Jean-Claude Jamoulle
A la rencontre des Oiseaux




The Caribbean or Antilles include the Caribbean Sea, numerous islands and the surrounding coasts. More than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays form island arcs, a type of archipelago in arc-shaped alignment.
The West indies include the Greater Antilles on the north, and the Lesser Antilles on south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), and the Bahama Archipelago (Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands).

There are two types of islands. Several islands such as Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas and Antigua, have relatively flat grounds of non-volcanic origin.
However, several other islands such as Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago, have rugged mountainous areas.

These islands have a tropical climate and the rains vary according to the elevation. The mountainous islands show both rainforest and semi-desert areas, created by warm, moist trade winds. The sun shines all year round, with six dry months in the first half of the year, and six wet months in the last half. Hurricanes sometimes batter the region.

There are numerous endemic bird species in the West Indies. Several species can occur in a limited area and nowhere else, but a bird species can also be endemic to the whole region or only to a few islands, or to one single island or to part of it.

There are about 150 endemic bird species in the Caribbean, but more than 550 species have been recorded in the area. Many species are vulnerable to habitat loss, introduced predators, human developments and pet trade, the latter leading several species to extinction. This is especially the case of the Cuban Red Macaw (Ara tricolor), whereas the hypothetical Martinique Amazon (Amazona martinicana) suffered habitat loss due to clearance for agriculture, but several other birds are threatened or are yet extinct.    

Lesser Antilles' endemic bird species

Barbados Bullfinch - Loxigilla barbadensis - Sporophile de Barbade   

Barbuda Warbler - Setophaga súbita - Paruline de Barbuda

Blue-headed Hummingbird - Cyanophaia bicolor - Colibri à tête bleue

Brown Trembler - Cinclocerthia ruficauda - Trembleur brun

Forest Thrush - Cichlherminia lherminieri - Grive à pieds jaunes

Grenada Dove - Leptotila wellsi - Colombe de Grenade   

Grenada Flycatcher - Myiarchus nugator - Tyran bavard

Grey Trembler - Cinclocerthia gutturalis -  Trembleur gris

Guadeloupe Woodpecker - Melanerpes herminieri - Pic de Guadeloupe

Imperial Parrot - Amazona imperialis - Amazone impériale

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch - Loxigilla noctis - Sporophile rougegorge

Lesser Antillean Flycatcher - Myiarchus oberi - Tyran janeau

Lesser Antillean Pewee - Contopus latirostris - Moucherolle gobemouche

Lesser Antillean Saltator - Saltator albicollis - Saltator gros-bec

Lesser Antillean Swift - Chaetura martinica - Martinet chiquesol

Lesser Antillean Tanager - Tangara cucullata - Calliste dos-bleu

Martinique Oriole - Icterus bonana - Oriole de Martinique

Montserrat Oriole - Icterus oberi - Oriole de Montserrat

Plumbeous Warbler - Setophaga plumbea - Paruline caféiette

Purple-throated Carib - Eulampis jugularis - Colibri madère

Scaly-breasted Thrasher - Allenia fusca - Moqueur grivotte

Semper's Warbler - Leucopeza semperi - Paruline pied-blanc

St. Lucia Black Finch - Melanospiza richardsoni - Moisson pied-blanc

St. Lucia Oriole - Icterus laudabilis - Oriole de Sainte-Lucie

St. Lucia Parrot - Amazona versicolor -  Amazone de Sainte-Lucie

St. Lucia Warbler - Setophaga delicata - Paruline de Sainte-Lucie

St. Vincent Parrot - Amazona guildingii - Amazone de Saint-Vincent

Red-necked Parrot - Amazona arausiaca - Amazone de Bouquet

Whistling Warbler - Catharopeza bishopi - Paruline de Saint-Vincent   

White-breasted Thrasher - Ramphocinclus brachyurus - Moqueur gorge-blanche


Greater Antilles' endemic bird species

Puerto Rico's endemic bird species

Cuba's endemic bird species

Cayman Islands

Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic)



Non endemic bird species present in the West Indies

American Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruber - Flamant des Caraïbes

Antillean Crested Hummingbird – Orthorhynchus cristatus – Colibri huppé

Antillean Nighthawk - Chordeiles gundlachii - Engoulevent piramidig

Greater Antillean Grackle - Quiscalus niger – Quiscale noir

Green-throated Carib - Eulampis holosericeus - Colibri falle-vert

Hispaniolan Woodpecker - Melanerpes striatus - Pic d’Hispaniola

Pearly-eyed Thrasher – Margarops fuscatus – Moqueur corossol

Red-legged Thrush – Turdus plumbeus – Merle vantard

White-cheeked Pintail - Anas bahamensis - Canard des Bahamas

White-crowned Pigeon - Patagioenas leucocephala - Pigeon à couronne blanche


Illustrations :

John Gerrard Keulemans (1842-1912)


Sources :

BIRDS OF THE WEST INDIES – by Herbert Raffaele, Kristin Williams et Tracy Pedersen – Helm – ISBN: 9780713649055

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

BirdLife International (BirdLife International)


HBW Alive


Cuban Red Macaw
Martinique Amazon