List of birds of Puerto Rico

List of birds of Puerto Rico

This is a categorized list of the bird species recorded in the archipelago of Puerto Rico which consists of the main island of Puerto Rico, two island municipalities off the east coast (Vieques and Culebra), three uninhabited islands off the west coast (Mona, Monito, and Desecheo) and more than 125 smaller cays and islands. The avifauna of Puerto Rico includes a total of 349 species, of which 166 (47.56%) are accidental, 42 (12.03%) are introduced by humans and 16 (4.58%) are endemic. Around 120 of these species breed in Puerto Rico while the majority of the others overwinter in the archipelago. This list does not include extinct species.


This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of Clements's 5th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced, accidental and extirpated species are included in the total species counts for Puerto Rico.

The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. It must be noted that not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are common occurring, native species.
*(A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in the archipelago of Puerto Rico.
*(E) Endemic A species endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico.
*(Ex) Extirpated A species that no longer occurs in the archipelago Puerto Rico although populations exist elsewhere.
*(I) Introduced A species introduced to the archipelago of Puerto Rico as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.


Order: PodicipediformesFamily: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species world-wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Least Grebe, "Tachybaptus dominicus"
*Pied-billed Grebe, "Podilymbus podiceps"

hearwaters and Petrels

Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Procellariidae

The Procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species world wide and 8 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Black-capped Petrel, "Pterodroma hasitata" (A)
*Herald Petrel, "Pterodroma arminjoniana" (A)
*Cory's Shearwater, "Calonectris diomedea" (A)
*Greater Shearwater, "Puffinus gravis" (A)
*Sooty Shearwater, "Puffinus griseus" (A)
*Manx Shearwater, "Puffinus puffinus" (A)
*Little Shearwater, "Puffinus assimilis" (A)
*Audubon's Shearwater, "Puffinus lherminieri"


Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Hydrobatidae

The Storm-Petrels are the smallest of seabirds, relatives of the petrels, feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Wilson's Storm-Petrel, "Oceanites oceanicus" (A)
*Leach's Storm-Petrel, "Oceanodroma leucorhoa" (A)


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their long wings have black markings, as does the head. There are 3 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Red-billed Tropicbird, "Phaethon aethereus"
*White-tailed Tropicbird, "Phaethon lepturus"


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. There are 8 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*American White Pelican, "Pelecanus erythrorhynchos" (A)
*Brown Pelican, "Pelecanus occidentalis"


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies with only boobies occurring in Puerto Rico. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 8 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Masked Booby, "Sula dactylatra"
*Red-footed Booby, "Sula sula"
*Brown Booby, "Sula leucogaster"


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Phalacrocoracidae

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage coloration is varied with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being quite colourful. There are 38 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Double-crested Cormorant, "Phalacrocorax auritus" (A)
*Neotropic Cormorant, "Phalacrocorax brasilianus" (A)


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black or black and white, with long wings and deeply-forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There are 5 species world-wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Magnificent Frigatebird, "Fregata magnificens"

Bitterns, Herons, and Egrets

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and Egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Unlike other long necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species world wide and 14 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Great Blue Heron, "Ardea herodias"
*Great Egret, "Ardea alba"
*Reddish Egret, "Egretta rufescens" (A)
*Tricolored Heron, "Egretta tricolor"
*Little Blue Heron, "Egretta caerulea"
*Western Reef-Heron, "Egretta gularis" (A)
*Snowy Egret, "Egretta thula"
*Little Egret, "Egretta garzetta" (A)
*Cattle Egret, "Bubulcus ibis"
*Green Heron, "Butorides virescens"
*Black-crowned Night-Heron, "Nycticorax nycticorax"
*Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, "Nyctanassa violacea"
*Least Bittern, "Ixobrychus exilis"
*American Bittern, "Botaurus lentiginosus" (A)

Ibises and Spoonbills

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Threskiornithidae

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and, rather surprisingly, given their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*White Ibis, "Eudocimus albus" (A)
*Glossy Ibis, "Plegadis falcinellus" (A)
*Roseate Spoonbill, "Platalea ajaja" (A)


Order: PhoenicopteriformesFamily: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingos (genus Phoenicopterus monotypic in family Phoenicopteridae) are gregarious wading birds, usually 3–5 feet in height, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 6 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Caribbean Flamingo, "Phoenicopterus ruber" (A)

Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Order: AnseriformesFamily: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. There are 131 species world wide and 28 species which occur in Puerto Rico, the majority of which occur accidentally.

