Jamaica is famous for its coastline—sandy beaches and of course plenty of resorts. But if you take the time to go beyond the beach—and you should—you will find that Jamaica has an astonishing diversity of climate, landscape, vegetation, and birds.
Jamaica’s bird life is composed of about 307 species, including 127 breeding species and 180 migrants. Twenty-nine species are endemic, and there are four endemic genera: Streamertails (Trochilus); Yellow-shouldered Grassquit (Loxipasser); Orangequit (Euneornis); and Jamaican Blackbird (Nesopsar).
One of the most unique habitat types on the island include the dry and wet limestone forests. Along the coast, dry limestone forest is one of the most widely distributed habitats and is used year-round by Caribbean endemics: the White-crowned Pigeon, Caribbean Dove, and Jamaica endemics: Olive-throated Parakeet, Jamaican Mango, Jamaican Woodpecker, and Jamaican Vireo.
Wet limestone forests occur in the rugged John Crow Mountains, Dolphin Head, Cockpit Country, and Mount Diablo regions. Here you can see a range of endemics including Jamaican Crow, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Parrots, Jamaican Tody, and Arrowhead Warbler.
Though Jamaica has a number of parks and protected areas, they are generally under-funded and their management and protection is bolstered by non-governmental groups such as Jamaica Conservation Development Trust, who helps manage the expansive Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. Tourism is an important source of revenue for these groups, so definitely put a birding trip to Jamaica on your list!