Nature Canada

Birds of Cuba

The vast majority of Canadians who visit Cuba on winter vacations stay at all-inclusive resorts in   Verradero, Guardalavaca and Caya Coco. For those who venture beyond the perimeter of the resorts there is abundant bird life in numerous national parks and protected areas.

My spouse and I just returned from Cuba. From Trinidad de Cuba on the Caribbean side of the island, we bicycled to Playa Ancon, and passed a few coastal wetlands on route. Dozens of White Herons, Cattle Egrets, White Ibises and Black-necked Stilts. Turkey Vultures are everywhere in the skies of in rural Cuba it seems.

The next day we went hiking in the Guamuhaya Mountains 20 km or so west of Trinidad. Part of the time we hiked through a government-owned coffee plantation (shaded by banana and pine trees).The rest of the hike was in Topes De Collantes National Park in forest dominated by mahogany, hibiscus and pine trees as well as invasive trees such as Vietnam bamboo and Mimosa. Here we saw a Cuban Trogon (also known as Tocororo–Cuba’s national bird), a Cuban Tody (a hummingbird-size bird that belongs to the same family as the Belted Kingfisher) and a Cuban Oriole.

Curiously, Havana has a few of the same urban species as cities in eastern Canada (House Sparrow, Mourning Dove). Not much to report on Havana wildlife, other than the nocturnal human wildlife at La Zorro y El Cuervo (Vixen and Fox) jazz club where we enjoyed an excellent contemporary Cuban jazz band.

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