Mark Pretti Nature Tours, L.L.C.

Jamaica Trip Report
Jamaica Bird List
Jamaica Photos


Jamaica:  Birding and Natural History in the Caribbean  

Future dates TBA

The island of Jamaica may be small, but, due to a unique combination of geologic history, location, size, and topography, its biodiversity, as well as its level of endemism, is unusually high.  While its birds include 28 endemic species and 17 endemic subspecies, it also harbors about 3000 species of plants, about 800 of which are endemic, 70 species of reptiles and amphibians, including more than 50 endemics, and over 500 endemic land snails.

Our trip begins in Montego Bay from where we make a short trip south to the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary.  This special spot introduces us to some of Jamaica’s most colorful birds, including red-billed streamertail, Jamaican mango, Jamaican oriole, orangequit, and Caribbean and Zenaida doves.  From Rocklands we head south, stopping at the Black River marshes to look for the local specialty, West Indian whistling-duck, as well as masked duck, the resident race of yellow warbler, loggerhead kingbird, glossy ibis, waders, and others. 

We continue to Marshall’s Pen, a 300-acre property that is home to local naturalist Ann Sutton as well as most of Jamaica‘s endemics.  We spend two nights here enjoying the grounds, learning a bit about Jamaican culture and history, and seeing some great birds.  Jamaican owls, though not necessarily easy to see, are found on the grounds, as are an endemic race of northern potoo and a suite of endemics including the diminutive Jamaican tody, Jamaican woodpecker, white-eyed and white-chinned thrushes, Jamaican becard, Jamaican vireo, red-billed streamertail, Jamaican spindalis, Jamaican euphonia, Jamaican lizard cuckoo, and chestnut-bellied cuckoo.

From Marshall’s Pen, we head east to the Blue Mountains.  We begin with a side trip to the south coast and the acacia and cactus scrub of Portland Ridge where we’ll look for a couple of habitat specialists, stolid flycatcher and Bahama mockingbird. In the afternoon we’ll pass through Kingston and ascend to the moist cloud forest where we’ll spend two nights at Starlight Chalet.  Here at 4000 feet, our highest point of the trip, we’ll enjoy mild temperatures and some great scenery.  Many of the birds we’ve already seen are found here, but we’ll make special efforts to find arrowhead warbler, yellow-shouldered grassquit, Jamaican blackbird, Blue Mountain vireo, rufous-throated solitaire, Greater Antillean elaenia, ring-tailed pigeon, and one of the few skulkers of the trip, crested quail-dove.  

We then descend to the north coast and Goblin Hill Villas where we’ll spend two nights.  With views of the aqua-blue Caribbean, we’ll enjoy beautiful grounds where two endemic hummingbirds, black-billed streamertail and Jamaican mango, are fairly common at the feeders.  From Goblin Hill we make a short trip east to Ecclesdown Road, a quiet spot that passes through a large tract of intact forest where we’ll look for a few remaining endemics - Jamaican crow and yellow-billed and black-billed parrots – as well as the more widespread species.  We’ll also make at least one outing to some nearby coastal cliffs where there is a small breeding colony of white-tailed tropicbirds.  

In addition to the birds, we'll explore Jamaica's natural history and see and learn about some of the plants, insects, reptiles, and amphibians of the island.


Led by Mark Pretti and Ann Sutton, the cost will be about $3150 per person, double occupancy, from Montego Bay, and includes all lodging, meals, entrance fees, guides, and ground transportation.  Limited to 8 participants.

Detailed itinerary and references available upon request.

Jamaican Tody and Orangequit by Misty Vaughn

Last updated: November 27, 2016.