Birding Tour Dominican Republic: Complete Dominican Republic


CURRENTLY THE 2023 PRICES ARE THE SAME AS 2021 SO DO BOOK NOW

Dates and Costs

 

13 – 21 March 2023

Price: US$4,443 / £3,776 / €4,454 per person sharing (6 – 8 participants)
US$5,442 / £4,625 / €5,455 per person sharing (4 – 5 participants)

Single Supplement: US$359 / £306 / €360

 

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

 


Recommended Field Guide

(Please also read our blogs about recommended field guides for the seven continents here)


Tour Details

Duration: 9 days
Group Size: 4-8
Tour Start: Santo Domingo
Tour End: Santo Domingo


Price includes:

All accommodation
Meals (from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 9)
Bottled water
All ground transportation from landing to departure
Guide fees
Boat trips
Entrance fees
Taxes and service charges

 

Price excludes:

All flights
Items of a personal nature, e.g. laundry, gifts
Any drinks, other than bottled water
Personal insurance
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

Download Itinerary

Complete Dominican Republic
March 2023

 

The island of Hispaniola, and in particular the Dominican Republic, which encompasses the eastern side of the island, is host to much more than the many beach-lined resorts that dot its coastline. Combined with the country’s rich culture and steep traditions, it has some of the most exiting birding in the Caribbean.

Dominican Republic birding toursThe monotypic Palmchat should be encountered on this tour.

 

Being the second-largest country in the Caribbean, after Cuba, the habitat found throughout the country is diverse and varies from dry scrub to high-altitudinal forest (recalling the cloudforests of the Neotropics) to humid lowland forest, with many wetlands and marshes present in between. This results in a wealth of birdlife, and 30 species are endemic and confined to the island of Hispaniola, and all but one are readily accessible in the Dominican Republic, with only a single Hispaniolan endemic species being confined to Haiti, which makes up the rest of Hispaniola and is located on the western side of the island. Besides the 30 Hispaniolan endemics, many more species occurring here are found solely in the Greater Antilles, and yet more widespread species are only readily accessible within the Dominican Republic, making this a crucial must-visit destination for any world birder.

Dominican republic birding toursHispaniolan Amazon is one of the targets on this tour.

 

Perhaps the island’s greatest success story on the avian side concerns the Critically Endangered (IUCN) Ridgway’s Hawk. Previously an endemic on the verge of extinction, an intensive monitoring campaign, coupled with relocations and reintroductions by the Peregrine Fund, has brought this species back from the verge of extinction, and, while the fight is still not over, much progress has been made, and this species is now more accessible than ever! Besides Ridgway’s Hawk, which is arguably one of the country’s most iconic birds, other notable species found within the Dominican Republic include the likes of White-fronted Quail-Dove, the rare Bay-breasted Cuckoo, Ashy-faced Owl, the charismatic Hispaniolan Trogon, Broad-billed and Narrow-billed Todies, Antillean Piculet, Hispaniolan Amazon, Hispaniolan Parakeet, Flat-billed Vireo, the declining Golden Swallow, Rufous-throated Solitaire, the rare and highly prized La Selle Thrush, Hispaniolan Crossbill, Antillean Euphonia, both Western and Eastern Chat-Tanagers, and the taxonomically odd Green-tailed and White-winged Warblers, along with Hispaniolan Spindalis and Hispaniolan Oriole. The national bird of the country, Palmchat, resides in a family of its own and is another true icon and one of our main targets, fortunately easily seen throughout the country.

Dominican republic birding toursThe attractive Hispaniolan Spindalis.

 

Together with the excellent birds and birding available in the country the general ease of birding makes this destination a very attractive one to any world birder, whether you’re looking for all the island’s endemics or are just after some good Caribbean birding with a distinctly different feel from many of the other Caribbean nations.

Our well-designed itinerary gives you access to all the island’s endemics and other specials found in the Dominican Republic in a short yet easily-doable timeframe, taking in all the major sites and allowing you time enough to enjoy the beautiful surroundings as well.

