Cozumel, a small island of Mexico, is best known as a tourist hotspot. Even so, it has a wide array of birds and other animals, both endemic inhabitants and migratory visitors, several of which are endangered. Many birdwatchers love to explore the island and see these interesting birds. Cozumel Bird Watching is becoming more popular everyday.
One of the rarest endemic birds is the Cozumel Thrasher, which is nearly, if not completely, extinct. A part of the mockingbird family, it is brown and white with a long, curved bill, and said to make a complex, scratchy warbling. After Hurricane Gilbert in September of 1988, the species began a rapid decline. The latest reports of sightings were in 2006, after two more severe hurricanes hit the island.
Another endemic bird, though still on the list of vulnerable species, is the Great Curassow, a large, pheasant-like bird that can weigh as much as 6.8-11 pounds or 3.1-4.8 kilograms. The male is black with a curly crest and yellow knob on its bill while there are three morphs of females: barred, rufous, and dark. These birds are some of the largest of their kind, and sometimes mate with other breeds, forming hybrids.
Migratory Birds on Cozumel
Not all the birds on Cozumel are endemic. Some species use it in their migration patterns. This adds some extra bonuses for birdwatchers that come at the right time, for then they can see a wider range of amazing birds during their stay.
One of these species is the American Flamingo. It is the only flamingo that naturally inhabits North America, and was sometimes called the Caribbean Flamingo until they were found residing in the Galápagos. They will lay a single egg between May and August, and it takes anywhere from 28 to 32 days from the time it begins incubation until the time that it hatches. The chick is raised by both parents until they reach sexual maturity six years later. They are one of the longest living all birds with a life expectancy of 40 years.
The Lesser Nighthawk is another special bird that migrates through Cozumel. The adults are a dark grayish-brown color with gray and white patterning. The male has a white throat, while the female’s is a light brown shade. They lay two eggs on the bare ground, with no nest around them. The female then incubates the eggs until they hatch 20 days later.
Black Skimmers also make this island a temporary home. These tern-like sea birds are black and white with a bright orange beak that they use to catch food when they skim across the water, thus giving them their name. Breeding adults have darker coloring while the non-breeders have light brown bellies. The chicks look like the adults, but have a white speckle pattern over their wings. Feeding happens exclusively during the day, as the adults go on foraging expeditions at night.
There are many more fascinating birds, both native to Cozumel and migratory visitors and breeders. No matter if you are an experienced birdwatcher or just enjoy seeing colorful and interesting birds, Cozumel is the place to see them.
Cozumel Bird Watching List
Click here to download the complete Cozumel birdlist, put together by the most rewarded bird expert of the Yucatán: Barbara McKinnon.
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