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Sunrise Birding LLC logoJamaican Tody by Gina NicholJAMAICA!
29 Endemics

January 21 - 27, 2024

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Jamaica's avian treasures are little known to most of its beach-going tourists. This beautiful, sunny island, with its lovely beaches and friendly people, and known for its rum and reggae, has a rugged interior covered with lush forests that harbor 29 endemic bird species - unique species found nowhere else in the world! Jamaica is home to more endemic birds than any other Caribbean island making it the best-kept birding secret in the tropics! Add to that at least 17 Jamaican subspecies and a host of other Caribbean endemics and you have a fabulous winter birding getaway!


Our itinerary explores the less traveled interior of rolling hills and cool lush rainforests of the Blue and John Crow Mountains in eastern Jamaica. Here we can get ALL of the endemics without enduring the throngs of tourists in other parts of the island. Our experienced local guide knows the best sites for finding Jamaica’s incredible bird life, including Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo (Photo: John Kricher), the rare Crested Quail-Dove, Jamaican Blackbird, and the lovely Black-billed Streamertail hummingbird. We’ll bird the tropical environs of the famous Ecclesdown Road home to Black-billed and Yellow-billed Parrots, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Oriole, Jamaican Tody (Photo: Gina Nichol), and Jamaican Crow. The beaches we visit will be off the beaten path in more remote and natural settings without crowds (but close to coconuts and rum, if needed). We’ve been blessed with great success on all our previous tours. Our fine-tuned itinerary offers wonderful opportunities to see all of Jamaica’s endemic birds while getting a taste of life, culture, and cuisine of this Caribbean jewel!

Join us for a fantastic holiday getaway and the absolute best in Caribbean birding!

29 Jamaican Endemics:
Crested Quail-dove ~ Ring-tailed Pigeon ~ Black-billed Parrot ~ Yellow-billed Parrot ~ Jamaican Parakeet ~ Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo ~ Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo ~ Jamaican Owl ~ Black-billed Streamertail ~ Jamaican Mango ~ Red-billed Streamertail ~ Jamaican Tody ~ Jamaican Woodpecker ~ Jamaican Becard ~ Jamaican Elaenia ~ Jamaican Pewee ~ Rufous-tailed Flycatcher ~ Sad Flycatcher ~ White-chinned Thrush ~ White-eyed Thrush ~ Jamaican Crow ~ Blue Mountain Vireo ~ Jamaican Vireo ~ Jamaican Euphonia ~ Arrowhead Warbler ~ Jamaican Spindalis ~ Orangequit ~ Yellow-shouldered Grassquit ~ Jamaican Blackbird


Day 1: Arrival in Kingston, Jamaica
Plan to arrive in the afternoon in Kingston, Jamaica (Airport code KIN) on the southeastern coast of the island. On arrival, you will be transferred to our hotel to get settled before dinner and the official start of the tour this evening. The hotel grounds are often good for birds and worth exploring.


Day 2: Hellshire Hills, Hope & Castleton Gardens
Jamaican Tody by John KricherOur day begins with an early morning excursion to Hellshire Hills, a dramatic area of arid low scrub and towering cacti, and home to specialties, such as Bahama Mockingbird, Stolid Flycatcher, and the critically endangered Jamaican Iguana (not likely to be seen).

Yellow-billed Parrots (Photo: Steve Bird)We will then explore the grounds of the lovely Royal (Hope) Botanical Gardens adjacent to the campus of the University of the West Indies. This 200-acre garden is the largest public green space in the Kingston metropolitan region and offers a quiet respite from the bustling city and excellent birding. Several of Jamaica’s endemic birds can be found here, including the stunning Jamaican Tody (Photo: John Kricher), raucous Jamaican Parakeets and Yellow-billed Parrots (Photo: Steve Bird), and the unique Jamaican Mango. The diminutive Vervain Hummingbird, stealthy White-chinned Thrush, known locally as ‘Hopping Dick’, and secretive Northern Potoo all reside here. We may also find wintering North American warblers, such as Northern Parula, American Redstart, Cape May, and Black-and-White also escaping the wrath of winter further north.

Jamaican Woodpecker (Photo: Frank Gallo)Our day concludes at the famed Castleton Botanical Garden in St. Mary Parish north of Kingston. Castleton Gardens, established in 1862, offers 20 acres of semi-open habitat comprised mostly of exotic trees attractive to an interesting array of birds. Endemics, such as Jamaican Woodpecker (Photo: Frank Gallo), Greater Antillean Grackle, Jamaican Euphonia, Jamaican Spindalis, White-crowned Pigeon, and a host of other species have all been seen in these lush gardens. By days end, we’ll have had a wonderful introduction to the special birds of Jamaica!


Days 3 & 4: Blue Mountains
Today, we journey is to the cool lush forests of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica’s longest mountain range. They encompass much of the eastern highlands of Jamaica and contain the 7,400-foot Blue Mountain peak, Jamaica’s highest. These picturesque mountains, famous for their coffee, are also home to endemic beauties such as Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, and Ring-tailed Pigeon; it’s here, too, that we have our best chance of finding the globally-threatened and exquisitely beautiful, Crested Quail Dove.

