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Post Info TOPIC: Cuba


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RE: Cuba


Just back from two weeks in Varadero, Cuba with friends, 3-17 February. As is the norm, not a birding holiday but did several early morning beach walks before it got too hot and also had a full day out in part of Zapata National Park with local bird guide Adrian Cobas, who I would highly recommend. He is based in Playa Larga and can be found on Facebook under Casa Ana Birding Endemic. His back garden leads directly into the jungle/dry forest and has a cleared area with feeders. The speciality bird there is Bee Hummingbird and we saw around eight, mainly at his feeders.

Areas Birded :-

Hotel Melia International garden areas and beach front

Varadero Peninsula on open top bus including a stop at the marina

Cayo Blanco Island from Varadero Marina via catamaran and return

Zapata National Park, in the main, around Playa Larga

Trip List :-

Helmeted Guineafowl
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Common Ground Dove
White-winged Dove
Zenaida Dove
Mourning Dove
Smooth-billed Ani
Great Lizard-Cuckoo
Antillean Palm-Swift
Bee Hummingbird
Cuban Emerald
Common Gallinule
Limplin
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Wood Stork
Magnificent Frigatebird
Brown Booby
Anhinga
Double-crested Cormorant
Neotropic Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Cuban Black Hawk
Bare-legged Owl
Cuban Pygmy-Owl
Cuban Trogan
Cuban Tody
Belted Kingfisher
Cuban Green Woodpecker
West Indian Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Fernandina's Flicker
American Kestrel
Cuban Pewee
Loggerhead Kingbird
Cuban Vireo
Cuban Crow
Cave Swallow
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Red-legged Thrush
House Sparrow
Yellow-headed Warbler
Cuban Oriole
Tawny-shouldered Blackbird
Cuban Blackbird
Greater Antillean Grackle
Ovenbird
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Yellow-faced grassquit

I would say that the Varadero Peninsula wouldn't be the best choice if picking a tourist area for birding although it is only a two hour drive to Zapata and a similar distance into Havana if you wish to visit the capital. Varadero is fairly built up and only really offers beach front birding. There is a reserve towards the marina but it doesn't really get favourable reviews. Still enjoyable though and I have no regrets at our choice of hotel. If I return to Cuba at some stage in the future, I will definitely chose a different location.

A few photos attached of Bee Hummingbird (world's smallest bird), Cuban Tody, Ovenbird and Bare-legged Owl.






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https://flickr.com/photos/44931335@N06


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Last month I travelled with a small group to visit Cuba. The aim was to see all the available Cuban endemics and Greater Antillean endemics plus much, much more. Quite a lot of kilometres covered but the tour was a great success with only 1 Greater Antillean endemic missed (2 of the Cuban endemics are virtually impossible on an 11 day tour).

Read all about it in the Trip Report section of the main Manchester Birding Website - but the file sizes are large, so be patient when downloading.

Cheers John



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My "with" and I, thank you for your information plans are ongoing.
Cheers Alan

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Try persuading your 'with' to have a 2 centre holiday Havanna and Guardalavaca there was good birding early morning and evening walking from the resort. The forests down south are also within reach you might even find an Ivory Billed Woodpecker!! I had hummers, tody, plenty of wintering american warblers plus a few of the other endemics. The beach was fantastic, we stayed at the Brisas. It was so nice we did not bother hiring a car. Havanna is a must. Hope this may help.

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Hi, it my intension to visit Cuba in Febuary or March of next year. My with wants to go on a two centre holiday Havana/Varadero.Checking past birding reports describes Varadero as Cubas Costa with little chance of early morning trips and occasional trips further afield.Has any body any advice on what hotel to stay at?Cheers Alan

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