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07 - 20 February 2003

by Philip Unitt

We left San Diego by van at 6 AM on 7 February.  Bob Parks drove most of our group to the Los Angeles airport, where we arrived around 8:30, thanks to being able to drive in carpool lanes the whole way.  Our flight was a charter on TACA, the airline of central America.  Security in LA was a trial; we had to go through the whole inspection procedure twice, including the shoe check.  I got so frazzled I dropped my boarding pass in the trash!  (Recovered safely after about 10 minutes of panic.) The flight to Havana was uneventful, and we landed about 7 PM.  Clearing customs in Cuba took about 2 hours standing in line.  At least there was a television in the waiting area--broadcasting speeches by Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro!  Welcome to Cuba!  

Finally we made it to the front of the line; a rather surly agent named Vladimir didn't like the looks of my sunscreen-stained passport and gave me the once-over.  But we all made it through with no problems and retrieved our luggage.  As soon as we left the terminal we were met by Elio Cordero, the guide for our tour provided by Havanatur, a state-run tour company, and by Andrea Holbrook, the Florida-based American tour operator.  A bus was waiting too, which took us to the Hotel Telégrafo in downtown Havana, a 45-minute drive away.  After dark we couldn't see much of Havana.  Once we arrived, we learned that the next leg of our journey was rescheduled; our flight to Cayo Coco, the next stop on our itinerary, was now leaving at dawn.  So it was a short night.

On 8 February we arose before dawn and met the remaining 4 people of our group who for various reasons weren't on the flight from Los Angeles, plus Arturo Kirkconnell, our bird guide and coauthor of the Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba.  We were driven to another airport and took off, heading east along Cuba's north coast.  

Arturo began regaling us with tales right away, including the story of the recent discovery of a potoo in Cuba (first specimen taken by a farmer who struck the roosting bird over the head with a stick).  The Common Potoo is known from Jamaica and Hispaniola, but this is the first evidence of a potoo on Cuba since an unconfirmed sight report in the middle of the 19th century!  Flying along the north shore of Cuba, we could see many tiny cays, scattered over the shallow sea.  We landed at Cayo Coco about 8:30 and were met by our bus and driver Jose A. Quesada, who drove us across the island to our hotel.  Cayo Coco is one of the larger cays off Cuba's north coast and largely covered in woodland about 20 feet high, except where it has been cleared for hotels.  

The island is being developed for tourism; in fact, it is a "concentration camp for tourists," a place of self-contained resorts where tourists come for sun and fun and beach without mixing with the locals.  All the workers at the hotels are bused in and out each day.  A little taste of apartheid under communism....  Our birding today took us to some woodland near the hotel where the highlight, and one of the first birds we saw was the Zapata Sparrow, subspecies varonai endemic to Cayo Coco and discovered only in the 1970s.  Its size, shape, behavior, and head markings all recalled the Green-tailed Towhee.  

We also did some water birding, in the afternoon finding a lagoon filled with herons and shorebirds including a few Roseate Spoonbills.  Many lagoons had only a few birds, so we were glad to find one with a lot.  In the late afternoon we drove to Cayo Guillermo, just west of Cayo Coco, the site for the Bahama Mockingbird.  Arturo amazed us by insisting it was at this spot when at first all we saw were lots of Northern Mockingbirds, yet the Bahama soon emerged from the thick brush, only a few feet away from a Northern!  We finished the day with nearly 70 species, a great start to the trip.

On the morning of 9 February we drove east, from Cayo Coco over a bridge to Cayo Romano and north to the lighthouse on Cayo Paredon Grande, the site for the Cuban Gnatcatcher and Thick-billed Vireo.  We all saw the gnatcatcher very well, and very close.  The vireos were more difficult, and not all of us had good views.  But a Cuban Green Woodpecker and La Sagra's Flycatcher helped make this a good birding spot regardless.  Boldly patterned in green, red, yellow, black and white, the Cuban Green Woodpecker is spectacular, and its scientific name is one of my world-wide favorites: Xiphidiopicus percussus.  We stopped at the bridge between Cayo Coco and Cayo Romano to check for Lesser Black-backed Gull--one of Cuba's few had been seen here.  But the only gulls were a few Ring-billed and Laughing.  

In the afternoon we went to an excellent birding spot nearer the hotel: Cueva del Jabali.  The woods right around the parking lot were very active, with birds coming to fruiting Bursera trees, great for the Stripe-headed Tanager, Red-legged Thrush, Oriente Warbler, Cuban Vireo, Gray Catbird, Parula and Black-throated Blue Warblers.  An Ovenbird strolled by on the ground, but the target was the Key West Quail Dove: Arturo had seen one fly in front of the bus as we drove up.  I spied a narrow opening through the woods and decided to watch for a minute.  