Our lodge is ideally situated on the slopes of a lovely coffee plantation overlooking the extensive natural forest. The lodge’s gardens attract such memorable endemics as Orangequit, dazzling Red-billed Red-billed Streamertails (Photo: Frank Gallo)Streamertails (Photo: Frank Gallo) which is Jamaica’s national bird, cheeky Greater Antillean Bullfinch, and Bananaquits. Jamaican Owl also nests locally, and either in the evening, or early one morning, we will listen for them around the lodge, and hopefully spy one of these sometimes elusive birds.

Our itinerary gives us time to find and marvel at the colorful avian delights in the area, including the remarkably beautiful Jamaican Spindalis (Stripe-headed Tanager), Jamaican Oriole, Rufous-throated Solitaire, and Sad Flycatcher. We’ll bird fabulous forest trails in search of the elusive White-eyed Thrush and Crested Quail Doves, and the endangered Ring-tailed Pigeon. Jamaican Pewee, Jamaican Tody and Black-faced Grassquits also reside here.

Rufous-tailed Flycatcher (Photo: Steve Bird)On at least one day, we will head to Hardwar Gap to look for high-elevation bird species, such as Arrowhead Warbler (Photo: Photo Frank Gallo), Jamaican Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher (Photo: Steve Bird), the endangered Ring-tailed Pigeon. Both Chestnut-bellied and Jamaican Lizard Cuckoos reside in these lush hills, beside the haunts of Rufous-throated Solitaire (Photo: John Kricher), and Crested Quail-Dove. We will search among the roaming mixed flocks of warblers and tanagers for Jamaican Euphonia, and both Blue Mountain and Jamaican Vireos, remembering to watch overhead for soaring flocks of White-collared Swift, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, a are Black Swift. Two nights Blue Mountains.

Days 5 & 6: Hardwar Gap / John Crow Mountains
Rufous-throated Solitaire (Photo: John Kricher)After an early breakfast, we'll explore Hardwar Gap, before leaving for Portland on the northeast coast of Jamaica, where we’ll check into our lovely beach-side hotel. The hotel grounds offer superb birding; Black-billed Streamertail and Jamaican Mango are often found near our rooms. Our hotel also provides us access to specialties of the John Crow Mountains. We will bird the famous Ecclesdown Road, another endemic hotspot, offering chances to see Jamaican Blackbird, Caribbean Dove, Crested Quail-dove, Black-billed and Yellow-billed Parrots, Jamaican Lizard and Chestnut-bellied Cuckoos, Jamaican Crow, and Jamaican Becard. Some of these birds are difficult to see and we'll work to get the best possible views of all of them. One morning we will visit Hectors River to scan the Caribbean Sea for White-tailed Tropicbirds that visit the waters just off the coast. Magnificent Frigatebirds are likely here and Royal and other terns are possible. Two nights Portland.


Day 7: Breakfast / Depart to airport
Today, depending departure flight times (late afternoon/evening flights are advised), we will have another chance at Ecclesdown Road to get more views of Jamaica's incredible birds, before we return to Kingston’s airport warmed with the wonderful memories of our time together in Jamaica.


LEADERS: Frank Gallo with local guides.

NOTE: While we aim to follow the itinerary as planned, please note that the itinerary provided should only be used as a guideline. Depending on a variety of circumstances, weather, and local information, the exact itinerary may not be strictly adhered to. This certainly goes for weather dependent parts of the trip, but even visits to land-based sites listed in the itinerary may be missed and other sites visited instead. We are constantly assessing the itinerary with our local contacts, and may we choose alternative sites or activities based on what we determine to be the best for the tour. The guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as they see fit with the aim of providing the best possible and safest experience.

Arrowhead Warbler. Photo by Frank Gallo.
Below: Jamaican Oriole. Photo by John Kricher.

Jamaican Oriole. Photo by John KricherJAMAICA
January 21 - 27, 2024
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!   
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TOUR PRICE: US$2795.00 per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 6 passengers from Kingston, Jamaica (Airport code: KIN). Note: The tour price is based on a minimum of 6 passengers.  If there are less than 6, a small group supplement may be charged.

Single accommodation: US$475.00 per person, subject to availability.

Deposit: $750.00 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 7, group airport transfers, ground transport throughout, park entrance fees, water and snacks and services of leaders.

Not included: International flight, passport fees, departure tax, insurance, drinks, laundry, tips, and items of a personal nature.  Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour:

1) Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected] to confirm availability and hold your place.

2) Review the Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)>

3) Complete the Registration & Release Form (pdf)> and mail it with your deposit (amount indicated above) per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC within two weeks to secure your place. 

>Download & print the Registration Form (pdf download).
Instructions are on the form.

Reservations are held with a paid deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.

Final payment is due by September 21, 2023 and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). Please inquire.

Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds:
Please review our Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)> prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.

There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.


Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected]
Phone: 203.453.6724

Jamaica Scene