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Saint Lucia

Detail from Painting of St Lucia Oriole Icterus laudabilis ©Christopher Cox Website

Birding Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It is a beautiful Caribbean island blessed with a bounty of indigenous fauna and flora. The lush, vibrant landscapes, mountainous interiors, dense rainforests and palm-fringed beaches of Saint Lucia are the perfect backdrop for a beautiful holiday and the ideal setting for bird watching.

The volcanic island is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimmie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.

From a birding point of view Saint Lucia is very accessible being just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide and is probably one of the most important of the Lesser Antilles as it holds 6 single island endemics.

Saint Lucia has six endemic species, one of which is the islands national bird, the St. Lucia Parrot (Amazona Veriscolor), a species that recovered from dangerously low population numbers in the early 1980s. The other endemics are the St. Lucia Pewee, St. Lucia Warbler, St. Lucia Oriole, St. Lucia Black Finch and Semper’s Warbler. This number gives Saint Lucia the distinction of having the highest number of endemic birds in the Eastern Caribbean region.

St Lucia Parrot The St Lucia Parrot is about 42-46 cm (16.5-18 inches) in length. It inhabits the rainforest in the mountains of St. Lucia. It feeds in the forest canopy on a wide variety of fruits, seeds and blowers. The parrot nests in the cavities of tall trees.

St Lucia Black Finch The Black Finch is about 13-14 cm in length. It is found in both moist and dry forest areas. It forages in the leaf litter in dense understory. The finch usually nests in a spherical nest of twigs built in a low shrub or palm about 2 m above ground.

St Lucia Pewee The adult pewee grows to about 15 cm in length. It is quite common and resides mostly in moist forest, but also found in dry forest areas. It perches low and sallies for insects. The pewee nests in a cup-shaped nest made of leaves and moss placed on a branch.

St Lucia Oriole The adult oriole grows to about 22 cm in length. It is found in woodlands including dry and moist forest. It is uncommon and perhaps becoming scarcer. It feeds on insects, fruits, flowers and nectar. The oriole builds a nest sewn under a leaf or palm well above the ground.

St Lucia Warbler The Warbler is about 12.5 cm in length. It is found in all forest types and at all altitudes. It forages for insects and spiders from leaves and twigs. It lays in a nicely woven, cup-shaped nest built in a tree about 1-5 m above the ground.

Semper’s Warbler The Semper's Warbler is extremely rare or possibly extinct. The bird is about 14.5 cm in length. The plumage of the adults is dark grey at the upperparts and greyish white at the underparts. The last reliable sighting was in 1961. Though unconfirmed sightings were in 1965, 1972, 1989, 1995 and 2003

The St. Lucian race of the House Wren is considered by some as an endemic species (although this is not as yet widely accepted). Another Lesser Antillean endemic bird in St. Lucia is the endangered White-Breasted Thrasher.

Contributor

St Lucia Birding

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 186

(As at September 2018)

National Bird: St. Lucian Amazon Amazona versicolor

Of 186 species recorded six are endemic and there are 11 endemic sub-species and 7 Lesser antillean regional endemics.

Endemics

Number of endemics: 5

St. Lucia Parrot Amazona versicolor, St. Lucia Oriole Icterus laudabilis, St. Lucia Warbler Dendroica delicata, St Lucia Black Finch Melanospiza richardsoni, St. Lucia Pewee Contopus oberi, Semper's Warbler Leucopeza semperi

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

Fieldguides

For further fieldguides covering the area, refer to useful reading on the general regional page HERE

The Birds of St Lucia

(An Annotated Checklist) | by Allan R Keith | BOU | 1997 | Hardback | 176 pages, 40 colour plates photographs, maps, table |

ISBN: 0907446191

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of the West Indies

By Herbert Raffaele, James Wiley, Orlando Garrido, Allan Keith & Janis Raffaele | Christopher Helm | 2003 Paperback | 216 pages, 92 colour plates, 181 colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 0713654198

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

St Lucia National Trust

Website

The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) is a membership organization established in 1975 under the Saint Lucia National Trust Act, Chapter 6.02 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia to conserve the natural and cultural heritage of Saint Lucia, and to promote values which lead to national pride and love of country.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

IBA Anse la Liberte

Information

Satellite View

The site features a diverse landscape featuring ridges and valleys, with both dry scrub forest and rainforest plants as well as many varieties of edible fruit trees remaining from the former agricultural estate. Some 17 species of birds have been sighted at Anse La Liberté, and the charm of bird life at the site is best experienced generally during early morning and late afternoon.

National Parks

Website

Over 19,000 acres of rain forest sprawl across the mountains and valleys of St. Lucia. The lush forest is home to interesting wildlife, giant ferns, wild orchids, and the St Lucia Parrot (Jacquot). Hike the seven-mile nature trail or take a guided tour lead by the Forestry Department…

NR Maria Islands

Information

Satellite View

The islands are set about one half mile from Pointe Sable on the South East coast of Saint Lucia. Maria Major is 10.1 hectares and its little sister Maria Minor is 1.6 hectares. The island is also a major nesting site for migratory birds which travel thousands of miles from the west coast of Africa to nest annually. It is usually closed for the nesting season which runs from May to August. This time frame is adjusted annually by the Saint Lucia Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture depending on the birds’ migratory patterns.

NR Morne Pavillon

Information

Satellite View

Following the loss of the adjacent green belt to development of Mount du Cap in early 2002, a group of interested Saint Lucians and Cap residents collaborated to initiate an effort to preserve the Morne Pavillon site. This effort resulted in the decision by Christopher Lutz to donate the property to the Saint Lucia National Trust for a Nature Reserve and Heritage site. This effort was successfully concluded in December 2010.