*Fulvous Whistling-Duck, "Dendrocygna bicolor" (A)
*West Indian Whistling-Duck, "Dendrocygna arborea"
*Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, "Dendrocygna autumnalis" (A)
*Tundra Swan, "Cygnus columbianus" (A)
*Snow Goose, "Chen caerulescens" (A)
*Brent Goose, "Branta bernicla" (A)
*Canada Goose, "Branta canadensis" (A)
*Wood Duck, "Aix sponsa" (A)
*Eurasian Wigeon, "Anas penelope" (A)
*American Wigeon, "Anas americana" (A)
*Gadwall, "Anas strepera" (A)
*Green-winged Teal, "Anas carolinensis" (A)
*Mallard, "Anas platyrhynchos" (A)
*American Black Duck, "Anas rubripes" (A)
*Northern Shoveler, "Anas clypeata" (A)
*White-cheeked Pintail, "Anas bahamensis"
*Garganey "Anas querquedula" (A)
*Blue-winged Teal, "Anas discors"
*Cinnamon Teal, "Anas cyanoptera" (A)
*Northern Pintail, "Anas acuta"
*Canvasback, "Aythya valisineria" (A)
*Ring-necked Duck, "Aythya collaris" (A)
*Lesser Scaup, "Aythya affinis" (A)
*Bufflehead, "Bucephala albeola" (A)
*Hooded Merganser, "Lophodytes cucullatus" (A)
*Red-breasted Merganser, "Mergus serrator" (A)
*Masked Duck, "Nomonyx dominica"
*Ruddy Duck, "Oxyura jamaicensis"

New World vultures

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Cathartidae

The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers. However, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they located carcasses. There are 7 species world wide, all found only in the Americas, and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Turkey Vulture, "Cathartes aura" (I)


Order: FalconiformesFamily: Pandionidae

The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the Osprey. The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.

*Osprey, "Pandion haliaetus"

Hawks, Kites, and Eagles

Order: FalconiformesFamily: Accipitridae

The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species world wide and 8 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Swallow-tailed Kite, "Elanoides forficatus" (A)
*Bald Eagle, "Haliaeetus leucocephalus" (A)
*Northern Harrier, "Circus cyaneus"
*Sharp-shinned Hawk, "Accipiter striatus "
*Common Black-Hawk, "Buteogallus anthracinus" (A)
*Ridgway's Hawk, "Buteo ridgwayi" (A)
*Broad-winged Hawk, "Buteo platypterus"
*Red-tailed Hawk, "Buteo jamaicensis"


Order: FalconiformesFamily: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*American Kestrel, "Falco sparverius"
*Merlin, "Falco columbarius" (A)
*Peregrine Falcon, "Falco peregrinus" (A)

New World Quails

Order: GalliformesFamily: Odontophoridae

The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. There are 32 species world-wide, all found only in the Americas, of which one is introduced to Puerto Rico.

*Northern Bobwhite, "Colinus virginianus" (I)

Junglefowls and Pheasants

Order: GalliformesFamily: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they may vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide, including 2 species that occur in Puerto Rico.

*Red Junglefowl, "Gallus gallus" (I)
*Common Pheasant, "Phasianus colchicus" (I)


Order: GalliformesFamily: Numididae

Guineafowls are a group of African seed-eating, ground-nesting birds resembling partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled gray plumage. There are 6 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.
*Helmeted Guineafowl, "Numida meleagris" (I)


Order: GruiformesFamily: Aramidae

The Limpkin is a large, odd bird with drably plumaged brown with a greyer head and neck.

*Limpkin, "Aramus guarauna" (Ex)

Rails, Gallinules, and Coots

Order: GruiformesFamily: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species world wide and 9 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Black Rail, "Laterallus jamaicensis" (A)
*Clapper Rail, "Rallus longirostris"
*Virginia Rail, "Rallus limicola" (A)
*Sora, "Porzana carolina" (A)
*Yellow-breasted Crake, "Porzana flaviventer"
*Purple Gallinule, "Porphyrio martinica"
*Common Moorhen, "Gallinula chloropus"
*American Coot, "Fulica americana"
*Caribbean Coot, "Fulica caribaea"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Jacanidae

The Jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Northern Jacana, "Jacana spinosa" (A)