This tour can be combined with our preceding tour Birding Tour Cuba: Great Caribbean Birding and Endemics and/or with our following tour Birding Tour Jamaica: The Best of Complete Jamaica, to give you a truly comprehensive Caribbean getaway!

 

 

Itinerary (9 days/8 nights)

 

Day 1. Arrival in Santo Domingo

Today is your arrival day, and you can arrive at your leisure in Santo Domingo. We will be staying in a quaint hotel in the old colonial district (Zona Colonial) of the capital.

Overnight: Hodelpa Caribe Colonial, Santo Domingo

 

Day 2. Birding the National Botanical Garden and transfer to Los Haïtises National Park

We will begin our day by visiting the excellent National Botanical Garden located in this sprawling city, where we will spend most of the morning. This garden will give us the perfect start to the tour, allowing us to get familiar with some of the birds and indeed families of this bird-rich Caribbean nation, along with targeting a few sought-after endemics and specialties that are best found here and can be rather tricky elsewhere. The palm trees lining the parking lot will likely give us our first bit of excitement, hosting gregarious Antillean Palm Swifts, and the country’s national bird, the monotypic Palmchat. We will then begin investigating the many paths in the garden, and foremost of those will be along the well-treed stream, where we will target the scarce West Indian Whistling Duck, a bird that is very tricky elsewhere in the country. Other species possible include Limpkin, Yellow-crowned Night and Green Herons, Snowy Egret, and Common Gallinule. The adjacent riverine vegetation should also provide us with our first endemics, and species we will look for include the loud and boisterous Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo, the cute Broad-billed Tody, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Red-legged Thrush, and Black-crowned Tanager. In some of the more open sections of the garden we will seek out Zenaida Dove, Antillean Mango, the tiny Vervain Hummingbird (the second-smallest bird in the world), the tricky Hispaniolan Parakeet, Grey Kingbird, and the ubiquitous Bananaquit. We should also encounter some overwintering wood warblers and will keep our eyes open for Ovenbird, American Redstart, and Black-and-white, Cape May, Prairie, and Palm Warblers, among others. Following a good morning’s birding and introduction to the country we will transfer to the Los Haïtises National Park on the eastern side of the country. We will arrive in the afternoon and explore the area around the vicinity of our comfortable accommodation, should time allow. This is arguably the most productive spot for the rare Ashy-faced Owl, and we will search in the evening for it.

Overnight: Paraíso Caño Hondo, Sabana de la Mar

Dominican republic birding toursThe cute Broad-billed Tody can be seen at the National Botanical Garden.

 

Day 3. Birding Los Haïtises National Park and transfer to Santo Domingo

This scenic, low-lying park is home to the country’s rarest endemic, and arguably one of the world’s rarest raptors, Ridgway’s Hawk. This species was on the brink of extinction, and although the fight is not won yet, hard work by the Peregrine Fund has seen this species’ numbers start to increase in the region – which is the last stronghold for this endemic species. We will meet up with a local guide who keeps tabs on the birds and attempt to see this incredibly prized target. Our time spent birding the area is likely to produce many other species, including Limpkin, White-crowned and Plain Pigeons, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Mangrove Cuckoo, Antillean Mango, Vervain Hummingbird, Broad-billed Tody, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Antillean Piculet, Stolid Flycatcher, Black-whiskered Vireo, White-necked Crow, Palmchat, Hispaniolan Oriole, Antillean Euphonia, Black-crowned Tanager, Greater Antillean Grackle, and a variety of wintering warblers including Northern Waterthrush, Northern Parula, and American Redstart among others. The ocean at Sabada de la Mar will be searched for Terns such as Royal, Cabot’s, and Common, along with waders such as Spotted Sandpiper among others. We will be spending most of the day in the area before transferring back to the capital, Santo Domingo, in the afternoon.

