Wildlife & Nature

Tropical Birds of the Dominican Republic

Vervain hummingbird / Colibrí Zumbadorcito (Mellisuga minima)

Photo: Fausto Suero

Meet the rare and endemic birds that enrich the forests and mountain tops of the Dominican Republic

Deep within the dense broad-leaf forests, or boldly about in the urban areas among the population, Hispaniolan bird fauna dominates the large mahoganies, pines, West-Indian cedars, and towering palm trees that make up the fertile environment for these now thriving tropical birds.


If you plan on exploring the Dominican outdoors this season, don't forget to pack a pair of binoculars or a high-resolution camera for a personal encounter with any one of the intriguing birds in this brief introduction.

The Hispaniolan Woodpecker (Melanerpe striatus)

Photo: Fausto Suero

Carpintero de la Española

El Carpintero de la Española (The Hispaniolan Woodpecker) is an endemic Melanerpes species of the Picidae family, found across all ecosystems in Hispaniola.


Its unique bright yellow-gold and black zebra/tiger-striped coat make the Capintero (carpenter) easily distinguishable in forest or urban settings. However, these little peckers are not at all shy, sporting their ever flamboyant red nape and crown for males or a black crown and red nape for females.

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Photo: Fausto Suero

Canario de Manglar

Conspicuously glaring in contrast to the often shadowy mangrove forests where it commonly abides, the Canario de Manglar or Yellow Warbler of the Antillean Petechiae group beautifies the panorama with an almost metallic golden presence.


However, this fellow can be told apart by the light brownish crown and stripes on its chest, with a touch of lime green that accentuates its sharp wings, apart from what some would call a curious personality.

Antillean Piculet (Nesoctites micromegas)

Photo: Fausto Suero

Carpintero de Sierra

Belonging to the same Picidae family as the Carpintero de la Española, the Carpintero de Sierra or the Antillean Piculet is the only kind of its Nesoctite species with a distinct fashionable yellow crown, with an orange and often red center brightly contrasting its green ochre rear wings and tail.

Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger)

Photo: Fausto Suero


The Chinchilín or Greater Antillean Grackle is well known across Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, as this species of the Icteridae family (apart from its natural ecosystem) is very present in hotels and resorts, city parks, and other urban areas.


Although they may appear completely black from a distance, up-close you'll be able to appreciate the steely dark blues and teals that cover its plumage.

Hispaniolan Emerald (Riccordia swainsonii)

Photo: Fausto Suero

Zumbador Esmeralda

Residing in the mountainous humid-forest regions, this male iridescent green Zumbador Esmeralda or (Hispaniolan Emerald) of the Trochilidae family radiates with a collage of bright turquoise, metallic green, and at times fuchsia purples along its outer wings. In comparison, females share a similar lower body with a light maroon crown and grayish-white feathers on its front.

Antillian Euphonia (Chlorophonia musica)

Photo: Fausto Suero


There's no other word but "Regal" to describe the mere sight of the Jilguerillo or Antillian Euphonia atop the dense forests where they're known to forage.


The perfect ensemble of yellows and oranges along its bottom, an almost light indigo blue crown and nape, and a striking bright red and orange dash between the eyes make this Fringillidae family member a masterpiece of nature.

Hispaniolan Trogon (Priotelus roseigaster­)

Photo: Fausto Suero

Papagayo de la Española

The magnificently impressive and endemic Papagayo de la Española or Hispaniolan Trogon of the Trogonidae family has captivated viewers' attention for centuries. It’s mainly concentrated in Hispaniola’s national parks, such as Sierra de Bahoruco and Massif de la Hotte.


The Papagayo stands right out with a Ferrari Red lower body and a long blue and white spotted inner tail. Not to mention it’s black and white striped, almost checkered wings with a marine blue and green back, and its yellow beak and orange eyes.

Red Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Photo: Fausto Suero


This infamous bird of prey is well known in the Dominican Republic as Guaraguao of the Accipitridae family. It's also native to North America, where it's known as the Red Tailed Hawk.


As with most hawks of its kind, the Guaraguao has an intimidating stare with extraordinary vision, can fly at high speeds with a 1.5-meter wingspan, powerful claws, and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds, making this light and dark brown uber predator untouchable in the Hispaniolan ecosystem.

Hispaniolan Parakeet (Psittacara chloropterus)

Photo: Fausto Suero

El Perico de La Española

A smaller species of the Psittacidae family of Parrots and Macaws, the Perico de la Española or Hispaniolan Parakeet is endemic to insular Caribbean territories. You can easily recognize it by the red accents on the angles of its wings and the white contours around the eyes that make them appear larger.

Narrow-Billed Tody (Todus angustirostris)

Photo: Fausto Suero

El Barrancoli Chicui

Melting the hearts of even the toughest individuals, the Barrancoli or Narrow-Billed Tody is crushing the competition with cuteness with a dashing red ruffled-feather bottom neck-piece, gorgeous pink underwings, and its characteristic narrow beak will have you resisting the temptation to shelter this glassy-eyed Chicui of the Todidae family right in your palms.

Written by Omar Guzman


Published March 2022

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