Red-billed Streamertail

Dubi Shapiro
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Jamaica is the third largest island in the West Indies after Cuba and Hispaniola. It was first sighted in 1494 by Christopher Columbus.
The island is in the Caribbean Sea, and is about 235 kilometres long and from 35 to 82 kilometres wide. The national capital is Kingston.

The island interior consists mainly of mountains and plateaus, and almost half of the surface is more than 300 metres above sea-level. But in the east, the Blue Mountains rise to 2,256 metres of elevation, with the highest point of the island, the Blue Mountain Peak. Coastal plains encircle the island, with the largest alluvial plains located in the south.

The climate is tropical, with hot and humid weather, but more temperate in the higher inland areas. The island sometimes suffers storm damage because it is located in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean.

In order to preserve the potential of the environment, several areas are now protected.
The animal life is typical of the Caribbean with highly diversified wildlife and numerous endemic species including 28 bird species. The island is home of hummingbirds, and the Red-billed Streamertail, locally known as “doctor bird” is Jamaica’s National Symbol. However, many beautiful and exotic birds can be found on the island.
The other wildlife includes bats, and introduced wild boars and Asian Mongoose. But reptiles such as crocodiles, lizards, iguanas and snakes are common in some areas, as well freshwater turtles and treefrogs.

Despite being a small nation, the culture of Jamaica has strong global presence. Among numerous musical genres, the internationally known reggae musician Bob Marley was also Jamaican. The reggae was first created in Jamaica in the late 1960s, speaking about life ups and downs. This music became popular around the world.  

Christopher Columbus considered Jamaica to be “the fairest isle that eyes have beheld”. Today, the travellers still regard this island as one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.               

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


Encyclopaedia Britannica – Jamaica

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Facts About Jamaica

The Doctor Bird


Species list:

Sources: Avibase (Lepage Denis)


Arrowhead Warbler - Setophaga pharetra - Paruline de la Jamaïque

Black-billed Amazon - Amazona agilis - Amazone verte

Blue Mountain Vireo - Vireo osburni - Viréo d’Osburn

Crested Quail-Dove - Geotrygon versicolor - Colombe versicolore

Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo - Coccyzus pluvialis - Piaye (ou Tacco) de pluie

Jamaican Becard - Pachyramphus niger - Bécarde de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Blackbird - Nesopsar nigerrimus - Carouge de Jamaïque

Jamaican Crow - Corvus jamaicensis - Corneille de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Elaenia - Myiopagis cotta - Elénie de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Euphonia - Euphonia jamaica - Organiste de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo - Coccyzus vetula - Tacco de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Mango - Anthracothorax mango - Mango de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Owl - Pseudoscops grammicus - Hibou de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Poorwill - Siphonorhis americana - Engoulevent de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Pewee - Contopus pallidus - Moucherolle de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Spindalis - Spindalis nigricephala - Zéna de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Tody - Todus todus - Todier de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Vireo - Vireo modestus - Viréo de la Jamaïque

Jamaican Woodpecker - Melanerpes radiolatus - Pic de la Jamaïque

Orangequit - Euneornis campestris - Pique-orange de la Jamaïque

Red-billed Streamertail - Trochilus polytmus - Colibri à tête noire

Ring-tailed Pigeon - Patagioenas caribaea - Pigeon de la Jamaïque

Rufous-tailed Flycatcher - Myiarchus validus - Tyran à queue rousse

Sad Flycatcher - Myiarchus barbirostris - Tyran triste

White-chinned Thrush - Turdus aurantius - Merle à miroir

White-eyed Thrush - Turdus jamaicensis - Merle aux yeux blancs

Yellow-billed Amazon - Amazona collaria - Amazone sasabé

Yellow-shouldered Grassquit - Loxipasser anoxanthus - Sporophile mantelé