Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
: Don't scan the trees look-
ing for parrots on Little Cayman. The island's
parrots disappeared in 1932 with the Great Hur-
ricane and never returned.
Red-footed boobies ( sula sula ) are easily sighted on Little Cayman.
Here you'll find over 7,000 boobies, about 30% of the Caribbean popula-
tion. This beige bird, about 25 inches in size, nests high in the trees, con-
structing an easily-spotted rough nest of sticks. Its young are pure white.
Related to this bird is the brown booby ( Sula leucogaster ). This dark
brown bird has a white lower breast. They're often seen along the bluff of
Cayman Brac.
Each of the islands is home to many herons. Least bitterns ( Ixobrychus
exilis ) are seen on Grand Cayman only; look for this small heron in
swampy areas. The great blue heron ( Ardea herodias ) is far easier to see
thanks to his four-foot height; he's also spotted in lagoons and ponds. The
great egret ( Casmerodius albus ) is white and over three feet tall; look for
him in ponds as well as mangrove swamps. Snowy egrets ( Egretta thula )
are also entirely white but smaller; while the great egret has a yellow bill,
the snowy egret's is black. Don't mistake these white egrets for the smaller
cattle egret ( Bubulcus ibis ); like its name suggests, they're often seen
near livestock.
A common bird is the cooing zenaida dove ( Zenaida aurita ), which hunts
for dried seeds. The colorful bananaquit , a yellow and black bird that's
not shy about begging for crumbs (and its favorite treat, sugar) is another
common sight. Although bananaquits are found throughout the Carib-
bean, the bananaquit ( Coereba flaveola sharpei ) found in the Cayman Is-
lands is a unique subspecies.
Magnificent frigate birds are also sighted here. With a wingspan of
over seven feet and wings sharply angled like boomerangs, the black frig-
ate bird is fairly easy to spot. They soar high over the sea and are aggres-
sive to other birds, often hitting the red-footed booby in flight in an
attempt to make it disgorge its meal, an easy dinner for the frigate bird.
The only duck that breeds in the Cayman Islands is the long-legged West
Indian whistling duck ( Dendrocygna arborea ), which resembles a goose.
Look for this brownish duck in the swamps and lagoon areas. Other spe-
cies of ducks you might spot are the fulvous whistling duck ( Den-
drocygna bicolor ), a brown duck who migrates through the area in the fall;
the mallard ( Anas platyrnchos ), seen occasionally on Little Cayman; the
blue winged teal ( Anas discors ), seen during the winter months on each
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