Curacao for Birders

Photos by Michelle da Costa Gomez

Bird watching tourism is trending, and avid ornithologists are finding this island an ideal spot for some exciting finds.

Though best known for its beautiful beaches, resplendent marine life, and colorful and quirky colonial neighborhoods, Curacao is now also finding a spot on the global map for bird watchers. There are close to 200 species to sleuth out depending on the time of year, you just have to know where to look. Thankfully, now there are great guides to help you find them.

To find out more, we tapped local expert and ecology teacher Michelle da Costa Gomez who co-founded Bird Watching Curacao – an educational initiative led by Curacao Footprint Foundation that collects bird data, educates on bird diversity, and provides specialized scientific tours. She has 15 years of experience giving bird related courses and guiding bird watching trips.

She says, “Curacao is slowly being discovered by serious ornithologists and amateur bird lovers alike because of the increased accessibility of information on spottings, birding locations, and local guiding options. Statistics indicate a sharp increase in bird watchers coming to Curacao in the past few years to increase their “lifelist”- a term for the number of bird species you can check off your list in a lifetime. Eco-tourism is also on the rise, and birding falls into this nicely because along the way visitors also discover the island’s wild places and nature. We also supply them with great information on bird behavior, ecology, and the natural history of the island, and we have experts to help them with bird photography.”

Bird Watching Curacao consists of a team of five birders who are out in the field on an almost daily basis to stay informed on the best birding locations and which birds can be seen where and when. The organization also publishes online books, articles and blogs, as well as alerts on new species discovered. They also plan special activities and events like workshops and courses on bird ecology and bird identification skills.

Bird watching in Christoffel National Park is another option. Guided by park rangers and focused on the birds of that region, you might also spot the elusive white-tailed deer native to the island when you are out in the forests. Visit: Christoffel Park.

What types of fine-feathered friends might you see?
Michelle says, “Beyond the ever growing list of 60+ breeding birds, with colorful favorites like the Troupial and the Bananaquit, the island also has a list of about 200 bird species that visit during either spring or autumn migration, sometimes in phenomenal numbers. You will also see flamingoes in the saltpans, and Crested Caracara in the arid outback. Also common is the Scaly-naped Pigeon, the Blue-tailed Emerald, Brown-throated Parakeet, and so many in the marshlands like the Black-bellied Whistling Duck and many types of terns and herons."

The most common breeding locations are Playa Kanoa, the Hato Plains, Boka Patrick, Ascencion, and the wild rugged cliffs of Shete Boka, but a guide is really needed to find all the secret spots. Group birding tours on Curacao can be booked for a few hours, a half day or a full day, and private solo specialized tours are available as well.

Michelle says, “We cater the trip to your wishes with ample photography possibilities and we know all the off-road locations. Email us for a personal trip at info@curassavica.com.”

Visit Bird Watching Curacao and visit their Facebook page. 

Photos by Michelle da Costa Gomez