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are 11 species world-wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*American Oystercatcher, "Haematopus palliatus"

tilts and Avocets

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Black-necked Stilt, "Himantopus mexicanus"
*American Avocet, "Recurvirostra americana" (A)

Lapwings and Plovers

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are 66 species world wide and 8 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Northern Lapwing, "Vanellus vanellus" (A)
*American Golden-Plover, "Pluvialis dominica" (A)
*Black-bellied Plover, "Pluvialis squatarola"
*Semipalmated Plover, "Charadrius semipalmatus"
*Wilson's Plover, "Charadrius wilsonia"
*Killdeer, "Charadrius vociferus"
*Piping Plover, "Charadrius melodus" (A)
*Kentish Plover, "Charadrius alexandrinus"

andpipers, Curlews, Stints, Godwits, Snipes, and Phalaropes

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Scolopacidae

The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 86 species world wide and 31 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Wilson's Snipe, "Gallinago delicata"
*Short-billed Dowitcher, "Limnodromus griseus"
*Long-billed Dowitcher, "Limnodromus scolopaceus" (A)
*Hudsonian Godwit, "Limosa haemastica" (A)
*Marbled Godwit, "Limosa fedoa" (A)
*Eskimo Curlew, "Numenius borealis" (A)
*Whimbrel, "Numenius phaeopus" (A)
*Long-billed Curlew, "Numenius americanus" (A)
*Upland Sandpiper, "Bartramia longicauda" (A)
*Common Greenshank, "Tringa nebularia" (A)
*Greater Yellowlegs, "Tringa melanoleuca"
*Lesser Yellowlegs, "Tringa flavipes"
*Solitary Sandpiper, "Tringa solitaria "
*Spotted Sandpiper, "Tringa macularia"
*Willet, "Catoptrophorus semipalmatus"
*Ruddy Turnstone, "Arenaria interpres"
*Red Knot, "Calidris canutus" (A)
*Sanderling, "Calidris alba"
*Semipalmated Sandpiper, "Calidris pusilla"
*Western Sandpiper, "Calidris mauri"
*Least Sandpiper, "Calidris minutilla"
*White-rumped Sandpiper, "Calidris fuscicollis" (A)
*Baird's Sandpiper, "Calidris bairdii" (A)
*Pectoral Sandpiper, "Calidris melanotos"
*Curlew Sandpiper, "Calidris ferruginea" (A)
*Dunlin, "Calidris alpina" (A)
*Stilt Sandpiper, "Calidris himantopus"
*Buff-breasted Sandpiper, "Tryngites subruficollis" (A)
*Ruff, "Philomachus pugnax" (A)
*Wilson's Phalarope, "Phalaropus tricolor" (A)
*Red-necked Phalarope, "Phalaropus lobatus" (A)

kuas and Jaegers

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species world wide and 4 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*South Polar Skua, "Stercorarius maccormicki" (A)
*Great Skua, "Stercorarius skua" (A)
*Pomarine Jaeger, "Stercorarius pomarinus" (A)
*Parasitic Jaeger, "Stercorarius parasiticus" (A)


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 55 species world wide and 11 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Ring-billed Gull, "Larus delawarensis"
*Great Black-backed Gull, "Larus marinus" (A)
*Herring Gull, "Larus argentatus" (A)
*Lesser Black-backed Gull, "Larus fuscus" (A)
*Black-headed Gull, "Larus ridibundus" (A)
*Bonaparte's Gull, "Larus philadelphia" (A)
*Laughing Gull, "Larus atricilla"
*Franklin's Gull, "Larus pipixcan" (A)
*Little Gull, "Larus minutus" (A)
*Sabine's Gull, "Xema sabini" (A)
*Black-legged Kittiwake, "Rissa tridactyla" (A)


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Sternidae

Terns are a group of generally general medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects of the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25-30 years. There are 44 species world wide and 15 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Gull-billed Tern, "Gelochelidon nilotica" (A)
*Caspian Tern, "Hydroprogne caspia" (A)
*Sandwich Tern, "Sterna sandvicensis"
*Royal Tern, "Sterna maxima"
*Roseate Tern, "Sterna dougallii"
*Common Tern, "Sterna hirundo"
*Arctic Tern, "Sterna paradisaea" (A)
*Forster's Tern, "Sterna forsteri" (A)
*Least Tern, "Sternula antillarum"
*Bridled Tern, "Onychoprion anaethetus"
*Sooty Tern, "Onychoprion fuscata"
*White-winged Tern, "Chlidonias leucopterus" (A)
*Black Tern, "Chlidonias niger"
*Black Noddy, "Anous minutus" (A)
*Brown Noddy, "Anous stolidus"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Rynchopidae

Skimmers are a small family of tropical tern-like birds. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish. There are 3 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Black Skimmer, "Rynchops niger" (A)

Pigeons and Doves

Order: ColumbiformesFamily: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species world wide and 14 species which occur in Puerto Rico, four of which are introduced.

