This is the Bee Hummingbird. The female is left and the male is below. They are the smallest birds in the world. They are about 2.5 inches in length, the male smaller than the female. Our guide brought us to someone’s home who had these birds in their backyard. We sat and watched as the birds went from flower to flower.

Birding Cuba

Seeing its endemic species, meeting its people, viewing the landscape and visiting some of its main cities.

Months ago a few of us planned a trip to Cuba. Our goals were to see and learn about as many endemic bird species as we could, meet the Cuban people and get a feeling for the country. Some of the impetus came from a fear that the country was changing rapidly and that the now pristine birding areas would be destroyed to make way for hotels, tourist attractions and industry. We traveled many miles on some bumpy roads to look for some special birds. We didn’t see all of the endemics but we saw many. We saw a great deal of the countryside and endured a lot of time in our van as various species were all in different locations. We stayed in Hostals. These were small buildings or rooms that belonged to local people. While accommodations were not five star, we were always comfortable and very well fed. The many Cubans we met were gracious and welcoming and we were always glad to know them. Together there were seven of us, five birders and our Cuban birding guide and driver.

I’ve separated the photos into different sections. First are the birds. For the most part, I didn’t include birds we see in the USA. We did see many of the same species we see in Florida and the northeast. The second section has photos of the cities and countryside. Next are some photos of our group and then the cars, which were as much fun for me as the birds. I know people have many questions about Cuba. I can say it simply, it’s complicated. We sensed good and bad but never spoke politics with Cubans. As you look at the photos of the landscapes, I hope you get a sense of Cuba.

You can quickly link to another sections or just begin here and the rest flows. Cuba People, Landscapes, All of Us and Cars of Cuba.

These are Greater Flamingos. We were lucky to be able to get into a rowboat and get fairly close to the birds. Trying to photograph them from a rowboat was not easy.

A Cuban Black Hawk that our guide sighted as we drove. It was a great spot. In Cuba, it’s easy to screech to a halt on the highway for a bird, as there are relatively few motorized vehicles compared to the USA. Modern cars are used to circumventing horse drawn carts, bicyclists, motor scooters, ancient tractors and trucks going very slowly.

Who doesn’t like owls? This is a Bare-legged Owl, a Cuban endemic. We also had a few sightings of the Cuban Pygmy Owl but I was not able to get a clear shot.

A male Cuban Grassquit. There were many, attracted by seed put down by a farmer.

A Yellow-faced Grassquit foraging.

A Cuban Bullfinch, also found in Grand Cayman Island

A Greater Antillean Grackle getting some water.

The Cuban Emerald, a fairly common species. It is also found in the Bahamas.

The Red-legged Thrush reminded me of our Robin. Not an endemic but a permanent resident in Cuba.

Some might agree this is one of Cuba’s most beautiful birds, the Cuban Trogon.

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