The Cuban archipelago, made up by more than 4,000 keys and islets of unique nature, emerges as an important tourist destination in all its forms, ranging from the traditional enjoyment of the sun and beach to those related to the environment.
The Cuban fauna is composed of over 16,500 recorded species, in an environment where some of the zoological groups show an endemism above 90 percent, while the indigenous flora comprises more than 6,300 varieties of plants in a multicolored landscape.
Biosphere and natural reserves, natural landscapes, national parks and protected areas; characterized by excellent conservation and unique features, are included in the wide list of offers in the region.
Bird watching is an activity of special interest in this environment, attracting many visitors each year to different destinations in the country.
There is a rich variety in the Cuban bird fauna with more than 350 species in the islands and keys that make up the country. Seabirds and forest birds stand out in this fauna that is also characterized by a high degree of endemism.
The geographical location of the Cuban archipelago, formerly referred to as the key to the gulf, constitutes the common route for migratory birds that fly long distances from North America to the South and back, to make a temporary stop to search for food and shelter.
A large number and variety of birds, mainly during the winter season, make use of the rivers, lagoons, reservoirs, and keys that surround the island.
As an example, in Guanahacabibes – Cuba's westernmost area – visitors can watch hundreds of bird species, including exotic and indigenous, while most of the migratory birds come from North America.
These birds fly long distances through the Mississippi to this migratory route, one of the largest in the Caribbean, to escape from the rigors of winter.
Guanahacabibes, declared as a Biosphere Reserve, provides shelter for these birds in the forests, mangroves, swamps and coastal vegetation where they rest to then continue on their ways.
Among the species in Cuba having certain characteristics which are unique, the bee hummingbird stands out as the smallest bird in the world; also known for the horizontal position of its flight when drinking the nectar of the flowers; its length hardly reaches 60 millimeters and can be found in isolated forests.
Another endemic species in Cuba is the parrot, an attractive bird with bright and colorful feathers, which can be found in the Ciénaga de Zapata (the largest swamp area in Cuba), in the Isle of Youth and in the mountains of Guamuhaya, in the central area of the country.
The origin of this bird goes back thousands of years; it can imitate the human voice and even learn a few words, also it is easy to be tamed.
Colonies of pink flamingoes can be seen in different areas of Cuba, even varieties like the white ibis, also called Coconut Bird (Pajaro Coco) which gave the name to the popular and requested Cayo Coco in the Jardines del Rey (King’s Gardens) tourist resort.
The Cuban trogon (Tocororo), closely related to Cuban identity, can be found in all provinces of Cuba, mainly in thick forests of limestone mountains; it is regarded as the National Bird of Cuba due to the colors on its tail that resemble the colors of the Cuban flag (white, red and blue).