The Bahamas provides a habitat for many endangered animals. Some are born in this region, but some migrate and stay there during winter.
Endangered species are those species that are risking extinction. There are several endangered species found in this region. All have different qualities and vary from one another.
There are organizations present in the Bahamas that maintain and monitor the habitats of endangered species. These animals are a major attraction for tourists. Some of them are so unique that they are only found within the specific geographic boundaries of the Bahamas.
Below there is a detailed list of the sixteen most endangered animals found in the geographic domain of the Bahamas.
|Bahama Swallow||– Found only in the Bahamas|
– Belongs to the passerine songbird family
– Green back and head, black tail
– Blue wings with black wingtips
|Bahaman Lesser Funnel-Eared Bat||– Found only in the Bahamas|
– Rare and endangered
– Long ears for echolocation
– Maternity colony during dry season
|Bahamas Rock Iguana||– Found in Exuma and Andros islands|
– Endemic to the Bahamas
– Herbivores, can climb trees for food
|Bahamian Hutia||– Native to the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas|
– Nocturnal, active during the night
– Diet includes leaves, fruits, insects, and seaweed
|Bee Hummingbird||– Known as the world’s smallest bird|
– Males have red throat, females have blue and green colors
|Bigeye Tuna||– Large fish, up to eight feet long and 400 pounds|
– Adapted to deep cold waters
– Feed on epipelagic fish and crustaceans
|Black Grouper||– Quadrilateral body structure, similar to gag grouper|
– Found in western Atlantic and south of the Bahamas
|Black Rockfish||– Lateral compressed deep body, black and gray colors|
– Slow growth, long life span
|Black-Capped Petrel||– Sea bird native to the West Indies|
– Long wings, black cap on the head
Top 16 Most Endangered Animals in the Bahamas
#1 Bahama Swallow
Bahama Swallow is a swallow bird that is found only in the area of the Bahamas. They belong to the family of passerine songbirds. Swallow birds are found all across the world, but the Bahama Swallow is only found in the Bahamas – as the name suggests.
There are nine different breeds of swallow birds, the Bahama Swallow is also known as the Tachycineta
The swallow has the physical appearance of a green back and head, a black colored tail, the upper side of the wings are colored blue while the wingtips are colored black, along with a white chin and belly.
They adapt pine yards for their breeding and habitat. They reside on the eastern end of the Bahamas during the winter season. It is rare for the bird to migrate elsewhere during the cold season.
These birds feed on insects by hunting them while flying, they are smart birds that position themselves in a lean and streamlined way, making them long and pointed.
Through this technique, they can hold their body steady while gliding down to the ground. They have a very sharp vision similar to a raptor.
#2 Bahaman Lesser Funnel-Eared Bat
The funnel-eared bat is an animal whose ancestors belong to the bat species. They are not widespread worldwide as they are only found in the Bahamas in the northeastern end of the Caribbean. But even here they are extremely rare and one of the most endangered animals in the Bahamas.
These bats have long ears which are similar to the shape of a funnel. They use these ears to hear almost silent echoes from their surroundings. All bats use the process of echolocation to navigate through obstacles.
Females carry their offspring for ten months and then give birth to them in a maternity colony during the dry season. Their offspring are hefty in size, weighing fifty percent of their mother’s weight.
Female bats give birth to only one offspring and are fully responsible for caring for their descendants.
They are found in the dry forests of the Bahamas, which is why these species of bats are not very well-known. They are found in caves and feed on insects found in dense areas.
#3 Bahamas Rock Iguana
The Bahamas rock iguana is a species belonging to the lizard family, usually found in the Bahamas islands of Exuma and Andros. These species are further divided into Allen’s Cay Iguana, Andros Island Iguana, and Exuma Island Iguana.
They are similar to any other iguana and are mostly found on islands. The males are larger than the females having femoral pores on their thighs. These pores attract mates during their reproduction season.
These reptiles are endemic to the island of Exuma and Andros at the southwest end of the Bahamas.
Studies have shown that these species existed already about 18,000 years ago when sea levels were much lower and almost all the islands of the Bahamas were interlinked.
They usually reside in dry tropical forests, coastal coppice, beach strands, mangroves, and pine barrens. Being herbivores, they follow a plant-based diet. Although they reside on the ground they’re able to climb trees to feed themselves.
#4 Bahamian Hutia
Bahamian hutia belongs to a family of hutia, which are descendants of rodent families. They inhabit the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas. Typically they love to reside in lowland tropical or subtropical moist forests and dry tropical or sub-tropical shrublands.
This animal’s appearance is similar to that of any rodent. Its body length is approximately sixty centimeters. Unlike rats, they have small tails. Their fur is a single color; gray, black, white, red, or brown.
These species are nocturnal, meaning they are active during the night. During the day, they spend their time staying underground.
Although they’re capable of climbing trees they prefer to stay close to the ground level during the day. They breed at any time during the year and stay together as a family, living in groups until they reach maturity at two years old.
Their diet consists of leaves, fruits, bark, nuts, shoots, miniature lizards, insects, and often seaweed. Their temperament levels vary, but are generally peaceable rodents.
