Bird List and Photographs for Cuba, March 13th-24th, 2011, Glenn Morris. Go to Glenn's Home Page


This is a list of birds I saw in Cuba during 13 days (March 13th-24th, 2011), preceded by a list of the main birdwatching sites. Click on the highlighted species to see my best photo so far. All photos were taken in Cuba using a lightweight Panasonic DMC-FZ18 camera with up to 23x optical zoom.

  • The tour was organized by Cuba-Direct of London

  • GUAN = Guanahacabibes, National Park at extreme west of Cuba, including Maria La Gorda beach resort

    Vinales, famous recreation area with limestone mountains

    Soroa, outstanding site for birds, centred around the Orchid Gardens

    La Guira, National Park, centred on a ruined estate (Hacienda Cortina)

    La Lisa, reservoir on the Autopista west of Habana

    Zapata, vast wetland and forest area around the Bay of Pigs (visited Salinas, Playa Larga, La Turba and Sopillar)

    Chorrera, a deep lake surrounded by forest and farmland near Trinidad, access difficult.

    Lake Zaza, the Carretera Central between Sancti Spiritus and Ciego de Avila crosses the shallow end of this large reservoir.

    Cayo Coco, including Guillermo, Romano and Paredon keys, a coastal wetland paradise

    La Belen, a working horse ranch in the foothills, with outstanding breeding birds

    Habana, seabirds can be found at the harbour entrance

  • March is the ideal time of year for birding and we managed to identify 146 full species in 12 days, with the essential help of expert local guides, Osmany, Cesar, Mario, Paolino and Camillo, for finding rare endemics.


    1. Pied-billed Grebe (La Lisa and Zapata: max 4)

    2. Least Grebe (small ponds e.g. La Guira: max 2)

    3. Brown Pelican (common near coast, inc Habana: max 50)

    4. Magnificent Frigatebird (abundant at Cayo Romano, occasional on coast elswhere: max 60)

    5. Anhinga (uncommon at Chorrera and Coco)

    6. Double-crested Cormorant (Common in wetlands: max 200)

    7. Neotropical Cormorant (Occasional: max 2)

    8. Great Blue Heron(Common in wetlands: max 10)

    9. Great Egret (Common in wetlands: max 60 at La Lisa)

    10. Snowy Egret (uncommon at Zapata and Coco: max 2)

    11. Reddish Egret (Common in coastal wetlands: max 20 at Coco)

    12. Little Blue Heron(Common in wetlands, esp white morph: max 20 at Coco)

    13. Tricolored Heron(common at Zapata only: max 4)

    14. Cattle Egret (abundant throughout Cuba: max 100+)

    15. Green Heron (singles in wetlands: max 2)

    16. Black-crowned Night-Heron(uncommon: 2 at Lake Zaza only)

    17. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron(uncommon: adult on beach at Maria La Gorda, imm. at Coco)

    18. White Ibis (Common at Zapata and Coco: max 40)

    19. Roseate Spoonbill (Zapata and Coco only: max 20 at Zapata)

    20. Wood Stork (3 at Zapata only)

    21. Greater Flamingo (Common at Zapata and Coco: max 100)

    22. West Indian Whistling Duck(Pair at Hotel Tryp lagoon, Coco)

    23. American Wigeon (reservoir near Tryp, Coco only: max 15)

    24. Northern Shoveler(Coco only: max: 60)

    25. Bluewinged Teal (a few at Zapata, common at Coco: max 60)

    26. Lesser Scaup (numerous at La Lisa: max 100)

    27.Redbreasted Merganser (on the causeway to Coco only: max 20)