*Rock Pigeon, "Columba livia" (I)
*White-crowned Pigeon, "Columba leucocephala"
*Scaly-naped Pigeon, "Columba squamosa"
*Plain Pigeon, "Columba inornata"
*Eurasian Collared-Dove, "Streptopelia decaocto" (I)
*African Collared-Dove, "Streptopelia roseogrisea" (I)
*Diamond Dove, "Geopelia cuneata " (I)
*Mourning Dove, "Zenaida macroura"
*Zenaida Dove, "Zenaida aurita"
*White-winged Dove, "Zenaida asiatica"
*Common Ground-Dove, "Columbina passerina"
*Key West Quail-Dove, "Geotrygon chrysia"
*Bridled Quail-Dove, "Geotrygon mystacea" (A)
*Ruddy Quail-Dove, "Geotrygon montana"


Order: PsittaciformesFamily: Cacatuidae

Cockatoos share many features with true parrots (Psittacidae family) including the characteristic curved beak shape and a zygodactyl foot, with two forward toes and two backwards toes. They differ, however in a number of characteristics, including the movable headcrest, and their lack of the Dyck texture feather composition, which gives many parrots their iridescent colours. Cockatoos are also, on average, larger than the true parrots. There are 21 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico, all of which are introduced.

*Goffin's Cockatoo, "Cacatua goffini" (I)
*Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, "Cacatua galerita" (I)
*White Cockatoo, "Cacatua alba" (I)

Budgerigars, Parakeets and Parrots

Order: PsittaciformesFamily: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and the have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. There are 335 species world wide and 14 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Budgerigar, "Melopsittacus undulatus" (I)
*Red-masked Parakeet, "Aratinga erythrogenys" (I)
*Hispaniolan Parakeet, "Aratinga chloroptera" (A)
*Brown-throated Parakeet, "Aratinga pertinax" (I)
*Orange-fronted Parakeet, "Aratinga canicularis" (I)
*Nanday Parakeet, "Nandayus nenday" (I)
*Monk Parakeet, "Myiopsitta monachus" (I)
*Canary-winged Parakeet "Brotogeris versicolorus" (I)
*Hispaniolan Amazon, "Amazona ventralis" (I)
*Puerto Rican Amazon, "Amazona vittata" (E)
*White-fronted Amazon, "Amazona albifrons" (I)
*Red-crowned Amazon, "Amazona viridigenalis" (I)
*Yellow-headed Amazon, "Amazona oratrix" (I)
*Orange-winged Amazon, "Amazona amazonica" (I)


Order: CuculiformesFamily: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. There are 138 species world wide and 5 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Black-billed Cuckoo, "Coccyzus erythropthalmus" (A)
*Yellow-billed Cuckoo, "Coccyzus americanus"
*Mangrove Cuckoo, "Coccyzus minor"
*Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo, "Saurothera vieilloti" (E)
*Smooth-billed Ani, "Crotophaga ani"

Barn owls

Order: StrigiformesFamily: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Barn Owl, "Tyto alba" (A)

Typical owls

Order: StrigiformesFamily: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Puerto Rican Screech-Owl, "Megascops nudipes" (E)
*Short-eared Owl, "Asio flammeus"


Order: CaprimulgiformesFamily: Nyctibiidae

Potoos are a group of large near passerine birds related to the nightjars and frogmouths. These are nocturnal insectivores which lack the bristles around the mouth found in the true nightjars. There are 5 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Northern Potoo, "Nyctibius jamaicensis" (A)


Order: CaprimulgiformesFamily: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species world wide and 5 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Common Nighthawk, "Chordeiles minor" (A)
*Antillean Nighthawk, "Chordeiles gundlachii"
*Chuck-will's-widow, "Caprimulgus carolinensis" (A)
*Puerto Rican Nightjar, "Caprimulgus noctitherus" (E)
*White-tailed Nightjar, "Caprimulgus cayennensis" (A)