#5 Bee Hummingbird
Bee hummingbirds are descendants of the hummingbird species. They are known as the world’s smallest birds and are primarily found in Cuba, situated in the Caribbean; you can read more about this bird with our article that explores all the ins and outs of this miniature creature.
The appearance of males and females is different in these species. The color of the female is in shades of blue and green with a gray base. On the other hand, the males have an upbeat red throat with a green head having a base of gray and white.
They are very small birds. Females in this species weigh around 2.6 grams, while males weigh around 1.9 grams. The females are relatively larger than the males having a length of around six centimeters, 0.5 centimeters larger than the males.
Their diet usually includes plants, but they often eat insects and spiders. The amount of intake they require depends on their body weight. They need to consume half of their body weight on a daily basis to live a healthy life.
#6 Bigeye Tuna
The ancestors of bigeye tuna are the Thunnus species, and they can survive in tropical and temperate oceans worldwide. They are relatively large and grow up to eight feet long, having a maximum weight of four hundred pounds.
These fish are big, streamlined, and deep-bodied fish with large eyes and heads. Their fins are very long and reach the end of their body.
They are unique in that they can survive in deep cold waters with low oxygen levels. This is so because their blood consists of high amounts of oxygen levels and the presence of heat exchangers in their body, which allow them to preserve heat in cold water.
Swimming in a vertical movement, they descend to deeper and cooler water levels and then return to shallow warmer water levels during dusk.
They descend to depths of three hundred to five hundred meters – which is twenty degrees colder than the surface of the ocean. They swim back to warm waters to preserve heat for the colder depths.
Usually, they feed on fish that are epipelagic such as seed shrimps, isopods, amphipods, and many such crustacean animals. They also feed on mesopelagic fish.
#7 Black Grouper
The black grouper belongs to the family of ray-finned fish species, which is a descendant of the grouper family. The gag grouper is very similar to the black grouper, and they are often confused with one another.
They have a quadrilateral, sideways compressed body structure – having a length 3.5 times larger than the depth of their body.
It consists of eleven spines and rounded fins. The fins are colored in shades of brown, which fade into an orangish tone towards the margins.
They are commonly found in the western Atlantic, extending their range towards the south of the Bahamas in Bermuda and Cape Canaveral.
Mostly they dive to depths of ten to thirty meters. They feed on other fish like snapper, herring, and grunts. An underaged and young black grouper will feed on crustaceans such as shrimps, isopods, and fish lice.
#8 Black Rockfish
Black rockfish, also known by the name of black snapper, is a descendant of ray-finned fish. People often confuse it with the red snapper.
This fish consists of a laterally compressed deep body. They have large heads and eyes which bulge outwards, and they come in shades of black and gray.
Adult rockfish have dark stripes on top of their body. They weigh around eleven pounds, having a body longevity of twenty-five inches.
Usually, they form their habitat on the continental shelf, spending most of their time in the water columns.
Their growth is very slow as they only reach sexual maturity after six to seven years of being born. These fish have a long life span and inhabit shallow water and rocky areas.
They are mostly found in the rocky reefs in the Amchitka and Aleutian islands at depths of 366 meters.
#9 Black-Capped Petrel
Also known by the name diablo, the black-capped petrel is a sea bird that is a native bird of the West Indies. It has long wings with a white nape and a brownish-gray back. The base of the bird is primarily white, and the head has a black cap on top of it.
This petrel’s length is about sixteen inches, and its wings measure thirty-seven inches. They are very similar to Bermuda Petrel, the only difference is that the Bermuda petrel is small, having a white lower body.
These birds nest and breed on high mountains but prefer residing near warm water, where they feed on fish from the ocean’s surface, such as squids.
They form their nest in more elevated areas to avoid attacks from predators. Other than on mountains, they form their burrows on clithathichs that are surrounded by forests and are difficult to locate.
#10 Brown Pelican
This bird is another of the most endangered animals in the Bahamas and belongs to the descendants of the pelican family. It is one of the three species that dive inside the water to feed. Their feather coat is white and yellow, having a dark brown maroonish neck and white lines on the upper end of their neck.
The males and females are similar in physical appearance, but the females are relatively smaller than the males. They have pink skin around their eyes, which turns dull in grayish tones during the non-breeding seasons.
Mainly they feed on fish but sometimes eat amphibians and eggs from the nests of other birds. They form their nest in remote areas, which are difficult to locate on islands or lands of vegetation, dunes, and trees.
Because they migrate during the winters, they are not always found in the Bahamas, but mostly in the region of New Jersey and the Pacific Coast.
#11 Buff-Breasted Sandpiper
It is a trivial bird that is commonly found around the shorelines. The species are brown on the top side with yellow legs, and it has a muscular face with a short build.
The males are larger than the females, and minors are similar to the adults but have pale underparts. They weigh around two ounces and have a length of seven to nine inches. Their tail is around 2.4 inches long, which is an add-on to the total length.
They plant their nests on the ground and lay four eggs. Although they eat whatever is available, they mainly feed on invertebrates and insects, also they feed bees to their offspring.
