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Grand Cayman Island Guide: Bird Watching

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Indigenous Brown Booby


Cayman Brac Parrot

Home to over 200 species of birds, the Cayman Islands offers visitors birding experiences of a lifetime. Boasting hundreds of species of rare and colorful birds, the Cayman Islands is a prime destination for bird-watching, one of the biggest and fastest growing outdoor activities in the world. The recent extraordinary popularity growth of bird-watching as a hobby, along with the wave of interest in exploring, protecting and learning about the environment, is steering bird-watchers to this natural paradise – known to many only for its pristine beaches, incredible diving and unique culture and history..

The trio of islands – Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac – are home to over 200 species of birds including 50 resident species and many breeding migrants. Five seabird colonies of the native brown booby, red-footed booby, least tern, and white-tailed tropicbird inhabit the area, while the beauty and stature of the West Indian woodpecker and stripe-headed tanager leave birders awe-struck and continually coming back for more. There are a total of seven protected bird sanctuaries in Grand Cayman for birders to enjoy including the QE II Botanic Park, Collier’s Pond, Salina Reserve, and the Majestic Reserve.

Further contributing to this bird-watching and environmentalist haven, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands manages a 180-acre parrot reserve in Cayman Brac, on the Brac’s distinctive Bluff, for the indigenous Cayman Brac parrot. The National Trust also operates single-species conservation programs for both the Brac parrot and the native Grand Cayman parrot – both sub species of the Cuban parrot.

The striking brown and red-footed boobies are protected in Little Cayman’s most important wildlife habitat, the Booby Pond Reserve. Owned primarily by the National Trust, the reserve ensures that the area will not be disturbed or threatened by commercial development as the island grows. Comprised of a saltwater pond and surrounding mangrove habitat, this 204-acre site is home to the largest breeding colonies of red-footed boobies in the Western Hemisphere (an estimated 5,000 nesting pairs), a massive frigatebird colony and a large heronry.

For both the casual vacationing bird-watcher and the elite birder in search of the magnificent frigatebird, the unique avian species and spectacular natural beauty of the Cayman Islands combine to make a memorable bird-watching experience for all interest levels.


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Web Site & Most Photos by Mark File