Short birding tour for many specialties and endemics including the unusual Palmchat.
The enigmatic, colonial-nesting Palmchat, by guide Jesse Fagan
The Dominican Republic -- the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola -- is a very interesting place to visit: there are some thirty endemics, more than are found in Cuba, including a monotypic family and several genera only found on the island. Our tour focuses mainly on the high mountains and foothills of the western part of the country, where virtually all of the endemics occur. We'll bird the lovely and rugged Sierra de Bahoruco, where habitats range from deciduous scrub and mesquite in the arid lowlands to epiphyte-laden montane forest and, at the highest elevations, pines and agaves.
The bird life is correspondingly diverse. Many of the most interesting species are still enigmas to ornithologists: Antillean Piculet, so different from other piculets that it is placed in its own genus; Palmchat, a gregarious species in a monotypic family which builds huge stick nests and perhaps is related to the waxwings and silky-flycatchers; and Flat-billed Vireo, so unlike other vireos in behavior and bill shape that it was originally described as an Empidonax flycatcher. Our trip will also include a visit to one of the last strongholds of the endemic Ridgway's Hawk: the remote Parque de Los Haitises near the north coast, where, with luck, we may find this rare, critically endangered raptor.
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If you would like a longer birding holiday, some departures of this tour may be combined with:
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