Bird Watching in Puerto Rico

Tourists come to Puerto Rico throughout the year, most frequently from cruise ships. While there are plenty of things to do on the island, birding in Puerto Rico is definitely not to be missed.

Puerto Rico is a beautiful collection of islands. Most people think of Puerto Rico as one big island. In fact, there is the island of Puerto Rico and the territory of Puerto Rico. The territory, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, actually consists of one large island and several small islands, some of which are uninhabited.

Puerto Rico is ideal for bird watching because the temperature remains fairly constant. Bird watchers can expect temperatures to be in the low eighties for most of the year. The lack of seasons makes it possible to enjoy the hobby throughout the year. On the island you can see more than fifty species of birds, some of which are native to Puerto Rico. Bird watching can be done all over the island, although some spots are more popular than others. The Cabo Rojo recreational area is located in the southwest. There is a Wildlife Refuge located there with quality birding trails. Visitors have the opportunity to view various endangered birds. There is a visitor center that can provide information and guidance. Cabo Rojo is also a great place for swimming as it has a beautiful white sand beach. There is also a lighthouse that was built in 1881. The view from the lighthouse, which overlooks a 200-foot drop into the sea, is breathtaking.

For many, the Puerto Rican Amazon is one of the main attractions when it comes to bird watching in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Amazon is the only surviving native Puerto Rican parrot. It is in extreme danger and is on the list of the ten most threatened bird species in the world. In the wild, it is estimated that only forty-four of these birds exist.

The Puerto Rican Amazon is a green parrot with blue-edged feathers. His forehead is red and his eyes are surrounded by white ovals. Its tail is greenish-yellow. As with many parrots, it is impossible to distinguish males from females except through DNA testing or by observing their mating behavior. At one point, the Puerto Rican Amazon was seen in great numbers. As the number of humans began to increase in Puerto Rico, the number of Puerto Rican Amazons began to decline rapidly. In 1975, the birds reached an all-time low, with only 13 in the world. Conservation efforts began in 1968 and in 1972 attempts to breed birds in captivity began. These efforts have been highly successful. When Hurricane Hugo hit Puerto Rico in 1989, many birds were lost, but now the population is growing and efforts to protect the birds continue.

Whether one comes to Puerto Rico to see the Puerto Rican Amazon or any of the fifty species of birds seen here, the birding opportunities are sure not to disappoint. People traveling to Puerto Rico on a cruise or other vacation should set aside some time to experience all that Puerto Rico birding has to offer.

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