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Puerto Rican Birding with GABRIEL LUGO

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May 31, 2020 | by Sal Ingraham

In Puerto Rico, the lockdown has loosened up a bit and Gabriel Lugo has been able to leave his yard and do a little birding further afield!

Recent adventures took him to Arecibo near Cambalache State Forest, where he was treated to great views of Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo.

Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo – photo by Gabriel Lugo

The Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo is a Puerto Rican endemic, and one of 4 species of lizard-cuckoos that only appear in the Caribbean islands. They are usually found foraging in the forest understory, looking for, of course, lizards!

Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo – photo by Gabriel Lugo

The Cambalache State Forest is good habitat for lizard cuckoos. It protects steep limestone hills that are known as mogotes, which are covered in moist forests.

Gabriel also found Key West Quail-Dove there when he visited recently. This quail-dove breeds throughout the Greater Antilles (except Jamaica) and the Bahamas. Despite it’s name, it is usually not found in Florida except as a vagrant.

Key West Quail Dove – photograph by Gabriel Lugo

There was also a beautiful Sharp-mouthed Lizard in the Cambalache State Forest (which needs to keep an eye out for the lizard-cuckoos!) This type of Anolis lizard is the most common lizard in Puerto Rico.

Sharp-mouthed Lizard – photograph by Gabriel Lugo

Gabriel also birded in Maricao State Forest last week. This dense forest covers steep mountainsides which are home to 136 species of birds, among them most of Puerto Rico’s 23 endemics.

Gabriel found the Puerto Rican Vireo and Puerto Rican Tanager there, both endemics.

Puerto Rican Vireo – photograph by Gabriel Lugo

Puerto Rican Tanager – photograph by Gabriel Lugo

Take a longer virtual birding trip around Puerto Rico with Gabriel Lugo, via his “Why Not Puerto Rico?” webinar! Or take a tour with Gabriel in person, in Puerto Rico or another Caribbean island. You can also read about a tour Gabriel led in Cuba HERE!

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