Palm Chat (Dulus Dominicus)

Dominican Fauna

Palm Chat Woodpecker Hummingbird Sea Gull Parrot
Flamingo Manatee Dolphin Humpback Whale Crab
Hawksbill Sea Turtle American Crocodile Iguana Solenodon Bat

Palm Chat (Dulus Dominicus)
This medium-sized bird is bigger than the sparrow, but smaller than the pigeon. Its upper body is a shade of brown, while its lower body is light-colored with dark vertical stripes. Its active and congenial behavior resembles the Rufous Hornero. Both species of birds are very similar in their general appearance, size and body structure.

This species, the only one in the Dulidae family, can only be found in La Hispaniola and its neighboring keys and islets. It is the national bird of the Dominican Republic and can be found in the following provinces: Duarte, El Seibo, Espaillat, La Altagracia, La Vega, San Cristóbal, San Juan de la Maguana, Sánchez Ramírez, Santiago and Santo Domingo.


Woodpecker (Campephilus Imperialis)
The Woodpecker’s slender body is 60 centimeters in length. Its long beak is strong and it has a slightly curved dorsal crest. Its strong feet have four long toes. It is recognizable for its black back side with white lateral tones, and the red collar that goes from its chest to its crest.

Its diet consists of insects, worms and larvae. It spends its days pecking on the trunks of trees and often can be found carving holes in the sides of wooden houses and clay walls. During the summer, it scavenges along the ground, looking for worms and larvae

The Woodpecker is considered an endangered species. In the Dominican Republic, it can be found in the provinces of Santo Domingo, San Cristóbal, Sal Pedro de Macorís, San Juan de la Maguana and La Vega.


Hummingbird (Trochilidae)
The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world. Its family comprises more than 100 genera that can be divided into a total of 330 to 340 species. Most of them have a very attractive plumage. Each species has a different type of beak, adapted to a specific type of flower. This specialization allows them to live in different ecological environments, thus avoiding fights among species. The rapid flapping of their wings, around 80 times per second, allows them to fly backwards, sideways or even to hover in mid-air.

They feed on the nectar of red and orange plants to obtain calories and also on little insects to obtain proteins. This high-energy content diet, mostly comprising simple sugars, allows for their rapid-moving flight habits.

Males attract mates by singing and showing off their iridescent plumage and dramatic display flights. During the gestation period, females build nests, using spider webs, cotton, lichen and moss in low-lying bushes. Clutch size is two and incubation usually lasts 14 to 19 days. Females feed their young for three or four weeks, flying to the nest up to 140 times a day.


Parrot (Myiopsitta monachus)
The parrot is a medium-sized bird, measuring 30 centimeters long with bright green plumage, a yellow beak and brown eyes. It can easily adapt to high and low temperatures. Parrots have become common as pets due to their ability to articulate words and phrases. Their diet mainly comprises grains and seeds that are both cultivated and found in nature; however, they prefer corn, rice and sorghum.  Parrots are excellent flyers and can be found in groups and flocks.

Their gait is unique and amusing. If they need to climb a tree trunk or scale a branch, parrots use their beaks as well as their feet, which contain strong claws.

Parrots are in danger of extinction and it is prohibited to capture or hunt them. They can be found in the National district and the provinces of Santo Domingo, Santiago, La Altagracia, Pedernales and San Juan de la Maguana.


Sea Gull
The Sea Gull is a web-footed bird, with generally white feathers, a slightly orange hooked beak and ash-colored sides. They are coastal-habiting birds and they belong to the family Laridae, order Charadriiformes.

There are 47 Sea Gull species, some of which are migratory. They are found throughout the world, except in deserts and tropical rainforest, the Central Pacific islands and most of Antarctica.  In the Dominican Republic, they can be found in the provinces of Barahona, El Seybo, La Altagracia, María Trinidad Sánchez and Santo Domingo.

Their diet consists of fish, carrion, bird eggs, insects, earthworms, and trash. They ground nesting birds and reproduce in colonies on the flat portions of beaches or on riverbanks. They usually lay two or three spotted eggs at a time, and the incubation period lasts between 20 and 30 days. Sea Gulls can live up to 40 years in captivity and up to 36 years in the wild.

The Sea Gull is able to survive at the expense of other species. Their scavenging behavior can have an effect on the ecology of urban settings. Airports (as well as their garbage dumps) attract numerous amounts of these birds, putting air traffic at risk.


Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber)
The word Flamingo is actually the common name that encompasses all five of the bird families with long legs and necks. Their average height varies between approximately 0.80 to 1.50 meters, with the males being bigger than the females.

