Home Culture & Society Birds Of The Caribbean: Meet The Hummingbird, Tody and Arrowhead Warbler

Birds Of The Caribbean: Meet The Hummingbird, Tody and Arrowhead Warbler

by caribdirect
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There are more than 700 species of bird that have made the islands their home, including 171 native species that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, perhaps making birds the most visible wildlife in the Caribbean. Birds have won over the hearts and minds of many Caribbean people and are celebrated each year during the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival. Our feathered friends are not just colorful, beautiful, and interesting, but they also play a key role in enriching the Caribbean’s economies and ecosystems. The Caribbean simply wouldn’t be the same without them. That’s why it’s integral that we do whatever we can to protect them, so we can continue to enjoy them for generations to come. Here are three of the Caribbean’s most special endemic birds.

The Hummingbird

Their striking iridescent colors make the little hummingbird a beautiful and intriguing bird. For many people, the delightful little hummingbird symbolizes good luck and healing and may even represent messages from spirits. There are fourteen hummingbirds unique to the Caribbean, including the Vervain Hummingbird, Blue-headed Hummingbird, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, and the Bee Hummingbird, the world’s smallest bird measuring between 5.5 and 6.1cm in length. The Caribbean is also home to four non-native species: the Rufous-breasted Hermit, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Green-breasted Mango, and the Rufous Hummingbird. Many of the hummingbird sounds come from its tail or wing feathers vibrating in the air, while some species have a particularly shrill sounding call.

The Arrowhead Warbler

The small and active Arrowhead Warbler is native to Jamaica, where it can enjoy a natural habitat of tropical and subtropical humid montane forests. You’ll mostly find it in Cockpit Country, Blue Mountains, Hardwar Gap, Mandeville and Anchovy, and certain locations along the coast, such as Ferry River. A species of the Parulidae bird family, it has white and black-streaked feathers over its head and body and a black pointed bill. Measuring up to 13cm, the bird primarily feeds on insects it collects up in trees.  The call of the Arrowhead Warbler is a repeated high-pitched tic sound with a slight squeak, while its song is fairly quiet with a low pitch.

The Cuban Tody

Part of the Todidae bird family, the gemlike Cuban Tody is only found in Cuba and its adjacent islands. Measuring just 11cm, the bird has a large head compared to its body and a long, thin, pointed bill. The Cuban Tody has a shimmering green and blue back and pale underneath with red highlights on its throat and sides. Often spotted in pairs, the Cuban Tody hunts insects from low to middle-level branches and will remain still before leaping upwards to snatch unsuspecting prey from leaves and twigs. Their call is a frequent repeating chatter while their wings make an unusual whirring rattle during flight.

It’s easy to see why so many bird enthusiasts flock to Caribbean islands each year to spot endemic bird species like the Hummingbird, Arrowhead Warbler, and the Cuban Tody light up the Caribbean sky.



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