Doctor Bird – Uniquely Stunning Symbol of Jamaica
Mother Nature really shows off in grand style in the Caribbean. This is most readily apparent in our pristine beaches, gin-clear seas, and lush landscapes. West Indian wildlife, and in particular endemic our bird species, though, should not be overlooked. Jamaica’s iconic Doctor Bird is a shining example.
The Doctor Bird (Tricilus Polytmus) is simply stunning. None of the other 330+ different types of hummingbirds can match its majesty. Some even suggest that the Dr. Bird’s dazzling iridescent feathers have no equal in all of the bird world.
(Note: The Doctor Bird is also known as the Swallow Tail Hummingbird, the Red Billed Streamertail Hummingbird, and the Scissor Tail Hummingbird.)
While that claim may be up for debate, there’s no denying the captivating allure of the doctor bird’s signature feature: its long split tail. Present solely in mature males, the twin tails dance back and forth while the Doctor Bird hovers in the air. It’s positively mesmerizing to see them sashaying through the sky.
This show, though, is one you can only find in Jamaica. Swallow Tails are endemic to the island. It’s not surprise, then, that they’re also Jamaica’s National Bird.
While you might think that a trek up into the wilds of Jamaica would offer the best/only way to see a Doctor Bird, well, you’d be wrong. I photographed the male pictured here in the middle of Emancipation Park, located in the heart of bustling New Kingston. These amazing birds thrive here among the many Hong Kong Orchid Trees planted throughout the tranquil six-acre public green space.
Mornings walks through the park with a cup of Blue Mountain Coffee from the 24/7 Cafe at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel right across the street are special in and of themselves. Seeing these incredible birds along the way, though, makes the experience priceless to me.