You are never far from the sea on Nevis, and seabirds such
as the Magnificent Frigatebird and Brown Pelican are some of the most
spectacular to be found on the island. A number of these birds, for example
the Brown Pelican and Royal Tern, feed by plunging into the water to catch
fish, which can be most entertaining to watch - especially the Pelicans,
which perform remarkably close to shore.
Most seabirds do not nest on Nevis (the Least Tern is an
exception), presumably due to the scarcity of suitable sites.
(Click here for a
Check List of Nevis Birds :97Kb PDF)
(click on the photos to
BROWN PELICAN (Pelicanus
Local Name: Booby
Status: Common on Nevis throughout the year.
This is the national bird of St.Kitts-Nevis.Description: 44-55”.
Mostly dark brown, head yellowish-white and a stripe down the neck
white. Young birds are brown above and whitish below. The bill is
large, with a throat pouch below for storing fish. Behavior: Flies
with the head drawn back onto the shoulders. Makes spectacular
plunges into the sea for fish, sometimes in very shallow water. Seen
alone or in small flocks.
Where to find it: Around the coast
BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster)
Status: Found on Nevis in small numbers
throughout the year. Breeding status unknown. Description: 28-30”.
Mostly dark brown, with breast, abdomen, and part of underwings
white. The bill and feet are pale yellow. Young birds are brown all
over, with a white bill. Behaviour: Almost always seen in flight,
with neck extended.
Where to find it: Around the Leeward coast.
Fort Charles is a good place - but count yourself lucky if you see
LAUGHING GULL (Larus atricilla)
Status: Common from April to December, but
rarely seen during the first three months of the year. Breeding
status unknown. Description: 19”. White below, grey above, with
black wing-tips. The head is black from April to August, but at
other times is white, with faint
markings. Immature birds are greyish-brown, with a white rump.
Voice: A loud harsh cry, said to resemble laughter. Behaviour:
Usually seen in flight, sometimes in flocks. Dives into the sea for
fish and other food.
Where to find it: Around the coast. Try
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregeta
Local name: Man-o-war bird.
Status: Fairly common throughout the year.
Barbuda is probably the nearest breeding site. Description: 38-41”.
A very long-winged seabird, with a deeply forked tail, which often
appears pointed. The male is black, with an inflatable orange
throat-pouch (red in the breeding season). The female is black with
a white breast, while young birds have the entire head and under
parts white. Behaviour: Always seen in flight, often soaring high
above the sea, looking somewhat like a large bird of prey. Sometimes
swoops down to pick food from the surface of the water. Usually seen
alone or in small groups, but occasionally dozens can be seen
Where to find it: Around the coast. Again,
Fort Charles is a good spot.
Status: A visitor, found in small numbers from
May to September. Breeds on Nevis. Description: 9”. A very small
seabird. Grey above, white below, with a black crown and white
forehead. The bill is yellow with a black tip, and the legs are
yellow. Young birds have a black bill.
Voice: A sharp ‘kik-kik’, a rasping ‘chizeek’,
and other calls. Very noisy around the nesting area
Behaviour: Flies quickly with fast wing beats
- also hovers butterfly-like above the water.
Where to find it:
The northern end of the beach at White Bay - but
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
Status: Common on Nevis in winter - found in
small numbers at other times. Does not breed here.
20”. A large tern, grey above, white
below, with a black crown and shaggy crest. The legs are also black,
and the large bill is orange. In winter the front of the crown
becomes white. Voice: A loud, gutteral ‘kkerr’. Behaviour: Usually
seen singly or in small groups, flying over the sea, into which it
dives for fish. Also sometimes seen standing on a beach.
Where to find it: Around the coast, for
example off Fort Charles.
Other Seabirds Found Around Nevis
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus
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