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9 Common Backyard Birds in Puerto Rico (With Pictures)

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scalynaped pigeon

Puerto Rico is home to hundreds of different bird species. It is estimated that there are about 376 species in total.

Of these 376 Puerto Rican species, 198 have been accidentally introduced. Additionally, one is believed to be extinct, and one is locally extinct. Only 17 of the species are endemic, meaning they come from and are only found in Puerto Rico.

If you were to start bird watching in Puerto Rico, one of the first places to start is in your own backyard. Backyard bird watching is a lot of fun in Puerto Rico because all the birds are vibrant and colorful. If you want more exotic birds, you will have to go into the rainforest and search them out.

Nevertheless, here are nine common backyard birds you will find in Puerto Rico:

The 9 Most Common Backyard Birds in Puerto Rico

1. Bananaquit

bananaquit bird perching
Image Creddit: Piqsels

The Bananaquit can be found in many locations, including Mexico, Paraguay, and Puerto Rico. These birds are pretty easy to spot because they have bright yellow underparts and a white brow. The top of their body is black with a curved-down bill.

These birds are incredibly bold and active at feeders. You will often see them in pairs or in small groups. If you offer spiders, fruits, nectar, and hummingbird-like bird feed, you’ll be able to attract the Bananaquit without much effort.

2. Greater Antillean Grackle

greater antillean grackle on the grass
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

The Greater Antillean Grackle is mainly only found in Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. These islands make up the Greater Antilles, after which the Grackle is named. There are seven subspecies recognized in total.

This bird is pretty easy to spot. It has a glossy black appearance and startling yellow eyes. The males have an unusual keel-shaped tail that almost looks like a rudder while the bird is flying. The females have this tail, too, but it isn’t as obvious.

3. Puerto Rican Spindalis

Puerto Rican Spindalis
Image Credit: Julio Salgado, Shutterstock

The Puerto Rican Spindalis was originally classified as a subspecies, but it is now a unique species that is endemic to Puerto Rico. As an endemic species, it is native to Puerto Rico and can only be found in Puerto Rico.

This bird is one of the native Puerto Rico songbirds. Its song is high-pitched and noticeable. The bird itself has a yellow belly with black and white stripes on its head and back. This is one bird you certainly want to spot in your yard.

4. Puerto Rican Tody

Puerto Rican Tody
Image Credit: Clayton Burne, Shutterstock

There are not many red birds in Puerto Rico, but there are a lot of bright green ones, and the Puerto Rican Tody is just one example. The Puerto Rican Tody can be found all throughout Puerto Rico, and it is endemic to the country.

The Puerto Rican Tody is absolutely adorable. It is very small with plain green upper parts and sides of the head. The flanks are yellow and the breast is white, but the throat and lower mandible are red.

5. Puerto Rican Woodpecker

Puerto Rican Woodpecker
Image Credit: Rajh.Photography, Shutterstock

The Puerto Rican Woodpecker, sometimes called the Carpinteiro de Puerto Rico, is found all around the island. These birds are very social but territorial during the breeding season. You’re especially going to find them in mangrove and pine locations.

Puerto Rican Woodpeckers have steel-blue upperparts, wings, and tails. The rough and mask are both white. The underparts are brown, but they have some splotchy red on them too. The Puerto Rican Woodpecker is one of the few birds that can classify as red birds in Puerto Rico.

6. Scaly-Naped Pigeon

scaly naped pigeon perching
Image Credit: GlenroyBlanchette, Shutterstock

The Scaly-Naped Pigeon is widespread throughout the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. You can mainly find it in forested habitats, but it prefers lowland and montane forests. You can still find it in some secondary forest types and at higher elevations.

The pigeon itself looks like a pigeon in its body, but it has purple-red plumage and pale buffy scales as the nape feathers. The eyes are shockingly red.

7. Gray Kingbird

gray kingbird
Image Credit: Tonos, Shutterstock

Gray Kingbirds are very tolerant of humans and have tame personalities. They have begun to thrive in backyard environments as their native forests have been destroyed.

As its name suggests, this bird is primarily gray. It is gray on the top with white below. It also has a gray wash on its breast and a blackish stripe along its head.

8. Nightjar

Nightjar open wings
Image Credit: PublicDomainImages, Pixabay

Some of the most popular brown birds in Puerto Rico are the Puerto Rican Nightjars. This bird was believed to have been extinct up until 1961. Today, it is considered an endangered species, but you can sometimes spot it in your yard.

Puerto Rican Nightjars have a mottled black and brown appearance with some gray plumage. The bird can easily camouflage while on the ground or in the trees. So, you will have to look carefully to find this bird.

9. Thrushes

thrushes bird perching
Image Credit: 9436196, Pixabay

There are quite a few thrushes that you can find in Puerto Rico, but only one is native to the area—the Red-Legged Thrush. Thrushes are some of the most popular songbirds in Puerto Rico. Some common thrushes you can find here include the Wood Thrush, American Robin, and the Gray-Cheeked Thrush.

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What Is Puerto Rico’s National Bird?

The national bird of Puerto Rico is the Puerto Rican Spindalis. As we described above, this is an endemic bird that is native to and only found in Puerto Rico. It has a cheery song, feisty personality, and flamboyant appearance that’s impossible to miss.

What Birds Can Only Be Seen in Puerto Rico?

Whenever a bird is native to and only found in one particular region, it is considered endemic. There are quite a few endemic birds in Puerto Rico, including:

  • Puerto Rican Pewee (Contopus portoricenis)
  • Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo (Coccyzus vieilloti)
  • Puerto Rican Woodpecker (Melanerpes portoricensis)
  • Yellow-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus)
  • Puerto Rican Emerald (Chlorostilbon maugeaus)
  • Puerto Rican Tody or San Pedrito (Todus mexicanus)
  • Puerto Rican Screech Owl (Megascops nudipes)
  • Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata)
  • Green Mango (Anthracothorax viridis)
  • Puerto Rican Flycatcher (Myiarchus antillarum)
  • Puerto Rican Spindalis (Spindalis portoricensis)
  • Puerto Rican Tanager (Nesospingus speculiferus)
  • Puerto Rican Vireo (Vireo latimeri)
  • Elfin-woods Warbler (Dendroica angelae)
  • Adelaide’s Warbler (Dendroica adelaidae)
  • Puerto Rican Bullfinch (Loxigilla portoricensis)
  • Puerto Rican Nightjar (Caprimulgus noctitherus)

Puerto Rico Birding – Tips, Hotspots, and Guide


Next time you’re sitting in your yard, take a look to see if you can find any one of these nine backyard Puerto Rican species. While you are at it, see how many species you can find. After all, there are hundreds of different birds in Puerto Rico. Just get out your binoculars and Puerto Rican bird book to start identifying species like a pro.

Featured Image Credit: Martin Pelanek, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.