Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Birding St Kitts & Nevis
While St. Kitts and Nevis are considered sister islands and do share many similarities, they are different. They are both of volcanic origin, with Nevis being less than 900,000 years old and St. Kitts being older. They are comprised of small mountain ranges that rise well over 3000 feet from the sea and are surrounded by coral reefs and numerous beaches. Nevis is circular and St. Kitts is shaped like a guitar with a long, dry, salt peninsula and salt pond.
Most of the birds are crepuscular – active at dawn and dusk. Also remember, these are small islands and, whilst over 148 species are listed for Nevis alone (Most Hotels can supply lists); many are limited in food supply and range, so can be difficult to find. These islands are also not as over-developed as many, so terrain may be rugged. Birders should get and give explicit instructions on where they are going, and give times when they will return. Accidents can and do happen, even to experienced birders!
The mountains and valleys (Called Ghauts, pronounced guts) provide ideal habitat for numerous mountain species. Brown Tremblers, Pearly-eyed Thrashers, Rain Forrest Pigeons, and Bridled-quail Doves are plentiful. If you are lucky and can find the flowering Heliconias, you may see Purple-throated Carib or Green-throated Carib Hummingbirds feeding, they sound like small jet planes. In winter, North American warblers migrate down to avoid the cold weather and lack of flying insects and swifts and Purple Martins are reasonably common too.The shores are easily accessible for birders and provide several species of tern, a few gulls, lots of Brown Pelicans, and soaring overhead everybody’s favourite, Magnificent Frigate Birds. There are also sanderling, plovers, and herons along the surf chasing crabs and crustaceans.
The Salt Pond and inland coastal lagoons support Yellowlegs, stilts, coots, gallinules, Carib Kingfishers and different types of ducks. Around hotels the guests love to watch Antillean Crested Hummingbirds, Banana Quits, and Lesser Antillean Bullfinches. Elanias and Grey Kingbirds are often seen scooping moths and beetles from around the roadsides while Black-faced Grassquits play and eat the little seeds. Over eight species of Hawks have been found on Nevis, though Ospreys are seasonal.At night, birders can look for Black Crowned and Yellow Crowned Night Herons, but don’t step on the crabs that they are eating. You can also find night swifts if you are lucky. It is best to look for these in the early morning.
Number of bird species: 227(As at October 2018)
NB The vast majority (163 are very rare of accidental). Just 64 are resident or regular visitors.
Number of bird species:National Bird: Brown Pelican Pelicanus occidentalis
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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
Museum of Nevis HistoryWebsiteThe Nevis Historical and Conservation Society encourages environmental awareness and has become involved in educational projects as one way to make positive change on the island…
Bird ListWebsiteThe national bird of St. Kitts and Nevis is the brown pelican, whose scientific name is Pelecanus occidentalis. In its youth, the brown pelican is brown on the head, neck, and upper parts of the body, and mostly white below. As it matures, the majority of the body becomes dark brown while the upper part of the head turns white