List of birds of Barbados
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Barbados. The avifauna of Barbados includes a total of 214 species, of which one is endemic, five have been introduced by humans, and 147 are rare or accidental. One species listed is extirpated in Barbados and is not included in the species count. Three species are globally threatened.
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of Clements's 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Barbados.
The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. The commonly occurring, native, species do not fall into any of these categories.
- (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Barbados.
- (E) Endemic A species endemic to Barbados.
- (I) Introduced A species introduced to Barbados as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.
- (Ex) Extirpated A species that no longer occurs in Barbados although populations exist elsewhere.
- (M) Migrant A species that migrant either passing through or wintering in Barbados.
- (B) Breeding A species that has recently started breeding in Barbados.
Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land.
- Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps (B)
The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds.
- Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary.
- Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea (A)
- Greater Shearwater Puffinus gravis (A)
- Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus (A)
- Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri (B)
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of sea-birds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes.
- Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis (A)
Boobies and gannets
Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black and white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.
- Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted.
- Gray Heron Ardea cinerea (A)
- Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
- Great Egret Ardea alba
- Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor (A)
- Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
- Western Reef-Heron Egretta gularis (A)
- Snowy Egret Egretta thula(B)
- Little Egret Egretta garzetta (B)
- Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis(B)
- Green Heron Butorides virescens(B)
- Striated Heron Butorides striata(A)
- Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (B)
- Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea (A)
- Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis (A)
- American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus (A)
- Purple Heron "Ardea purpurea" (A)
Ibises and spoonbills
The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
Ducks, geese and swans
The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.
- Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor (M)
- White-faced Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna viduata (M)
- West Indian Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna arborea (M)
- Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis (B)
- Snow Goose Chen caerulescens (M)
- Orinoco Goose Neochen jubata (M)
- Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope (M)
- American Wigeon Anas americana (M)
- Green-winged Teal Anas crecca (M)
- Northern Pintail Anas acuta (M)
- White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis (M)
- Garganey Anas querquedula (A)
- Blue-winged Teal Anas discors (M)
- Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera ........It has been accepted that this species' identification was an error, it was B.W.Teal (DGB)
- Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata (M)
- Redhead Aythya americana (A) ... ???
- Common Pochard Aythya ferina (A) (Feb. 2011)
- Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris (M)
- Greater Scaup Aythya marila (A) ........Still questionable, like above for C.Teal which were both identified at the same time/place (DGB)
- Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis (M)
- Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus (A)
- Masked Duck Nomonyx dominica (B)
- Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis (A)
- Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (A) (Nov 2013)
New World vultures
The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers. However, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carrion.
- Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the Osprey. The Osprey is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
- Osprey Pandion haliaetus (M)
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight.
- Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
- Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus (A)
- Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis (Ex)
Caracaras and falcons
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet.
- American Kestrel Falco sparverius (A)
- Merlin Falco columbarius (A)
- Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers.
- Clapper Rail Rallus crepitans (A)
- Sora Porzana carolina (M)
- Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica (A)
- Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata(B)
- American Coot Fulica americana (M)
- Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaea (B)
- American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus (A)
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills.
- Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus (B)First recorded breeding July 2011
- American Avocet Recurvirostra americana (A)
The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats.
- Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions.
- Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (A)
- Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis (B)
- Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva (A)..... doubtful
- American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica (M)
- Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola (M)
- Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (A)
- Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus (M)
- Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsonia (A)
- Killdeer Charadrius vociferus (M)
- Piping Plover Charadrius melodus (A)
- Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus
- Collared Plover Charadrius collaris (A)
Sandpipers and allies
The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
- Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus (A)
- Wilson's Snipe Gallinago delicata (M)
- Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus (M)
- Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus (M)
- Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica (M)
- Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa (A)
- Eskimo Curlew Numenius borealis (A)
- Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (M)
- Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda (M)
- Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus (A)
- Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia (A)
- Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca (M)
- Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes (M)
- Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria (M)
- Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola (A)
- Willet Tringa semipalmata (M)
- Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia (M)
- Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres (M)
- Red Knot Calidris canutus (A)
- Sanderling Calidris alba (M)
- Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla (M)
- Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri (A)
- Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla (M)
- White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis (M)
- Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii (A)
- Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos (M)
- Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea (A)
- Dunlin Calidris alpina (A)
- Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus (M)
- Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis (M)
- Ruff Calidris pugnax (A)
- Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor (A)
- Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (A)
Skuas and jaegers
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants.
