Caribbean Bird-watching

Bonaireans understand that protecting the environment involves more than just the surrounding Caribbean Sea. Therefore a safe haven for the many birds (both native and migrating) has been created. Washington Slagbaai National Park is a large reserve in the north that covers 20% of this Caribbean island’s total land area. Over 200 birds can be found on Bonaire at various times, including the more than 15,000 flamingos that nest in the protected area within the salt pans in the south.

Apart from Washington Slagbaai, several other vulnerable areas have been designated as protected zones. All are open to the public, but distance must be kept in order to not disturb them. There are bird watching tours by bus available, or by kayak in the mangroves.

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Caribbean or Brown-throated Parakeet

Aratinga pertinax


This bright green bird can be seen, flying around with the others loudly screaming! It’s a joy to listen to and to watch at. The parakeet on Bonaire differs from the parakeets on Curacao and Aruba, though some of the races have been mixed a little.

Common or Blue-tailed Emerald

Chlorostilbon mellisugus


This tiny little hummingbird can be seen where flowers are. It’s only 8 cm and this includes the beak which is 2 cm long. Their relatively long beak is used to sip nectar from flowers. They are named after their glittering color; emerald. Only the female are a little more dull in color.

Troupial

Icterus Icterus


A great singer and for sure the most characteristic bird of Bonaire. The contrast between the bright orange and the black makes this bird a pleasure to watch to. Combined with its melodical; a special one! The troupial defends its territory in a spectaculair way.

Frigatebird

Fregata magnificens


Beautiful view; the bright blue sky with a pair of these large birds passing by. This giant black bird is often seen where the fisher men are, leading each other to where fish can be found. When you see one with a bright red throat pouch this means breeding season is starting.

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