Shortly, I got the impression of movement deep in the shade.  I put my binoculars up, and was startled to see the brilliant white contrasting malar stripe on the otherwise dark body of the Key West Quail Dove!  Unfortunately, no one else could see it well as it retreated deeper into the forest.  Even the hotel grounds here were worth birding, featuring, among others, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (one still quite juvenile, even in February), Cuban Emeralds, and Yellow-throated and Cape May Warblers (including one male already largely in breeding plumage, with a little chestnut even on the throat).  

In the evening, Arturo got out his spotlight and we went searching for the noctural West Indian Whistling Duck--easily found swimming in a small flock right among the cabins of the hotel that had been built over the water.  Evidently the ducks roost by day, hidden in the mangroves.  We also searched that evening for the Chuck-will's-widow, but the spotlight revealed the deep red eyeshine and broad white tail band of a Greater Antillean Nightjar perched well up in a tree!

After birding around the hotel grounds on the morning of the 10th (lots of Greater Antillean Orioles, now split from the Black-cowled), we drove across the causeway south from Cayo Coco toward the mainland.  This was our chance to see Greater Flamingos, and we saw a small group of about 4 not far from the road, along with Reddish Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and Belted Kingfishers.  Once on the main island of Cuba, we headed east but stopped in the early afternoon at a large lake near the town of Morón.  Of note here were soaring Anhingas, a rather distant Snail Kite, an Osprey, the trip's only Northern Harrier, and a Pied-billed Grebe on its nest.  

The drive to Camagüey took most of the rest of the afternoon.  The hotel in that city was in the middle of town, where the streets are so narrow the city has quite the medieval air.  Our heaviest rain of the trip happened that afternoon, and brought out the Cave Swallows, recently returned spring migrants, circling around the buildings.  The hotel in Camagüey was much closer to "real" Cuba than Cayo Coco; musicians played in the hotel's dining room, then peddled their CDs.  At 9 PM the band was the opening act for a water ballet in the hotel's swimming pool.  Yes, it was staged for tourists, but the Cubans seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves.

11 February was a critical birding day for us.  We arose before dawn to drive toward the small town of Najasa.  We arrived at sunrise in a palm savanna alive with birds: the hooting of Plain Pigeons, the cawing of Palm Crows, and the parrotlike jabbering of Cuban Crows vied for our attention simultaneously.  Before we could all get on a Cuban Pygmy Owl, a flock of Cuban Parakeets distracted us, then Arturo heard the call of one of the critical birds for the area: Fernandina's Flicker.  We spotted it at some distance, got the scope on it, then it came in closer giving us all good views of its totally barred buff-and-black plumage.  Since I was a teenager, seeing the illustration in Bond's Birds of the West Indies, the ever so alliterative Fernandina's Flicker has been one of my favorite birds.  

A short hike to a pond yielded our first good view of the Great Lizard Cuckoo, the size of a Roadrunner, plus our first view of the exquisite Cuban Tody, patterned in green, white, and red, with a blush of blue on the cheeks.  We drove up to the faunal reserve of La Belén and picked up the reserve's ecologist, Armando.  

We ended up at the reserve's headquarters for lunch, being greeted by a flock of Cuban Parakeets in the surrounding trees.  We also saw our first pair of Cuban Parrots here.  After lunch I suggested we practice our newly acquired skills at identifying Cuba's many black birds: Tawny-shouldered Blackbirds, Cuban Blackbirds, and Shiny Cowbirds were all coming to horse corrals within the reserve.  (The reserve was once quite the luxurious villa--the playground of prerevolution aristocracy or Communist Party élite--or both?  Now the reserve was struggling to attract tourist dollars as well as to produce some honey.) Arturo spied another Cuban Pygmy Owl, and we all got terrific views through the scope.  

We still had not seen one of the critical birds for the day and stopped to pick up Arturo's friend Pedro, who had been studying the Giant Kingbird in the area.  After another hour in the afternoon sun searching for it fruitlessly, we headed toward the best spot, just outside the town of Najasa itself.  It was a bit of a hike in, as the dirt road couldn't accommodate the bus and a couple of gates were locked.  But once we got to the edge of the forest, we spotted the Giant Kingbird immediately, on the top of the tallest trees, as befits the world's largest flycatcher.  The Giant Kingbird, preferring tall gallery forest, has suffered much from habitat loss and is now rare and restricted to Cuba.