Overnight: Hodelpa Caribe Colonial, Santo Domingo

Dominican republic birding toursAntillean Mango is one of the many species we should encounter in Los Haïtises National Park.

 

Day 4. Transfer to Puerto Escondido via Salinas de Baní

We will begin the day with an early start as we undertake the long transfer to get to our rustic lodge in the foothills of the northern Sierra de Bahoruco at Puerto Escondido. Our first dedicated birding stop for the morning will be at the Salinas de Baní, which we will reach after roughly two hours. This small coastal village hosts an array of salt pans along with tidal mudflats and mangrove stands. We will spend a few hours birding this area, focusing on species such as American Flamingo (if we’re lucky!), Reddish Egret, Tricolored and Little Blue Herons, Clapper Rail, Grey, Snowy, Wilson’s, and Semipalmated Plovers, Black-necked Stilt, Least, Semipalmated, and Western Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Short-billed Dowitcher, Least, Royal, and Cabot’s Terns, and Mangrove Warbler. A dedicated sea watch may produce the rare Black-capped Petrel, Brown Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, and Brown Pelican. Following our time here we will undertake the rest of the drive to Puerto Escondido (which will likely take around four hours without stops), where we’ll arrive in the late afternoon and check into Villa Barrancolí Eco-lodge. Located in the remote western Dominican Republic, this rustic lodge is run by birder Kate Wallace and caters for birders who seek out the many endemics largely restricted to the mountains in this part of the country. Should we have time available in the late afternoon for birding we will explore the nearby Rabo de Gato trail. This trail, largely following the contour of a stream, is flanked by large riverine trees and the forested foothills of the Sierra de Bahoruco range. Many species occur along this trail, but chief among our targets will be the uncommon White-fronted Quail-Dove, which normally requires stealth and patience to see. We will also keep an eye out for Limpkin along the stream and Scaly-naped and Plain Pigeons perching on exposed snags above the canopy and search the leaf litter for the similar Key West and Ruddy Quail-Doves. Noisy flocks of Hispaniolan Amazons fly overhead, occasionally with Hispaniolan and Olive-throated Parakeets among them, and the palm-studded areas will be searched for White-necked Crow and Palmchat. The wooded areas host the majority of birds here, and many species are possible, including Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo, Vervain Hummingbird, Broad-billed and Narrow-billed Todies, Hispaniolan Trogon, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Stolid Flycatcher, the colorful Antillean Euphonia, and many wood warblers. After dark we will search for Least Poorwill. Following a long day we will settle in for a wonderful dinner before getting ready for an early start tomorrow.

Overnight: Villa Barrancolí Eco-lodge

Dominican republic birding toursWhite-fronted Quail-Dove often requires some patience to find.

 

Day 5. Birding Zapotén and the Sierra de Bahoruco

Today will require an early start, and we will need to be up and going at predawn, as we ascend the Sierra de Bahoruco on a very rough and slow-going track to allow us to be in the Zapotén sector, towards the top of the mountain, at dawn. This is a prime birding area and easily allows some of the finest birding in the country, with the montane forest playing host to many of the island’s sought-after endemics. Our travel up to Zapotén at predawn will give us a good chance for the difficult Hispaniolan Nightjar. After arriving in the Zapotén sector at first light our first key species is La Selle Thrush, and we will need to keep a beady eye on the road as it forages along it in the very early morning – presenting us with our only chance for this species. We will spend the morning birding in the Zapotén sector, having a picnic breakfast, before gradually working our way back down the rough track. The forest rings with the calls of Rufous-throated Solitaire, and this skulker usually takes a bit of effort to find, while Narrow-billed Tody is normally easy to see. We will keep an eye out for Hispaniolan Emerald as it rapidly moves through the forest, while Greater Antillean Elaenia and Hispaniolan Pewee are normally more sedate. The difficult and skulking Western Chat-Tanager is another key species here, as are the rather puzzling Green-tailed and White-winged Warblers. While the former requires lots of effort to see, the latter two are normally more confiding. Other species present include Hispaniolan Trogon, Antillean Piculet, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Stolid Flycatcher, Antillean Siskin, Bicknell’s Thrush (with some luck), Black-crowned Tanager, Hispaniolan Spindalis, Antillean Euphonia, and Greater Antillean Bullfinch.

