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Discover Birds of the Bahamas

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Karrie Williams - Cruise Contributor

There are over 300 recorded species of birds of the Bahamas. Of this total, some constitute year round residents that live and breed on the islands; while others are either migratory or nomad birds.

Year round resident birds include the Pink Flamingo, which is also the National bird of the Bahamas. In addition there is the Bahama Woodstar Hummingbird and the Bahama Swallow which are endemic species.

Migratory birds of the Bahamas pass through the islands annually in search of a winter home; however nomadic birds are not annual visitors, their visits are more sporadic.

Some migratory birds that visit the Bahamas include the Black-whiskered Vireo, the Antillean Nighthawk and the rarely sighted American Golden Plover.

Here are some frequently sighted birds of the Bahamas that bird watchers from all over the world have travelled to this island chain to explore.

Adastra Gardens

Pink Flamingo



Pink Flamingo: This is the national bird of the Bahamas and is easily identifiable by its flamboyant pink feathers and elongated necks.

The Pink Flamingo is a protected species in the Bahamas; therefore it is illegal to hunt or harm them. A visit to Nassau’s Ardastra Gardens will bring you face to face with numerous resident Pink Flamingos; they are also popular on Great Inagua Island.



Bahama Parrot


Bahama Parrot

Bahama Parrot: This bird measures 12-13 inches in length and is readily identified by its white head and primarily green body with patches of red feathers scattered throughout.

The Bahama parrot also has two toes facing forwards and two facing backwards – a configuration known as zygodactylism.

Today the Bahama Parrot is a protected species and is found only on the islands of Abaco and Great Inagua.


Thick Billed Vireo


Thick Billed Vireo

Thick-billed Vireo: The Thick-billed Vireo is another resident bird of the Bahamas and are common throughout the islands of New Providence, Grand Bahama, Euthera and Abbacco.




West Indian Woodpecker

West Indian Woodpecker

West Indian Woodpecker: Measuring approximately 10 inches in length, back and wings of the West Indian Woodpecker are striped black and white. Its underparts are a buff-cinnamon to brownish gray and its abdomen is red.

Males have a scarlet crown, which extends down the back of the neck. In females the red is restricted to the rear of the head and back of the neck.


Bahama Woodstar Humming Bird

Bahama Woodstar Humming Bird

Bahama Woodstar Hummingbird: The Bahama Woodstar measures approximately 3½ to 4 inches in length and can be identified by its greenish upper parts, a white chest and rufous lower underparts.

Adult males have iridescent violet throat feathers which are strikingly beautiful when seen in the sunlight, but appear black when seen from a distance. Females and immatures have white throats. Males have forked tails but the females’ tail is rounded.

Best locations for birding in the Bahamas

Every year serious bird watchers from all over the world converge on the Bahamas to explore the many species of birds of the Bahamas. Here are the top island locations that they visit and as such as considered the best birding spots in the Bahamas.

Grand Bahama Island: Several species of Bahamian birds thrive on this island because of its many fresh water lakes and heavily forested areas. Migratory birds are especially popular here.

Great Inagua Island: Located close to the Eastern tip of Cuba, this island is a bird watchers Paradise. The Bahamas national bird, the Pink Flamingo thrives here and some reports have even suggested that the ratio between people and flamingos on the island is 60:1.

Abaco Island: Abaco is a popular island for migratory birds that pass through the Bahamas annually. During the months of August to October, several migratory birds stop over here. On rare occasions, bird watchers have even caught a glimpse of the elusive American Golden Plover.

Eleuthera Island: The resident Bananaquit, Black-faced Grassquit and Thick-billed Vireo are very common on Eleuthera Island. Several migratory birds live temporarily on this island as well.

Andros Island: The Bahama Woodstar Hummingbird, the Bahama Yellowthroat and the Bananquit are commonly sighted in Andros.

Credit for this article is given to the Bahamas National Trust website, which contains a lot of information on birds of the Bahamas including their habitats, breeding habits, diet, reproduction, threats and protective services. You may consult the website’s fact sheet of birds here.

Picture sources include www.southfloridabirding.com, www.abacoescape.com, http://jboyd.net and www.mnh.si.edu.com.



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