There are 4 species of hummingbirds that can be found in Jamaica including the Red-billed Streamertail, Black-billed Streamertail, Jamaican Mango Hummingbird, and the Vervain Hummingbird. These hummingbirds do not migrate off the island, and are year-round residents.
This beautiful place is perfect for dreams and romantics alike but also ideal for bird lovers or watchers. Beautiful lush botanical gardens mix perfectly with beautifully colored Jamaican hummingbirds flying around—a treat for the senses.
We’ll show you some beautiful bird species that you can find in this Caribbean region so that you can recognize them immediately.
Table of Contents
Species of hummingbirds in Jamaica
You can typically find these spectacular Jamaican hummingbirds on Negril’s sandy and lush tropical island. And if you do plan on visiting, make sure to book your hummingbird bungalow at the Tingalayas retreat for a romantic and tropical atmosphere, with an occasional sighting of these magical hummingbird species.
With a total of 4 hummingbird species on the lush island of Jamaica, there is a good chance you can arrange to see these hummers in person. There are two types of streamertail hummingbirds in this region, followed by another two interesting species of hummingbirds:
- Red-billed Streamertail aka Doctorbird (Trochilus polytmus)
- Black-billed Streamertail (usually spotted in western Jamaica)
- Jamaican Mango Hummingbird (Anthracothorax mango)
- Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima)
The Red-billed streamertails (the “doctor bird”)
This Jamaican hummingbird (Trochilus Polytmus, otherwise called the doctor bird) is the national bird of Jamaica. That’s because it is essentially one of the National Symbols of Jamaica. The origin of the name “doctor bird” is a bit vague. One reason might be because of the appearance: Once upon a time, doctors used to have top hats and long tail coats that perfectly resembled the erect black crest and the bird’s long tail.
It also has other popular funky names like “swallow-tail hummingbird” and “swallow-streamer”, “streamer-tail”, “the red-billed streamertail” or “scissors-tail”. The appearance of the doctor bird has a body length of 4.5 inches with a 10-inch streamer and weighs about 4.4 grams. The long and curvy bills are their most identifiable and impressive feature!
Even more impressive, the Red-billed Streamertails have the longest tails out of all the hummingbirds. Male red-billed streamertails have emerald green underparts with black wings, heads, and necks. However, their heads have a sheen to them. They stand out through their long tail feathers and streamer.
Females have grey and brown heads, green chest, and white & green bellies. The most evident difference from their male counterparts is that they don’t have the same streamer: their tails are more rounded and have white tips. The Red-billed Streamertails make a loud metallic humming sound different from other hummingbirds .
Jamaican folklore – meaning of the “doctor bird”
Native Indians (Arawaks) believed this hummingbird had magical powers and was a reincarnation of dead souls. It was even called a God-bird, and killing it is considered to bring immense bad luck.
Black-billed Streamertail (Trilochus scitulus)
This bird was initially considered a subspecies of the Red-billed Streamertail. Eventually it was established as a separate species. Even if this bird looks very similar to the doctor bird, they have some key differences that tell them apart.
Compared to the doctor bird, male black-billed Streamertails are smaller usually weighing in at about 3 – 4 grams. The length of the black-billed streamertails body is about 3.5 inches and the tail 6 or 7 inches. Their bill is black, as suggested by their name and the fact that these males sport an impressively long dark streamer tail.
The female has a pale green plumage, dark wings, and a tail. The tail also has white tips. The belly is white, and they don’t have the streamer tail the male does. Their diet consists of small insects like spiders and long tubular flowers from which they can gather their nectar.
Jamaican Mango Hummingbird (Anthracothorax mango)
The Jamaican Mango Hummingbird, whose name has nothing to do with the fruit, is another bird you can feast your eyes on this island. The Jamaican Mango Hummingbird is also a dark color (more black than other hummingbirds from this island), combining green, magenta, gold, and blue feathers. Their cheeks and necks are also covered with streaks of iridescent magenta color.
This is a bigger hummingbird than most. They’re usually 4.3 to 4.7 inches long and weigh between 6.8 and 7.2 grams. Like most hummingbirds on this list, this one also eats small insects and nectar from plants and flowers. They also love to munch from large trees like Ceiba and Erythrina. When winter comes along, these hummingbirds migrate to John Crow and the Blue Mountains.
Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima)
Believe it or not, this is the second smallest hummingbird in the world – and the smallest in this area of Jamaica (having about 2 1/2 inches and weighing 2-2,5 grams). The smallest avain species in the world is the bee hummingbird, with this one being a close second. However, you can’t see bee hummingbirds on this island.
Vervain hummingbird males have metallic green & dark feathers and sport a forked dark tail. The females are lighter in color: teal or bronze feather with metallic green sides and white tail feathers. Their diet includes small insects like spiders and nectar from flowers, and some females even eat dirt (because it’s rich in minerals)
How to attract hummingbirds in Jamaica?
You can see some of these most spectacular hummingbirds in Rockland’s Bird Sanctuary and Feeding in Montego Bay. But if you want to attract them to yourself, you can only do that by putting out some hummingbird feeders and waiting for them to come and eat some nectar from them. Luckily, this island will have plenty of natural food sources just growing everywhere, so you don’t have to worry, meeting them is a guarantee!