Best Puerto Rico Birding Locations
Look up into the canopy of rainforests in Puerto Rico and you may spot one of the island’s many bird species — with over 300 counted and 17 endemic species still surviving. Puerto Rico’s bird watching areas are abundant and the rewards are great for bird watchers looking to explore. Whether you’re looking to spot the Puerto Rico national bird, the spindalis or “Reina Mora”, or hoping to discover a rare sighting of the Puerto Rican Amazon parrot, the island’s lush forests are worth the visit for any serious birder. Check out our top spots for birding in Puerto Rico!
El Yunque National Forest
Located on the east end of the island, America’s only tropical rainforest provides a great amount of biodiversity in just a small area. As a popular destination for Puerto Rico tours, we’d advise bird watchers to start on the trails early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. Many visitors go to see the stunning waterfalls, natural pools, and towers along the hiking trails.
Bird watchers can catch some of the 97 bird species, 45 of which are migratory. Visitors have reported catching gorgeous views of the loggerhead kingbird, bananaquit, Puerto Rican orioles, PR emerald hummingbird, and more. The forest is also home to the endangered PR Amazon parrot. Puerto Rican bird watchers also recommend checking out some lookout spots along Highway 3, east of the Highway 191 intersection to El Yunque. The diversity and lush habitat will not disappoint!
Guánica State Forest
Moving towards the southwest area of the island, Guánica State Forest is one of the largest remaining areas of subtropical dry coastal forest in the world. Around 185 species of birds have been reported by bird watchers in this biosphere reserve, including 15 of the 17 endemic species.
Visitors have experienced amazing views of the lizard cuckoo, lesser pewee, Adelaide’s warbler, and tody in this bird watching area. Choose from the forest’s twelve scenic trails and listen for bird songs as you explore. If you’re venturing out in the evening, you may hear the song of the endemic PR nightjar along Highway 333!
Humacao Nature Preserve
Closer to El Yunque on the east side of the island, Humacao is located next to several lagoons. It’s the prime spot for bird viewings of waterfowl. There are floating piers that make great perches to view the area’s 90 bird species. You can even rent a kayak and search through the mangroves to spot a PR woodpecker or magnificent frigatebird. The great egret, mangrove cuckoo, white-winged dove, and many more captivating species have also been spotted by bird watchers in the area.
Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge Salt Flats
On the southeast corner of the island, about an hour’s drive from Guánica State Forest, the Salt Flats hold many wonders for birding in Puerto Rico. The area has been recognized by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area. It is known as the habitat for the endangered yellow-shouldered blackbird.
Water levels are maintained for the area’s migratory and residential birds to have a safe place to land. The flats host 145 bird species, including the green mango hummingbird, Adelaide’s warbler, and Antillean nighthawk. Scientists use the reserve to conduct conservation research for the birds and other wildlife species in the bird watching area. The area is also referred to as the “pink beach” for the lovely shade the salt mines bring to the waters. With six protected ecosystems, the refuge is well worth a visit!
After a long day of exploring the best places for bird watching in Puerto Rico, be sure to check out all the water activities and tours the island has to offer.