Before leaving Camagüey in the morning, some of us looked one last time from the rooftop of our downtown hotel, seeing the Cave Swallows and Cuban Martins circling the old stone buildings.  A scope view of a perched female Cuban Martin allowed us to study the unstreaked belly distinguishing her from the female Purple Martin (passes through Cuba later in the spring).  12 February was mostly a driving day, heading west across the flat expanse of central Cuba toward the town of Trinidad, one of Cuba's oldest.  

Arriving here, Elio took us on a tour of the old city's center, where some buildings have been restored as museums.  The "Museo Romantico" is one of these, where we saw the opulence--and garish taste--of the Spanish aristocracy on display.  The town is a tourist center: 2 or 3 blocks are devoted to sellers of souvenirs and handicrafts.  The town is also a center of Santería, the Afro-Cuban religion.  We passed an open house where a loud ceremony was underway (for the benefit of tourists?), and some of our group visited a Santería priest/fortune-teller than evening.

The vicinity of our hotel in Trinidad yielded a few birds in the morning, but we were soon on the road to the west again.  We made a few stops, scanning the skies for the White-collared Swifts Arturo knew to be in the area, but we actually spotted the birds through the window of the moving bus.  At our second stop we finally got a good view of these magnificent large swifts, black with a broad white collar.  A day of driving is a good place to mention the Cuban countryside: lots of sugarcane fields and cattle pastures with Cattle Egrets and Smooth-billed Anis in them but not much else.  

The rural areas are strikingly clean, with little of the litter one would see in similar areas of Mexico.  Accentuating the cleanliness is the complete lack of commercial advertising, just the occasional billboard with a communist slogan, an exhortation to conserve energy (all oil must be imported), or the message "consume only what is necessary." Communism does have some benefits!  The highways were almost devoid of traffic; if we wanted to stop for a bird, we could stop the bus in the middle of the road with no concern about blocking it.  Horse-drawn carts were just as frequent as motor vehicles in some areas; in the one issue of the newspaper "Granma" I read, a government minister was urging agricultural use of oxen as a measure to conserve on scarce imported oil.  I wonder, though, why Cuba does not follow the lead of Brazil and convert sugar cane into ethanol, thereby creating an indigenous source of energy?

In the afternoon of the 13th, we arrived on the east shore of the Bay of Pigs, having lunch at Cueva de los Peces, a sinkhole several hundred yards from the beach but that communicates with the sea, so that colorful tropical ocean fish can be seen easily through the clear water of the sinkhole.  This was a good birding spot, offering us a male Black-throated Blue Warbler (Arturo said that they sometimes filch food from the buffet).  Here we got our first view at a Cuban Trogon, Cuba's national bird, brilliantly colored and boldly patterned in green, blue, red, and white.  The Cuban Trogon's tail feathers are shaped strangely, with flaring tips that give the tail a ratcheted appearance.  

Later in the afternoon we checked into our hotel at Playa Larga, near the head of the Bay of Pigs, and met Osmani, a ranger in the nearby national park, our local guide, and a friend and protegé of Arturo's.  Then we walked a road through some nearby woodland, ending up at a swampy spot where Osmani had seen the Bee Hummingbird.  After some waiting and watching, the hummingbird arrived.  Unexpectedly for the world's smallest bird, it habitually perches atop tall trees, and this is what it did initially, singing a high-pitched trill, a noise that could easily be mistaken for an insect.  

But after a short time it came down to eye level, and we all got superb views of it, seeing the green of the upperparts and flanks turn to blue, and the red gorget that tapers to a point much as in Costa's Hummingbird.  The Bee Hummingbird's bill is quite short and held remarkably wide open when the bird sings.  The Cuban Emerald, Cuba's other hummingbird, is not large, but when one perched near the Bee Hummingbird it dwarfed it!  It was one of the highlights of the whole trip, and I was gratified that it had put on such a show for our participants, for most of whom the Bee Hummingbird was the most wanted bird.

On the morning of the 14th we headed back south along the east shore of the Bay of Pigs and a short distance inland to the area of Bermeja, where several trails crisscrossed the forest.  This was excellent for landbirds: Cuban Trogons, Cuban Todies, a pair of Fernandina's Flickers, many North American warblers.  The latter often flocked with the area's resident warbler, the Yellow-headed.  

