St Lucia Wildlife: five birds to look out for in Marigot Bay

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

 

Marigot Bay is without doubt one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful destinations. Lush hillsides sweep down towards mangroves which dip their toes into the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, which are filled with a great variety of fish and other marine life. The trees and shrubs, as well as the sea itself, provide food for a fantastic variety of St Lucian birds, which come to Marigot Bay to live, feed and breed throughout the year.

During your visit to Marigot Bay keep an eye open for our feathered friends – we’ve listed five of the birds you’re most likely to see in Marigot Bay, but you’re bound to see many more.

1. Antillean Crested Hummingbird

At only 8-9.5cm this is the smallest of St Lucia’s hummingbirds, recognisable by the raised crest on the head of the male birds. Antillean Crested Hummingbirds are most active at dawn and dusk, and are frequent visitors to Marigot Bay. Look out for them feeding from flowers and shrubs, or singing from the branches of the Flamboyant Trees, of which there are many in Marigot Bay. If you’re staying in a St Lucia hotel which has an outdoor restaurant, it’s always worth taking your camera with you to breakfast, in case you have a lucky break and manage to snap a shot or two of one of these colourful little visitors.

Antillean Crested Hummingbird

2. Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

The Lesser Antillean Bullfinch is a friendly little fellow. With the right incentive (ginger biscuits seem to be a favourite treat), they’ll often be persuaded to eat from your hand.

This cute little bird is black with a distinctive red throat patch, and can be seen throughout St Lucia. There are many Lesser Antillean Bullfinches in Marigot Bay; they’re often to be seen on hotel room verandas and visiting the tables at outdoor restaurants, waiting for guests to drop a few crumbs for them to eat.

As the sun goes down in Marigot Bay, look up to the trees where you’ll see (and hear!) the finches singing goodnight to their friends.

lesser antillean bullfinch

3. Carib Grackle

This jaunty little tropical blackbird has jet black, glossy plumage and very distinctive pale eyes, which can be a bit disconcerting the first time you meet a Grackle. Like the bullfinches, Carib Grackles are frequent visitors to Marigot Bay, but they’re not quite as friendly. While they’re quite happy to hang around tables waiting for a crumb or two, unlike the finches they’re less keen for humans to get too close, and will usually fly away if you attempt to hand feed them.

Carib Grackle

4. Scaly-Naped Pigeon

The Scaly-Naped Pigeon is a large slate grey pigeon, about 14-16 inches in length, and it gets its name from a patch of maroon coloured plumage around the nape of its neck which looks scaly when viewed from a distance. These distinctive birds have a bald patch of skin surrounding their eyes, and this patch of skin is usually reddish in colour on male birds, or yellowish on females.

Scaly-Naped Pigeons feed on the fruit and seeds of trees, and in Marigot Bay they’re often seen perched on tree branches watching the world go by below them.

scaly-naped pigeon

5. Magnificent Frigatebird

The Magnificent Frigatebird really deserves its name – it’s truly magnificent to watch. They’re pretty large, at a metre long and with a wingspan of some two metres, and they have deeply forked tails so there’s no mistaking them in flight. Although they feed primarily on fish, which they snatch from the surface of the sea, they very rarely land on water. These spectacular birds also survive by stealing food from other birds, mid-flight, like aerial pirates.

The male Magnificent Frigatebird is mostly black, with a bright red throat pouch which inflates during the breeding season (though this pouch is difficult to spot when the birds are flying high overhead). The females are mostly black, but have a white breast and sides.

You’ll see the Magnificent Frigatebird soaring over Marigot Bay, and you’ll also see them during boat trips around St Lucia’s coastline.

magnificent frigatebird

 

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One comment on “St Lucia Wildlife: five birds to look out for in Marigot Bay

  1. robbie on said:

    Hi, been at Marigot bay one day, have seen all these birds bar the frigate bird by 3pm. Wonderful to see a humming bird for the 1st time aged 52, my 5 year old was thrilled.

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