Cuba’s Western Mountains includes two of the country’s most diverse and dramatic ranges: the Sierra del Rosario, and Sierra de los Organos. We will explore areas in both ranges in search of western range endemic species such as the Cuban Solitaire. A highlight of the trip, we will visit the magical, unusually beautiful karstic landscape of “mogotes” the towering, lushly vegetated, flat-top limestone monoliths that dominate the Organos Mountains. This is the region in which we will likely see the Cuban Solitaire, Cuban Grassquit, Giant Kingbird, and Olive-capped Warbler. Other potential endemic species for western Cuba include Cuban Oriole, Cuban Green Woodpecker, Cuban Pewee, Cuban Pygmy-Owl, Cuban Tody, Cuban Trogon, Cuban Vireo, Gundlach’s Hawk, and Yellow–headed Warbler.
We will also explore the diverse wetland region of the Zapata Peninsula, Cuba’s richest and most important birding destination located in the historic Bay of Pigs. This peninsula is a Ramsar Convention (international conservation treaty) designated site, and is among the most important wetlands in the West Indies. The Zapata Peninsula covers more than 2800 square miles and features easily accessible, everglades-like ecology and habitat. Framed by the pristine Caribbean coastal environment of the Bay of Pigs, the peninsula features vast open swamp land, low coastal forests, sparkling white sand beaches, healthy and accessible coral reefs, and refreshing natural limestone pools called cenotes. Bee Hummingbird, Zapata Wren, Zapata Sparrow, Fernandina’s Flicker, Bare-legged Owl, Tawny- shouldered and Red-shouldered Blackbird are among the many birds we will hope to find.