List of birds of Barbados
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Barbados. The avifauna of Barbados include 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 The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect 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 several 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 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 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 seabirds. 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 their 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 seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black and white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have coloured inflatable 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 Ardeidae family contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.
- Grey heron, Ardea cinerea (A)
- Great blue heron, Ardea herodias
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Tricoloured 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
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
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to 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)
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata (M)
- Redhead, Aythya americana (A) ?
- Common pochard, Aythya ferina (A) (February 2011)
- Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris (M)
- 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) (November 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 includes 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 talons.
- 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, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to 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 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.
- 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
Scolopacidae is 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 these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple 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 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 medium to large seabirds 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 known to live in excess of 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. 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 to the 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
- Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
- Black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus (A)
- Yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus (A)
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. 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 birds which spend 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 which resemble a crescent or 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 and have 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 adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to 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 highly 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. It is the only member of the genus Coereba 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 distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called 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 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-sized, 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, but they also consume small insects.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus (I)