Flamingos eat seeds, algae, mollusk larvae, crustacean, creatures from the Gastropoda family and other organic material.

Flamingos derive their pink color from a diet rich in brine shrimp. They are also oviparous. Flamingo clutches usually consist of one egg. The incubation period lasts 28 to 32 days and is carried out by both parents. Flamingos do not nest every year.

Flamingos are wading birds and reproduce in shallow waters or in small islands in shallow ponds or salty water. Babies feed off food that is regurgitated by their parents during the first 75 days of life. Flamingos reach sexual maturity between the ages of two and three years. In the wild, they have been known to reach a maximum of 27 years of age, while in captivity they can live up to 50 years.

Flamingos are gregarious birds that perform their daily activities in groups. They can be found in muddy areas, coastal lakes, and estuaries. In the Dominican Republic, Flamingos live in the provinces of Barouco, Independencia and Pedernales.


Manatee (Trichechus Manatus)
The Manatee is a large herbivorous marine mammal that can reach a weight of 2,000 pounds and measure up to 3.6 meters or more. They are only able to survive in aquatic environments.

Manatees struggle to stay warm, but their cylindrical bodies help them to preserve their body heat. They have a slow metabolism, which can cause them to get sick in cold water. The majority of Manatees live in warm tropical waters, but those that live in Florida live in cold sub-tropical waters in the winter. They are able to survive under these conditions because they seek out warm springs in the coastal rivers.

Manatees are dependent on oxygen, and therefore must rise periodically to the surface to breathe. They do not have front teeth; they only have molars. Their mouth and teeth are have evolved to accommodate an herbivorous diet. They are normally solitary, but when the female is ready to reproduce, several males will surround her and form a group. The gestation period lasts one year, and females give birth every three to five years.

Manatees live in the Antilles, the Amazon and Western Africa. In the Dominican Republic, they can be found in the provinces of Barahona, María Trinidad Sánchez, Montecristi and Samaná.


The Dolphin is the marine mammal most adapted to life in captivity. There are some 32 species, of which the most well-known is the Bottlenose Dolphin (common in zoos, aquariums, and aerial acrobatics). It is the largest Dolphin and it can reach three meters in length.

In the wild, it lives in temperate waters and groups together in herds that can reach numbers in the hundreds; these herds of Dolphins often tag alongside boats, doing somersaults in the air, creating a natural attraction that generates many a sympathetic observer.

Their diet consists of fish and their body is in the shape of a torpedo, reaching a length of two to 2.5 meters. They have a long and slender dorsal flipper and a small head.

Dolphins can be found in the waters of several Dominican provinces: Samaná, La Altagracia, Santo Domingo and the National District.


Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliae)
The Humpback Whale is one of the most well-known Myticeti species. Among its most recognizable behavior are its spectacular jumps (known as breaching). They also engage in “tail lobbing” (raising their huge flukes out of the water and then slapping it on the surface) and “flipper slapping” (using their flippers to slap the water). The Humpback’s flippers are very long and have large knobs on the leading edge. Its pectoral flippers can measure up to four meters and are the longest flippers among all Cetaceans. The body is black on the dorsal (upper) side, and mottled black and white on the ventral (under) side; however, each whale’s tail has different colored spots which serve to identify them.

The Humpback Whale lives in groups. They migrate each year to tropical waters for reproduction and spend their summers in temperate and polar waters for feeding. The males are known for their whale “song,” which can last up to 30 minutes and which are highly complex. A whale’s maximum swimming speed is approximately 27 kilometers per hour.

Each year, between December and April, some 3,000 Humpback Whales, in search of warm waters, travel from the North Atlantic to the Samana Bay and the Banco de Plata to reproduce.


Crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura. This order, characterized for having five pairs of legs, includes the largest crustaceans, such as Lobster, Shrimp and Prawn, as well as the various different forms of Crabs.

All Crabs are benthic, or bottom-dwelling, creatures. Only some species (the Portunidae species) have developed a secondary nectonic habit, which means they are able to swim in between the water’s current.

There are more than 4,000 species of animals that are or could be called Crabs. The majority live near or in the water (rivers or oceans), although only some travel to the water to reproduce. Crabs are not usually known for being swimmers, but rather move around the floor of the water with their claws, and in many cases they are able to travel out of the water and even climb Palm trees at times.


Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricada)
The adult Hawksbill Sea Turtle has a shell size of 82.2 centimeters and weighs about 53.9 kilograms. It has a sharp and narrow beak, four lateral bony plates and two pairs of frontal plates that overlap to form the shell. When they mature they become the most colorful and bright sea turtles.

