the world! And many of them are stunning, with long elegant feathers and dashing streaks of color. So as much you’re enjoying basking at the Sunset at the Palms, be sure to get out with a guide with your binoculars at the ready.

What makes bird-watching so special in Jamaica is the concentration of the species. It is not a particularly big island, and from your base in Negril you can actually see all twenty-eight endemic species! This is an incredible opportunity you might not be able to enjoy anywhere else in the world.

The endemic species on the island vary widely in type and appearance, from owls to parrots, hummingbirds to pigeons. The black-billed streamertail hummingbird and the red-billed streamertail hummingbird are both characterized by their elegant elongated tail feathers and are distinguished by – you guessed it – the color of their bills! The Jamaican tody is an endearingly squat little thing, with a dashing red patch under its bill. The Jamaican spindalis features an attractive black-and white pattern on its head that clashes agreeably with is yellow body. And the ring-tailed pigeon might look so much like those run-of-the-mill beggars-of-corn that you’ve seen plaguing city squares across the globe, you can bask in the satisfaction that this particular brand of pigeon is only found here.

Above are mentioned only five of the most striking species of endemic Jamaican species. There are twenty-three more, all of which are worth seeing. And with a good, experienced guide and a little bit of patience, you can actually see all of these unique species in a single trip to Sunset at the Palms.

The variety of feathered friends is only part of what makes this island such a fantastic vacation destination. It is truly a paradise with its lush landscapes and island beauty. It features jungles, mountains, coastline and rivers. The weather is also amazing, with the sun often shining and the air always warm. And the consistency in the climate keeps the bird population thriving year-round.

The endemic species are far from the only aviary attractions on the island. There are over three hundred species in all, some of which breed on the island while others are only passing through. That, my friends, is a lot of variety!

So if you’re a bird-lover and you’re heading to the Sunset at the Palms in Negril, resist that urge to spend all day lounging by the pool or the waves! Jamaica is truly an aviary paradise, and you can see more species in a few guided outings than you had previously dreamed of!


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