Bubali Bird Sanctuary

One of our favorite birding areas, and one of the easiest to find.


Description: A very large wetland originally supplied with treated water from the island's sewage treatment facility. A canal now connects the area to the sea.

How to Get There: To reach Bubali from Orenjestad, follow L.G. Smith Boulevard west, then curving north for 2.3 miles until you reach an intersection. Turn left (west) towards the beach and follow this unnamed road for 0.3 mile where you will see the entrance to a dirt road on your right about 20 yards from the intersection with J. E. Irausquin Boulevard. This will take you into the thorn-scrub habitat bordering on the mangroves along the west side of Bubali. You can park here to explore the area on foot.

To reach the tower on the north side of Bubali, take J. E. Irausquin Boulevard heading north and travel 1 mile to the rather busy intersection near the Wyndham Beach Resort. Turn right (east) heading towards the big, red windmill and watch for the entrance to a small dirt road on your right within 200 yards. This is the road to the observation tower, which itself should be visible a few hundred yards farther along.

Birding Bubali: On the north side of the site, across from the big, red Dutch Windmill (a local landmark) is an observation tower that affords excellent views of this expansive wetland. From there you can see Pied-billed Grebe, Least Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Caribbean Coot, Common Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, White-cheeked Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Groove-billed Ani, various herons and egrets.

Bubali Aruba

Along the west side (ocean side) of Bubali, there is good habitat to explore across from the Divi Phoenix and behind the new development project being constructed (let's hope some habitat still remains). There are sometimes Aruban Brown-throated (Caribbean) Parakeets, Bare-eyed Pigeons, Tropical Mockingbirds, Blue-tailed Emeralds, “Mangrove” Yellow Warblers, and Black-faced Grassquits in this area. If you're lucky, you'll find Scrub Flycatchers. Look for wintering warblers by pishing for a while under a bush along in here. Northern Waterthrushes are common; you’ll immediately hear their hard “chink” call amid the sound of mangrove limbs rubbing together in the constant wind. We’ve had a variety of other migrant warbler species here, with the species varying greatly from year to year. If you bird at the main pool or along this western edge, we would appreciate it if you would keep notes on the numbers of each species that you count and send them to us.


Prothonotary Warbler at                                        Magnolia Warbler at Bubali,

Bubali, January 2002. Photo Jeff Wells.               Jan., 2003. Photo Jeff Wells

Comments: The tower is a good place to bring kids and family members who are not (yet!) active birders, since it doesn't take much patience to find, the birds are easy to see here, and are relatively tame. Just watch out for hornets nesting in and around the stairs of the observation tower—if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone, but be careful.

To see a video we filmed from the top of the tower in November 2011 click here.