Birding Tour Cuba: Great Caribbean Birding and Endemics 2018

Duration: 11 days

The smallest bird on the planet, Bee Hummingbird, a myriad Cuban Todies and Cuban Trogons in every patch of scrub, and a host of other endemics and regional specials – all on an island paradise that is safe and full of history! Combining this 11-day ‘Birding Tour Cuba’ adventure with our Jamaica tour provides opportunities to see almost 60 single-island endemics spread across the two islands: Cuba, the largest of the Greater Antilles, and Jamaica, the smallest of the main islands in the group. In addition, we will have chances to find a number of multi-island endemics and regional specialities, some of which may, in the future, be upgraded in their taxonomic status.

On Birding Tour Cuba we aim to find all of Cuba’s realistic avian endemics, a host of wider Caribbean endemics, and, finally, a bunch of north American migrants (like a stack of brightly-colored wood warblers), while also having time to snorkel during the heat of the day when not birding, to see the amazing architecture not only of Cuba’s capital but also of Camagüey and other towns, and of course to enjoy the old American cars and the general atmosphere of this tropical paradise. It’s quite an easy tour, in which we find the birds we need without too much trouble (except for a couple of them, such as the quail-doves, that require persistence).

Shortly after arriving in the charismatic city of Havana, as the next stage of Birding Tour Cuba we immediately head to the picturesquely mountainous and very bird-rich La Güira National Park. Here we search the caves where Che Guevara hid during the Cuban missile crisis, looking for our first of many endemics, Cuban Solitaire. We then return to Havana, where we look, on foot, at some of the main historical sites and catch some of the amazing vibe.

With much anticipation we then proceed to Cuba’s famous Zapata Swamp, one of the richest single sites throughout the West Indies, which continues across much of the western two-thirds of this island – which is widely regarded as the last bastion of communism in the world, but is now gradually becoming slightly more liberalized. We will have good chances of finding all of Cuba’s endemics, with the exception of the near-mythical Zapata Rail, whose voice is still not definitely known, and the extremely rare Cuban Kite, which is restricted to the extreme east of the island and requires a trip of near-expedition proportions for any chance of seeing it.

We then proceed to a chain of islands connected to the mainland by a 17 mile (27 km) long causeway, seeking Bahama Mockingbird, some Cuban endemics reaching the western limit of their range here, Mangrove Cuckoo, and more.

Eventually we clean up on the birding at Sierra de Najasa and then either drive back to Havana for your international flights home or continue to Santiago de Cuba to island-hop to Jamaica for the next tour.

This tour can be combined with our Birding Tour Jamaica: Jamaica at Its Best 2018 tour for a very comprehensive birding experience in the Caribbean.

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