Dominican republic birding toursNarrow-billed Tody — another tody we hope to find on this tour.

 

The pine forests are home to the scarce Hispaniolan Crossbill and Pine Warbler. As we begin descending from the Zapotén sector we will keep an eye out for the rare Golden Swallow, now sadly almost certainly extinct in Jamaica, along with Loggerhead Kingbird. There is a Northern Potoo stakeout along the road, and we are occasionally treated to day views of this bird. Lower down the road, in the foothills, the habitat changes to drier, broad-leaved forest, and here we will search for arguably the country’s most difficult endemic, Bay-breasted Cuckoo. This rare and sadly declining species is notoriously difficult to find, and we would count ourselves lucky to see it. Flat-billed Vireo also occurs in this area and is normally a bit easier to find. The agricultural lands on the outskirts of Puerto Escondido are good to search for Hispaniolan Oriole, Greater Antillean Grackle, and occasional flocks of Antillean Siskins, while they also play host to other widespread species such as Common Ground Dove, Smooth-billed Ani, Burrowing Owl, American Kestrel, Olive-throated Parakeet, Northern Mockingbird, and Yellow-faced Grassquit. Our afternoon will be spent birding locally, such as on the Rabo de Gato trail or on the outskirts of Puerto Escondido, or at leisure for those who want a break.

Overnight: Villa Barrancolí Eco-lodge

 

Day 6. Puerto Escondido to Pedernales via Laguna Rincón 

We have the morning available in the area to search for any outstanding targets, and similar to yesterday afternoon we may find ourselves birding along the Rabo de Gato trail or in the dry woodlands outside Puerto Escondido should we still need Bay-breasted Cuckoo. Following breakfast we will depart for our next main destination along the south Caribbean coast, with a dedicated birding stop at Laguna Rincón. This freshwater body is incredibly birdy, and we will spend some time here and undertake a boat trip, investigating primarily the marshy areas on the edge of this large waterbody. Possible waterbirds here include Pied-billed Grebe, White-cheeked Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, and American Coot, while the marshy areas play host to many exciting species. It is here where we will try for the rare and poorly known Spotted Rail. Yellow-breasted Crake, an equally rare and poorly known bird, has also been found here, and we will be on the lookout for this bird as well. Sora, Purple Gallinule, and various egrets and herons, including Least Bittern, also occur here. In the late afternoon we will transfer to our comfortable hotel near the Haitian border and enjoy the sunset over the coastline.

Overnight: Vista de las Águilas, Pedernales

Dominican Republic birding tourSora is one of the waterbirds we hope to find at Laguna Rincón.

 

Day 7. Birding the Alcoa Road and Cabo Rojo

The Alcoa Road along with Cabo Rojo are our two primary birding stops today, and we will spend the day exploring these two areas. The Alcoa Road will see us birding a variety of habitats ranging from dry shrublands to pine forests to some montane forest higher up. This is a great site for Hispaniolan Palm Crow, which, together with Golden Swallow and Hispaniolan Crossbill, form our primary targets for the area. A variety of other species occur here, and we will be on the lookout for Plain, Scaly-naped, and White-crowned Pigeons, Hispaniolan Parakeet, Hispaniolan Amazon, Burrowing Owl, Hispaniolan Trogon, Broad-billed Tody, Hispaniolan Pewee, and Green-tailed Warbler, among others. We will then transfer to the coast at Cabo Rojo, where we will enjoy our lunch on the beach before setting out birding the surrounding area. Open bodies of water will be searched for various ducks, such as Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, and American Wigeon, along with American Flamingo, American White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, various herons and egrets including Great, Reddish, and Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Heron, Western Osprey, American Coot, and Belted Kingfisher. In the shallower reaches we will search for a variety of waders, including Black-necked Stilt, Grey Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, and Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, along with the secretive Sora. Numbers of Brown Pelicans and Magnificent Frigatebirds frequent the ocean, and we will also search here for the prized White-tailed Tropicbird, Brown Booby, and Royal Tern, while an eye skyward should hopefully reveal Caribbean Martin and Cave Swallow. Sea-watching in the afternoon might produce Audubon’s Shearwater and, if we’re lucky, Black-capped Petrel. We can try for the rare Ashy-faced Owl after dark near our lodge.

