Commonwealth of Dominica

Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea ©Birding Ecotours Website
Birding Dominica

The Commonwealth of Dominica (pronounced Domineeca) is not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. It lies between the French Islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean’s eastern chain of Windward Islands. It acquired independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. The main language is English, though locals speak a variety of French. Luscious vegetation and inherent forest blanket the island’s towering territory, a few peaks of which go beyond 4,000 feet in height, while 365 rivers and streams meander their way through ravines and gorges to gush over many waterfalls, producing the island’s cooling system and allowing many opportunities to take an exhilarating dip in clear clean waters. Tree ferns, orchids, heliconia and anthurium lilies embellish the forest floor while 175 species of birds, green iguanas, geckoes, tree lizards, agouti, manicou, magnificent butterflies and a vast array of picturesque flora can be enjoyed throughout an island where nature trails are abundant.Many of the countries 75,000 inhabitants farm bananas, citrus and other tropical fruit on the beautiful mountain banks. Crime is scarce and should not discourage one’s sense of freedom and absolute enjoyment. There are no large resorts in Dominica. The largest hotel has only 53 rooms, and is located in the capital city of Roseau.

Dominica is a very exciting place for the bird watcher not only because for its size and position it has a comparatively rich avifauna, but also because it is a place where anything can turn up, much of the island being explored by very few ornithologists. Within an area of less then 800 square kilometres lies a rich variety of habitat – from cloud forest and Montane thicket through tall strands of rain forest to drier scrubbier woodland, and interspersed amongst these are lakes, rock canyons, rivers and water falls, plantations and gardens. The perimeter of the island has stunning sea cliffs between secluded coves and sandy beaches, estuaries, as well as some marshes and swamps. There are few places in the world where one can be clambering in the clouds over an elfin woodland canopy watching blue-headed hummingbirds and plumbeous warblers, then, an hour after be deep within rain forest amongst imperial and red-necked parrots, and an hour after that down at sea level watching ducks, herons, and egrets on the edge of a densely vegetated swamp, or frigate birds, boobies and terns over the Caribbean Sea.

It is perfectly possible to see within a single day all the species of island and Lesser Antillean regional endemics which occur in Dominica, although much more satisfaction will come from spreading this over a longer period, mixing those sightings with observations of other typical avian representatives of the different habitats. During every month of the year, there will be at least some birds visiting Dominica on migration, so one can never predict what unusual species might be seen. The number of known bird species to be seen in Dominica during the various seasons of the year totals 175, including 4 types of native hummingbird. Whether is is the Blue-hooded Euphonia, Mountain Whistler, Broad-winged Hawk or the two native parrot species you wish to see, local guides know just where to find them. There are a great many choices of prime locations throughout the island, but one top spot is mentioned below.

Top Sites
  • Morne Diablotin National Park

    Satellite View
    Sisserou and Jacquot parrots (found only in Dominica) are most commonly sighted in the Syndicate Forest area on the western slopes of the Morne Diablotin National Park. Nearby Milton Falls on the Dublanc River is a perfect picnic spot where you may take a refreshing bath.
Contributors
  • Dana Sarris

    Dominica

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 195

    (As at September 2018)

    National Bird: Imperial Amazon (Sisserou) Amazona imperialis

Endemics
  • Number of endemics: 2

    Red-necked Parrot Amazona arausiaca Imperial Parrot Amazona imperialis
Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

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

  • Dominica's Birds

    | By Arlington James, Stephen Durand & Bertrand Jno Baptiste | Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Division, Dominica | 2005 | Paperback | 135 pages, drawings, photos, map | #163956 | ISBN: Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Birds of the West Indies

    | By Guy M Kirwan, Anthony Levesque, Mark W Oberle & Christopher J Sharpe | Lynx Edicions | 2019 | 400 pages, 1600+ colour illustrations, 650+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9788416728176 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Organisations
  • Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

    Website
    Overseas conservation projects focus on several species of critically endangered Caribbean parrots including the Imperial and red-neck Amazon parrots of Dominica and the St. Vincent Amazon parrot from St. Vincent…
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Cabrits

    InformationSatellite View
    Cabrits National Park is located on the northwestern coast of Dominica, an area of 1,313 acres of upland and 1,053 acres of marine or underwater park…
  • NP Morne Diablotin

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is home to 1,447-meter high Morne Diablotin, the tallest mountain on the island and the second highest mountain in the Lesser Antilles. It was established in January 2000, primarily to protect the habitat of the endangered sisserou parrot, an endemic bird species that is a national symbol of Dominica.
  • NP Morne Trois Pitons

    InformationSatellite View
    The National Park is named after its highest mountain, Morne Trois Pitons, meaning mountain of three peaks. The park is a significant area of volcanic activity. Features within the part include the Valley of Desolation, a region of boiling mud ponds and small geysers; the Boiling Lake, Titou Gorge, and Emerald Pool.
Guides & Tour Operators


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

  • Focus on Nature

    Tour Operator
  • Nature Island

    Tour Operator
    Bird-watch field trips with Dominica`s foremost authority. The number of known bird species to be seen in Dominica during the various seasons of the year totals 175, including 4 types of native humming bird. Whether it is the Blue-hooded Euphonia, Mountain Whistler, Broadwinged Hawk or our two native parrot species you wish to see, Bertrand knows just where to find them and, once located, his tripod mounted scope will allow you to observe them closely…
Trip Reports


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

  • 2016 [04 April] - Jesse Fagan - Lesser Antilles

    Report
    10 islands, 14 days, 14 flights, 8 hotels, 1 visit to the emergency room, drive on the right, drive on the left,...you get the picture. It requires a lot of action and movement to see these birds! And see them we did. It was another successful island-hopping adventure this year, and the logistics worked out fine on this logistically complicated tour. Even island time seemed faster.
  • 2018 [03 March] - Victor Emanuel | Lesser Antilles |

    PDF Report
    “Five countries, six islands and a wonderful ship to sail the Caribbean” That’s has to be the way to start the field list compiling the wonderful birds seen as we sailed between the Lesser Antilles aboard the incomparable Sea Cloud.
Places to Stay


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

  • 3 Rivers Eco Lodge

    Accommodation
    Broadwinged Hawks, Little Blue Herons, Hummingbirds, Anis and many other species are seen daily at 3 Rivers. If it is birds that you would like to see, then the two species of indigenous parrot, The Sisserou and The Jaco are likely to visit us while you are here…
  • Picard Beach Cottages

    Accommodation
    Situated on a golden sand beach, in a garden of flowering tropical shrubs on the north-east coast of Dominica, at the foot of the island`s highest mountain, Morne Diablotin - preserve of the endangered indigenous Sisserou parrot; One mile south of the city of Portsmouth; 20 miles along the north coast from Melville Hall Airport; 25 miles along the west coast from Canefield Airport.
Other Links
  • The Caribbean's Best Kept Secret

    Article
    Dominica itself has recorded less than 200 species, but don't be dissuaded from visiting by this lack of variety…

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND