Diverse, rich and colorful. A land of broad contrast, from the turquoise Caribbean Sea to the highest elevation in the West Indies—Pico Duarte at over 10,000 feet—the Dominican Republic begs a visit from any traveling nature-lover. Perhaps best known as a land of baseball stars, sensual merengue, and añejo rum, the “DR” also boasts an amazingly rich avifauna. With 30 endemic bird species, 50 endemic subspecies, and more than 10 Caribbean specialties, the country is dripping with tropical birds. The lowlands hold endemics like Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Black-crowned Palm-Tanager, Broad-billed Tody, the elusive Bay-breasted Cuckoo, and the ubiquitous Palm Chat—the only member of the genus Dulus and family Dulidae. High elevation habitats offer an escape from the steamy lowlands, with pleasant year-round temperatures, lush forests, and such sought-after birds as Hispaniolan Trogon, Narrow-billed Tody, and White-winged Warbler. Neotropical migrants include more than 30 different warblers and nearly the entire wintering population of Bicknell’s Thrush. Any visit to the marine environment should include a trip to Saona Island to see one of the four nesting sea turtle species, including the critically endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtles. While you are wandering the DR’s diverse terrestrial habitats, search for Hispaniola’s endemic herptiles, the Hispaniolan Smooth Galliwasp (a lizard) and the Tuck-wheep Frog. And before you leave, make a predawn visit the cloud forest; listening to the haunting call of the Rufous–throated Solitaire and the melodious song of the Western Chat-Tanager is magical.
Mammals are sparse but include the unique Hispaniolan solenodon, Hutia, over 22 species of Bat, and a diverse array of marine life, whales, seals, manatee. Sea turtles, Bullfrogs, Treefrogs, Skinks, Geckos and Anoles and snakes are very abundant with many species represented. The Dominican also has a wide variety of butterfly species to complement the diverse Flora of the island.
The Dominican Republic page on the Caribbean Birding Trail site includes many non-birding attractions on the island.
As with most Caribbean destinations, you will probably want to visit between November and April, when the North American migrants are present, including most of the rangewide population of Bicknell's Thrush.