Overnight: Hotel El Quemaito, Juan Esteban

Dominican republic birding toursHispaniolan Parakeet is another parrot species we hope to find.

 

Day 8. Birding Cachote and transfer to Santo Domingo

We will have an exciting morning in store for us, as we transfer into the far eastern hills of the Sierra de Bahoruco, birding in the montane forests and thickets near Cachote, a stunning protected cloud forest area not too far from where we’re staying. This will be our only attempt at Eastern Chat-Tanager on the tour, which forms our primary target. Like its cousin, Western Chat-Tanager, this is an equally shy and difficult-to-see species, despite being reasonably common in the area. We will also have our last attempt for other highland species such as Hispaniolan Emerald, Hispaniolan Trogon, Narrow-billed Tody, Rufous-throated Solitaire, Green-tailed and White-winged Warblers, the rare Bicknell’s Thrush, and Hispaniolan Spindalis. Following our morning in the hills we will transfer back to the coastline and to the capital, Santo Domingo, where we’ll arrive in the afternoon. We might be able to include some birding stops on the way, depending on time and if any target species still remain unseen. We will settle in for our final dinner together in the historic colonial district.

Overnight: Hodelpa Caribe Colonial, Santo Domingo

Dominican republic birding toursThe taxonomically odd Green-tailed Warbler.

 

Day 9. Departure from Santo Domingo

Following a spectacular tour, encompassing all the key birding sites of the country and targeting all the possible specials, which with a bit of luck we will have seen, this tour will conclude in the morning, when you’ll fly back home or continue with us on our Jamaica tour.

 

 

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides, and other factors.

Download Itinerary

Dominican Republic Trip Report, March 2020

13 – 18 MARCH 2020

By Luis Gles

DOWNLOAD TRIP REPORT

 

Dominican Republic trip reportA striking Palmchat, the national bird of the Dominican Republic.

Overview

 

This tour had been scheduled for nine days; unfortunately our client (Shailesh) decided to cut the trip short due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, so the trip was quickly rerouted and sped up in an attempt to get as many of the target species as possible. The tour began in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on the 13th of March 2020 and finished back there on the 18th of March. The rerouted tour’s focus was to visit the main birding spots on the island, namely the National Botanical Garden in Santo Domingo, Los Haitises National Park, and Sierra de Bahoruco.

Despite this the tour connected with many exciting and endangered birds, such as the greatest success story on the avian side, the Critically Endangered (IUCN) Ridgway’s Hawk (Buteo ridgwayi), and other amazing endemics species in the Dominican Republic, including  Ashy-faced Owl, White-fronted Quail-Dove, the rare Bay-breasted Cuckoo, Hispaniolan Trogon, Broad-billed and Narrow-billed Todies, Antillean Piculet, Hispaniolan Amazon (Parrot), Hispaniolan Parakeet, Flat-billed Vireo, the declining Golden Swallow, Rufous-throated Solitaire, the rarest  and highly prized La Selle Thrush, Hispaniolan Crossbill, Antillean Euphonia,   Western Chat-Tanager, and the two endemic warblers Green-tailed and White-winged Warblers, along with Hispaniolan Spindalis and Hispaniolan Oriole, and the national bird of the country, Palmchat.

A total of 100 bird species were seen, and two additional species were heard only. The species list is at the end of this report.