#12 Cape Shark
Cape shark, also popular by the name spiny dogfish, is a great species descending from the dogfish species which belongs to the family of sharks. These sharks are often found in shallow waters away from the shore and prefer residing in temperate waters.
Cape sharks have dorsal fins with spots on their back. This animal has two spines which allow them to arch back to attack its victim with the help of its two spines. It also discharges a mild venom when they attack prey.
The sharks hunt in a pack that can include up to thousands of individuals. They are violent hunters and feed on a range of animals, such as fish, squid, jellyfish, sea cucumber, invertebrates, and shrimps.
They are usually found in depths ranging from 160-490 feet. Some of them are found in depths deeper than 2300 feet.
#13 Caribbean Reef Shark
They are descendants of requiem sharks who have carcharhinidae as their ancestors. They are mostly found in the tropical waters of Florida to Brazil, most commonly witnessed in the Caribbean Sea.
Similar to requiem sharks, they have strong streamlined bodies – overall, it’s hard to differentiate between the dusky and silk shark family.
The few characteristics distinguishing them from these sharks are their number of teeth and their shape, along with dusky-colored fins with no noticeable markings on them.
They consume a variety of fish that reside in the reefs, yellow stingrays, and eagle rays. They can sense the low-intensity sounds of fish in distress.
This shark’s habitat is in shallow waters around reefs of the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil, North Carolina, Mexico, and the Caribbean sea.
#14 Cat Island Turtle
It also frequently goes by the name of the Jamaican slider. It belongs to the family of freshwater turtles and is mostly found in the region it originated from: the Bahamas and Jamaica.
The cat island turtle is a turtle that resides in fresh waters. They are medium in size. Males have a length of around eight inches, while females are larger than males and measure 11 inches.
They are colored in shades of brown and olive with light markings on their body, although minors have dark markings.
Belonging to the omnivore family, they feed on fruits and small fish, frogs, snails, and invertebrates in the water. They mostly reside in wetlands, including swamps, streams, and ponds.
#15 Cerulean Warbler
It is a small bird belonging to the family of songbirds called Parulidae. They are mostly found in the hardwood forests of North America. During the winters, they migrate long distances toward the southern end of America.
The males have a blue and white upper body with black markings on their neck, similar to a necklace. In comparison, the females have a blue-green-colored upper body and a yellow-colored lowered body without any markings.
They reside in hardwood forests and usually make their nests on the top layers of the trees.
The cerulean warbler usually transcends from the top to middle layers of forests, moving from one tree to another, feeding on small insects which are present on leaves.
#16 Crossband Rockfish
This fish is a species of ray-finned fish which are ancestors of the Serratia family, primarily seen in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean sea.
It is a huge fish with a long and compressed body, with its length being 3 to 3.4 times larger than its depth – giving its body a unique shape. The mouth of this fish is yellow.
It is located on the south coast of the United States, present across the shores of the Bahamas, North Carolina, and Cape Hatteras. Likewise they often inhabit the Caribbean Sea.
They usually reside in reefs with rocky bottoms. It eats other fish like brown Chromis, silversides, and striped parrotfish. Sadly their population is steadily declining, and they constitute one of the most endangered animals in the Bahamas.
The Final Word
The article outlines a list of the 16 most endangered animals in the Bahamas. Some originate from the Bahamas, while others migrate to this region during the cold weather.
Since most of them originated in the region of Bahamas, it means that most are one of a kind.
When visiting the Bahamas, one should always go on an exploration drive to witness the distinctive features of these animals. A zoo in the Bahamas is a habitat to protect Bahamas hutia. So when in the Bahamas, do visit this zoo.
Thank you for reading this article! There’s thousands of other endangered species on our planet, take a look at the Most Endangered Animals in Africa.
Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Why are these animals endangered?
A: Endangered animals in the Bahamas face various threats. The Bahama parrot, for example, has experienced habitat loss due to deforestation and hurricane damage. The Bahama swallow’s population decline is mainly attributed to habitat loss and competition with invasive species. The Bahama nuthatch is critically endangered due to habitat destruction caused by hurricanes and invasive species. The Inagua curlytail lizard faces habitat loss and predation by introduced species.
Q: What conservation efforts are in place for these endangered species?
A: The Bahamas National Trust, in collaboration with international organizations and local stakeholders, is actively involved in conservation efforts. These efforts include habitat protection, restoration programs, captive breeding and reintroduction initiatives, research, public awareness campaigns, and the enforcement of laws and regulations to safeguard these endangered animals.
Q: Can I visit areas where these endangered animals live?
A: Some of the habitats where endangered animals reside are protected areas and national parks. For example, the Abaco National Park and the Inagua National Park are important habitats for the Bahama parrot. Visitors can explore these parks and observe the wildlife under the guidance of trained personnel. It’s crucial to follow ethical guidelines and regulations to minimize disturbances and protect the fragile ecosystems.
Q: How can I contribute to the conservation of these endangered animals?
A: There are several ways you can help. Supporting local and international conservation organizations financially or through volunteer work is a great way to contribute. Educating yourself and others about the importance of biodiversity and the threats these animals face can also make a difference. Additionally, practicing responsible tourism, such as avoiding activities that harm the environment, can help protect their habitats.