Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bulletin 187 - Puerto Rico #3 - other birds

There are 5 hummingbird species on Puerto Rico, 2 of which are endemics and we saw one of them, the Puerto Rican Emerald in Bulletin 185. However, we found all 3 of the other hummers. These were all life birds.

The most amazing is the tiny (3.5") Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus). The male of this has a crest that flashes color as the gorget of other species does. His throat and underparts are gray. The crest feathers even appear to extend along the bill.

Antillean Crested Hummingbird - male
Here is another bird hovering. The feathers extending along the bill are clearly seen.

Antillean Crested Hummingbird - male

The Green-throated Carib (Eulampis holosericeus) is larger (5"). The back is dull green, the throat is bright green and the belly is blue. The bill in curved. The sexes are similar.

Green-throated Carib

The Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) is a member of the cuckoo family. This species is a resident of south Florida as well, but now are almost gone. I saw them near the Ft Lauderdale airport in 2006, but could not get a photo. They are all black with a long tail and huge beak.

Smooth-billed Ani

There were several interesting introduced birds as well. The Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctata), a native of southeast Asia is a small (4.5") common cage bird and thus is found in a lot of populated areas due to escapes or releases. The scalloped chest markings are distinctive.

Nutmeg Mannikin
The Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura) is another small (4.5") cage bird that is native to Africa. The females and non-breeding males are sparrow-like brown with a black face and red bill. The breeding male is completely different assuming a black and white plumage and 8" tail feathers! Unfortunately, we just saw the former.

Pin-tailed Whydah - female

We saw several familiar North American birds that are winter visitors to Puerto Rico. These included Black-and-white, Prairie, and Northern Parula warblers as well as several shorebirds (Wilson's Plover, Spotted Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs).

This Hermit Crabs in the forest had climbed a 5 foot stick.

Hermit Crab in forest

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2013 David McDonald

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