Bermuda Birds & Guide to Bird Watching
Bermuda is a great place for bird lovers. Depending on the season, you can see wide varieties of birds, both migratory and land birds. While there are several types of resident birds in Bermuda, lot of the varieties are seen in the birds who migrate en route Bermuda. During the Spring time, many birds migrate from South America towards North America for breeding. However the fall migration is much larger and takes place in the opposite direction, from North towards South.
Photo: Kansasphoto/flickr, cc by 2.0
If you look at a map you will observe that Bermuda falls on the line between some regions of North and South America. As a result, you can see thousands of migratory birds who fly over the island and over the North Atlantic ocean, and many birds land on the island to feed and regain energy before taking off for another long haul.
The species and the varieties of birds that you find in Bermuda depend on the season. There are about 250 species of birds recorded in Bermuda and about 20 of them are residents. While I have talked about many of these birds in the following sections, here are the most important ones including Endemic (that are unique to Bermuda), Native and Introduced species. Check out the links to get detailed information about a specific bird along with its picture.
Bermuda's Endemic Birds
(that can not be found anywhere else in the world)
Bermuda Petrel - Also known as Cahow. This is Bermuda's National Bird. This nocturnal bird spends most of its time in the open ocean feeding on fish, shrimps and squids.
White-eyed Vireo - This small songbird is also known commonly as "Chick of the village" in Bermuda.
Bermuda's Native Birds
(arrived in Bermuda on their own, became native, but can also be found elsewhere in the world)
Longtail - This White Tailed Tropic bird is locally known as Longtail because of its single long tail feather (see the picture above)
Eastern Bluebird - They have bright blue plumage and compete with the house sparrows to acquire artificial nest boxes to hatch.
Green Heron - These small dark colored water birds can be found feeding on fish in wetland and lake areas in Bermuda.
(introduced to the island with human assistance)
Kiskadee - Has been so named from the sound it makes: kis-ka-dee! They were introduced to control lizards. But they chose to eat fruits, seeds and eggs of other birds.
Starling - They are small black birds growing up to some 8.5 inches in size and have speckles of white and brown on their bodies.
Here is information about the birds of Bermuda by season and best places to see them.
February to April is the time for Spring migration. The birds migrate from South to North America for breeding and on the way many of them stop over in Bermuda. As a result you can see many colorful birds in the island during this time of the year.
Although summer time is a relatively quite period for birding activities in Bermuda, you can still see many resident birds. Another great spectacle during this time is the migration of the pelagic sea birds who spend most of the year over the ocean.
Large number of birds of many species land in Bermuda during the fall migration that takes place from the North to South America. This is the time when you will see more species than any other season in Bermuda. September and October are the peak months for bird watching in the island. This time is also the Hurricane season in Bermuda. So strong winds also sometimes sweep in large number of birds into the island.
There are some 90 species of birds that can be seen in Bermuda every year during the winter time. This is because many birds migrate to Bermuda due to the freezing climate in the Americas. And in Bermuda, the nearby Gulf Stream provides all the comfort the birds need to make a winter residence.
Great bird watching locations in Bermuda
Below are some of the great places in Bermuda for bird watching (go through the links for details):
Spittal Pond Nature Reserve in Smith's Parish. Between October to May, you can see wide varieties of migratory shorebirds and waterfowls in this 64 acres lush reserve. Resident birds here include Kiskadee, Grey Catbird, White-eyed Vireo, Northern Cardinal, European Goldfinch, etc. In winter, you can see black and white Warblers, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, etc.
Watch Hill Park and Devonshire Bay for watching the migration of seabirds from South Shore of Bermuda during summer time. A binocular or even better a telescope would be ideal to watch such migration over the ocean.
Mangrove Lake located in the border of Smith's Parish and Hamilton Parish and east of Harrington Sound is also a great bird watching site. You can see many migratory birds here who make a stop over during their migration over the Atlantic. One of such prominent birds is the Green Herons.
The pond, largest in Bermuda, is fringed with think red mangrove trees and covers an area of some 30 acres. There are of course many other great bird locations in Bermuda like the Warwick Pond
, Somerset Long Bay
, and Seymour’s Pond
Update January 2015: The 40th Christmas bird count ended in the last week of December 2014. A total of 92 species of birds have been recorded in Bermuda in 2014 bird count during Christmas week.
Visitors' Reviews and Comments
Keith Pendlebury (July 2022)
Hi, We are birdwatchers from the UK. We will be in Hamilton port from a cruise ship on Sunday 15th January 2023. How far is Spital Pond Nature Reserve from Hamilton Port? We hope to do some birding there, but is there any chance of meeting with a local birder to help us? Thanks for your help,
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) July 2022
Hi, Spittal Pond Nature Reserve is located in Smith's Parish and about 6.4kms (4 miles) away from Hamilton Cruise Port. It will take about 10 minutes to reach there by taxi. You can also take bus #1 or #3 to get there. You won't likely find a birding guide there. You can contact Bermuda National Trust (BNT), the organization that manages the reserve and ask them if they can organize a birding guide. BNT Tel. (441) 236-6483, Email:[email protected]
. You can also write to Dr. Charlotte Andrews, Head of Cultural Heritage (BNT), Email: [email protected]