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Saint Lucia

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

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: 167

National Bird: St. Lucian Amazon Amazona versicolor

Of 167 resident species five (possibly 6) 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

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

The Birds of the West Indies

By Herbert Raffaele, James Wiley, Orlando Garrido, Allan Keith & Janis Raffaele
Helm Field Guides Sept 2003 Paperback RRP ?16.99p
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 0713654198

Buy this book from NHBS.com

A Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies

(Peterson Field Guides) James Bond, Don R. Eckelberry (Illustrator); Arthur B. Singer (Illustrator) Paperback (September 1999) Houghton Mifflin Company

ISBN: 0618002103

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of St Lucia

by Allan R Keith - BOU - This checklist deals with the avifauna of one of the oldest volcanic islands within the Lesser Antillean chain of islands of the West Indies. St Lucia has possibly the highest rate of endemism within the Caribbean. 1997. 176 pages, colour photographs, maps, etc.
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 0907446191

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

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 Birding

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

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

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 [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….

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…

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

Report PDF

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.

2015 [01 January] - Nigel Jones

Report PDF

The island boasts six endemic species: St Lucia Parrot, St Lucia Black Finch, St Lucia Warbler, St Lucia Oriole, St Lucia Pewee and St Lucia Wren (the seventh, Sepmer’s Warbler, is probably now extinct). We saw all of the six as well as most of the 14 Lesser Antillean endemics. Star birds included Red-billed Tropicbird, Red-footed Booby, White-breasted, Scaly-breasted and Pearly-eyed Thrashers, Grey Trembler, Lesser Antillean Saltator, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Lesser Antillean Flycatcher, Caribbean Elaenia, Antillean Euphonia and Rufous-throated Solitaire.

2016 [01 January] - Simon Boyes

PDF Report

.... Lower down towards the coast, dry forest edge (bordering on cattle pasture) turns up a pair of Scaly-breasted Thrashers and a Bare-eyed Thrush...

Places to Stay

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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….

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.

Organisations

St Lucia National Trust

Website

The longest serving environmental and heritage membership organisation in St. Lucia. The SLNT is not only the largest such organisation, but also the only membership organisation with a legal mandate to conserve both the natural and cultural heritage of St. Lucia…

Reserves

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…

Other Links

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.

National Bird of St Lucia

Website

Mating for life and maturing after five years, these long lived birds are cavity nesters, laying two to three white eggs in the hollow of a large tree during the onset of the dry season between February and April…

Checklist - Birds of St Lucia

Checklist

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...

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…