Caribbean wildlife in Antigua and Barbuda
The main wildlife attraction in Antigua and Barbuda is the Frigate Bird Sanctuary on Barbuda island which hosts more than 5,000 frigate birds. The sugar barons of years gone by and the introduction of mongooses to the islands had a devastating effect on the wildlife in Antigua
Frigate bird in flight
Image copyright Antigua & Barbuda
Sadly, apart from a fine collection of feral goats, the wildlife in Antigua is sadly lacking. The destruction of the island’s rainforests many years ago during the sugar plantation boom time; the introduction of mongooses to rid the island of snakes (which were a threat to workers at sugar cane cutting time); and the ever-present brown rats are all to blame for today’s lack of wildlife in Antigua. Racer snakes are however slowly being reintroduced to some offshore islands which have been cleared of their predators.
On the small island of Barbuda if you're lucky you might spot elusive wild deer and wild boar. There are also wild donkeys and nesting sea turtles.
Antigua and Barbuda birds
Around 182 species of birds have been recorded in Antigua and Barbuda, of which probably about 65% are migratory. The key bird species include the Lesser Antillean flycatcher and bullfinch, the endemic Barbuda Warbler, thrasher, hummingbird, Carib (purple throated and green throated), dove, pigeon, tern, gull, Caribbean coot, booby (masked, red-footed, and brown), pelican, egret, the endangered West Indian Whistling Duck, magnificent frigate bird. Follow this link to read an article about birdwatching in Barbuda >>
Barbuda Frigate Bird Sanctuary
It is Antigua’s twin island of Barbuda where you will see many frigate birds. You’ll find these magnificent birds at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, Codrington Lagoon, the Caribbean’s largest bird sanctuary which hosts around 5,000 frigate birds. It is the world’s second largest colony of frigate birds. Activity is at its highest during October.
Tree frogs, lizards and snakes in Antigua
There are tiny tree frogs that make a lot of noise at night, that wonderful sound of the tropics which Caribbean lovers look forward to hearing. There are also six or seven different species of bats on the island, plus numerous migratory birds. There are common Caribbean geckos and some innocuous snakes. Sadly the extremely rare Antiguan racer snake is now practically extinct, so it is highly unlikely that you will come across this harmless brown-green 3ft long reptile; they do however live on Great Bird Island which has an extensive mangrove system.
Plentiful marine life around Antigua & Barbuda
Image copyright Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office
Guiana Island seabirds and deer
A number of seabird colonies use Guiana Island as their habitat. Strangely, there are two European varieties of fallow deer that live on Guiana Island - and also on Barbuda - the common deer and the black deer; thought to have been introduced to the region in the early 18th century.
Antigua and Barbuda marine life
There is a lot going on in the sea around Antigua & Barbuda; marine life is plentiful and includes dolphins, sea turtles, and whales. Humpback whales travel through the chain of islands every year.
Caribbean wildlife books
Below are a few Caribbean wildlife books that Active Caribbean can recommend. To read all Caribbean book reviews go to the BOOK REVIEWS section >>
- 'Wild Caribbean' by Michael Bright, with Karen Bass and Scott Alexander
- 'Birds of Trinidad and Tobago' text by Richard ffrench, photographs by Roger Neckles
- 'Birds of the West Indies' by Herbert Raffaele, James Wiley, Orlando Garrido, Allan Keith and Janis Raffaele
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