CARIBBEAN ENDEMIC BIRD FESTIVAL: NASSAU BIRDERS VISIT ABACO
THE CARIBBEAN ENDEMIC BIRD FESTIVAL (CEBF) is a Caribbean-wide festival that aims to heighten awareness for birds generally in the region. It is sponsored by the excellent BirdsCaribbean organisation – click the link to see what it is all about. Birds, obviously, but from the points of view both of promoting and of preserving the rich avian variety throughout the Caribbean.
As part of the CEBF celebrations this month, a birding group from New Providence came to Abaco to explore the birdlife. The expedition group included several well-known local bird experts, all the better for locating and identifying species and ensuring a comprehensive checklist could be compiled. Also in the group was photographer Linda Huber, whose photos you will undoubtedly have seen in Bahamas publications, including the recently published small guide BEAUTIFUL BAHAMA BIRDS (click to see my review and further details – highly recommended for any birder from novice up). Here are a few of Linda’s photos of some of the birds seen during the expedition, a gallery that shows the extraordinary diversity of species to found in a short time on Abaco.
Apologies to those who received a ‘false start’ draft of this post. It was lunchtime, I was hungry, I pressed ‘Save Draft’… or thought I had. Why is the ‘Publish’ button so close? Oh. Right. I see. It’s not its fault, it’s mine…
Bahama Warbler Setophaga flavescens Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor
West Indian Woodpecker Melanerpes superciliaris
The gallery above includes a number of specialist birds and others of particular interest. In brief:
- 3 of the 4 ENDEMIC SPECIES found on Abaco (omitting only the Bahama Woodstar)
- The famous, incomparable and indeed unique ground-nesting ABACO PARROT
- 4 ‘local’ subspecies of birds also found beyond the Bahamas
- 1 of only 5 resident warblers, the Olive-capped (of 37 recorded for Abaco)
- The most recent addition to the birds recorded for Abaco PEARLY-EYED THRASHER
- The WEST-INDIAN WOODPECKER, now found only on Abaco and (rarely) San Salvador
- 2 or 3 introduced or domestic species (if that Muscovy Duck was at Gilpin Point it’s a pet!)
- The debatable ‘Caribbean Coot’, about which it has been written** The American Coot is familiar to all, but controversy surrounds the Caribbean Coot with its all-white frontal shield. Some authorities say it is a separate species; others say it is a true subspecies of the American Coot; some claim it is simply a local variant. Bond (1947) treats them as distinct species. The image below shows the two species together. They coexist contentedly and are indifferent to the debate.
CREDITS All photos Linda Huber (with many thanks for use permission) except the pair of coots (Tony Hepburn) and the singing Bahama Yellowthroat in the BNT Flyer (Bruce Hallett)
** Keith Salvesen, The Birds of Abaco p22