Best time to travel to Puerto Rico

Birdwatching in Puerto Rico

Discover the avian world of Puerto Rico

Turdus plumbeus

Puerto Rico boasts a variety and a significant amount of bodies of water, which makes it attractive to birds: waterfowl species, parrots, herons, and egrets. The archipelago has two relatively undeveloped islands off the east coast, Vieques and Culebra as well as three islands off the west coast, Desecheo, Mona, and Monito, which are completely uninhibited, hence are considered bird sanctuaries.

Puerto Rico boasts about 300 bird species including 17 endemic ones. One of the rarest birds is the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata). However, there are many birds that are abundant and can be seen on the daily basis, such as a beautiful Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo (Coccyzus vieilloti). It's possible to see about 60 species in one day in Puerto Rico when on a tour with an experienced guide. You can see more birds from November to May when many migratory species spend winter in Puerto Rico.

El Yunque National Forest is undoubtedly one of the best places for a birding tour. A subtropical rain forest boasts dozens of birding trails and a great variety of species. On the southern coast, you may find Humacao Nature Reserve, known for its diversity of waterfowl species as well as The Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge with its unique salt flats ecosystem.

On the north coast, there is Cambalache State Forest near Arecibo. This site has been chosen by the Puerto Rico Ornithological Society as its research base. You can find here such endemic birds as Puerto Rican Bullfinch, Puerto Rican Woodpecker, and Puerto Rican Tody. There are several operators in Puerto Rico specializing in birding tours that provide professional guides and tips on how to get the most out of your encounters with Puerto Rican nature.

Practical info

What are the best places for birding tours in Puerto Rico?

A variety of birding opportunities are available in Puerto Rico. El Yunque National Forest is home to various birding trails and species, which makes it one of the best birding spots. Other popular destinations include the unique waterfowl species of the Humacao Nature Reserve and the Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge, which contains several bird species and other wildlife in a unique salt flats ecosystem. Show more

What is the most endangered bird species in Puerto Rico?

The Puerto Rican Parrot, or the Amazona vittata, is the rarest endangered bird species in Puerto Rico, with fewer than four hundred parrots in the wild. The bird was once widespread on the island but has been severely depleted by habitat loss and hunting. To prevent their extinction, captive breeding and other conservation efforts have been implemented to sustain the species. Show more

How many bird species can be seen in Puerto Rico in a day with an experienced guide?

Experienced guides in Puerto Rico may provide an amazing opportunity to see over 60 bird species in a single day. With over 300 bird species, including 17 endemics, a knowledgeable guide can help you identify these species quickly. The best months to spot several migratory bird species, including Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, and Black-and-white Warbler, are November to May, so birding during these periods is recommended. Show more

When is the best time to see migratory bird species in Puerto Rico?

To catch migratory bird species in Puerto Rico, you should visit between November and May, when some bird species, including the Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, and Black-and-white Warbler, winter in Puerto Rico. It's crucial to note that some migratory bird species may have differing peak migration periods, so research is helpful. The bird surveys are conducted regularly to assist visitors in identifying and observing the bird species of interest. Show more

What are some unique bird species that can be found in Cambalache State Forest?

The Cambalache State Forest in Arecibo has a range of bird species to offer, including the Puerto Rican Bullfinch, Puerto Rican Woodpecker, and Puerto Rican Tody. Puerto Rico Ornithological Society has chosen it as its research base, and it is a protected region. One of the bird species that tourists may find interesting is the Puerto Rican Bullfinch, which has adapted well to living in urban areas, making it a common sight in city parks and suburban areas alike. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen