Friday, December 6, 2013

Bulletin 186 - Puerto Rico #2 - other passerines

We found and photgraphed several other birds in Puerto Rico. Some of these also occur in the USA, usually in South Florida where they may reside or just be an occasional vagrant.

The Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) was very common on the Island of Vieques. They loved to perch on the wires and were so common, that Lisa took to calling them 'Line Birds.' It is very similar to the Eastern Kingbird of North America, but is distinguished by a dark mask through the eye. It has a bit of a notched tail as well. I had photographed this bird in Miami previously where it is a resident.
Gray Kingbird
The other bird of this genus we saw was the Loggerhead Kingbird (Tyrannus caudifasciatus). This bird is quite similar, but the tail is square, and the whole head is dark. Like most kingbirds, it has a stripe on the crown which seldom is seen. In this species it is yellow, and I was surprised to see that I got it in this photo. This was a life bird for all of us. This bird is a resident from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico. It occasionally shows up in south Florida as a vagrant.

Interestingly, the guide told us that it may be split with the Puerto Rico population being split from the rest. I tried playing the tape (iBird Pro) on 2 different birds and neither time did they respond.

Loggerhead Kingbird

The Black-faced Grassquit (Tiaris bicolor) is a small (4.5") black member of the tanager family. It is common through much of the West Indies.

Black-faced Grassquit

The Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger)  is a small (11") typical large-tailed grackle, all black and a pale eye.

Greater Antillean Grackle
Lastly, the Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) is a common Caribbean bird. It used to classified with the Tanagers, but now is in its own family. It is also a vagrant to south Florida. It has a black head with white stripe above the eye, red spot on the bill, and a yellow breast.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2013 David McDonald

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