- South Polar Skua Stercorarius maccormicki
- Great Skua Stercorarius skua
- Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus (A)
- Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus (A)
- Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus (A)
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes gulls, kittiwakes, terns, and skimmers. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally general medium to large sea-birds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years.
- Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis (A)
- Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus (A)
- Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus (A)
- Herring Gull Larus argentatus (A)
- Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus (A)
- Bonaparte's Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia (A)
- Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla
- Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica (A)
- Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia (A)
- Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis (A)
- Royal Tern Thalasseus maxima
- Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii (A)
- Common Tern Sterna hirundo (A)
- Least Tern Sternula antillarum (A)
- Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus
- Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscata
- Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus (A)
- White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus (A)
- Black Tern Chlidonias niger (A)
- Black Noddy Anous minutus (A)
- Brown Noddy Anous stolidus (A)
Pigeons and doves
- Rock Dove Columba livia (I)
- White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala
- Scaly-naped Pigeon Patagioenas squamosa(B)
- Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata (B)
- Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita(B)
- Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina(B)
- African Collared Dove "Streptopelia roseogrisea"(B) Eurasian Collared Dove may be present
Parrots, macaws and allies
Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back.
- Brown-throated Parakeet Aratinga pertinax (I) Very doubtful KSW
- Green-rumped Parrotlet Forpus passerinus (I) Probably extirpated KSW
- Orange-winged Amazon Amazona amazonica (B)
- Yellow-crowned Amazon Amazona orocephala (B)
- Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri (B)
Cuckoos and anis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites.
- Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
- Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus (A)
- Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus (A)
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves.
- White-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus cayennensis (A)
Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.
- Black Swift Cypseloides niger (B)
- Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
- Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura (A)
- Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba (A)
Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards.
- Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis (A)
- Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus (B)
- Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus (B)
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails.
- Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Tyrant flycatchers are passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust with stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, have plain colouring. As the name implies, most are insectivorous.
- Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica
- Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens (A)
- Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
- Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis
- Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana (A)
Swallows and martins
The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base.
- Caribbean Martin Progne dominicensis
- Bank Swallow Riparia riparia (A)
- Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (A)
- Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Mockingbirds and Thrashers
The mimids are a family of passerine birds that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalizations, especially their ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. Their colouring tends towards dull greys and browns.
Old World flycatchers
Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (A)
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen.
- European Starling Sturnus vulgaris (I)
- Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons (A)
- Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus (A)
- Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
- Black-whiskered Vireo Vireo altiloquus
New World warblers
The New World warblers are a group of small, often colourful, passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores.
- Tennessee Warbler Oreothlypis peregrina (A)
- Northern Parula Setophaga americana (A)
- Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia
- Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica (A)
- Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia (A)
- Cape May Warbler Setophaga tigrina (A)
- Black-throated Blue Warbler Setophaga caerulescens (A)
- Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata (A)
- Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens (A)
- Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca (A)
- Yellow-throated Warbler Setophaga dominica (A)
- Prairie Warbler Setophaga discolor (A)
- Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum (A)
- Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea (A)
- Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata (A)
- Cerulean Warbler Setophaga cerulea (A)
- American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla (A)
- Hooded Warbler Setophaga citrina (A)
- Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia (A)
- Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea (A)
- Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla (A)
- Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis (A)
The Bananaquit is a small passerine bird. It has a slender, curved bill, adapted to taking nectar from flowers and is the only member of the genus Coereba (Vieillot, 1809) and is normally placed within the family Coerebidae, although there is uncertainty whether that placement is correct.
- Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Buntings, sparrows, seedeaters and allies
The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.
- Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor(B)
- Barbados Bullfinch Loxigilla barbadensis (E)
- Grassland Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteola (B)
Saltators, Cardinals and allies
The cardinals are a family of passerine birds that are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages.
- Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea (A)
- Summer Tanager Piranga rubra (A)
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus (A)
- Dickcissel Spiza americana (A)
Troupials and allies
The icterids are a group of small to medium, often colourful, passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds, and New World orioles. Most species have black as the predominant plumage colour, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red.
- Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus (A)
- Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
- Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris(B)
- Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis (B)
- Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula (A)
Old World Sparrows
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects.
- House Sparrow Passer domesticus (I)