Cuba - Cayo Coco - March 2015

Published by Jim Frost (jfrost8401 AT

Participants: Jim Frost, Megan Frost


We stayed in the Hotel Pestana from 4-18 March 2015. This was basically low key birding around the hotels with guided birding on three days by the excellent Paulino Lopez Delgado, complete with his 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air.

The hotel was surprisingly good for birds. We recorded more than 40 species in the grounds or from the beach, including Great Lizard Cuckoo, Key West Quail Dove, three species of woodpecker and a good range of wintering American warblers. The easy endemics like the hummingbird, spindalis and oriole were also available. There are lagoons a short walk away in both directions holding most of the common herons and some waders.

The tourist bus (5 CUC return) goes to the Melia Cayo Coco which has a lagoon with Cuban Martin and West Indian Whistling Duck and White-winged Dove in its grounds. In the other direction, the lagoons after the causeway to Cayo Guillermo hold the whistling duck, flamingo, spoonbill, ibises and a good range of waders.

Paulino took us a trip to the mainland which gave us the trogon, tody, pygmy owl, palm swift and the two blackbirds. Two half days on the keys gave us all the hoped-for species except Thick-billed Warbler, including Zapata Sparrow, Gundlack's Hawk, Piping Plover and Oriente Warbler. Paulino is an excellent guide with good English, and he will do his best to find you requested species (Northern Jacana and Limpkin in my case, both missed in Florida).

Species Lists

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchus
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Neotropic or Olivaceous Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Egretta alba
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens
Tricoloured Heron Egretta tricolor
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violaceus
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Caribbean Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
West Indian or Black-billed Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna arborea
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Snail or Everglade Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis
Gundlach's Hawk Accipiter gundlachi
Cuban Black-Hawk Buteogallus gundlachii
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Merlin Falco columbarius
Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris
Common Gallinule Gallinula galatea
American Coot Fulica americana
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
Black-necked or South American Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Grey or Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Willet Tringa semipalmata
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sanderling Calidris alba
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala
Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
Key West Quail-Dove Geotrygon chrysia
Great Lizard-Cuckoo Saurothera merlini
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Cuban Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium siju
Antillean Palm-Swift Tachornis phoenicobia
Cuban Emerald Chlorostilbon ricordii
Cuban Trogon Priotelus temnurus
Cuban Tody Todus multicolor
West Indian Woodpecker Melanerpes superciliaris
Cuban Green Woodpecker Xiphidiopicus percussus
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
Cuban Martin Progne cryptoleuca
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Bahama Mockingbird Mimus gundlachii
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Red-legged Thrush Turdus plumbeus
Cuban Gnatcatcher Polioptila lembeyei
La Sagra's Flycatcher Myiarchus sagrae
Cuban or Crescent-eyed Pewee Contopus caribaeus
Loggerhead Kingbird Tyrannus caudifasciatus
Cuban Vireo Vireo gundlachii
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Northern Parula Parula americana
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Cape May Warbler Dendroica tigrina
Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens
Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica
Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorus
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
Oriente Warbler Teretistris fornsi
Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Western Spindalis Spindalis zena
Greater Antillean Oriole Icterus dominicensis
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Cuban Blackbird Dives atroviolacea
Greater Antillean Grackle Quiscalus niger
Tawny-shouldered Blackbird Agelaius humeralis
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Zapata or Cuban Sparrow Torreornis inexpectata
Cuban Bullfinch Melopyrrha nigra
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea