Cuba Bird Survey

Cuban Tody © Bob Speare, Mass Audubon
View the Slideshow


February 2015

Bob Speare was joined by fifteen Mass Audubon travelers to explore Cuba’s rich combination of diverse birding opportunities, variable landscape, endearing people, and unique cultural history.

From a natural history perspective, Cuba never fails to please. The group successfully logged over 150 bird species during ten days of intensive birding, including no fewer than 23 of Cuba’s endemic species found nowhere else in the world!

They also had the opportunity to see a number of North American neotropical migrants—species that either spend the winter in Cuba or else stop there on their way to other tropical destinations. They were fortunate to visit several of Cuba’s most spectacular parks, reserves, and Important Bird Areas (IBAs), along with experiencing a variety of Cuba’s rich biodiversity.

Avian Highlights

  • Cuban Pygmy Owl quietly perched on a slender branch
  • Three elusive Blue-headed Quail-Doves, calmly feeding on a shaded forest trail only meters away
  • Views of the Bee Hummingbird—the smallest bird in the world
  • Cuban Green Woodpecker hammering away on a branch directly over the trail

Other Highlights

  • Yuri and Luis, the talented local hosts and guides who so graciously articulated answers the many questions about culture and the natural history of their country
  • Visit with Cuban Ornithologist Orlando Garrido at his home in Havana 
  • The local guides who so eagerly shared their passion for their country’s special birds, or the folks in restaurants, shops, and galleries who were delighted by the interest in their culture.