Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Mississippi
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Blanco-Rodriguez, P., F.J. Vilella, and B. Sanchez-Orla. 2014. Waterfowl in Cuba: current status and distribution. Wildfowl Special Issue 4: 498-511.


Cuba and its satellite islands represent the largest landmass in the Caribbean archipelago and a major repository of the region’s biodiversity. Approximately 4% of the Cuban territory is covered by wetlands, encompassing approximately 1.74 million hectares. Wetlands of Cuba include mangroves, flooded savannas, peatlands, freshwater swamp forests and various types of managed wetlands. We summarize information on distribution and abundance of waterfowl on the main island of Cuba, excluding the numerous surrounding cays and the Isle of Youth. We report band recoveries from wintering waterfowl harvested in Cuba by species and location. Waterfowl in Cuba are represented by 29 species, 24 of which are North American migrants. The most abundant species of waterfowl wintering in Cuba include Blue-winged Teal (A. discors), Northern Pintail (A. acuta), and Northern Shoveler (A. clypeata). Recovered bands from Canada and the United States were predominantly from Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, and Northern Pintail. Recoveries suggest the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways have a predominant influence on waterfowl migrating through and overwintering in Cuba. Threats to wetlands and waterfowl in Cuba include; 1) egg poaching of resident species, 2) illegal hunting of migratory and protected resident species, 3) mangrove deforestation, 4) hydroelectric projects, 5) periods of pronounced droughts, and 6) hurricanes. Conservation efforts continue across Cuba’s extensive system of protected areas. Expanding collaborations with international conservation organizations, researchers and governments in the United States and Canada will enhance protection of waterfowl and wetlands in Cuba.