After birding, we stopped in the nearby town of Playa Girón to visit the museum commemorating Cuba's victory at the Bay of Pigs in 1962--Playa Girón was the site of the landing of the CIA-trained counterrevolutionaries.  We paid our $2 to read the anti-American propaganda and see the American=-made weapons seized from the invaders.  The event has left a far bigger impression on Cuban history than it has on American.  The museum featured the dismal conditions in the Bay of Pigs region before the revolution and highlighted the revolution's positive achievements: improved health care, eliminating illiteracy, and improved rural housing.  The last is ongoing: 2 years ago a hurricane destroyed many houses in the area (and decimated the population of the Bee Hummingbird).  In the heat of the afternoon we returned to the hotel, but I noticed that Parula, Yellow-throated, Myrtle, and Prairie Warblers continued to feed in the tree outside my cabin, and that a pair of Zenaida Doves could be seen well on the ground nearby.

The 15th was devoted to one of the high points of the trip, the boat excursion through the Zapata Swamp.  It was the better part of an hour's drive to the park office where we met the boats.  We approached the swamp from the north, then, once we had apportioned our group among two boats, headed down the channel.  The birding was great, with many water birds (more Green Herons than you have ever seen before, lots of Purple Gallinules), a Snail Kite, great views of Cuban Green Woodpeckers and even a Cuban Pygmy Owl.  Passengers in one of the boats (not mine) saw a Zapata Sparrow.  We took the opportunity to scrutinize the waterthrushes along the channel, seeing the characters and behaviors distinguishing them as Louisiana.  

At the point where the man-made channel joined the river, we got out and walked a short distance to the edge of a large sawgrass marsh.  This was the habitat for the Zapata Wren, not only a species but genus of wren found only in the Zapata Swamp.  We found one in one of the clumps of shrubbery at the edge of the marsh.  The bird sang loudly but was difficult to see as it would not leave the cover of its shrub.  Ultimately, however, all of us got a good view of this bird that in plumage looks rather like a large House Wren with a thick bill but in behavior and nest architecture recalls a Marsh Wren.  On the way back from the Zapata Swamp we stopped at a roadside refreshment stand from which we could see Antillean Palm Swifts flying up into the palm-thatch roof of a bohio--a traditional small Cuban country house.

We had still not seen two of the critical species of the Bay of Pigs area, so on 16 February we returned to Bermeja with instructions to ignore all birds flying around in trees and instead to focus completely on the shyest terrestrial birds of the deep forest: the quail doves.  First, Arturo and Osmani heard the call of the Gray-headed Quail Dove and tried to walk around it so as to nudge the bird toward the rest of the group.  We all had to look through 50 layers of twigs.  After a few minutes I spotted it: pale gray head contrasting with dark purplish upperparts.  Though we saw it several times, not all of the group could get onto it, and finally it wandered off through the dense vegetation.  

Then the story was repeated a few minutes later with one of the most difficult of Cuba's endemic birds: the magnificent Blue-headed Quail Dove.  It got up on a branch about 5 feet off the ground but allowed only a few seconds' view both there and on the ground before retreating again in the dense undergrowth.  The afternoon was easier birding: a wetland near Playa Larga, a spot where Arturo and Osmani had seen Gundlach's Hawk, a rare island derivative of Cooper's Hawk.  We saw the Gundlach's Hawk only at a distance (the way closer was blocked by water), but this was a birdy spot with Cuban Parrots, a Solitary Sandpiper, and our first view of the rufous phase of Cuba's endemic subspecies of the Kestrel, among others.

17 February was another driving day, as we headed from Playa Larga northwest toward Havana.  We arrived in the city in the early afternoon, our first view of Havana by daylight.  We did a driving tour in the early afternoon, then Elio led us on a walking tour through the old city in the late afternoon.  Havana is like no place I have ever seen, more medieval than Paris with all its massive stone buildings, some dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.  Most are in terrible repair, some looking as if they had been bombed.  Some (probably fewer than 5%) have been rehabilitated into hotels, but most are still occupied by the locals, who have divided them into flats and lofts.

In the morning of 18 February we hit the road again, heading west into the mountains of Pinar del Rio Province.  We took a scenic route into the hills, stopping at a public orchid garden (former estate of the aristocracy), very nicely maintained, with a good variety of birds (Cuban Trogon, West Indian Woodpecker, Greater Antillean Oriole, Great Lizaard Cuckoo, etc.).  Nearby we heard our first haunting song of the Cuban Solitaire.  We lunched in Las Terrazas, a mountain tourist area, at a restaurant overlooking a lake, with more Antillean Palm Swifts flying into the palm-thatched roof directly over our heads.  Later in the afternoon we arrived at San Diego de los Baños, where we stayed in a hotel on the edge of town.  Los Baños--the baths or spa--are right next door to the hotel, and a couple of our participants indulged.  