Order: ApodiformesFamily: Apodidae

Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 98 species world wide and 4 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Black Swift, "Cypseloides niger"
*White-collared Swift, "Streptoprocne zonaris" (A)
*Antillean Palm-Swift, "Tachornis phoenicobia" (A)
*Alpine Swift, "Tachymarptis melba" (A)


Order: TrochiliformesFamily: Trochilidae

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. There are 337 species world wide and 9 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Green-breasted Mango, "Anthracothorax prevostii" (A)
*Antillean Mango, "Anthracothorax dominicus"
*Green Mango, "Anthracothorax viridis" (E)
*Purple-throated Carib, "Eulampis jugularis" (A)
*Green-throated Carib, "Eulampis holosericeus"
*Antillean Crested Hummingbird, "Orthorhyncus cristatus"
*Puerto Rican Emerald, "Chlorostilbon maugaeus" (E)
*Vervain Hummingbird, "Mellisuga minima" (A)
*Ruby-throated Hummingbird, "Archilochus colubris" (A)

Water Kingfisher

Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Cerylidae

Water Kingfishers are medium sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 94 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Belted Kingfisher, "Ceryle alcyon"
*Ringed Kingfisher, "Ceryle torquatus" (A)


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Todidae

Todies are a group of small near passerine forest species of endemic to the Caribbean. These birds have colourful plumage and resembles kingfishers, but with flattened bills with serrated edges. They eat small prey such as insects and lizards. There are 5 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Puerto Rican Tody, "Todus mexicanus" (E)

Woodpeckers and Sapsuckers

Order: PiciformesFamily: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium sized birds with chisel like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Puerto Rican Woodpecker, "Melanerpes portoricensis" (E)
*Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, "Sphyrapicus varius" (A)
*Hairy Woodpecker, "Picoides villosus" (A)

Tyrant flycatchers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are Passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust with stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, are rather plain. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. There are 429 species world wide, all found only in the Americas and 9 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Caribbean Elaenia, "Elaenia martinica"
*Hispaniolan Pewee, "Contopus hispaniolensis" (A)
*Lesser Antillean Pewee, "Contopus latirostris"
*Great Crested Flycatcher, "Myiarchus crinitus" (A)
*Puerto Rican Flycatcher, "Myiarchus antillarum" (E)
*Eastern Kingbird, "Tyrannus tyrannus" (A)
*Gray Kingbird, "Tyrannus dominicensis"
*Loggerhead Kingbird, "Tyrannus caudifasciatus"
*Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, "Tyrannus forficatus" (A)

wallows and Martins

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species world wide and 8 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Purple Martin, "Progne subis" (A)
*Caribbean Martin, "Progne dominicensis"
*Tree Swallow, "Tachycineta bicolor" (A)
*Northern Rough-winged Swallow, "Stelgidopteryx serripennis" (A)
*Bank Swallow, "Riparia riparia"
*Cliff Swallow, "Petrochelidon pyrrhonota" (A)
*Cave Swallow, "Petrochelidon fulva"
*Barn Swallow, "Hirundo rustica"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterized by soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 3 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Cedar Waxwing, "Bombycilla cedrorum" (A)

Mockingbirds and Thrashers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: MimidaeThe Mimids are a family of passerine birds that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalization, especially their remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. The species tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance. There are 35 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Gray Catbird, "Dumetella carolinensis" (A)
*Northern Mockingbird, "Mimus polyglottos"
*Pearly-eyed Thrasher, "Margarops fuscatus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Turdidae

The Thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species world wide and 4 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Gray-cheeked Thrush, "Catharus minimus" (A)
*Bicknell's Thrush, "Catharus bicknelli" (A)
*Wood Thrush, "Hylocichla mustelina" (A)
*Red-legged Thrush, "Turdus plumbeus"

Old World flycatchers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Muscicapidae

Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. There 274 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico.

*Northern Wheatear, "Oenanthe oenanthe" (A)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Corvidae

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show levels of learned behavior of a high degree. There are 120 species world wide and 1 Puerto Rican speicies.

*White-necked Crow, "Corvus leucognaphalus" (Ex)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico, all of which are introduced.