They are omnivorous. After mating, the Hawksbill Sea Turtle travels to the beach to build nests where they can lay up to 180 eggs. Due to predators that hunt small turtles and eat their eggs, few Hawksbill Sea Turtles survive into their adult years.

The Hawksbill Sea Turtle can swim for long periods of time without rising to the surface to breathe. Their habitat is primarily limited to coral reefs, and they prefer warm tropical waters. They are distributed among the Atlantic, Pacific and Indic oceans and can be found in the following provinces of the Dominican Republic: La Altagracia, Montecristi, Pedernales and Puerto Plata.

This endangered animal can live between 30 to 50 years. Their slow movement makes them an easy prey and they therefore have a low survival rate.


American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
The American Crocodile is native to the Americas. The habitat of the American crocodile consists largely of freshwater or brackish water coastal habitats, and mangrove swamps. It can be found in the southern part of the Golf of Mexico, the Greater Antilles (except Puerto Rico), the coasts of Central and South America and the Caribbean through Venezuela. In the Dominican Republic, it can be found off the coasts of Baoruco and Dajabon.

The American Crocodile is more aggressive than the American Alligator. Even the babies are dangerous. This species does not feed on humans, as is the case with its relative the Australian Saltwater Crocodile.  In southern Florida, an average clutch of 38 eggs. It is possible that more than one female lays her eggs in the same nest.


There are around 300 species and they belong to the largest and most complicatedly designed group from the Sauropsida class in the New World. They are part of the family of Iguanidae family. These Iguanas can measure between 7.5 centimeters and 2 meters.

The Iguana reaches sexual maturity at 16 months, but are not considered adults until 18 months, when they measure 21 centimeters long. They are both herbivores and omnivores. Iguanas lay many eggs at a time (about 50), in holes in the ground called burrows, which they form during the month of February.

They have very short legs and five fingers on each foot, which have very sharp claws. Their tail is long and slender. Their skin is rough, with a set of pointy scales along the iguana’s back. On their head, Iguanas have what appears to be a fan on their throat; males and a dorsal spine, which the males use to mark their territory.

They primarily live in the Americas and in humid regions. In the Dominican Republic, they can be found in the following provinces: Azua, Baoruco, La Altagracia, Pedernales and Peravia.


The Haitian Solenodon lives exclusively on the island of Hispaniola. It usually weighs between 0.6 and 1 kilogram and measures between 28 and 33 centimeters (its tail adds on another 25 centimeters). Its legs have claws that are useful for digging. They also have poisonous saliva. The second incisor on each side in the lower jaw is grooved. At the base of each of these incisors is a gland from which the poison runs along the groove in each tooth. The Solenodon is one of only a handful of mammal species that produces venom.

The female can have two litters per year of one to three babies. Normally, the babies live until two years because the mother only has two teats. The babies are nursed for about 75 days, although at times their young remain even when another litter is born.

Solenodon are not immune to their own venom: deaths following fights and injuries among Solenodon have been observed. In moments of excitement it may grunt like a pig or give bird-like cries. However, when pursued, it remains motionless and hides its head, which makes it easy to capture it.

The Solenodon eats a variety of animal and vegetative material. It tends toward nocturnal behavior. During the day it hides itself in trees, hollowed-out trunks or caves. It is a clumsy mover with no agility in avoiding enemies and lacking a good means of defense. As a result, when dogs and cats where introduced onto the island, the Solenodon’s future was seen as threatened. They are now in danger of extinction. Nowadays, it is likely that they are only found in two places in the Dominican Republic: in the Eastern and Jaragua National Parks.


The Bat is a flying mammal and they account for 25% of all mammals in the world. They belong to the Chiroptera order, which means winged hand, given that these animals have a membrane (patagium) between their fingers that also stretches between hand and body. This is what allows them to fly. There is a large diversity of forms, colors and shapes of Bats in the world.

About 70% of Bats are insectivores. Most of the rest feed on fruits, nectar and pollen; some are carnivores (they eat fish, small birds and mammals); three species sustain themselves with blood.

The Bat provides many benefits to the ecosystem, like the pollination of flowers, the spreading of seeds, and the control of plagues; however, due to unfamiliarity, superstitions and myths, Bats are considered harmful.

They live in the following provinces: Santo Domingo, Samaná, María Trinidad Sánchez, Pedernales and Santiago.


Twitter feed is not available at the moment.
© DominicanaOnline, El portal de la República Dominicana - All Rights Reserved