While we were doing our bird list that evening, one of the hotel employees interrupted us to notify us that the Siguapa--the Stygian Owl--was calling from a treetop behind the hotel.  Arturo got out his spotlight and we saw this large dark owl--almost as large as a Great Horned--very well.  Yet another species of owl that evening was the Lechuza--the Barn Owl--perched in palm trees on the hotel grounds.  It turned its head to hide in the palm fronds when it was grilled with the spotlight.

19 February was our last full birding day.  Early in the morning we headed into the Sierra La Güira, a short distance from San Diego de los Baños.  The road rose steeply into the rugged limestone mountains with scattered groves of pines.  At one point the road was so rutted we had to unload the passengers from the bus so Jose could navigate with the vehicle as unencumbered as possible.  In the pine groves we soon found the Olive-capped Warbler, a Cuban derivative of the Yellow-throated/Grace's Warbler group.  We continued on to Cueva de los Portales, one of the highlights of the trip.  This cave was Che Guevara's hideout during the Cuban revolution and missile crisis.  It has now been converted into a park (with cabins for tourists, big surprise) and shrine.  The cave is surrounded by stonework (terraces, stairways, walkways, etc.) dating from the 1920s and now partly overgrown, making the place look like a set for Lord of the Rings!  A creek flows through a huge natural tunnel, about 75 feet long and 30 feet high--a hangout for Cave Swallows.  

But the key bird here is the Cuban Solitaire, whose song reverberates against the nearby cliffs and cave.  After visiting this spot, I have no doubt that Cuban Solitaires select their territories on the basis of their acoustic qualities, rock faces that help magnify the eerie sound.  Arturo stayed outside the cave to record the solitaires while the rest of us took a quick tour of the cave.  I found myself in role of translator!  Fortunately, the guide spoke slowly (Cubans can if they really want to!) and I could understand almost everything.  When Che Guevara had his headquarters there, the cave was divided into offices and departments.  Che's bunker is preserved in its original state, with his desk and, in a deep recess, bed kept they way they were in the early 1960s.  The cave, open on two ends, is like a natural cathedral, with Cuban Solitaires instead of an organ for music.  In an agricultural area nearby, we picked up the last of Cuba's endemic species we had not yet seen, the extremely difficult Zapata Rail excluded.  This was the strikingly patterned Cuban Grassquit.  

As soon as we got off the bus, Arturo and I saw two fly by, but the next few minutes' search revealed only two birds in a cage!  Arturo started talking with the owner about the ill effects of caging birds, and finally she relented, releasing them (probably thinking they could be caught easily again once these nosy visitors left).  A few minutes later, we found several free-flying Cuban Grassquits, coming down to bathe in water accumulated in some large leaves.  With the last of the endemics ticked off, we could finally just enjoy birdwatching!  We looked in some nearby forest with some pine leading up to an abandoned estate.  This was active (Rose-breasted Grosbeak, more Olive-capped Warblers, female Red-legged Honeycreepers, etc.).  

Arturo recognized the song of a Black-whiskered Vireo, making an unusually early arrival date for this summer visitor.  I was startled when a Ruddy Quail Dove came flying quickly by, missing me be just a few feet.  In the late afternoon we took another walk through the woods, enjoying our newfound familiarity with Cuban birds for almost the last time.  The Stygian Owl returned to its favorite perch behind the hotel, and this night we got out the scope, so our whole group as well as most of the hotel's employees could see it well.  The bird averted its gaze to avoid the glare of Arturo's spotlight.

On the morning of the 20th some of us couldn't resist one last hour's walk into the forest behind the hotel.  Even this was worthwhile, because Arturo recognized the call of a Giant Kingbird, making San Diego de los Baños a new site for the species.  And a local resident brought us a Great Lizard Cuckoo he had just found, dead on the road.  We headed back to the east, toward Havana.  One stop at a large reservoir a short distance to the west of the city yielded a large flock of Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks, the last species we added to the trip list.  Knowing our hotel rooms would not be ready until the late afternoon, in the early afternoon we toured Havana's enormous botanical garden, a good birding spot as well as of great interest for plants.  It would have been great to study the Cuban collection at length.

