Bonaire Backyard Birding Guide
Birdwatching is always a fun and educational activity to enjoy when visiting Bonaire, and it is one that can be done anywhere, anytime!
Backyard birding provides a wonderful way to become familiar with many of Bonaire’s more visible species. Here’s a handy guide to many of the birds you can see right outside your accommodations, or as you drive around Bonaire.
The Carib Grackle.
The Carib Grackle is a highly gregarious species, foraging on the ground for insects, other invertebrates, or scraps, and it can be very protective of its territory.
Hummingbirds are always a pleasure to watch.
On Bonaire, you can find two different hummingbirds–the Blue-tailed Emerald and the Ruby Topaz. Find them in any garden with flowers; they will be visiting to collect the nectar.
The Scaly-naped Pigeon.
The Scaly-naped Pigeon is one of several doves which can be found on Bonaire. It is a large slate grey pigeon (14–16 in), with maroon colored plumage around the neck, which can appear “scaly,” which is how it was named. There is a bare patch of skin which surrounds the bird’s red eyes; this patch tends to be reddish in males and more yellow in females. The legs and the base of the bill of the species are red, while the remainder of the bill is light colored.
The Scaly-naped Pigeon mostly feeds upon fruit and seeds of trees, so look for it in any backyard garden with berries, seeds, or fruits.
The Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot.
Scientific name: Amazona barbadensis
If you are staying in the northern section of Kralendijk or Hato or staying even further north, you will have an excellent opportunity to view Bonaire’s Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot, or lora, as it is known in Papiamentu. This parrot enjoys a protected status on Bonaire, and its numbers hover around 1000 individuals. A count of the parrots is done each year in January.
The birds can be quite raucous, calling loudly when first awakening at sunrise while they head out to feed. You’ll hear them chattering once again in the later afternoon.
The Venezuelan Troupial is an introduced species.
Many times found in pairs, their distinctive call carries and is easily identified.
Unfortunately, although the Venezuelan Troupial is beautifully colored, it frequently raids nests of other bird species. It is competing successfully against Bonaire’s similar species, the Yellow Oriole.
The Tropical Mockingbird.
The Tropical Mockingbird, or Chuchubi in Papiamentu, is probably the most commonly encountered bird, found in nearly any garden on Bonaire.
With a wide repertoire of calls and beautiful songs, it is usually the first bird heard right at sunrise, as it starts its day.