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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: A Safe Haven for Birds

The Republic of Cuba, marked by a unique natural wealth distributed throughout more than 4,000 keys and islets, is also a stronghold for several variants of nature tourism, including bird watching.

Sun, beaches, culture, traditions and history are combined with an increasingly demanded offer of environment, favored by the existence of many natural, ecological and biosphere reserves, as well as protected areas and national parks.

The Cuban fauna is very diverse, with more than 350 species of birds on the islands and keys that make up the Cuban archipelago, where there exists a large degree of endemism among marine and forest birds.

The geographical location of Cuba, once considered the key to the gulf, turns the Island into a permanent route for migratory birds traveling long distances, in search of food and a safe haven, from North America to the South, and on their way back.

Many birds of different kinds take advantage of Cuba's rivers, lakes and dams, especially during the winter.

The largest Antillean island also boasts singular birds such as the "zunzuncito" or bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae), which is considered the smallest bird in the world (barely 60 mm) and it is easily recognized by the horizontal position it takes to suck the flowers' nectar. This bird can only be found in isolated forests.

Tocororo. National bird.

Another species that is endemic of Cuba is the parrot, with its beautiful colors. It can be found in the Zapata Swamp, the Isle of Youth and the Guamuhaya Mountain Range, in the central region.

The parrot, whose origin dates back thousands of years, has the ability to imitate human speech and learn few words, in addition to the fact that can be tamed easily.

Dozens of places throughout the Cuban archipelago give vacationers the chance to enjoy the splendor of the most beautiful species of the Cuban fauna, both endemic birds and those arriving in the country every year during migratory seasons.

It is in the Zapata Swamp, considered the largest swamp in the Caribbean region, where bird watchers can find unique species such as hawks, the Zapata wren (Ferminia cerverai Barbour), the Zapata sparrow (Torreornis inexpectata inexpectata), and the exclusive Zapata rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai).

Colonies of pink flamingos (Phoenicopterus rubber) can be found in different regions of the archipelago, and even some places, such as the popular and highly-demanded Cayo Coco, in the Jardines del Rey tourist region, was named after the white ibis, also called coconut (coco) bird.

Very closely linked to the Island's identity is the "Tocororo" or Cuban Trogon (Priotelus temnurus temnurus), which lives in all provinces of the country, in thick forests and mountains, and is considered the national bird, since its colors are those in the Cuban flag (white, red and blue).

With this singular complement, Cuba's offer of nature for tourism is one of the main guarantees of the leisure industry to attract thousands of vacationers interested in learning more about this Caribbean country.

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