21 February was our last day.  Some of our group left in the morning; others of us went to Cuba's Natural History Museum (in the former U.S.  embassy) in old Havana, one block away from the oldest Spanish fort in Cuba).  The museum had only recently moved into this building, and much work remained to be done.  One of the museum's exhibits staff showed us their computerized plans for the new museum--once funds to make it possible could be found.  A very familiar story!  But it was impressive that the museum was thinking so ambitiously.  

We bid Arturo a fond farewell and scattered across the city for our last afternoon.  Jose and Elio drove us to the airport, and we exited Cuba much more smoothly than we had entered it.  Just a delay in refueling the airplane kept us on the ground an extra hour--and delayed our return to Los Angeles until nearly 1 AM.  The U.S.  customs inspectors were as eager to get home as we were and delayed us hardly at all.  Bob Parks, bless his soul, was ready and waiting for us, and drove us back to San Diego in the wee hours of the morning.

Though we had to make a number of midcourse corrections, the trip was well organized.  Arturo has been leading such tours for 15 years and knows exactly how much time to spend in what areas to maximize chances of seeing the resident and endemic species.  I cannot praise him highly enough.  Our driver Jose Quesada was terrific; we should request him specifically for any future trip.

Cuba is not easy birding--many of the resident species are rare or localized, taking considerable effort to see.  The legacy of being used as a sugar cane plantation for centuries hangs over Cuba.  Only a small fraction of the country can be considered more or less native habitat.  So I don't recommend Cuba to beginning birders.  But it offers a unique experience on many levels, and the more experienced would find it very exciting.  Sooner or later the U.S.  embargo as well as communism will collapse and the country will change radically.  The change may not benefit the birds.  So I hope the opportunity for those of you interested in going will come again soon.  Let me know if you are interested; there are several options to be considered in making another trip possible.

