List of birds of Saint Lucia
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Saint Lucia. The avifauna of Saint Lucia include a total of 177 species, of which seven are endemic, one has been introduced by humans and 107 are rare or accidental. Six 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 count for Saint Lucia.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. Not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring native species.
- (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Saint Lucia
- (E) Endemic - a species endemic to Saint Lucia
- (I) Introduced - a species introduced to Saint Lucia as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
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 (A)
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.
- Greater shearwater, Puffinus gravis (A)
- Sooty shearwater, Puffinus griseus (A)
- Audubon's shearwater, Puffinus lherminieri (A)
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
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.
- Neotropic cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Darters are often called "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark-brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving.
- Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga (A)
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.
- Great blue heron, Ardea herodias (A)
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Tricoloured heron, Egretta tricolor (A)
- Little blue heron, Egretta caerulea
- Western reef-heron, Egretta gularis (A)
- Snowy egret, Egretta thula (A)
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta (A)
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Green heron, Butorides virescens
- Black-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax nycticorax (A)
- Yellow-crowned night-heron, Nyctanassa violacea (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.
- Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus (A)
Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down.
- Caribbean flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber
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 (A)
- West Indian whistling-duck, Dendrocygna arborea
- Black-bellied whistling-duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis (A)
- American wigeon, Anas americana (A)
- Gadwall, Anas strepera (A)
- Green-winged teal, Anas crecca (A)
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta (A)
- Blue-winged teal, Anas discors
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata (A)
- Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris (A)
- Lesser scaup, Aythya affinis (A)
- Masked duck, Nomonyx dominica (A)
- Ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensis (A)
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 (A)
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
- Common black hawk, Buteogallus anthracinus (A)
- Broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus
- Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis (A)
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
- Merlin, Falco columbarius (A)
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus (A)
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.
- Sora, Porzana carolina (A)
- Purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinica (A)
- Common gallinule, Gallinula galeata (A)
- American coot, Fulica americana
- Caribbean coot, Fulica caribaea (A)
- 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
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.
- American golden-plover, Pluvialis dominica (A)
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
- Wilson's plover, Charadrius wilsonia
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus (A)
- 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.
- Wilson's snipe, Gallinago delicata (A)
- Short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus (A)
- Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica (A)
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
- Solitary sandpiper, Tringa solitaria (A)
- Willet, Tringa semipalmata (A)
- Spotted sandpiper, Actitis macularia
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Red knot, Calidris canutus (A)
- Sanderling, Calidris alba (A)
- Semipalmated sandpiper, Calidris pusilla (A)
- Western sandpiper, Calidris mauri (A)
- Least sandpiper, Calidris minutilla (A)
- White-rumped sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis (A)
- Baird's sandpiper, Calidris bairdii (A)
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos (A)
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina (A)
- Stilt sandpiper, Calidris himantopus (A)
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Calidris subruficollis (A)
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax (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.
- Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus (A)
Gulls, terns and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds which includes gulls, kittiwakes and skimmers. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have 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)
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus (A)
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus (A)
- Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla (A)
- Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla (A)
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica (A)
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia (A)
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis (A)
- Royal tern, Thalasseus maxima (A)
- Roseate tern, Sterna dougallii (A)
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo (A)
- Least tern, Sternula antillarum (A)
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscata
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
Pigeons and doves
- Rock dove, Columba livia (I)
- White-crowned pigeon, Patagioenas leucocephala (A)
- Scaly-naped pigeon, Patagioenas squamosa
- Eared dove, Zenaida auriculata
- Zenaida dove, Zenaida aurita
- Common ground-dove, Columbina passerina
- Bridled quail-dove, Geotrygon mystacea (A)
- Ruddy quail-dove, Geotrygon montana
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.
- Saint Lucia amazon, Amazona versicolor (E)
Cuckoos and anis
- Black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus (A)
- Yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus (A)
- Mangrove cuckoo, Coccyzus minor
- Smooth-billed ani, Crotophaga ani (A)
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.
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.
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 (A)
- Lesser Antillean swift, Chaetura martinica
- 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
- Green-throated carib, Eulampis holosericeus
- Antillean crested hummingbird, Orthorhyncus cristatus
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails.
- Belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon (A)
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
- Yellow-bellied elaenia, Elaenia flavogaster (A)
- Lesser Antillean pewee, Contopus latirostris
- Lesser Antillean flycatcher, Myiarchus oberi
- Grey 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)
- Cave swallow, Petrochelidon fulva (A)
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous.
- House wren, Troglodytes aedon
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.
- Tropical mockingbird, Mimus gilvus
- White-breasted thrasher, Ramphocinclus brachyurus (A)
- Grey trembler, Cinclocerthia gutturalis (E)
- Scaly-breasted thrasher, Allenia fusca
- Pearly-eyed thrasher, Margarops fuscatus
Thrushes and allies
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.
- Rufous-throated solitaire, Myadestes genibarbis
- Spectacled thrush, Turdus nudigenis
- Forest thrush, Turdus lherminieri (E)
- 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.
- Northern parula, Setophaga americana (A)
- Yellow warbler, Setophaga petechia
- Cape May warbler, Setophaga tigrina (A)
- Yellow-rumped warbler, Setophaga coronata (A)
- Saint Lucia warbler, Setophaga delicata (E)
- Prairie warbler, Setophaga discolor
- Palm warbler, Setophaga palmarum (A)
- Blackpoll warbler, Setophaga striata (A)
- Hooded warbler, Setophaga citrina
- American redstart, Setophaga ruticilla (A)
- Black-and-white warbler, Mniotilta varia (A)
- Prothonotary warbler, Protonotaria citrea (A)
- Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapilla (A)
- Northern waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis (A)
- Louisiana waterthrush, Parkesia motacilla (A)
- Semper's warbler, Leucopeza semperi (E)
- Canada warbler, Cardellina canadensis (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
Siskins, crossbills and allies
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.
- Antillean euphonia, Euphonia musica (A)
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
- Saint Lucia black finch, Melanospiza richardsoni (E)
- Lesser Antillean bullfinch, Loxigilla noctis
- Grassland yellow-finch, Sicalis luteola (A)
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)
- Lesser Antillean saltator, Saltator albicollis
- Rose-breasted grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus (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)
- Carib grackle, Quiscalus lugubris
- Shiny cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis
- Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula (A)
- Saint Lucia oriole, Icterus laudabilis (E)