Guides & Tour Operators

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Focus on Nature

Tour Operator

This tour may be done in conjunction with our Jamaica Birding Tour which precedes it, or our Puerto Rico Birding Tour which follows it…

St. Lucia EcoAdventures

Tour Operator

St. Lucia Birding help you plan the perfect Caribbean bird watching holiday in St. Lucia. We provide a range of accommodation, St Lucia bird watching packages, experienced bird guides and authentic St. Lucian experiences…

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2012 [11 November] - Richard Sutton

Report

…another site for White-breasted Thrasher but the Praslin site is much easier to get to and easier to find the necessary birds although the Wren was found easy enough at this location. Rufous Nightjar is also supposed to be in this area but there was no sign on the evening I spent here…

2012 [12 December] - John Kirby

Report

…Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Common Ground Dove, Mangrove Cuckoo, Moorhen and Golden Warbler….

2013 [12 December] - Peter & Rosemary Royle

Report

… Vision used very loud pishing to call out the birds and this seemed very effective. However overall this guided day was not quite as productive as I had hoped – the rainforest was extremely quiet and the St Lucia Oriole would not respond to pishing (it usually does apparently) – in the event we only got 4 new species which were White-breasted Thrasher, Caribbean Elaenia, Antillean Euphonia and Rufous-throated Solitaire. We looked for Quail-doves, Swifts, Bare-eyed Robin and the Oriole but did not find them. The guided trip including transport etc cost US$100 per head…

2015 [07 July] - Petri Hottola

PDF Report

On July 26th, 2015, I arrived in Castries, St. Lucia, on a LIAT flight from St. Vincent, with 22 preceding flights on an OneWorld Global Explorer and some regional tickets. The idea was to score with five St. Lucia endemics – St. Lucia Amazon, St. Lucia Pewee, St. Lucia Warbler, St. Lucia Black Finch and St. Lucia Oriole – and one potential split, the dry habitat St. Lucia Wren (T. (aedon) mesoleucus), in one-and-half days. A sanctaeluciae White-breasted Thrasher would be nice to see, as well.

2017 [06 June] - Mark Van Beirs

PDF Report

Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Santa Lucia, Saint Vincent, Barbados and Grenada were the ten islands we visited on our recent Lesser Antilles tour. Some are independent countries in their own right, while others are Overseas Territories. All these islands exude a quite different flavour, as some are rich and well developed and some are obviously quite poor with pothole-riddled roads and limited infrastructure.

2018 [01 January] - Ed Drewitt

Report

We were soon heading north along the scenic tour of the south-west coastline of St. Lucia, passing through Vieux Fort, Laborie, La Fargue and Soufrière on the way. For most of the journey, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, local volcanic landmarks, were always evident. Our first birds were Carib Grackles, feeding on the ground near the airport and Cattle Egrets feeding under cows in one field.

2018 [03 March] - Victor Emanuel

PDF Report

From the first day in Barbados to the last day in St Vincent, our cruise to the Lesser Antilles aboard the Sea Cloud was one of the best trips that VENT has ever operated for the Lab. Blending birding and natural history with doses of history and culture, we visited six islands (Barbados, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), each characterized by unique history, ambience, and, of course, endemic birds.

Places to Stay

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Anse Chastanet

Accommodation

...excellent birdwatching on our own 600 acre estate but that the entire island actually offers wonderful options for birdwatching, paired also with excellent marine based adventures such as snorkelling and scuba diving and also dolphin and whale watching.

Jade Mountain

Accommodation

Jade Mountain and sister property Anse Chastanet have once again achieved the island's highest resort rating: Voted be to be among the Top 3 Caribbean Resorts and among the Top 100 Resorts Worldwide….

Other Links

Birding in Abundance

Article

From a birding perspective, Saint Lucia is very accessible being just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide and is probably one of the most important of the Lesser Antilles as it holds six single island endemics...

Fighting For A Rare Bird

Website

Before dawn on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Michael Bobb emerges from the tin-roofed, pink-and-blue cabin that serves as his base in the dense rain forest. A broad-shouldered, barrel-chested officer in St. Lucia`s Forest and Lands Department, Bobb rallies the troops from inside the field station and scattered tents outside: fellow foresters, local students, and foreign biologists and conservationists. Despite the steady downpour, it`s time to look for parrots.

Natural Attractions of St. Lucia

Website

Birdwatching - In areas such as the Bois D`Orange Swamp, the Rain Forest and Boriel`s Pond, visitors can observe some of St. Lucia`s rare, indigenous species, like the St. Lucian Parrot, White Breasted Thrasher, St. Lucia Peewee, St. Lucia Oriole, and St. Lucia Wren. Arrangements can be made through the St. Lucia Forestry Department for early morning or late afternoon trips. Four-hour excursions cost US$40.00 per person and accommodate a maximum of ten persons, minimum of three.

See the Birds of St. Lucia!

Article

From a bird watcher’s point of view, St. Lucia is a relatively easy island to work being only 28 miles long & 14 miles wide. St. Lucia is also the most important birding destination of the Lesser Antilles as it holds either 5 or 6 single island endemics.

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Christopher Cox

Gallery

Christopher works primarily in watercolour and acrylic, sometimes combining the two media to capture the subtlety of birds' plumages and the muted play of light and shadow in the forest environment. He is best known for his realistic interpretations of local flora and fauna drawing inspiration from wildlife artists that include Robert Bateman, Don R. Eckelberry and John James Audubon…