Common Name                  Scientific Name                  Days

Pied-billed Grebe            Podilymbus podiceps antillarum    10, 15, 18
Magnificent Frigatebird      Fregata magnificens    8, 9, 10
Neotropic Cormorant          Phalacrocorax brasilianus mexicanus    15
Double-crested Cormorant     Phalacrocorax auritus floridanus    8-11, 15
Anhinga                      Anhinga anhinga leucogaster    10, 15
Brown Pelican                Pelecanus occidentalis ssp.    8, 9, 10
Reddish Egret                Egretta rufescens rufescens    8, 9, 10
Tricolored Heron             Egretta tricolor ruficollis    8-11, 14, 15, 16
Little Blue Heron            Egretta caerulea    8-11, 13, 15, 18
Snowy Egret                  Egretta thula ssp.    8, 10, 11, 15, 19
Great Blue Heron             Ardea herodias ssp.    8, 10, 11, 15
Great Egret                  Ardea alba egretta    8-11, 13, 15
Cattle Egret                 Bubulcus ibis ibis    every day
Green Heron                  Butorides virescens virescens    8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron   Nyctanassa violacea violacea    14, 15
Black-crowned Night-Heron    Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli    15
White Ibis                   Eudocimus albus    8, 9
Glossy Ibis                  Plegadis falcinellus    10, 15, 18
Roseate Spoonbill            Platalea ajaja    8, 9, 10
Turkey Vulture               Cathartes aura aura    every day
Greater Flamingo             Phoenicopterus ruber ruber    10
West Indian Whistling-duck   Dendrocygna arborea    9
Ruddy Duck                   Oxyura jamaicensis    20
Blue-winged Teal             Anas discors    8, 9, 15, 20
Ring-necked Duck             Aythya collaris    20
Red-breasted Merganser       Mergus serrator    10
Osprey                       Pandion haliaetus ssp.    10, 11, 15
Snail Kite                   Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus    10, 15
Northern Harrier             Circus cyaneus hudsonius    10
Gundlach́s Hawk              Accipiter gundlachi    10, 16
Common Black Hawk            Buteogallus anthracinus gundlachii    8, 9
Broad-winged Hawk            Buteo platypterus cubanensis    15, 16, 19
Red-tailed Hawk              Buteo jamaicensis solitudinis    11, 13-16
Crested Caracara             Caracara cheriway cheriway    9, 10, 11
American Kestrel             Falco sparverius sparverioides    every day
Merlin                       Falco columbarius columbarius    11
Peregrine Falcon             Falco peregrinus ssp.    18
Northern Bobwhite            Colinus virginianus cubanensis    11
King Rail                    Rallus elegans ramsdeni    11
Purple Gallinule             Porphyrula martinica     15
Common Gallinule             Gallinula chloropus cerceris    10, 11, 13, 15, 18
American Coot                Fulica americana americana    10, 13
Limpkin                      Aramus guarauna pictus    10, 11, 15
Northern Jacana              Jacana spinosa spinosa    11, 13, 15, 16
Whimbrel                     Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus    8
Greater Yellowlegs           Tringa melanoleuca    8, 9
Lesser Yellowlegs            Tringa flavipes    8, 9
Solitary Sandpiper           Tringa solitaria solitaria    15
Spotted Sandpiper            Actitis macularia    8, 9, 10, 15
Willet                       Catoptrophorus semipalmatus ssp.    8
Ruddy Turnstone              Arenaria interpres ssp.    8, 9, 10
Sanderling                   Calidris alba    9
Semipalmated Sandpiper       Calidris pusilla    8
Short-billed Dowitcher       Limnodromus griseus ssp.    8, 10
Stilt Sandpiper              Calidris himantopus    8
Black-bellied Plover         Pluvialis squatarola    8
Semipalmated Plover          Charadrius semipalmatus    8
Killdeer                     Charadrius vociferus ssp.    8-11, 14-16, 18
Piping Plover                Charadrius melodus ssp.    9
Black-necked Stilt           Himantopus mexicanus    8, 9
Ring-billed Gull             Larus delawarensis    9
Laughing Gull                Larus atricilla    8, 9, 10, 20
Caspian Tern                 Sterna caspia    8
Royal Tern                   Sterna maxima maxima    8-11
Domestic Pigeon              Columba livia    10, 11, 13-15, 18
White-crowned Pigeon         Columba leucocephala    9, 14, 15
Scaly-naped Pigeon           Columba squamosa    19
Plain Pigeon                 Columba inornata inornata    11
Eurasian Collared Dove       Streptopelia decaocto    18
Mourning Dove                Zenaida macroura macroura    9-11, 13-16, 18, 19
Zenaida Dove                 Zenaida aurita zenaida    9, 10, 13-16, 18
White-winged Dove            Zenaida asiatica asiatica    8, 10, 11, 13, 19
Common Ground Dove           Columbina passerina insularis    8-11, 14-16, 19
Gray-headed Quail Dove       Geotrygon caniceps caniceps    16
Key West Quail Dove          Geotrygon chrysia    9, 19
Ruddy Quail Dove             Geotrygon montana    19
Blue-headed Quail-Dove       Starnoenas cyanocephala    16
Cuban Parakeet               Aratinga euops    11, 14
Cuban Parrot                 Amazona leucocephala leucocephala    11, 13-16
Great Lizard Cuckoo          Saurothera merlini merlini    8, 9, 11, 13-16, 18, 19
Smooth-billed Ani            Crotophaga ani    10, 11, 13-16, 18, 19
Barn Owl                     Tyto alba furcata    18
Bare-legged Owl              Gymnoglaux lawrencii    14
Cuban Pygmy-Owl              Glaucidium siju siju    11, 14, 15, 16
