Despite its sometimes roguish image, Jamaica is beautiful, accessible and safe (yes safe!) for a bird watching holiday, with a range of locations as inebriating as Jamaican rum. Jamaica’s avifauna is described as being “one of the most distinctive in the world.” This small Caribbean island has more readily found endemics than any other West Indian country and one of the highest totals in the world—307 species–for sea islands of comparable size. Between the Blue Mountains and Port Antonio, you have a good chance of seeing all 28 of the Jamaican endemics.
If you would just like to go bird watching on just one day of your vacation on our beautiful island, local experts can be arranged to accompany you in the field. A birding guide can be hired for the day. Bird guides have to be booked prior to your arrival so please request this when making your reservation.
The Gardens at Mockingbird Hill are Recommended by ‘Birds Of the West Indies’ and 22 of the 28 Jamaican endemics plus 6 Caribbean endemics can be found on the 7½ acre property which is particularly known as one of the better places to see the Black-billed Streamer tailed Hummingbird. The lush gardens provide a rich habitat for more than 72 bird species, including many migrants. At last count, we’ve hosted 17 species of North American warblers! Whether watching birds from your balcony, along our quiet private road, or while dining on the terrace, birding at Hotel Mockingbird Hill will prove a most rewarding experience.
The imaginative local names for birds are just one aspect of Jamaica’s colourful culture: Doctorbird (because the Streamertail’s long tails resemble the frocks once worn by medical men), Old Man Bird (Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo) and the smaller Old Woman Bird (Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo), Auntie Katie (Jamaican Oriole), Big Tom Fool (Rufous-tailed Flycatcher) and the Duppy Bird (Common Ground-Dove), Robin Redbreast (Jamaican Tody), Hopping Dick (White-Chinned Thrush), Markhead (Spindalis) and Little Tom Fool (Sad FlyCatcher) to name a few. The English bird names are just as intriguing: Bananaquits, Orangequits and Jamaican Mango make up a veritable fruit salad, while Jamaican Euphonia fails to live up to its name, sounding instead like a car trying to start. And, at 5 centimetres long and weighing around three grams, the Vervain Hummingbird is the second smallest bird in the world.