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Andy Mitchell

Andy is an ornithologist who has been visiting Cuba since 1987. It all began with two birding trips with friends, when he fell in love with the country, its people and its birds. In 1991 Andy led the first British birding tour to Cuba for Island Holidays, which he still does to this day. 


As well as leading tours, Andy has designed and undertaken two conservation projects on endangered Cuban birds – Fernandina’s Flicker in 1995 and more recently in 2014, the Zapata Rail. Andy co-wrote the 2001 British Birdwatching Fair project ‘Eastern Cuba - a Caribbean Wilderness’. 


Andy contributed to the definitive Birds of Cuba guide by Orlando Garrido and Arturo Kirkconnell and is currently working on a British Ornithologist Union Checklist for Cuban birds.

Joan Maynard

Joan's love affair with Cuba began relatively late in life, around the same time she went to live with Andy Mitchell in Orkney and discovered the delights of being far away from anywhere, watching and waiting for birds.


From her first visit in 2003, she's been smitten: the climate, the colours, the light, the music, the people, and the pace of life – in and outside of Havana. Sunrise in the Zapata swamp waiting for the exquisite song of the Zapata Wren, together with the first Cuban rum of the evening are favourite moments of every trip.


When she's not in Cuba, which is too much of the time, Joan provides administrative and general support for Cuba Birding Tours. She also works from home as a copy-editor and proofreader to help fund her next visit.



Cuba Birding Tours had a rather slow beginning and it's difficult to say when it actually started! Several early visits and a chance meeting in a pub led to me setting up tours with Island Holidays. Around the same time other birders began asking about going to Cuba. When Havanatour UK opened for business in the late 1990s, they asked me to help them develop birding in Cuba as a product. From there we've gone in whichever direction the customers want, always with the focus on the Cuban endemic species and the Caribbean specialities.
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