Stygian Owl                  Asio stygius siguapa    18, 19
Chuck-wilĺs-widow           Caprimulgus carolinensis    15
Greater Antillean Nightjar   Caprimulgus cubanensis cubanensis    9, 15
White-collared Swift         Streptoprocne zonaris pallidifrons    13
Antillean Palm Swift         Tachornis phoenicobia iradii    15, 18, 19, 20, 21
Cuban Emerald                Chlorostilbon ricordii ricordii    8-11, 13-16, 18, 19
Bee Hummingbird              Mellisuga helenae    13, 14, 16
Cuban Trogon                 Priotelus temnurus temnurus    13-16, 18, 19
Cuban Tody                   Todus multicolor    11, 13, 14, 16, 19
Belted Kingfisher            Ceryle alcyon    8-11, 14, 15, 16
West Indian Woodpecker       Melanerpes superciliaris superciliaris    11, 14-16, 18, 19
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     Sphyrapicus varius    8, 9, 11, 13-15
Cuban Green Woodpecker       Xiphidiopicus percussus percussus    9, 13-15, 19
Northern Flicker             Colaptes auratus chrysocaulosus    10, 15, 16
Fernandinás Flicker         Colaptes fernandinae    11, 14, 18
Cuban Pewee                  Contopus caribaeus caribaeus    8-10, 13-16, 18, 19
La Sagrás Flycatcher        Myiarchus sagrae sagrae    9, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19
Loggerhead Kingbird          Tyrannus caudifasciatus caudifasciatus    8-11, 13-16, 18, 19
Giant Kingbird               Tyrannus cubensis    11, 20
White-eyed Vireo             Vireo griseus ssp.    8, 19
Cuban Vireo                  Vireo gundlachii gundlachii/orientalis    8-11, 13-16, 18, 19
Thick-billed Vireo           Vireo crassirostris crassirostris    9
Yellow-throated Vireo        Vireo flavifrons    9
Black-whiskered Vireo        Vireo altiloquus barbatulus    19
Palm Crow                    Corvus palmarum minutus    11
Cuban Crow                   Corvus nasicus    11, 13, 15
Cuban Solitaire              Myadestes elisabeth elisabeth    18, 19
Red-legged Thrush            Turdus plumbeus rubripes    8-10, 13-16, 18, 19
Gray Catbird                 Dumetella carolinensis    8, 9, 11, 13-16, 19
Northern Mockingbird         Mimus polyglottos orpheus    every day
Bahama Mockingbird           Mimus gundlachii gundlachii    8
Zapata Wren                  Ferminia cerverai    15
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher        Polioptila caerulea caerulea    11, 13-16, 18
Cuban Gnatcatcher            Polioptila lembeyei    9
Tree Swallow                 Tachycineta bicolor    13, 15, 16, 18
Cuban Martin                 Progne cryptoleuca    11, 15, 16, 18
N. Rough-winged Swallow      Stelgidopteryx serripennis ssp.    11
Cave Swallow                 Pterochelidon fulva cavicola    9, 10, 13, 19
House Sparrow                Passer domesticus domesticus    10-13, 15, 18
Zapata Sparrow               Torreornis inexpectata varonai    8, 9, 15
Tennessee Warbler            Vermivora peregrina    18, 20
Northern Parula              Parula americana    9, 11, 13-16, 18, 19, 20
Yellow Warbler               Dendroica petechia gundlachi    8
Magnolia Warbler             Dendroica magnolia    14, 19
Cape May Warbler             Dendroica tigrina    8-11
Black-throated Blue Warbler  Dendroica caerulescens ssp.    8, 9, 11, 13-15
Yellow-rumped Warbler        Dendroica coronata coronata    8-11, 13-16, 19
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens    11, 14, 15, 18, 19
Yellow-throated Warbler      Dendroica dominica albilora    8-11, 13-15
Olive-capped Warbler         Dendroica pityophila    19
Prairie Warbler              Dendroica discolor ssp.    8, 9, 11, 13-15
Palm Warbler                 Dendroica palmarum palmarum    every day
Black-and-White Warbler      Mniotilta varia    8-11, 13-15, 18, 19
American Redstart            Setophaga ruticilla    9-11, 13-16, 18, 19
Worm-eating Warbler          Helmitheros vermivorus    14, 19
Ovenbird                     Seiurus aurocapillus ssp.    9, 14, 15, 18, 19
Northern Waterthrush         Seiurus noveboracensis    8, 9, 13, 19
Louisiana Waterthrush        Seiurus motacilla    15
Common Yellowthroat          Geothlypis trichas ssp.    8-11, 13, 15, 19
Yellow-headed Warbler        Teretistris fernandinae    14-16, 18, 19
Oriente Warbler              Teretistris fornsi    8, 9
Stripe-headed Tanager        Spindalis zena pretrei    8, 9, 11, 13-16, 19
Red-legged Honeycreeper      Cyanerpes cyaneus carneipes    19, 20
Cuban Bullfinch              Melopyrrha nigra nigra    8, 9, 13-16, 18, 19
Cuban Grassquit              Tiaris canora    19
Yellow-faced Grassquit       Tiaris olivacea olivacea    8-11, 13-16, 18, 19
Rose-breasted Grosbeak       Pheucticus ludovicianus    11, 19
Indigo Bunting               Passerina cyanea    13, 19
Painted Bunting              Passerina ciris    11
Baltimore Oriole             Icterus galbula    16
Greater Antillean Oriole     Icterus dominicensis melanopsis    8-10, 14-16, 18, 19
Red-shouldered Blackbird     Agelaius (phoeniceus) assimilis    15
Tawny-shouldered Blackbird   Agelaius humeralis humeralis    11, 13, 15, 18, 19
Eastern Meadowlark           Sturnella magna hippocrepis    10, 11
Cuban Blackbird              Dives atroviolacea    10, 11, 13-16, 18, 19
Greater Antillean Grackle    Quiscalus niger gundlachii/caribaeus    8-11, 14-16, 18, 19
Shiny Cowbird                Molothrus bonariensis ssp.    11

Philip Unitt
Collection Manager
Department of Birds and Mammals
San Diego Natural History Museum
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