Saint Lucian parrot by well known
artist, Daniel Jean-Baptiste
Birding is becoming a very popular activity in Saint Lucia as there exists a large variety of interesting and attractive species on island. Much of this is due to the wide array of habitats the island features – dry coastal areas, lush rain forests, scrub forests, rugged sea cliffs, etc – and the resulting variety of foods that appeal to various species.
Six species are found nowhere else in the world – the St. Lucia Parrot, St. Lucia Peewee, St. Lucia Warbler, St. Lucia Oriole, St. Lucia Black Finch and Semper’s Warbler (which is critically endangered or possibly extinct).
Below is a brief description of some of the more popular and exotic birds found on island followed by lists of birds that can be readily found when looking in the proper habitat. In the lists, unless otherwise noted, the birds are found year-round.
The St. Lucian Parrot
The St. Lucian Parrot (Amazona versicolor), our national bird, is known locally as the Jacquot and is found only in Saint Lucia. This beautiful bird is mainly green in color, with a blue forehead, turquoise and green on the cheeks and red breast. Parrots, which are often encountered in pairs, are found in the rain forest where they feed on the fruits, nuts, and berries of the surrounding trees. The species had declined from around 1,000 birds in the 1950s to 150 birds in the late 1970s. At that point a conservation program was begun which resulted in a very successful comeback to where the parrots are fairly common in the island’s forests today.
These magnificent large birds are seen soaring effortlessly over the sea and are able to stay aloft for more than a week at a time. Mostly iridescent black in colour, the male features a red throat pouch, the female a white breast. Males have wingspans of over two meters. They roost on sea cliffs or in crudely constructed nests in trees. Frigates feed by scooping fish, small turtles and other prey from the sea or beach or by stealing that caught by other birds.
There are three species of boobies found in Saint Lucia, the masked booby, red-footed booby and brown booby. Boobies feed by plunging from great heights deep into the sea to pursue their prey which is mostly fish. They have air sacs under their facial skin that cushions the impact. Boobies got their name by being extremely gullible and easy to catch as they often will land on ships at sea making for an easy meal for sailors in centuries past. Boobies nest on cliffs or in trees.
A powerful bird of prey, the broad-winged hawk can have a wingspan of up to one meter. They are named for their relatively short broad wings that taper quickly to a point giving them a recognizable appearance during flight. Broad-winged hawks are found in all types of forested areas on island and typically hunt by perching in a tree and watching with their keen eyes for prey to appear below. Rodents, amphibians, lizards and insects make up their typical diet.
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch
These very common birds are known by many island visitors due to their habit of feeding from tables in the island’s open-air restaurants. Some of the more aggressive individuals may even challenge you for your food while you’re dining! The male is black with a reddish-orange throat; females are a brownish grey colour.
Three species of hummingbirds are very common on island – the purple-throated carib, green-throated carib and Antillean crested hummingbird. All have very striking appearances with colourful florescent markings. Each species has its own favourite habitat but, depending on where guests are staying, one or more of the species of hummingbirds can be commonly seen sipping nectar from the flowers at most of the island’s resorts.
White Breasted Thrasher
The white breasted thrasher is a critically endangered species found only in very limited areas in Saint Lucia and Martinique. In Saint Lucia the bird is primarily found in a couple of small areas along the island’s east coast between Dennery and Micoud as it prefers dry scrub forest habitats. Efforts have been made to preserve these habitats to maintain the very limited numbers of individuals that are left.
The bananaquit is a honeycreeper with a black back, white eyebrow stripe and wing spots and yellow breast and belly. It uses its down-curved bill to pierce the base of flowers for their nectar; they feed on insects as well. Bananaquits are very common around flower gardens and are readily seen on island resorts.
St. Lucia Peewee
This species of flycatcher is found only in Saint Lucia. Common over much of the island the peewee perches on tree branches and continually flies out and back on the lookout for insects. Grey with a golden breast, they are fun little birds to watch.
Common in Saint Lucia
Little Blue Heron
Black-bellied Plover (Aug-May)
Semipalmated Plover (Aug-May)
Spotted Sandpiper (Aug-May)
Solitary Sandpiper (Sep-May)
Greater Yellowlegs (Aug-May)
Lesser Yellowlegs (Aug-Oct; Mar-May)
Ruddy Turnstone (Aug-May)
Sanderling (Sep-Oct; Mar-Apr)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Aug-May)
Laughing Gull (Apr-Sep)
Sooty Tern (May-Aug)
Bridled Tern (Apr-Aug)
Least Tern (Sep-Mar)
Common Tern (May-Oct)
Royal Tern (Oct-Apr)
Lesser Antillean Swift
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
St. Lucia Peewee
Lesser Antillean Flycatcher
Bank Swallow (Sep-Oct; Apr-May)
Barn Swallow (Sep-Oct; Apr-May)
St. Lucia Warbler
Northern Waterthrush (Sep-Apr)
St. Lucia Black Finch
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch
Lesser Antillean Saltator
St. Lucia Oriole
Uncommon in Saint Lucia
Pied-billed Grebe (Oct-Mar)
Greater Shearwater (May-Jul)
Sooty Shearwater (May-Jul)
Great Blue Heron (Oct-Apr)
Great Egret (Sep-Apr)
Little Egret (Sep-Jun)
American Wigeon (Oct-Apr)
Northern Pintail (Sep-Apr)
Northern Shoveler (Oct-May)
Lesser Scaup (Nov-Mar)
Peregrine Falcon (Oct-Apr)
Black-necked Stilt (Mar-Oct)
American Golden-Plover (Aug-Nov)
Wilson’s Snipe (Oct-Apr)
Short-billed Dowitcher (Aug-Apr)
Hudsonian Godwit (Sep-Oct)
Western Sandpiper (Sep-Mar)
Least Sandpiper (Aug-Mar)
White-rumped Sandpiper (Aug-Oct; Mar-Apr)
Baird’s Sandpiper (Sep-Oct; Mar-Apr)
Pectoral Sandpiper (Aug-Nov)
Stilt Sandpiper (Aug-Nov)
Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Sep-Nov; Apr)
American Herring Gull (Oct-Mar)
Black-legged Kittiwake (Dec-Mar)
Gull-billed Tern (Oct-Aug)
Roseate Tern (Apr-Sep)
Sandwich Tern (Oct-Mar)
Pomarine Jaeger (Oct-May)
St. Lucia Parrot
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Sep-Oct; Mar-Apr)
Black Swift (Apr-Sep)
Cliff Swallow (Aug-Dec; Mar-Apr)
Yellow-throated Vireo (Sep-Apr)
Northern Parula (Aug-May)
Cape May Warbler (Oct-Apr)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Nov-Mar)
Blackpoll Warbler (Oct-Nov)
Black-and-white Warbler (Aug-Apr)
American Redstart (Aug-May)
Prothonotary Warbler (Aug-Mar)
Learn more on Birds of St. Lucia.com