28 Species Of Birds Unique to Jamaica

Jamaica has many species of spectacular endemic birds.

Jamaica, a Caribbean country, has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The island country also hosts several endemic species that have evolved over millions of years due to geographical isolation. Twenty-eight species of birds are also found only in Jamaica. They are listed below.

28. Jamaican Euphonia

This bird, the Euphonia jamaica, is a member of Fringillidae family. It is found in the moist lowland forests, both tropical and subtropical, and also survive in forests that have been heavily degraded. It is a Least Concern species on the IUCN Red List.

27. Jamaican Blackbird

The Nesopsar nigerrimus belongs to the Icteridae family. The bird has a restricted habitat in Jamaica. It is found in some John Crow and the Blue Mountains and the Cockpit Country of Jamaica. These birds spend most of their time on trees and are found in wet montane forests habitats. It is an endangered species with habitat loss being the major threat to the species.

26. Jamaican Spindalis

The Spindalis nigricephala is an endemic bird of Jamaica that belongs to the Thraupidae family. It is labeled as a Least Concern species by the IUCN due to the relatively stable populations of the bird in the country.

25. Yellow-shouldered Grassquit

This bird, the Loxipasser anoxanthus of the family Thraupidae, is found in the moist lowland and montane forests (both tropical and subtropical). This species of ‘Least Concern’ also inhabits degraded primary forests.

24. Orangequit

The Euneornis campestris also shares the same family and habitat as the yellow-shouldered grassquit. It is also classified as a ‘Least Concern’ species by the IUCN.

23. Arrowhead Warbler

The Setophaga pharetra, a bird of the Parulidae family, is found only in the moist montane forests of Jamaica. It is a ‘Least Concern’ species with a stable population.

22. White-chinned Thrush

A species of the Turdidae family, the Turdus aurantius is also one of the endemic birds of Jamaica. The birds have been recorded in the country’s Cayman Islands. It is found in both montane and lowland forests of tropical or subtropical nature. The birds are labeled as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List.

21. White-eyed Thrush

The Turdus jamaicensis shares the same habitat as the previous bird mentioned in the list and is also found in the Cayman Islands. The species also has a stable population.

20. Jamaican Crow

The Corvus jamaicensis is an endemic bird of Jamaica. It has a length ranging between 35 to 38 cm. It is found in woodlands interspersed with deforested habitats in Jamaica. It is mainly found at higher elevations but can be observed in lowland habitats during the dry season. It is also a species of ‘Least Concern.’

19. Jamaican Vireo

The Vireo modestus belongs to the Vireonidae family and lives in the dry and moist lowland forests as well as moist montane forests of Jamaica. It can also adapt itself to forests that have been degraded to a great extent.

18. Blue Mountain Vireo

The Vireo osburni is an endemic Jamaican bird that is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List. The bird has been recorded in the moist lowland and montane forests, degraded forests as well as plantations of Jamaica. Habitat loss is the biggest threat to this species.

17. Jamaican Becard

The Pachyramphus niger, a member of the Tityridae family, is also found only in Jamaican forests. The bird inhabits both lowland and montane tropical and subtropical forests in the country.

16. Jamaican Elaenia

The Myiopagis cotta of the Tyrannidae family is also a bird endemic to Jamaica. It is listed as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List. It also shares the same type of habitat as the Jamaican Becard.

15. Jamaican Pewee

The Contopus pallidus , a member of the Tyrannidae family, is also found only in Jamaica. Habitat destruction is believed to threaten the survival of this bird. However, it is still listed as a ‘Least Concern’ species on the IUCN Red List.

14. Sad Flycatcher

A member of the Tyrannidae family, the Myiarchus barbirostris, also known as the Little Tom Fool is found in Jamaica’s lowland and montane forests. It is also found in degraded former forests. It is the smallest of three Myiarchus flycatcher species found in the country.

13. Rufous-tailed Flycatcher

Another Myiarchus flycatcher found in Jamaica, the Myiarchus validus is also endemic to the Caribbean country. It also shares the same habitat as the sad flycatcher and can be distinguished from it by the rufous color visible in its tail and wings.

12. Black-billed Amazon

The Amazona agilis is a parrot species that is found only in Jamaica. The black bill of the parrot easily distinguishes it from other parrots in its range. It is the smallest Amazona parrot with an average length of only 25 cm. The bird has been recorded in the mountainous rainforests of Jamaica. It is most common in the limestone rainforests of the country. IUCN labels this species as ‘Vulnerable’ as poaching, the capture of the parrots for the pet trade, and habitat destruction threatens the survival of the species.

11. Yellow-billed Amazon

The Amazona collaria is another parrot species that is endemic to Jamaica. The parrot is distinguished by its yellow beak. Its neck and throat are pink and plumage is green in color. The bird inhabits the lowland, montane, and mangrove forests in the country. It also occurs in rural gardens and plantations. The parrot is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN and is threatened by capture for illegal trade and habitat loss.

10. Jamaican Woodpecker

The Melanerpes radiolatus belongs to the Picidae family and is the only woodpecker species that is native to Jamaica. It inhabits the moist lowland forests and degraded former forests in Jamaica.

9. Jamaican Tody

The Todus todus, a small and vibrant bird with a red throat, green upper parts, and yellow underparts, is an endemic bird of Jamaica. It nests in burrows in rotted wood or muddy banks.

8. Jamaican Mango

The Anthracothorax mango is a hummingbird belonging to the Trochilidae family. This endemic Jamaican bird occurs in the moist lowland forests of the country.

7. Red-billed Streamertail

The Trochilus polytmus, is the country’s national bird. It is the most widespread and abundant hummingbird found in the nation. It is, however, found only in the island’s eastern section. The bird is locally known as the “doctor bird.” The birds are colored bright green and have black tails and crowns.

6. Jamaican Poorwill

The Siphonorhis americana is a critically endangered species that is endemic to Jamaica. The species is also possibly extinct. Introduced predators and habitat destruction are held responsible for pushing the bird to the brink of extinction. The nightjar inhabits the tropical dry shrublands and forests of Jamaica.

5. Jamaican Owl

The Pseudoscops grammicus is an owl that is found only in Jamaica. The bird is primarily found in open habitats with a sparse distribution of trees, preferably in lowland areas. The nocturnal species hunt insects, rodents, small birds, amphibians, reptiles, etc., at night. The Jamaican owl is labeled as a ‘Least Concern’ species due to its stable and widespread populations.

4. Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo

The Coccyzus pluvialis belongs to the Cuculidae family. The bird occurs in Jamaica’s moist lowland forests (both tropical and subtropical). It is also found in former forests that have been heavily degraded.

3. Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo

The Coccyzus vetula shares the same type of habitat as the chestnut-bellied cuckoo. It is one of the two endemic cuckoo species found in Jamaica.

2. Ring-tailed Pigeon

The Patagioenas caribaea is one of the members of the Columbidae family that are endemic to Jamaica. The bird occurs in the moist lowland and montane forests of the country. Indiscriminate loss of habitat threatens the species. The ring-tailed pigeon is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.

1. Crested Quail-dove

A near-threatened species, the Geotrygon versicolor is also a member of the Columbidae family. The birds have been recorded in the moist montane forests of the island.

About the Author

Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.


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