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Bird watching in Guanahacabibes

Favored by its geographical position, pristine ecosystems, and the exhaustive work of scientists, the Guanahacabibes peninsula, on the westernmost tip of Cuba, has become a prime destination for bird watching.

8 de febrero de 2017 - Taken from Granma

Favored by its geographical position, the state of conservation of its ecosystems, and the exhaustive work of scientists, the Guanahacabibes peninsula, on the westernmost tip of Cuba, is established as a prime destination for birdwatching.

Over the last five years, the number of visitors interested in this nature tourism option has been on the rise, motivated by the 221 species identified in the territory, including 16 of the 26 birds endemic to Cuba.

Osmani Borrego, chief expert at the Guanahacabibes National Park, explains that along the peninsula there are four sites (Los ingleses, Caleta del Piojo, La Bajada and the Hoyo del Palmar trail) intended for birdwatching, given the large number of species that can be observed here.

Among these, some can only be found in Cuba, and constitute ecologic rarities, such as the bee hummingbird, the blue-headed quail-dove, the Cuban trogon and the Cuban tody.

In addition, a large number of migratory birds can be spotted (about 50), that travel from North America through the Mississippi corridor and settle temporarily in the peninsula during the winter months (October to March), or rest here before continuing to Central or South America.

The specialist notes that the growing interest in birdwatching on the western end of the island is a result of research carried out over the years by several institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), thanks to which the number of species, their populations, habits, and the sites with a greater presence have been determined.

The monitoring has also allowed for the identification of migratory birds of prey, such as the swallow-tailed kite, the Mississippi kite, and peregrine falcon, which fly over Cape San Antonio, and unlike other species cannot be captured, he added.

He also explained that since 2012, a migratory birds festival is held annually in Guanahacabibes, aimed at the environmental education of communities located in the peninsula, with tours through natural areas, photo exhibitions, contests, and conferences, which has helped to significantly reduce the hunting and capture of these birds.