Birding Dominican Republic

Bird Watching Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic is a fantastic experience for bird enthusiasts. The country is home to a diverse range of bird species, including both resident and migratory birds. With its varied ecosystems, such as rainforests, mangroves, and coastal areas, the Dominican Republic offers excellent birding opportunities. Popular birding destinations in the country include the Jaragua National Park, Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, and Los Haitises National Park. These areas provide habitats for a wide array of bird species, including the Hispaniolan parrot, Hispaniolan woodpecker, and the endemic Hispaniolan trogon. To make the most of your birding experience, it is recommended to hire a local birding guide From Booking Adventures, who is knowledgeable about the region's avian species and their habitats. They can help you spot and identify different bird species, as well as provide valuable insights into their behavior and conservation efforts. Remember to respect the natural environment and follow ethical birding practices, such as maintaining a safe distance from the birds and their nests, and refraining from disturbing their natural behaviors.

Bird Watching Dominican Republic 

Situated at the center of the West Indies, Hispaniola is also the center of its avian endemism, with approximately 36 species and three families found nowhere else.  This is due in part to its size, as it is the only Caribbean island with a deep interior, and to the diversity of its landscapes, which include the tallest mountains in the region and the widest range of habitats, from deserts to cloud forests.

Conveniently for visiting birdwatchers, all of Hispaniola’s major habitats and all but two of its endemics can be found in the southwestern corner of the Dominican Republic, where a two-hour drive separates the sweltering flats of the Enriquillo Basin from the crisp mountain air of the Sierra de Bahoruco.  

Dominican Republic with a highly diverse avifauna of more than 300 species. In addition to 32 endemic bird species, the country hosts an impressive assemblage of permanent resident species, overwintering migrants, and other transient species that stop to rest and refuel enroute to more southerly wintering or northern breeding areas. The island of Hispaniola’s high level of endemism and its contribution to global biodiversity have earned it the highest ranking of biological importance in a worldwide assessment of bird protection priorities. The most important places for birding are Los Haitises National Park, Cotubanama National Park, Bahoruco National Park and Santo Domingo area.

This diversity of bird species is, in part, a result of Hispaniola’s complex geologic history; the island is the most geographically diverse in the Caribbean. Having Pico Duarte, the highest mountain in the Caribbean, to Lago Enriquillo as the lowest place which is more than 40 meters below sea level, key habitats include isolated cloud forests, extensive pine stands, classic dry forest, limestone karst regions, thorn woodlands of acacia and cactus, sand dunes, mudflats, and mangrove swamps.

The Hispaniola’s most distinctive birds are found only in the densely vegetated cloud forests where the rarest endemics include the White-fronted Quail-Dove (Geotrygon leucometopius), Hispaniolan Trogon (Priotelus roseigaster), La Selle Thrush (Turdus swalesi), Hispaniolan Highland-Tanager (Xenoligea montana) and both the Western Chat-Tanager (Calyptophilus tertius) and Eastern Chat-Tanager (Calyptophilus frugivorous). Here too is the rare and globally vulnerable Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli), an equally difficult species to find on either breeding or wintering grounds, but restricted almost entirely to Dominican forests in the winter months.

Other Dominican specialties can be found even higher up in the Dominican Republic’s high-alpine pine forests. Endemics include the conspicuous Hispaniolan Pewee (Contopus hispaniolensis), as well as the Antillean Siskin (Carduelis dominicensis), Hispaniolan Palm Crow (Corvus palmarum), and the Hispaniolan Crossbill (Loxia megaplaga).

But many other, generally more common, island and regional endemism occur at lower elevations and in more anthropogenic habitats. These include the large number and variety of North American migrants, especially wood warblers, shorebirds and waterfowl.

Our local staff Halle  Jackson is one of your hosts for all the birding experiences in the Dominican republic, he has more than 13 years in the travel industry and as a member of the National Naturalist Academy of Interpreter he specializes in ecotourism and birding. 

He is also cofounder of Booking Adventures a local travel company that works with different NGOs, tour guide and boat companies all over the country, this company was also founded by Misael Calcano Silven who works as a National Tour Guide in the country and local birder in the DR.

Endemics Species From Dominican Republic 

  1. Antillean Piculet
  2. Antillean Siskin
  3. Ashy-faced Owl
  4. Bay-breasted Cuckoo
  5. Black-crowned Palm-Tanager
  6. Broad-billed Tody
  7. Eastern Chat-Tanager
  8. Flat-billed Vireo
  9. Golden Swallow
  10. Gray-crowned Palm-Tanager
  11. Green-tailed Warbler
  12. Hispaniolan Burrowing Owl
  13. Hispaniolan Crossbill
  14. Hispaniolan Elaenia
  15. Hispaniolan Emerald
  16. Hispaniolan Euphonia
  17. Hispaniolan Kestrel
  18. Hispaniolan Kingbird
  19. Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo
  20. Hispaniolan Mango
  21. Hispaniolan Nightjar
  22. Hispaniolan Oriole
  23. Hispaniolan Palm Crow
  24. Hispaniolan Parakeet
  25. Hispaniolan Parrot
  26. Hispaniolan Pewee
  27. Hispaniolan Sharp-shinned Hawk
  28. Hispaniolan Spindalis
  29. Hispaniolan Trogon
  30. Hispaniolan Woodpecker
  31. La Selle Thrush
  32. Least Pauraque
  33. Narrow-billed Tody
  34. Palmchat
  35. Ridgway’s Hawk
  36. Western Chat-Tanager
  37. White-fronted Quail-Dove
  38. White-necked Crow
  39. White-winged Warbler

What are the best places for birding in the Dominican Republic?


