Dominican Republic Bird Watching

Dominican Republic bird watching is one of the favorite pastimes of several visitors of this beautiful country. Most travelers arrive to the DR in order to relax and forget the troubles of their daily lives. A good portion of them want to experience interesting activities in the country. Watching birds is a well known activity that takes place all around the world including the Dominican Republic.

Not all travelers are aware of the entire bird watching potential that exists in the lagoons and forested areas of the exotic island. 

Imagine yourself in one of the hottest spots of the Dominican Republic for watching birds when suddenly an extremely unusual bird variety appear; you won’t be able to contain the joy and excitement as that can truly be the experience of a lifetime.

Preparing for Dominican Republic Bird Watching

Before you travel to the DR, it is important to have a list of the essential items you will need to be a successful bird watcher. You just don’t go there and start looking for birds without having an idea what to do next. The first thing you must have is a bird book or a manual that specializes in bird identification. Ideally the manual has to contain all the necessary information about the indigenous bird species of the Dominican Republic.Binoculars for looking at birds

Another necessary piece of equipment is the binoculars. It is a must if you want to get a closer look at any bird. There are many types of binoculars; some can be more expensive than others. It is up to you to choose the most appropriate one according to your needs and budget. If you need something more powerful than binoculars, the bird watching telescopes might do the trick. They allow you watch the birds from a longer distance and with much more definition.

A camera is a fantastic tool to have when you are watching birds. It is imperative to have a good quality one with you at all times so you can get the best pictures possible and have evidence of your amazing bird watching skills. Besides a standard camera, bringing a high definition digital one with you will provide better chances of obtaining more and better photos (who doesn’t want more and greater pictures).

Bird calls are very useful for Dominican Republic bird watching. You can use them to attract the desired birds by imitating their sounds. There is a specific call for each bird, so if there is one you really are looking for, that’s the easiest way to make them come to you.

Identifying Species

The Dominican Republic is known to harbor very close to 300 bird species include 30 that are endemic. Identifying all these birds may not be so simple. You have to pay attention to their color, the overall shape, their behavior, the beak, the legs, their habitat and much more. The slightest change in any of these factors could separate two completely different species. Practice is the only way to master the art of bird watching. You could look at every book about the topic but unless you go to the field, you won’t have the excitement and experience necessary to get really involved in this hobby.

Before taking a trip to do some Dominican Republic bird watching you need to be on the lookout for the most interesting and curious bird species you want to observe. Identify them in your book so you know where to go first.

Hottest bird watching spots 

There are many areas in the country where you can watch the native bird species. The first and probably most important spot to watch birds in the country is Sierra de Bahoruco. It can be found in the southwestern part of the Dominican Republic. This is a very rural area not normally visited by your average tourist. The landscape of the area will leave you breathless. You can watch a good variety of rare birds that are even listed as endangered. Among all the 30 endemic species 26 can be found there.
Some of the ones you can potentially find in this zone when experiencing Dominican Republic bird watching are the Northern Potoo, the Antillean Mango, the Hispaniolan Emerald Humming Bird, Hispaniolan Trogon, the Western Chat Tanager, the Greater Antillean Elaenia, the Rufous Throated Solitaire, the Greater Antillean Grackle, the Green tailed Warbler, the red legged Thrush, the Loggerhead Kingbird and always elusive Bay-Breasted Cuckoo. Some of the migratory birds that love the area are the Prairie Warbler and the Bicknell’s Thrush.

Another Fantastic spot for Dominican Republic bird watching is the Botanical Gardens in the capital city of Santo Domingo. Some of the birds you can find here are the Hispaniolan Woodpecker, the Black Whiskered Vireo, the Vervain Humming bird, the Palm Chat, the Stolid Flycatcher, the Snowy Egret, the Antillean Mango and the West Indian Whistling Duck.

Flying pelican birdYou won't regret visiting the National Park of the East. This is the ideal area to watch birds if you are staying at any of the Punta Cana resorts. 

Many vacationers would love the opportunity of bird watching in the country but they lack the time to go to such an excursion. The National Park of the East can provide a great experience for everyone wanting to bird watch without having to wander too far from their hotels.

The park opens from 9 am to 1 pm; the entrance fee is around $6.54 USD and is found between La Romana and Boca de Yuma, on highway 4, Bayahibe. You can get to it by traveling southwest for around an hour and a half if you are in Punta Cana. There you can see: Flat Billed Vireos, Pelicans, Antillean Piculets and more.

The Central mountain Range and the Ebano Verde Reserve are great places to do some nice Dominican Republic bird watching near the north part of the country. Getting there is a bit tricky, you need to get on the Duarte highway and head north all the way until the Constanza ramp. As soon as you arrive to the highest part of mountain Casabito you will see the entrance to the reserve. Some of the birds close by are: Golden Swallows, Red Tailed Hawks, Striped Headed Tanagers and if you come across the Eastern Chat Tanager consider yourself quite fortunate.

If you are going for the first time is recommended to hire a guide to take you to the places you want to be. Tour guides can simplify the task but if you got plenty of time (several weeks) you can go and try some locations by yourself. Some excursions might be cheaper or pricier depending on the location you want to visit. 

Exploraecotour (phone +1 809-567-1852,, for example, offers great excursions to the National park of the East and Los Haitises National Park for a fair price.

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