Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bulletin 185 - Puerto Rico - endemics

Lisa, Seth, and I had some vacation and birding in Puerto Rico in early November. The island is easy to get to now that Soutwest Airlines flies there from Florida. This small island (5300 sq miles) is slightly smaller than Connecticut (48th state by area) but has 18 endemic birds. Compare that to the lower 48 states and Alaska which have only 15 endemic birds.

We hired a guide for a day of birding at El Yunque National Forest. Hilda Morales was a great guide and here is her web site. As this was our first time to bird in Puerto Rico, the endemics were lifers for all of us.

There are 2 endemic warblers and we saw one, the Adelaide's Warbler (Setophaga adelaidae). This bird is identified by the gray back, 2 wing bars and yellow underparts. There is also a yellow line above the eye. The sexes are similar.

This one came and perched on the passenger window of our vehicle and pecked at his reflection in the mirror.

Adelaide's Warbler

The Puerto Rican Tanager (Nesospingus speculiferus) is a monotypic genus (means only bird of that genus). The adults have olive back, dark head, gray underparts with some streaking along the flanks. There is a small white wing spot that is a key to the ID. It can be seen in this photo.
Puerto Rican Tanager

The Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) is a tiny bird the size of a hummer at 4.5". I don't know why the scientific name is 'mexicanus' when it doesn't occur in Mexico.  There are only 5 species in the tody family and all are in the Caribbean. This was my first time to see any tody. It has a green back, red bill and throat, white breast and yellow belly. The sexes are similar.

Puerto Rican Tody
The Puerto Rican Woodpecker (Melanerpes puertoricensis) has a solid black back and red on the throat and breast.
Puerto Rican Woodpecker
The last endemic we photographed, was the Puerto Rican Emerald (Chlorostilbon maugeaus). This is a small (3.5") hummer with a forked tail. The male is all green as shown here. The female would have white underparts.

Puerto Rican Emerald - male
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2013 David McDonald

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