Santo Domingo, Botanical Garden

As Santo Domingo might be your arrival and departure airport for the Dominican Republic anyway, you should definitely stop for 1 or 2 nights at this melting pot of different cultures with a cross-section of the whole Dominican society. In the morning, you can head to the Botanical Garden where you can observe the two species mentioned in the introduction or other endemic birds such as the Black-whiskered Vireo or the Antillean Palm Swift. 

After the Botanical Garden you should take some hours in the afternoon exploring the ancient streets of the Zona Colonial with its multi-coloured buildings and unique colonial atmosphere. The capital will be a great starting point for your birding vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Parque Nacional Los Haitises

Los Haitises National Park is a popular destination for nature lovers and bird watchers alike. While most people head out by boat to explore the park and its caves, islands and wildlife (incl. fregate birds and pelicans + the humpback whales which are migrating here each year from January to March), there is also the option to participate in specialized bird watching tours. 

Cordillera Septentrional (Northern Mountain Range).

If you are on a tour around the country and you would like to throw in some easily accessible birding in the Dominican Republic, a stay at our “Sustainable eco-lodge with spectacular views” is highly recommended. It is located north of Puerto Plata and Sosua and fits in well into any itinerary that includes the North Coast. While the accommodation itself is outstanding thanks to its unique design with open, airy and light-flooded casitas and unparalleled ocean views, the surrounding areas offer fantastic bird watching opportunities.

The Southwest of the Dominican Republic, Southern Part

The Bahoruco mountain range divides this peninsula into two parts, where the southern part is the more accessible one. It can be perfectly combined with a visit to the pristine and absolutely untouched beach of Bahía de las Águilas and stunning drives along the panoramic route from Barahona to Pedernales. 

This road also serves as your gateway to access the birding spots in the Southwest of the Dominican Republic, such as the Hoyo de Pelempito, the Laguna Oviedo and the Cachote cloud forest. Species observable here include the Hispaniolan Crossbills, Antillean Siskins, Golden Swallows, Dominican Pine Warblers, Palm Crows and Easter Chat Tanagers. The Laguna Oviedo is also famous for its Flamingos and Roseate Spoonbills and is easily accessible by boat.

The Southwest of the Dominican Republic, Northern Part

If you are planning birding as your main activity, your visit to the country is not complete without traveling to the area between Lago Enriquillo and the Bahoruco Mountain Range. The region is famous among birdwatchers, as it offers an eco-lodge especially for these kinds of stays with screened cabins and birding trails starting directly from the property. Around the lodge and in higher elevation areas which are accessible by 4×4-tours, common species are La Selle Thrush, Western Chat Tanager, White-winged Warbler, Rufous Throated Solitaire, Hispaniolan Trogon and the White-fronted Quail Dove.

Our recommendation: Accessibility for bird watching to this part of the country is not easy, but with our experienced drivers and guides we will make it possible to visit this remote part of the Dominican Republic.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many bird species are in the Dominican Republic?

The Hispaniola has 32 endemic species.

How many endemic species are in the Dominican Republic ?

The Hispaniola has 306 species of birds, half are migratory and 32 of them are endemic species.

Can you see parrots in the Dominican Republic?

There are three species of parrots occur in the Dominican Republic: (A) the Hispaniolan amazon (A. ventralis), (B) the Hispaniolan parakeet (P. chloropterus), and (C) the Jamaican parakeet (Eupsittula nana). 

What time of year is best for birding?

Birds can be seen all year round, but there are certain times of year that are more productive for birders interested in seeing a wide range of species. Migration: Spring and fall migration are two of the best times to see many birds.

What is the best time to go birding?

Generally, morning is best, and earlier is better than later, but with some qualifiers. Of course, it depends on what kind of birding you’re doing. Hawk migration peaks in mid to late morning, falcons in late afternoon, hummingbirds and waterbirds are active all day, and so on.

What hours are birds most active?

The best birding is often between dawn and 11am, when birds are most active. This is particularly the case in the spring and early summer, when birds sing in the early morning. (On cloudy days, birds sometimes remain active, and singing, longer.)

What is the National Bird of the Dominican Republic?

The national bird of the Dominican Republic is the palmchat. The palmchat are noisy social birds that can be found throughout the island in very visible, large nests.

Why the Dominican Republic for birding?

Quisqueya’s bird fauna has relatively high numbers of endemic and regional endemic species. In comparison with countries with similar sized landmasses on the American continent, like Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Suriname, Hispaniola has fewer species and fewer bird families represented, but it has many more endemics.

According to the Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti approximately 306 bird species have been reported on Hispaniola (although this has since been superseded with new observations with a total of 319). About half of these are migrants, including vagrants and rare migrants. The rest are resident birds.

How many endemic species does the Dominican Republic have?

The island has 32 endemic species, They include such abundant birds as the Hispaniolan Woodpecker and the Palmchat, and other rare and spectacular treats as the Bay-breasted Cuckoo, Hispaniolan Crossbill, and La Selle’s Thrush. Perhaps the rarest of all is the highly endangered Ridgway’s Hawk. The only endemic Hispaniola bird species not seen (or very rarely seen) in the DR is the Grey-crowned Palm Tanager, restricted mainly to Southwestern Haiti.