We have partnered with Caribbean Conservation Trust, Inc. (CCT) to bring you this exclusive 10-day birding program to Cuba, the Caribbean’s largest and most ecologically diverse island nation. This itinerary has been designed to take travelers to Cuba’s most beautiful national parks, biosphere reserves, and unique natural areas in search of the island’s 27 endemic birds and will provide insights into fascinating aspects of Cuban culture, history, and daily living. In addition to birding, we will learn about the ecology and history of regions we visit and we’ll interact with local scientists and naturalists who work in research and conservation, including Orlando Garrido, senior author to the Field Guide of the Birds of Cuba.
Our program begins in Cuba’s Western Mountains, a spectacular landscape dominated by towering, lushly-vegetated, flat-top limestone monoliths called ‘mogotes.’ Endemic birds such as Cuban Solitaire, Cuban Grassquit, Cuban Pygmy-Owl, Cuban Tody, and Cuban Trogon will be among our many targets in this region. Next, we’ll explore the Zapata Peninsula, an area covering more than 2,800 square miles and featuring easily accessible, Everglades-like wetland habitat. Bordered by the pristine coastal environment of the notorious Bay of Pigs to the east, the peninsula contains vast open swampland, low coastal forests, sparkling white sand beaches, healthy coral reefs, and refreshing limestone pools (cenotes). Here, the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird, resides, along with other endemics such as Cuban Black Hawk, Zapata Wren, Zapata Sparrow, and Blue-headed and Gray-fronted Quail Doves. We then head north to Cayo Coco and Cuba’s Atlantic Archipelago. These previously uninhabited and relatively unexplored barrier islands provide yet further excellent birding opportunities. Cuban Gnatcatcher, Oriente Warbler, Thick-billed Vireo, West Indian Whistling Duck, and Gundlach’s Hawk, as well as numerous shorebirds and aquatic birds, can be found here. We finish with a splash of culture in Havana, one of Latin America’s best preserved and most compelling colonial cities. Our full day in Havana will include a guided cultural tour of the city, a walking tour of Old Havana and its 4 original plazas, and last but not least, authentic Cuban meals in some of Havana’s best ‘paladares’ (private restaurants).
Join us for this memorable and educational exploration of Cuba and its natural riches, beautiful landscapes, and culture.
Birds we hope to see:
Cuban endemics – Bare-legged Owl, Cuban Oriole, Bee Hummingbird, Blue-headed Quail-Dove, Gray-fronted Quail-Dove, Cuban Black Hawk, Cuban Blackbird, Cuban Bullfinch, Cuban Gnatcatcher, Cuban Grassquit, Cuban Green Woodpecker, Cuban Parakeet, Cuban Pygmy-Owl, Cuban Solitaire, Cuban Tody, Cuban Trogon, Cuban Vireo, Fernandina’s Flicker, Gundlach’s Hawk, Cuban Nightjar, Red-shouldered Blackbird, Oriente Warbler, Yellow-headed Warbler, Zapata Wren, and Zapata Sparrow.
Other species of interest: West Indian Whistling-Duck, American Flamingo, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Crested Caracara, Stygian Owl, Cuban Parrot, Great Lizard Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Cuban & Palm Crows, West Indian Woodpecker, Cuban Emerald, Plain Pigeon, Key West & Ruddy Quail Doves, Zenaida Dove, Red-legged Thrush, Bahama Mockingbird, Giant & Loggerhead Kingbirds, La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Cuban Pewee, Thick-billed Vireo, Olive-capped Warbler, Western Spindalis, Tawny-shouldered Blackbird, and many more.