Activities in Dominica - Bird Watching : Discover Dominica, the Nature Island

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Bird Watching

Bird Watching

I am endemic and rare. I am Nature’s living laboratory. Beauty unspoilt and nature preserved. I am the trailhead to adventure and discovery, unlike any other Caribbean destination. Among volcanic peaks, lakes, boiling and bubbling waters, tumbling waterfalls, sparkling streams and verdant rainforest canopies, I am the Nature Island, full of birding life and a bird lover’s paradise.

Dominica's natural attributes translate into a perfect place for birding, from the lush tropical forests in the rugged interior, sloping downward to scrubland, before dropping off into coastal cliffs, wetlands and the seashore.

Approximately 180 species of birds have been recorded on Dominica, of which about 65 species breed on the island, and the remaining 2/3 are migratory species. Four hummingbird species, parrots, herons, egrets, doves, warblers, a hawk, an owl and several other bird groups are represented among the island’s birds, which include locally and regionally endemic species.

DOMINICA’S ENDEMIC PARROTS

Dominica has only two endemic species of birds, but is privileged to have two endemic species of Amazon Parrot inhabiting its lush forests.

Sisserou Parrot
The Sisserou Parrot, also known as the The Imperial Amazon (Amazona imperialis), is found only in Dominica, specifically on the slopes of Morne Diablotin National Park which was established primarily to protect its prime habitat, and in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.

Jaco Parrot
The JAco Parrot, also known as the Red-necked Amazon (Amazona Arausiaca), gets its common name from the red feathers found on its lower throat.

WHEN TO GO BIRDING
Birding can be enjoyed throughout the year. However the peak in breeding for most species is between March and August. Visiting at different times of the year will allow the birder to see a range of species because the main migration periods are from July into November (south-bound migration), and again from January to March (north-bound migration).

The ideal time of day for birding is the first three hours after dawn and the last two or three hours before dusk

WHERE TO BIRD
To maximize your birding experience in Dominica, it is best to visit the island’s various habitats, from the mountain tops in the interior to the seashore:

Rainforest and Elfin Woodland
Rainforest trails recommended for birding include Syndicate Nature Trail, emerald Pool Trail, and the trails linking Cochrane, Sylvania and Middleham

Trails traversing elfin woodland: More Diablotin, Morne Trois Pitons and Morne Anglais, and the Freshwater Lake Trail.

Dry Forest
Recommended trails are the Cabrits National Park trail network.

Swampland, Lakes, Rivers and Estuaries
The Glanvillia and Cabrits Swamps in the north, as well the Freshwater Lake, are important for resident and migratory water birds. The estuaries of the Layou, Roseau, Castle Bruce, and Hampstead Rivers are also important for water birds and seabirds.

Coastal Beach, Cliff and Marine
L’Islet (islet) off Boetica coast and Pointe des Foux in the south-east (viewed from boat) are home to a variety of seabirds such as the Brown Booby, White-tailed Tropicbird, and others.

The Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens in Roseau boasts some 23 species of birds, including hummingbirds, Tropical Mocking bird, Scaly-breasted Thrasher, Green Heron and others.

Waitukubuli National Trail
The 115 mile-long Waitukubuli National Trail traverses the island and several vegetation zones where birders are sure to encounter a wide variety of rainforest and costal species of birds while hiking the trail segments.

BIRDING TOURS
For those who want to learn more about Dominica's birds through guided field trips, birding tours are offered by many hotels and tour guides. Visit www.discoverdominica.com for a listing of certified accommodations and tour operators.

GUIDE BOOK ON BIRDING

For more detailed information, listings and heritageiformation on Dominica’s bird life, we suggest that you get a copy of Dominica’s Bird’s (guidebook) from the Forestry, Wildlife & Park Division (forestrydivision@dominica.gov.dm)