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Hunting native streamertail hummingbirds in tropical Jamaica

The hummingbird is the world's smallest bird, and the Caribbean island of Jamaica boasts its very own native species - the streamertail, also known as the "Doctorbird" due to its long bill that looks like a medical instrument. Jan Brierley, a writer from the Express newspaper, recently visited the tropical island to hunt for the famous tiny hummingbirds and explore the country's thriving local wildlife.

Hunting native streamertail hummingbirds in tropical Jamaica

Jamaica is famous for its tropical landscapes and laidback lifestyle, but its diverse wildlife is another reason to visit this Caribbean island. The country is home to four native species of the hummingbird, including the beautiful streamertail. Also known as the “Doctorbird” due to its long bill that looks like a 19-century surgical lancet, the streamertails are the national bird of Jamaica.

Red-billed streamertails can be found in the western side of Jamaica, while the black-billed streamertails can usually be seen in the eastern side. Jan Brierley, a writer from the Express newspaper, recently visited Jamaica to search for these beautiful tiny creatures.

During a guided birdwatching tour at Bluefields on the south coast, Jan was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a hummingbird. He wrote:

“A tiny bird darted by, landing on a flower. To my delight it was a red-billed streamertail supping on nectar and just a few yards away from me.”

Due to their size and nifty movements, hummingbirds are incredibly hard to photograph, but professional photographers are available if travellers want to take home a souvenir picture of their birdwatching experience.

Jamaica is home to 29 endemic birds, but visitors can see up to 300 species of birds in the wild across the island any time of the year due to migrating species and birds from other Caribbean islands coming ashore. The hummingbirds are an important part of Jamaica’s ecosystem, and while they might be tiny, they have a big role to play in helping to pollinate the many wild flowers and trees so they can go on to reproduce.

During her visit to the island, Jan stayed at Mockingbird Hill Hotel which is located in Portland’s hills in the north east. Positioned between the soaring Blue Mountains and the azure sea, the 10-room eco-hotel is nestled within 6.5 acres of lush gardens and trees, and is close to the beautiful Frenchman’s Cove beach.

The boutique hotel has a Garden of Wellness where guests can unwind with pampering treatments amid the flora and fauna; Mille Fleurs restaurant with views of Port Antonio and fresh homemade cuisine; and beautiful tropical gardens where hammocks replace standard garden furniture. The gardens offer the perfect place to enjoy birdwatching and tourists can catch sightings of the Black-billed steamertail hummingbird, as well as 72 species of diverse birds. This hotel has been awarded in past years.

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