Rare Species Abound For Bird Enthusiasts
There are a number of bird species found in Puerto Rico, with 17 of them, including the Reina Mora, being endemic to the island. The rest are birds that have migrated to Puerto Rico for the winter or are stopping over on their way to their migration final destination. Puerto Rico is an excellent place to go birding because you may get a chance to see all 17 of these endemic birds on this small island.
One of these species endemic to Puerto Rico is the little Tody, also known as the “San Pedrito” by the local residents. There are five species of todies (Todidae) that are endemic to countries like Puerto Rico, the West Indies, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba. All the species of todies have a bright green coloring and a scarlet-red throat similar to that of a hummingbird. Depending on the species of bird, the tody’s belly, flank and breast can vary in combinations of blue, gray, pink and yellow.
Although the little Tody resembles a hummingbird it is actually a relative of the kingfisher family. These busy little birds use up a lot of energy and therefore consume large amounts of insects in order to sustain themselves. It is not always easy to catch a glimpse of the Tody, but you will know it is around when you hear their raspy calls. Your birding guide will be able to point out this fascinating little bird to you.
Another endemic species is the Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vitatta), which is found in certain parts of El Yunque and the Caribbean National Forest. The Puerto Rican Parrot is an endangered species and there are only forty of these beautiful birds left in the wild. The Puerto Rican Screech Owl, which is also endemic, is an apt name for this little owl. You will quickly recognize its loud call.
The Puerto Rico Lizard-Eating Cuckoo (Pajaro bobo) has the amazing ability to imitate sounds that it hears. As its name suggests the Puerto Rico Lizard-Eating Cuckoo, or mocking bird, feeds on a variety of lizard species. Other endemic bird species of Puerto Rico include the Puerto Rican Spindalis, Puerto Rican Vireo, Zenaida Dove, Puerto Rican Tanager, Lesser Antillean Pewee, Elfin-woods Warbler, Puerto Rican Flycatcher, Yellow-shouldered Blackbird, Green Mango, the Puerto Rican Emerald and the Puerto Rican Woodpecker.
There are a number of birding guides you can contact if you are interested in going birding on this fascinating island. The main areas that you will be taken to on your bird watching tours in Puerto Rico will include the Caribbean National Forest, Fajardo Beach, Humacao National Wildlife Refuge, Guanica State Forest, Maricao State Forest, La Parguera and Cabo Rojo.