Bird watching in Puerto Rico - Atabey

Guabairo of Puerto Rico on litter in the soil of the Dry Forest of Guanica. (Photo by Mike Morel 2007, taken from

By Marielisa Ortiz Berríos
Atabey Magazine

Excessive development, destruction of forests and environmental pollution in Puerto Rico, among other environmental problems resulting from human actions, have affected certain species of flora and fauna, to the point where some are protected by state and federal laws. However, the island still retains a great biodiversity that is admired, studied and photographed by Puerto Ricans and foreigners. Such is the case of the wild bird population.

On the island there are ornithologists and observers of professional, volunteer and amateur birds who contribute with their experience and dedication to the investigative and informative work of zoology. Annual census, seasonal censuses and wing counts are carried out in order to maintain a record of the species that visit and inhabit the archipelago.

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The little girl was very excited! He closed the book in his hands and ran to the house to find his mother. His mother could not believe what he was seeing! Maria smiled from ear to ear She felt so, so happy! ...

According to the bird catalog of the Puerto Rican Ornithological Society, better known for its acronyms SOPI, in Puerto Rico there are about 354 birds, between introduced, native and endemic. Several of the natives, 17 in all, are the bienteveo, the calandria, the woodpecker, the commune, the Puerto Rican parrot, the guabairo, the juí, the tearful, the ladybug, the mocca, the bobo bird, the reinita of dwarf forest, the butterflies' reinita, the san pedrito, the green buzzer and the buzzer. Some of the native and introduced are the chiriría, the chorizo ​​duck, the brown pelican, the tjereta, the yaboa americana, the common falcon, the black guaraguao, the widow, beach boys and the parakeet.

Capuchulgus noctitherus , another endemic bird, is a nocturnal bird, rare and very local. Its mottled brown color makes it camouflage to perfection. Singing is a quick series of "uip" notes, emitted from a branch. It is found mostly in dry coastal scrublands in highly localized areas of southwestern Puerto Rico. The guabairo of Puerto Rico lies in the branches during the night, from where it takes flight to catch insects. This wing needs forests with litter to nest. He does not build a nest, but puts one or two eggs directly on the litter. The eggs are light brown, with dark brown or purple spots.

Anthracothorax viridis , lesser known as a green buzzer, is another natural species from Puerto Rico. It is a large hummingbird with a curved beak. Both sexes are green above and below, with the blue tail. The intensity of the color depends on the angle of the sun. His voice is a severe chirp and lives in forests and coffee plantations. It feeds mainly on insects, such as beetles and flies; spiders and nectar. Buzzers can see ultraviolet light, which allows them to detect patterns in flowers that the human eye can not distinguish. The tiny cup-shaped nest is built of plant fibers and is lined with lichs outside. The female lays two white eggs.

The Puerto Rican parrot, Amazona vittata ​​em>, is an example of an endemic species threatened and protected by state and federal laws. Several decades ago it was reduced to very few individuals. Currently the state government, represented by the DRNA, and the federal government with its Forest Service, maintain aviaries in the forests of Rio Abajo, located between Arecibo-Utuado and El Yunque, in Rio Grande, where the parrot is cared for in captivity to achieve its reproduction and release to the wild.

To be an observer of these endemic birds and all that inhabit Puerto Rico first it is important to love nature and respect the environment. A birdwatcher needs the senses of sight and hearing in order to appreciate the birdlife of the Island. Little by little and as he gains experience, he will know the most important places where they live, their names and sounds that emit.

The biodiversity of Puerto Rico depends to a large extent on the efforts of Puerto Ricans. Promulge the appreciation of the flora and wild fauna of our archipelago and be part of that cosmos without harming or affect it. Birds and humans have lived millions of years on this Earth. Let's continue fostering this coexistence.