*Common Hill Myna, "Gracula religiosa" (I)
*Common Myna, "Acridotheres tristis" (I)
*European Starling, "Sturnus vulgaris" (I)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Ploceidae

Weavers are a group of small passerine birds related to the finches. These are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills, most of which breed in sub-Saharan Africa, with fewer species in tropical Asia. Weavers get their name from the large woven nests many species make. They are gregarious birds which often breed colonially. There are 114 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Puerto Rico, both of which are introduced.

*Yellow-crowned Bishop, "Euplectes afer" (I)
*Orange Bishop, "Euplectes franciscanus" (I)

Estrildid finchs

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Estrildidae

The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have a wide variation in plumage colours and pattern. There are 139 species world wide and 8 species which occur in Puerto Rico, all of which are introduced.

*Orange-cheeked Waxbill, "Estrilda melpoda" (I)
*Black-rumped Waxbill, "Estrilda troglodytes" (I)
*Red Avadavat, "Amandava amandava" (I)
*Bronze Mannikin, "Lonchura cucullata" (I)
*White-throated Munia, "Lonchura malabarica" (I)
*Nutmeg Mannikin, "Lonchura punctulata" (I)
*Black-headed Munia, "Lonchura malacca" (I)
*Java Sparrow, "Padda oryzivora" (I)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Viduidae

The Viduidae is a family of small passerine birds native to Africa that includes indigobirds and whydahs. All species are brood parasites, which lay their eggs in the nests of estrildid finch species. Species usually have black or indigo predominating in their plumage. There 19 species world wide of which 1 species is introduced to Puerto Rico.

*Pin-tailed Whydah, "Vidua macroura" (I)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in colour and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are 52 species world wide and 6 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*White-eyed Vireo, "Vireo griseus" (A)
*Puerto Rican Vireo, "Vireo latimeri" (E)
*Yellow-throated Vireo, "Vireo flavifrons" (A)
*Philadelphia Vireo, "Vireo philadelphicus" (A)
*Red-eyed Vireo, "Vireo olivaceus" (A)
*Black-whiskered Vireo, "Vireo altiloquus"

New World warblers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Parulidae

The New World warblers are a group of small often colourful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some like are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. There are 119 species world wide and 36 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Blue-winged Warbler, "Vermivora pinus" (A)
*Golden-winged Warbler, "Vermivora chrysoptera" (A)
*Nashville Warbler, "Vermivora ruficapilla" (A)
*Northern Parula, "Parula americana"
*Yellow Warbler, "Dendroica petechia"
*Chestnut-sided Warbler, "Dendroica pensylvanica" (A)
*Magnolia Warbler, "Dendroica magnolia" (A)
*Cape May Warbler, "Dendroica tigrina"
*Black-throated Blue Warbler, "Dendroica caerulescens"
*Yellow-rumped Warbler, "Dendroica coronata" (A)
*Black-throated Green Warbler, "Dendroica virens" (A)
*Blackburnian Warbler, "Dendroica fusca" (A)
*Yellow-throated Warbler, "Dendroica dominica" (A)
*Adelaide's Warbler, "Dendroica adelaidae" (E)
*Pine Warbler, "Dendroica pinus" (A)
*Prairie Warbler, "Dendroica discolor"
*Palm Warbler, "Dendroica palmarum" (A)
*Bay-breasted Warbler, "Dendroica castanea" (A)
*Blackpoll Warbler, "Dendroica striata"
*Cerulean Warbler, "Dendroica cerulea" (A)
*Elfin-woods Warbler, "Dendroica angelae" (E)
*Black-and-white Warbler, "Mniotilta varia"
*American Redstart, "Setophaga ruticilla"
*Prothonotary Warbler, "Protonotaria citrea" (A)
*Worm-eating Warbler, "Helmitheros vermivorum" (A)
*Swainson's Warbler, "Limnothlypis swainsonii" (A)
*Ovenbird, "Seiurus aurocapilla"
*Northern Waterthrush, "Seiurus noveboracensis"
*Louisiana Waterthrush, "Seiurus motacilla"
*Kentucky Warbler, "Oporornis formosus" (A)
*Connecticut Warbler, "Oporornis agilis" (A)
*Mourning Warbler, "Oporornis philadelphia" (A)
*Common Yellowthroat, "Geothlypis trichas"
*Hooded Warbler, "Wilsonia citrina" (A)
*Wilson's Warbler, "Wilsonia pusilla" (A)
*Canada Warbler, "Wilsonia canadensis" (A)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Coerebidae or Genus "Coereba" "Incertae sedis"

The Bananaquit is a small passerine bird. It has a slender, curved bill, adapted to taking nectar from flowers and is the only member of the genus Coereba (Vieillot, 1809) and is normally placed within the family Coerebidae, although there is uncertainty whether that placement is correct (hence the assignment Genus: "Coereba" "Incertae sedis").

