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10 - 24 August 2002

by Robert Machover

I was in Haiti from August 10 to August 24, 2002.  The visit was not primarily for birding, though I managed to get out to a few places beyond the grounds of the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince.  A three-day trip, 8/17-19, into the Massif de la Selle provided a good opportunity to see some highland species and a mere 45 minutes at Trou Caiman, a shallow lake within striking distance of Port-au-Prince, was remarkably productive, even without a scope.  

Note: in the Massif de la Selle we were based in an unusual rustic auberge near the village of Seguin.  It is owned by an Italian who lives in Jacmel and is run by a multi-lingual Haitian who is devoted to the preservation of what native pine forest is still left in the area

What follows is a complete list, with notes, of birds seen and/or heard:



Tricolored Heron

4 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Little Blue Heron

3 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Cattle Egret

Common in lowlands.

Green Heron

2 at Trou Caiman, 8/21 and 1 on river bank near Jacmel, 8/17.

Greater Flamingo

300 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.


1 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Red-tailed Hawk

1, Massif de la Selle, 1800m, 8/19.

American Kestrel

4 near Trou Caiman, 8/21, and another 4 in various places, sea level to 500m.

Northern Bobwhite

Many heard, Massif de la Selle, 1700-2000m, 8/18-19.

Black-necked Stilt

8 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Black-bellied Plover

1 on jetty at Kyona Beach and another in roadside wet area off Rte 1, near Cabaret, 8/23.

Semi-palmated Plover

1 in wet area near Cabaret, 8/23.

Wilson’s Plover

2 in wet area near Cabaret, 8/23.


6 in open area, 1700m, Massif de la Selle, 8/17 and 1 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Greater Yellowlegs

10 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Lesser Yellowlegs

5 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Spotted Sandpiper

2 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Semi-palmated Sandpiper

20 at Trou Caiman, 8/21 and 10 in wet area near Cabaret, 8/23.

Least Sandpiper

6 at Trou Caiman, 8/21 and 1 near Cabaret, 8/23.

Short-billed Dowitcher

1 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Least Tern

20 at Trou Caiman, 8/21.

Black Tern

2 at Trou Caiman, 8/21. One bird in full alternate plumage, the other molting in basic.

Rock Dove

No comment.

Plain Pigeon??

I thought at least a few of the columbines flying in the Trou Caiman area were this species.

Mourning Dove

Surprisingly common, from sea level to 1800m.

Common Ground Dove

Far fewer than MoDo, though still common, sea level to 1800m.

Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo

4 seen during a 6 hour walk, Massif de la Selle, 1800-2000m, 8/18.

Bay-breasted Cuckoo

1 flew across the road by the sea, east of Jacmel, 8/19.

Smooth-billed Ani

1 seen in foothills of Massif de la Selle, between Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, 8/17.

Barn Owl

1 heard in Hotel Oloffson grounds, 8/21.

Black Swift

One large group (80 birds?) flew over Hotel Oloffson grounds on 8/16 and small numbers seen over foothills and mountains, from 200m to 1800m, Massif de la Selle.

White-collared Swift

At least 1, flying with Black Swifts, over the Oloffson, 8/16.

Antillean Palm-Swift

Abundant, from sea level to about 1000m.

Antillean Mango

1 male seen at 1900m, Massif de la Selle.

Vervain Hummingbird

Ubiquitous in the Oloffson grounds.

Broad-billed Tody

1 in trees by Kyona Beach.

Narrow-billed Tody

1 at almost 2000m, Massif de la Selle, 8/18.

Hispaniolan Woodpecker

Everywhere! Sea level to 1800m.

Hispaniolan Pewee

Saw a pair actively flycatching in foothills, 800m, 8/19.

Gray Kingbird

5-6 heard/seen in open areas, 1600-1800m, Massif de la Selle, 8/17-19.

Loggerhead Kingbird

1 seen at about 1200m, Massif de la Selle, 8/19. Identified by solid black crown and long bill. Notably different jizz from Gray Kingbird. Noticed obvious rufous in primaries and tail that field guides don’t mention!

Cave Swallow

Small colony at about 1000m, Massif de la Selle, 8/19.


Like the woodpecker, everywhere, only more so. Widespread and abundant, sea level to 1800m.

Northern Mockingbird

4-5 seen and/or heard, between 1200 and 1800m.

Rufous-throated Solitaire

5-6 heard and one seen very well, Massif de la Selle, 1850-2000m.

Hispaniolan Palm-Crow

3 separate sightings of calling pairs – two pairs at 1800m in the Massif de la Selle on 8/18 and another pair over Port-au-Prince. Heard other crows in the mountains that I thought might have been White-necked but never saw them.

Village Weaver

A number of flocks between sea level and 600m. Largest colony on Rte 1, ~15 miles north of Port-au-Prince.

Pine Warbler

At least 4 seen in pines, Massif de la Selle, 1850m. Including 2 singing males.

American Redstart

1 in Oloffson grounds, 8/12 and 1 in foothills of the Massif de la Selle at 1200m, 8/19.

Green-tailed Ground Warbler

3 seen in Massif de la Selle, 1900-2000m, 8/18. Seemed to be very common in its limited habitat.


Common on Olaffson grounds. Watched nest building going on from the restaurant/porch of the hotel.

Black-crowned Palm Tanager

Not very conspicuous but widespread and common, from sea level to 1800m. I saw them on the Oloffson grounds, in high mountain scrub in the Massif de la Selle and in the trees around Kyona Beach.

Yellow-faced Grassquit

Common in grassy and agricultural areas, Massif de la Selle, 1400-1900m.

Black-faced Grassquit

As with Yellow-faced. The two species seem to overlap in distribution.

Greater Antillean Grackle

Large flock (500-700 birds) seen feeding in the highest agricultural areas (1800m), Massif de la Selle.

Black-cowled Oriole

3 seen together at 600m, foothills of the Massif de la Selle, 8/19.

Antillean Siskin

Common from 1800m up. I must have seen at least a dozen birds and heard others, 8/18.

White-winged Crossbill

I heard but did not see a few of this species in pines, 1900m, Massif de la Selle, 8/18.

House Sparrow

Heard on grounds of Kaliko Beach Resort

Note: Lower down the mountain, at about 600m, I saw a single swallow that baffled me completely.  The upperparts were uniformly blue and the underparts bright white, much like a Tree Swallow – except this bird had a complete white-collar around the neck!  I know it sounds like a swift of some sort but it wasn’t.  The shape and mode of flight was definitely like a swallow.