    28. Ruddy Duck (numerous at La Lisa: max 500)

    29. Turkey Vulture (abundant: 100+ seen daily throughout)

    30. Osprey (4 at Zapata, 1 near La Belen)

    31. Snail Kite (adult and imm singles seen from Autopista at fish farms near Habana)

    32. Cuban Black Hawk (endemic) (common near coast: max 6 at Coco)

    33. Broadwinged Hawk (sparse: seen twice)

    34. Redtailed Hawk (uncommon throughout: seen 5x, max 2)

    35. Crested Caracara  (seen at Coco and near Zapata only: max 4 singles in 1 day)

    36. Cuban Kestrel (abundant, seen daily in all habitats: max 12 in 1 day)

    37. Kestrel (light phase) (typical American form, as common as the Cuban dark phase)

    38. Helmeted Guineafowl (tame or wild? - La Belen & Hotel Nacional, Habana)

    39. Clapper Rail (1 at Hotel Tryp lagoon, Coco only)

    40. Sora (1 at Coco only)

    41. Moorhen (occasional on streams, ponds and lakes: max 2)

    43. American Coot (numerous at La Lisa and Coco: max 50)

    44. Limpkin (singles at La Belen only)

    45. Blackbellied Plover (single at Coco)

    46. Killdeer (commonly seen as breeding pairs)

    47. Semipalmated Plover (mudflats at Coco: max 200)

    48. Wilson's Plover (Pair at Salinas, Zapata only)

    49. Blacknecked Stilt (abundant at Coco-Guillermo: max 300)

    50. Greater Yellowlegs (common at Zapata and Coco: max 6)

    51. Lesser Yellowlegs (singles at Zapata and Coco)

    52. Solitary Sandpiper(single at reservoir near Tryp, Coco only)

    53. Spotted Sandpiper (singles 4x near coast)

    54. Willet (small numbers at Zapata and Coco)

    55. Ruddy Turnstone (causeway and beach at Cayo Coco only: max 25)

    56. Semipalmated/Western sandpiper (50+ at Coco-Guillermo only)

    57. Stilt Sandpiper (250+ at Coco-Guillermo only)

    58. Shortbilled Dowitcher (5 at Coco-Guillermo only)

    59. Laughing Gull (common on the coast: max 20)

    60. Ring-billed Gull (single on Coco causeway only)

    61. Lesser Blackbacked Gull (2 at Cayo Romano bridge)

    62. Caspian Tern (single at Lake Zaza, 3 at Salinas, Zapata)

    63. Gull-billed Tern(single at La Lisa reservoir)

    64. Royal Tern(common on the coast, inc Habana harbour: max 50)

    65. Sandwich Tern(common at La Lisa and Cayo Coco: max 20)

    66. Plain Pigeon(common locally at GUAN and La Belen: max 4)

    67. Scaly-naped Pigeon(common locally at Soroa: max 2)

    68. Whitecrowned Pigeon(common locally at Soroa: max 2)

    69. Mourning Dove (Seen and heard daily: max 6)

    70. Collared Dove (abundant at Cayo Coco hotels only: max 30)

    71. Whitewinged Dove (Seen and heard daily: max 12 at Coco)

    72. Common Ground Dove (abundant and widespread: max 60 at Coco)

    73. Zenaida Dove (a common roadside bird: max 6)

    74. Blueheaded Quail-Dove (endemic) (single on forest path at 10am, Sopillar, Zapata)

    75. Feral Pigeon (large flocks near towns and villages)

    76. Rose-throated Parrot(common at Playa Larga hotel and La Belen: max 15)

    77. Cuban Parakeet (endemic)(La Belen only: max 15)

    78. Great Lizard Cuckoo(common as singles/pairs throughout: max 6 in one day)

    79. Smooth-billed Ani (common throughout as singles or flocks: max 30)

    80. Barn Owl (1 seen and heard at Soroa at dawn)

    81. Bare-legged Owl (endemic) (1 at nest at Sopillar, Zapata)

    82. Cuban Pygmy Owl (endemic) (singles at GUAN, Sopillar, Playa Larga and La Belen)

    83. Cuban Nightjar (endemic) (1 at La Turba, Zapata)

    84. Antillean Palm-Swift (common in the west, including Habana)

    85. Cuban Emerald (endemic Cuba/Bahamas) (seen daily: max 46 around flowering agave at Coco)

    86. Bee Hummingbird (endemic) (seen at GUAN only: max 4)

    87. Cuban Trogon (endemic) (common throughout, especially in western hills)

    88. Belted Kingfisher(singles seen 9x near pools and wetlands)

    89. Cuban Tody (endemic) (seen and heard very frequently throughout)

    90. West Indian Woodpecker(numerous everywhere)

    91. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker(singles at Playa Larga and Coco)