Dominican Republic trip reportThe beautiful Black-crowned Tanager (Palm-Tanager) is always a real treat to see.

 

Detailed Report

 

 Day 1, 13th March 2020.  Santo Domingo

After arriving in a busy Santo Domingo we checked into our hotel in the old colonial district (Zona Colonial). We then decided to enjoy an evening walk through the colonial district, during which we saw the first two endemic birds, Palmchat and Hispaniolan Parakeet, and the Caribbean specialties Antillean Palm Swift and Grey Kingbird, along with other species like many Bananaquits, House Sparrow, Brown Pelican, Northern Mockingbird, and Mourning Dove.

 

Day 2, 14th March 2020. National Botanical Garden, transfer to Los Haitises National Park

Within the first five minutes after stepping through the entrance of the National Botanical Garden we had seen huge colonies of Palmchats and Antillean Palm Swifts, followed by the first of many Hispaniolan Woodpeckers, Antillean Mango, Common Ground Dove, and Mourning Dove. Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo was calling all morning and making it difficult to actually see it, but eventually we had a great view. Soon afterwards the soft call of Broad-billed Tody caught our attention, and it showed well.

Dominican Republic trip reportBroad-billed Tody showed well at the National Botanical Garden.

 

Then we found Vervain Hummingbird, the second-smallest bird in the world, feeding along a trail. The end of our birding the gardens delivered the main target of the morning, West Indian Whistling Duck, for which this is one of the best localities, along with Green Heron, Snowy Egret, Common Gallinule, and Spotted Sandpiper. Some exploration in the woods produced Red-legged Thrush, Black-crowned Tanager (Palm-Tanager), Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, and American Redstart. After a good morning’s birding and introduction to the country’s birds we transferred to the Los Haitises National Park at the eastern side of the country. After we checked into our comfortable accommodation we were able to explore the area and find the rare Ashy-faced Owl.

 

Day 3, 15th March 2020. Birding Los Haitises National Park, transfer to Puerto Escondido

We started the morning meeting up with the local guide (Juan), who has worked with the Peregrine Fund for the last 30 years and keeps tabs on Ridgway’s Hawk. Juan showed us an active nest with two stunning adults inside the park, Los Haitises National Park is home to and the last stronghold for this country’s rarest endemic and one of the most endangered Caribbean raptors, This species was close to extinction, but, although the fight is not won yet, hard work by the Peregrine Fund has seen this species’ numbers start to increase in the region. Our mourning’s birding in the area also produced many other species, including Limpkin, Plain Pigeon, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Antillean Mango, Greater Antillean Bullfinch,  Vervain Hummingbird, Broad-billed Tody, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Antillean Piculet, Stolid Flycatcher, Black-whiskered Vireo, White-necked Crow, Palmchat, Black-crowned Tanager (Palm-Tanager), Greater Antillean Grackle, and a variety of wintering warblers including Northern Waterthrush, Northern Parula, and American Redstart, among others like Black-and-white Warbler, Western Cattle Egret (Cattle Egret), and Great Egret. We finished birding Los Haitises National Park at noon before transferring southwestward to check into Villa Barrancolí, where we’d spend the night, before we went on a night walk, which produced a vocal Least Poorwill (Least Pauraque), but unfortunately there was a celebration at the village and we couldn’t track the bird.

Dominican Republic trip reportThe always-stunning Hispaniolan Spindalis

 

