On this very special endemic focussed tour we will visit the wonderful Caribbean island of Jamaica which harbours no less than 29 endemics bird species. Jamaica is a beautiful, warm and friendly island known specially for its rum, reggae and coffee as well as Palm-fringed beaches and turquoise blue ocean. Amongst its rugged interior covered with lush forests, it holds a wealth of beautiful and very special birds. Add to the 29 endemic bird species at least 17 Jamaican subspecies and a host of other Caribbean endemics and you have a fabulous birding getaway! Our itinerary includes visits to the less travelled interior of the island from rolling hills to the cool, lush rainforests of the Blue and John Crow Mountains. Here we'll look for species such as Blue Mountain Vireo, Crested Quail-Dove, Jamaican Blackbird, Jamaican Tody and the lovely Black-billed Streamertail against the back drop of gorgeous scenery. We’ll also explore the tropical habitats of the famous Ecclesdown Road home to Black-billed and Yellow-billed Parrots, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Oriole and Jamaican Crow. April is also migration time and many species heading for their breeding grounds in North America pass through the island, we can expect to see good numbers of brightly coloured warblers to add our great list of avian delights. Jamaica's fantastic birds await and our number 1. guide is ready to deliver all of Jamaica’s endemic birds and more! Join us for an unforgetable experience on the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica!
All 29 Endemic Birds
Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo
Blue Mountain Vireo
Day 1 Arrival - Kingston, Jamaica - 08th April
We plan to arrive in the afternoon in Kingston, Jamaica (Airport code KIN) on the southeastern coast of the island. On arrival, you will be met by our fantastic local guide, the best in Jamaica and transferred to our hotel to get settled in before dinner and the official start of the tour this evening. After dinner, we may have our first chance to look for Jamaican Owl and Northern Potoo in the grounds of our lovely hotel. Night Kingston.
Days 2 - 4 Hellshire – Hope Gardens - Blue Mountains
Today we will start with an early morning excursion to the Hellshire Hills for Bahama Mockingbird and possibly Stolid Flycatcher, we will then spend the rest of the morning birding the Royal (Hope) Botanical Gardens adjacent to the campus of the University of the West Indies. This 200 acre garden represents the largest public green space in Kingston. The gardens offer quiet respite from the bustling city and excellent birding. Several of Jamaica’s endemic birds are to be found here including the stunning little Jamaican Tody, Yellow-billed Parrot, the newly split Jamaican Parakeet, Jamaican Mango, the tiny Vervain Hummingbird and White-chinned Thrush. A small lake may hold a Least Grebe among the Common Gallinules and Green Herons, and we may also find lingering North American warblers such as Northern Parula, American Redstart, Cape May, Prairie and Black-and-White, all getting ready for their journey north. Time permitting, we may also drive up the Widcombe Road where we hope to see the endemic Orangequit as well as a few Smooth-billed Anis and possibly Jamaican Woodpecker. We will then set off towards the lush forests of the Blue Mountains where we stay in the grounds of a coffee plantation who's lodges grounds play host to many excellent species. This is home to the dazzling endemic Red-billed Streamertail, Jamaica’s national bird which forages amongst the garden flowers. Here also are Vervain Hummingbirds and Bananaquits, as well as Orangequit, Jamaican Vireo, Loggerhead Kingbird and White-chinned Thrush. In the evenings we will listen for the resident Jamaican Owls around the lodge and hopefully get a glimpse of these often elusive birds. We have acouple of days to explore the fabulous Blue Hills thouroughly which should introduce us to even more endemics with opportunities to find Crested Quail-Dove, Jamaican Woodpecker, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Ring-tailed Pigeon, Jamaican Spindalis, Jamaican Oriole, Sad Flycatcher, Jamaican Tody, Rufous-throated Solitaire, Jamaican Pewee, Greater Antillean Elaenia, White-eyed Thrush, Greater Antillean Bullfinch and more. On at least one day, we will head to Hardwar Gap looking for high-elevation bird species like Arrowhead Warbler, and more chances for Jamaican Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, the endangered Ring-tailed Pigeon, Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Rufous-throated Solitaire, and the beautiful Crested Quail-Dove. The lush forest slopes here offer more chances for endemics including Jamaican Spindalis, Jamaican Euphonia, White-eyed Thrush, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Blackbird, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, Jamaican Vireo and Blue Mountain Vireo. The wonderful Red-billed Streamertails are possible here and mixed flocks of warblers and tanagers could hold Cape May, Black-and-white and Prairie Warblers, while overhead, we’ll watch for White-collared and Black Swifts. Three nights in the Blue Mountains.
Days 5 - 6 Hardwar Gap - Port Antonio
Today we head to Hardwar Gap again looking for high-elevation bird species such as the Arrow-headed Warbler and Jamaican Blackbird which can often be the most difficult to find of all the endemics. Later on we will travel to Portland on the northeast coast of Jamaica and check into our lovely beach side hotel. The grounds and surrounding area of the hotel offers great birding and this location gives us access to the John Crow Mountains which we will visit over the next two days. We will bird the mountain forests along the famous Ecclesdown Road, another endemic hotspot offering chances to see Black-billed Streamertail, the difficult Jamaican Blackbird, Crested Quail-dove, both Black and Yellow-billed Parrots, Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo, Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Jamaican Crow, Jamaican Euphonia, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Elaenia, Jamaican Oriole, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit and Ring-tailed Pigeon. Some of these birds are difficult to see and we'll work to get the best possible views of all of the species. One morning we will spend some time scanning the Caribbean Sea at Hectors River for White-tailed Tropicbirds that frequent the waters just off the coast. Magnificent Frigatebirds are likely here and terns are possible including Royal Tern. During the evening we have opportunities to visit several areas that hold Jamaican Owls and with luck we could find this sought after endemic.
Two Nights Port Antonio.
Day 7 Port Antonio - Kingston - End of Tour- 14th April
Today we should have a little time for our final look at some of Jamaicas fabulous birds before heading back to Kingston Airport in time for your international departure.
Leader: Jamaica's No1. Guide
Ground Price: £1895.00
Airfare:£400.00 - £650.00 (Approx) - UK/UK depending on time booked, route and airline.
Group size:Minimum for tour to go ahead 5 with maximum 10.
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals, ground transport throughout, all entrance fees, and services of leader.
Not included: International airfare, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.
Accommodation: All lodges are of a good standard and offer en-suite rooms.
Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with regular birding walks along roads and well marked trails. There are early morning options and pre-breakfast excursions, followed by morning and afternoon sessions. The weather is generally good to warm, even hot, but also possibilities of rain in the afternoons. Be prepared for all eventualities.