Birdsong in the Puerto Rican Rain Forest

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I first got the opportunity to visit Puerto Rico on a business trip in March 2005. It left a lasting impression because I returned for a three-week vacation in January 2011. The island is rich in wildlife with many types of habitat including rain forest, marshes and mangroves, beaches and lakes, mountainous areas and dry forest.

Underneath each image you’ll find an audio button. Click on these buttons in order to hear not only the birdsong but also to experience the full atmosphere of the habitat.

El Yunque National Forest is a forest located in northeastern Puerto Rico. It is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System. Ample rainfall (over 200 inches a year in some areas) creates a jungle-like setting — lush foliage, crags, waterfalls and rivers are a prevalent sight. The forest has a number of trails from which the jungle-like territory’s flora and fauna can be appreciated.

This Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) was photographed in the grounds of the visitor center in the El Yunque rain forest.

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola)

This Red-legged Thrush (Turdus plumbeus) was photographed in the grounds of the visitor center in the El Yunque rain forest.

Red-legged Thrush (Turdus plumbeus)

La Parguera – The village of La Parguera is a popular tourist destination to see the famous Bahía Fosforescente (Phosphoresent Bay) and its keys and islet’s. This is a great place to stay because it is within half an hour of both the Refugio De Aves De Boqueron and the Bosque Estatal De Guanica.

La Parguera was the only place on the island where I found the endangered Yellow Shouldered Blackbird – the local baker throws his waste bread into his garden each morning, and the local birds including the yellow-shouldered blackbird have a field day.

Yellow-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus)

We stayed at the El Parador Villa Parguera in La Parguera. Every evening as the sun set, the Grackles would congregate in the trees overlooking the ocean Their characteristic birdsong still reminds me of this idyllic spot.

Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger)

Refugio De Aves De Boqueron – This is one of the most scenic wildlife refuges in Puerto Rico. Borders the interior of Boquerón lagoon, is the same located at the back of the Beach Complex of the same name. This forest is also a great place to enjoy nature, mainly water birds, shore birds and vegetation associated to the mangroves.

The Lesser Antillean Pewee (Contopus latirostris) is found on Puerto Rico and is sometimes considered to be a separate species (Puerto Rican Pewee, C. portoricensis).

Lesser Antillean Pewee (Contopus latirostris)

The Puerto Rican Flycatcher (Myiarchus antillarum) is endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican Flycatcher (Myiarchus antillarum)

Although the Troupial (Icterus icterus) is the national bird of Venezuela, I found one in the Refugio De Aves De Boqueron on Puerto Rico.

Troupial (Icterus icterus)

Bosque Estatal De Guanica – The type of forest that grows here is known as xerophytic, or just dry forest, where the scarce rainfall and dry climate yield its singular beauty and diversity. Plant species alone number in the high hundreds, almost 250 of which are spiny bushes and trees. Over 150 bird species have been counted in the reserve – doubling El Yunque’s number – as well as numerous reptiles and amphibians, like the native coquí.

The Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) is a tody endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico. I photographed this one in the Bosque Estatal De Guanica. The Puerto Rican Tody can be found throughout the main island of Puerto Rico but it predominates in forested areas

Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus)

Rio Caonillas – We stayed at the Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, a former coffee plantation that has been converted into a resort. Lago Dos Bocas offers boating, kayaking and fishing, and breathtaking seaside dining. Hiking and bird-watching are enjoyable pursuits in the Rio Abajo Forest Reserve. Man-made lakes like Lago Dos Bocas and Lago Caonillas not only provide much-needed power to the region, but are also seeded with several varieties of fish.

When checking into our bungalow at the Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, there were two Pearly-eyed Thrashers on the balcony of our bungalow. Their characteristic song reminds me of this tranquil location in the mountains of Puerto Rico.

Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margarops fuscatus)

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan.Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography.Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan.Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography.Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

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