Jamaica is a major bird-watching destination, thanks to its various natural habitats. The island is home to more than 200 species, some seen only seasonally or in particular parts of the island. Many bird-watchers flock here for the chance to see the vervain hummingbird (the world's second-smallest bird, larger only than Cuba's bee hummingbird) and the Jamaican tody (which nests underground).

Port Antonio

The parish of Portland is, along with the Blue Mountains and Cockpit Country, one of the top birding destinations in Jamaica. The Jamaican tody, black-billed streamtail, ringtail pigeon, and many other species can be spotted in this sparsely developed area.

Jamaica Explorations. Hotel Mockingbird Hill is the starting point for guided bird tours in the Reach Falls area ($130) and the Blue Mountains ($330). Transportation is included. In addition to the conventional Reach Falls tour, a more adventurous option includes hiking up the river and swimming across pools and mini-falls. Hotel Mockingbird Hill, Port Antonio, Portland. 876/993–7267;

Kingston and the Blue Mountains

Some of Jamaica's best birding opportunities are found above Kingston in the misty Blue Mountains, especially in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. You'll probably see the national bird, the streamer-tail hummingbird, a large hummingbird with a dramatic forked tail. Known locally as the "doctor bird," it's one of Jamaica's 28 endemic species. Other birds to watch for include the Jamaican woodpecker, Blue Mountain vireo, rufous-tailed flycatcher, arrow-headed warbler, Jamaican stripe-headed tanager, and yellow-shouldered grassquit. Another popular birding area is on Lime Cay, just offshore from Port Royal.

Arrowhead Birding Tours. This company runs birding tours across the island, including one-day outings ($130), customized trips, and eight-day trips in November, February, and March. Kingston, Kingston. 876/260–9006;

Birdlife Jamaica. This nonprofit organizes bird-watching trips into the Blue Mountains and nearby John Crow Mountains, as well as other parts of the island. University of the West Indies Mona, Dept. of Life Sciences , Mona Rd., Kingston, Kingston. 876/260–9006.

Sun Venture Tours. This outfit offers 25 different special-interest tours for nature lovers, including bird-watching, across the island. 30 Balmoral Ave., Kingston, Kingston. 876/960–6685; 876/408–6973;