Jamaica has an abundance of birdlife across a surprisingly diverse range of habitats. In fact, Jamaica has more endemic bird species than any other Caribbean island! It also boasts a high number of Caribbean specialities making it easy to see why Jamaica is such a popular destination for bird watching. The number of endemic birds is as follows:
What makes Green Castle the premier destination for bird watching in the Caribbean?
The numbers are impressive but cannot do justice to the colorful and unusual nature of Jamaica’s birds. Which is why they have to be seen to be believed! Jamaica is the third largest of all the Caribbean Islands, 146 miles east to west and 51 miles north to south.
From the coastal plains to the densely forested mountains, Jamaica contains a great variety of landscapes and vegetation. Key habitats include the coast, wetlands, montane forest, farmland and both wet and dry limestone woodland. Each habitat contains a distinctive avifauna but all of the key species can be found in a few, readily accessible sites. The ease with which so many endemic birds of Jamaica can be found is one reason why Jamaica is such a popular destination. This was partly why leading birding enthusiast, Arjan Dwarshuis chose Green Castle to visit in 2016 as part of his attempt at setting the world record for number of species seen within a single year. We are honored that we played a small part in helping him achieve his world record, known as ‘Arjan’s Big Year’.
Here at Green Castle, we are proud of the fact that all but one of the island’s endemics have been recorded with most groups regularly seeing all 28 endemics birding at Green Castle combined with two mountain trips. In addition carefully curated birding tours to the Blue and John Crow Mountains ensure bird watching enthusiasts can see all endemic birds of Jamaica and over 100 migratory bird species as well. Subsequently, over 100 types of bird, Caribbean endemics and migratory birds are regularly seen during bird watching tours, with 171 species being the record. This is all within our 1,600 acre/6.5 km2 rainforest.
The best time to visit from a bird watching perspective in terms of numbers is November to April, however for Jamaican endemics and Caribbean endemics, any time of the year is fine to visit.
Tall mountain ranges from the spine of the eastern part of the island, include the famous Blue and John Crow Mountains, with extensive montane forest habitat. Our estate itself boasts a diversity of ecosystems, including forest, freshwater ponds, reservoir, pasture and coastline rising from sea level to over 750 feet.
For those wanting an all-inclusive birding tour, we can offer a number of different dates.
For those wanting to ‘do it their own way’, we have plenty of experience in helping create your perfect bespoke birding trip.
Thinking of bringing a non-birder with you?
There are plenty of fun activities and amazing things to see and do in Jamaica for those that are non-birders. With many of them only a short drive away. These include visits to Goldeneye (the historic home of James Bond author Ian Fleming) and Firefly (home of playwright, Sir Noel Coward). There’s Mystic Mountain Rainforest Park which gives you the opportunity to bobsled, or take a cable car up the mountain for breathtaking views of Jamaica and the Caribbean. Jamaica is also famous for its coffee, including the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee brand. There are numerous coffee plantations that you can visit and combine with other fun activities. For a full list of things to do in Jamaica, check out our activities page here.
It all adds up to make Green Castle the ideal base for a bird watching trip to Jamaica!