Preparing for a birding excursion can be tremendous fun if one actually enjoys studying field guides, trip reports, and various and sundry other resources. I personally love the process. Not only does the preliminary research heighten anticipation of an already exciting trip, but the payoff in the field when I have no problem recognizing a bird I’ve never seen before in life cannot be beat!

Of all the foreign destinations I’ve ever done birding research for, Jamaica has to be the most fun. You can’t beat the hilarious, evocative nicknames Jamaican birds have acquired over the years. If all goes as planned, I will already be in the air winging towards Hotel Mocking Bird Hill in Port Antonio as this post publishes. Please enjoy these fruits of my labor, a master list of the nicknames for most Jamaican birds:

Generally, gulls and terns known in Jamaica as boobies

White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus catesbyi) is Bo’sun Bird

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus o. occidentalis) is Old Joe

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is Man o’ War Bird

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula brewsteri) is Golden Slippers

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) is Blue Gaulin

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) is Tick Bird

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli) is Quok

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violaceus bancrofti) is Crab-catcher

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps antillarum) is Duck-and-Teal

West Indian Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna arborea) is Mangrove Duck, Night Duck, or Whistling Teal

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is John Crow or Carrion Crow

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius sparveroides) is Killy-killy

Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris) is Mangrove Hen

Yellow-breasted Crake (Porzana flaviventer) is Twopenny Chick

Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa violacea) is River Chink

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is Captain Lewis

White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) is Baldpate

Ring-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas caribaea) is Ringtail

Plain Pigeon (Patagioenas inornata) is Blue Pigeon

Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita zenaida) is Pea Dove

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) is White-wing

Caribbean (or White-bellied) Dove (Leptotila j. jamaicensis) is White-belly

Ruddy Quail-Dove (Geotrygon montana) is Partridge, Red Partridge, or Brown Partridge

Crested Quail-Dove (Geotrygon versicolor) is Mountain WitchBlue Partridge, or Blue Dove

Yellow-billed Parrot (Amazona collaria) is Yellowbill

Black-billed Parrot (Amazona agilis) is Blackbill

Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo (Coccyzus vetula) is Old Woman Bird, Ring Tail, SawderingRain Bird, or May Bird

Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo (Coccyzus pluvialis) is Old Man Bird, Hunter, Rain Bird, or May Bird

Jamaican Owl (Pseudoscops grammicus) is Brown Owl, Potoo, or Patoo with the big eyes

Jamaican (or Northern) Potoo (Nyctibius j. jamaicensis) is Patoo with the long bill

Antillean Nighthawk (Chordeiles g. gundlachii) is Gimme-me-bit

Most hummingbird species in Jamaica are dubbed Doctorbird. Red-billed Streamertail (Trochilus polytmus), Black-billed Streamertail (Trochilus scitulus), and even Jamaican Mango (Anthracothorax mango) are called Doctorbird.

Red-billed Streamertail is Eastern Streamertail

Black-billed Streamertail is Western Streamertail

Other names for both streamertails include God Bird, Long Tail, and Scissors-tail

Other names for Jamaican Mango include Black Hummingbird or Mango Hummingbird

Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) is, naturally, Little Doctorbird

Observe how many Jamaican flycatchers are called Tom Fool

Jamaican Tody (Todus todus) is Robin Redbreast, Robin, or Rasta Bird

Jamaican Elaenia (Myiopagis cotta) is Sarah Bird

Jamaican Becard (Pachyramphus niger) is Mountain Dick (male) or Mountain Judy (female). Other names include Kissidy, Rickchay, Rickatee, London City, or Weaver Bird

Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus d. dominicensis) is Petchary

Loggerhead Kingbird (Tyrannus caudifasciatus jamaicensis) is Jamaican Petchary

Stolid Flycatcher (Myiarchus s. stolidus) is Tom Fool

Rufous-tailed Flycatcher (Myiarchus validus) is Big Tom Fool or Big Head Bob

Sad Flycatcher (Myiarchus barbirostris) is Little Tom Fool or Dusky-capped Flycatcher

Jamaican Pewee (Contopus pallidus) is Willie Pee, Stupid Jimmy, or Little Tom Fool

Jamaican Crow (Corvus jamaicensis) is Jabbering Crow, Jamicrow, Jamming Crow, or Gabbling Crow

White-eyed Thrush (Turdus jamaicensis) is Shine-eyeGlasseye, Fish-eye, Long Day Bird, or Long Day Hopping Dick

White-chinned Thrush (Turdus aurantius) is Hopping Dick, Jumping Dick, Twopenny Chick, Chick-me-Chick, or Chap-man-Chick

Rufous-throated Solitaire (Myadestes genibarbis solitarius) is Mountain Whistler

Jamaican Vireo (Vireo modestus) is Sewi-sewi or White-eyed Vireo

Black-whiskered Vireo (Vireo a. altiloquus) is John-to-Whit

Arrow-headed Warbler (Dendroica pharetra) is Ants Picker or Ants Bird

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is Butterfly Bird or Fire Lantern

Bananaquit (Coereba f. flaveola) is Sugar Bird, Teasy, or Beanie Bird

Orangequit (Euneornis campestris) is Blue QuitBlue Blaize, Bluebird, Blue Badas, Blue Gay, Swee, or Long Mouth Quit

Jamaican Spindalis (Spindalis nigricephala) is Mark Head, Goldfinch, Cashew Bird, Champa, Beeza, Orange Bird, Silver Head, Spanish Quail, or Tam-cutter

Jamaican Euphonia (Euphonia jamaica) is Short-mouthed Quit, Chocho Quit, or Blue Quit

Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger crassinostris) is Cling-cling

Jamaican Oriole (Icterus l. leucopteryx) is Banana Katie or Auntie Katie

Jamaican Blackbird (Nesopsar nigerrimus) is Wildpine Sargeant, Corporal Bird, or Black Banana Bird

In general, grassquits are called grass birds

Yellow-shouldered Grassquit (Loxipasser anoxanthus) is Yellow-back, Yellow-backed Finch, or Yellow-shouldered Finch

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.