    92. Cuban Green Woodpecker (endemic)(seen often throughout)

    93. Fernandina's Flicker (endemic)(single at Sopillar, Zapata only)

    94. Cuban Pewee(common in wooded areas)

    95. Loggerhead Kingbird(common: seen daily throughout)

    96. Giant Kingbird (endemic)(1 at GUAN and several at La Belen)

    97. Gray Kingbird(1 early arrival at La Belen)

    98. La Sagra's Flycatcher(common in open wooded areas)

    99. Tree Swallow (a few at Playa Larga)

    100. Cuban Martin (seen over Habana City only in small numbers)

    101. Cave Swallow (numerous, nesting under bridges: max 100)

    102. Barn Swallow (a single at La Lisa)

    103. Zapata Wren (endemic) (very shy: heard and glimpsed only at a nest site near La Turba)

    104. Cuban Gnatcatcher (endemic) (pair seen at Cayo Guillermo only)

    105. Gray Catbird (singles seen and heard often throughout)

    106. Northern Mockingbird (Common: seen and heard daily)

    107. Bahama Mockingbird (pair seen at Cayo Guillermo only)

    108. Cuban Solitaire (endemic) (Pair seen and heard at Soroa only)

    109. Red-legged Thrush (seen daily everywhere)

    110. Cuban Crow (common, though local)

    111. Cuban Palm Crow (endemic) (3 birds seen only at La Belen)

    112. House Crow (vagrant) (single at Guillermo)

    113. Cuban Vireo (endemic) (seen only at Cayo Guillermo, but heard widely)

    114. Black-whiskered Vireo (common at Soroa-La Guira - late arriving elsewhere)

    115. Northern Parula (fairly common throughout - 6/12 days)

    116. Blackthroated Blue Warbler (common in central Cuba - 4/12 days)

    117. Yellow-rumped Warbler (seen twice at Coco)

    118. Yellow Warbler (seen twice in mangroves at Zapata and Coco)

    119. Cape May Warbler (seen twice at Coco, once at Playa Larga)

    120. Prairie Warbler (common, esp in central Cuba - 5/12 days)

    121. Yellow-throated Warbler (fairly common throughout - 5/12 days)

    122. Palm Warbler (commonest warbler, seen daily, feeds on ground)

    123. Olive-capped Warbler (endemic Cuba/Bahamas) (pair seen at San Diego, La Guira, only)

    124. Blackthroated Green Warbler (seen only at La Belen, where common)

    125. Common Yellowthroat (common near water - 6/12 days)

    126. Black and White Warbler (seen once at Chorrera, Trinidad)

    127. Ovenbird (fairly common on closed woodland floors - 3/12 days)

    128. Louisiana Waterthrush (found at the edge of streams or swamps at La Giura, Soroa and Tryp hotel, Coco)

    129. American Redstart (fairly common throughout - 6/12 days)

    130. Yellow-headed Warbler (endemic) (seen at GUAN, La Guira and Zapata)

    131. Oriente Warbler (endemic) (seen twice at Cayo Coco only)

    132. Western Spindalis (common in open woods and scrub: max 8)

    133. Red-legged Honeycreeper (seen twice at Soroa and Coco only)

    134. Bananaquit (seen twice at Cayo Paredon lighthouse and Hotel Tryp, Coco only)

    135. Cuban Bullfinch (endemic Cuba/Grand Cayman) (common throughout - 7/12 days: max 20)

    136. Cuban Grassquit (endemic) (pair seen once at Soroa only)

    137. Yellow-faced Grassquit (very common, seen daily: max 10)

    138. Zapata Sparrow (endemic) (pairs seen at Zapata and Coco only)

    139. Indigo Bunting (one male glimpsed at La Belen)

    140. Redshouldered Blackbird (single female at La Turba, Zapata)

    141. Tawny-shouldered Blackbird (flocks at La Guira and La Belen: max 200)

    142. Cuban Blackbird (endemic) (common, seen daily: max 25)

    143. Eastern Meadowlark (seen 3x close to Autopista and Carrera Central)

    144. Shiny Cowbird (endemic) (seen twice at La Turba and La Belen)

    145. Greater Antillean Grackle (seen daily: max 26)

    146. Greater Antillean Oriole (seen often - 7/12 days: max 4)

    147. House Sparrow (common near houses and hotels)

    148. [Rosebreasted Grosbeak (caged)] (in a Habana City street)