Barbados, 100 miles to the east of the Caribbean archipelago, places the 166 square mile island closer to the Southern Flyway of shorebirds migrating annually from North to South America. It also makes it the first of the islands in the chain that vagrant birds from Europe, Asia, and Africa will encounter. The island has scored some notable firsts for the Americas: Garganey, Black-headed Gull, Little Bittern, Alpine Swift, Collared Pratincole, Whiskered Tern, Common Cuckoo, and Little Egret. Currently Barbados is the only place in the Western Hemisphere where Little Egret is known to breed.
Migrants and vagrants help make up the 265 bird species recorded on the island, as there are only 46 resident birds on Barbados, most of them common and widespread. This includes Carib Grackle, Barbados Bullfinch, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Green-throated Carib, Scaly-naped Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, Common Ground Dove, Gray Kingbird, and Caribbean Elaenia.
One of the island’s birding hotspots is the Woodbourne Shorebird Refuge, located in the parish of Christ Church in the southeast of the island. This is the first shorebird refuge of its kind on Barbados, having formerly been a shooting swamp. Under management by BirdLife International, the area has been rehabilitated and provides vital habitat for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. A great variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, herons, and egrets can be observed here during peak migration times. It is also the only location at which night herons have been known to breed in Barbados.
Also on the southeast coast is Chancery Lane Swamp, one of only two natural wetlands remaining on Barbados. Various migrating shorebirds, waterfowl, herons, and egrets can be seen here. Several resident species including Yellow Warblers and Yellow Grassland Finches are also found in the surrounding grassland areas.
On the east coast, you will not want to miss Bayfield Pond. This small pond, located in the heart of Bayfield Village, is considered the home of the Masked Duck in Barbados. The pond is surrounded by reeds and grasses and has a substantial growth of water lilies covering much of the pond. Green Herons, Common Gallinules, Snowy Egrets, and various other shorebirds frequent the site.