Day 4, 16th March 2020. Birding Zapotén and the Sierra de Bahoruco

We started the morning around 4 a.m. and met with Rafael, a local guide and today’s driver. Our intent was to arrive before sunrise in the montane forest of Zapotén in the Sierra de Bahoruco. The drive up the mountain was incredibly rough, but we were able to hear the call of American Barn Owl perched down by a cliff, and as soon as we arrived at Zapotén we started to hear the call of the Hispaniolan Nightjar many times. After we had parked the car we started the best birding day of the tour.  Our first main target was the rare La Selle Thrush, and we enjoyed views of two birds as they were feeding one up and one down the road. Then we saw our first Hispaniolan Emerald, Green-tailed Warbler, and Hispaniolan Spindalis before enjoying an amazing view of Hispaniolan Trogon. Hispaniolan Pewee and Greater Antillean Elaenia were really common throughout the morning. We also had a brief view of the skittish Rufous-throated Solitaire, and Narrow-billed Tody became extremely common in the area. The elusive Western Chat-Tanager gave us some great, close-up views before it melted back into the bushes. Later Shailesh was photographing one of our top targets, White-winged Warbler, and we enjoyed some great views of Greater Antillean Bullfinch, while the declining Golden Swallow was flying over and then perched in a tree for great scope views. We also marveled at the beauty of Red-legged Thrush and saw Antillean Siskin, Black-crowned Tanager (Palm-Tanager), Bananaquit, and a good number of migratory warblers, such as Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, and Black-throated Blue Warbler. Endemics we found here were Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoos, White-necked Crow, and Hispaniolan Parakeet. Then one of the most important birds for Shailesh, Bay-breasted Cuckoo, started calling and briefly showed. Subsequently pine trees at the top of the hill delivered an exciting moment with a pair of Red-tailed Hawks and one Sharp-shinned Hawk, and we also enjoyed Hispaniolan Crossbills along with a number of Pine Warblers.

The return trip was quieter, but we did better our views of Greater Antillean Bullfinch and finally saw Antillean Euphonia. The road dawn the mountain provided Stolid Flycatcher, Vervain Hummingbird, and a few of the introduced Olive-throated Parakeets, and a quick stop at one of the military checkpoints produced the regional specialty, Loggerhead Kingbird.

Once we reached the drier woodland near the town we started working this area for a few different species. Rafael called in a Flat-billed Vireo, which fortunately showed well, when the rare Bay-breasted Cuckoo called just behind us, but we couldn’t see it. However, we saw other good birds like Smooth-billed Ani, Ovenbird, Yellow-faced Grassquit, and Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo. Then we returned to Villa Barrancolí for a quick late lunch.

We went to the Rabo de Gato trail for the afternoon period, which saw us add a few more species. White-fronted Quail-Dove was the first of our targets we found, and after patiently scanning we spotted a Louisiana Waterthrush feeding by a creek. Some other species seen here included Belted Kingfisher, Scaly-naped Pigeon, White-necked Crow, Hispaniolan Parakeet, and Ovenbird.

 

Day 5, 17th March 2020. Villa Barrancolí to Santo Domingo

We started birding early. Once again we were briefly looking at the elusive White-fronted Quail-Dove on the Rabo de Gato trail, and scanning the forest floor we found a least three Ovenbirds. While we were focused on the soft call of Ruddy Quail-Dove a beautiful and really cooperative Key West Quail-Dove showed up in the middle of the trail. After breakfast we went to the La Placa sector, the dry woodland of the Sierra Bahoruco, looking for more birds. On the tower we had amazing views of the Antillean Piculet and Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo along with many Common Ground Doves, Zenaida Dove, White- winged Dove, Smooth-billed Ani, Grey Kingbird, Stolid Flycatcher, Black-whiskered Vireo, Black-crowned Tanager (Palm-Tanager), American Redstart, and Northern Parula. We returned for lunch to Villa Barrancolí and then checked out and made our way back to Santo Domingo.

Dominican Republic trip reportAntillean Piculet showed really well at Sierra de Bahoruco.

 

Day 6, 18 March 2020. Departure from Santo Domingo

Finally we concluded an amazing tour, even with the all the concern about COVID-19 around the world. We enjoyed the three main birding spots on the island and found all the main targets for Shailesh. As a result we have great memories of another successful Birding Ecotours tour.

 

 

Please see the downloadable PDF above with the full species list included. This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

Join our newsletter for exclusive discounts and great birding information!

Thank you!