*Bananaquit, "Coereba flaveola"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Thraupidae

The tanagers are a large group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World, mainly in the tropics. Many species are brightly coloured. They are seed eaters, but their preference tends towards fruit and nectar. Most have short, rounded wings. There are 256 species world wide and 5 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Puerto Rican Tanager, "Nesospingus speculiferus" (E)
*Summer Tanager, "Piranga rubra" (A)
*Scarlet Tanager, "Piranga olivacea" (A)
*Puerto Rican Spindalis, "Spindalis portoricensis" (E)
*Antillean Euphonia, "Euphonia musica"

American sparrows, Towhees, Juncos, and Longspurs

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Emberizidae

The Emberizidae are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are species 275 world wide and 9 Puerto Rican species, 2 of which are introduced.

*Yellow-faced Grassquit, "Tiaris olivacea"
*Black-faced Grassquit, "Tiaris bicolor"
*Puerto Rican Bullfinch, "Loxigilla portoricensis" (E)
*Saffron Finch, "Sicalis flaveola" (I)
*Red-crested Cardinal, "Paroaria coronata" (I)
*Grasshopper Sparrow, "Ammodramus savannarum"
*Lincoln's Sparrow, "Melospiza lincolnii" (A)
*White-throated Sparrow, "Zonotrichia albicollis" (A)
*Dark-eyed Junco, "Junco hyemalis" (A)

Cardinals, Saltators, and Grosbeaks

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Cardinalidae

The cardinals are a family of passerine birds that are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. There are 43 species world wide and 4 species which occur in Puerto Rico.

*Rose-breasted Grosbeak, "Pheucticus ludovicianus" (A)
*Blue Grosbeak, "Passerina caerulea" (A)
*Indigo Bunting, "Passerina cyanea" (A)
*Dickcissel, "Spiza americana" (A)

Blackbirds, Meadowlarks, Cowbirds, Grackles, and Orioles

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Icteridae

The Icterids are a group of small to medium, often colourful passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds, and New World orioles. Most species have black as a predominant plumage colour, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. There are 98 species world wide and 10 species which occur in Puerto Rico, one of which is introduced.

*Bobolink, "Dolichonyx oryzivorus"
*Yellow-shouldered Blackbird, "Agelaius xanthomus" (E)
*Yellow-headed Blackbird, "Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus" (A)
*Greater Antillean Grackle, "Quiscalus niger"
*Shiny Cowbird, "Molothrus bonariensis"
*Venezuelan Troupial, "Icterus icterus" (I)
*Baltimore Oriole, "Icterus galbula" (A)
*Bullock's Oriole, "Icterus bullockii" (A)
*Greater Antillean Oriole, "Icterus dominicensis"
*Audubon's Oriole, "Icterus graduacauda" (A)

Fringilline Finches, Cardueline Finches, and Allies

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 137 species world wide and 3 species which occur in Puerto Rico, all of which are introduced.

*Red Siskin, "Carduelis cucullata" (I)
*Common Canary, "Serinus canaria" (I)
*Yellow-fronted Canary, "Serinus mozambicus" (I)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Passeridae

Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or greyish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. There are 35 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Puerto Rico, which was introduced.

*House Sparrow, "Passer domesticus" (I)

ee also

*List of birds
*List of endemic fauna of Puerto Rico
*List of North American birds
*List of Vieques birds


*cite web
last = Lepage
first = Denis
authorlink =
coauthors =
year =
url =
title = Puerto Rico checklist
format =
work = Bird Checklists of the World
publisher = Avibase
accessdate = May 19
accessyear = 2006

*cite book
title=Las aves de Puerto Rico en fotografías
publisher=Editorial Humanitas
id = ISBN 0-9650104-2-2
es icon
*cite web
coauthors = Luis J. Villanueva-Rivera and Miguel A. Acevedo
url =
title = Puerto Rican birds
format =
work =
pages =
publisher =
language =
accessdate = May 19
accessyear = 2006

*"Splitting headaches? Recent taxonomic changes affecting the British and Western Palaearctic lists" - Martin Collinson, British Birds vol 99 (June 2006), 306-323.

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