Here in Puerto Rico the holiday season is in full swing and it won’t wind down until mid-January. One reason to visit is to celebrate Christmas New Year’s. Another is to watch for birds! If you’re an avid bird-watcher, there’s no better place to be than Fajardo this winter.
Here’s everything you need to know about Puerto Rico’s avifauna.
Puerto Rico is home to more than 120 birds.
In Puerto Rico, about 120 bird species – native and those deliberately introduced – regularly nest on the island. While numbers closer to 400 have been reported, not all species are endemic and some are spotted rarely. There are those, too, that breed elsewhere and spend winters in the tropics here or on other Caribbean islands.
According to some, Puerto Rico is an incubator of evolution, with 17 surviving native species thriving on the island. By comparison, the 48 contiguous United States is more than 800 times the size of Puerto Rico, yet house only 11 surviving species.
El Yunque houses many endemic bird species.
El Yunque is a one-stop haven for birding lovers. Here, you’ll see a variety of species including:
- Endemics: Tody, Woodpecker, Spindalis, Bullfinch, Tanager, Lizard Cuckoo, Oriole, Screech Owl, Green Mango, Emerald, Flycatcher, Adelaide´s Warbler, Puerto Rican Amazon, Elfin-Woods Warbler, and Vireo
- Near endemics: Loggerhead Kingbird, Antillean Euphonia, Lesser Antillean Pewee (rare)
- Antillean & Caribbean specialties: Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Antillean Mango, Green-throated Carib
Puerto Rico is not immune to extinction
In Puerto Rico, at least five endemic birds have gone extinct in recent millennia. The exact cause of this mass extinction is unknown, but some attribute it to climate change while other to the Taino Indians. Puerto Rico had a large flightless rail that was hunted by the Taino as well as a native woodcock, quail-dove, barn owl, and finch.
Moreover, studies suggest that there were 50 to 60 species of endemic parrots, parakeets and macaws at the time humans arrived in the West Indies. Since then all but 12 of have gone extinct. If it weren’t for the efforts of conservationists beginning in the 1960s, it’s likely several more species would be extinct as well.
The Fajardo Inn is a bird-lover’s paradise.
The Fajardo Inn is just minutes away from El Yunque, plus, our beautiful property is home to many species of exotic birds. So, come visit us this winter! We offer packages and tours for bird watchers and adventurers alike. For more information, visit our Packages and Tours page.